Blog: Feast!

Entries for April, 2012

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They Had Me at Maytag Blue

Usually, going to a ballgame is a regrettable in-and-out affair for me. My schedule typically doesn’t allow for much more than an express trip down the 163 (traffic permitting), followed by a typically fruitless search for decent parking, followed by a brisk jog to the ballpark to catch the opening ...

Ono Sushi

Ever since I watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi, I can't get Japanese food off my mind. While it's very unlikely that sushi of the caliber depicted in the film will ever be served in town, the Hillcrest sushi restaurant that shares its name with Chef Jiro from the movie offers ...

Antique Row Cafe

For whatever reason, small towns with excessive antique shops engender mistrust. Neighborhoods in major cities with the same concentration of antique stores, however, are exempt from the rule. Antique Row Café, right along the namesake stretch of Adams Avenue in Normal Heights, is an institutional breakfast spot in the neighborhood. ...

Xbox, Dubstep, and Bikini Babes at Cafe HAPA

G.I. Joe cartoons, a modded Xbox, dubstep, Maxim magazines, and bikini babes making sandwiches and laughing at all of your stupid jokes. It may sound like a thirteen-year-old’s vision of the afterlife, but, for just under two months now, Café HAPA in Midway has been very much a reality. “We’re ...

Hillcrest Sammy

Right across the street from Rite-Aid on Robinson and Fifth Ave., the Hillcrest Sandwich Co. has been cranking out scrumptious sammys since 1990. http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2012/apr/27/23598/ The menu has a list of turkey sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, vegetarian sandwiches, club sandwiches, and "seafood specialties." I decided I'd try out the Neptune's Delite, consisting ...

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

Roast Magazine, a Portland-based trade journal that focuses on the technical side of the specialty coffee business, recently named Bird Rock Coffee Roasters their 2012 Micro Roaster of the Year. http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2012/apr/27/23587/ It’s a cool, laid back place, just what you’d expect in Bird Rock. Local art adorns the walls, on ...

Stuck in LA: Bay Cities Deli

Day trips to Los Angeles are an unavoidable reality for many San Diegans. When you're marooned in LA for the afternoon or the day, there are plenty of great spots to grab a bite to eat before making the long drive home. Bay Cities Deli in Santa Monica serves sandwiches ...

Urban Turban: Swinging India Hits Downtown

Was heading down 4th Avenue when I noticed something had changed. Joey’s BBQ had become Urban India (1041 4th Avenue, 619-238-8380). This was about eight at night and I just needed a snack. Ho-kay. Why not an Indian snack? http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2012/apr/27/23566/ Inside it’s big, filled with like, quality furniture, Indian art, ...

Village Vino to have Summer 2012 Opening

I noticed this sign last Sunday while enjoying Adams Avenue Unplugged. Village Vino is a new wine bar slated to open soon on Adams in Kensington. http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2012/apr/26/23543/ Rita Pirkl, native San Diegan, Kensington resident, and owner of Village Vino, has held executive positions in sales and marketing at Chateau Montelena ...

Caroline's Seaside Cafe

There are few things more pleasant in life than sitting by the ocean with your partner and enjoying an impromptu meal. And the view at Caroline’s Seaside Café in La Jolla couldn’t be more beautiful. http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2012/apr/25/23512/ Located on the UCSD Scripps Institute of Oceanography campus in the Seaside Forum, Caroline’s ...

Fast Food? Fast Pho-ward!

Just come from a Big 5, Southland Plaza, Palm City. Got me a pair of $18 shoes. Can’t beat ’em. Ten minutes to catch the 933. Promised Carla I'd bring home a meal. This is eight at night. Humping back towards Saturn Boulevard when I spot the lights of Pho ...

Scoreboard: Pigs Do Fly...In IB

Pigs’ wings? In the real world, fuggedaboutit. But we’re here in IB, where anything is possible. So Joe the owner is standing behind the blue bar counter, and Pia the waitress is leaning on the stool beside me, waiting for me to decide. http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2012/apr/25/23496/ http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2012/apr/25/23497/ Pig’s wings or not? There ...

