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WORLD FARE: In the open in El Jardin

Posted on July 29, 2015 by a

Salt crusted trout with remoulade

I’m not good with disguises and trying would have been worthless. I’d cooked with Ryan Steyn, chef-owner of El Jardin por Ryan Steyn (El Porvenir, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California), the week before. He knew I was a food writer and his whole place (kitchen included) was out in the open. Any idea he wouldn’t identify me was at best aspirational.

Read more at:  http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-14418-in-the-open-in-el-jardin.html

WORLD FARE: It’s tough to have a take on Punjabi Tandoor

Posted on July 22, 2015 by a

Two meat two veg and rice combo 2

Sports commentator Jim Rome has the catchphrase “Have a take and don’t suck.”  But when it comes to Punjabi Tandoor (9235 Activity Road, Suite 111) in Miramar, it’s strangely difficult to form a definitive take.

Read more at:  http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-14396-its-tough-to-have-a-take-on-punjabi-tandoor.html

NEWS: Chef’s Plate 4 — Deckman, Guerrero and Molina

Posted on July 21, 2015 by a


Dining al fresco at Deckman’s at El Mogor (Km. 85.5 Highway 3 Tecate-Ensenada, San Antonio De Las Minas, B.C.) is always an evening well spent.  On the evening of July 25, 2015, it is likely t0 be a bit more than that.  On that evening Chef’s Roll will be offering the fourth in its series of “Chef’s Plate” events featuring three of the brightest stars of Baja California’s culinary scene hosted at Deckman’s at El Mogor.


The three featured chefs are Drew Deckman (Baja’s only Michelin-starred Chef), Benito Molina (a Mexican TV Chef who was one of the first of the new breed to come to note) and Miguel Angel Guerrero (who quite literally owns the trademark on the term “BajaMed”).

drewdeckman miguelangelguerrero benitomolina

On the evening of July 25th, 2015 (5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) the three chefs will be cooking whole lambs fresh from the farms of El Mogor to be served family style. But that is just the start of it.  Each of the Chefs will also be mentoring a more junior Chef who will be competing to prepare three dishes for a panel of Judges.  The event will be accompanied by wines from four of the Valle de Guadalupe’s top wineries:  Lomita, Monte Xanic, Viñas de Garza, Lechuza Vineyards and Aborigen. One of Baja’s best craft brewers, Agua Mala, will be serving beer.  Surprises will abound.

For more information see:  https://chefsroll.com/chefs-plate-series/chefs-plate-4


WORLD FARE: Building a better sandwich at Burnside

Posted on July 15, 2015 by a

Kimchi Jong Ummm

Once upon a time, the height of sandwich creativity was Dagwood Bumstead’s creations in theBlondie cartoons: multi-layered architectural miracles constructed of cold cuts, cheeses, veggies and sliced bread. Bigger, better with a “new-and-improved” postwar mentality, it was a testament to utilitarianism taken beyond its natural extreme. It was “American exceptionalism” in sandwich form. 

But as Normal Height’s Burnside (3375 Adams Ave.) demonstrates, creativity need not come from “more” nor rely on structural engineering expertise. 

Read more at:  http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-14372-building-a-better-sandwich-at-burnside.html

NEWS — Barrel Smoker Dinner Series III: Spurgin, Medall and Montaño

Posted on July 14, 2015 by a

John MedallThree great chefs, a handful of great wines and one extraordinary piece of culinary equipment.  Once each of the last two months that has been the recipe for an extraordinary culinary event at the Barrel Smoker Dinner Series at Planet Rooth Design Haus created and produced by Baja Wine + Food.  For this third monthly episode in the series — Thursday, July 16 at 6:00 pm –  Fernando Gaxiola has brought together one of the San Diego food world’s impressarios,  Andrew Spurgin,  John Medall (of the Patio Restaurant Group ) and  Adria Montaño (formerly of Mision 19 and currently of Don Ramen) as well the wines of two of the Valle de Guadalupe’s best producers:   Villa Montefiori and Paoloni Wine.  Chefs Spurgin, Medall and Montaño — and no, that’s not a lawfirm — will, of course, be producing their dishes on the unique Barrel Smokers designed by the mercurial master craftsman (and chef) Gustaf Anders Rooth.

I have been to the last two events in the series (the first as a guest and the second cooking) and enjoyed both.  From a lot of different perspectives these are all events to be enjoyed:  the food is great, the people interesting and they are always a surprise.

