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Video Games Live Jul 24, 2014 Popular game music themes given the full symphonic treatment with synchronized lighting and even some real on-stage game-playing. Concert will feature music from Zelda, Sonic, Metal Gear Solid, BioShock and more. 80 other events on Thursday, July 24
 
Arts & Culture feature
New business is illuminating the imagery found in science
Theater
Joint production by La Jolla Playhouse and San Diego Rep leads our rundown of local plays
Spin Cycle
Did Carl DeMaio’s partner overstep his authority by ousting business-association chief?
News
San Diego planning director’s uphill battle to create walkable communities
Editorial
Mayor’s actions so far betray his pitch, but there’s still hope

 

 
 
Beer & Chees

Tapping into San Diego craft brew with Tap That

An Oceanside keg-rental joint that also delivers beer directly to your liver

By Ian Cheesman

The tasting room greets you with a shrine to San Diego craft brew. The walls are adorned with the emblems of every brewery Tap That works with, numerous enough to wallpaper a strip around the perimeter.

Beer & Chees

Twisted Manzanita Ales celebrates four years of beer

Santee favorite is ready to party

By Ian Cheesman

The brewing scene in San Diego has something of a generation gap. It's gotten to the point that venerable elders like Stone and Ballast Point just can't keep up with all the whippersnapper brewers they have to shoo off their lawn.

Beer & Chees

Revved-up reviews

Your one-stop shop for hastily formed opinions on beer

By Ian Cheesman

Beer is both my truest ally and greatest nemesis. Nothing motivates me to write like beer does, right up until I have one, that is.

Beer & Chees

Brews that taste like camping

Why visit the great outdoors when you can just drink it?

By Ian Cheesman

Some of the clearest memories I have from my childhood are of family camping trips. We'd pile into the van and head into parts unknown, abandoning creature comforts for a fleeting moment of communion with Mother Nature. God, did it suck.

Beer & Chees

Lightning Amber Ale: a beer for all seasons

The label’s fine print holds important clues

By Ian Cheesman

Is more bitterness really what a world torn asunder needs? Perhaps, in a broader sense, our gravity toward such extremes is part of what got us into this mess in the first place. (Deep, right? It's like, whoa.)

Beer & Chees

Don’t judge Booze Brothers by its cover

Vista brewery offers more than just booze

By Ian Cheesman

As the craft-brew phenomenon grows and brewers are increasingly recognized for the sophisticated work they do, leading with a name that crudely touts its alcohol content just smacks as juvenile. 

Beer & Chees

La Jolla Brewing Company’s reinvention

An old brewery learns new tricks

By Ian Cheesman

The grand reopening of a restaurant usually guarantees little more than a change of ownership and a few fresh-faced servers. La Jolla Brewing Company (7536 Fay Ave.) has expanded on that by refreshing the restaurant interior, the brewer, the kitchen staff, the beers and the food.

Beer & Chees

Slater’s 50/50 shows the power of synergy

Bacon burgers and beer or bust

By Ian Cheesman

I remember when I first heard about Slater's 50/50. It was at a time when the Internet was riding the bacon hype-train as only the Internet can.

Beer & Chees

Worth the wait, to a point

Six years, three Double Bastard Ales and one happy beer writer

By Ian Cheesman

Courtesy of San Diego Beer Week 2013, I had the chance to sample vintages of Stone Brewing's Double Bastard Ale (DB) spanning six years.

Beer & Chees

We wish you a beery Christmas

And a hoppy new year

By Ian Cheesman

The words "Christmas beers" always give me pause. While that designation doesn't carry specific style guidelines, such brews invariably possess the same pitfalls: They carelessly bludgeon the ale with mulling spices.

Bottle Rocket

Moss Roxx Zinfandel proves grace comes with age

Oak Ridge Winery, Lodi’s oldest, has a new fan

By Jen Van Tieghem

It's a mystery how I, a big fan of Lodi Zinfandels, haven't explored Oak Ridge Winery's offerings in depth before now.

Bottle Rocket

Sequoia Grove Cabernet beats three others

Blind tasting proves price doesn’t always dictate quality

By Jen Van Tieghem

Our contending Cali Cabs were a 2011 Illaria from Napa Valley ($65 suggested retail price), a 2010 Sequoia Grove from Napa Valley ($39), a 2011 Louis M. Martini from Sonoma County ($18) and a 2011 Trader Joe's Grand Reserve from Napa Valley ($10).

