Sipwell Wine Co.’s Go Getter sparkling red wine PHOTO: COURTESY OF SIPWELL WINE CO.
These phenomenal San Diego females are leading the charge in the hospitality, dining and drink space.
Founder Hilary Cocalis with her vibrant canned wine collection. BY STUDIO CARRÉ PHOTOGRAPHIE
Sipwell Wine Co.
After having kids, Hilary Cocalis wanted to enjoy a single glass of sparkling wine in the evenings without having to open a whole bottle. She wasn’t able to find a wine she liked in a single-glass format, so she decided to create one—in a can. In May 2021, Cocalis launched her first solo venture, Sipwell Wine Co., a female-founded and Black-owned company based in Southern California. While a first-time founder, Cocalis is a seasoned marketer with over a decade of experience, first serving as VP of marketing for Ballast Point Brewing Co. (later acquired by Constellation Brands), then as a consultant and adviser to emerging brands in the food and beverage space. Cocalis applied what she learned in the craft beer industry about home brewing and traditional sparkling winemaking in devising and testing out a “can-conditioned” wine, where bubbles are created right in the can. Rather than the usual wines you see in stores, Cocalis sought to champion lesser-known wine regions, unique varietals, novel production methods and environmentally friendly practices. Through research and development, she identified a process for producing four Sipwell varieties: Tiny Victories sparkling white wine, Rock Steady sparkling rosé, Go Getter sparkling red wine and That’s The Jam grenache. Her award-winning canned wines are shipped in packages of six or 12, and as Cocalis is passionate about the planet, the single-serve aluminum cans are recyclable and all wine is sourced from organic and sustainably farmed grapes on California’s Central Coast. sipwell.co
With an approach that defines food as medicine, chef Lan Thai transforms fresh vegetables into edible works of art COURTESY OF ENCLAVE CAFÉ
Enclave Café chef-owner Lan Thai LUCIANNA MCINTOSH PHOTOGRAPHY
The new Enclave Café headquarters in La Jolla. COURTESY OF ENCLAVE CAFÉ
Lan Thai, also known as chef Lando, was born in a refugee camp in Thailand, where her parents were fleeing the communist takeover of Vietnam. Growing and producing food was a necessity, and her connection with its production and preparation inspired her to found Enclave Café—a “food as medicine” concept bridging the culinary, agriculture and healthcare industries. The ability of food to uplift and connect families and communities is paramount to Enclave, which serves breakfast, craft coffee, baked organic goods, salads, sandwiches and nutrient-rich meals, from super poke bowls to fancy schmancy grilled cheese. Powered by chefs, farmers and a certified nutritionist, the adventurous eatery and wellness apothecary brand is committed to making elevated dishes that are both flavorful and nutritious—incorporating gut-healthy and anti-inflammation ingredients into fresh takes on gastropub and brewery food. After opening a flagship location in San Diego’s JuneShine Ranch in 2019, Enclave added two additional cafes—one in Torrey Hills, and a 3,600-square-foot North County headquarters opened in March in the One La Jolla Center building—in 2022. Alongside catering services for the corporate community, the versatile new indoor-outdoor location serves inventive breakfast and coffee bar items as well as expanded menu offerings like buckwheat apple pie, falafel pocket and 100% rye mudslide pie. Additionally, the acquisition of a 19-acre regenerative farm in Bonsall, Calif., will now enable Enclave to grow its own medicinal ingredients and serve as a vertically integrated farm-to-table restaurant—all reflective of chef Lando’s life experiences with food. adventuroussuperfood.com
Kaneh Co. founder Rachel King BECCA BATISTA
King’s decadent treats feature European butter and sustainably sourced cocoa powder JAMES TRAN
