Stories for December 2001

Thursday, December 27

Best of 2001: Scariest High-Dive Sashimi

Zenbu 7660 Fay Avenue, La Jolla 858-454-4540 A round, cactus-like object sits atop a bed of white daikon shreds, gently waving purple-black spines. It's the first course of your dinner: live uni. You tell yourself ...

    Best of 2001: Best Undiscovered San Diego Treat

    Beef Cheek Cabeza La Campaña 619-232-8756 At pricey French restaurants, many menus offer a comforting Gallic dish that's grown increasingly voguish in the past five years: slow-cooked cheeks of beef or veal. The same item ...

    Best of 2001: Best Value Eggs

    Rosticería Los Pollos Constitución, between 6th and 7th Streets, Tijuana (011-52-64) 90-96-88 Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Depends which you want at Eduardo Riquelme Alcocer's "Rosticería Los Pollos" open chicken-roasting place on ...

    Best of 2001: Best Tamal-Elote-Champurrado Stand

    Tamales Los Unicos 25th and C, Golden Hill 619-238-1513 There's something about standing outside in the chill of the night, unwrapping your own personal Sinaloa-style tamal, taking a slurp of champurrado, and chatting with everybody ...

      Best of 2001: Best Sugar

      Tres Caños Azucar Moreno Food Bowl Supermarket (and others) 619-239-4709 The proverbial problem with white sugar is that it's so ultra-refined, it tastes more like a chemical product than a plant derivative. (Worse yet, the ...

      Best of 2001: Best Retro Classic Dessert

      Vincent Sirino's 113 W. Grand, Escondido 760-745-3835 Chef Vincent Grumel's desserts are his forte, and he's been making his spectacular bavarois for a quarter of a century. This elaborate production number -- this Babylonian sequence ...

      Best of 2001: Best Scottish Hamburgers

      Nessy Burger at Highway 76 and Old Highway 395, near Pala Mesa Village Up on the windy heights inland from Oceanside, where Route 76 meets Old Highway 395, a little piece of Scotland survives. Alistair, ...

      Best of 2001: Best Place To Find "Gourmet" Items Your Supermarket Discontinued

      Cost Plus World Market 372 Fourth Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter 619-236-1737 8657 Villa La Jolla Drive, La Jolla 858-455-8210 5500 Grossmont Center Drive, La Mesa 619-466-2991 What are you gonna do when your grocery store turns ...

      Best of 2001: Best Place For Vegemite Sandwiches

      The Australian Pub 1014 Grand Avenue, Pacific Beach 858-273-9921 Aussie diggers surround you here, downing pints of Fosters Lager faster'n a kookaburra can swallow a fish. Quicker'n a 'roo can bust yer nose. Lagers cost ...

      Best of 2001: Best Non-Jewish Lox

      Kazumi Sushi 3975 Fifth Avenue, Hillcrest 619-682-4054 Most smoked salmon available locally (whether it's the precious Scottish or Irish product or the Lasco packages in the supermarket) follows the same model as Nova Scotia lox: ...

      Best of 2001: Best Gut-Stuffing, Drool-Making Beef Sandwiches

      The Barbecue Pit 2388 Fletcher Parkway, El Cajon 619-462-5434 Four other San Diego locations Virl's the man. He stands at his station with a huge "clog" (shoulder) of slow-roasted beef, carving away at it with ...

      Best of 2001: Best New Mexico Enchiladas

      Salazar's Fine Mexican Food 1502 Market, Sherman Heights 619-238-9674 It's not the flashiest part of town, but for 28 years Frank Salazar's adobe-style New Mexico coffee shop has been a little oasis of old Spanish-speaking ...

      Best of 2001: Best Gumbo

      Juke Joint Café 327 Fourth Avenue, Gaslamp www.jukejointcafe.com Louisiana gumbo is not a Campbell's soup. Thick and spicy, somewhere between a soup and a stew, and between the devil's lure and heaven's reward to good ...

      Best of 2001: Best Gourmet Frozen Take-Out

      Wildflower Catering 3645 Park Boulevard (Embassy Hotel), North Park wildflowerathome@aol.com Margot Leidy did all the right things: she went to hotel and restaurant school in San Francisco when she was 18, she learned the sauces, ...

      Best of 2001: Best German Sausage On The Street

      Heidi and Bernie's German Bratwurst Tent Thursday-Night Market, North Park Way (between 29th and 30th Streets) 619-588-1288 This is not just your average hot dog stand. "These are traditional Bavarian bratwurst," says Bernie. "I am ...

      Best of 2001: Best Fresh Pasta

      Assenti's Pasta 2004 India Street, Little Italy 619-239-5117 Fresh pasta offers a richer flavor, so forget the boxed stuff and head for Assenti's. Sure, they've got plain pasta, and the plain pasta is superb. But ...