Bottle Rocket

Bianchi Sauvignon Blanc: a drink best served not-too-cold

Taste the flavor in your white wines with the right temperature

By Jen Van Tieghem

Bianchi's 2012 Signature Series Sauvignon Blanc, made with grapes from Monterey, is a shining example of the array of flavors one could miss by drinking too frosty a glass.

Bottle Rocket

Wine That’s Fun is aptly named

In-home tasting parties are great for novices and seasoned drinkers

By Jen Van Tieghem

Most times, if you say "WTF" about a wine, it's not a good thing. But the cheeky acronym behind Heather Hudson's brand stands for Wine That's Fun—and it lives up to its name.

Bottle Rocket

In the white room at The Flight Path

New Downtown wine bar offers sips and bites at a great value

By Jen Van Tieghem

One of the first striking features of The Flight Path is its décor—or lack thereof. The stark white walls, tables, chairs and countertops give the new wine bar an almost sterile appearance.

Bottle Rocket

Jakes on 6th is perfect for weekday winos

Atmosphere, selection and specials to suck you in at Hillcrest wine bar

By Jen Van Tieghem

Hillcrest, please accept my apologies. In my many wine-bar excursions, I've somehow neglected you. Hopefully, a recent trip to Jake's on 6th (3755 Sixth Ave.) makes up for that.

Bottle Rocket

Riviera Supper Club caters to lovers of vino and music

New wine bar section offers enjoyment in La Mesa

By Jen Van Tieghem

Riviera (rivierasupperclub.com, 7777 University Ave. in La Mesa) has furthered its wine focus by adding a wine-bar section that opened on Valentine's Day. 

Bottle Rocket

2009 Old Vines Cuvee vs. 2012 Old Zin Vines

Two California Zinfandels present different sides of the same fruit

By Jen Van Tieghem

The Old Vines Cuvee was decidedly different, with the fruit up front in powerful aromas of fig and raspberry. The scents dissipated only slightly after time in the glass.

Bottle Rocket

2004 L.A. Cetto Nebbiolo is a precocious 10-year-old

Oldest winery in Mexico offers great, inexpensive wines

By Jen Van Tieghem

Recently, I've noticed L.A. Cetto wines at several markets around town, including Windmill Farms in Del Cerro, Bine and Vine in Normal Heights and Palm Springs Liquor in La Mesa.

Bottle Rocket

Bine & Vine is good and cheap

Normal Heights bottle shop’s as fine for wine as it is for beer

By Jen Van Tieghem

Wine buyer and professional sommelier Stephen Ansley takes a lot of pride in what goes into those bins. Chatting with him revealed his careful practices for proper wine storage and lessons learned working at BevMo for several years.

Cocktail Tales

Time for tea cocktails

Where to find ’em, how to make ’em and more

By Kelly Davis

If you want to try to infuse your own spirits, there’s no end to online how-tos. Steeping time depends on what kind of liquor you’re using and how much.

Cocktail Tales

San Diego bartenders show us how to smoke a drink

Plus, a twist on an Old Fashioned by Alex Maynard

By Kelly Davis

How could you turn down something described as "a really fancy, good Old Fashioned—with pork"? That's the pithy explainer for the smoked pork belly wrapped in bacon / Old Fashioned pairing dreamed up by Hanis Cavin from Carnitas' Snack Shack and Seven Grand's Brett Winfield.

Cocktail Tales

Gin’s best friend

Jack Rudy tops the list in our quest for best tonic

By Kelly Davis

This is a small-batch quinine concentrate to which you add soda water (4 ounces to 3/4-ounce of tonic) and 2 ounces of gin. It has a really nice, mellow citrus-y flavor—you don’t need, nor should you want, to add any lime.

Cocktail Tales

7 smoky drinks to try this summer

It’s a campfire on the rocks

By Kelly Davis

Next time you're mixing up an Old Fashioned by the campfire—assuming you'd even do such a thing—try trapping a piece of smoking charred wood under your glass for a few minutes.

Cocktail Tales

JSix's new cocktail menu: scents of place

Nate Howell's drinks capture regional flavors—and smells

By Kelly Davis

Earlier this year, JSix (616 J St., Downtown) underwent a major rehab, and Howell, who'd been the head bartender at Cusp at Hotel La Jolla, was tapped to head up the cocktail program. 