Barrel Smoker Dinner Series III






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NEWS: A French Night in Baja with Ryan Steyn and Patrick Ponsaty

Posted on July 9, 2015 by a



When Patrick Ponsaty, Chef at Escondido’s superb French restaurant Bellamy’s, was a young chef he cooked in San Sebastian in Spain’s Basque Country at Restaurante Martín Berasategui, a 3 Michelin-starred restaurant that is currently rated as one of the top 50 in the world (35th to be specific) in the San Pellegrino ratings.  ”I was there at the beginning,” he says.  ”And it feels a little like that in Northern Baja right now.”


As Ponsaty explains it, that is part of his motivation for teaming with Ryan Steyn for A French Night in Baja on Saturday night, July 11th at Steyn’s restaurant, El Jardín por Ryan Steyn in the garden below the Adobe Guadalupe hotel and next to its vineyards in Francisco Zarco in the Guadalupe Valley in Baja. Steyn is one of the foremost practitioners of the new BajaMed cuisine in a region — and a wine region — full of them. Just as San Sebastian — the world’s greatest little food city — was just coming into its own when Ponsaty cooked there and both saw and felt what was happening, it is an opportunity for Ponsaty to do so again in Baja as it comes into its own.  And it is an opportunity for Steyn, in turn, to revisit Ponsaty’s culinary heritage as well as that of the night’s other chefs cooking, Camille Vivian (Steyn’s French sous chef) and local French food truck Le Pinche Frances.


While the focus of the evening — an hour and a half south of San Diego — will be the eight course French meal the Chefs are preparing, not to be missed are the Valle de Guadalupe wines with which they will be paired, from Adobe Guadalupe, Vinícola Torres Alegre y Familia, and Madera 5 wineries.


This unique event will take place at one of the Valle’s top al fresco restaurants, El Jardín, at 6:00 p.m. with each seat costing $85 USD.  Call+52 646 111 7405 or +52 646 156 5384, or e-mail eljardindeadobe@gmail.com.

WORLDFARE: Superheroes last meals?

Posted on July 8, 2015 by a

This would definitely not be Aquaman's last meal

One of the quaint rituals of our criminal justice system is that we generally give prisoners facing death the right to choose their last meal. With roots in superstition (symbolized forgiveness that would prevent the condemned man’s ghost returning), religion (an echo of the Last Supper) and guilt, the tradition has a peculiar hold on our imaginations.

With the onset of Comic-Con I wondered what certain superheroes, if captured by villians, would ask for as their last meal? Here are some speculations: …

Read more at http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-14350-superheroes-last-meals.html

WORLD FARE: A different kind of Chinese at Xian Kitchen

Posted on July 1, 2015 by a

Local flavored pork

You know it’s a different kind of Chinese restaurant when there’s no rice on the menu. And Xian Kitchen (4690 Convoy St.) in the Convoy District is definitely that: a very different kind of Chinese restaurant. Thick and wide hand-pulled noodles? Absolutely. Rice? Not a grain.

Read more at: http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-14329-a-different-kind-of-chinese-at-xian-kitchen.html

WORLD FARE: Heavenly poutine at Mess Royale

Posted on June 24, 2015 by a

Super Mario poutine

Montreal is not frequently mentioned in discussions of great food cities. That’s odd, considering its French heritage, and the fact one of its restaurants (Joe Beef) was recently named among the world’s 100 best. Perhaps one reason for the lack of respect is Montreal’s most famed culinary contribution to the world, poutine, loosely translates from Acadian French as “mess.”

Poutine’s possibly apocryphal tale of origin has a customer asking Québécois restaurateur, Fernand Lachance, to put cheese curds on his French fries. Lachance, in true Gallic fashion, responded “ça va faire une maudite poutine” (it will make a damn mess). He may have been right, but it tasted good enough that the dish became a legend and his descriptor  stuck.  It is Lachance’s fine mess that gives Mess Royale (142 University Ave.) in Hillcrest its name.

Read more at:  http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-14302-heavenly-poutine-at-mess-royale.html

WORLD FARE: Popotla — A Baja seafood wonderland

Posted on June 17, 2015 by a

Pescado Zarandeado

Popotla isn’t a restaurant. It’s a fishing village, a beach and a bit of a tourist trap clinging to the Baja shoreline behind a decrepit arch. It is one of northern Baja’s best-kept secrets. Approaching Popotla, a handful of kilometers south of the Rosarito Beach Hotel, you could be forgiven for focusing on the Black Pearl (a ship from the Pirates of the Carribean movie) sitting on the Baja Studios lot at the water’s edge. But that’s not the good stuff.

Read more at:  http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-14280-popotla-a-baja-seafood-wonderland.html