Don Bauder 7:49 p.m., May 22
Let's Eat San Diego: A bazillion years ago in San Diego, broke writers would gather at the Bahia Hotel's restaurant for free hors' d'oeuvres, notably sweet and sour meatballs, cheese cubes and crudites. Nothing vogue in hotel dining, not till the Hyatt Regency La Jolla opened Japengo and introduced us to Hollywood, jaw-dropping sushi and Pacific Rim cuisine. Vegas hotels wooed celebrity chefs and high concept restaurants, and San Diego followed suit. We're enjoying these hotel hotspots, especially during San Diego Restaurant Week Sept. 16-21.
- La Valencia's happy hours Monday-Friday (4-7 p.m.) serves up 2-for-1 speciality cocktails, draft beer, wine by the glass and tapas. The posh pink lady is celebrating her 85th anniversary and the renovation captures sophistication La Jolla style.
- Westin Gaslamp Quarter debuts Pinzimini. Don't miss Chef JoAn Kosowski's artisan pizzas, pastas, paninis and salads while quaffing a Barolo or two.
--When your done spa-ing at Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar, zip into the Oceanview Bistro Bar & Grill.
- The Grand Del Mar, San Diego's only Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five Diamond resort, serves up six sensational dining venues. Addison and Amaya is perfect for special occasions.
- The Dana on Mission Bay's Firefly is my home away from home for the kobe burger with herb fries, the Pinot Noir braised beef short rib, the savory French onion soup and fried brussel sprouts complimented by a boutique wine and ale list showcasing Fallbrook BDX, Sonoma's Tipsy Dog Pinot Noir and Creta Roble Tempranillo.
- The Hilton Mission Bay's Acqua serves joyous cuisine with a spectacular bay and boardwalk view. For breakfast, nibble the homemade granola, Grand Marnier French toast or Dungeness crab benedict. Lunch on sesame soy California chicken salad, chicken curry crepes, grilled Hawaiian swordfish with lemon basmatic risotto or pumpkin ravioli. Dinner is equally sublime, with wine recommendations for each dish. I loved the grilled medallion of venison and quail egg, the flat iron steak with thyme garlic Parisian potatos and the 5-spiced roasted butternut squash soup.
- Hotel Palomar's Saldbox Dining & Drinking crafty cocktails and lunch menu (3 for $12 power lunch) celebrates farm to table. You can't stop eating the chopped lobser Cobb, grilled kale salad, short rib grilled cheese or beef cheek tacos. Hands off!
Cook's Corner: Roast your fall vegetables, little Popeye, from carrots to parsnips drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper and a few sprigs of roasted lamb or pork. Don't want to make your dill pickles this season? Lynnaesgourmetpickles.com quells the dill vs. sweet debate with my new favorite, Hot Mama gourmet pickles.
Upcoming Events : San Diego Restaurant Week: The six-day celebration provides food lovers the opportunity to explore the region's exciting dining scene for a fraction of the normal expense. Diners can enjoy special three-course, prix fixe dinner menus for just $20, $30 or $40 per person (beverages, tax and gratuity not included) at more than 180 participating restaurants. San Diego Restaurant Week also includes lunch offerings, which give daytime diners the opportunity to feast on special two-course, prix fixe lunch menus for just $10, $15 or $20 per person at participating restaurants.
Elsewhere Edibles: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your favorite coffeehouse or coffee around America. Just discovered Porto Rican Coffee (NYC) and Corktown Detroit's Astro Coffee. In Nashville, Roast Inc. Rare & Fine Coffee and local baked goods hitthe spot.