Lots of new restaurants opening up the past few weeks, or coming soon to San Diego neighborhoods. Sipz Fusion Cafe began serving vegetarian food next door to Ranchos in North Park a couple weeks back. Always good to have another healthy option in North Park, and some competition for Loving Hut on El Cajon Blvd. Carnitas’ Snack Shack opened last week on University, and for a casual spot emphasizing pork dishes, owner/chef Hanis Cavin has quite a track record, including his most recent stint at Kensington Grill.

We haven’t had a chance to check out the restaurants above but we did get over to the newly-opened Wangs North Park on Friday, which was bustling but still had plenty of room around the spacious bar. It’s fairly dim inside but here’s a picture from the bar where I started to work my way through the sizable cocktail list:

The menu is laid out into easy-to-navigate categories, from which we ordered korean bbq ribs, lettuce wraps, sweet and sour chicken, and curry chicken. If you’re into white person Chinese food a-la PF Chang’s, you’ll be pleased, but don’t expect the exotic flavors of something you’d find on Convoy. And that’s OK – the prices are reasonable, the entrees are tasty, and prices are fair. Not to mention the strong cocktails, unique interior design and the people-watching in the vast space. Speaking of which, Wang’s might just be the first post-gay restaurant/lounge in San Diego, with a mix of people we haven’t seen anywhere else around town. Throw in LA-based whiskey bar Seven Grand‘s opening across the street in the old Bacchus House location, and this stretch of University will draw in folks from all over.

Downtown, Gojira Noodle House is opening in the next few months in the former Cheese Shop location. ¬†From the owners of Bar West in PB and The Griffin in Bay Park, the restaurant/lounge will be serving Pan-Asian cuisine. ¬†Sounds similar to Red Pearl, but I can think of worse things downtown (McFaddens) than a twist on that concept. Also opening soon downtown: Katsuya in the Andaz Hotel (former Quarter Kitchen spot). And congratulations to Craft and Commerce in Little Italy for making Food and Wine’s 50 best bars in America list.

Amidst all the openings, Lei Lounge in University Heights has closed. Bourbon Street next door doesn’t seem as busy as it used to be and Lei’s closure appears to confirm the downward trend for this stretch of the gayborhood on Park.

– The historic E Street Post Office downtown is among the US Postal Service properties slated for redevelopment, and plans were unveiled last week to retain some of the building’s art deco facade, while plopping down a visually unappealing apartment building that clashes with the design. This was done to a better effect at Electra, whose sleek skyscraper looks sharper than the blocky it-gets-fatter-with-height design of the E Street project. Still, it would at least provide centrally-located, affordable housing for downtown workers. The same can’t be said for the kitschy 500-foot Wings of Freedom sculpture proposed for Navy Pier, which was the subject of a Union Tribune cheerleader editorial today.

Regardless of how bad the sculpture is, or how it serves as a distraction to the true issue of accommodating parking on the pier that was supposed to be located elsewhere, or how predictable it is that new UT owner Doug Manchester supports it regardless of the bay views it will block (something he’s excelled at with his developments), these aren’t the most troubling aspects of the editorial. It’s that simply attempting to engage in discussion over civic projects is viewed by the UT as obstructionism – and that we’re “small-town undertakers” who lack vision. This same criticism is applied to the majority of San Diegans who oppose giving tax money to the millionaire owners of the Chargers to build a new stadium. We’re also instructed to not question projects if rich philanthropists fund them – regardless of their consequences.

If you think regular citizens of San Diego should have a voice in the future of their city, folks like Manchester and UT president John Lynch (who told me by email years ago that Donna Frye should “go to prison”) probably don’t agree with you. They’re advancing their own interests and those of their wealthy friends, which usually conflict with the rest of us. Your UT subscription dollars might be better off going to more objective news sources like Voice of San Diego, who recently laid off staff, or if you lean progressive, by supporting the advertisers of San Diego City Beat.

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