      Best of 2001: Best Crab Cake

      Tin Fish Imperial Beach Pier, 910 Seacoast Drive, Imperial Beach www.thetinfish.net There are a lot of crab cakes in the naked city -- crumby crab cakes, fancy crab cakes tasting of too much green pepper, ...

      Best of 2001: Best Chicken Salad Sandwich In The South Bay

      Stella's On Third Avenue 365 3rd Avenue, Chula Vista 619-427-6476 Stella's is a cheery, woody, English tea house-looking place. Green Formica tables, green carpet, cream walls, a giant blue glass vase with craggy sticks in ...

      Best of 2001: Best Cow's Lips

      El Poblanito/El Imperio del Supertaco 549 25th Street (at Market), Downtown 619-239-9379 You may as well reconcile yourself: everyone you tell will come out with "Urgh! You kissed a cow??" Just invite them to try ...

      Best of 2001: Best Big Omelet

      Antique Row Café 3002 Adams Avenue, Normal Heights 619-303-7601 or 619-282-9750 The menu calls them "Three-Egg Omeletes," but it's hard to believe. The chicken that laid three eggs large enough to compose these monsters would ...

      Best of 2001: Best Bread Pudding

      Bayou Bar and Grill 329 Market (at Third Avenue), Gaslamp Quarter 619-696-8747 Bayou specializes in Louisiana cooking -- except for desserts, which only use the sweet, heavy pastries of the South as points of inspiration. ...

      Best of 2001: Best Asian Markets

      Hing Long Oriental Food Market and Vinh Hung Hing Long Oriental Food Market 4644 El Cajon Boulevard, City Heights 619-280-2132 or 619-563-9986 Vinh Hung 4690 El Cajon Boulevard, City Heights 619-283-5442 For some San Diegans ...

      Best of 2001: Best All Day Suckers

      Sanford Cousin's Old Town Candy Shop 2711 San Diego Avenue, Old Town 619-297-2000, 877-CANDY77 Old-fashioned rock candy sticks are plentiful in flavors such as traditional pure cane as well as blue raspberry, watermelon, cotton candy, ...

      Best of 2001: Best Bakery

      Howard's Bakery 1097 Broadway, El Cajon 619-442-0486 Though he sold the bakery last year, original owner Howard Owens is still on the payroll. Opened in 1979, Howard's is a full-line bakery that has it all. ...

      Best of 2001: Best Alternative To A Strip Mall On One Block

      Fir Street Between India and Columbia, Little Italy These brightly painted homes, circa 1900 to 1930, now enjoy a new identity, housing shops as diverse and colorful as the paint adorning them. On the corner, ...

      Best of 2001: Best Place To Buy/Sell Your Car

      Third and Fourth Streets, Coronado It's probably no coincidence that in the afternoons along Fourth Street in Coronado, you see cars parked along the right side with "For Sale" signs and large phone numbers in ...

      Best of 2001: Best Way to Have a New Species Named After You

      Department of Biology, San Diego State University 619-594-6767 San Diego Natural History Museum 619-232-3821 www.sdnhm.org The Natural History Museum, which has already collected 7-1/2 million specimens over the last century and a quarter, is looking ...

      Best of 2001: Best Vintage Haircuts

      The Service Station 4222 Adams Avenue, Kensington 619-516-2600 Hair stylist Katie Carney says it started about five years ago, when she was watching the 1941 musical Moon Over Miami. Betty Grable's hair struck her as ...

      Best of 2001: Best Way To Generate Your Own Electricity

      Solar Electric Inc. 5555 Santa Fe Street, Suite D, Pacific Beach 858-581-0051 www.solarelectricinc.com or contact: Utility Consumer Action Network (UCAN) 1717 Kettner Boulevard, Little Italy 619-696-6966 www.ucan.org What's a desperate SDG&E addict to do? The ...

      Best of 2001: Best Unexpected Graveyard

      Pioneer Park/Calvary Cemetery West Washington and Randolph Street, Mission Hills Some picnics are spoiled by ants or drizzly weather. But festivities at this park, located about a mile from Old Town, can sour when the ...

      Best of 2001: Best Ufo Sightings

      Borrego Springs Anza Borrego Desert State Park www.borregosprings.com To paraphrase The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, "Outer space is big. Really, really, big." Buildings, trees, and lights obscure our view of the big sky, unless ...

      Best of 2001: Best Use Of A Bank Vault

      Safe Deposit Box Vault, Courtyard By Marriott 530 Broadway, Downtown 619-446-3000 This is the place to hold the meeting where the family lawyer tells you you've inherited Grandma's entire La Jolla waterfront estate. Yippee! And ...

