New Year, new brunch menus

The Medina Breakfast Skillet is served in a cast iron pan with cubed sweet potatoes, black beans, caramelized onions, merguez sausage and topped with a fried egg and roasted jalapeno-avocado salsa.
(Courtesy photo)

Restaurants offer creative dishes and drinks ranging from Moroccan-style chilaquiles and Italian sweet cream pancakes to broken rice porridge and house espresso martini


Evolving from a food truck concept in San Francisco and later expanding to farmers market’s and pop-ups in San Diego, Medina — Moroccan Baja Kitchen is offering weekend brunch as well as a Friday family-style weekly special. The new brunch menu, under the auspices of owner and chef Alia Jaziri, includes Jaziri’s take on chilaquiles, made of lightly fried corn tortilla strips, tossed in a home-made guajillo chile salsa, scrambled eggs, choice of house-made merguez sausage (red, spicy mutton- or beef-based sausage) or Moroccan chicken, topped off with shredded romaine and Mexican crema. Other selections include Lamb Chorizo Breakfast Tacos and the Medina Breakfast Skillet. In addition to brunch, Medina now offers family-style traditional couscous plates consisting of fluffy house-made couscous topped with freshly-grilled vegetables (carrots, potatoes, onions, Anaheim and bell peppers, cabbage), served with a side of special broth to ladle onto the dish, as well as the option of house-made grilled merguez sausage or Moroccan spiced chicken. New cocktails are on the menu, including the Medina Mimosa, The Casablanca and The La Paz. Open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday; daily happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. 2850 El Cajon Blvd., Suite 4, San Diego.

Savoie Italian Eatery in South County’s Otay Ranch Town Center has launched a new sweet and savory brunch menu, in addition to a boozy collection of cocktails. Brunch highlights include sweet cream pancakes($11), served with syrup and butter; avocado toast ($10), two pieces of whole wheat avocado toast with lemony arugula salad, sun-dried tomatoes and egg any style; and Italian frittata ($14), with bell pepper, Italian sausage, pepperoni, melted Provolone cheese, avocado and sriracha aioli. New drink offerings include Berry and Paloma Mimosas, Champagne Mule, Prosecco Punch and Bloody Marys. Guests can also opt for $20 bottomless mimosas or happy hour specials offered throughout brunch. Open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 2015 Birch Road, No. 720, Chula Vista. Reservations: (619) 591-5757.

Crispy mulas rancheros.
Crispy mulas rancheros.
(Fort Oak)

Fort Oak executive chef Brad Wise has introduced a weekend brunch menu that offers regulars and newbies a few new options. They include the crispy mulas rancheros, with two eggs, smoked pork, pinto beans, cheese, radish, guacamole and pickled jalapeño; the brioche breakfast sandwich, with omelet, American cheese, sausage, bacon, lettuce, onion, basil aioli and potatoes. What would brunch be without a cocktail like The Galaxie, featuring vodka, cucumber, citrus, aloe and green tea, garnished with a cucumber wheel and basil blossom; and the House Expresso Martini, served with a scoop of Mr. Trustee cookies and cream ice cream? 1011 Fort Stockton Drive San Diego. (619) 722-3398.

Broken rice porridge is on the brunch menu at The Florence.
(Pam Kragen / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The Florence unveiled a new brunch menu that features broken rice porridge ($9), with chicken broth, ginger, chicken meatball and sous vide egg seasoned with scallions, spicy chili oil and cilantro; Italian meatball sandwich ($16), house-made meatballs with mozzarella, pomodoro sauce and Grana Padano cheese served on a soft roll with fries; B.A.L.T. ($15), Applewood bacon, avocado, iceberg lettuce and heirloom tomato served on rye bread with fries; and French dip ($15), roasted beef, au jus, caramelized onion and Swiss cheese on a soft roll with fries. 13480 Evening Creek Drive North, Suite 150, San Diego. (858) 433-1545.