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“Tuesday to Friday,12-3,” the sidewalk sign says, “small salad, flatbread and a glass of wine or beer, $8.”

That stops me. I’m on my way up Old Town’s Congress Street, graveyard of restaurants. So near the plaza, so far from tourists.

This place used to be the Wine Cabana. That hit the dust late last year. But they left behind their cabanas. Now, in its place, this place has become Christopher’s on Congress (2539 Congress Street, Suite A, Old Town, 619-450-4154). Says it’s a “Craft Wine Beer Bar…featuring cuisine from Chef Christopher Tatalovich.”

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It’s kinda swanky actually, and the cabanas are where you’d hide out with your novia to whisper sweet nothings and sip sweet wines till you’re both a bit silly.

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But for me, here at lunchtime, the sweetest thing of all is this deal.

Christopher is doing the serving at the bar and the cooking in the li’l kitchen.

I ask for the $8 lunch deal, and then decide on which flatbread.

He has all sorts, from the grilled Angus steak one, with garlic white sauce, mozzarella cheese, roasted peppers and spinach, to the grilled sausage with spinach, roasted garlic, red sauce and mozzarella, to the Mediterranean (olives, artichokes, bell peppers, pesto sauce and mozzarella).

Normally they’re $10-$12 just on their own.

But the biggest, and I mean biggest, surprise comes before the food. It’s the wine. I ask for a Costa de Oro sauvignon blanc/chardonnay blend. And Christopher pours a really large glass just about two thirds full.

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I mean this is nothing like the “Honey I shrank the wine glasses for happy hour” sizes you get downtown. This is gen-er-oso. Nice wine too. Mr. Tatalovich...

...says he comes from a long line of Serbian wine aficionados. They don’t believe in skimping.

The salad's a nice vinaigrette arugula with croutons...

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...and the flatbread – I chose the shrimp one – has a beautiful strong garlic aroma. Ten inches, cut into six segments. Lots of shrimp locked into the melted mozzarella. Nicely burnt edges, crispy but tender.

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And so right with this vino.

I mean, this place is a find. This deal is a deal you’ll never get downtown in a month of Sundays because, well, for starters, rents on Congress Street must be a quarter what they are in the Gaslamp.

Whatever, a deal's a deal. I’ll be back.

More in upcoming Tin Fork.

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Comments
4

Score, Ed! Without a doubt, hands down, the best deal in town! I will be working my way through the menu.

Aug. 13, 2013

Place has a killer patio. Just walked by the other day and thought to myself, "hey, could be a cool spot to chill out and drink a glass of vino!"

Aug. 13, 2013

They also do - wait for it - private magic shows in the back room. Srsly!

Aug. 13, 2013

Joe: you're right. Has to be the best deal since the Louisiana Purchase! Chad/Ian: Yes, I noticed the magic theater. Chris told me the main magician is Sebastian. Does shows Fridays and Saturdays. I can see a winey evening and then magic, just when we're oiled enough to believe anything...

Aug. 13, 2013

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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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