Category Archives: Food and Wine

Market Driven Fare at A.R. Valentien

A.R. Valentien: Executive Chef Jeff Jackson and Chef de Cuisine Kelli Crosson offer a temple of flavor in their market-driven cuisine

The Lodge at Torrey Pines is home to A.R. Valentien, one of San Diego’s most notable and refined restaurants. You will certainly feel transported whiling away the hours in a charming dining room with a beautiful view of the Torrey Pines Golf Course and the Pacific Ocean just off the bluffs in the distance.

A.R. Valentien
(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Classically French-trained, with more than 30 years of experience, Executive Chef Jeff Jackson and Chef de Cuisine Kelli Crosson offer a temple of flavor in their market-driven fare from some of California’s finest organic farms, orchards, and fishermen. The menu revolves around the seasons, assuring superb freshness and taste with every bite.

Chef Jackson feels comfortable and at home at A.R. Valentien, located inside the Lodge at Torrey Pines and wants all his dining guests to feel the same way. “This is not like a hotel to me, it’s more like a large residence. If it’s small, it’s manageable. A monster hotel wouldn’t allow me the freedom I need.”

©Maria Desiderata Montana

A.R. Valentien
(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Dedicated to working directly with local farmers, Chef Jackson changes the menu daily, based on what is fresh and seasonal. “The farmer grows it and the chefs cook it. Whatever produce comes in, we will use. My staff and I play with the food. We taste it and talk about it. We are always thinking about what would be best to eat.”

Read more about A.R. Valentien in the Food Lovers’ Guide to San Diego and get Chef Jackson’s recipes for  Grilled Romaine with Prosciutto & Burrata and Alaskan Halibut with Barigoule Vegetables in my award-winning book San Diego Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes From America’s Finest City’.

A.R. Valentien Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fun Pizza Making Class

San Diego Food Finds

Flour & Barley – Brick Oven Pizza and Venissimo Cheese have teamed up to host a fun pizza-making class. Back in October, Flour & Barley introduced its specialty Venissimo Autumn Pie featuring one of the cheese shop’s tastiest cheeses—Venissimo Raclette (a semi-hard cows milk cheese produced in Switzerland and France). Now guests will have the chance to create the pie themselves in a one-time class at Flour & Barley.

The class will be held on Wednesday, November 30th and will include a hands-on pizza making experience with Flour & Barley’s Chef de Cuisine Crystal Parker and the cheese mongers of Venissimo. The class will also include a complimentary glass of wine and a 10% discount on any Venissimo Cheese in-store purchase the night of the class. 

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Bottega Americano Expands Menu

San Diego Food FindsBottega Americano announced today that Principal Culinary Director Giuseppe Ciuffa is diving deep into the day-to-day kitchen operations to refocus the acclaimed restaurant’s menu, expand seasonal offerings and offer even more original Italian-inspired dishes. The restaurant’s opening Sous Chef Jeremy Oursland, who honed his skills in other local kitchens, has also been named Chef de Cuisine and Sam Mor has been tapped as General Manager. The moves mark a fresh approach for the Italian eatery and marketplace that recently celebrated two years in San Diego’s East Village neighborhood.

Ciuffa, who also owns and operates Caroline’s Seaside Café and the Museum Café in La Jolla as well as Giuseppe Fine Catering plans to impart more of his personal passion and creative cooking in the culinary experience.

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San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival ®

san-diego-bay-food-and-wine-festivalThe San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival ® launches ticket sales for its 13th annual culinary classic held November 14-20, 2016, and announces an impressive lineup of new events and celebrity chefs. Featuring over 40 citywide tasting experiences, Southern California’s largest food and wine festival will welcome 10,000 eager epicurean enthusiasts to America’s Finest City.

Celebrity chefs slated to headline events throughout the week include: Rick Moonen of rm Seafood and Rx Boiler Room; Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill; Michelle Bernstein of Cena by Michy; Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster Harlem, Ginny’s Supper Club, and Streetbird Rotisserie; Cosmo Goss of The Publican Restaurant; Erling Wu-Bower of Nico Osteria; Suzette Gresham of Acquerello; Gale Gand, acclaimed pastry chef; television personalities, Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh, the Hearty Boys; Stephanie Prida of Manresa; Renee Erickson of The Whale Wins, Boat Street Café, The Walrus and the Carpenter, and Barnacle; Steve Santana of Taquiza; Justin Woodward of Castagna; Dean James Max of DJM Restaurants, and Chef Jason French of Ned Ludd.

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Top Ten Dining Destinations

San Diego Food Finds
Organic Veggies

I gained an appreciation of European cuisine from my parents who were born and raised in southern Italy. My mother taught me how to cook at a very young age with farm fresh ingredients from my father’s garden. As a nationally published and award-winning author, food and wine journalist and photographer, I’ve written several food guides and cookbooks, and reviewed chefs and restaurants all over San Diego (and beyond) for well over a decade. You can trust my latest picks for the top ten dining destinations in America’s Finest City!


Chef Patrick Ponsaty is working his magic and hypnotizing diners with show-stopping culinary art at his new restaurant aptly named Ponsaty’s in Rancho Santa Fe, California. We recently visited, took our seats in a lavish dining room that’s screams with style, and experienced a delightful 9-course menu that left us feeling as if we had just dined in the French Quarter in New Orleans.

San Diego Food Finds
Fall Pear Salad And Aged Goat Cheese Souffle

Market Restaurant + Bar

In 2006 Carl Schroeder established San Diego’s famed Market Restaurant + Bar where he takes great local products and turns them into great food. His passion for locally sourced ingredients and hyper-seasonal cuisine are on display for dinner every evening. He seeks out the best produce, seafood, and meat from local markets and his passion for perfection and the spontaneous nature of what is available are showcased in the daily changing menu.

Fresh Sashimi Presentations Rock Our World


The new Crudo restaurant in Carmel Valley boasts Mediterranean-inspired cuisine with an Asian touch that features locally-sourced, gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian menu items. Renowned chef and owner Pascal Lorange takes pride in offering diners unique, yet simple presentations that you won’t find anywhere else in San Diego.

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Ponsaty’s White Truffle Dinner

san-diego-food-findsPonsaty’s Restaurant, Rancho Santa Fe’s hidden dining gem, is pleased to announce its White Truffle Dinner, celebrating the upcoming holiday season. The over-the-top dinner will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 1st.

Master French Chef Patrick Ponsaty will create must-have dishes including Pheasant and Duck Liver Mousse with Truffle Carpaccio, Aspen Ridge Beef Tournedos served with Maine Lobster and White Truffles, Dover Sole Soufflé with White Truffle Risotto and a Chicken Reduction, and Poached Veal Shoulder Blanquette with Winter Vegetables and White Truffle Veloute.

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