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Spring Valley Tailgate & BBQ Festival Oct 26, 2014 The community event takes over the streets surrounding the Cali Comfort restaurant, where 30 teams vie for title of best BBQ. Event includes games, live music, street vendors and more. Proceed benefit after-school sports programs. 65 other events on Sunday, October 26
 
Film
Adaptation of Patricia Highsmith novel tops our coverage of movies screening around town
Theater
Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s musical leads our rundown of local plays
Theater
A review of Cygnet Theatre’s production of Sam Shepard drama tops our coverage of local plays
News
City’s contract tweaks both tighten and loosen requirements
Editorial
From San Diego City Council and Congress to Secretary of State and all the proposition, we have your ballot covered

 

 
 
Beer & Chees

Substantial suds and service at Bagby Beer Company

Oceanside’s newest tavern has lots of great features and room enough to spread them out

By Ian Cheesman

Bagby Beer Company may open softly, but it carries a big stick. 

Beer & Chees

Revved-up reviews deux

Your one-stop shop for hastily formed opinions on beer

By Ian Cheesman

Deciding what beer I wanted to pair with Labor Day was surprisingly difficult. My first thought was "all of them," but that approach is incredibly expensive and typically comes with legal consequences.

Beer & Chees

2kids Brewing and Pacific Brewing: beers worth strolling for

If these Miramar breweries were any closer, you’d have to stack them

By Ian Cheesman

Pacific Brewing Co served as a something of a counterpoint to 2kids, favoring styles more aligned with West Coast sensibilities.

Beer & Chees

Venissimo brings the piquant to North Park

Bottlecraft’s new roommate constantly cuts the cheese

By Ian Cheesman

Contrary to what this column’s name implies, I don’t really know much about cheese. I’ve attended enough cocktail parties to ascertain that rind-encapsulated cheeses are better than individually

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. 

Bottle Rocket

Claiborne and Churchill Gewürztraminer is deliciously dry

It’s hard to pronounce but easy to drink

By Jen Van Tieghem

I recently decided to cohabitate with my better half. In addition to blending our hodgepodge furniture, it also meant bringing together my love of dry red wines with his inexplicable desire to drink s

Bottle Rocket

Trisler’s Wine Bar doesn’t disappoint—or impress

Mission Valley spot is palatable at best

By Jen Van Tieghem

The first time I visited Trisler's Wine Bar, it was rather forgettable: An unremarkable cheese board and some average wine, and let's just say I wasn't inclined to go back. 

Bottle Rocket

Love Noir delivers the dark side of Pinot

Affordable brand makes a familiar grape seem new

By Jen Van Tieghem

As a wine lover, some days you'll spend ages in your favorite wine boutique or bottle shop, poring over labels and agonizing over what to spend your hard-earned dollars on. 

Bottle Rocket

Ca’ Momi’s Bianco di Napa has enough flavors to stand out

White blend balances fruit with floral

By Jen Van Tieghem

A warm summer evening and a perfectly chilled bottle of 2013 Bianco di Napa were reasons enough to see if the product matched the promise.

Bottle Rocket

Café Bleu offers lots to love

Mission Hills wine bar pleases the palate with food and drink

By Jen Van Tieghem

While I can't speak for the company you keep, I can attest to Café Bleu's mastering of the other required elements.

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.

Cocktail Tales

Starlite celebrates seven years with new drinks

But the Mule in the copper mug is still the OG

By Kelly Davis

There seems to be consensus (or everyone's reading the same source material) that the Moscow Mule saved vodka from becoming a Cold War casualty. 

Cocktail Tales

Zymology 21 cultivates shrub cocktails

Cafe 21’s sister restaurant gets creative with fermented-fruit syrups

By Kelly Davis

When Louis Chavez was tapped to create the cocktail menu for Zymology 21—sister restaurant to Leyla and Alex Javadov's popular Cafe 21 (locations in North Park and the Gaslamp Quarter)—shrubs seemed like the obvious way to go.