Apertivo

Located on El Cajon boulevard at the edge of North Park, the Italian tapas restaurant used to be more centrally located but has moved out to the edge of the neighborhood, almost into University Heights. The particular block isn't the loveliest. The neighbors include a gas station and a bogus ...

Park Boulevard Deli

When I see a sign or sandwich board advertising food that's "the best" or "world famous," it's almost impossible for me to decline putting those claims to the test. The sign out front of Park Boulevard Deli in University Heights brazenly proclaimed that the combination liquor store/grocery/deli's sandwiches had been ...

A Cool Beer Event Learned About at a Cool Beer Event

This weekend, while taking in Stone Brewing Co.’s annual ode to rare wood-aged brews, Oakquinox, I ran into a well-known figure in San Diego beer enthusiast circles. Her name is Vicki Davis and her visibility in the local scene has come via her association with AleSmith Brewing Company, and status ...

Sweet-Filled Asian Confections Beckon You at Pangea Bakery Cafe

I tried acupuncture for the time recently. I was told that it would alleviate pain and help make me as relaxed as a wet noodle. Yeah, not so much. Unless, that is, you call relaxation 30 minutes of jolting pain and a practitioner snapping at you like a piranha: "You're ...

Coming Attractions: Hillcrest Brewing Company

It’s getting to the point where seeing a San Diego neighborhood without a brewery is an oddity akin to finding one without a taco shop. Such glaring voids are being filled at a rapid clip. One community that’s about to get an infusion of locally produced beer is Hillcrest. The ...

Kathy’s Place: How to Blow a Perfectly Cheap Meal

“Should we?” This is Carla. We’re standing outside the doors of Kathy’s Place, the in-house cafeteria at Sharp Coronado Hospital (sometimes called Sharp Coronado Cafe, 250 Prospect Place, 619-522-3600). Carla’s here to get a check on that elbow she twisted when she swung too hard at me with the baseball ...

Sustainable Seafood Week in San Diego Continues through April 25th

Last week I wrote about Sustainable Seafood Week in San Diego, which runs until Wednesday, April 25th. Sustainable Seafood Week encourages restaurants and patrons to consume seafood that is produced and harvested in a ways that minimize the impact on surrounding ecosystems and minimizes bycatch, while maintaining economic viability for ...

Koon Thai Kitchen

Koon Thai Kitchen is a fairly recent addition to the Convoy Street scene, taking over the space vacated by the old Curry House. The sleek new look is contemporary and inviting. Blond wood tables play warmly off the dark walls and deep plummy accents. http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2012/apr/23/23381/ We started off with a ...

Monkey Paw Pub: Yes You Can Can

What’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys? Perhaps a can of Monkey Paw beer. Hard to know at this point, since that beer is currently only available at the East Village’s Monkey Paw Pub and Brewery and a small pawful of draft accounts around town. But soon, that brewpub ...

Town’s Unfriendliest Patio?

The patio guard rail reminds you of the old bumper sticker: “Welcome to California. Now Go Home.” This arty rusty Stalag-13-style “fence” looks like it’s made to keep people in, rather than keep the rest of us out. http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2012/apr/23/23359/ Actually it’s a patio for the customers of this office workspace ...

FYI, Toronado Serves Food

Brandon Hernandez did an admirable job of comparing and contrasting the North Park iteration of Toronado with the San Francisco original, and I have used Toronado as exemplary of craft-beer bars in my (admittedly limited) attempt to get a handle on the TJ beer scene. The food at places like ...

PO5: Improvements to Late Nite Pizzeria

Heads up, you late nite Gaslamp guzzlers! Pizza On Fifth Pizza Lounge - PO5 – where everybody goes to sober up a little at three in the mawnin’, is changing up, becoming more, well, loungey inside, with beer, wine, and a bigger sidewalk patio area where you can sit, chomp, ...

La Posta

This Hillcrest taco shop is open 24 hours and takes only cash (there's an ATM on site). The prices are cheap and the clientele often borders on sketchy. It's La Posta. I usually err on the side of caution in taking recommendations from people I know, but I found the ...

Ballast Point Looking Into Locations for Third Brewery

The world’s reigning Small Brewing Company (as awarded at the World Beer Cup, the next biennial iteration of which will occur in San Diego the first weekend of May) is looking to grow. Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits is currently searching for a 55,000- to 100,000-square-foot building within San Diego ...

