La Jolla eateries assessing damage from blackout

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

Following a historic blackout that left some 5 million people regionwide without electricity, La Jolla merchants were assessing the damages and trying to figure out if they could have been better prepared.

Crabcatcher at 1298 Prospect St. #3A fared well because of a resourceful and experienced staff, said executive chef Jon Burwell.

“We came out just fine with a bunch of big coolers and freezers that acted like walk-ins that we were able to put stuff in,” he said adding none of the restaurant’s inventory, particulary its prized seafood, was lost “thanks to ice from our major ice machines.”

Aquamoree further down Prospect Street wasn’t as fortunate.

“During the night we lost all of our food in the walk-ins and freezers — it’s all ruined,” said general manager/Sheila Fortune, adding “there’s only so much you can do to keep food cold when the power’s off for 12 hours.

There was one bright spot. “We were probably one of the only ones on Prospect able to stay open for awhile, just serving alcohol and full inside and the bartender working until he couldn’t see to make drinks anymore,” Fortune said noting candles lit the restaurant while flashlights illuminated bathrooms.

Aquamoree was closed on Friday to restock with plans to reopen Saturday for lunch.

There were complications from the blackout other than power — the possibility of tainted water — that affected businesses.

“We were closed after the outage and reopened the next morning said Chuck Patton of Bird Rock Coffee Roasters at 5627 La Jolla Blvd. “But we closed after that as a precaution because of the water scare. We just felt, better safe than sorry.”

Nearby, the Bird Rock Starbucks was also closed on Friday.

In case of power outages, here are some tips on food safety from

• Have an appliance thermometer so you can see if your freezer is at or below 0 degrees Farenheit and the refrigerator at or below 40 degrees. When the power comes back on, discard any perishables that have been above 40 degrees for more than two hours.

• Freeze containers of water to help keep food cold or to move food to a cooler. They also serve as a good source of fresh water if the supply is contaminated.

• If the power goes out, freeze refrigerated items immediately. They will last longer.