Come this Saturday, restaurant workers will be among the latest phase of folks eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in San Diego County. Eater San Diego shares that story, plus other top news of the week from our local food and drink scene – from Tijuana-style birria tastiness to a sweet pop-up with more longer-term dreams.
San Diego Restaurant Workers Among Next Eligible Group of Essential Workers
With coronavirus vaccine availability increasing, San Diego County has announced that it is moving forward with the next phase of its vaccination plan, also known as Phase 1B Tier 1. In this phase of the vaccine rollout, essential workers from the food and agriculture sector, including restaurant staff, will be able to make vaccination appointments starting Feb. 17. Also eligible for vaccines in this phase are grocery clerks, and farm workers as well as people from emergency services, childcare, and education. You can see the county’s full plan on COVID-19 vaccine phases here.
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Tijuana-Style Birria Arrives in Golden Hill
Birria El Rey, which started last fall as a weekly pop-up in Golden Hill, is now operating six days a week as a full-fledged eatery. Its menu is dedicated to birria, featuring the stewed, spiced beef in everything from tacos to quesadillas, tortas, burritos and more – plus a culinary mash-up called “birriamen,” which combines ramen noodles with birria and broth.
Dessert Pop-Up Has Permanent Ambitions
Recently launched during the pandemic, Puffs is a pop-up that spotlights gourmet cream puffs, made to order and available via Instagram and Yelp. With a rotating menu of flavors that includes passionfruit and tea-infused varieties, the pop-up is aiming to grown into a brick-and-mortar shop where customers can build their own cream puffs.
Eater San Diego Round-Ups and The Scene
Huge Chinese Hot Pot Chain Expanding to San Diego
China's largest chain of upscale hot pot restaurants is opening at Westfield UTC this summer. HaiDiLao specializes in Sichuan hot pot, with customers cooking meat, seafood, and vegetables in tableside pots of flavored soup. The chain is known for its over-the-top service offerings, including manicures for waiting diners and a hand pulled noodle demo that features a dance performance.
LA's Fast-Casual Chinese Noodle Shop Coming to Westfield UTC
Founded in Los Angeles, where its Chinatown location has spawned several more in the Southern California area, Qin West Noodle will land at Westfield UTC this summer, bringing dishes that highlight the traditional cuisine from several different Chinese provinces, including Guangxi noodle soups and Shanxi meat buns.
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Candice Woo is the founding editor of Eater San Diego, a leading source for news about San Diego’s restaurant and bar scene. Keep up with the latest Eater San Diego content via Facebook or Twitter, and sign up for Eater San Diego’s newsletter here.