Prior to founding Kaneh Co., a brand of gourmet cannabis-infused edibles, in 2015, San Diego native and San Diego Culinary Institute graduate Rachel King spent years crafting desserts for some of the area’s most notable restaurants. She received numerous distinctions while working at Mister A’s, NINE-TEN, Searsucker and Herringbone—including Food & Wine magazine’s best new pastry chef in 2013. As women began leading the charge in the wellness space, King decided to employ her passion for high-end pastries and her strong ties to the cannabis industry in creating elevated cannabis products. While the mom of two had her doubts, she’s grown what began as a three-person business into a thriving San Diego-based company that now employs over 50 people—about 60% of whom are women. Her products—which are delivered to over 200 retailers throughout California and select dispensaries in Michigan and Arizona, plus available as a medicinal line in Oklahoma—are infused with cannabis extract made from California-grown marijuana plants. The decadent cookies, truffle bars, blondies, chocolates and more use only premium ingredients, from European butter to sustainably sourced cocoa powder, and solventless real fruit gummies are free of extraction chemicals and come in recycled ocean-safe plastic jars. Try PB&J blondies, a 24K brownie, sea salt chocolate chip cookies or King’s favorite, the Best of Both Worlds: a rich fudge brownie and chocolate chip cookie combo. King, who also serves as culinary director, plans to keep expanding as states vote to make cannabis legal. kanehedibles.com
PARU co-founders Amy Truong (left) and Lani Gobaleza. PHOTO BY: STUDIO LUNISTE
Co-founders and now-married couple Amy Truong and Lani Gobaleza met in 2010 on a study abroad program in Japan. They credit the many hours they spent enjoying tea together there as one of the reasons they bonded so quickly and eventually fell in love. Truong, whose family hails from Vietnam, Japan and France, had always loved tea as a child, while educator Gobaleza, whose mother grew up in the Philippines, appreciated the drink’s storied history. Becoming acquainted with garden-direct tea and its role in ceremony and everyday ritual, the women traveled throughout Japan learning more about tea production, sourcing and preparation. In 2017, they founded PARU to share moments of calm through tea in SoCal, where they participated in San Diego pop-ups and launched a monthly specialty tea subscription. Truong, who managed operations at food delivery companies Methodology and Chef’d, also serves as PARU’s primary tea buyer and blender, developing nostalgic blends that remind her of a specific place and time. The pair’s two retail shops in La Jolla and Point Loma feature sustainably sourced loose-leaf teas, matcha and herbal teas from around the world—with a focus on family-owned tea gardens in East and Southeast Asia—and their own custom blends. The first U.S. partner for several of their farmers, PARU is passionate about improving the lives of tea growers in places like Vietnam, Thailand and Nara, Japan. Their stores host tastings and educational events, but their bestselling teas, tea flight kits and other gourmet items are also available online. paruteabar.com
The mezcal-spiked La Resistenza. PHOTO BY ARLENE IBARRA
The gnocchi porcini gamberi e tartufo includes handmade gnocchi, garlic, peperoncino, porcini mushrooms, shrimp, a touch of cream, parsley and freshly shaved black summer truffle PHOTO BY ARLENE IBARRA
Cesarina Mezzoni PHOTO BY ARLENE IBARRA
One of San Diego’s rising culinary stars, 27-year-old Cesarina Mezzoni’s passion for Italian cuisine stems from her upbringing in Rome. Her mother immigrated to Italy from the East African islands of Seychelles and passed her flair for homemade Italian dishes along to her daughter. Though she studied marketing, Mezzoni dreamed of becoming a professional chef, and upon meeting Niccolò Angius—now her husband and business partner—Mezzoni moved from Rome to California in 2015. After making a mark on San Diego’s slow-food movement by selling vegan handmade pastas and all-natural sauces at a farmers market pop-up, the pair opened a brick-and-mortar Point Loma restaurant in 2019. With the mantra “everything made in house,” Cesarina Ristorante honors the Italian matriarch with modernized classics, vegan specialties and fresh pastas made in an open-air pastificio (pasta factory). In addition to launching beverage offerings, Michelin Bib Gourmand honoree Cesarina will soon introduce an e-commerce platform and retail division as well as a gourmet cake factory, Le Torte di Cesarina, featuring made-to-order desserts from multitiered gateaux to fruity tartes. Chef and partner Mezzoni—who recently appeared on Food Network’s Chopped Next Gen—will also debut an anticipated sophomore concept this year. Angelo will pay homage to a famous Italian staple, pizza Napoletana, and will also boast an in-house artisan cheese program. An interactive open-air caseificio (cheese factory) will enable guests to observe the cheesemaking process before tasting delicious varieties like provola, caciocavallo, mozzarella and a burrata prepared tableside. cesarinarestaurant.com
