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What We’re Craving, Sipping, and Talking About in February

Fat Tuesday, global meals, and an interactive wine wall

By Jeanette Giovanniello

WWL - Paczki


Mardi Grub

Cajun and Creole cuisines have many popular plates, but étouffée is one worthy of its own spotlight. The flavorful dish is made using the popular Louisiana method of “smothering” the shellfish (most often crawfish). A base of onions, garlic, bell peppers, and celery is cooked in butter. Then the shellfish is smothered in the sauce with additional liquid and served over rice. Lucky for us, there are several local spots to transport us to the French Quarter, and Mardi Gras coming up on March 1 is a perfect excuse to indulge in this classic dish. NoLa on 5th’s (3683 Fifth Avenue, Hillcrest) creole shrimp étouffée is served in a rich blonde roux, great for pairing with a hurricane or Sazerac. New Orleans Creole Cafe (2476 San Diego Avenue, Old Town) offers crawfish étouffée with slow-cooked tomatoes, and Louisiana Purchase (2305 University Avenue, North Park) serves the flavorful stew atop cornbread. If you’re looking for a casual bite, LouZiana Food’s (7128 Miramar Road, Miramar) version is stuffed with a plentiful portion of crawfish—make sure to save the bread for dunking! For Fat Tuesday desserts, we’re heading farther east to Poland and taking part in Paczki Day. Paczki is a sweet treat made with dough that’s richer than your average donut and filled with prunes or custard, then topped with powdered sugar. The Polish tradition is to devour these thick, deep-fried treats before you have to give them up for Lent. Want to try them? Donut Bar (Three locations in San Diego County) and Continent European Deli (4150 Regents Park Row, La Jolla) will have you covered for this delicious holiday.

WWL - Global Meal

WWL – Global Meal

Worldwide Flavors

Want to taste your way around the world? You can start in North Park and support a good cause: MAKE Projects highlights cuisine from different cultures each week for their “Global To Go” meals. MAKE Projects (Merging Agriculture, Kitchen, and Employment) is a nonprofit that helps refugees and immigrants through job training and employment challenges, and offers a culinary training program at an on-site café and garden. Often, the weekly menu is inspired by their trainees’ home countries. Get a chance to try foods that aren’t so easy to find in San Diego, like vegetarian minchi, a potato hash dish from Macau; or doolsho, a spiced sponge cake from Somalia. Choose between servings for 2–3 or 4–5 people; each package comes with an appetizer, vegetarian entrée, grain-based side, vegetable side, and dessert—all served family style.

3745 30th Street, North Park

Coming Soon: Wall of Wine

Napatini Wine Bar plans to elevate the typical wine bar experience. The Northern California–born business has plans for their new Carlsbad bar to include expert wine staff to help curate a personalized wine experience. It’s also going to be interactive: Guests can sample their vino of choice from the 48-bottle wine wall before ordering a bottle to bring back to their table or to take home. Prepare for Wine Wednesday events, blind tastings, and wine flights in the future.

3088 State Street, Carlsbad

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