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SD Food News: March 13–17

The latest in food and drink happenings around town this week


The Mains

New Korean Restaurant to Open Next to Petco Park This Spring

Jiwoo Choi grew up cooking Korean food with his parents. Now, the 22-year-old is working to turn those family recipes into a retirement fund for the people who raised him.

In 2019, Jiwoo was a business major at UC San Diego when he spotted an advertisement for a mixed-use space under the East Village apartment complex Park 12. He took a leap, dropping out of school to transform that slice of downtown into a Korean restaurant. “I consider myself extroverted. I can make people feel good. I decided to combine that with the love of food I have and create a restaurant where I can show my skills,” Jiwoo says. After pandemic-related delays, his dream is finally coming to life this May.

Choi’s will serve classic Korean dishes like bibimbap (a nourishing rice bowl with vegetables, a protein, and kimchi) and seafood kimchi jeon (a spicy kimchi pancake with squid, shrimp, mussels, and scallops), plus Korean-inspired cocktails made with soju. The 4,300-square-foot space can accommodate 100 people and will also have an outdoor patio so close to Petco Park, you’d better keep an eye out for pop flys.

Pop-Up Serving Indian Dal Debuts in April

A little more than a decade ago, Bianca Moore was a hungry college student missing the comfort of home-cooked meals. After learning about the Indian holistic medicine system of Ayurveda, she whipped up her first dish of dal, a hearty Indian stew using legumes like red lentils or yellow peas with tomatoes, onions, and Indian spices. Hundreds of bowls later, Bianca is sharing her favorite comfort food with fellow San Diegans at her new pop-up, The Dal y Mama.



In addition to organic, vegan dal, Bianca’s customers can taste cumin rice, masala chai, and cashew milk yogurt–based treats like raita sauce and mango lassi. The pop-up debuts at the upcoming San Diego Vegan Festival in mid-April. Afterward, you can find The Dal y Mama at local farmers markets and events.



Photo Credit: Patrick Samokhvalof

Quick Bites

Saltwater in the Gaslamp opens a crudo raw bar at the end of the month, serving oysters, tuna, and other fresh fish flown in daily from the Mediterranean and South America.

Lucky’s Lunch Counter near Petco Park celebrates their 11th anniversary on Thursday, March 16, by dishing out free meals. Fans can choose one of 11 popular, often Padres-inspired menu items, including the Triple Play Breakfast Sandwich or the Bases Loaded Burrito.

Animae executive chef Tara Monsod is bringing together five female chefs from San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle to craft a collaborative six-course dinner (complete with cocktails and wine pairings) on Sunday, March 19th. Proceeds will benefit MAKE Projects, a San Diego organization that provides job readiness opportunities for refugee and immigrant women and youth.

Rancho Bernardo Inn hosts a Vine to Table tasting event with Napa-based Caymus Vineyards on Thursday, March 23 from 6 to 9 p.m. at their restaurant, Avant. The five-course menu includes bites like Spanish octopus and braised Wagyu, each coupled with a Caymus varietal.

Mister A’s is launching a Saturday jazz brunch with a New Orleans–inspired menu. Munch on a crispy shrimp po boy or moules frites to the tune of live music and close with an order of fluffy, NOLA-style beignets.

Have breaking-news, exciting scoops, or great stories about San Diego’s food scene? Send your pitches to [email protected].


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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