Chef Robert Hohmann uses coastal ingredients to create the contemporary Mediterranean flavors at 1500 OCEAN in San Diego.

Since it was built more than 120 years ago, the Hotel del Coronado has been a beacon of grandeur in San Diego. The hotel’s signature restaurant, 1500 OCEAN, recently unveiled a tantalizing menu by new chef de cuisine Robert Hohmann, who uses a farm-to-table approach. Hohmann artfully uses California coastal ingredients to conjure the flavors of Italy, France, and Morocco.

 1500 OCEAN’S new menu offers an array of rich and enticing items, including Fig & Fennel salad—a dish inspired by the chef’s childhood memories and his Sicilian and German parents.

“Before and after most meals when I was growing up, we would have some combination of raw fennel, red wine, and espresso on the table, along with a plate of raw figs, cheese, and bittersweet chocolate. I put them [all] together for a luxurious, simple, and bold flavor— [the result was] Fig & Fennel.”

Fig & Fennel:

serves 8


1 c. port wine

11⁄2 c. stock (veg., chicken, or veal)

10 figs (cut in quarters)

1 double shot of espresso

11⁄4 oz. bittersweet chocolate Butter and sherry vinegar, to taste

1. Combine port, stock, and figs in ron-deau or large-bottom stockpot. Cook on medium heat until liquid is almost gone. Remove from heat. 2. Add espresso and transfer to blender. While blending, add chocolate and butter. 3. Finish with sherry vinegar, to taste. 4. Place in plastic container without lid and cool in refrigerator. Cover when cool.


2 c. olive oil, good quality

4 heads fennel bulb, cut into 6 wedges each

1⁄4 c. fennel seed

2 star anise

1. Put oil in freezer and get as cold as possible without freezing. 2. Toast spices in pan. While still hot, drop them in the cold oil. 3. Blanch fennel bulb in salted water until tender. Seeds can be eaten in the salad or discarded. 


2 c. port wine

1 c. sugar

1. Combine port wine and sugar in small sauce pot and reduce over medium heat until mixture becomes syrup. 2. Transfer to small bowl and refrigerate until cool.


1⁄2 lb. Point Reyes bleu cheese,

cubed 24 fennel fronds (tops)

1⁄4 tsp. Italian black anise seeds

8 figs 

quartered Champagne vinegar to taste Salt to taste

1. Smear 1 tbsp. fig-chocolate sauce on plate. 2. On top, place 3 fennel wedges (seasoned with Champagne vinegar and salt); 1 fig (quartered and dressed with port syrup and fennel oil); and 4 or 5 cheese cubes. 3. Top with fennel fronds and sprinkle with a few anise seeds.