Nobu Matsuhisa's eponymous restaurants are known as the holy grail of high-end Japanese fusion food, and when one opened in Downtown's Hard Rock Hotel, I was both excited and a little scared for my wallet. The setting is pretty Hollywood, but the menu is fascinating, reflecting Nobu's time spent cooking and living in South America. We tried three of his signature dishes: a rock shrimp tempura with ponzu dressing, his justly famous miso-marinated black cod and the rock-star yellowtail sashimi—pristine pieces of fish topped with a sliver of jalapeño, a leaf of cilantro and yuzu (an Asian citrus fruit) sauce. Trivia tidbit: Masahara Morimoto was the head chef at Nobu in New York when he became Iron Chef Japan on the original (and best) Iron Chef TV show. 207 Fifth Ave., 619-814-4124. www.noburestaurants.com.
If you're like me and obsessed with food travel shows, you've undoubtedly seen some kind of program on Australia that mentions wattle seed, the edible seed of an Acacia tree that's purported to have the taste of chocolate and coffee. Curious drinkers should check out Bondi's beer list for Barons Black Wattle Original Ale, flavored with the native seed. It has a mellow flavor that's low on hops and, yes, a little bit chocolately. It's a little sweet for me, but the malty, caramel flavors of the beer would probably be good paired with roasted meats and will likely be a hit with fans of nutty brown ales. 333 Fifth Ave. 619-342-0212. www.thebondi.com.
A newly discovered scone threatens to rival Rebecca's for my affection, though the fresh strawberry jam at Rebecca's is pretty much the clincher. Still, the scones at Mystic Mocha are great, with a crumbly-crunchy texture that's a cross between a biscuit and shortbread with a nice amount of salt added to balance sweet ingredients like chocolate chips and coconut. I also tried the banana and Mexican chocolate and the apricot-oatmeal-blueberry muffins and found both moist and rich but not too dense or heavy. 2105 Mission Ave., University Heights. 619-688-0858.
Have you tried Romesco yet? If you're a foodie, you owe it to yourself to experience its inventive food, which combines California ingredients with Mediterranean flavors and Baja-style cuisine. A recent special dinner featured a sea-urchin-foam-topped seafood bouillabaisse with a sea-bean and sea-salt biscotti and seared scallops on a fava-bean epazote tamal. The restaurant is also one of the only places in San Diego to try wines from Mexico's Guadalupe Valley, the best local wine area that you're not visiting. 4346 Bonita Road, 619-475-8627. www.romescobajamed.com.
Did anyone catch local food personality Sam the Cooking Guy on The Today Show last week? Search for it on YouTube and see his deliciously awkward cooking segment with Kathie Lee Gifford, in which he tells her, basically, to shut it. Something tells me he might not be making any return appearances—at least, not while Kathie Lee's around. Got food news? >Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.