by Frank Sabatini
Breakfast Buzz in Hillcrest
The gayborhood just made room for a new eatery cranking out lively morning fare, thanks to chef-restaurant consultant Guillermo Diaz and entrepreneur Alex Marin.
The duo recently opened Rosemary & Thyme within the double storefront property on University Avenue that formerly housed Exotic Bamboo Tea House, and then T-Deli after that. Marin owned both of those businesses and now leases a portion of the space to Diaz, who specializes in breakfast dishes after working for Broken Yolk, Breakfast Republic and other kitchens over the years.
Rosemary & Thyme features a quaint indoor space and a lush, tropical-style patio in the back. The menu focuses on assorted omelets, eggs Benedict, chorizo scrambles, breakfast burritos, and buttermilk pancakes. It also includes Marin’s black bean soup and sides of fresh, seasonal fruit that were signatures of T-Deli.
“His food is so delicious and he already has regulars since opening just two weeks ago,” Marin noted of Diaz’s cooking.
The restaurant is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. 619-288-7713, 1469 University Ave.
Eclipse Chocolate in South Park Transitions to Online Only
Chocolatier and LGBTQ community member William Gustwiller said goodbye to his 4,000-square-foot Eclipse Chocolate shop and cafe on Memorial Day after operating the business for a little more than a decade.
“I expected to be in South Park for 20 years, although since the beginning of Covid we haven’t been profitable. But we gave chocolate a lot of visibility,” he told us shortly before holding his last weekend brunch.
The Eclipse brand, however, will persevere via the website (see below), allowing consumers anywhere in the US to order Gustwiller’s confections, which include high-quality chocolate bars, truffles, caramels, drinking chocolates and his recent line of blended sprinkles, which fall under the name Sprinkle Magic.
Just in time for the Pride season, he recently tailored a special selection of sprinkle blends for the occasion, using different colors and shapes. They include “Love is Love,” “Over the Rainbow,” “Pretty in Pink,” and more — all available on the website as well.
In addition, Gustwiller has in the works a “lunar-themed chocolate subscription box” containing monthly assortments of Eclipse’s most popular confections, pastries and savory treats. Due to launch in July, subscribers within San Diego County will enjoy free delivery. eclipsechocolate.com.
The long-established Hunter’s Steakhouse in Mission Valley’s northwest Hotel Circle area is now The Remy Cocktails & Meat. Known in the more distant past as Hungry Hunter, the restaurant was taken over by Jonathan Frank, who partly owns the recreational sports bar, Home and Away in Old Town.
A thorough remodel did away with Hunter’s outdated motif and replaced it with fresh paint, new carpeting, and a large, stylish bar featuring back-lit shelves and high-back bar stools upholstered in white leather.
The cocktail menu covers all bases, ranging from the classics to “stirred and shaken” signature creations. An ambitious wine list complements a menu of American Wagyu beef chops, which includes tomahawks, bone-in ribeye, filet, and New York strip. There is also spicy lobster, scallops with pork belly, seafood platters, short ribs, pork chops, and vegetable paella.
The restaurant serves lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday, as well as happy hour (2:30 to 5 pm), Tuesday through Friday. 2445 Hotel Circle Place, 619-906-5570, theremysd.com.
Three gluten-free vegan sauces created by three sisters represent the growing success of Sistry Foods, a homegrown wholesaler that has landed on the shelves in retailers such as Sprouts Market and Harvest Ranch Markets in Encinitas and El Cajon. The sauce line features chili chipotle, ranch, and jalapeno-cilantro.
The products were carefully formulated by siblings Diane Zoura, Darlene Zoura, and Daphne Khairo, a few years ago from a local home kitchen because of food allergies experienced by different family members. They contain “clean and healthy ingredients” such as avocado oil, chili peppers and herbs.
Their sauces can also be purchased on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the Little Italy Farmers Market, where one of the sisters is always onsite, as well as through Sistry’s website, sistryfoods.com.
New Burger Joints
Close your eyes, spin around three times and throw a spatula into the air. Chances are it will land on the doorstep on some new, local burger spot within urban San Diego.
Our little maneuver led us to two places that recently opened: Juicy Burgers in North Park and Bun & Patti in Little Italy. The former is an expanding chain based in Las Vegas that works with multiple charities such as Feeding America, Homes For Our Troops, the Alzheimer’s Association, and the White Rhino Foundation.
The eatery’s one-third- and half-pound burgers are made to order in plain sight on a flat grill. They come with a wide choice of toppings and sauces. Also in the offing are wings, breaded pickle spears, fries, and commendable crispy onion rings. 2810 El Cajon Blvd., 855-879-5842, juicyburgers.net.
The gourmet factor is raised a few notches at Bun & Patti, which husband-wife team Elion and Amy Prodani opened with the intention of “changing how people view a burger place.” It’s where six-ounce patties flaunt a combination of aged beef and brisket – and where super-healthy salads help diminish your guilt.
Their signature “Smoke Show” burger is served in a smoke-filled dome. It’s crowned with white cheddar, truffle aioli, bacon and veggies. Although if you prefer less drama, other choices include the all-American “Let’s Patti” cheeseburger on brioche; “The Model,” topped with avocado and grilled onions on a toasted gluten-free bun; and “The Hangry” using Impossible Meat. 2171 Kettner Blvd., 619-367-6284, www.bunandpatti.com.
–Frank Sabatini Jr. has been writing about food in San Diego for over 35 years. He launched his own food blog during the pandemic, called, “The Hash Star,” which you can follow at thehashstar.com. He can be reached at [email protected].