By Frank Sabatini Jr.
If you’ve never had mashed potatoes and spicy sausage on your waffles, the new North Park Breakfast Company is the best to start. The eatery opened in mid-May as an offshoot to Breakfast Republic, a growing chain founded by Johan Engman of the locally based Rise & Shine Restaurant Group. The menu here, however, is different in comparison with more vegan/vegetarian options, craftier cocktails and “sweet-meets-savory” flavors inherent to many of the breakfast items.
Eclectic décor sets the stage for other dishes such as orange-thyme waffles; crispy chicken thighs with eggs and cauliflower confit; fried rice Benedict; and more. The restaurant is open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. 3131 University Ave., 619-269-2118, www.breakfast-company.com.
The signage is up for one of Hillcrest’s edgiest eating and drinking establishments, due to open by early July.
Breakfast Bitch will operate as a booze-centric breakfast spot by day (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and a laid-back after-hours speakeasy on Friday and Saturday nights (12:30 to 3:30 a.m.). In the day hours, look for dishes such as veggie scrambles, loaded hash browns and lobster Benedict. For the latter crowd, there will be games, CBD waters and non-alcoholic spritzers.
The project replaces the short-lived Vancouver Wings on a block of Fifth Avenue between University Avenue and Robinson Street that has seen a number of eateries come and go. Its owners,
former college and professional football player Derrell Hutsona and his wife, Tracii, own the Los Angeles-based lifestyle management company Elite Luxe, which caters to athletes and celebrities.
Hutsona, a local native, told us he came up with the concept because “there’s no place to eat after hours in San Diego.” The couple was originally looking for spaces in the Gaslamp District until the Hillcrest opportunity caught their eye.
He added that the establishment’s campy bitch-speak concept, already evident on the website and voice greeting, isn’t specifically intended for the LGBT community as many initially assumed, but that it’s merely a fun, playful approach “open to everyone.”
There is a LGBT connection to the project, however, with community member Carla Andrea in talks to serve as executive chef. Andrea runs a cooking show on YouTube and has already helped develop some of the menu for Breakfast Bitch. 3825 Fifth Ave., 877-732-4824,
Fast food alert: As of early May, all San Diego locations of Del Taco began permanently offering tacos made with plant-based Beyond Meat as a ground beef option. The new crunchy “Beyond tacos” are available with grated cheddar, lettuce and tomato at 300 calories each — or with sliced avocado instead of the cheese at 260 calories. Each sells for $2.49.
We tried the former and could barely tell the difference between the faux meat and real beef. The Beyond Meat, made from pea protein, carries a faint reddish tint from beet extract. It’s also a little mushier in comparison. Otherwise, it stands to easily fool unsuspecting carnivores.
We also asked Del Taco employees at the Point Loma and Mission Valley locations how many Beyond tacos are sold daily since their introduction. None of them could cite figures, but each firmly answered, “a lot.” deltaco.com.
San Diego’s first ice-cream festival is coming to North Park, bringing together nearly two dozen local ice-cream makers in celebration of the centuries-old craft.
Scoop San Diego will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., June 23, at North Park Way and 30th Street. Organized by Daniel Szpak, a co-founder of Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream, the event will benefit Monarch School, which is dedicated to helping homeless students break the cycle of poverty.
Participating ice-cream vendors include Mariposa Ice Cream, An’s Dry Cleaning, Chocolat, Moo Time Creamery, Stella Jean’s Ice Cream, Scoops La Jolla and more. They will dole out samples in weights averaging 2 ounces. Some will be dairy-free. Tickets range from $20 to $35. For more information, visit www.scoopsandiego.org.
The highly anticipated SoCal Sushi in Normal Heights recently opened to a menu featuring more than a dozen specialty rolls such as the “tipsy tuna” with mango salsa and unagi sauce as well as classic “spider” and “caterpillar” rolls. The quaint restaurant is owned by “Chef Goody,” who also runs the acclaimed Goody’s Sushi & Grill in National City. His menu in Uptown is similar, but with fewer more-focused daily specials. 3454 Adams Ave., 619-255-7388.
— Frank Sabatini Jr. is the author of ‘Secret San Diego’ (ECW Press) and began his local writing career more than two decades ago as a staffer for the former San Diego Tribune. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.