NIBBLES & SIPS – The Patio Group’s restaurants remain open, off-menu specials at Duck Dive, Italian sandwiches in La Jolla
Published - 09/20/19 - 03:00 PM | 7052 views | 0 0 comments | 84 84 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Liberty Chik sandwich: Chicken with a spicy flair now available at Liberty Public Market.
Liberty Chik sandwich: Chicken with a spicy flair now available at Liberty Public Market.
Inquiries have been mounting as to whether various restaurants owned by The Patio Group will remain open in light of fraud charges lodged against its parent company, ANI Development, and the investment company’s founder, Gina Champion-Cain.

Those restaurants include Saska’s in Mission Beach, The Patio on Lamont, and Surfrider Pizza in both Mission Beach and Ocean Beach.

As of Sept. 16, Champion-Cain’s publicist, David Oates of PR Security Service in San Diego, said there have been no updates from a statement he previously sent us, which said in part: “While we can’t discuss details of the ongoing litigation matter...we do not expect any disruption to operations.”

ANI and Champion-Cain are accused by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of defrauding numerous retail investors out of a sum totaling $300 million over the past several years.

The Duck Dive

The weekly farmers market in Pacific Beach on Tuesdays is the catalyst for dishes made on a whim the following day by chef Miguel Meraz of The Duck Dive.

Priced at $10, the off-menu specials are usually announced by Wednesday morning and made available later in the day. In addition, each dish is paired with a specially created cocktail. Recent dishes using market ingredients have included grilled swordfish and creamy chipotle shrimp. 4650 Mission Blvd., 858-273-3825,

Ciao Ciao Piadina

Look for Italian-style folded flatbread sandwiches (piadina) and imported meats, cheeses and wines at the upcoming Ciao Ciao Piadina, which is scheduled to open by mid-December. The eatery is being launched by the owners of Ambrogio15, which has locations in Pacific Beach and inside the Little Italy Food Hall. The new La Jolla venture replaces Poke Go and will also feature a wine bar and patio. 510 Pearl St.,

Chef Ron Oliver

As chef de cuisine, Ron Oliver was as much a fixture of The Marine Room in La Jolla as its current and longtime executive chef, Bernard Guillas. Oliver left the prestigious seaside restaurant in 2018 after working there for 20 years. Now, after fulfilling a short gig with Luna Grill as corporate executive chef, he is offering cooking classes at private residences countywide, including areas along the San Diego coast.

Also a cookbook author, his versatile repertoire has thus far included classes in pasta-making, mole sauce, and scratch-made churros, although he’s equipped to teach “all different kinds of global cuisine” based on his diverse experience.

“While at The Marine Room, I had the opportunity to bring happiness to people’s lives every night,” he said, adding that his classes are held ideally for 10 people or more, and with at least a five-day notice.

El Pescador

El Pescador Fish Market & Restaurant in La Jolla is gearing up for a prolific season of spiny California lobsters, which it sources each year from locally based trawlers. According to owner Sean Shannon, the sweet-tasting claw-less creatures will start coming in live the first week in October. Supplies will be replenished every couple of days throughout most of the season, which concludes in March.

The lobsters will be sold at market price, as either cooked and plated in the restaurant or split and cleaned (free of charge) to be prepared at home. 634 Pearl St., 858-456-2526,

Solare Ristorante

Learn to make from scratch Italy’s “big three” dishes at Solare Ristorante in Point Loma. The hands-on classes will be conducted by executive chef Fillippo Piccine. They start at 10:30 a.m., beginning with pizza-making on Sept. 28.

Gnocchi and its versatile presentations take center stage on Oct. 12, followed by a lesson in making classic dough for various pasta cuts and ravioli.

The price for each class is $85, which includes coffee, wine, and a full lunch.

Reservations are required. 2820 Roosevelt Road, 619-270-9670,

Liberty Chik

Nashville-style hot chicken has blazed into Liberty Public Market with the opening of Liberty Chik. The new vendor replaces Roma Express, which relocated a stone’s throw away with deli offerings as part of the Meat Shop stall.

Chik’s succinct menu features crunchy, boneless filets available in either plate form, in a sandwich, or paired with waffles. Customers can choose from four heat levels, ranging from mild to “smokin’ hot.” Sidekicks include Tennessee mustard slaw, french fries, mac-and-cheese, and biscuit-based donuts.

The evolving market also saw the arrivals of Chinese bao buns and milk teas by Bao Bar; thin-crust pizzas by Landini’s Pizzeria (based in Little Italy); and Peruvian-Brazilian fare by Latin Chef. 2820 Historic Decatur Road, 619-487-9346,

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