Izakaya Masa

Tucked into the corner of a Mission Hills retail complex, the izakaya is only identifiable by a small sign in Japanese. Also, it's the only thing that's open late since the nature of an izakaya is to be an after-work or late-night destination. http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2012/apr/22/23304/ Reservations are highly recommended, especially on ...

The Peculiarity of Lily's Garden Cafe

I remember when Lily's used to be in University Heights, cater-corner to Henry's. Now the cafe there has shut down and moved to Normal Heights. The address is on Adams Avenue, but the door really opens about thirty meters down 35th Street. The only reason I noticed it was because ...

Kumpir from Mr. Potato

Perhaps this is the new street food sensation! Kumpir is a Turkish fast food dish made from a baked potato that's been stuffed with various fillings. Mr. Potato, a stand that makes regular appearances at San Diego farmers' markets, specializes in the snack. I ordered a small kumpir from the ...

Las Hadas Bar and Grill

Las Hadas Bar and Grill, on Fourth Street in the Gaslamp District first attracted me with their happy hour menu. Nice prices, good selection on both food and drink specials, and extended hours. http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2012/apr/20/23232/ I started out with a Diablo ($5), the Las Hadas take on a michelada. It was ...

Toma Sol Cafe

The cafe is situated on the less-occupied stretch of Washington Street between Hillcrest and Mission Hills proper. Considering the relatively sterile feel of the block on which it's located, Toma Sol manages a comfortable vibe that might make the quiet coffee shop a good place to sit and get some ...

A Beer Pairing Dinner Based on...Cupcakes?

They say candy’s dandy, but liquor’s quicker. Put the two together and you’ve got the sweet line of baked goods that is local dessert company, PubCakes. From the La Mesa home base she shares with Treehouse Coffee, owner Misty Birchall crafts home-style cupcakes using beer as a core ingredient. Since ...

Coming Attractions: The Summer of Karl

A month ago, I shared details on Karl Strauss Brewing Company’s expansion of their production facility. That project, which is scheduled to debut in late summer, includes installation of a 20-tap bar, outdoor beer garden, private event spaces and a tour deck. It’s plenty ambitious all on its own, but ...

La Terrazza — Life at the Top

Oh man. Seems every day off, the lovely Carla wants to head for Diane, on the sceptered isle of Coronado, to get her hair swished up. She's there now. Me, wandering lonely as a cloud, till I pass this place I've always been curious about, La Terrazza (1309 Orange Avenue, ...

Limone: San Diego's Newest Pop-Up

After my fun-times at Cellar Door, I was eager to try the newest underground restaurant that popped up on my foodar: Limone. Limone's chef, Accursio Lota, is originally from Sicily, but, as with Logan of Cellar Door, he made his way to San Diego via San Francisco. Both cited San ...

Manakeesh at Sajj Mediterranean Grill

Sajj is the name of the domed, cast-iron oven that bakes the fresh bread at this Lebanese restaurant in Hillcrest at the corner of University and Normal Street. The grill is a fascinating piece of equipment and all the best dishes at the restaurant are organized around the crispy flatbread ...

Park Boulevard Wine & Pizza

Located in the food-friendly section of University Heights by the intersection of Park and Adams, this pizza place saw some renovations at the end of last summer and has become quite the charming location. The intimate interior and very cozy patio make the space inside ideal for convivial times, even ...

The Pasha of F Street

The street guy takes the blind woman inside the café and says she needs a drink. The owner doesn’t scoot them out, but asks them to “please wait.” The two wait outside. A little while later, the owner comes out with what looks like an ayran-laban, a yogurt drink, or ...

Salad Style: In the Chapel? Or Under the Green Umbrella?

Green noodles, red cabbage, lime umbrellas, blue sky. Who could ask for anything more? Couldn’t resist stopping in here at Salad Style (807 F Street, 619-255-6731), what with the sunny day and the cute, little ol’ low red brick building, and this block (kitty-corner to the back of the post ...

Sustainable Seafood Week in San Diego

Sustainable Seafood Week begins today and runs through April 25th. This event brings together area restaurants that are committed to the sustainable seafood movement. Sustainable seafood, according to the nonprofit Seafood for the Future, is “Seafood that is harvested and/or produced in a manner that minimizes bycatch and impacts on ...

