Food News You Can Use

Menu Matters: Wine, more wine, tequila bargains, braised short ribs and gnocchi

A roundup of what’s happening in San Diego restaurant news:

Wine Smarties. When I think of Smarties, my taste buds tingle for those little round candies made of 100 percent sugar. What do I know? Just that The Wine Smarties is gearing up to offer San Diego County’s first internationally recognized wine certification program. London-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust programs are available in 47 countries, and get about 21,000 students per year. The local class will be offered by The Wine Smarties principal consultant Lindsay Pomeroy. Classes will begin in September at the downtown Holiday Inn Express San Diego. For information: 619-955-8884;

Wine Cheapies? No, that’s not a real name…The new Truluck’s Seafood, Steak and Crab House in La Jolla has a Half-Price Wine Wednesdays program. All bottles are half off—even high-end cellar wines. The selection includes more than 100 different bottles of wine.

Tequila Cheapies? Again, my tagline…downtown’s new Funky Garcia’s (at Sun Café) is a Mexican themed eatery that sells everything in stock for half-off on Wednesdays. The menu prices are already low, and Funky G’s has more than 80 different types of tequila.

Kitchen Talk. Hotel Solamar’s Jsix kitchen is run by executive chef Christian Graves. And he’d love to have you in—literally in the kitchen—to talk turkey about what you might help him make on certain evenings. The program is called Chef’s Kitchen Experience. Groups of 10 or more are picked up in a limo and driven to a market to pick up things like sweet peppers and dandelion root. Then you go back to his East Village kitchen where Graves shows you how to add your dandelion root to braised short ribs. Best of all—you don’t have to clean the dishes.

Lotsa Slotsa & Pasta. Barona Resort & Casino as opened a new Italian Cucina. Go in to carb up before an all-night poker session. The restaurant will serve classic Italian dishes, including ricotta gnocchi ragu and spaghetti carbonara…A new Seafood Plaza is scheduled to open at Barona within a month.

Ron Donoho is a regular contributor to and a contributing editor to His Web site ( is dedicated to news, sports, culture, happy hours and all things downtown.

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