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Pacifica Del Mar offers more than just great view

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Chris Idso is partner/chef at Pacifica Del Mar.

Q: This is Pacifica's 20th anniversary. What are you doing to keep your long-standing customers coming in and attract new ones?

A: One of our main keys to success is consistency (food, service, clean facility) and always having a guest first approach, we listen to what our guest wants and go to lengths to make sure we deliver it. The destination is usually what brings them in and our philosophy is what brings them back.

Q: You were the executive chef for many years at Pacifica and now chef/partner. What has it been like making the transition from back of house to front of house? Which do you prefer?

A: The transition has been fun and challenging. I loved being a chef because of its many challenges and the never-ending learning -- now I have an entire new set of challenges. I like both perspectives of the restaurant, and now managing the restaurant in full scope is very rewarding. I will always be a chef at heart.

Q: One of your biggest highlights is the Vodka Bar showcasing over 75 vodkas and your newly installed raw bar -- was this something that was difficult to do? Do you find it a successful part of your business? How did customers react to the changes?

A: This was not that difficult, the raw bar was a custom built piece that was designed the fit the contour of our existing bar which ultimately looks as if it had always been a part of the design. The vodka bar took the installation of few lights and under lit shelving for displaying then we looked to all of our spirit vendors to bring us some of the most popular and some of the most unique vodkas available. The last part and most fun was the developing of several exclusive recipes to compliment certain vodkas.

Both the raw bar and vodka bar have been very successful additions to our business both in aesthetics and increased sales.

Our customers reacted very well, we sell a lot more random vodkas now and people are willing to experiment with different preparations rather than just regular martini's. The raw bar has increased our oyster sales by 4 times ... people are loving it!

B>Q: It is said a restaurant can't have a great view and food at the same time. Do you ever feel like you get pigeon-holed into that category and, if so, what do you do to combat that?

A: I don't believe we get pigeon-holed in that category very often. We work really hard at keeping our approach to food service fresh. We change our menus frequently to reflect the latest trends and tastes and we work at continually educating our staff on our vodkas and wines, which is another menu we change up quite a bit. These are some of the things that set us apart from a lot of other view-driven restaurants.

Q: How do you feel about sustainable seafood and produce? Is it a philosophy you all stand behind at Pacifica? Do you also believe other restaurant should adhere to sustainable methods?

A: I think sustainability is very important. As a restaurant we have a responsibility to maintain our resources for the future. We practice it wherever possible on our menu, also using suppliers for all facets of our business as local as possible. These are practices, I believe, are a responsibility all restaurant operators should incorporate wherever possible.

Q: What is Pacifica Del Mar known for?

A: Pacifica is known for a great view with friendly service, great food & cocktails. All this is what keeps us busy and being busy is what we are known for and of course great seafood.

For the second year, The Grand Del Mar has created a candy rendition of Santa's Workshop comprised entirely of chocolate, icing, blown sugar and other sweets.

The intricate creation took more than 300 hours over five weeks to design and assemble. The display was designed by The Grand Del Mar's Pastry Chef Melissa Logan and her crew of eight chefs. Under Logan's direction, each chef masterminded his or her own elf.

The sculpture will be on display in the resort's lobby Nov. 28 through Dec. 30.

The Little Italy Association is hosting its annual Little Italy Tree Lighting and Christmas Village from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 4 at the Piazza Natale (located on the corner of India and Date streets).

For information visit littleitalysd.com

The San Diego Convention Center Corp. has received two awards recognizing its eco-friendly activities: The 2010 Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP Award) from the California Dept of Resources, Recycling and Recovery, and the 2010 Alonzo Award for Sustainable Business Practices from the Downtown San Diego Partnership.

The 2010 WRAP Award is the third consecutive WRAP recognition from the State of California and sixth time since 1998 that SDCCC has been acknowledged by the state for its recycling, waste reduction and environmental practices.

In addition, the Downtown San Diego Partnership, which represents the interests of business, property owners and residents in downtown San Diego, awarded its Sustainable Business Practices Award to SDCCC because it "has gone above and beyond local, state and federal regulations in creating best practices in sustainability."

-- jada.thomas@sddt.com

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