Prime cooks inform us their favourite dishes in San Diego eating places proper now

Everybody has a favourite chef, or a favourite dish ready by a neighborhood restaurant chef. However what dishes do cooks crave once they exit to eat?

We’ve interviewed a lineup of native cooks and requested them their favourite dishes on different cooks’ menus. Their picks vary from sushi to pasta, Asian to Latin meals, barbecue to dessert.

Kicking issues off is Daniela Martinez, a well-traveled San Diego chef who goals to open her first restaurant subsequent yr.

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Chef Daniela Martinez on August 25, 2022 in San Diego.

Chef Daniela Martinez on August 25, 2022 in San Diego.

(Okay.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Daniela Martinez

Non-public chef, now cooking on the Del Mar Turf Membership

Daniela Martinezis a second-generation chef, born in Argentina to folks of Argentinian and Italian heritage and raised amongst Puerto Ricans and Caribbeans in New York’s Queens and Brooklyn boroughs. Her cooking, she says, attracts deeply on that wealthy cultural heritage.

A lifelong artist who studied images and artwork at New York’s Trend Institute of Expertise, Martinez studied pastry in culinary faculty due to the creative creativity it provided. After graduating in 2014, she was a pastry chef at Ironside Fish & Oyster and Bracero in Little Italy, Sugar and Scribe in La Jolla and Il Dandy/Arama in Bankers Hill. In 2019, she was topped a Meals Community “Chopped” Grand Champion, after competing on the sequence’ “Sweets Showdown Match.”

Final yr, Martinez segued into savory cooking with an government chef place on the international delicacies restaurant Semola in La Jolla. She left Semola in July, and is now doing non-public chef and collaboration occasions, educating cooking courses and serving to to handle the kitchen on the Del Mar Turf Membership as she scouts places for her personal San Diego restaurant that she hopes to open in 2023.

The idea is an astrology-themed chef’s table-speakeasy restaurant with a menu highlighting herbs with therapeutic properties. Due to her artwork background, Martinez all the time sketches out her visually arresting dishes upfront as a planning software. These sketches, with dish descriptions on the again, will develop into memento playing cards that diners at her restaurant will take dwelling with them to recollect their meal. Comply with her at

A pork belly and rice dish created by Daniela Martinez.

Daniela Martinez’s signature dish is a riff on pernil with arroz and plantanos made with pernil-styled pork stomach, marinated in mojo and garlic, mofongo puree, risotto concon and toston crisps.

(Okay.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Martinez’s signature dish: A riff on Pernil with Arroz and Platanos, that includes mole-marinated pork stomach, mofongo puree of plantains with chicharron and garlic, risotto concón a la pegao (burnt rice) and toston chips. “This dish is a fusion of the Italian, Argentinian, Puerto Rican and Caribbean points of my childhood,” she stated.

Martinez’s favourite dish elsewhere: Pastry chef Gianna Buzzetta’s Kiwi dessert at Jeune et Jolie in Carlsbad.

“For me, it’s a lot extra inventive while you mix the 2 worlds of candy and savory collectively,” Martinez stated.

Gianna Buzzetta, pastry chef at Jeune et Jolie in Carlsbad.

Gianna Buzzetta, pastry chef at Jeune et Jolie in Carlsbad.

(Okay.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Gianna Buzzetta

Pastry chef at Jeune et Jolie in Carlsbad

Gianna Buzzettais solely 23 years previous, but she’s already landed a coveted pastry chef place at a Michelin-starred restaurant, Carlsbad’s Jeune et Jolie. She credit her achievement to her inexhaustible work ethic, which was born when she began working for her mother’s occasion/florist enterprise at age 12.

“I’m one hundred pc a workaholic,” she stated. “I’ve been working nonstop since 17 and have all the time had a job. At one time, I had three jobs directly.”

Born and raised in an Italian-Guatamalan family in Oceanside, Buzzetta realized to prepare dinner at dwelling and gravitated towards baking as a result of she cherished the science of it and he or she didn’t eat meat. Her first restaurant job, in highschool, was at Veggie Grill. When she graduated, she spent two years on the Culinary Institute of America in Napa. Whereas there, she had externships at two Michelin-starred eating places in Los Angeles: Spago and the now-closed Patina.

After her time on the institute, she returned dwelling to work pastry at Herringbone in La Jolla, then double-timed working mornings at Dija Mara in Oceanside and afternoons/evenings at Wild Thyme Catering Co. in San Diego. Then she was a company pastry chef at Puesto. She joined Jeune et Jolie’s staff this summer time, and runs her personal non-public specialty cake enterprise on the facet.