Two SD County Breweries Make U.S. Top 50

Earlier today, the Brewers Association, that trade group that tabulates production statistics for U.S. breweries, announced the country’s top 50 craft brewing companies. Total 2011 beer sales volume was the deciding factor. Two San Diego County companies made that list. Escondido’s Stone Brewing Co. came in at number 11, up ...

Tandoori Hut: All the Curry You Can Eat

The buffet is heavily advertised on the exterior of Tandoori hut. "All you can eat" for $8.99 at lunch and $9.99 at dinner. For potentially heavy eaters, the value to be extracted from such a deal is immense. http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2012/apr/17/23069/ The plain decor of the restaurant reflects the low cost of ...

Beer Touring: Black Market Brewing Company

I had fond memories of their Rye IPA, and had tasted their Hefeweizen and Brown Ale a number of times around town, but it wasn’t until Easter weekend that I finally made it out to Black Market Brewing Company’s home base. The reason—purely geographical. Black Market is located in a ...

Counter Culture: Counting Down – But When?

“Arriving Early 2012.” Uh-huh. We’re nearly May now. What’s happenin’, fellas? The sign is stuck to the window of this new condo building at 6th and G downtown. http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2012/apr/16/22998/ It's right beside an application for a “41," the beer and wine license, and scrumptious pictures of three-feet-high mega burgers... http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2012/apr/16/22993/ ...

Park House Eatery

The patio at Park House is excellent. Shading is sufficient so it's manageable on sunny days, and the outlook on Park Boulevard in University Heights is very pleasant. The interior of the restaurant is very nice as well, but on an ideal day during lunch, the patio is a must. ...

New San Diego Beer Cookbook On Tap

Last night, I attended a dinner put on by four local food and brewing industry personalities. It was held at a private residence and featured plenty of delicious dishes and beer that was consumed on the backyard patio. Sounds like a casual Sunday get-together and that’s what it turned out ...

Analog: Food + Video Games

Before a trip to see a certain movie about a boat, I stopped into Analog Bar for a quick, pre-theater nosh and tipple. The Gaslamp establishment claims "good food and strong drinks" boldly on the front of the building. It's been divided up into two separate rooms, although the partitions ...

Friday 13th in the Rain: The Butternut Solution!

On a miserable Friday 13th in the Gaslamp like tonight, this is the answer: Hot butternut soup. http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2012/apr/13/22862/ Sitting here at The Hopping Pig (734 5th Avenue, 619-546-6424)... http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2012/apr/13/22864/ ...nursing an Arrogant Bastard (another beautiful cold weather consolation, $6), and watching as the cook brings out this big $5 china ...

Are Bloody Mary Menus the New Thing?

Bloody Marys are a staple item on brunch menus, and many of our local restaurants boast a signature Bloody Mary. Over the years, they’ve gotten fancier, spicier, and garnish-ier. That’s not a real word, but you know what I mean – a tall skewer of pickled, smoked, stuffed or seared ...

Cafe 976 - Anomaly in Peebs

Although I live in Pacific Beach I admit I don't really hang out there much. I usually end up spending time in South Park or North Park to see bands or check out events and what not. Maybe that's why I've been going to Cafe 976 (in PB) for a ...

Lunch at Terra American Bistro

Earlier this week, I happened to pass the corner of 71st and El Cajon right around 11:30, just as I was beginning to think about lunch. I had been to Terra American Bistro once before, for drinks, and I remembered the interior as cozy and the menu as intriguing, so ...

$5 Breakfast: Bud's Louisiana Cafe

A few months ago, I joined the world’s population of smartphone users, and I’m still marveling at the things it can do. Yesterday morning, with an hour to spare between dropping off my daughter at school in Kearny Mesa and meeting a colleague in La Mesa, I got a hankering ...

Coming Attraction: Green Flash-Founders Linchpin White IPA

When Green Flash Brewing Company moved into their new digs in Mira Mesa, there was no doubt theirs would become a beery gathering place. The large, well-stocked tasting room alone guaranteed that. Of late, however, it’s the brewery that’s been packing them in. In March, Green Flash brewmaster Chuck Silva ...

