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Best of 2003: Best "Everything Old Is New Again" Food Trend

"Grazing"

Some menus call them "small plates" or "global tapas." Others come right out of the closet and admit what they are: grazing menus -- collections of artfully constructed, smaller-size dishes (sized as large appetizers or miniature entrées) meant for sharing with tablemates. This was all the rage in the '80s, when chef Cindy Pawlczyn popularized it at San Francisco's Fog City Diner, Monterey's Rio Grill, et al. Now grazing's back, and that's good news. The revival may stem from great wine-country chef Thomas Keller and his seminal restaurant, the French Laundry, where he serves prix-fixe dinners of 9 or 11 tiny courses. His theory is that the taste buds stay alert only during the first two or three bites of any dish. Whether that's true or not, lots of little nibbles make a meal big fun. You get to make your own "chef's tasting dinner," amassing as many flavors as the chef can produce and you've got appetite to try. Among the latest to go "grazing" (full-time or as an option) here: Axis (in Del Mar, chefs Michael Almos and Henry Friedank), Cuvée (La Jolla and Del Mar, chef Chuck Samuelson), 910 Restaurant (La Jolla, chef Michael Stebner), and W Café (Hillcrest, chef Chris Walsh).

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"Grazing"

Some menus call them "small plates" or "global tapas." Others come right out of the closet and admit what they are: grazing menus -- collections of artfully constructed, smaller-size dishes (sized as large appetizers or miniature entrées) meant for sharing with tablemates. This was all the rage in the '80s, when chef Cindy Pawlczyn popularized it at San Francisco's Fog City Diner, Monterey's Rio Grill, et al. Now grazing's back, and that's good news. The revival may stem from great wine-country chef Thomas Keller and his seminal restaurant, the French Laundry, where he serves prix-fixe dinners of 9 or 11 tiny courses. His theory is that the taste buds stay alert only during the first two or three bites of any dish. Whether that's true or not, lots of little nibbles make a meal big fun. You get to make your own "chef's tasting dinner," amassing as many flavors as the chef can produce and you've got appetite to try. Among the latest to go "grazing" (full-time or as an option) here: Axis (in Del Mar, chefs Michael Almos and Henry Friedank), Cuvée (La Jolla and Del Mar, chef Chuck Samuelson), 910 Restaurant (La Jolla, chef Michael Stebner), and W Café (Hillcrest, chef Chris Walsh).

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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