Cocktail Tales

Booze news

New menus at Ironside and Coin-Op and a Henebery whiskey-pairing dinner

By Kelly Davis

The cocktail menu at Ironside Fish & Oyster, the latest Consortium Holdings (Craft & Commerce, Polite Provisions, Under Belly, Neighborhood) project, is rather epic. It's four times the size of the dinner menu.

Cocktail Tales

Booze news

Native Spirits North Park retail shop, Polite Provisions' cocktail glasses and Hiatus' Gin Fest

By Kelly Davis

On the short list of retail shops that San Diego lacks are good liquor stores. That's not to say there aren't any—K 'n B Wine Cellars, for instance, will make your neck hurt with its sky-high shelves of booze.

Cocktail Tales

Ballast Point crafts a new way to drink

Brewing titan invites San Diego to see its harder side

By Ian Cheesman

Just because I'm best known as a beer writer doesn't mean that's all I have to offer. With my expansive literary pedigree, I'm capable of delivering witty and biting commentary on virtually any fluid. That's why I was the logical understudy to cover Ballast Point's new speakeasy in Scripps Ranch.

Cocktail Tales

That's amari

Learning to love bitter liqueur, one amaro at a time

By Kelly Davis

I considered writing about romantic drinking spots for this column, but I'm utterly unromantic. I have, however, been thinking a lot about a type of spirit that sounds romantic: amaro (plural "amari").

Cocktail Tales

Frogger and Fernet?

Well-played drinks at North Park’s Coin-Op Game Room

By Kelly Davis

Coin-Op's located in the space formerly occupied by Hubcap (and, just before that, El Take it Easy) and features a big, open front facing 30th Street.

Food & Drink

A way of life

There’s a hole at iconic Stardust Donut Shop, but the fryer’s still on

By Amy T. Granite

There isn’t anywhere to sit at Stardust Donut Shop in Imperial Beach. From inside, 69-year-old Cliff Arnold waits on customers as they walk up to the little stand’s window and choose what they want from the modest selection of cult favorites like cinnamon rolls topped with peanuts.

Food & Drink

Memorable wads of wisdom from our food writers

Ten excerpts that made us laugh and drool

By Kelly Davis

In the last decade, CityBeat’s food writers have hit up fancy spots, holes-in-the-wall, authentic ethnic eateries and even strip clubs (see below) in the hopes of turning readers on to the best places to eat or (we hope) offering constructive criticism to restaurants that miss the mark.

Food & Drink

Fun at Bunz

Mission Valley spot serves top-shelf burgers and hot dogs

By Jenny Montgomery

Build your own burger or choose from one of the creations they’ve already dreamed up for you.

Food & Drink

Bo’s Seafood is fresh and honest

Check out the best fish and chips outside of England

By Jenny Montgomery

There’s something timeless and humble about a fish sandwich, and with the recent uptick in fast-and-fresh fish houses in San Diego, there’s no shortage of variations to try.

Food & Drink

Hello to Santee’s Via Moto

Standouts include house-made mozzarella and a well-balanced panini

By Jenny Montgomery

I was pleased to discover the cavernous confines of Via Moto in Santee. The sprawl of Mission Gorge Road may not be the hippest of locales, but if you’re looking for something tasty that starts with the letter “p,” be it pizza, panini or pasta, this is the place in East County.

Food & Drink

Puesto change-o!

Mexican street food arrives in La Jolla

By Jenny Montgomery

In terms of layout and dining style, imagine the fanciest Chipotle you’ve ever been to—with far tastier eats.

Food & Drink

Will Hinotez rise to Yakitori Yakyudori status?

Sister restaurant of popular Kearny Mesa Asian grill shows promise

By Amy T. Granite

Less than a mile away and triple Yakitori’s size, Hinotez exudes more of a restaurant vibe than that of a boisterous izakaya (Japanese for “pub”).

Food & Drink

Dim sum off the beaten path

Rancho Bernardo’s Pearl is one of San Diego’s better spots for the Chinese tradition

By Marie Tran-McCaslin

Over the years, I’ve found that San Diego’s dim sum options aren’t plentiful, but there are some lesser-known gems.

