La Jolla Business Roundup: Magic and Mermaids come to The Village

Mermaids and Cowboys restaurant is now open at 1251 Prospect St. in The Village.

Here are some highlights of recent business happenings in La Jolla.

Mermaids and Cowboys

At Mermaids and Cowboys restaurant — which opened in October at 1251 Prospect St. in the former Alfonso’s space — the goal is to present dishes in a way that has never been done before in La Jolla, while paying homage to the land and sea.

For example, the crab cake is mixed with bone marrow and served in a hollowed-out bone. The salmon rillette is cooked in fat, similar to preparations at New York’s Le Bernardin.

“The whole concept is land and sea, surf and turf, steak and seafood,” said owner Michael Matthews. “When we talk about cowboys, we’re pulling from the history of San Diego when they would run the cattle to L.A. … The mermaid part pays tribute to the seas of La Jolla and to the divers out of Japan that would get seafood and shellfish to feed their villages.”

The bar is lined with tiles that look like fish and mermaid scales; the banquettes are covered in leather.

Mermaids and Cowboys is open for dinner, with COVID-19-related restrictions. The hope is to open for brunch in the new year. Learn more at

La Jolla Magic

If you could use a little magic and whimsy this year, La Jolla Magic is open to offer kits for at-home practice, and, of course, demonstrations.

La Jolla resident Craig Blackwood demonstrates a card trick at La Jolla Magic on Herschel Avenue.

The shop, owned by La Jolla resident and software-engineer-turned-magician Craig Blackwood, is at 7966 Herschel Ave.

“Over the last five or so years, I went from magic being a hobby to a second career,” Blackwood said. “When I took early retirement from HP as a software engineer, I starting doing more magic shows and became the resident magician at The Lot movie theater.”

“Magic is different things for different people, but it captures the imagination and is all about the surprise,” he said. “It’s like life — you think one thing is going to happen and then something else happens. But I think we all like to be surprised and delighted. You know it’s a trick, but you don’t know how it’s done.”

Those who want to learn how a trick is done can buy a lone trick or a complete kit. There’s also a working Zoltar machine that tells your future.

The shop has been open Thursday through Sunday afternoons. Hours are updated online. Learn more at

Karina’s Cantina

Karina’s Group expanded its Mexican seafood chain to La Jolla when Karina’s Cantina opened in November at 1055 Torrey Pines Road.

In keeping with Karina’s other San Diego-area restaurants, the latest location mixes colorful decor with south-of-the-border flavors such as shrimp tacos, surf-and-turf burritos, ahi poke tostadas and a large selection of ceviche.

Karina’s Cantina is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. For more information, call (858) 999-0744 or visit

New Puesto chef

Ian Tenzer, an alumnus of Eleven Madison Park restaurant in New York City, has been hired as the new executive research and development chef for Puesto Mexican Artisan Kitchen & Bar, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Tenzer will be responsible for creating new menu items for all Puesto restaurants, including the La Jolla location at 1026 Wall St., and implementing a new sustainability program for food waste and reducing the use of plastics.

Tenzer spent six years at chef Daniel Humm’s Make It Nice Group, where he served as sous chef at Eleven Madison Park.

New Coldwell Banker agent

Agent Kathy Cornell has associated with the La Jolla office of Coldwell Banker Realty.

Before affiliating with Coldwell Banker, Cornell worked with another brokerage and earlier was the administrative assistant for the director of finance at General Atomics. ◆