••• Claire has been raving about the biscuits at Hook & Press, so I went right over. I do not recall ever having a better biscuit. Importantly, it was warm, the butter was whipped, and the Ojai pixie preserves were perfect. I know it’s hard to go to Hook & Press and not get a doughnut, but trust me. Also, if you’ve been turned off by tales of long lines, visit mid-week.
••• Uncorked Kitchen has shifted to a different model on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights: one 7 p.m. seating of up to 14 people for a seven-course tasting menu by chef/sommelier Michael Amador. The $150 price includes wine pairings and a $25 gratuity.
••• I now have it on very good authority that a branch of Austin seafood restaurant Clark’s, which also has an outpost in Aspen, is indeed taking the former Cava space on Coast Village Road, with no involvement from the Montesano Group. (Here’s the menu again, in case you missed it last time.) Clark’s is owned by MML Hospitality, which is sort of like Hillstone, the parent company of Honor Bar, in that it has an array of brands.
••• It’s a Bristol Farms rite of passage: you show up on a Tuesday, when seniors get 10 percent off, and the cashier asks if you want the discount. It happened to my husband, it happened to our friend John, it recently happened to me—none of us are near 62 years old—and one day it will happen to you. (Unfortunately, I wasn’t buying enough to make it worth sacrificing my pride.) I feel for the cashiers, though. Their choice is to ask the dreaded question or automatically apply the discount, and either way can backfire.
••• Chef Nikolas Ramirez has left the Ballard Inn after just five months. Apparently, the inn’s new owners have plans for a different concept in the space.
••• This Sunday, June 5, Kings Carey Wines winemaker/owner James Sparks will revert* to his baking days with a bagel pop-up at Peasants Deli: “Sesame seed bagels by James Sparks; pastrami smoked salmon and accoutrements by Peasants Deli. Only 24 smoked salmon bagel sandwiches will be available for purchase; no pre-orders.” (*Sparks was behind the Another Bread Co. cottage business.) The fun starts at 9 a.m. and lasts till 11 a.m. or when they sell out.
••• Something to look forward to: “Coming later this year…. Twenty-Four Blackbirds Oaxacan mole negro. We will be growing as much of the ingredients we can at our farm, starting with Chilhuacle negro peppers. Started these from seed in March and just got them in the ground today. Because these peppers have such a distinct flavor that defines the Oaxacan black mole flavor profile, I’m growing these peppers on their own this season to ensure no cross-pollination from the other peppers so I can have a healthy seed stock to plant from for years to come. Tomatoes, onions, and tomatillos going in the ground tomorrow.”
••• Rare Society, the San Diego steakhouse chain coming to the former Project space on State Street, has said it’s going to open next month, but now the website says to expect it sometime this summer (which jibes with what I saw when I peeked inside).
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