San Diego’s top seasonal menus & cocktails


From gingerbread flapjacks to jolly juleps, San Diego is packed with holiday treats this season.

Seasonal menus

Cafe 222 is whipping up chocolate chip gingerbread flapjacks for the holiday season. Priced at $10.50, the hotcakes are topped with homemade whipped cream and candied ginger. 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. Marina District, 222 Island Ave., San Diego.

Cerveza Jack’s in Pacific Beach is serving a traditional Mexican favorite, the tamale. The December Tamale Special ($5) includes roasted poblano, cheese, grilled chicken and elote corn salsa. Pair it with a Raging Rudolph ($8) crafted with Crown Royal Vanilla, muddled cherries, cranberries, cinnamon-aged bitters, soda water, cranberry juice and garnished with mint and a candy cane rim. If you pair the two together, the price is $11. 1165 Garnet Ave., San Diego. (858) 999-0158 or

Herb & Eatery’s executive pastry chef Adrian Mendoza has put a spin on the traditional apple pie. Mendoza’s Ancient Grain White Cheddar Crumble Dutch Hand-Pie ($8) elevates the taste of the holiday treat with white cheddar, a classic twist to the crust, ancient grains and the crumble topping. 2210 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy . (619) 794-2790.

Puesto (downtown San Diego and La Jolla) is serving a seasonal twist on its guacamole with its new Brussels Sprouts & Bacon Guacamole ($12). The chip topping is made with roasted chiles, applewood smoke bacon and Brussels sprouts seared in bacon fat.

The Curious Fork is sharing the holiday spirit with its Holiday Eggnog Latte ($5) made with Stumptown Roasters Espresso, topped with rich, steamed eggnog and dusted with a choice of nutmeg or cinnamon. The restaurant is also offering a new pastry addition: Chocolate Ginger Cake, a dark chocolate cake with gingerbread fudge ganache. The cake is available by the slice for $5.25 or as a whole cake for $40. 512 Via de la Valle, Suite 102, Solana Beach. (858) 876-6386 or

Urban Solace’s chef Matt Gordon, a master at duck preparation, is pleased to announce a new dish: Citrus Basted Maple Leaf Duck Breast ($26). The seasonal dish contains sherry reduction, duck confit and potato terrine and hazelnuts. 3823 30th St., North Park. (619) 295-6464 or

Herringbone La Jolla and Searsucker Del Mar‘s new pastry chef, Becky Kastelz, brings fall-inspired desserts to each restaurant’s menus. Chef Kastelz introduces traditional pastries with modern techniques with her inventive and decadent cinco leches dessert and chocolate peanut butter cheesecake, along with new classics like cinnamon sugar donuts and warm maple crumble. and

Seasonal cocktails

Green Acres in La Jolla is helping shoppers take a breather from the holiday rush with a new signature cocktail, Gunslinger ($12). Drink master Chris Simmons’ refreshing libation includes rye whiskey, Barolo Chinato (Italian wine), pureed pear and pressed lemon. 3535 General Atomics Court, San Diego. (858) 587-6601 or

Madison on Park in University Heights has launched a new concept with its Build Your Own Old Fashioned, or the BYOF, with the Old Fashioned as the classic holiday bourbon drink. The BYOF is created by picking one item out of each category: spirits, sweeteners and bitters. The spirits include two different types of bourbon, a whiskey and a mezcal; sweeteners range from pecan wood-smoked maple syrup to seasonal Fee Brothers Pumpkin Cordial Syrup to classic simple syrup; bitters are each infused with flavors of apricot, vanilla, chocolate, orange, grapefruit, with one consisting of a mix of clove, cinnamon and fruit notes. The drink is $12. 4622 Park Blvd., San Diego. (619) 269-6566 or

Herb & Wood’s lead bartender, Will Van Leuven, has created a ham-infused cocktail using Iberico fat-washing bourbon. The Iberico & Bourbon cocktail ($12) includes Amaro Montenegro (an Italian herbal liqueur), R&D aromatic bitters and orange peel garnish. 2210 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy. (619) 955-8495 or

L’Auberge Del Mar is celebrating Old Fashioned L’Happy Hour every Friday this month. The TGIF Old Fashioneds are Apple Cinnamon with Woodford Reserve Rye, apple butter, aromatic bitters; Cranberry Old Fashioned with fresh cranberries, oranges, Bulleit Bourbon and Bittermens Orange Cream Citrate bitters; and the Amaro with Maker’s Mark, Amaro Abano (a medium bitter), Memphis Barbeque bitters and maraschino cherries. 1540 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar. (858) 259-1515 or

Quad Alehouse is spreading holiday cheer with the Jolly Julep. The $10 drink is made with Bulleit Bourbon 10 Year Old, mint, cranberry, simple syrup and soda water, garnished with fresh cranberries and a mint sprig. The cocktail is $10 and is available this month. 868 Fifth Ave., San Diego. (619) 239-3339 or


Dirty Birds has opened its doors in Liberty Station. The restaurant’s menu features 37 flavors of wings, sandwiches, salads, burgers, sliders, appetizers and other fare.A large outdoor patio overlooks The Loma Club golf course. 2970 Truxtun Road, Point Loma.

The Pizza Press, an Anaheim-based pizzeria chain with a Roaring Twenties atmosphere, opened last month at The Shoppes in Carlsbad. The fast-casual restaurant offers a menu selection of “newsworthy” signature pizzas and guests can “publish” (build) their own original edition with The Pizza Press’ offerings of premium sauces, meats and veggies. Each thin crust is made with high-quality, locally sourced ingredients. Customizable salads, desserts and an array of rotating craft beers on tap, wines and Stumptown Coffee Roasters coffee are also on the menu. 2501 El Camino Real, Suite 210, Carlsbad. (760) 729-1904 or

The Shops at La Jolla Village welcomed Mendocino Farms to the neighborhood last week. The seasonal, farm-to-table menu features specialties like the Cubano Pollo Angeleno, Pork Belly Banh Mi and Avocado Quinoa Superfood Ensalada. Soup and deli salad specials rotate weekly. Wine and local craft beer on tap are also offered. 8795 Villa La Jolla Drive, San Diego.

Dunkin’ Donuts opened in National City on Dec. 6. The restaurant marks the county’s first standalone Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through and will be home to the largest doughnut sign west of the Mississippi River. The shop offers a full array of signature menu items, including fresh brewed coffee and iced beverages, baked goods and sandwiches. 2139 E. Plaza Blvd., National City.