By Frank Sabatini Jr.
Baker extraordinaire Joanne Sherif has sold her 11-year-old Cardamom Cafe & Bakery in North Park to Accursio Lota, the former executive chef of Solare Ristorante Italiano in Liberty Station.
“It’s time for a new chapter in my life,” Sherif told San Diego Uptown News. “I’ll still focus on my love of baking, but without running a cafe.”
Sherif plans on renting a commercial kitchen for holding pop-ups and fulfilling catering orders via firstname.lastname@example.org. She will also continue supplying her famous sweet and savory croissants to Seven Seas Roasting in South Park, Daniel’s Coffee in Spanish Village and Cafe Moto in Barrio Logan, adding that Atypical Waffle in North Park may soon start selling them as well.
Lota will transform the cafe in the coming months into a restaurant specializing in scratch-made Italian meals. The name is yet to be announced, although he plans on retaining Sherif’s employees. Cardamom will remain open until late August. 2977 Upas St., 619-546-5609, cardamomsandiego.com.
Thorn Brewing opened a tasting room in Mission Hills in what was previously a multi-unit office space on Hawk Street. There are 12 taps rigged equally on opposite ends of the bar, with all of them dispensing beers brewed at the company’s Barrio Logan headquarters.
“Our intention is to offer Mission Hills a tasting room that fits snugly between the higher-end restaurants and the dive bars,” said Thorn Brewing general manager Tom Kiely.
Beers are sold by the pint for consumption on the premises, and in bottles and cans to go. There is no kitchen, but customers are permitted to bring in food. In addition, electronic games will be installed in the coming days.
The tasting room is open from noon to 10 p.m., daily. 4026 Hawk St., 619-255-9679, thorn.beer.
Inspired by the corner gelato shops and pizza stands in their native Italy, restaurateur Matteo Cattaneo of Buona Forchetta, and two of his longtime employees, Luca Zamboni and Giovanni Bonomi, will open Gelati & Peccati in North Park.
With plans to operate all day and into late night, look for nearly 40 different types of Roman-style pizzas served in square cuts, plus 18 flavors of gelato. The 800-square-foot shop will offer limited counter and patio seating as well as grab-and-go service. It’s due to open before the end of August. 3068 University Ave., buonaforchettasd.com.
The outdoor Dojo Cafe in City Heights will be the site of a vegan taco cookoff from 4 to 8 p.m., Aug. 11. Now in its third year, the event is presented by Vegan in San Diego, an organization that supports local vegan and animal-rescue communities.
Contestants include nearly a dozen caterers and food truck businesses, such as Veg’n Out, Santosha Nutrition, FaVe Tacos, The Vegan Tamale Company, and others. Two winning titles will be awarded, one by a panel of judges and the other by attendees.
General admission is $6, and crowd-judging tickets are $37, which includes one free taco from each contestant and 4 p.m. admission (opposed to 5 p.m.). Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate. 4350 El Cajon Blvd., 619-949-1584, veganinsandiego.com.
The newly opened Arama is a six-seat “restaurant” within Il Dandy, which launched recently in Bankers Hill as a full-scale restaurant by Calabrian-born brothers Dario and Pietro Gallo. The chefs on board are Antonio Abbruzzino and his son, Luca, whose restaurant in Southern Italy garnered the duo a Michelin star.
Situated behind Il Dandy’s kitchen, the intimate space gives guests a doting experience involving 12-course meals and wine pairings that draw upon the culinary traditions of Italy’s Calabria region as well as other parts of Europe. There is only one seating per evening, and reservations are required. Prices range from $180 to $250 per person, depending on the number of guests in each party. Wine pairings begin at $70 extra. 2550 Fifth Ave., Suite 120, 619-310-5669.
—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.