Uptown Food News

Uptown Food News

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | SDUN Reporter

Luxury chickens with French roots have arrived to American soil, making their national debut at the Hillcrest Farmers Market. The four-pound birds, which sell for $25 each, are reproductions of Bresse chickens from the namesake region in eastern France. Culinary experts rate them as the best-tasting chickens in the world.

Ray Shields introduces an exclusive chicken breed. (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

Ray Shields introduces an exclusive chicken breed. (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

Vendor Ray Shields of Tzaddik Farm near Jamul introduced the free-range birds last month to market goers and offers them in whole, raw form every Sunday. They are raised on vegetarian diets supplemented with barley for about 16 weeks before processing. In their final two weeks, they undergo a “sedentary lifestyle” that ultimately fattens them up with tender, marbled flesh.

“They are more flavorful and their texture is toned,” Shields said, adding that in France the chickens can fetch up to $150 apiece. “We’re the only ones in the U.S. raising American Bresse chickens. They’re brand new to the U.S. consumer market.”

His recommendation for cooking the coveted breed: “Do it the old-fashion way, on the stovetop for six to seven hours over low heat, in a pot with liquid, veggies and seasonings.” 619-823-5079.


Restaurateur Joshua Hamlin hopes to bring some culinary magic to University Heights when he opens American Voodoo this month. The “modern Americana” menu in the works will be implemented by Chef Daniel Sanaugstine, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America who recently worked in Los Angeles with celebrity caterer, Laura Diaz-Brown.

Hamlin is involved with two restaurants in New York and recently opened a bar in Dover, N.H., where he resides in addition to his native San Diego. For American Voodoo, he took over a couple of storefronts that previously housed a frame shop and imports boutique. The name, he said, was inspired by the voodoo dolls his mother began making after she retired from the military. Several of them will be incorporated into the décor.

“My goal is to get a Michelin star for the restaurant by offering a unique one-of-a-kind dining experience,” he said while hinting at dishes like turtle soup and rabbit that could end up on his seasonal farm-to-table menu. 4655 Park Blvd.


Both The Linkery and Hubcap in North Park have closed. Owner Jay Porter said in an email sent to friends that he and his two partners “are finding that we can’t, given our circumstances, make our restaurants the best they can be, which I believe is the least and most we can ask of ourselves and any community enterprise.” Porter went on to indicate that he has set his sights set on the Bay Area for opening his next restaurant. There’s no word yet on what will replace Hubcab, but The Linkery will reportedly transform into a similar restaurant concept called Waypoint Public, spearheaded by the proprietor of Bottlecraft stores in North Park and Little Italy.


The finishing touches are being put on the upcoming BBQ 81 in North Park, where owner Brandon Jessie will show off the barbecuing techniques he learned from his late father, Ron. The menu promises a full array of ribs, chicken, pork tenderloin, burgers and salmon cooked over mesquite or oak, along with scratch-made sides that include the curious offering of barbecue spaghetti. No exact opening date has been set, but it’s estimated that we’ll start smelling smoke within the next month. 2302 El Cajon Blvd., 619-534-0874.


Local beekeeper Paul Maschka teamed up with staff from Venissimo Cheese for a class focusing on the luscious pairing of honey and curds on July 28 at Mission Hills Nursery (1525 Fort Stockton Drive). The event, titled “Bees and Cheese,” was presented by Slow Food Urban San Diego.

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