Uptown News Food Briefs – Sept. 8, 2017

Posted: September 8th, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Uptown Food Briefs | No Comments

Café Bleu recently transformed into Jo’s Mission Hills Diner with a brightly colored makeover and a menu that covers numerous breakfast dishes, salads, sandwiches, burgers and entrees such as meatloaf and smoked mac n’ cheese.

“We wanted to be a little more approachable,” said Ric Libiran, who owned Café Bleu and kept its chef for the new venture.

Although a smidgen of the café’s popular fare carried over, the menu also reveals French onion soup, steak frites and brandy French toast with strawberries.

As for the diner’s name, Libiran added, “There is no Jo. We just wanted to give it a familiar, everyday name.” 807 W. Washington St., 619-323-2035.

A casual diner is up and running in Mission Hills. (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

The much-anticipated second location of Nomad Donuts recently opened in a 3,200-square-foot space located several blocks away from its original North Park shop at 4504 30th St. That location is under renovation and will reopen in a few months.

In keeping with its inventory of globally inspired donuts using ingredients from local farmers markets, the roomier digs have allowed executive chef Kristianna Zabala to add breakfast and lunch sandwiches to the menu, as well as wood-fired bagels and new sweet and savory baked goods.

Owner Brad Keiller envisioned a larger outpost of the business two years ago and soon after landed in what was formerly Lady of the Lake bookstore.

After a year of construction, the remodeled space greets with Caribbean-style elements such as aqua walls, vibrant tiling, and wooden captain’s chairs and tables. In addition, an expanded coffee program features drinks made from limited-edition single-origin varietals. 3102 University Ave., 619-431-5000,

Nomad Donuts opens a second North Park location. (Facebook)

A collaborative seafood boil and hog roast will be held on Sunday, Sept. 10 in Hotel Circle’s hidden, outdoor event space known as Lot 8. The event starts at 5 p.m. and features live bluegrass music and chefs from Grand Ole BBQ y Asado, Mastiff Sausage, Lola 55, and Eco Caters.

The cost is $65 per person, which includes food and two alcoholic beverages. Presented by the Facebook group, Eating and Drinking in San Diego, portions of the proceeds will benefit The Berry Good Foundation, which supports our local food industry. To purchase tickets, visit and enter “Le Grand Ole Boucherie and Seafood Boil.” 1201 Hotel Circle South (behind The Atwood,) 619-546-5660.

Everything from European butters and fresh pasta to artisan cheeses, seasonal produce and crafty baked goods are in the offing at Lazy Acres Market in Mission Hills, which celebrated its grand opening Aug. 26.

Known for its “wholesome, natural and organic” foods, the market has only three other locations — in Encinitas, Long Beach and the original store in Santa Barbara.

A walk through the aisles leads to various stations offering pizzas, freshly carved meats, poke, prepared hot meals and a salad bar. The store also features a live beehive rescued by a North County beekeeper.

Marketing manager Cait Gunderson said most departments offer tasting samples on a daily basis, which doesn’t exclude the bakery department handing out pieces of the company’s famous cookie, made with Belgian chocolate, walnuts and sea salt. 422 W. Washington St., 619-272-4289,

Seasonal, organic produce at a new upscale grocery in Mission Hills (Courtesy of Lazy Acres Market)

Joe’s Crab Shack in Mission Valley’s Hazard Center is among 40 locations nationwide that abruptly closed in the past couple weeks after the chain’s ownership, Ignite Restaurant Group, filed for bankruptcy earlier this summer. About 70 other locations in various states remain in operation for now, including those in Downtown San Diego (525 E. Harbor Drive) and Oceanside (314 Harbor Drive South).

Chef Abe Botello transitions from North Park to the Gaslamp Quarter. (Courtesy of Citrus Public Relations)

Chef Abe Botello has left his long-standing gig at West Coast Tavern in North Park to head up the kitchen at Florent Restaurant and Lounge in the Gaslamp Quarter. His menu revisions, due to roll out in early October, will be Buffalo-style cauliflower, barbecue “pork wings” made from shanks, a truffle burger, and several varieties of flatbreads. 672 Fifth Ave., 619-595-0123,

Circa Restaurant in University Heights has teamed up with North Coast Brewing Co. for a six-course pairing dinner to be held Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 6:30 p.m. Circa’s chef, Mike Almos, will present dishes such as local melon salad with pea tendrils; braised chicken on a walnut waffle; roasted quail with lentil and pork belly, plus more.

The courses will be matched by various beers from the brewery’s portfolio, which include Scrimshaw Pilsner, Le Merle Saison, Alt Nouveau, and others. The cost is $65 per person. 2121 Adams Ave., 619-269-9152,

—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at

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