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JoJo Ruiz Is Everywhere in San Diego

Clique Hospitality’s chef talks with us about their new concepts

Why does brunch feel so good in all the right parts of your soul? It is redemptively irresponsible. It’s breakfast, if breakfast were better. If your weekend was a pinball game, brunch is that bonus ball. You’re not really sure what you did to deserve it, but it’s extending your play time, so—hey there, little bonus ball.

Anyway, point is, our annual sold-out Brunch Bash is back. April 22 at Carmel Mountain Ranch Estates. You should come.

Because, on a very nice stretch of grass, we’ll loiter under the expensive San Diego sun and lose the appropriate amount of composure as we sample fried chicken and waffles, house-smoked lox benedict, banana bread with espresso mascarpone, croissant French toast, Mexican donuts, polenta with pork belly, Italian meatball soup, chilaquiles, granolas, parfaits. And there will be bloody marys and bubbles and agua frescas and tequila coffees and hard kombucha and iced horchata and organic superfruit hard cider and CBD beverages. Basically, people we admire make some pretty amazing things. At these parties, we invite all of them to some great place to share them with you, and to spread the word of the good things they do.

To keep with the theme, this episode of “Happy Half Hour” we invited one of our favorite chefs, JoJo Ruiz—who has helmed many a brunch at Lionfish (Pendry Hotel), and Serea (Hotel Del). He tells us about the new restaurant concepts he and Clique Hospitality are opening—a sushi handroll joint called Temaki in Encinitas, and Joya Organic Kitchen in Torrey Pines. And then we discussed the joys of brunch. “I think I may be the only chef I know who likes cooking brunch,” says Ruiz.

In “Hot Plates,” we talk about Wildwood Flower, a new bakery/general store in Pacific Beach that’s doing wild fermented sourdough breads, grinding their own flour every day. The famed Peterson’s Donuts in San Diego—with the bear claws as big as your face—has sold to someone who cares about the legacy. And our pick for Best Filipino Food in last year’s “Best Restaurants” issue—White Rice—is expanding to a second location in Normal Heights.

For “Two People, Fifty Bucks,” David raves about Swan Bar, chef Jojo becomes the second guest in two weeks to rave about the mystical tequila charms of Cantina Mayahuel, and I marvel at a damn good burger at The Joint, a place known for sushi.

JoJo Ruiz

By Troy Johnson

Troy Johnson is the magazine’s award-winning food writer and humorist, and a long-standing expert on Food Network. His work has been featured on NatGeo, Travel Channel, NPR, and in Food Matters, a textbook of the best American food writing.

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