Red Velvet is intimate; you enter through an unobtrusive
side door that’s part of a Little Italy high-rise. The waterfront-facing
wall of windows is framed by flowing drapes of a Cabernet-colored
material that recalls the restaurant’s name.
What the hell is a gastropub? I mean, really, between
restaurant, bistro, café, grill and eatery—just to name a few—there’s no
shortage of clever monikers for places that all do the same thing:
I generally drive through Rancho
Santa Fe; I rarely stop. It’s certainly a lovely place, but like the
majority of San Diegans, I’m in neither the age nor income bracket of
people who generally chill out in the tony enclave.
A native San Diegan,
I’ve never considered Mexican food exotic. The flavors of Mexico— or,
rather, the Americanized version of Mexican-inspired dishes—were as
common on my dinner table growing up as barbecued chicken or mashed
When I first learned
I’d be participating in a “guerilla-style dining” experience, I imagined
myself sitting in a jungle somewhere, possibly with a bandana around my
head, eating beans out of a can with my fingers.