Best reason to play hooky? New North Park beer joint Toronado has an extended (but ending too early) happy hour, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, when each of the 50 delectable craft beers on tap is $1 off, with nary a dud among them. The fresh sausages from T&H Prime Meats in San Marcos make great beer food—the Moroccan lamb sausage, in particular, sure is tasty, tucked into a section of Bread & Cie baguette with sautéed onions and peppers and served with a nice side of cucumber and tomato salad or a mayo-less potato salad studded with mustard seeds and plenty of bacon. 4026 30th St., North Park. 619-282-0456. www.toronadosd.com.
Judging from the crowds I've seen lately at Heaven Sent Desserts, everyone's glad that Chef Tina Luu took over pastry duties. Her new special sweets menu includes the Sunday Bloody Sundae, made with homemade ice cream and sprinkled with mint-flavored pop rocks. A friend and I shared a moist chocolate-covered cake, flavored with Guinness and topped with whiskey cream-cheese frosting—sort of a grown-up, inside-out Ding Dong. Every afternoon from 3 to 6 p.m. a dessert and a cup of coffee or tea is $6. 3001 University Ave., North Park. 619-793-4758. www.heavensentdesserts.net.
Frequent CityBeat hangout-spot Starlite celebrates its first birthday next week. To commemorate the occasion, they're giving patrons the gift of drink and food specials, including $4 Starlite Mules, $3 Trumer Pils and a specially priced food item each night, starting Sunday, July 20, and going through Thursday, July 24. 3167 India St., Middletown. 619-358-9766. www.starlitesandiego.com.
Looking for edible ways to cope with the heat? Try Oasis Ice Cream Parlor in Imperial Beach. The homemade, all-natural ice creams taste like the freshest, purest frozen fruit—only better. Get a mix of mango and coconut and thank me later. The cucumber and chile fruit pop is refreshing, too. 1832 Coronado Ave. 619-429-8980. www.oasisicecream.com.
And although eating spicy foods would seem to augment hot-weather discomfort, there's something about the mouth-numbing effect that distracts you from how hot the rest of you is. The Mongolian pickled vegetables and dried-chile-laden soup at Little Sheep Hot Pot get everything tingling deliciously. 4718 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., 858-274-2040.
Hillcrest farmer's market favorite La Milpa Organica is hosting a free monthly open house/potluck up at the Escondido farm this Saturday, July 19, starting at 6 p.m. They'll screen a movie in the open-air theater and bake pizzas in their newly upgraded outdoor brick oven. You're encouraged to bring a dish to share, but fresh-churned organic ice cream has been promised. Yum! 9928 Protea Gardens Road. www.milpaorganica.com.
It's tough to lure me to the Gaslamp on a regular basis, but new bar and restaurant La Puerta's happy hour and friendly bartenders are helping the cause. From 3 to 6 p.m. every day and all night on Mondays, drinks are half price—including an extensive list of tequilas that includes some good reposados and anejos. Select appetizers, like the tostaditos topped with pickled onions and the decent cochinita pibil, are discounted, too. 560 4th Ave., 619-696-3466. www.taco619.comGot food-related news? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.