Food & Drink

There’s a reason Tapas Picasso’s been around for 20 years

Happy hour makes the Hillcrest spot’s Spanish small plates and sangria even better

By Amy T. Granite

The narrow, humble space is warm with colorful art and lively patrons equally engaged in food, drink and conversation.

Food & Drink

Albie’s Beef Inn is the restaurant time forgot

Mission Valley spot is the essence of retro cool

By Amy T. Granite

It’s best to leave your craft-cocktailing, farm-to-tabling, dining predispositions at the door and enjoy the no-frills meat-and-booze den for what it is

Grubby Bitch

The old soul of Harry’s Coffee Shop

La Jolla institution serves diner fare that’ll touch your heart

By Amy T. Granite

A visit to Harry’s Coffee Shop reminded me of many of the reasons why I love the blue-col-lar food beat. The family-owned, classic diner has been around since 1960, with Harry’s sons continuing to operate it much the same way, I’d imagine, that their father did during his lifetime.

Grubby Bitch

Leave these lame food trends in 2012

A Grubby farewell to another year in food

By Amy T. Granite

In lieu of new beginnings, here are seven drinking ’n’ dining trends to recycle along with 2012’s Christmas tree

Grubby Bitch

Oscar’s tacos are a big deal

Pacific Beach Mexican joint doesn't skimp on shrimp

By Amy T. Granite

Expect a tad more convenience from Oscar’s Mexican Seafood than you would from a mariscos truck: There’s a small patio out front with stools lining a counter and enough room inside by the cashier to seat a few more

Grubby Bitch

Don’t Su-mei, Plumeria is delicious

New healthy Thai joint in University Heights is up against a longtime favorite

By Amy T. Granite

More often than not, dishes with meat at Thai joints sound better on the menu than they actually are. One time, I wanted to impress a friend with what I thought at the time was the best hole-in-the-wall Thai food in town.

Grubby Bitch

Minh Ky Takeout pairs best with the couch

The secret ingredient at this City Heights joint, apparently, is ketchup

By Amy T. Granite

Chinese restaurants are fine places to eat, but sweet and sour pork pairs so much better with the couch. Chicken chow mein just tastes better when my feet are up and the bathrobe is on.

Grubby Bitch

Giorgino's burly Egg Roll

Eat it for breakfast and then go back to bed

By Amy T. Granite

I stopped reading the menu at “Pork Roll.” For some reason, it made me laugh. Not knowing what to expect, I ordered one, because, really—how bad could a sandwich be with a name like “Pork Roll”?

Grubby Bitch

Goodbye for now, Donut Star

One too many pastry orgies has tainted our love

By Amy T. Granite

A box holding the remains of a dozen donuts sits on a counter nearby. My stomach is angry—the usual morning-after effect—and yet, I haven’t brought myself to toss the tasty culprits into the trash.

Grubby Bitch

Breakfast on Voltaire Street

Add these three haunts to your regular rotation

By Amy T. Granite

At a party a couple of Friday nights ago, one of my Ocean Beach buddies started quizzing me on the food and drink joints I’ve been to in his neighborhood.

Grubby Bitch

Punjabi Tandoor’s magical oven

Mira Mesa Indian food is tasty for people and, apparently, dogs

By Amy T. Granite

As I searched for an eatery to write about this week, I was shocked to discover that one of my favorite restaurants in San Diego has yet to be covered by traditional media in more than just a two-line mention.

Grubby Bitch

Deli South Africa serves meat pies worth their weight in gold

Kearny Mesa place is hard to find, but unforgettable

By Amy T. Granite

Fact: Convoy Street is the most delicious stretch in San Diego. If you disagree, it’s time to put down the new-American Kool-Aid and venture away from North Park.

Nibbles

One last nibble

Irving Berlin and Paul Reubens help usher me out

By Brook Larios

I’ve been dishing nibbles of food news to you for a year now and, like most things in life, from restaurants to relationships, this column has run its course for me and, thus, will not flex its muscles in the new version of CityBeat that will be unveiled next week.