Her favourite fashion of plated desserts incorporate all-natural elements, each candy and savory, with many parts, together with seasonal elements, herbs, micro flowers, textures and colours. “I don’t like tremendous candy stuff. It’s not about providing you with sugar pow. It’s about simplicity.”

Comply with her at

Gianna Buzzetta's Kiwi dessert at Jeune et Jolie includes yogurt, cucumber and cashews.

Gianna Buzzetta’s Kiwi dessert at Jeune et Jolie contains yogurt, cucumber and cashews.

(Okay.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Buzzetta’s signature dish at Jeune et Jolie: Kiwi. The bottom is a yogurt mousse with contemporary compressed kiwi in a coriander syrup, compressed inexperienced apple and coriander-candied cashews with kiwi sorbet and cilantro flowers.

Buzzetta’s favourite dish elsewhere: Barbara Zeiss’s The whole lot Bagel-spiced gluten-free bread at Plantiful Kitchen in Carlsbad.

“I attempt to eat gluten-free and dairy-free. Often while you get gluten-free bread, it’s not good, however her bread is gorgeous. It has a more durable crust and with the seasoning it’s scrumptious,” Buzzetta stated.

Barbara Zeiss, founder, CEO and head baker at Plantiful Kitchen in Carlsbad.

Barbara Zeiss, founder, CEO and head baker at Plantiful Kitchen in Carlsbad.

(Okay.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Barbara Zeiss

Chef/proprietor of Plantiful Kitchen in Carlsbad

In Barbara Zeiss’s native Germany, bread is so central to the nationwide food plan that it has its personal mealtime referred to as “brotzeit” (that means “bread time”). However by the point she was in her teenagers, Zeiss stopped consuming most baked items as a result of they made her really feel bloated and brought on indigestion.

Then, whereas dwelling in Australia in her late 20s, she found cafes dedicated to wholesome and nutritious breads and desserts and began experimenting along with her personal recipes, as a result of she’s vegan and was consuming gluten-free on the time.

Six years in the past, she moved to the USA and commenced bringing a few of her wholesome desserts to buddies’ events they usually urged she begin promoting these treats. That was the start of Plantiful Kitchen, a vegan and gluten-free bakery enterprise which she launched in her dwelling in 2017 and moved right into a bakery-store in Carlsbad in Might 2020.

Plantiful’s signature product is her crumble-free bread, which has no refined sugars, vegetable oils, processed elements, starches or fillers. She additionally makes gluten-free vegan cookies and truffles. And her grab-and-go retailer can be a market providing wholesome snacks, vegan cheeses and different objects made by different artisan foodmakers.

Opening within the pandemic was an enormous threat, however a San Francisco-based firm used her breads for its nationwide meal-shipping enterprise and that saved her afloat and constructed a nationwide buyer base. In the meantime she constructed a wholesale enterprise for her breads and pastries that at the moment are bought at Jimbo’s, Frazier Farms, Erewhon and different wholesome supermarkets, coffeehouses and eating places.

Comply with her at

Barbara Zeiss's Everything Bagel Blend gluten-free and vegan bread at Plantiful Kitchen in Carlsbad.

Barbara Zeiss’s The whole lot Bagel Mix gluten-free and vegan bread at Plantiful Kitchen in Carlsbad.

(Okay.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Zeiss’s signature merchandise at Plantiful Kitchen: Vegan and gluten-free The whole lot Bagel-spiced bread.

Zeiss’s favourite dish elsewhere: Chef Jason Ambacher’s Tofu Rendang at Dija Mara in Oceanside.

“It’s such a taste explosion. There are such a lot of issues in that bowl which can be scrumptious. I all the time attempt to take the proper chew with all of the accouterments and it’s simply so good,” Zeiss stated.

Jason Ambacher, executive chef of Dija Mara in Oceanside.

Jason Ambacher, government chef of Dija Mara in Oceanside.

(Okay.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Jason Ambacher

Govt chef at Dija Mara in Oceanside

Oceanside has been Jason Ambacher’s dwelling for many of his life. And since 2018, his culinary dwelling has been Oceanside’s Dija Mara, a Balinese-inspired restaurant that final yr earned a coveted Michelin Bib Gourmand honor.

Ambacher began out in Dija Mara’s kitchen as a line prepare dinner, then labored his approach as much as government chef inside a yr. He step by step made the menu his personal, dish by dish, with a give attention to genuine regional recipes and a multilayered mélange of elements.

