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After reading our review, Origano exec chef/co-owner Francesco promptly went out and (somewhat against the wishes of his co-owner from the Osetra empire) bought REAL CHAIRS to replace the backless stools of yore. He's also spending more time at the restaurant, overseeing the kitchen, while still remaining ever-loyal to his own wonderful Trattoria Antica in La Mesa. . Yay, Francesco!


The lineup for the famed Outstanding in the Field dining series includes Brian Malarkey His dinner will be on Sunday, May 15th at host farm, Olivewood Gardens and will also feature cocktails from Snake Oil Cocktail Co. The only other featured SD chef is Paul McCabe of Kitchen 1540. Tickets go on sale March 20 and tend to sell out quickly. http://outstandinginthefield.com/events/2011-tour/?dinner_id=115


A new signature event, The Chef's Cellar Series, explores wines and food at Mistral Restaurant at Loews Coronado Bay Resort. Executive Chef Gabriel Morales shares the vision behind his personal 3,000-bottle wine cellar with the award-winning culinary vision of Mistral Chef Patrick Ponsaty.. It kicks off March 24, 6 to 9 pm. The evening includes a Taittinger Champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception followed by a four-course dinner with paired wines presented by one of Chef Gabriel’s favorite wine makers, Joe Davis, Owner of Arcadian Winery. (Note: I've seen the menu. Scrumbo. AND the final kicker is the wine with dessert, Chateau Suideraut Sauternes.) The event is $75 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Space is limited. Reservations are required


I'm swimming in olive oil, so I must give thanks to two new providers of that grand commodity. First, there's a new extra virgin in your local groceries (Vons, Albertsons, Whole Foods, etc.). It's called California Olive Ranch, and comes from Northern California. I haven't had a chance to taste it yet (my fridge is full of leftover Thai restaurant food that's provided dinner all week and doesn't go with olive oil) but it comes from one of the most honest food publicists of any, an old friend from San Francisco who's a card-carrying member of the Bay Area Foodie Mafia (aka Friends of Alice W.). She said it was remarkably good for its relatively modest price. So now you know what I know. It's bound to be better than Bertolli's characterless evoo!

And up in La Jolla, on scenic Prospect Avenue, a new boutique has opened specializing in olive oils and other treats (including flavored oils.) . We Olive, at 1158 Prospect, features 20 varietals of extra virgin oil from California growers. Balsamic vinegars, pestos, mustards, flavored salts and other treats are also offered in a 1200-square foot tasting room. They also sell snacks made with these ingredients.


Slow Foods has chosen its annual Good Foods Awards. 130 finalists in a variety of food categories were chosen as outstanding producers of delicious, sustainably-produced foods. Among the San Diego honorees were Tender Greens for their smoked prosciutto, pickled baby carrots and spiced apple pumpkin butter, The Linkery's house cured country ham and Chuao Chocolatier for their Limited Edition Origins 77% Cacao de Chuao bar. Tender Greens and Chuao Chocolatier were awarded top prizes in the Pickles and Chocolate categories. Congrats, all.

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