Cafe 21 (2736 Adams Ave. in University Heights), everybody's favorite Mediterranean / Azerbaijan-rooted resto (which CityBeat reviewed on Dec. 1 ), is slated to soon open its second location in the Gaslamp at 750 Fifth Ave. Owner Alex Javadov is crossing his fingers for next month. The fare will remain constant, but, with more than twice the square footage, there's no need to worry about rubbing elbows with drunken movers and shakers. Hiphip hooray for the Javadov family, whose cooking exploits began in their home kitchen, traveled to a Bohemian part of San Diego and will soon serve as a sponge for undernourished, over-saturated Gaslamp lushes.
Speaking of the Gaslamp, tres chic Confidential (901 Fourth Ave.) is gone. But not to fret, all you see-and-be-seen types, for a new chillin' spot is soon to emerge in its place. The Lincoln Room bar is Confidential's Phoenix, rising in January and helmed by the same lads (see also: La Puerta). Confidential's chef, Chris Walsh, will return to the kitchen and continue serving up a handful of his more popular dishes, like the ahi tuna tartar.
Oh, San Diego chefs. We fall in love with you and you leave us (or are asked to do so). Sadly, we chalk another one up to the former or latter (everyone's keeping tight-lipped on this one). Chef Ryan Grant, who hopped aboard Rancho Bernardo's El Bizcocho less than six months ago, wowing guests with liquid nitrogen, French vegan dinners and other madness, has moved on. Sorry to see you go, buddy. Chef Travis Schultz, Grant's sous, will helm the place for now, and the restaurant will undergo other renovations (only cosmetic, let's hope) in early spring.
In the spirit of receiving, Beaumont's (5662 La Jolla Blvd.) and Brockton Villa (1235 Coast Blvd.) will accept new and gently used coats for San Diego's displaced. Drop the coats off at either restaurant before Dec. 23 and they'll be delivered to the Alpha Project, the homeless-services nonprofit that operates San Diego's emergency winter shelter. Or visit alphaproject.org for other drop-off locations. Or go directly to those on the streets and hand them what they need. A good place to start is 16th Street and Island Avenue, or anywhere near the Veterans Village temporary shelter behind the Point Loma Goodwill on Rosecrans Street.
MIHO Gastrotruck (mihogastrotruck.com) now serves organic cupcakes and cookies made by Encinitas-based Vignette Patisserie. What a way to complement a delicious meal on a grassy knoll.
On Wednesday, Dec. 15, and Thursday, Dec. 16, bring a non-perishable food item to Pei Wei Asian Diner (multiple locations) and get 25 percent off one entrée. Items will be donated to a local food bank. When donating food, I know Top Ramen seems like a good idea, but it's not. Think outside the wrapper.
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