Aug. 4 2015 07:12 PM

Shell out for oysters, turducken hot dogs and other food news

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Just a few offerings at The Whiskey House
Photo by Ron Donoho

Oysters are rumored to be an aphrodisiac. Since Wednesday, August 5, is National Oyster Day, prepare for a shucking good time. If you like oysters served in a test tube, get downtown to Zymology 21 for $5 oyster shooters mixed with vodka, tequila or gin. Matt Gordon's Solace & The Moonlight Lounge in Encinitas is offering a half-dozen oysters and a rosé to celebrate the day. If you can't make it for Oyster Day, Solace is starting a daily Happy Hour bargain with $1 bi-valves, which can be topped with some Gringo Bandito Hot Sauce Mignonette, created by Dexter Holland of The Offspring.

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Fighting Cock. Dry Fly. Lock Stock & Barrel. Temperance Trader. Monkey Shoulder. These are just a few of the more than 600 whiskeys available at The Whiskey House, new in downtown at 420 Third Avenue, site of the former Candelas. The menu includes house-made sausages, fresh ground burgers and charcuterie plates. The place has flown under the radar, but it's got a dark, woody, beautiful interior, especially if you consider hundreds of bottles of bourbon, whiskey and blended scotch a pretty sight. 

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Counterpoint in Golden Hill does eats to its own beat. The menu usually favors fried food—cheese curds, olives, fried chicken and waffles benedict, and a signature bologna sandwich, just to name a few fried items. Now, The Dog Days of Summer have begun at Cam Fomby's bar/restaurant, featuring turducken hot dogs every Sunday afternoon. As if such a dog wasn't unique enough, you can order them two ways: Chicago style, with tomato, pickle, mustard, onion, banana peppers and celery salt; or Kraut Style, with house-made sauerkraut and beer mustard.  

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The Scoville scale measures the spicy heat of chili peppers and other spicy foods. If you go to Regents Pizzeria in UTC and get a New York- or Chicago-style pie you won't need to worry about capsaicin concentration. Ask for the scorpion chicken wings, however, and prepare for a jolt that measures 2 million on that Scoville scale. Some perspective: a banana pepper ranges from 100 to 900; Habanero chili ranges from 100,000 to 350,000. Before being delivered scorpion wings, patrons are asked to sign a waiver.

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A dynamic duo of restaurants opened earlier this year on the corner of 14th Street and Island Avenue in East Village: Halcyon (breakfast and lunch) and Stella Public House (dinner). This month, the view from the tables at both eateries gets upgraded when Fault Line Park opens. Yes! That's the name that was chosen for the 1.3-acre park, which has a pedestrian walkway above the actual Rose Canyon fault line.  

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The San Diego Burger Battle happens Saturday, August 8, at 1144 Los Vallecitos Blvd. in San Marcos. Chefs expected to compete in this World Food Chamionship qualifier include local Hanis Cavin (Carnitas Snack Shack) and national luminaries like Andre Morris (Rockhouse Bar in Las Vegas) and Dennis McGrath (Porketeers). The judging team includes CityBeat food writer Michael A. Gardiner. Get ready for more competitive cooking on August 18 when the Fried Chicken Challenge starts to sizzle. Look for chefs Karen Blair (Small Bar), Jason Gethin (Table No. 10), Jason McLeod (Ironside), Karl Prohaska (Culinary Freight Train), and Rich Sweeney at Local Habit.

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Always wanted to be belittled and yelled at by an arrogant Englishman? An open casting call for MasterChef happens Saturday, August 15, at downtown's San Diego Westin Hotel. Application forms are online at masterchefcasting.com. Leave your self-esteem at home.

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Foodies who don't want to leave their couches can download a new food delivery app called OrderUp, which was acquired by Groupon in July. Pacific Beach's Andrew Kootman is the local owner/operator. In beta testing in the College Area and Pacific Beach, OrderUp filled more than 30,000 orders, reportedly in about 30 minutes, from Backyard Kitchen & Tap, Leilani's Cafe, Bare Back Grill, Kato Sushi, Miller's Field and more eateries. The official launch is set for Monday, August 17.

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Want to win a cooked meal prepared by Little Italy dining magnate Joe Busalacchi? The proprietor of half a dozen San Diego restaurants (Café Zuchero, Trattoria Fantastica, etc) has a contest running throughout the month of August. Find him, snap a selfie with him and post it on Instagram along with #ChefJoeBusa. Word to the wise: Don't go for the selfie while he's in the kitchen stirring hot spaghetti sauce. 

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