Cocktail Tales

It’s all about the orgeat

Tiki drinks don’t have to be so sticky-sweet

By Kelly Davis

For a cocktail to be truly tiki, does it have to have a sweet juice as its base?

Cocktail Tales

Noble Experiment's new guy

Trevor Easter takes over at the iconic San Diego bar, plus Nate Howell's farewell menu for JSix

By Kelly Davis

Google "Trevor Easter" and you'll turn up a 2012 San Francisco Chronicle piece, written when Easter was bar manager at respected Bay Area spot Heaven's Dog. In it, the Mt. Helix native gives a sho

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.

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

Beach Plum Kitchen: quality, charm and ice cream

Carlsbad outpost offers sweet and savory starts to your day

By Jenny Montgomery

My taste buds, if not the rest of my body, are pretty pumped about working their way through the menu at Beach Plum Kitchen, a polished new locale in Carlsbad (6971 El Camino Real, Suite 201).

North Fork

The Curious Fork has passion, a few glitches

Solana Beach café and shop offers classes and Blue Bottle Coffee

By Jenny Montgomery

The Curious Fork (512 Via de la Valle, Suite 102) is a café, shop and cooking school all rolled into one. 

North Fork

Expansive menu at KC’s Tandoor worthy of exploration

Small Encinitas outpost is tops at the exotic and the more familiar

By Jenny Montgomery

For such a sprawling swath of real estate that encompasses what’s called “North County,” there’s a surprising dearth of decent Indian restaurants.

North Fork

Café Cantata hits the sweet spot with good coffee

Caffeine is star at Del Mar café, while food is an afterthought

By Jenny Montgomery

Coffee is clearly where Café Cantata shines and where its passion lies. I loved the deliciously creamy cappuccino, topped with a thick head of glorious foam.

North Fork

Company Pub & Kitchen is uneven but earnest

Poway’s answer to the gastropub is better than suburban chain restos

By Jenny Montgomery

Company Pub & Kitchen is trying to bring the humble-yet-sophisticated feel that defines a gastropub to this corner of the county, and it gets points for coming close.

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.

One Lucky Spoon

Saja Korean Kitchen needs to narrow its focus

Food is rich but uninspired at new Gaslamp joint

By Mina Riazi

Saja Korean Kitchen is young and bright-eyed and eager to improve.

One Lucky Spoon

Salt & Cleaver is a carnivore’s paradise

Inventive sausages are the strongest link at this Hillcrest joint

By Mina Riazi

Don't take your borderline-vegetarian, quinoa-adoring, sodium-shunning friends to Hillcrest's Salt & Cleaver. 

One Lucky Spoon

Oodles of noodles at Tu Thanh

Deep, bold flavor marks this City Heights Vietnamese restaurant

By Mina Riazi

While traveling through Istanbul a few summers ago, I noticed something peculiar: tea drinkers everywhere—at all hours—despite the city's three-digit temperatures.

One Lucky Spoon

Unpretentious, home-cooked eats at Faridas Somalian Cuisine

An international menu—at the price of colonization

By Mina Riazi

Located in the southeastern San Diego neighborhood of Ridgeview-Webster (1754 Euclid Ave.), Faridas East Africa Cuisine is a family-run, self-labeled "bistro" that relies on the grit of its matriarch—a pint-sized woman whom I watched leave the eatery in a flurry of floor-sweeping fabrics.

One Lucky Spoon

Tacos Perla pairs inventive fare with Pinterest-approved digs

The salsas dance at this North Park joint

By Mina Riazi

Opened in late June, the Mexican-influenced restaurant (3000 Upas St.) offers traditional and non-traditional street-style tacos.

One Lucky Spoon

Classic Greek recipes prevail at Barleyanfigs

Newly opened La Jolla restaurant fancies fresh flavors

By Mina Riazi

Husband-and-wife duo Constantine and Sofi Coss opened Barleyanfigs this past January. Chef Sofi helms the kitchen, preparing classic Greek fare like spinach-stuffed spanakopita and grilled gyros served simply with pita bread and tzatziki.

