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Dining out: Local Habit to celebrate first anniversary in Hillcrest

SAN DIEGO -- There’s a heavy emphasis on the word “local” these days when it comes to food and dining, but if there’s one place to return to in the neighborhood, Local Habit is it.

Celebrating its one-year anniversary this July, Local Habit has become a new haven for farm-to-table cuisine and craft beer in Hillcrest.

Executive Chef Nick Brune builds his menus every month according to the products he receives from local growers, ranchers and fishermen. Roasted Proios Brussels Sprouts come straight from Proios Farm in Murrieta, as well as many other products on the menu. Brune and his staff frequent weekly farmers’ markets to hand select the best products for their menu.

The “Fine Fare” dishes reveal Brune’s Cali-Creole background and rely heavily upon seasonality. The food is all made from scratch, everything from daily baked breads and their signature Nepolitana style pizza dough to all their homemade sodas and kombucha. Fresh, organic family-style dishes show their best colors with a Cajun kick.

For the month of June, the menu features mouthwatering summer dishes such as braised pork shoulder with juicy navel oranges and fennel, grilled sardines with charred heirloom tomatoes, tender braised rabbit with juniper and preserved lemons, veggie stuffed mushrooms with a caramelized onion jus, and a delicious vegan almond ricotta ravioli. Sides of grilled sweet corn and crisp butter lettuce salads will arouse the palate.

The pizza menu is extravagant as well, with options like the Crimini mushroom herbed pizza with Spring Hill Goat cheddar or the house smoked pork loin pizza. There are always specifically vegan and gluten free options throughout the menu as well for diners with dietary restrictions.

The local vibe doesn’t stop with food however; Local Habit’s decor is simple reclaimed fencingwith earthy colors and a gorgeous handcrafted bar made from repurposed wood. There are no televisions inside, but instead space for conversation and community to exist, organically.

One of the only bars in the neighborhood supporting local breweries, Local Habit carries twelve constantly rotating craft beers on tap well as a variety of California based wines and ciders.On Tuesday nights you can enjoy a tasting flight of six beers for $9. Other specials include Pizza Night on Wednesdays where they offer buy one get one half off pizza and Friday’s with $4 sides as well as happy hour Tuesday through Friday with $1 off draft beer and wine.

Their seasonal Brewmaster’s Dinners are another regular event not to miss. For $50 per person, you can enjoy a lavish five-course meal paired with beers from local breweries. Visit HERE for more information and plan on making a visit to Local Habit one of your local habits.

(The three photos on the left were taken by Kristina Blake. At top left is Mountain Meadow Crimini Mushrooms with Fresh Herbs and Spring Hill Cheese Curd. At top middle is Charred Vine-Ripe Tomatoes with Grilled Local Sardines, Olive Oil, and Spring Hill Dry Jack. At top bottom is
Red Barn Braised Pork Shoulder with Navel Orange and Shaved Fennel.)