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  • Writer's pictureJarnard Sutton

In the Kitchen with Abe Botello of West Coast Tavern

Chef Abe Botello is at it again with his fall menu. His menu introduces his guests with fresh produce, seasonal spices and seasoning and delicious eats that reminds you of a home cooked meal from the East Coast.

Executive chef of West Coast Tavern, Abe Botello, chats with 'In the Kitchen' about his inspirations as a chef and shares one of his fall dishes.

Courtesy Photo

Roasted Chicken, Braised Kale and Butternut Squash. Mustard Au Jus -- $21

What's the key component to this dish? The braised kale and butternut squash is a key component in this dish. It elevates the true flavors of fall. Describe the taste to someone who haven't had this dish? I would describe the flavors as comforting. Using spices such as nutmeg, all spice, cinnamon and mustard, I tried to bring some fall flavors forward in this dish along with the techniques that consist of roasting, braising and charring. What's a good beer and/or cocktail to pair with this dish?

I'm a fan of old fashions and our maple rosemary old fashion is a winner and I think it complements the dish with its smokey and herbaceous notes. What makes this dish a good addition to the fall menu? I think that it’s a full and balanced dish, not too heavy and the fall flavors makes it a dish to really enjoy. I think it marries well with the other ingredients in the dish. What are some other food items we can expect on the menu? Our fall menu will include Shrimp and Grits with sautéed fennel, roasted tomatoes and pork sausage. We will also have bone marrow, with charred carrots, poached eggs and braised octopus. For our steak fans, we will include a flat iron steak, braised mustard kale and fingerling potatoes with a port-chantrelle demi glace.

What kind of experience will a diner get at West Coast Tavern? We are an eclectic venue. Everything from our menu to our ambience and concerts at the Observatory North Park.

About Abe Botello

photo courtesy Jarnard Sutton

Are you from San Diego? I am a native San Diegan. What inspired you to become a chef? I grew up in a household where my mom was a baker and my dad owned a restaurant. At a young age, I was introduced to cooking. I graduated high school and attended Architecture school, then I decided to attend culinary school. I find it comforting to cook for friends and family. I love seeing them enjoy my food. It's my way of bringing people together through food. What has your journey been like leading up your current position at West Coast Tavern?

It has been a fun ride. It's my first time at the helm of a kitchen and we [West Coast Tavern] work really hard as a team to bring out the best. What is your favorite dish on West Coast Tavern's menu? One of my favorite dishes on our current menu are the half roasted chicken and the flat iron steak. What motivates you as a chef?

I like to teach and inspire others through food. When I have people who wants to know more, it drives me to be creative. What is one culinary trend you're noticing in San Diego?

I've been noticing a taco revolution. A lot of Baja influences are starting to pop up in San Diego. What do you feel is the biggest challenge when it comes creating new dishes? I think the biggest challenge when creating dishes is acceptance. I don’t care if I think it taste good, it's up to my audience to decide if it's a good dish. When you're not coming up with delicious dishes, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time? If I'm not in the kitchen, I like to explore my town and go on adventures. I enjoy hiking, running, mountain biking, catching a live music show, a movie or gathering with friends. What's next for you?

I am currently working on a side project called Chef Abe Botello Co., which is a consulting firm and culinary education program.

West Coast Tavern

courtesy photo

2895 University Ave., North Park. (619) 295-1688 or

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