One Lucky Spoon

Vegetarian with a spiritual edge at Jyoti-Bihanga

Birthplace of the ‘neatloaf’ has a somewhat messy history

By Mina Riazi

The "neatloaf" served at Jyoti-Bihanga (3351 Adams Ave. in Normal Heights) is the restaurant's most iconic dish and its best seller.

One Lucky Spoon

New Orleans Creole Café specializes in old-school cooking

Old Town eatery serves great Louisiana cuisine, but don’t get excited about the bread

By Mina Riazi

Classic Creole dishes like jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish étouffée and shrimp creole are appropriately served with a wedge of French baguette.

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. 

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

With a name like Wrench and Rodent, it’s gotta be good

Oceanside hole-in-the-wall has the power to astonish

By Michael A. Gardiner

The importance of first impressions is the stuff of advertising slogans and books about business motivation and self-improvement. Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub is the exception that proves that rule.

The World Fare

Street tacos don’t get better than Tacos Kokopelli

Deep flavors and bright salsas bring out the best in Tijuana street food

By Michael A. Gardiner

If, as Anthony Bourdain claimed, Ensenada's Mariscos La Guerrerense is "the best street cart in the world," then perhaps Tacos Kokopelli (Calle Ocampo at Blvd. Agua Caliente) is the best street cart in Tijuana.

The World Fare

Kurt Metzger is keeping food real at Kitchen 4140

Farm-to-table directness right on your way to Costco in Bay Ho

By Michael A. Gardiner

somewhere along the line, "farm-to-table" became less Alice Waters and more a marketing slogan. It said more about how a chef wanted to be seen than about what came into and out of the kitchen. The term became meaningless.

The World Fare

Precisely layered textures and flavors at Mariscos La Guerrerense

Why Anthony Bourdain says it’s ‘the best street cart in the world’

By Michael A. Gardiner

A great feature at La Guerrerense (at 1st and Alvarado in Zona Centro) is the remarkably extensive salsa bar, featuring a line of 13 unique house salsas bottled by Bandera.

The World Fare

Market Restaurant offers eclectic, elegant simplicity

Precision, solid technique and multicultural accents at Del Mar icon

By Michael A. Gardiner

At the heart of nearly all great high-end cooking—regardless of cuisine, culture or style—is simplicity. It may seem somewhat counterintuitive: Elaborate dishes, exotic preparations, luxury ingredients and ultra-modernist techniques = simple?

The World Fare

The Cheesesteak Whizardry of Gaglione Brothers

Grantville joint is a bit of Philly on the Left Coast

By Michael A. Gardiner

Gaglione Brothers in Grantville (10450 Friars Road, Suite B), though, has managed to take the cheesesteak out of Philly without taking the Philly out of the cheesesteak.

The World Fare

Gala Chicken in Zion Market offers the real KFC

Korea’s fried bird is far better than the well-known American kind

By Michael A. Gardiner

Perhaps those "KFC" initials should be reserved for the world's true, best fried chicken: Korean fried chicken. The best (and perhaps only) place to get it in San Diego is at Gala Chicken inside Zion Market in Kearny Mesa.

The World Fare

The Patio reprises ‘cool’ at new Goldfinch Street location

Trendy design and farm-to-table fusion pull it off

By Michael A. Gardiner

The Patio on Goldfinch (4020 Goldfinch St.) has managed to make much of what worked in P.B. work better in Mission Hills.

The World Fare

Best Sandwich on the Planet, Part 5: Tortas and Beer

Street-food brilliance rather than culinary yard sale at new Hillcrest joint

By Michael A. Gardiner

It’s a common sight on roadways on both sides of the Mexican border: a pickup truck, its bed filled to overflowing, piled high and wide with a vast array of items all “secured” by a single rope.

The World Fare

Best Sandwich on the Planet, Part 4: Sogno di Vino

Panini and salads excel at Little Italy wine bar

By Michael A. Gardiner

One of the best places to sample panini in San Diego is Sogno di Vino (1607 India St. in Little Italy). A wine bar at night (the name translates as "to dream of wine"), Sogno's panini shine during the day.

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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