Sammy D’s next act, respite in San Diego, and Max picks Parsley

Sammy DeMarco, a.k.a. Sammy D of First Food & Bar in the Palazzo, is one of our most creative chefs, so when he unfurls a new project, it’s big news. Rattlecan should be open by mid-October at the Venetian, and it’s going to be hip, fun and affordable.

This is basically a burger and shot joint. You know: Jameson’s with a pickle back, etc., and fun spin-offs of familiar bar chow, such as Sammy’s original take on nachos (with crushed pizza crumbs and meatballs) and classic hamburgers cooked on a flat metal griddle.

But together with his partner, HDTV’s Anthony Ballatore, who has more tattoos than a leopard has spots, this will be an art-filled palace of funk. “Rattlecan” is graffiti artist slang for spray cans used to decorate those big city bridges, subway cars and blank playground walls. Ballatore has assembled a number of artists, including Krink and Lady Aiko, to spray the walls with original work, and there will be many other contributors. The restaurant will seat 185, and there will be two patios, one facing the Strip, a second next to the sportsbook.

Meanwhile, for anyone with occasion to be in bucolic San Diego County to escape our final blast of summer heat, I think I’ve found the county’s best restaurant in Market Restaurant + Bar (, a bustling farm-to-table spot adjacent to Chino Ranch in Del Mar, the farm stand Wolfgang Puck made famous using their peerless baby vegetables. Eating at Market makes me miss the now shuttered Bradley Ogden all the more.

Among Market’s specialties: crispy duck confit with organic figs, organic baby beet and citrus salad, farmers market vegetable tasting, cabernet-braised prime beef short ribs and bacon wrapped pork tenderloin with sour cherry sausage.

Over in my neck of the woods, I’ve discovered a delicious, inexpensive option for fresh Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare: Parsley Mediterranean Grill (6420 S. Pecos Road, I’m totally hooked on their falafel (some of the best around), and the shawarma, both steak and chicken. There is also hummus, baba ghannouj, salads, wraps and much more.

Finally, for those nostalgic for the restaurant Rosemary’s, two former members of chef Michael Jordan’s team, executive chef Ross Boaz and sommelier Mike Jones are reunited at Garfield’s in the Desert Shores complex. That’s good news for a lot of reasons. I’m looking forward to trying it again soon.

Hungry, yet?

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Hangar One Vodka


Hangar One Vodka

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I recently put in some serious tasting time at the St. George distillery, home to Hangar One vodka, which is housed in a decommissioned naval air station hangar, and this year celebrating its 30th anniversary. Founded by a former judge obsessed with alchemically capturing the essence of California in a bottle, Hangar One infuses its vodka (most of which is made from single-distilled viognier grapes and wheat) not with the pedestrian orange, lemon or lime flavorings, but with all-natural mandarin blossom, Buddha’s hand citron and kaffir lime from trusted growers.