Let's Eat San Diego: Instead of indulging in Kit Kat and peanut butter Snicker minis the day after Halloween, feed your inner candy freak with a visit to the San Diego Natural History Museum's new visiting exhibit, Chocolate, on display until March 10, 2013. My other sweet tooth obsession these days? Haagen-Dazs green tea ice cream, green tea candy and caramel sauce made with Earl Grey tea, sugar and heavy cream.

  • Welcome back, award-winning Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, spruced up with a $30 million transformation. Best of show is the new, polo-inspired The Pony Room, with maestro Jayson Knack, Director of Restaurants and a Court of Masters Sommelier conducting the symphony of Prosecco on draft, top shelf wines on tap, 100+ tequilas and hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind cocktail creations. Paired with Executive Chef Eric Bauer tender vittles, this is sure to be a hit for the rich and famous.

  • La Jolla's Herringbone brings back Sunday Suppers with Chef Amanda Baumgarten prix fixe menu (appetizer, entreee and dessert) only $35/person with choice between two for each course. Pick & Rocks Cocktails matches the menu with different specialty cocktails for only $14 additional. Love the idea of a persimmon and spice old fashioned aperitif, so playful, a perfect interlude the Nov. 15 entree of yellow Fin Tuna Crudo with charred pineapple and spiced cashews. On November 14, the restaurant will host 22 guests ($100) for a VIP wine pairing dinner with Sonoma's Scribe Winery, feasting on Maine Diver Scallops (Scribe Chardonnay Carneros 2011) and Monkfish Ossobuco (Scribe Pinot Noir Caneros 2011).

  • Sora Sora meshes rustic Italian with Nobu-style Japanese cuisine for an amazing mesh of hearty and savory. I'm ready for my uni pasta. Check it out at 655 West Broadway,

  • Dubbed the first “Urban Cowboy Diner”, Gingham has added some delectable dishes to their new fall menu. Standout items include a Smoked Butternut Squash Soup, Short Rib Tagliantelle and Spinach & Mushroom Ragu, which are all sure to warm up guests while exciting their palettes. Chef de Cuisine Ryan Studebaker and Executive Pastry Chef Rachel King also introduce some autumn-inspired desserts such as the Pumpkin Meringue Cake, Apple Crumble and a Caramel Corn Sundae.

  • North County Burlap's fall menu inspirations from Chef Anthony Sinsay delve deep into his favorite childhood memories. Highlights of Burlap’s autumn menu includes street food favorites (Sisig Crispy Pork Belly & Shoulder and Lamb Potstickers) and seasonal produce delights (Roasted Japanese Pumpkin & Walnut and a Butter Roasted Maine Lobster).

  • The culinary empire expands again: Property owners John and Michelle Molina have sold 144 Pine Ave., the former location of Smooth's Sports Grille, to Cohn Restaurant Group (CRG) out of San Diego.

  • Brian Malarkey a 2009 “Top Chef” finalist, made his Scottsdale AZ debut in October with a second branch of Searsucker, his highly acclaimed San Diego restaurant. Since his television appearances and the success of Searsucker, Malarkey, 40, has quickly parlayed his skills and star power into four other San Diego-area restaurants: Burlap, Gingham, Gabardine and Herringbone. Malarkey is also the latest culinary superstar to join the no-holds-barred chef Anthony Bourdain, British food star Nigella Lawson and Ludo Lefebvre as a mentor on eight episodes of ABC’s innovative new cooking competition show “The Taste.”The new one-hour alternative series from Kinetic Content will premiere in 2013 on the ABC Television Network.

Cook's Corner: My friend Gracie loves her chickens, especially heirloom eggs. I'm loving Ameraucana eggs and now you can order them from heirloom-eggs.com. Spinach quiche made with puffed pastry, creamed frozen spinach, three cheese (Swiss, gruyere and goat cheese) is even better with farm fresh eggs. What's your favorite egg dish?

Upcoming Events : What could be more compelling than listening to the virtuoso violinist/owner of the Red Violin while sipping the finest vintages of Opus One Winery, enjoying an ocean view and savoring an exquisite menu that traces the Red Violin's travels around the globe? All of this plays out on the incomparably picturesque lawn at Four Seasons Resort Maui on Saturday, December 7. It's all part of the First Annual Wailea Wine & Food Festival, December 6-9, 2012. Enophiles, rejoice: San Diego Magazine's Wine & Food Festival premiere event is the grand cru tasting on November 17 (noon-3) at Embarcadero Marina Park North. San Diego Beer Week runs Nov.2-11 with hundreds of beer-centric events showcasing craft beer, breweries and pubs. Oceanaire hosts a five course Justin Vineyards Nov. 14. Save April 4-7 for Pebble Beach's Food & Wine Festival, 75 celebrity chefs, 250 world class wines.

Elsewhere Edibles: When in Palm Springs, explore Alcazar Palm Springs Hotel chic, Cheeky's eggs Benedict, Jiao Asian street food and Birba's Italian pizzeria on Palm Canyon Dr.

Farmers We Love: The Barefoot Contessa gets thumbs up for telling the Wall St. Journal that "pruning and planting can make you stronger, wiser and better fed." She grows oodles of Swiss chard and cherry tomatos and I am going to look up her cherry tomato gratin right now and make it for dinner. P.S. Pass the green thumb on to you kids this holiday; her dad taught her to love gardening and so did my mom. Let's give the garden gift, an evergreen ode to Mother Nature.

Spirited Advice: I love Ile de Re fragrant cognac from Camus, drinking wine on the patio at San Francisco's Gourmet & More, Denver's urban winery The Infinite Monkey and Mateo Bar de Tapas sherry flights in Durham NC. Don't forget our Vin de Syrah November 15 Beaujolais Nouveau tasting, my personal answer to what do I want for an early Christmas gift. Dennis Fassett of Epic Wines guest stars at Ocean Beach's 3rd Corner holiday tasting Nov. 5 (5-8:30 p.m.).

Food For Thought: Explore culinary trends, pleasures of the table and future food with four books: Katherine Gustafson's Change Comes To Dinner, Peter Kaminsky's Culinary Intelligence, Josh Schonwald's The Taste of Tomorrow and Pierre Desrochers and Hiroko Shimizu's The Locavore's Dilemma.

Got good dish? E-mail [email protected] with your favorite food, spirits or hot spot.


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