Dining

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Alas, April, the mild-mannered month that typically heralds the coming of spring — and sparkles like its designated diamond birthstone with a pile of precious celebrations — is now on lock-down. These fun events that highlight fertility and rebirth, freedom, the national pastime, pranks and humor, and literary and planetary pursuits will all have to be rejiggered this year.
County officials announced Monday new emergency regulations to help slow the spread of COVID-19 including a ban on all gatherings of 50 people or more, the immediate closure of all adult entertainment establishments that serve alcohol and restrictions on in-dining options.
It’s time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17 with some scrumptious breakfast dishes and drinks inspired by the Emerald Isle.
More and more of us are turning to plant-based diets, whether for health reasons or environmentally-conscious ones. So the hunt is on for protein sources that don’t bleed, yet are satisfying, hearty, tasty and versatile. I broke down last week, and tried a batch of “cheat meat.”
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  • Tucked into the busy corner of Voltaire Street and Famosa Boulevard, you’ll find a cozy neighborhood spot called Royale Cocktails & Hamburgers.
  • We do have some powerful self-protective weapons at our disposal — food selection and handling being the most effective. Ancient cultures relied on that for their health; even before old Hippocrates advised using food as medicine. So, while you arm yourself with tools provided by personal trainers, meditation gurus and other healers, I’ll provide the edible components of your healthy lifestyle to keep you vibrant for years to come.
  • Put sushi on the menu and Nak Joon Kim behind the bar and you have Haru Sushi, La Jolla’s “neighborhood” sushi bar since fall 2018. “I don’t want a big restaurant,” he said. “I prefer a smaller, quiet one (it seats 60) where we’re part of the neighborhood and our customers are our friends.” Kim believes that good food makes you comfortable and 90 percent of Haru’s patrons are locals: “They come in and enjoy the environment, the experience and the food.” They must. Kim claims that 50 percent of first-time customers come back. One customer told Kim he enjoyed Haru because he “didn’t like to feel like a mackerel in a can.”
  • At the supermarket produce aisle, I befriended a shopper choosing assorted leafy greens and venting about how she must pay the piper for an indulgent holiday food orgy. She grumbled about the light, airiness of salads, and how “rabbit food” was hardly a satisfying meal. Looking outside the bowl, you can easily find an exciting bounty of roots, fruits, seeds, grains, gourds, greens, succulent seafood and other lean proteins to beef up an otherwise anemic salad, giving it a nutritional and gratifying oomph.
  • Strolling the aisles of my favorite supermarket looking back at the gustatory highlights of the year, I then gaze at my culinary crystal ball perched in the child’s seat of my shopping cart to predict what’s ahead for 2020. This has been a year of imposter foods — cauliflower impersonated everything from mashed potatoes and rice to pizza crust, breads and gravies. Plant-based proteins and molecules (like pea and heme iron) made mock meats taste, smell, chew and even “bleed” like the real McCoy. Shredded Jackfruit doubled for crab cakes, while spiral sliced zucchini and other squashes disguised themselves as noodles, aka “zoodles.”
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