Until now, as far as I'm aware, there really hasn't been a place to get a good Porchetta sandwich here in San Diego. (Somebody is probably going to tell me I'm wrong about that, but that's ok because we can always use more.)
The porchetta panini at the new Ariccia Italian Market in La Jolla is here to change that. It's made with their own housemade porchetta, pictured below, a balsamic onion marmalade and Suzie's Farm arugula, piled onto a Sadie Rose ciabatta bun and grilled on a panini press until hot and crunchy. Their porchetta is a pork belly tightly wrapped around a pork loin with seasonings and bits of pork skin - roasted and served sliced. The combination of the rich, salty meat with bits of skin, the sweet onion marmalade and arugula is really just about perfect.
Open just a couple of weeks, Ariccia stocks top quality Italian and gourmet grocery items like charcuterie, cheeses, olives, Amarena cherries and fresh housemade pasta and the deli offers two panini sandwiches including the Porchetta and a mozzarella and tomato option (with more to come) and a daily soup. It was a creamless corn soup on the day I visited - I didn't try it, but the guy seated next to me at the bar said it was fabulous.
They also have a serious coffee bar and use top quality beans that they also sell in the shop. To go with the coffee they sell croissants from a local hole-in-the wall bakery in Encinitas. (They must be good, they were almost sold out on Sunday morning.) They've sought out local producers wherever possible and the rest of their goods come from the best sources they can find.
They're still working on the selection of goods - they told me they will be adding chocolate and candies - I'd love to see some biscotti or Italian cookies too ala Mozza 2 Go, but I don't know if they have the bakery facilities or a good source.
They're stocked up with whole foie gras and torchon in advance of the ban - only two days left. If you want some you know where to go!
They also had a pretty interesting selection of charcuterie including duck prosciutto and the "Angel" line from a guy who lives in North County but produces his goods in Los Angeles. I bought one to try and wasn't crazy about the clove flavor of the one I picked, but there are a few different types.
I was also taken with these pretty little bags of potato chips fried in olive oil with pink himelayan salt. Olive oil - that makes them healthy, right?
All in all, I think Ariccia has fantastic potential. The owners know what they like and want to bring it to the market, and they're curating an interesting selection of items not available elsewhere in San Diego. They just need to work on filling and organizing their space, setting up better ordering and service systems (it's a little haphazard) and getting a full menu in place for their deli to keep customers coming back. Once you've got them in the door they're more likely to pick up a few of those $10. pantry items. Or maybe it's the other way around - they go for the top quality olive oil or fresh pasta, and walk out with lunch. Either way, it's a winning proposition.
Ariccia Italian Market
7441 A Girard, (near the Pannikin)
La Jolla, CA