Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Culinary April in San Diego

All sorts of events and changes are taking place this month. And, no. This isn't an April Fool's Day posting. It's all for real.

Mystery Bar Tasting: If you love chocolate and want to be on the cutting edge, help out Chuao Chocolatier by sampling two new mystery bars they're developing. They want your feedback! The tasting is happening Sat., April 4 and Sun., April 5 from noon to 4 at all three San Diego locations. See www.chuaochocolatier.com for details.

Strawberry Fields Forever!: It's time for the Annual Strawberry Festival "Everything Strawberry" at the Carlsbad farmers market on Wed., April 15 and Sat., April 18, from 1 to 5 p.m. The festival will feature live strawberry cooking demonstrations by Captain Cooks Culinary Academy and the traditional scavenger hunt, as well as live music. Plus everything strawberry, from homemade strawberry shortcake with whipped cream and strawberry smoothies, to strawberry flan, strawberry jam and chocolate-covered strawberries. The market is held at 2930 Roosevelt St. in Carlsbad in the public parking lot between Carlsbad Village Drive and Grand Ave.

Want Some Dough on Tax Day?: Request "some dough" at Richard Walkers Pancake House on April 15 and you'll receive one free short stack of buttermilk pancakes. It's located at 520 Front St. in downtown San Diego.

Taste of Hillcrest: Take a self-guided stroll around the neighborhood on April 18 from noon to 4 p.m. and visit some of Hillcrest's favorite eating spots. We're talking Bite, The Tractor Room, Mama Testa Taqueria--basically over 40 choices. And all for $30 per person in advance ($35 on the day of). Purchase tickets online at www.fabuloushillcrest.com. You'll get a free recipe booklet. There's also free shuttle service throughout Uptown/Hillcrest.

Say Goodbye and Say Hello...to Corvette Diner: I've eaten many a burger with my nieces and nephews at the Hillcrest Corvette Diner over the years. And snared a lot of bubble gum. But after 22 years, on April 26, the Cohn Restaurant Group is closing that location in anticipation of opening up at 2965 Historic Decatur Road in Liberty Station this summer. And there will be a slight name change as well to Corvette Diner & Gamers' Garage. The new restaurant will have a 5,000-square-foot arcade (as in the "Gamers' Garage"), private dining rooms for parties and events, three distinctively themed dining areas and a full bar for adults. You can learn more at www.dinecrg.com.

Happy Anniversary!: Greystone steakhouse at 658 Fifth Ave. in the Gaslamp is celebrating its 10th anniversary with, what else, a menu change. You'll now find dishes like "Shrooms" stuffed with crab and maple-glazed pork belly tacos, truffle organic half chicken boneless jidori and buffalo tenderloin. Looking for a deal? How about a three-course menu for $35 a person?

Live from Tuscany: Tuscan native Massimo Denaro is the new executive chef at Trattoria La Strada, also in the Gaslamp (702 Fifth Ave.). And, he's changed up the menu to reflect the dishes of his roots. Look for a series of carpacci, from raw filet mignon and smoked salmon to roasted red and yellow baby beets. There's homemade tortelli filled with veal ragout; risotto with scallops, shrimp, Manila clams and calamari; saltimbocca alla Romana and a Florentine-style pork loin, roasted in rosemary and garlic. And, hey, there's free Wi-Fi in the bar.

And, here's a heads up for early May: Share Our Strength's annual Taste of the Nation San Diego will be held on Sun., May 3 at Balboa Park's May S. Marcy Sculpture Court and Garden at the San Diego Museum of Art from 3 to 6 p.m. More than 25 local chefs will be participating, including Quarter Kitchen, Anthology, Grant Grill and Red Marlin. There will be an auction and live entertainment. All this is to raise money for area charities such as San Diego Hunger Coalition, Los Ninos, California Association of Food Banks and California Food Policy Advocates with the goal of ending childhood hunger in the United States and abroad.

Tickets are $75 for general admission and can be purchased by calling 1-877-26-TASTE or visiting tasteofthenation.org.




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