Urban Eats? Urban Apps!

OMG. Eyes rolling back. Little gastronomic orgasm happening here. I’m crunching into a truly dee-lish bruschetta, loaded with big sloppy caramelized onions that sit under bigger, blacker, splayed-out wild mushrooms which are topped with bubbling, golden, toasted blue cheese. Plus a wild crown of watercress on top, green and fresh. ...

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Compared to, say, cop movies or stoner comedies, really great food movies are rare. When they come along, little bits of what it's like to be intimately involved in cuisine see the light of day. Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the story of the man who the film claims is the ...

Little Bites of Heaven: The Pierogi Truck

My friend Kerri has never steered me wrong with a restaurant recommendation, so when she mentioned the Pierogi Truck for lunch, I couldn’t wait to try it. Tom Bordyczewski and his mother, Bozena, originally from Poland, lived in Chicago for 16 years before moving to SoCal. The lack of Eastern ...

Fry's: No Time to Eat the Plate

Crisis! Router ain’t woiking no more. Hours on the phone with nice gal in the Philippines. Result: “Your router is defective. You are out of warranty. Good luck.” Second result: I’m on the 120 bus, 7:30 at night, then the 928, heading for Fry’s, top of Mission Valley. Consequence: I ...

A Peek at the Beer List from the Final Real Ale Festival

Last month, I shared the bittersweet news (bitter because there was hoppy beer involved, sweet because it meant San Diego’s beer scene has come a long way) that, after 15 years of cask-conditioned memories, the organizers behind Pizza Port’s Real Ale Festival decided to pull the plug on the annual ...

Chefs Unite to Support the Next Generation

When I first heard the term "Chef Celebration," I had no idea what it meant. It was bandied about in conjunction with a series of dinners in which a handful of chefs from different restaurants converged at a central venue and cooked one course apiece to comprise a complete meal. ...

Delux Dogs: Open!

For months it’s had brown paper covering the windows and a sign promising they’d be opening soon. Every time we come through, my official hot dog taster – Carla – looks longingly. “When, when, for crying out loud!” She’d say, nose to the 901 bus window. This time though, it's ...

Untruth in Labeling: The Problem of "Uncured" Meats

Over the past couple of years, a variety of meats (and some variety meats, but that's quite a different tale) have started turning up in grocery and specialty stores with the qualifier "uncured" attached to the packaging. This is a problematic designation when the product in question is bacon, ham, ...

Weekday Brunch at La Mesa Bistro

Giant menus make it difficult for me to make decisions. Last week, at La Mesa Bistro & Bakery, it took me ten minutes to settle on the Bagel & Lox, only to be told they were out of the lox. So I had to step aside and let three people ...

Sunflower Seeds: San Diego’s Ancient Food Comes Home

Beth spits out her mouthful of sunflower seeds. You gotta admire this. From time immemorial you could divide the human race into those who could and those who couldn't...crack off multiple shells in the mouth, eat the meat, and ptooey! Expel those shells dry, like confetti into the ditch. http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2012/apr/10/22641/ ...

Julian Pie Company

Last week, on a drive up to Julian, I thought about Mr. Ian Pike, who wrote a couple of months ago about stopping in Julian to eat pie during a five-hour wintery cold bike ride. As I made my way up the winding roads, I imagined Mr. Pike’s legs and ...

Laylah's Reggae Kitchen

It's pretty far out El Cajon Boulevard. Not quite all the way, but 58th and ECB is a good jog. The brightly painted facade of the restaurant features a smiling Rasta chef and the inside is likewise decorated with imagery from the reggae pantheon. Jamaican music plays softly from the ...

$10 Lunch: Soups and Such Cafe in Julian

On a trip to Julian last Friday, my friend Beans and I had a big decision to make: Would we be good or bad when it came to choosing a lunch spot? Before driving up, we’d both assumed we’d end up eating something we probably shouldn’t eat every day. Barbecue, ...

Fred's Mexican Cafe - Risky

To call a Mexican restaurant Fred's Mexican Cafe in San Diego is a gutsy move, simply because locals have no shortage of authentic Mexican cuisine options to choose from. That's not to say only Mexicans can make great Mexican food, which would be like saying only Italians can make Pizza ...

