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THE DIGEST: Oct. 8, 2014

Restaurant news. Food ideas. Thoughts. Stuff of note.

By Troy Johnson

It’s been five years since Mama Testa chef César Gonzalez beat Bobby Flay on Food Network in a “Fish Taco Throwdown.” Now the salsaria is closing its Hillcrest location this Saturday. It sounds like they’ll resurface with a new location soon.


A couple years ago, Downtown’s Hotel Solamar named exec chef Christian Graves general manager of the hotel. Talented, likable guy. Can do math. Understandable. But a kitchen naturally suffers when its chef isn’t laser-focused on its food. Now the hotel has hired a GM and Graves is returning to JSix full time. It’s no disrespect to the chefs under him to say the food should see a pretty decent spike. “It will make me much happier. I really dig food,” says Graves. He’s writing his new menu as we speak.


To all of us who dug the acid-jazz DJ sounds of the 1990s—DJ Greyboy is spinning at Zenbu Cardiff tonight (Oct. 8). To all of you who were too young to remember DJ Grayboy and the All-Stars, just think of him as being a lot cooler than whatever crap it is you people listen to these days.


North Park is getting a new brewery from a couple of former Saint Archer guys—brewer Ray Astamendi (also ex of Maui Brewing and Mission Brewery) and art director David Lively. Called Fall Brewing Company, it’s slated for the 5,000 square-foot space at 4542 30th Street.


Palm oil. Using it? Sounds sexy, vaguely neo-suburban-tropical. And it makes your doughnuts taste like deep-fried Jesus circles. But, there are issues. Always, right? Well let’s not make you feel too bad. But the basic thing: Some palm oil producers clear-cut rain forests to get the goods. Well, this week Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme signed up to go deforestation-free. Eating a few of their glazed still isn’t as good for your body as the Shake Weight™, but at least it’s not annihilating entire ecosystems. Just the ecosystem of your abdominal region. If you want to read a good in-depth piece, here it is.


Do you enjoy being a good person? Is “let’s not turn this earth into Downtown Detroit” one of your good-person priorities? Then you should check in with the San Diego Sustainable Living Institute, who put on a series of workshops on beekeeping, permaculture, etc. On Nov. 1, SDSLI’s bringing Dr. Elaine Graham, one of the world’s leading soil microbiologists, to San Diego. Soil’s a big deal. Some argue humanity is only as healthy as its soil (bad or diseased soil = bad or diseased food = bad or diseased friends). God made dirt, and now somehow dirt hurts because we messed it all up. Her talk will explain everything you ever wanted to know about the soil food web, composts, aerated compost teas, etc.

Mama Testa closing in Hillcrest.

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