Sam the Cooking Guy to debut his first eatery this summer

From www.sandiegouniontribune.com by Carolina Gusman
Sam the Cooking Guy to debut his first eatery this summer

The Del celebrates 130th anniversary

Hotel del Coronado — the architectural marvel that has charmed travelers from around the world since 1888 — will celebrate its 130th anniversary with year-long events, starting with the Icons & Masters Gala on Saturday. Festivities start at 6 p.m. with a VIP reception, followed by a vintage-inspired five-course meal crafted by five of the nation’s top French master chefs, including The Del’s Patrick Ponsaty. Cap off your evening with dancing and entertainment provided by the NRG Orchestra. The Crown Room, 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado. $450 VIP; $250 general admission. Tickets are limited. hoteldel.com

Local wineries crush the competition

Sixteen San Diego County Vintner Association member wineries brought home 55 individual medals at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition held Jan. 9-12 in Sonoma County. Sixty-seven judges sampled 6,960 wines representing 35 states in one of the largest American wine competitions in the world. In addition to winning bronze, silver and gold medals respectively, the following wineries were awarded the prestigious double-gold medal: Carruth Cellars, Fallbrook Winery, Gianni Buonomo Vintners and San Pasqual Winery. sandiegowineries.org

Chefs and sommeliers in the news

Teddy Panos, formerly the wine director and assistant general manager of Blue Bridge Hospitality’s Stake Chophouse + Bar, has been promoted to beverage director of the posh restaurant. With more than 30 years in the industry, Panos brings his culinary expertise and advanced education in viticulture to the renowned wine program. He previously served as a sommelier and wine director at Cucina Urbana and La Valencia Hotel. stakechophouse.com

Chef Alfred “Alfie” Szeprethy has been named executive corporate chef of Ladeki Restaurant Group, which operates all Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill and Pisco Rotisserie & Cevicheria. He will lead menu development for Sammy’s and work alongside Pisco’s executive chef/partner Emmanuel Piqueras. A graduate of The Art Institute of California, San Diego, he earned a Gold Medallion Award from the California Restaurant Association for “Best Seafood, Fine Dining Restaurant” in 2013. sammyspizza.com and piscorotisserie.com

Chef JC Colón has been tapped as the executive chef of Hotel Republic San Diego. He will oversee Trade, the lobby bar and restaurant, as well as Topside Terrace Kitchen & Bar and Patio Marketplace. A graduate of Manhattan’s French Culinary Institute, Colón has worked with several of San Diego’s top hospitality groups, including Urban Kitchen Group and Blue Bridge Hospitality. With his everything-made-in-house philosophy, Colón will develop a variety of dishes using locally sourced ingredients. hotelrepublicsd.com

Openings

Sam Zien, aka Sam the Cooking Guy, is branching out from behind the TV camera and stepping into the restaurant ownership frying pan. In collaboration with Grain & Grit Collective, a newly formed San Diego-based hospitality group, Zien will operate Not Not Tacos, a taco-centric shop set to open this summer within the Little Italy Food Hall located at the Piazza della Famiglia in the heart of Little Italy. His new counter-service eatery will feature his “everyman cook” version of tacos: “big, bold, full of flavor and made from things you wouldn’t normally find in a taco; think meatloaf, salmon, pastrami — that kind of stuff,” Zien said. As an added bonus, visitors can interact with Zien during live cooking demonstrations on the piazza’s mobile outdoor chefs’ station. 550 W. Date St., San Diego. notnottacos.com

Sweetfin Poke opened its doors in the Westfield UTC shopping mall. The California-styled, Hawaiian-inspired eatery, founded for “Top Chef” alumnus Dakota Weiss, touts a “Pole to Bowl” philosophy, sourcing sustainable fish for dishes like mango albacore with ponzu lime sauce, macadamia nuts and ginger; and build-your-own-bowls can be created with a base of bamboo rice, kelp noodle slaw or citrus-kale salad. There’s also vegetarian poke with miso sesame-shoyu sauce, Japanese eggplant, shimeji mushroom, sundried tomato, shiso and market radish. 4545 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego. sweetfin.com

Volcano Rabbit will open its doors in the Gaslamp Quarter on Friday. Named for the world’s second smallest, late-night-loving rabbit, the high-energy establishment boasts the largest agave spirits menu with more than 175 selections from around the world; signature craft tacos with offerings of seared ahi, sticky beef short rib and chili-rubbed octopus; and larger entrees, including salmon poblano, short rib mole and a signature meat board. Each month, the restaurant will offer a specialty “$20 Taco,” with options like beef cheek with brioche toast, foie gras, marrow butter and mascarpone sauce. (619) 232-8226 or volcanorabbitsd.com

Monzu Fresh Pasta, a restaurant/retail pasta shop, will open its doors in East Village in March. Aldo de Dominicis Rotondi and Serena Romano will lead the kitchen to create a menu of house-made, fresh pastas, along with a variety of sauces from different regions of Italy. Daily specials and weekly-changing regional recipes will be offered, as well as dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan diets. Italian wines and local craft beers will be sold. 455 10th Ave., San Diego. monzufreshpasta.com

Waterbar opened it doors in Pacific Beach in December. Inspired by coast-to-coast and Baja cuisines, the beachside eatery offers unique renditions of seafood classics, such as chowder, fish and chips and chef-inspired sides like smoked fingerling potatoes. The lounge features two large bars serving craft beer, wine and cocktails. 4235 Ocean Blvd., San Diego. (858) 888-4343 or waterbarsd.com

The Taco Stand opened in North Park Jan. 23. Housed in the space formerly occupied by Tacos Perla, this is the fourth location for the fast-casual San Diego-based brand. Known for its homemade, made-to-order corn tortillas and rotisserie-marinated pork for their tacos al pastor, this taqueria will feature the same Tijuana-inspired decor as its other three locations in Encinitas, La Jolla and downtown San Diego. 3000 Upas St., San Diego. (619) 795-8797 or letstaco.com

Local restaurateur Sami Ladeki and master Peruvian chef Emmanuel Piqueras opened a second location in Carlsbad of the Liberty Station flagship restaurant Pisco Rotisserie & Cevicheria. Lunch-goers will find a selection of eight new sandwiches, salads and vegetarian options. The bar menu includes a variety of craft cocktails, Peruvian and other South American wines, local and Peruvian beers, as well as the Peruvian grape-derived brandy, Peru’s signature drink. 5970 Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad. PiscoRotisserie.com

Harumama opened its doors in Little Italy. The new Asian eatery, created by husband and wife team Jenny and James Pyo (Love Boat Sushi, Blue Ocean Robata and Sushi Bar and Pokewan), will offer a playful and modern twist on dishes inspired from Chinese, Japanese and Korean cuisines. The menu includes traditional ramen, steamed character buns, specialty sushi rolls, bites and greens, small plates, noodles, bao bao buns and bowls. Guests can choose from a variety of Japanese and local craft beers, wine, sake and non-alcoholic drinks. 1901 Columbia St., San Diego. (619) 269-7122 or harumamasd.com

carolina.gusman@sduniontribune.com

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