Sept. 1 2010 09:57 AM

This week's news for food lovers includes an homage to childhood, a chef who's gone locavore, a dish fit for Obama and yet another Smashburger

Last week, Nibbles reported that Smashburger opened its second San Diego County location in Del Mar. With the announcement of the Mission Valley (7676 Hazard Center Drive) grand opening this Thursday at 10 a.m., we're now likening the franchise's ability to so expeditiously pop up to that episode of South Park in which Cartman uses stem cells to erect a Shakey's Pizza restaurant, which raises the question: Where are these bastions of burgerpreneurship purchasing their cells? And how does this bode with the non-meateaters anticipating the resto's new vegetarian option: The black bean patty?

Chef Brent Calley of The Glass Door (1835 Columbia St. in Little Italy) launched a trifecta on Monday with new brunch, happy hour and dinner menus, and he's gone locavore, sourcing many of his ingredients from area farms, the Little Italy Mercato and nearby shops. This includes sausage from the inconspicuous Pete's Quality Meats (1742 India St.). His fun little cocktails—like the Mercato-Mosa, crafted with fresh ingredients and sparkling vino—suggest we San Diegans might not be ready for summer's departure. Ah, remember those bygone days of childhood tomfoolery, when we drank up every ounce of summer in hopes of never learning a lick of anything again?

Speaking of childhood, Ryan Grant, chef de cuisine at Rancho Bernardo's El Bizcocho, will present Childhood Classics, All Grown Up on Friday, Sept. 17, after successfully pulling off a multi-course vegan dinner in August. Ever the gourmand, and child at heart, Grant's six-course tasting menu is inspired entirely by prototypical childhood faves. But he's keeping it tight-lipped when it comes to the particulars. Whispers of grilled cheese appetizers and mature takes on SpaghettiOs and the illustrious Happy Meal with a dash of Beef S'mores and a Yoo-Hoo-influenced adult beverage reached our ears. But, since part of being a child is that lively element of surprise, that's precisely what diners will get. Tickets cost $80 without wine pairing and $105 with and can be purchased by calling 858-675-8550.

Apertivo, once in North Park, has reopened, now in its new University Heights location, 2322 El Cajon Blvd., serving dinner every day. One to try: Lamb Osso Bucco. If, however, a certain president (hint: he's not Muslim) happens to be your dining partner, plan to sample the Wild Caught Gulf Shrimp together—grilled, scampi-style or wrapped in prosciutto. Kudos to Apertivo's owners for supporting the Gulf Coast's mariners; make it worth their while. Brunch and lunch service is anticipated the week after next.

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Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant. 2202 Fourth Ave., Bankers Hill. The new spot from Market's Carl Schroeder and Café 222's Terryl Gavre has a farmhouse-chic, Paul Basile-designed décor and a menu featuring creative takes on old faves like deviled eggs with bacon and capers and a goatcheese salad with peaches and prosciutto. The desserts are inspired, and the BH Burger's one of the best in town.

Spicy City. 4690 Convoy St., Suite 107, Kearny Mesa, 858-278-1818. Fans of traditional Sichuan cooking, this is your spot, where folks line up for dishes that manage to be both tasty and mouth-numbingly spicy.

25 Forty Bistro & Bakehouse. 2540 Congress St., Old Town, 619-294- 2540. Europe-trained chef / owner Mark Pelliccia turned this Old Town cottage into a sophisticated bistro with frontand back-patio seating. Dishes include creative takes on Italian (like eggplant parmesan ravioli) and tasty baked goods (croissants, tarts, cakes and breads), Pelliccia's specialty.

Mariscos Los Koras. 4297 Market St., Mount Hope. 619-264-1180. This nautical-themed restaurant's owner is from the coastal Mexican state of Nayarit, which means seafood is the strong suit. Specialties range from grilled Baja lobster to Nayarit-style paella. Mariscos Los Koras' sauces are excellent, as are the empanadas de camaron, fried turnovers filled with chopped shrimp.


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