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As we went to press, I received a communiqué from Chef Johnson informing me about his latest venture, a concept heretofore unseen in San Diego (or just about anywhere), called A Simple Supper. He'll be offering invitation-only communal dining experiences featuring one-time-only menus at locations that change every time. To keep informed and jockey for seats at Johnson’s dinner table, check out asimplesupper.com and keep abreast of developments via twitter.com/asimplesupper.

Where To Now? Here are the best in San Diego at doing what Red Velvet did best.

Tasting Menu: Mercy of the chef at NINE-TEN in La Jolla. Chef Jason Knibb has one of those à la carte menus on which just about everything sounds appealing and choosing is difficult. Take the weight off your shoulders and let him hit you with his best shot. 910 Prospect Street, La Jolla, 858-964-5400, nine-ten.com

Rare Ingredients: Paul McCabe, the exec chef at L’Auberge Del Mar’s Kitchen 1540 has spent the last six months working up a catalog of over 200 dishes, many built around lesser-seen proteins (fish livers, abalone, offal), produce and herbs. 1540 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, 858-793-6460, laubergedelmar.com/kitchen1540

Esoteric Wine List: The vibe at Wet Stone Wine Bar in Bankers Hill is a lot more laid-back, and the prices are lower than Red Velvet’s ever were, but there’s just as much variety. Exploration of rare grapes from around the world is a joy at this zen urban hideaway. 1927 Fourth Avenue, Downtown, 619-255-2856, wetstonewinebar.com

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honkman July 13, 2011 @ 11:08 p.m.

Try Blanca for one of the best tasting menus in SD currently together with the 10-course tasting menu at Kitchen 1540. It will be also interesting to see what Aaron Martinez will be doing at 1500 Ocean after his very interesting stint at Rancho Valencia Resort.


jughead July 21, 2011 @ 6:37 p.m.

Foolishly, I waited and didn't make it to Red Velvet before it closed. Thanks for writing this article and the info asimplemenu.com. I can agree with your comment about SD having the best craft beers, although there are way too many IPAs and too few lagers, and I love IPAs. However, I can't agree with you about best Mexican food. As a former Chicagoan, there is nothing remotely close in SD to Topolombampo or even the Frontera Grill. I had a stellar wine-paired meal at Topolombampo, where the dishes were elegant and most had a touch of heat, but was not overpowering, and was perfectly complemented by the wine. There are a number of former Bayless employees who have ventured off and started their own restaurants and some are supposed to be impressive. I hope you're right about SD breaking into the ranks of top 10 restaurant cities, but I'm fearful that with the departures of Region, The Better Half and others, we're headed the other way.


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