San Diego

New Year, New You: Eating Right In 2011

Dec 30th 2010 4:00PM / by Nanette Wiser

Resolve to eat healthy in 2011? We've got six simple edible rules. When coupled with smaller portions, no fast food, less sugar, more veggies and daily exercise, you can still enjoy dining out and trimming your BMI. French women swear that a glass of red wine helps the heart, so viva la vino with supper, and skip the calorific cocktails -- even cosmos.

Extraordinary Desserts: Indulge your senses with sweet little bites and fruit at Extraordinary Desserts. Deprivation does not make a diet and Karen Krasne's petit coconut haystacks blended with fresh apple, apple brie scones, fresh fruit tartelettes, homemade organic granola or French sorbets and a bowl of berries with lemon curd will cure your candy urge. Lunch on a matcha green tea latte, parmesan pesto, bruschetta with surfing goat ping pong cheese and Maui mango chutney.
1430 Union St., Little Italy; 619-294-7001
2929 5th Ave., Balboa Park; 619-294-2132

JRDN: Eat seafood, especially fish low in mercury and harvested with a small carbon footprint. Chef David Warner's menu at JRDN overflows with options, but we applaud the double happiness of healthy Asian cuisine and Tai snapper. Says David: "I like the Tai Snapper dish because the fish is long line caught, which falls into our sustainable program. The flavors of the pumpkin purée and the baby vegetables lends to the season. With New Year's approaching, the word Tai in Japanese translates to good fortune."
Tower 23 Hotel, 723 Felspar St., Pacific Beach; 858-270-5736

Hash House A Go Go: Gas up your engine with breakfast at Hash House A Go Go. You can't go wrong with pecan flapjacks, house hash (mushroom, artichoke hearts, sundried tomato, spinach), meatloaf and eggs or Farm Benedicts (sage fried chicken, smoked salmon with fresh asparagus, undried tomatos chili cream).
3628 5th Ave., Hillcrest; 619-298-4646

Kitchen 1540: Dine on farm to fork cuisine, especially local produce and seafood. Best of show in this elegant bistro are Alaskan halibut with black mussels, artichokes, fava beans and preserved lemon mussel broth, charred scallop carpaccio with watermelon radish, and roasted pumpkin risotto.
L'Auberge Del Mar, 1540 Camino del Rio, Del Mar; 858-793-6460

The Oceanaire Seafood Room: Eat fresh veggies prepared stylishly and you'll never go back to fries. In addition to the elegant surf and turf, you can make a meal out of the tomato and fresh mozzarella or Bosc pear salads; browned butternut squash soup and snowcrab; fried parmesan crusted asparagus with blue cheese; zucchini and squash provençal; or rosemary scented sautéed mushrooms. Add a kumamoto or malpeque oyster for protein or romance, if you dare.
400 J St., Downtown; 619-858-2277

Vagabond Kitchen Of the World: Why take supplements when you can eat real. Explore the healthy benefits of mint in the lamb kafka, lemongrass marinated tofu in the Vietnamese spring rolls, green curry in grilled shrimp satay and cumin-crusted seared sea scallops with apple-fennel slaw at Vagabond Kitchen.
2310 30th St., South Park; 619-255-1035

Photo courtesy of Hash House A Go Go


Culinary Stylemaker: Chris Idso, Pacifica Del Mar

Dec 30th 2010 8:00AM / by Nanette Wiser

San Diego native Chris Idso honed his knife cooking with his Filipino grandmother. It was love at first bite, and after working in the Marriott kitchens, he relocated to Las Vegas to pursue his culinary dreams. A graduate of San Francisco's California Culinary Academy, Idso worked with Hawaiian fusion king Roy Yamaguchi and his mentor, David Abella, becoming executive chef of Roy's La Jolla in 2002. "Food to me is a part of living and wellness, nurturing your body to give energy for life and to delight the senses with abundant flavors," says Idso, now Pacifica Del Mar's chef/partner, who takes pride in his list of more than 75 vodkas, his raw fish and shellfish, and his Pacific fusion cuisine.

What's happening on our culinary scene?
It's becoming very progressive, with lots of new, young chefs doing different takes on modern cuisine, including molecular gastronomy and farm to table. Unlike the rest of the U.S., in San Diego you can get everything fresh within a two-hour radius, such as Carlsbad's oysters and clams, Catalina Seafood's uni and spiny lobster, and Chino's produce.

Any gastro-trends?
Both locally and nationally, I see comfort food, slow food and going "old school Asian," especially dishes that were popular in the late '70s, such as bone marrow.

What tickles your palate these days?
I eat anything and everything and am always trying different cuisines: Japanese, Italian, French, and right now, I'm passionate about Vietnamese food (bahn mi sandwiches, pho), Korean and Spanish, because they are pioneering new modern cuisine.

What are your favorite foodie spots in town?
I like the short ribs and prawns at Nine Ten, the foie gras with pop rocks, liquid nitrogen ice cream station at Kitchen 1540, and when you can get it, blue fin toro and Batera sushi at Sushi Ota. Comfort foods like bone marrow, macaroni and cheese at The Pearl are good, and when I'm drinking, Ketel 7 with lime at The Office or beer and a good burger at Rocky's.

Where do you like to shop?
Chino Farms, whatever is the most beautiful in season. Right now I like to find kabocha squash, celery root, and sunchokes.

Where do you get your culinary inspirations?
Reading about restaurants in cities overseas in elBulli and Alinea, as well as jaunts to San Francisco, Chicago and New York, with Tokyo [being] one of my favorite cities to dine in. I admire Heston Blumenthal, Joel Robuchon, Thomas Keller, Alain Ducasse and Nobu Matsuhisa. Apicius is my favorite go-to cookbook.

What's up and coming at Pacifica Del Mar in 2011?
I look forward to hosting more wine dinners to exhibit our extensive wine selection and great seafood cuisine.

Pacifica Del Mar , 1555 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar; 858-792-0476

Quick Guide to Idso's Faves

Nine Ten , 910 Prospect St., La Jolla; 858-964-5400

Kitchen 1540 , L'Auberge Del Mar, 1540 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar; 858-793-6460

The Office Bar , 3936 30th St., North Park; 619-450-6632

The Pearl , 2010 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar; 858-259-0176

Rocky's , 3786 Ingraham St., Pacific Beach; 858-273-9140

Sushi Ota , 4529 Mission Bay Drive, Pacific Beach; 858-270-5670

Photo courtesy of Pacifica Del Mar

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