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SD Food News: April 24–28

The latest in food and drink happenings around town this week
Leave of Absence Pizza.jpg

Leave of Absence Pizza.jpg

The Mains

Incoming: Downtown’s Newest Rooftop Restaurant

Like Taylor Swift, the rooftop has had eras. Around the turn of the 20th century, wealthy Americans used to rub elbows in rooftop gardens, sipping wine and watching concerts. The advent of air con brought partiers back indoors and relegated roofs to storage spaces (or humble city escapes for smoking and pigeon-watching). Then, a little over a decade ago, folks started to realize that the rooftop was due for a rebrand. Pretty it up; promise killer views, craft cocktails, and shareable plates; and customers will flock like, well, birds.

Now the Gaslamp’s Kimpton Alma is getting in on the action. After a serious remodel in October, the hotel opened their third restaurant, Leave of Absence, last week. Chef and restaurateur Jason Neroni is behind the new rooftop bar and eatery, which focuses on wood-fired dishes like flatbread with squash blossoms, fennel sausage, mozzarella, fontina, and pickled chillies and chicken shawarma meatballs served with tzatziki, tomato, and parsley on garlic bread. Brunch is also on the menu—think egg-forward bites including eggs baked with ham, gruyere, and a black truffle béchamel.



A Brazilian Spin on Sushi Hits PB

They connected over soccer before sushi. Both transplants from Brazil, Andre Dieguez and Leandro Silva became friends while watching their favorite Brazilian soccer team play. “We were talking about life and business and everything,” Andre recalls. “We started figuring out this business.”

Andre had a dream of becoming an entrepreneur, while Leandro had experience working in Japanese restaurant kitchens. About a year after their serendipitous meeting, they launched their food trailer, Temakeria, at the end of October 2022. The truck offers a Brazilian spin on temaki, a Japanese sushi hand roll. They roll nori into a cone shape and fill it with Japanese rice and raw, grilled, or baked fish. “This is huge in Brazil,” Andre explains. “Every neighborhood you go to, you find a place exactly like ours. People in Brazil love it because it’s fast [and] it’s healthy.”

People in San Diego seem to love it, too. On Temakeria’s opening day in Pacific Beach, Andre and Leandro ended up doling out rolls till one in the morning. The food truck features eight different temaki options, including their top seller: raw salmon with shimeji mushrooms (Andre’s favorite way to eat it is “creamy” style, or mixed with cream cheese). They also have a more mushroom-forward vegan option. You can visit them at their permanent spot at 1954 Balboa Avenue in PB every day except Tuesday and Wednesday, or catch them at their weekly Wednesday night residency at Novo Brazil Brewing Company in Chula Vista.

Underground Burgers.jpeg

Underground Burgers.jpeg

Quick Bites

North Park’s plant-based Mexican restaurant Tacotarian has launched a vegan burger spot inside their space. Underground Burgers crafts patties from impossible meat, mushrooms, and spices and serves them alongside “cheese” fries and loaded tots.

Applications are open for the Restaurants Care Resilience Fund, which provides $5,000 grants to independent restaurant owners in California so they can upgrade their technology and equipment while also investing in employee onboarding and retention. This year’s application closes May 7.

The Santa Lucia Highlands Wine Artisans are hosting a four-city tour with a stop in San Diego at JRDN on June 7. Called Mighty Cool Pinot, the tour’s goal is to connect pinot noir winemakers from the Santa Lucia Highlands with local vinophiles. Ticketholders can expect small plates alongside their sips.


By Elena Gomez

Elena Gomez is an Emmy-nominated reporter who has spent much of her journalism career working in broadcast news in San Diego and Los Angeles. She joined the San Diego Magazine team as a freelance writer in 2020.

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