Nibbles

Avocados and chocolate in the news

This week's items include tidbits about Jsix, Dallman's, The Red Door, Crush, the Coronado Grub Sprawl and California Avocado Grill

By Brook Larios

This week's items include tidbits about Jsix, Dallman's, The Red Door, Crush, the Coronado Grub Sprawl and California Avocado Grill

Nibbles

Boundless burgers—and bacon

The closing of a venerable establishment and recent and forthcoming openings, including a slew of hamburger joints

By Brook Larios

You know 50 Cent? He has nothing to do with Slater’s 50/50, a burger place with locations in Huntington Beach, Anaheim and, this fall or winter, replacing Point Loma Sports Grill & Pub (2750 Dewey Road, Liberty Station).

Nibbles

Smoking with Matt

New places to eat, a place to sleep and eat, The Cooking Channel and cigar food

By Brook Larios

New places to eat, a place to sleep and eat, The Cooking Channel and cigar food

Nibbles

TV makeover

Three new restos, one forthcoming and The Food Network's in town

By Brook Larios

Three new restos, one forthcoming and The Food Network's in town

Nibbles

Say your goodbyes

Two chef departures, a new farmers market, a new restaurant and where to grub at next week’s Pride fest

By Brook Larios

Two chef departures, a new farmers market, a new restaurant and where to grub at next week’s Pride fest

Nibbles

The good, the bad and the exciting

Chocolate, new restaurant openings and the closure of a local farm

By Brook Larios

Chocolate, new restaurant openings and the closure of a local farm

Nibbles

Happier still

Industry and late-night happy hours, Beer & Sake Festival, an award-winning cookbook and Eden’s new executive chef

By Brook Larios

Industry and late-night happy hours, Beer & Sake Festival, an award-winning cookbook and Eden’s new executive chef

Nibbles

Here’s your change

New menus, overhauls and a little drama

By Brook Larios

Keeping up with Peter Zakarian is akin to keeping up with a certain Armenian celebrity and her family.

Nibbles

Art, food and a new dude

AGRI*PLANET at Alchemy, Cavaillon’s new chef/owner, Eclipse Chocolat’s new brunch menu, a festival for the women’s museum and a food-truck anniversary

By Brook Larios

AGRI*PLANET at Alchemy, Cavaillon’s new chef/owner, Eclipse Chocolat’s new brunch menu, a festival for the women’s museum and a food-truck anniversary

North Fork

French Corner wows with classic pastries and humble classics

Authenticity is the key in this small Leucadia outpost

By Jenny Montgomery

French Corner Café & Bakery in Leucadia (1200 N. Coast Hwy. 101), helmed by chef / owner Alexandra Long, is trying to bring a little bit of that authentic French eating experience to our everyday lives.

North Fork

Green Dragon Tavern & Museum is solid and unexciting

New Carlsbad outpost of food and colonial history makes for an odd mix

By Jenny Montgomery

Have you seen the confusingly massive colonial-style building looming over Interstate 5 in Carlsbad? That's the Green Dragon Tavern & Museum, a new outpost of dining and Revolutionary War curiosities in a town better known for suntans and Legoland.

North Fork

Solterra Winery brings Napa vibe to Leucadia

Relaxed atmosphere and tasty but unmemorable tapas

By Jenny Montgomery

Using grapes from the owner's father's vineyard in Sonoma, as well as ones from around Southern California and Mexico's Valle de Guadalupe, Solterra (934 N. Coast Hwy. 101) makes its own tasty blends of wine right there in the vast, trendy space.

North Fork

Gordy’s should be your go-to North County bakery

Meat pastries in Encinitas will satisfy your hungry morning belly

By Jenny Montgomery

In a world oversaturated with cupcakeries and artisanal donut shops, it’s nice to have a bakery that’s both bursting with substance and lacking in gimmickry.

North Fork

6 places to get fine sausages for your weenie roast

Frankly, it’s time to eat

By Jenny Montgomery

Hey campers, it's time for a weenie roast! Put down your tie-dye kits and stop looking for coyote scat on the hiking trails, because I've got your guide to the best wiener slingers in town.

North Fork

El Tejate has the mole you’ve been looking for

Oaxacan outpost in Escondido makes a mean torta, too

By Jenny Montgomery

Have you ever been to a business where you walk in, and it's empty, and you suddenly feel like you're interrupting their day? My first reaction is to feel apologetic. I want to say, "Sorry to bothe

North Fork

Notorious Burgers underwhelms with more flash than focus

Salt and vinegar fries are excellent at this Carlsbad joint; everything else is a who-cares

By Jenny Montgomery

The Prohibition-themed burger joint (6955 El Camino Real) has quirky, mafia-adjacent names, servers in old-timey suspenders and overloaded menu items that are intended to be "notorious," I suppose.

