The words “pizza” and “Brussels sprouts” don’t usually hang out together in the same sentence. But that didn’t stop San Diego wunderchef Tracy Borkum from creating a wondrous pie topped with individual leaves of the cruciferous orb, fat strips of glistening pancetta, fontina cheese, red onion and Calabrian chili.
By chance, we had dined the night before at Borkum’s original Cucina Urbana located in Banker’s Hill. At that dinner, too, Brussels sprouts made a statement, this time in the de-lish Kale ‘Caesar’ Salad. Kale can easily fall into the “too much of a good thing” category. But Cucina Urbana’s salad balanced the chewy green with tender, finely shaved sprouts and tossed it all with a spunky Meyer Lemon vinaigrette and raisins soaked in Cognac and orange zest. A crackly parmesan frico was the proverbial icing on the cake. (Photo from TripAdvisor.)
The two restaurants have pretty much the same menu, with a few chef de cuisine whims and daily specials thrown in for good measure. Both feature a selection of mini mason jars filled with scrumptious spreads. I loved the bright, summery Sweet Pea Hummus, made with fresh English peas, shallots, garlic and chickpeas, all blended smooth with tahini and lemon juice, and topped with crispy bits of pancetta and chili-infused oil.