Best Dog on a Stick?

“Established 1894,” says this sign on top of the brick building. It’s the old Wonder Bread building that Mission Brewery has taken over (1441 L Street, 619-544-0555). But it’s what’s outside that interests me. There’s this truck that looks like a, well, dog shack. And Dog Shack is what it’s ...

Border Patrol, Caught Partying!

Over the weekend: Parking lot, Petco Park. Place was like a smoke alarm's paradise. BBQs everywhere. But at the eastern end, it was tent canopies and full-on DJ and guys at tents handing out beers, sodas, snacks, and raffle tickets and their families horsing around, dads playing hacky-sack bowls with ...

Gelato at Pappalecco Hillcrest

The food at Pappalecco has been described several times in Reader blogs, but the gelato has thus far been overlooked. As far as I can tell, the Fifth Avenue branch of the gelateria is identical to the Little Italy space in terms of the menu. http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2012/apr/09/22506/ http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2012/apr/09/22507/ At first, I ...

R-Gang Eatery

Occupying a busy section of 5th Ave in Hillcrest, R-Gang is an upscale version of the American comfort food restaurants that decorate the culinary landscape from coast to coast. The atmosphere is very casual and the ambiance is warmer and more open than other, equally hip places that cultivate an ...

Burgers with a Side of Smoke: Slater's 50/50

I went to Slater’s 50/50 – Burgers by Design in Liberty Station over the weekend, not knowing that it’s a sports bar before I got there. I haven’t been to a sports bar in a long while. I don’t have anything against them, it’s just that it can be hard ...

Killer Breakfast Sandwich at Cafe Cabaret

I am loyal to the North Park coffee shop where I spend the most hours sucking down coffee and hunkering over my computer at a table in the corner. But every now and again, my travels take me elsewhere, and I stray. Last Tuesday, I found myself staring in the ...

$10 Feast For Two: Lisa's Filipino Cuisine

Although I have not yet finished combing my new neighborhood for sushi joints, there are those rare days when I want something besides Japanese food. Last week, I decided to take a chance on Lisa’s Filipino Cuisine, a restaurant I’d seen while running in and out of the nearby Von’s. ...

How and Why Tiger!Tiger! Isn't BLAH

A few months back, Mary Beth Abate gave an accurate rundown on Tiger!Tiger! The place had only been open a couple of months at that point, and it was still figuring out what it would be when it grew up. The menu hasn't really changed, but the scene seems to ...

JSix: Three Courses for $15

When I was a kid, my heart hurt to see anyone dining alone at a restaurant. It hurt so bad, I had to look away. During my twenties in New York, I discovered the joy of a great novel, a glass of wine, and a whole restaurant table all to ...

Asian Fusion at Cafe Jay

I was chatting with some friends about Thai food, and someone mentioned Café Jay in Sorrento Valley as a nice, quick lunch spot. Located on Scranton Road, in the shadow of the Qualcomm office building off the 805, it’s part of a small food court that serves office workers from ...

Tractor Room

I've checked out the Tractor Room a few times based on recommendations from an Argentine guy I know. His verdict is that the place makes "the best burger he has ever eaten in his life." Since the man basically lives on a diet of beef, I take his recommendation pretty ...

East Village Is Getting an Infusion of Milk & Honey

The East Village is about to get an infusion of milk and honey when bartender Sam Ross ventures beyond a wall of fake kegs and behind the bar at cocktail heaven Noble Experiment. Ross has made quite a name for himself since coming to the US from his family-owned bar ...

SOL Markets Bistro Open for Business

Back in January, I put local edible foragers on notice that SOL Markets was opening their first grocery store in Liberty Station. That happened back in February. Since then, they’ve seen a steady trickle of customers, but really had the chance to shine to their core clientele demographic at a ...

My New Favorite Wine Bar

This is it. I'm in love. Was on Fifth, heading across from where Jersey Mike's is coming, when I noticed the red glow of a canopy, and a pretty romantic patio. Said "The Wine Lover" (3968 Fifth Avenue, Hillcrest, 619-294-9200) 'Course I knew this was gonna be way beyond what ...

