In this unfortunate era of back-to-back disasters, it’s up to us residents to pick up the slack of the nonexistent tourist traffic by eating out more often. That makes it a good time to remember that “eating out” doesn’t require a full-blown, four-course dinner — there are plenty of ways to support our restaurant community, dazzle your taste buds with creative cuisine, and not spend your weekly food allowance in one meal.
Take the excellent “nomad Italian” fare at Convivo, where co-owner/Chef Peter McNee infuses modern Mediterranean flavors into every dish, small or large, so that even just a couple of appetizers and a flatbread qualifies as a top-tier experience. When in season, the grilled avocado with watermelon and ponzu sauce (above) is a compelling combo of savory and sweet, while the octopus, pork belly, and poached egg is a tremendous study of texture, taking your palate from taut to pillow-soft to silky smooth. The frisée salad upon which these umami-laden ingredients arrive adds a bit of crunch and bitterness, plus some grippy tendrils with which to sop up the yolk. $14; 901 E. Cabrillo Blvd.; (805) 845-6789; website