After graduating from culinary faculty, Ambacher labored as a lead line prepare dinner at 333 Pacific in Oceanside and at Mille Fleurs in Oceanside. Then he labored his approach as much as sous chef on the Flying Pig in Oceanside and was kitchen supervisor at Harney Sushi in Oceanside. Then, with a former girlfriend, he moved to South Africa, the place he cooked at eating places for 2 years, after which traveled and ate his approach round Thailand earlier than returning dwelling to Oceanside and a job at Dija Mara.

Comply with him at

Chef Jason Ambacher's tofu rendang at Dija Mara restaurant in Oceanside.

Chef Jason Ambacher’s tofu rendang at Dija Mara restaurant in Oceanside.

(Okay.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Ambacher’s chosen dish by Zeiss: Tofu Rendang. Pan-fried tofu and tempeh are marinated in Indonesian curry sauce, and served with rice, peanut sauce, pickles, cucumbers, uncooked shallots, lemongrass and kaffir leaves with fried shallots and inexperienced onions.

Ambacher’s favourite dish elsewhere: Chef Davin Waite’s swordfish nigiri with swordfish bone marrow shot.

“It’s such a easy dish however completely executed. The bone marrow shot has a contemporary oceany taste and it’s an ideal demonstration of Davin’s philosophy of minimizing waste,” Ambacher stated.

Chef Davin Waite owner/chef at Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub in Oceanside.

Chef Davin Waite proprietor/chef at Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub in Oceanside.

(Okay.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Davin Waite

Govt chef and co-founder of Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub, The Plot and Shootz Fish & Beer eating places in Oceanside

Ever since Davin Waite opened his Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub in Oceanside in 2013, the hyper-creative sushi chef has relished pushing the boundaries of sushi delicacies and discovering inventive methods to make use of each a part of the fish.

Waite’s zero-waste ethos earned him the celebrated 2022 Sustainability Advocate Award final month from the California Journey Affiliation, and his typically kooky culinary concepts have attracted a legion of followers from all through the Southwest.

He credit his nose-to-tail cooking fashion to longtime native fishmonger Tommy Gomes, who all the time challenged Waite’s creativity by popping unusual sea creatures into the packing containers of fish Waite bought for his eating places. The trick to get the squeamish to attempt new issues, he stated, is attaching meals names which can be acquainted, like crispy fish “wings,” fish “bacon” and even fish sperm chowder.

Waite grew up bouncing between Oceanside and his mother and father’ native England. Whereas learning psychology at a school in Santa Barbara, he received a job making California rolls and ended up dropping out of faculty in 1996 to check full time with a Japanese sushi grasp. From 1999 to 2004, he honed his sushi abilities at Café Japengo in La Jolla, then opened the short-lived Fish Joint along with his brother, Loren, and buddies in Oceanside. After a profitable however uninteresting gig as a cooking marketing consultant, he opened Wrench & Rodent along with his spouse, Jessica. Its title is a cheeky homage to the wacky pub names in England.

In the present day, he additionally co-owns the The Plot, a plant-based, zero-waste restaurant, and Shootz & Beer, a fish taco joint with inventive seafood specials. At every, his overriding ardour is sustainability, and educating diners to understand each a part of the animal proteins and veggies they devour.

Comply with him at

Swordfish nigiri with swordfish bone marrow shot and fried vertebra at Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub in Oceanside.

Chef Davin Waite’s swordfish nigiri with swordfish bone marrow shot and fried vertebra at Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub in Oceanside.

(Okay.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Waite’s chosen dish by Ambacher: The swordfish nigiri with swordfish bone marrow shot is a play on phrases. The swordfish is seared with a seasonal fruit or miso truffle sauce and the shot isn’t truly marrow however the the clear, jellylike discs between the swordfish’s vertebrae. One of many vertebrae is tossed in wing sauce and fried.

Waite’s favourite dish elsewhere: Chef William Eick’s cabbage and caviar course on the omakase menu at Matsu restaurant in Oceanside.

“I like the advanced simplicity of it. There are a number of layers of taste and every layer you style is the proper showcase of William’s ability. It’s a culinary sucker punch,” Waite stated.

William Eick, executive chef and owner of Matsu restaurant in Oceanside.

William Eick, government chef and proprietor of Matsu restaurant in Oceanside.

