It seems near-impossible given rising food costs, but somehow the kitchen at Wine Vault & Bistro manages to offer a different five-course tasting menu for just $25 every Saturday night—it's one of the best deals going on in town. This Saturday, Aug. 23, the menu includes a warm peach salad with wild arugula, an heirloom tomato and goat cheese slider, a cassoulet with duck confit and andouille sausage and a grilled flatiron steak with chipotle butter. Dessert is cheesecake panna cotta with locally grown blackberries. 3731-A India St., Little Italy. winevaultbistro.com.
Come the next sunny Sunday, I'm heading back to The Pearl for brunch (yeah, we blurb the place a lot, but their specials are pretty cool). I'm still thinking about the Cuban Scramble with organic eggs, braised pork and a creamy cheese sauce that I had a few weeks ago. The never-ending mimosas are a treat, too. On Sunday, Aug. 31, eaters who arrive on two wheels get half-off the brunch and bottomless mimosa deal during the $10 Bikes & Brunch special. Just please cycle responsibly. www.thepearlsd.com.
I don't get up to Encinitas too often, which is why I'm thinking about heading up to the Taste of Main Street this Thursday night, Aug. 21. For $25, you can sample food from more than 30 restaurants up and down Highway 101. I plan to revisit a couple of longtime favorites, including Via Italia, Chuao Chocolatier and Bubby's Gelato. The latter makes a vanilla rose gelato that's unforgettable. I'd also like to check out the new North County outpost of Ocean Beach's 3rd Corner and Q'ero, a Peruvian restaurant that I've heard good things about. www.encinitas101.com.
CityBeat's resident Tijuanan, Kinsee Morlan, reports that recently opened Cielo Restaurant and Water Bar (Calle 11 No. 8878, near the intersection of 11th and Pio Pico in downtown Tijuana) has become her favorite spot with its healthy, organic menu that changes daily. Kinsee says the Cielo salad is to-die-for and the portobello sandwich topped with goat cheese is, as she puts it, “yum-scidily-umptious.” www.myspace.com/cielobardeagua.
Mille Feuille in Hillcrest (corner of Fifth and University) opens its doors on Monday, Aug. 25. Executive Chef Thomas Gérard, who was born in Lyon, France, heads up the pastries-and-chocolates shop, where you can order your treats to-go or grab a seat. Beginning in mid-September, Mille Feuille adds a high-tea service to its menu and a by-reservation-only “grand chocolate buffet” on Friday and Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. www.millefeuillechocolates.com.
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