By Frank Sabatini Jr.
Slipping soon into the structure that housed Babycakes’ original Hillcrest location will be Bahn Thai, which runs an established eatery in University Heights at 4646 Park Blvd.
Its second location, due to open in the next four to five weeks, will offer the same menu but with significantly more seating. 3766 Fifth Ave., bahnthai.net.
A combined “cat lounge” and cocktail bar is slated to open in the coming months on Adams Avenue under the obvious name, Whiskers & Wine Bar. According to its Facebook page and website, the establishment is being touted as “the first cat lounge in the USA that offers food, local craft beer, wine and specialty cocktails.” Essentially, while customers sip on “kittytinis,” they can interact with adoptable cats occupying the lounge. 2856 Adams Ave., whiskersandwinebar.com.
Two food establishments in Uptown have landed on Yelp’s “Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S.” in 2020. Topping the entire national list is Shawarma Guys, a food truck that operates from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Sunday in a South Park parking lot (3012 Grape St., theshawarmaguys.com).
Launched about a year ago by Michigan transplant Bryan Zeto, the mobile kitchen specializes in Halal Mediterranean fare, and has become a major draw for its coveted wagyu beef shawarma used in sandwiches, bowls, wraps and customized plates.
Coming in at No. 9 on the list is Soichi Sushi in University Heights (2121 Adams Ave., soichisushi.com). Noted for its use of fresh ingredients, the restaurant specializes in multi-course omakase as well as a la carte items such as steamed egg custard, monk fish liver, and various sashimi.
Look for a late-January opening of Cardellino, a Mission Hills project by Trust Restaurant Group that will feature an all-day eatery, a bakery and walk-up ice cream shop subtitled, Mr. Trustee. The much-anticipated venture fills the space last occupied by Brooklyn Girl. The restaurant component will spotlight Italian dishes inspired by owner/chef Brad Wise’s travels to Italy. 4033 Goldfinch St., cardellinosd.com.
A third San Diego location of Green Spot Salad Company has sprouted in Mission Valley in place of a Subway shop. Located in a strip plaza shared by Rubio’s and Taco Bell, the eatery specializes in salads, bowls and wraps—available in preset form or customized to personal preferences.
Founder/owner Micah Goldfarb opened his first location eight years ago in Sorrento Valley after working in the sound industry for such well-known artists as Elvis Costello, Jason Mraz, Rage Against the Machine and John Legend.
“I’m the only person who ever opened a restaurant to spend more time at home,” he quipped when pointing out he used to spend up to nine months a year on tour buses.
In addition to a wide inventory of veggies sourced from Specialty Produce, the kitchen uses proteins such as tofu, Pacific ahi, citrus-grilled chicken, and grass-fed steak. 2075 Camino De La Reina, 619-230-5946, greenspotsalad.com.
Acclaimed vintner Garry Brooks of Brooks Note Winery from Marin County will make a debut appearance at The Wine Lover in Hillcrest, from 7 to 10 p.m., Jan. 17. The tasting event will feature four wine pours per person, a cheese bar and discussion about the wines at hand.
“Garry sources his fruit from killer vineyards in Sonoma,” said Wine Lover owner Serge Chable. “They’re site-specific wines encompassing all the flavors of that region.”
The event is priced at $35 per person. It will be held both inside the wine bar and on the outdoor garden patio. 3968 Fifth Ave., 619-294-9200, thewineloversd.com.
Medina Moroccan-Baja Kitchen in North Park has introduced to its revised menu a colorful family-style couscous platter. It’s available the first and third Friday of every month and features steamed couscous, assorted grilled veggies, and a choice of house-made merguez sausage or Moroccan spiced chicken. Suitable for two to three people, it sells for $25. The restaurant also recently launched weekend brunch service, held from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays. 2850 El Cajon Blvd., 619-230-5037, medinakitchen.com.
— Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.