Friday, June 03, 2005 | It was a hot and balmy night when a pal called and said how about a beer at a place where we can sit outside and enjoy the almost-summer eve. We knew we wanted a beer and casual, not wine or a fancy bar and the Princess Pub & Grille came to mind.

Little Italy is a gem of a neighborhood with its mix of retail, residential and restaurants all within easy walking distance of each other. In the midst of pizza, pasta and other Italian foods, mostly Sicilian, there are bangers, Scotch eggs, fish and chips … and beer at the 20-year-old Princess Pub. We walked through a gaggle of drinkers standing in the entrance and settled at a sidewalk table to watch the after-work crowd and the early evening parade of families, tourists and locals with their pooches. The vintage music of the Stones and others of that era, along with the tap beers and burger and fries (soggy ones unfortunately) we split, all hit the spot for casual dining. The menu includes pub food such as bangers and mash, Cornish pasties and fish and chips. If pub fare isn’t your thing, there are, among other things, nachos, fish tacos, spicy chicken wings and salads. Princess Pub & Grille, 1665 India St. at Date, (619) 702-3021. Open until 1 a.m.

For something completely different and a wonderful getaway weekend to learn, taste and share in the ultimate epicurean experience, treat yourself to a SAVEUR Weekend at Rancho Valencia Resort July 8-10 for a look into the world of authentic cuisine. SAVEUR magazine is well known for its focus on the regions, traditions, people and heritage of foods and wines. The weekend features Colman Andrews, editor in chief and founding editor of SAVEUR; Bartholomew Broadbent, founder and chairman of Broadbent Wines (and son of his famous father, wine author and Christie’s director, Michael Broadbent MW); and Colin MacLaggan, executive chef, Rancho Valencia Resort. Along with three meals a day, you’ll learn about the history and flavors of Madeira, have a cooking class with Chef Colin that features the local fresh produce, play croquet while sipping Chopin vodka and nibbling caviar, and enjoy a gourmand’s six-course dinner featuring the best of regional seafood, meat, produce and fruit. SAVEUR Weekend at Rancho Valencia Resort, $1200 per person based on double occupancy (includes two-night stay, meals, classes, seminars, panels and activities). For reservations and information, call (888) 328-0083, extension 1631 or e-mail

Marcie Rothman loves good food – no matter where it’s cooked – at home, a hole in the wall or a white tablecloth restaurant. 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

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