San Diego Food News: January 23-27 | Food News

Blanco Cocina

The Mains

Cafe Gratitude Closes in Little Italy

After nearly an eight-year run in Little Italy, the plant-based holy house Cafe Gratitude has called it a day. They’ll still operate their four locations up north in Newport and LA, but the location just-off the main drag in Little Italy, likely made life a little tougher. Yet, their arrival was a high-profile turning point in San Diego’s plant-based food scene at the time. Since their open in the summer of 2015, the number of vegetarian/vegan restaurants has experienced a mini-boom, and even omnivore kitchens have cranked up their plant-based offerings.

James Beard Nominee + Local Restaurant Plans New Restaurant

Sam Fox made his name in Arizona—dropping out of college to open a Phoenix bar and grill in 1992—and has since become one of the country’s biggest restaurants, a Danny Meier with a tan. And like most of our Phoenix cohorts, he also has a place in San Diego. He’s brought his other home The Henry in Coronado and the health-forward chain Flower Child in Del Mar. Now, the James Beard nominee is opening up a second location of his Mexican restaurant Blanco Cocina in Coronado (the first is located in Fashion Valley). The space is expected by the summer and will be located right in the middle of the hustle and bustle at Orange and B Avenues, and near its sister restaurant, The Henry. Fox calls the Blanco Cocina experience “like taking a vacation in your neighborhood,” a tribute to the Sonoran-inspired dishes mixed with their extensive margarita menu. Try their rib machaca, braised chicken chimichangas, or one of their tacos on housemade corn tortillas.

Buona Forchetta Celebrates Its 10-Year Anniversary Today

Since they first crammed their massive pizza oven into a little corner spot in South Park a decade ago, Buona Forchetta has been giving San Diegans all the Italian feels. The charred dough, the smell of good olive oil warming on various pans, the zing of fresh tomatoes and homemade pasta. Over 10 years, owner Matteo Cattaneo and team have grown to nearly a dozen restaurants, including a pizza and gelato spot, Gelati & Peccati, and a San Clemente Buona Forchetta on the way. In honor of their anniversary, they’re serving a special menu on 1/24 (starting at 5 pm) and donating all funds to The Animal Pad, a local dog-rescue nonprofit.

La Jolla Gets a Cafe, Bakery and Roastery in One Community Hub

Amanda Morrow worked at the Pannikin in La Jolla for years and even started roasting their coffee on site (she’s a roast master), when the owners eventually offered to sell her the cafe in 2007. But, after facing issues signing a new lease when the former landlord passed away, he and wife Gloria Serna, started looking for a new spot. After a brief stint as a pop up at The Lot, and a whole lot of community support ($85k raised on GoFundMe), they opened the dual space for The Flower Pot Cafe and Bakery and their roastery Three Legs Coffee Roasters on October 1, just a block from the former Pannikin location.

The 3,500-square-foot space and outdoor patio has become a community hub. Here’s the vibe: the smell of fresh coffee roasted on site every day, homemade treats baked early every morning (try their scones or cinnamon rolls), even a free library for locals to pick up a good book to enjoy over their cup of Joe, thanks to iconic local bookstore DG Wills Books. They just started serving dinner, along with breakfast and lunch. Don’t miss their Saturday night special: Gloria’s organic grass fed burgers on a homemade bun.


Quick Bites

Vinya: vino + vinyasa just opened up in Clairemont Mesa, mixing yoga and wine together under one roof. Take a yoga class in their large 1,000-square-foot studio and then follow it up with a glass of wine or food from their scratch-made kitchen. Sounds like my kind of workout.

Jerry’s Street Churros will open up in Oceanside (1006 Mission Avenue Suite D) on January 26 with handcrafted churros and toppings like soft serve or a chocolate dipping sauce. They’ll also serve belgian waffles and a churro hot dog (think churros for the bun).

Cidery Bivouac Ciderworks is celebrating the 5-year anniversary of their North Park tap room on Saturday, January 28 with live music, a special menu and a collaboration drink on hand with Storum Ranch Cider and Wine in Julian.

Have breaking news, exciting scoops, or great stories about San Diego’s food scene? Send your pitches to [email protected].

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