Communal founder Jen Byard JEN BYARD PHOTO BY SIERRA JANE PHOTO
Communal’s Oceanside location PHOTO BY LET’S FROLIC TOGETHER
The Toast Bar offers myriad versions of the classic, from herbed cucumber avocado toast to citrus toast. PHOTO BY LET’S FROLIC TOGETHER
Having lived in the community since 2008 with her three sons, Jen Byard drew from her background in art, design and nonprofits when launching the first location of creative-minded cafe and shop Communal in North Park in 2016. Prior to working as a designer, Byard spent 15 years in the nonprofit world, helping to create a nationwide mentoring program for teenage mothers and, later, hosting weekly gatherings at her home, where she developed a passion for creating inviting spaces that fuel creativity and a sense of belonging. She founded Communal to serve as an inspiring and caring community gathering place—where patrons can enjoy craft coffee and drinks, seasonal food offerings, fresh flowers and curated goods in a thoughtfully designed, welcoming environment. Featuring artisanal products from small businesses and boasting a large exterior mural spelling out “Coffee + Flowers,” Byard’s shop quickly became a special place for the community. After the first outpost garnered a fast following, the beloved hostess and local entrepreneur opened two other SoCal locations, each a reflection of its neighborhood. North Park is an all-day destination for meeting and working; the South Park shop houses a vintage trailer surrounded by an outdoor patio; and the Oceanside location, complete with a private patio, flower shop, full cafe and adjacent home decor shop, anchors Tremont Collective, a community of like-minded businesses. Two of the fast-growing brand’s shops now offer all-day menu items—including bagels, toasts, pizzettas and salads, with gluten-free and vegetarian options—as well as wine and cocktails. communalcoffee.com
You & Yours Distilling Co.’s canned cocktails PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND
You & Yours Distilling Co.
The tasting room in East Village PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND
Now a strong voice in the spirits industry, Laura Johnson became mesmerized with spirits during a summer road trip. After witnessing the art of crafting a high-quality spirit on a distillery tour, she committed herself to learning everything about spirit production—from sourcing ingredients to launching products. Returning to San Diego, she completed a sommelier program, and then attended distilling programs in Spokane, Wash., and Louisville, Ky. Undeterred by the lack of opportunities and representation of women in craft distilling, she worked to secure investors and, in 2017, founded You & Yours Distilling Co. as California’s first urban destination distillery. Celebrating its five-year anniversary, the 2,300-square-foot East Village venue houses a full-production distillery, event space and tasting room—designed to be Insta-worthy with salvaged wood, whitewashed brick, exposed concrete, plush velvet, and copper and marble accents. The world-class cocktail program highlights You & Yours’ latest spirits produced in-house while also honoring timeless classics, with new spring cocktails like the You’re a Stud, Muffin with Y&Y Vodka; Queen of Tarts with Y&Y Citrus Vodka; and Garden Party with Sunday Gin. Utilizing a custom-built hybrid eau de vie still, Johnson strives to make premium spirits with sustainable practices and top-notch ingredients. In 2018, she launched canned cocktails, which come in eight gluten-free flavors, and You & Yours products can now be found in retailers throughout the U.S. Also helming Point Loma’s The Loma Club, Johnson serves as a resource to others looking to penetrate the hospitality space. youandyours.com
Founder and CEO Laura Johnson. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND
The grape-based Y&Y Vodka PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND