Friday, September 30, 2005 | Off the main drag on 15th Street in Del Mar and across from the library is a comfy hangout with very good food at reasonable prices. Locals know that the bar menu at Sbicca, An American Bistro has an interesting selection of food far beyond a burger or chips and salsa. A very satisfying evening of good food can be had even at reasonable full prices. What makes the place special is that from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily, the bar food items are half price and Tuesdays and Thursdays most of their bottle wines are also half price.

Tidbits: Gourmet magazine’s October Restaurant issue (page 179) notes San Diego’s Café Chloe, Marine Room, Extraordinary Desserts, Fresh, Arterra and the tiny Dumpling Inn with a nice paragraph on each place.

Little Italy has a new gathering place with Sogno diVino that opened last week. It is the latest venture of Daniela and Salvatore Caniglia, who own Buon Appetito next door. The two restaurants are connected through a hallway in the back. There is a pretty but difficult to read menu of wines and an eclectic collection of food that features everything from a cheese plate to smoked fish and ahi poke. I haven’t eaten there yet, but did try a nice three-ounce taste of a Zaca Mesa Roussane. Sogno diVino, 1607 India St., Little Italy, (619) 531-8887, www.sogno-divino.com.

Do something nice and support the nonprofit Chefs of San Diego Celebration Scholarship Foundation. The Foundation helps promising young San Diego cooks attend culinary school-these are, hopefully, the chefs of our city’s future. A series of October dinners feature the county’s best chefs (four or five at each restaurant) cooking together. www.chefcelebration.com.

Blackhorse Grille beginning Oct. 3 features a $25 per person tapas feast, every Monday night from 6 p.m. to closing. Also at Blackhorse on Tuesdays, Vino Boot Camp with sommelier Megan Burgess. Four wines, paired with Chef Ryan Johnston’s small plates, will be tasted and discussed. $30 per person and tasted wines are available for purchase that night. Blackhorse Grille, 3702 Via de la Valle, Del Mar, (858) 523-0007, www.blackhorsegrille.com.

Pet Peeve: This one from a restaurateur and one we can all relate to: Get off your cell phone! Get off the phone so you can give your order and get the correct order instead of complaining that it wasn’t done properly. No one wants to hear about your private life, and the world won’t end if you stop talking. Practice awareness of others and that includes proper cell phone usage (NOT in restaurants).

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 www.5dollarchef.com.

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