North Fork

Wagon Wheel serves up cowboy kitsch

Solid diner food and a comforting, nostalgic vibe in Escondido

By Jenny Montgomery

Wife-and-husband team Nancy and Sumner Rollings have been running Wagon Wheel since 2001, and one or both of them will probably greet you when you walk inside.

North Fork

Café Topes is hip and happy

Grilled cheese with apple and fig is a standout in Carlsbad

By Jenny Montgomery

Café Topes occupies a busy corner one block off the main drag, with plenty of outdoor seating for watching the beach-bound go by and a great menu to fill your belly.

North Fork

Café Stoked brings originality to San Elijo Hills

Spanish-influenced menu and community vibe overshadow small kinks

By Jenny Montgomery

Café Stoked (1215 San Elijo Road) has a great selection of coffee, pastries and smoothies, including cold-brewed "Kyoto" style coffee that slowly drips, for 14 hours, through a twisty glass tube into the coffee pot below.

One Lucky Spoon

Gastronomic globetrotting at Hanna’s Gourmet

University Heights bistro serves a solid Sunday brunch

By Mina Riazi

On Sundays, Hanna’s Gourmet in University Heights is open until 3 p.m., giving late risers a shot at microwave-free nourishment (2864 Adams Ave.).

One Lucky Spoon

Don Carlos offers a burrito bonanza

La Jolla joint serves great fish tacos, too

By Mina Riazi

A La Jolla fixture since 1984, Don Carlos Taco Shop (737 Pearl St.) is a favorite among famished beach-goers and college kids sniffing out cheap, filling eats—oftentimes, they're the same people. 

One Lucky Spoon

Acme Kitchen brings Southern flavors to East Village

Terryl Gavre’s newest restaurant makes some mean fried green tomatoes

By Mina Riazi

Acme owner Terryl Gavre also helms Café 222 and Bankers Hill, and her penchant for laid-back elegance has translated to the shoebox-size restaurant.

One Lucky Spoon

Yu’s Garden blooms with home-cooked Taiwanese fare

Kearny Mesa eatery chooses tradition over trends

By Mina Riazi

I admire Yu's Garden for understanding its identity and sticking with it. Too many restaurants try blending tradition with trend in a panicked attempt to appear relevant.

One Lucky Spoon

The spice is right at Island Spice Jamaican

Grant Hill eatery serves up heavenly barbecued chicken

By Mina Riazi

The aptly named Island Spice Jamaican Restaurant (2820 Market St. in Grant Hill) doesn't skimp on spices. Even the beef patty—a chubby, golden pastry that looks harmless—packs enough sinus-clearing heat to get you through two colds.

One Lucky Spoon

The Yellow Deli: Sandwiches on the balcony

Simple, organic fare is the name of the game at the Vista eatery

By Mina Riazi

The Yellow Deli feels far removed from the rest of Vista. The two-story house sits on a quiet, uncrowded stretch of East Broadway.

One Lucky Spoon

A-Chau rolls out top-notch egg rolls

City Heights restaurant serves ’em up cheap and delicious

By Mina Riazi

It didn't take long for me to learn what the main attraction is at A-Chau in City Heights. When it was my turn to order, I sheepishly stammered that I didn't know what to pick. A guy next to me paused from double-knotting his takeout bag and blurted two words: "egg rolls."

One Lucky Spoon

Robata-ya Oton: home-style Japanese fare in Kearny Mesa

Go for the green-tea pudding

By Mina Riazi

There are no California rolls at Robata-ya Oton. For dessert, don't expect tempura-fried green-tea ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce and dressed with a paper umbrella. 

One Lucky Spoon

Ariana Kabob House’s menu is more diverse than its décor

Scripps Ranch mom-and-pop shop delivers Afghan home cooking

By Mina Riazi

Well into its seventh year in Scripps Ranch, Ariana Kabob House shares a colorless strip mall with the usual suspects: a Pizza Hut, a donut shop and a smattering of medical offices.

