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Friday, March 11, 2005 | Out and About:

Tired of meat and potatoes? At Kung Food in Bankers Hill you can “enrich your body, mind & spirit” with organic and only plant-based foods. The menu selection varies daily with many choices of raw food, salads, hot food, soups and desserts. The concept is simple. It’s a buffet, and at $6.95 a pound, all food is equal in cost – your plate is weighed at the cash register. Try the pumpkin stew, tamale pie or the popular “chicken parmesan” made with chicken soy. Along with well-flavored food, there is music, art and even a Tribal Fusion Belly Dance Showcase on March 23. Kung Food, 2949 5th Ave. at Quince, (619) 298-7302 www.kung-food.com. Immediately next door, just in case your sweet tooth needs a fix, is Extraordinary Desserts, 2929 Fifth Ave., (619) 294-7001, www.extraordinarydesserts.com.

Cheese is all the rage these days, and some of the tonier restaurants now feature a cheese course. Well-known is the cheese selection at Whole Foods, but I prefer to deal with neighborhood stores that have knowledgeable and helpful owners and wonderful cheese. Here are four good places that feature a multinational array of cheeses to learn about, taste and buy. Taste, 1234 ½ University, (619) 683-2306, is immediately next door to Wine Steals also has cheese, pate, olive oil and preserves. Owner George Palmer studied cheese with Bob Stonebrook of Aniata Cheese Co. Nearby is Venissimo Cheese at 764 W. Washington Blvd. near Goldfinch, www.venissimo.com. Their bread is from Bread on Market, 730 Market St., (619) 795-2730. It’s a stone’s throw from the Petco Park, (yes, there are other good bakeries besides Bread & Cie.). Venissimo’s sales receipt notes each cheese you buy with where it’s from, what wine to have with it, as well as price. Up in Del Mar right off Interstate 5 at Via de la Valle in the Flower Hill Mall is The Aniata Cheese Co., (858) 847-9616, www.aniata.com. They have a cheese club, tastings and supply many restaurants with cheese. Further north is Sonoma Valley Market, 300 Carlsbad Village Dr., Carlsbad, (760) 720-7700, www.sonomavalleymarket.com. This store also features wines and other foods.

Bored with the same old blogs? Here are some to titillate the palate: www.kiplog.com/food, http://www.cheesediaries.com and http://chocolateandzucchini.com.

Heard on the street: La Jolla’s soon-to-open fine dining restaurant is Jack’s at 7863 Girard Ave., with a chef from New York’s four-star restaurant Jean Georges, owned by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Rather than the regular menu, on Tuesdays only, Region in Hillcrest features a simple, slow food three-course dinner for $31, (619) 299-6499.

Marcie Rothman loves good food – no matter where it’s cooked – at home, a hole in the wall or a white tablecloth restaurant. She believes that the freshest ingredients make the best dishes and will taste anything at least once. Known as The $5 Chef on radio, television and in her two cookbooks, Marcie travels far and near with an eye on what’s current in food. You can find her at www.5dollarchef.com.

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