(Okay.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

William Eick

Chef/proprietor of Matsu restaurant in Oceanside

William Eick was raised in a principally Asian part of San Jose the place, as a latchkey child, he grew up cooking all of the household meals and on weekends they splurged on takeout sushi and Vietnamese meals. After cooking for 12 years at Bistro West in Carlsbad, George’s on the Cove in La Jolla, Actual Bar & Bistro in Solana Seaside and his personal short-lived Oceanside restaurant 608, he embraced his ardour for Japanese delicacies.

After some analysis journeys to Japan and a number of other years of testing his recipes with pop-up dinners, he launched three ideas in South Oceanside: Matsu, a fine-dining, omakase-only Japanese-inspired restaurant; Hokkaido, a Japanese milk bread wholesale bakery; and Naegi, a Japanese fried rooster (karaage) outlet that moved from a meals truck right into a brick and mortar location this week.

Matsu was named after matsutake mushrooms, that are pine mushrooms which can be native to Japan however develop wild in Southern California forests. Eick, an avid herb, flower and mushroom forager, stated he thought the binational fungi greatest represents the Matsu idea, which is a mixture of Japanese and California elements ready within the Japanese fashion. Eick’s aim is to earn Matsu a Michelin star.

Colleagues say Eick is thought for his devotion to each element, even designing and constructing the kitchens and eating rooms himself. His cabbage dish — so common it’s develop into a everlasting fixture on the omakase menu — takes two days to make.

Comply with him at

Chef William Eick's grilled cabbage gyoza (dumpling) with caviar at Matsu restaurant in Oceanside.

Chef William Eick’s grilled cabbage gyoza (dumpling) with caviar at Matsu restaurant in Oceanside.

(Okay.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Eick’s signature dish at Matsu: Cabbage. Accented with Kaluga caviar, it’s a mixture of grilled cabbage gyoza (dumpling) full of seasoned and sautéed cabbage and served with cabbage dashi.

“It’s one of the crucial talked about dishes with our company as a result of it’s such an unassuming dish, it’s only a bowl of cabbbage with the caviar, but it surely has a lot taste and it’s actually simply in regards to the cabbage,” Eick stated.

Eick’s favourite eating places: Eick was a fan of chef Beau Bonham’s Capricious pizza at Allmine Pizza in Oceanside. Bonham left Allmine in August and the menu has since modified. However, earlier than he left, Bonham picked as his favourite dish Felix Berry’s beef brisket at Felix’s BBQ with Soul.

Felix Berry sits at a table of his Felix's BBQ With Soul restaurant in Oceanside.

Felix Berry, founding father of the four-store Felix’s BBQ with Soul eating places, at his in Oceanside location.

(Okay.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Felix Berry

Proprietor and founding chef at Felix’s BBQ With Soul

Felix Berry is usually requested how his four-store barbecue chain received its title. He stated it’s all in regards to the love and care he places into his made-from-scratch meals and his relationship with clients.

“Barbecue is what we do however soul meals is who we’re,” stated Berry, who launched his first restaurant in Oceanside on the daybreak of the recession in 2008. In 2015, he acquired a catering enterprise and, extra not too long ago, he has opened extra places in Carlsbad, San Marcos and Lake Elsinore. He additionally runs a pandemic-born ghost kitchen Mexican meals idea referred to as Felix’s Casa.

The Alabama-born Berry found his ardour for barbecue at age 12, whereas busing tables on the famed Mitchell’s BBQ in Ohio, the place he realized the secrets and techniques of smoking meats and making sauces and seasoning rubs from the pitmaster. He received into the restaurant enterprise first as a waiter, then within the early Nineteen Eighties joined Continental Restaurant Programs’ Foodmaker division, which introduced him to San Diego. One of many executives who educated him to run a restaurant was George Hauer, founding father of George’s on the Cove in La Jolla.

Berry’s menu is an amalgam of dishes and barbecue kinds from all through the South, together with Louisiana, Tennessee and Ohio. Among the recipes are previous household favorites or ones he has tailored from his early coaching at Mitchell’s. However just a few, just like the cornbread and barbecue sauce, are his personal secret recipes.

Beef brisket with red beans and collard greens at Felix's BBQ with Soul in Oceanside.

Beef brisket with purple beans and collard greens at Felix’s BBQ with Soul in Oceanside.

(Okay.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Felix’s signature dish: Beef brisket, brined then seasoned and slow-smoked over apple and hickory wooden for not more than eight hours.

Felix’s favourite dish elsewhere: Chef Trey Foshee’s spaghetti and clams at George’s on the Cove.

“It’s my favourite dish to order at eating places, however the one I ordered at George’s was significantly distinctive,” Berry stated.