One Lucky Spoon

Hake Restaurant & Bar goes beyond your average brasserie

La Jolla newcomer serves seafood in a subterranean setting

By Mina Riazi

For folks whose pockets run deep, downtown La Jolla provides a wealth of dining options. White-tablecloth restaurants like Nine-Ten and George's at the Cove prevail in the posh seaside neighborhood,

Table Scraps

Return to Hot Dog Station

Horton Plaza joint still serves a great wiener

By Martin Jones Westlin

Horton Plaza’s Hot Dog Station, operating from a cute little ground-level send-up of a train engine, is still the city’s monument to that most legendary summertime delicacy and the condiments that define it.

Table Scraps

Shelter from the storm

Wet your whistle and dry your eyes at Neighborhood

By Martin Jones Westlin

Try some of the greatest bar food in the Major Leagues.

Table Scraps

The food’s the thing

Following the Dionysian tradition to Encore! Café

By Martin Jones Westlin

You might recognize the name Dionysus in connection with live theater. Some people think this Greek mythological figure is the god of the performing arts, when, actually, he just used to see a lot of shows. He’s more the central spirit of fertility and drunken revelry.

Table Scraps

The skinny on fat

Babycakes sticks to your heart (and ribs)

By Martin Jones Westlin

Peanut butter and jelly cupcakes? Chocolate chips and cream cheese? Custard and whipped cream?

Table Scraps

Sound advice

Revisiting the drive-in

By Martin Jones Westlin

Sonic has about 3,500 eateries in 43 states, including one in Santee—and if this locale doesn’t dredge up the best memories of days gone by, then no such locale exists.

Table Scraps

I’ll never forget it

The Living Room's colossal salmon sammie

By Martin Jones Westlin

Even as you know you’re doing your waistline no favors, you cannot stop eating this monster amid its succulence and tremendous size.

Table Scraps

Cycle of life

O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub and Restaurant's Double-Cut Pork Chop

By Martin Jones Westlin

This month marked my 6 millionth visit to Carlsbad, the frequency owing to my play-going duties and the fact that I used to stop over after visiting family in neighboring Oceanside.

Table Scraps

Witness to history?

Con Pane Rustic Breads & Café's grilled cheese

By Martin Jones Westlin

I’ve always thought it would be pretty cool—and innovative—for some entrepreneurial types to throw their weight behind an eatery that specializes in grilled cheese sandwiches.

Table Scraps

A good old time

Don't forget about the food on the Ocean Beach pier

By Martin Jones Westlin

The World Fare

Rosarito steakhouse is a carnivore’s delight

A meal at El Nido is a trip back in time

By Michael A. Gardiner

The steaks at El Nido are still the main draw. The carne asada is justly famous, with the bacon-wrapped filet mignon perhaps a step behind.

The World Fare

Inconsistencies plague FuAn Garden

Convoy District Sichuan spot leaves a numbing burn

By Michael A. Gardiner

In the last half decade, real Sichuan cuisine has arrived. There are now at least four Sichuan restaurants on Convoy Street alone—Spicy City, Spicy House, Szechuan Chef and FuAn Garden (4768 Convoy St.).

The World Fare

Excellence at Laja in the Valle de Guadalupe

A BajaMed pioneer still stands tall

By Michael A. Gardiner

Laja restaurant in the Valle de Guadalupe (Carretera Ensenada-Tecate km. 83) was one of the first of the new Baja restaurants to gain international attention. 

The World Fare

Mariscos Nine Seas is no roach coach

South Park food truck serves great ceviches and stellar fish tacos

By Michael A. Gardiner

Nine Seas' fish tacos are another highlight. Its shrimp Gobernador, octopus, fried and grilled fish tacos are all good.

The World Fare

Across the Bosphorus -- and the tracks -- to Lezzet Café

Dumplings, kabobs and more at Barrio Logan restaurant

By Michael A. Gardiner

Lezzet Café sits below the point where Chollas Creek empties into San Diego Bay and Interstate 15 ends in the least fancied stretch of Barrio Logan (3586 Main St.).

The World Fare

Romesco is BajaMed deconstructed

Javier Plascenscia’s Bonita outpost shouldn’t work, but it does

By Michael A. Gardiner

Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro (4346 Bonita Road in Bonita) shouldn't work: a little bit Spanish, a little bit Italian, a tiny bit Asian and alotabit Mexican.

