It's a quiet Thursday before the 4th, but food folks are busy...
- Eclipse Chocolat is holding a Cupcake Extravaganza Weekend, starting Friday. Owner Will Gustwiller has 36 flavors available at once and is counting on you to come in and help rate your favorites. The idea is to pare down to 16 or so in rotation. A box of nine will be $20. Each cupcake will have a rating card, which also serves as an entry to a Grand Prize Raffle (think Willy Wonka and the golden ticket). The winner will receive a VIP Eclipse Pass for a box of nine cupcakes every week for two months. Eclipse Chocolat is located at 2121 El Cajon Blvd. at Alabama in University Heights.
- Pinkberry buzz has arrived. The frozen yogurt chain opened its 59th store this week in downtown San Diego at the Hard Rock Hotel at 207 Fifth Ave., across from the San Diego Convention Center. A second San Diego store will open later this summer in Hillcrest. No comment about its "healthy and all-natural" claims.
- Keep an eye out for the July 15 opening of Homegrown Meats, a new butcher shop that's the brainchild of Matt Rimel, owner of Zenbu, Mesquite and, of course, Rimel's Rotisserie & Local Seafood. Homegrown Meats will be located next door to Zenbu at 7660 Fay Ave. in La Jolla and feature locally raised grass-fed beef from Mendenhall Ranch on Palomar Mountain, local wild turkey, ostrich, lamb, chicken and duck (when in season)--all hormone free. You'll also be able to pick up farm-fresh produce courtesy of a partnership with Chef Andrew Johnson of The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe. While the initial opening will be low key, Rimel will soon announce a grand opening to be held in August, with, of course, a tasting barbecue for customers. Be sure to check the homegrownmeats.com website to get the most up-to-date information about the openings.