Jersey Mike's Coming to Hillcrest

Okay, it's a way-big chain, but I've met true fanatics of this sub place. It started in Point Pleasant, Jersey Shore, the kinda PB of New Joisey, an hour south of New York City. A real guy named Mike started "Mike's Subs" back in 1956, when subs were pretty new. ...

Ballast Point Spirits Breed Kentucky-Fried Envy

It took Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits over a decade to cement their reputation as a top tier craft brewery, but it’s taken significantly less time to prove their merit as a craft distillery. It’s been less than three years since they added spirits to their line of handcrafted adult ...

A Pre-World Beer Cup Session with Pizza Port OB

A night after sipping some of the beers reigning Great American Beer Festival Large Brewpub of the Year, Pizza Port Carlsbad, submitted for May’s World Beer Cup, I headed to the reigning Small Brewpub of the Year, Pizza Port Ocean Beach, to catch up with head brewer Yiga Miyashiro and ...

Thai Pepper: Into the Hot Pot

So there I was, waiting for the 928 to take me back down to Fashion Valley, when I noticed a little café. “Thai Pepper Cuisine" (3361 Sandrock Road, 858-715-4676). It looked kind of open. This was around sunset, seven in the evening. I’m really open to suggestion at that time. ...

Catching Up with Pizza Port Carlsbad at Local Habit

San Diego really is the Napa Valley for craft beer. The region is rich with opportunities to experience exceptional brews. The latest proof of that came to me last week when, on consecutive nights, I had the chance to sample beers from the reigning best large and small brewpubs in ...

Chocolat: The Perfect Pour?

Are there cheaper places to buy coffee? At $3.18, including tax, for the house coffee, you betcha. Plus here at Chocolat (3896 5th Avenue, Hillcrest, 619-574-8500)... http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2012/apr/04/22194/ ...while you're waiting for the danged cawfee to be made, you have to look at all these skerrumptious cookies and home-made candies. But ...

Que Huong Vietnamese Restaurant

As Elizabeth Salaam recently pointed out, City Heights has some amazing places to eat if one is willing to look around a bit. Que Huong, tucked into a strip mall at the intersection of University and Marlborough, is just such a place. http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photos/2012/apr/03/22145/ Lavishly decorated, at least as compared to ...

Good Eats and a Foie Gras Alternative at Gabardine

Unless you’re lucky enough to live in Point Loma’s affluent inner expanses, it takes something special to justify a rush hour traversing of the long, congested un-thoroughfare that is Rosecrans Street. Count a meal at Gabardine, Point Loma’s new modernized Portuguese fish house, as an experience worth all the frustrating ...

Hamilton Eats Free in the Gaslamp

Life in the Gaslamp? It’s a Damon Runyan play. Midnight, Monday night: This is the time when you start hearing the clacking of cans being crushed, smelling drifts of marijuana smoke, hearing guys on side streets yelling out their own rap, and watching the Russian girls as they coast around ...

April Madness at the Gaslamp Tavern

Wow. When I was here, down in the Gaslamp Saturday night, and again tonight (Monday), it was the same. The Gaslamp Tavern, at Fifth and E (868 Fifth, 619-239-3339), was unbelievably crowded and sending a racket out into the street. I went up and asked John, the bouncer. "What’s up?" ...

Chopahn: It Means “Shepherd,” Not "Composer"

This must be Afghan Month. First I found Zia Pizza, then Ian turned up at Khyber Pass, then I find myself outside Chopahn (650 6th Avenue, in the Gaslamp, 619-236-9236). I’m standing gawking at the menu pedestal outside, when the owner, looks like, comes up. For me, the entrée prices ...

Hennessey's Tavern: Better Than Expected Burger

It was hard to get really psyched about a quasi-Irish chain, even one that's closely managed and restricted to a less than imperial number of locations. But, every now and again, a place will deliver a pleasant surprise. Stopping in for dinner at Hennessey's in La Jolla, I found the ...

Dining Out to Support Big Sister League of San Diego

It's hard to believe, but there was a time when women couldn't be out on the streets of San Diego past 10 p.m. without an escort. The punishment for females who didn't abide by this mandate: a prompt jailing. Frances Woods, a woman of means and high standing in the ...

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