Friday, October 5, 2018
Thursday, September 20, 2018
"What is it: This lively upscale restaurant from a Top Chef regular is the centerpiece of San Diego's food and drink obsessed Little Italy.
Why go: Though just four years old-and one of the first spots to reinvigorate formerly industrial Little Italy - the airy dining room continues to pack in locals with Chef Richard Blais' continually shifting menu of inventive small plates and culinary inspired cocktails. Recent standouts include a spicy tuna hand roll wrapped in shiso, carne cruda asada - a clever Mexican take on steak tartare - and Filthy Rich cocktail with foie-gras fat washed Japanese whiskey, Sauternes and sea salt."
"You might think of San Diego as a surfer's paradise, but it's a foodie heaven as well. The city has many diverse food neighborhoods (Little Italy, Barrio Logan, the Convoy, etc.), it gives New York a run for it's money. Much like Los Angeles, you can drive all around the city seeking out foodie destinations or stick to one or two neighborhoods and eat your way down city block. And don't just think it's all about Mexican and Cal-Mex food...You can also get amazing New American at Juniper and Ivy."
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Thursday, May 24, 2018
"For a place that’s best known for its buttermilk biscuits, Juniper & Ivy seems improbably swanky at first. Picture curtained-off banquettes, modern light fixtures, and painstakingly turned-out patrons. But the upscale/down-home contrast is exactly the point. Trendsetting chef Richard Blais, of Top Chef All Stars fame, is known for starting with American classics—say, buttermilk biscuits—and elevating them (in this case, with individual serving domes full of biscuit-infusing alderwood smoke). Similarly, the New York strip steak deviates from the norm with crispy sunchokes and mushroom sofrito, among other touches. Then there’s the semi-secret menu item: the so-called In-N-Haute burger, made from a blend of short rib, brisket, chuck and dry-aged beef, then wrapped and seared in cheese before landing on an egg bun next to a heap of salt-and-pepper-dusted fries. Although you’ll be tempted to order something from the wine collection that spans two stories—if only to see the sliding library ladder in use—you should at least consider one of the cocktails, and particularly the Salt of the Earth: mezcal, tequila, Ancho Reyes liqueur, beet juice, lemon juice, mole bitters, honey, and cracked salt. This magenta elixir is almost too pretty to drink. Almost."
"Although the headlines have been taken by the Crack Shack, their casual fried chicken offshoot, Richard Blais’ marquee fine-dining warehouse has continued to exceed expectations since opening in 2014. Blais lives locally, takes a very active role for someone with a TV and book career, and his team is one of the best in town, especially Executive Chef Anthony Wells, who spent a year at Thomas Keller’s Per Se and was the opening-day butcher at Jonathan Benno’s Lincoln Ristorante."
"Who says watching a ton of TV and movies makes you a couch potato? Sure, it can – but your viewing habits can also be a source of inspiration for exploring the world. With a little research and a dash of creativity, you can turn your obsessions into reality – and not reality TV.
You don’t even have to pick a road trip movie or that road trip episode from your favorite show. If you want to trace the route of National Lampoon’s Vacation, knock yourself out. But thanks to Hollywood’s use of American landscapes to represent everywhere on Earth and the rest of the universe, you can turn almost any show or movie into a US road trip.
Here are a few examples to set you off in the right direction.
A food-filled Top Chef road trip
Making viewers hungry and jealous since 2006, Top Chef can be the inspiration for an itinerary where you get to be the judge. Previous contestants on the show are currently running or cooking at well over 150 restaurants across the US, and the judges add several dozen more, meaning you can easily string together a cross-country calorie spree.
In the west, chow down at Top Chef All-Stars winner and frequent judge Richard Blais’ Juniper & Ivy in San Diego, sample both Voltaggio brothers at the same time at LA’s STRFSH, and visit Brooke Williamson’s Hudson House in Redondo Beach. Head north to eat chicken and waffles at Oakland’s Brown Sugar Kitchen (Tanya Holland, Season 15), before heading to Portland’s Smokehouse Tavern (B.J. Smith, Season 14) and Seattle’s Mamnoon (Carrie Mashaney, Season 11, and Jason Stratton, Season 13)."