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The Digest: March 27, 2015

Richard Blais' new project; Local Habit opens; SommCon hits SD

By Bridget Vuona

Michael Rosen and Richard Blais, owner and chef, respectively, of the wildly successful Juniper and Ivy, have revealed plans for The Crack Shack, set to open in the abandoned aluminum shed currently in the J&I parking lot. The team is killing two birds with one stone by specializing in chicken and eggs, any way you like em’, any time of the day. All menu items at The Crack Shack will be made with free range, non-GMO eggs and high end, organic ingredients. The Shack  is set to open early fall… The re-opening of Hillcrest’s Local Habit is set for tomorrow (March 28). The new “Cali-Creole” menu includes Louisiana inspired dishes ranging from po’ boys to choose-your-own marinade Jidori crispy fried chicken. Owner Nick Brune is die-hard local food guy, so the “Local” in his spot’s name is the real deal and not marketing speak for “costs a few bucks more, might be from Iowa”… Solunto Ristorante & Bakery is on track to open up in a little over a month in Little Italy. Spacious granite tiled dining area lies in between a large bar on one side and a full bakery on the other. While Solunto is primarily a bakery that serves a lot of the local Italian restaurants, it’ll serve a wide variety of Italian favorites like wood-fired pizzas, arrancini, and house-made gelatos…. Del Mar’s favorite sandwich shop, Board n’ Brew, is opening up a new location in Pacific Beach at the former space of Buddies Burgers (4516 Mission Blvd.). BNB has more than 30 years of success due to its straightforward menu, delicious special sauce and local craft beers on tap…. A spot called Cajun Kitchen is scheduled to open Downtown in the space formerly occupied by 2GOOD2B bakery and cafe (423 F St.)…  Last week Junk House Gastro-Pub opened its doors to let in a rush of excited locals.  Situated right off the 8 freeway, directly across from SDSU, Junk is already a hit with the post-class set… There aren’t many places you can go to enjoy $1 draft beers and wine so listen up: This Saturday, Bushfire Kitchen (Carlsbad) will be offering the special from 11AM to 9PM in celebration of the organic centered restaurant’s grand opening…. Also Saturday, beer aficionados from all over SoCal will gather in San Diego for the American Homebrewers Association Rally. The rally is set to go down at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens (Liberty Station) and will  feature a home brew tournament, beer samples, gifts, prizes, etc…. Just as nerdy and artful, but a tad more relaxed than Comic-Con, San Diego this year will get SommCon, an exposition for sommelier-level education and training of wine professionals and enthusiasts. The new convention will bring together industry professionals of all backgrounds to discuss and lead the business of wine. Top local wine minds include Tami Wong (Juniper & Ivy), Lisa Redwine (Marine Room), Joshua Orr (Marina Kitchen), Jeff Josenhans (US Grant), Molly Brooks Thornton (Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant), Lindsay Pomeroy (Wine Smarties), Eric Runyon (Southern Wine & Spirits), Brian Donegan (Truly Fine Wines) and others from across the US. The convention is the first of its kind in Southern California and will take place November 18-21st…. After a successful first year of business, Dos Desperados Brewery in San Marcos is hosting a month long anniversary celebration from now until mid-April. At the culmination of the anniversary the brewery will offer three special dinner events on April 10 and 11, with tastings of their new beer releases, live bands, etc…. Gather round a jumbo skillet as chefs from around the world compete for the title of “Best Paella in the Cali-Baja Region” in the inaugural International Paella & Wine Festival. Festival will take place at the Embarcadero Marina on May 30th.

The new Local Habit has been unmasked.

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