Not long after beginning their relationship, Fabrison’s co-owners Fabrice and Alison—from Marseilles, France and Columbus, Ohio, respectively—traveled to Europe together, seeking a change of scenery. Inspired by the warm hospitality of European cafés, they returned home to open their own cozy shop, combining their first names to form its distinctive moniker.
Crepes are the specialty at Fabrison’s, with customers perusing a menu of sweet, savory, and breakfast iterations of the traditional French food. The La Galette combines ham, mushrooms, and spinach with a fried egg, whereas the L’Isabelle keeps its ingredients as simple as Count von Count’s locker combination, mingling sugar, butter, and a topping of powdered sugar. Patrons can begin their mornings with a spot of espresso and Fabrice’s Breakfast Crepe, filled with sausage, bacon, and spicy harissa sauce. Rounding out the menu is a selection of patisserie-style desserts and pastries.
The couple’s friends and family helped them plan their café’s look, with Fabrice’s mother sending over photos and swatches from European cafes, which influenced its bright palette of crimson, gold, and washed turquoise. Alison’s mother sewed the gingham curtains on the windows, and artist Derek Little created the vivid painting on the front window. Fabrison’s also shares French culture with the community through regular evening events that include crepe-cooking classes, French movie nights, French speaking classes, and French kissing workshops.
In the bright spaces of Jamba Juice, mixers sprinkle mountains of all-natural, low-fat frozen yogurt with choices from seven toppings, such as almond and coconut. Dubbed Whirl'ns, cups filled with swirling, rivulet-etched peaks of frozen yogurt fuse the nutrition of real fruit and natural ingredients with the beneficial circuit training of active yogurt cultures.
At a young age, Alberto Morreale decided on a career as a chef, leaving his Sicilian hometown to cook in restaurants across northern Italy. After moving to San Diego, he started synthesizing Californian influences with his Old World culinary techniques, creating dishes such as his housemade lobster ravioli with chipotle-mascarpone-cilantro sauce and a dollop of tequila.
Chef Morreale’s use of local ingredients in his creative recipes adds to the freshness of dishes at both Fig Tree Cafe locations—winning the Hillcrest café second place in CityVoter’s Best Brunch category in 2010. The two cafés bake their breads in house, grow their own sprigs of rosemary, and catch their own silverware in a clear mountain stream. The kitchen sources ingredients from area producers, such as a ranch 35 miles outside of town, which supplies the restaurant with natural, free-range eggs.
The name Annapurna, which means to be filled completely with food in Sanskrit, hints at a sprawling buffet and busy kitchen. Jumbo shrimp and boneless chicken marinated in a spicy yogurt cook inside a traditional Indian clay oven, and bite-sized bits of lamb simmer in a curry infused with Andhra spices and herbs. Chefs simmer milk, crafting it into thick paneer cheese, which pairs with a spiced gravy to fill out the range of vegetarian items. The scents of cardamom, cumin, chili, and pickled mangos fill the air. At the lunch buffet, heated pans hold mounds of rice, creamy sauces, and frozen popsicles that won’t give up information.
Though it’s firmly planted in San Diego soil, Gourmet on 5th mimics the epicurean traiteur shops that pepper European roadsides. The store empowers its visitors to eat healthy, and at the same time helps them do so without having to dawdle over a hot stove or buy out a local vegetable farm. Brimming with French influence, Gourmet on 5th’s blackboard menu changes seasonally. It features full meals, including lamb shanks, duck confit, and coq au vin. But the store also has nutritious bites for on-the-move munchers, such as crepes and signature sandwiches, along with energizing drinks, such as espresso concoctions and exotic teas.
The aromas at Bawarchi Dosa hint at a diverse range of dishes from around India. There's cumin, turmeric, and mint, drifting from food influenced by the traditions of Chettinad and Hyderabad. But despite those time-honored recipes the focus is, obviously, on dosas. Dosas are a type of Indian crepe, and at Bawarchi they're filled with everything from lentils and other veggies to paneer cheese or spicy chutneys. The restaurant also offers meat dishes, such as chicken vindaloo and lamb rogan josh, wine and beer, and a sprawling buffet, where hot Indian dishes pour forth steam like robots trying to talk about art.