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Top food & drink stories of 2014

A rundown of our most popular restaurant reviews, beer news, drink recipes, and more.

Note the rich color and thick bark of the barbecue at the Wrangler

Note the rich color and thick bark of the barbecue at the Wrangler


All Things BBQ, the final results: San Diego's best barbecue

Ian Pike's 20-part series of All Things Barbecue was an extended lecture on one of the richest culinary traditions of the United States, surveying the wealth of barbecue that San Diego has to offer, and providing need-to-know essentials.

Triple Decker Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger at Chicken Charlie's San Diego County Fair booth

Triple Decker Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger at Chicken Charlie's San Diego County Fair booth

San Diego County Fair food advance peek

Carnie-vore goodies

From Krispy Kreme cheeseburgers to smoked bacon-wrapped Jack Daniels churros to deep-fried chicken fat, we offered a rundown of the standouts available to fairgoers during the month-long annual San Diego County Fair, with a focus on Chicken Charlie — the carnival king who creates a gut-busting culinary version of a summer blockbuster.


Savoie Eatery hits Otay Ranch

An unexpected bid for fine dining supremacy from a Mexican seafood dynasty. Savoie has one of the most stunning and unique designs we’ve seen in the county recently. The fact that it’s in a suburban mall boggles the mind.

The Bellows

803 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road #107, San Marcos

Opening of The Bellows

A new artisanal venture from the creator of Churchill’s Pub opened this year in a 3,000-square-foot space with exhibition-style dining at the bar around the oven, along with a plethora of other seating options — bar, single and communal tables, banquettes, petite bar tops, and a lounge area featuring punched leather chairs. An additional 40 seats available outside and accessible via roll-up, windowed garage-style doors.

Coronado 18th Anniversary Specialty Ale

Coronado 18th Anniversary Specialty Ale


Nothing spells “happy anniversary” like IPA

Coronado 18th Anniversary Specialty Ale

All the cool kids are brewing über-hopped double IPAs to celebrate their companies’ anniversaries. Breweries like Coronado’s eponymous fermentation outfit is emoting I-P-YAY!

Ballast Point Miramar

9045 Carroll Way, Miramar

Ballast Point open for business in Miramar

Rapidly growing brewing and distilling company debuts new tasting room.

Carroll Way had likely never been more densely populated with vehicles as it was when Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits opened its new, 125,000 square foot Miramar facility to the public for the first time.

Paella with chorizo meatballs

Paella with chorizo meatballs

What’s this meatball deal at Rustic?

Follow the bear

Step one. Choose your meatball style: Slider ($3), burrito ($8), sub ($7), naked ($8), spaghetti ($10), or paella ($10). Step two. Choose your meatball. Beef, (with garlic, basil, onion, parmesan mixed in)? Chorizo? Soy chorizo? Turkey?

Shrimp cup-o-noodles and dried squid snacks beckon from behind the bar.

Shrimp cup-o-noodles and dried squid snacks beckon from behind the bar.


Tobacco Rhoda's

The term “dive bar” is thrown around pretty loosely these days and, not unlike “dude,” “epic,” and “excessive force,” the essential meaning has been all but lost. Enter Tobacco Rhoda’s.

Bankers Hill’s Roman Pipeline

Bankers Hill’s Roman Pipeline


The Annette Funicello of cocktails

Christian Siglin, the bar manager at Bankers Hill Restaurant came up with the Roman Pipeline cocktail in an attempt to fuse tiki culture with his favorite Italian aperitif.

Taste the bean, not the roast

New-breed coffee roaster lands in Little Italy

New-breed coffee roaster lands in Little Italy

Most of San Diego’s developing artisanal coffee movement has been spurred by newcomers. One of these quick-rising outfits, microroaster James Coffee Co., started barely more than a year ago in Poway. In May, James launched a coffee counter in Little Italy, and now plans to move its entire roasting operations into the storefront.

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