Flavors of Fall

Erin Jackson |
Food And Dining

Campfire Christmas Cocktail from Grant Grill {326 Broadway; 619.744.2077}

This festive spin on an Old Fashioned is named after Grant Grill's starring spirit, High West Campfire Whiskey—a blend of rye, bourbon, and peated Scotch that warms you up from the inside out. The smoky-sweet whiskey is shaken with a splash of seltzer water, a dash of Christmas bitters, and a heaping spoonful of Muscovado sugar, which makes it taste (and smell) like a spicy molasses cookie, still warm from the oven. Santa would approve. grantgrill.com

Candy Cane Beet and Pear Salad from Cusp {7955 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla; 858.551.3620}

Donald Lockhart’s take on beet salad is simply stunning. Candy cane beets (a mild, subdued variety) and thin slices of pear sit on top of a sweet citrus marmalade, but what really catapults the dish to delicious new heights is the addition of fried goat cheese fritters perked up with peppercorns. cusprestaurant.com

Grilled Mac 'n' Cheese Sandwich from Craft & Commerce {675 West Beech Street, Little Italy; 619.269.2202}

Let's just say this: Craft & Commerce’s Grilled Mac 'n' Cheese sandwich is even better than we ever imagined possible. From the macaroni noodles swimming in a rich (and slightly spicy) aged Cheddar sauce, to the buttered brioche grilled to a perfect golden brown, it’s one hell of a sandwich. If you’re ordering it for lunch, you might as well go all the way and upgrade your side to hand-cut fries with malt aïoli. You can always eat steamed broccoli for dinner. craft-commerce.com

Carrot Cake from George’s California Modern {1250 Prospect Street, La Jolla; 858.454.4244}

At George’s California Modern, Pastry Chef Lori Sauer’s swoon-worthy spin on the classic cake is easy to love. Two towers of cake (made extra-moist with a splash of grape seed oil and pineapple juice in the batter) are adorned with citrus segments, raisins macerated in lavender syrup, brown butter dust, and all things carrot: carrot butter, carrot meringue, carrot ice cream, and carrot tops. georgesatthecove.com/california-modern

Goat Cheese Cheesecake from Davanti Enoteca {12955 El Camino Real, Del Mar; 858.519.5060 and 1655 India Street; 619.237.9606}

Eating cheesecake after plates of pasta and pizza may sound like overkill, but if you leave Davanti Enoteca before having dessert, you’re missing out. The Goat Cheese Cheesecake is the way to go. It’s just as decadent as the traditional formulation, but swapping in whipped goat cheese makes it noticeably more tart, to the point that it’s borderline savory. Of course, once you factor in the crunchy Marcona almond brittle and salted caramel drizzle, it lands squarely within dessert territory (and is worth every calorie). davantisandiego.com