The World Fare

Best Sandwich on the Planet, Part 3: Tip Top Meats

Headcheese, bratwurst and more at Carlsbad German deli

By Michael A. Gardiner

And that's what led me to Carlsbad's Tip Top Meats (6118 Paseo Del Norte) as part of my Best Sandwich on the Planet tour. More specifically, I went there for the presskopf—headcheese—sandwich.

The World Fare

Tapas Picasso is more creative than dependable

Uneven execution of the classics at Hillcrest small-plates joint

By Michael A. Gardiner

I assess the quality of a Spanish tapas bar on two main criteria: creativity of its signature dishes and execution of the core classics. Tapas Picasso succeeds brilliantly on the first count.

The World Fare

Puesto: Mexican street food in an upscale setting

Its all about antojitos at the new Headquarters restaurant

By Michael A. Gardiner

Is the highest and best role of street food to be enjoyed on the street or as the inspiration for higher-end cuisine? Puesto (789 W. Harbor Drive, Downtown) tries to split the difference.

The World Fare

‘Fishing’ at Big Laguna Lake

How to get fish when you suck as a fisherman

By Michael A. Gardiner

My first stop was to see Tommy Gomes at Catalina Offshore Products (5202 Lovelock St. in Linda Vista). Gomes grew up in San Diego's tuna industry, a third-generation fisherman / fishmonger.

Wandering Appetite

Adios, San Diego

Mine is a Midwestern Appetite now

By Marie Tran-McCaslin

By the time you read this, I will be settling into my new hometown of Omaha, Neb. After 14 years in San Diego as a student and then a chemist, I'm pursuing something new: medical school. 

Wandering Appetite

Meet Stone Brewing’s latest

Liberty Station might be a step up from Escondido

By Marie Tran-McCaslin

In my experience, the food at Stone’s Escondido bistro can be inconsistent, and I found it an afterthought to the beer. Liberty Station, however, has been more consistent for me.

Wandering Appetite

My father’s daughter: a coffee-and-pastry roundup

Sweet treats and something warm to drink, no matter the time of day

By Marie Tran-McCaslin

As a belated Father's Day nod, I thought I'd cover some great places for a tasty pastry or a hot drink.

Wandering Appetite

Simple dinners and kooky desserts at Terra

La Mesa restaurant appeals to a diverse clientele

By Marie Tran-McCaslin

Welcome to Terra: an unpretentious place that serves food so good that most will find something they love.

Wandering Appetite

Burrito bliss in Tijuana

The daily-made flour tortillas at Burros El Tocayo are worth the trip alone

By Kristin Díaz de Sandi

Twenty-three years ago, a street-food cart with the name "Burros El Tocayo" painted on the side began serving up massive carne asada burritos to locals in Tijuana.

Wandering Appetite

J&T Thai Street Food does chicken and rice right

Linda Vista restaurant serves it up with well-known Thai dishes.

By Marie Tran-McCaslin

I spoke of my envy of current collegiate food options when I wrote a few months ago about the Secret Cookie Service. Apparently, there's more to envy with J&T Thai Street Food (5259 Linda Vista Road) right outside the University of San Diego campus.

Wandering Appetite

Santee’s Sab-E-Lee carries on

Thai restaurant’s delicious fare remains unchanged

By Marie Tran-McCaslin

Sab-E-Lee was a food-lovers' darling when it made the rounds through blogs and Internet forums. Like all popular restaurants, it grew and expanded.

Wandering Appetite

Downtown’s Donut Bar reimagines the donut

They’re a little pricier, but totally worth it

By Marie Tran-McCaslin

Ah, the doughnut (or donut, if you will). So humble, but so many possible permutations. Every few years, it seems the doughnut undergoes another renaissance. 

Wandering Appetite

Soda & Swine serves small bites for the indecisive

Try a little of everything on a menu of comfort food and sweet drinks at new North Park spot

By Marie Tran-McCaslin

I’m one of those people who can’t decide what they want for dinner. Soda & Swine (2943 Adams Ave. in North Park) is very kind to the indecisive, with small dishes and a flexible menu that facilitates mixing and matching.

Wandering Appetite

The Blind Burro mixes it up

East Village restaurant hits all the right notes with tasty fusion dishes

By Marie Tran-McCaslin

Two bars, a bustling crowd and libations galore usually mean that I'm meeting friends and drinking away life's worries. The food's just there to soak up the alcohol, meaning I don't give much thought to it.

 
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