A couple years ago, San Diego Magazine's Troy Johnson talked up Grant Grill's Smashing Pumpkin cocktail on the Food Network's Best Thing I Ever Ate. Unfortch, we didn't get to try the cocktail that year, or last year. So thank goodness it's back: Pumpkin and star anise infused rum, Grand Marnier, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, Saffron syrup, cardamom bitters and fresh Meyer lemon poured into a martini glass and garnished with a spice-sugared rim. Yum.
In more cocktail news, Jaynes Gastropub recently released its fall cocktail menu. Some highlights: the Organic Harvest Mule made with Tru Organic Crusoe Spiced Rum (for every bottle sold, Tru plants a tree), fresh lime juice, house-made ginger and honey syrup and organic Costadila Colfondo Prosecco. The Bentley, a take on a Manhattan (with a pretty Luxardo cherry at the bottom of the glass), is made with Laird's Applejack, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth and a dash of Angostura bitters. On our list to try, right after the Smashing Pumpkin, is the Impeachment with house-made peach-infused Rye whiskey (awesome!), fresh-squeezed lemon juice and a bit of sugar.
Cheese! Yay! Beer! Yay! Wine! Yay! Escondido. Hm. Kidding, Esco. Just wish you were a little closer. The second annual Wedge Cheese Festival takes place in, yes, Escondido this weekend, on and around Grand Avenue. Your $35 ticket ($45 day of the event) gets you 10 beer or wine tastings and the chance to sample cheese at 30 different stops. Featured cheeses include Cowgirl Creamery's Mt. Tam and Redhawk, Point Reyes Blue, Spring Hill Garlic Jack, a "super-aged" Winchester Gouda, Central Coast Holey Cow and more than two dozen others.
Fans of Brians American Eatery might want to check out Lil' B's, a new restaurant / diner that opened on Oct. 11 at 2611 El Cajon Blvd. in North Park, where Johnny's R used to be. It's open 24 hours on weekends and serves the sort of comfort food that makes you wish you had the metabolism of an 18-year-old. Check out Frank Sabatini's review for Gay SD.
One of CityBeat's fave bands, gypsy-jazz group Trio Gadjo, provides the tunes for the "Curious Cocktail Affair" happening at The Wellington in Mission Hills on Wednesday, Oct. 31. Costumes are encourages and your $35 tickets gets you holiday-appropriate bites (in a holiday-appropriate setting) like swordfish marrow, beef tongue tacos, sea urchin bisque, a Reese's torte, candy corn panacotta and Rice Krispies bars. It's a 21-and-up event and tickets can be purchased here.