Trey Foshee, executive chef and partner of George's at the Cove restaurant in La Jolla.

Trey Foshee, government chef and companion of George’s on the Cove restaurant in La Jolla.

(Okay.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Trey Foshee

Chef-owner of George’s on the Cove, La Jolla

Since 1999, Trey Foshee has been chef-owner, with founder George Hauer, at George’s on the Cove. Because the pandemic started, the indoor fine-dining half of the George’s enterprise has been on hiatus till Foshee feels assured he can workers it correctly to ship the high-end, upscale delicacies he has lengthy been identified for.

Born in Hawaii and raised in Ojai, Foshee graduated from culinary faculty at 19. He shortly cooked his approach by means of so many prestigious kitchens — L’Orangerie in Los Angeles, La Folie in San Francisco, two Hawaii resort eating places and the Sundance Resort in Utah — that “Meals and Wine” journal named him one of many “Greatest New Cooks in America” in 1998.

In the present day, the Encinitas resident oversees culinary operations for George’s, which for now could be simply the 31-year-old out of doors area George’s Ocean Terrace, and newly opened Sandpiper Fish & Oyster, which he and Hauer opened in July in La Jolla Shores.

Underneath Foshee’s steering, George’s has continued to win accolades for its progressive delicacies and farm-to-table ethos. Masa Kojima, who rejoined George’s not too long ago after six years away at Juniper & Ivy, was promoted to George’s government chef about six months in the past. In the meantime, till it may well absolutely reopen, the George’s indoor eating room is getting used for particular occasions like a Chino Farms summer time produce dinner and winter wine dinners.

Chef-owner Trey Foshee's spaghetti with clams at George's at the Cove in La Jolla.

Chef-owner Trey Foshee’s spaghetti with clams at George’s on the Cove in La Jolla.

(Okay.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Foshee’s chosen dish by Berry: Spaghetti and clams. This dish will not be on the menu at current however Foshee stated he retains it easy with clams cooked in white wine and garlic and parsley over cooked spaghetti. Choices embody including pancetta or roasted cherry tomatoes.

Foshee’s favourite dish elsewhere: Chef Mike Reidy’s native sanddab with smoked paprika butter on the Fishery.

“He retains it tremendous easy. flavored butter is all he wants. He is aware of how a lot so as to add and the way a lot to remove, which is the actual calling card of chef,” Foshee stated.

Chef Mike Reidy of The Fishery restaurant in Pacific Beach.

Chef Mike Reidy of The Fishery restaurant in Pacific Seaside.

(Okay.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Mike Reidy

Govt chef at The Fishery in Pacific Seaside

From an early age, eating places and native seafood have been constants within the lifetime of Hen Rock resident Mike Reidy, who was employed as government chef at The Fishery in March 2020.

Raised in Poway, Reidy was busing tables at his uncle’s Temecula barbecue restaurant at age 10, and by highschool, was engaged on sportsfishing boats out of Level Loma. After six years working on the Rancho Bernardo Inn, he went to culinary faculty in New York, then returned dwelling to the R.B. Inn, and subsequent at Bellamy’s in Escondido, the place he was chef de delicacies.

For 3 and a half years, he educated below Josiah Citrin at Michelin two-star Melisse in L.A., then returned dwelling once more in 2017 to work at Ironside Fish & Oyster and as a R&D chef for CH Initiatives.

Reidy’s ardour is introducing to diners the greater than 200 indigenous fish and sea creatures discovered within the waters inside 30 miles of San Diego. He’s thrilled to have discovered a brand new culinary dwelling on the Fishery, which shares his devotion to native sea life and his fashion of cooking.

“It takes a particular restaurant simply to place a fish on a plate with no sauce,” he stated. “The Fishery is a extremely particular place. It’s been round for 25 years virtually and we simply satisfaction ourselves on having the top-quality seafood.”

Chef Mike Reidy's local sand dab with smoked paprika butter at The Fishery in Pacific Beach.

Chef Mike Reidy’s native sand dab with smoked paprika butter at The Fishery in Pacific Seaside.

(Okay.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Reidy’s chosen dish by Foshee: Native sanddab (a shallow water flat fish) with smoked paprika butter. “I went to London in November and had an identical fish, slip sole. They ready it like that and I fell in love with it, in order that’s the place this setup originated,” Reidy stated.

Reidy’s favourite dish of his personal: Grilled native market squid ready Vietnamese-style in a heat salad with fish sauce French dressing, Chino Farm melon, candy Italian peppers, lemon cucumber, cilantro basil, mint and lime.

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