        Best of 2001: Best Star Trekking

        Finn's Cosmic Collectibles 3089 Clairemont Drive, Suite 202, San Diego eBay seller ID: buymenow When it comes to TV and film memorabilia, Star Trek rules the universe. Ed Finn buys and sells such pop culture ...

        Best of 2001: Best Secret Rest Stop For Drowsy Interstate Commuters

        North County Fair Parking Lot 272 East Via Rancho Parkway, Escondido You Interstate 15 inmates know the drill: You're alternating between sleep and the short but intense adrenaline rushes that come from dozing off at ...

        Best of 2001: Best Restored Storefront

        Strip mall on the corner of Park Boulevard and El Cajon Boulevard, North Park/University Heights A two-show performance by pop singer Jewel months before the release of her first album was not enough to save ...

        Best of 2001: Best School To Raise Your Kid Bilingually

        Longfellow Elementary 5055 July Street, Clairemont 619-276-4206 This is the bilingual idea as it should be in a border town. Kids growing up speaking both Spanish and English with equal facility. "We're total immersion," says ...

        Best of 2001: Best Real-Life Rocket

        San Diego Aerospace Museum Hangar 335 Kenney Street, Santee 619-258-1221 This Atlas Missile 2-E is East County's premier anachronism. Its flanks jut up 80 or 90 feet from the low-rise industrial buildings along Gillespie Field's ...

        Best of 2001: Best Residential Row

        28th Street, Between Date and A Streets, South Park It's mostly Craftsman houses of varying degrees of size and splendor along this row of houses, with a few Monterey-style houses and Spanish numbers. The highlight ...

        Best of 2001: Best Place To Pet A Shark

        Chula Vista Nature Center 1000 Gunpowder Point Drive, Chula Vista 619-409-5900 www.chulavistanaturecenter.org The Chula Vista Nature Interpretive Center exhibits birds in their natural habitats, jellyfish in a big tank, tarantulas, and mice. They're doing their ...

        Best of 2001: Best Place To Prepare For 2004

        ARCO Olympic Training Center 1750 Wueste Road, Chula Vista 619-656-1500 Once you find your way there (which will become easier when Olympic Parkway is completed), you'll be impressed with the design of the place -- ...

        Best of 2001: Best Place To Test Drive A Pet

        Petworks Grossmont Center, La Mesa 619-465-4446 Petworks, in Grossmont Center next to Zales Jewelers, opens its doors at 10:00 a.m. to customers eager to try out their pet-walking skills. With a credit card and a ...

        Best of 2001: Best Place To Sample That Old-Time Cosmology

        Institute for Creation Research 10946 Woodside Avenue North, Santee 619-448-0900, ext. 6011 This free "museum of science and history" (open 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday) will "take you on a journey through time!" according ...

        Best of 2001: Best Place To Sample Local Indian Culture

        Barona Cultural Center and Museum 1095 Barona Road, Lakeside 619-443-7003, ext. 219 Opened in January 2000, it's the first tribal museum in the county and admission is free. The most impressive feature is the full-size ...

        Best of 2001: Best Place To Rub Shoulders With Local Politicians

        Kensington Village Café 4090 Adams Avenue, Kensington 619-283-7546 "You are who you eat with." At Jim and Sandy's place, you eat with the best -- if you look up to politicians, that is. Dick Murphy, ...

        Best of 2001: Best Place To Learn To Play Somali Cards And Dominoes

        Restaurant Afrique 4990 University Avenue, City Heights 619-283-3838 Back in 1999, Abdiaziz Farah thought he was just opening a Somali restaurant, Afrique. But the opening revealed a desperate need in the growing Somali community for ...

        Best of 2001: Best Place To Get Your Groove (And Sense Of Justice) Back

        WorldBeat Center 2100 Park Boulevard, Balboa Park 619-230-1190 The WorldBeat Center is shaped like a drum, which is appropriate because it uses music (lots of reggae) to advance its primary mission -- to present and ...

        Best of 2001: Best Place To Nurture Body And Soul

        Nature's Storehouse 307 3rd Avenue, Chula Vista 619-425-7480 "We bought the store seven years ago, but the store has been here for over 30 years," explains owner Munther George. "We are a health-food store, and ...

        Best of 2001: Best Place To Go To Confession

        St. Joseph's Cathedral 1535 Third Avenue, Downtown 619-239-0229 Catholics who want to go to confession often can't wait for the one-hour available at their parish on Saturday afternoon, and many are afraid that the priest ...

          Best of 2001: Best Place To Contemplate San Diego History

          Old Mission Dam, Mission Trails Regional Park 1 Father Junipero Serra Trail, Mission Gorge, San Diego 619-668-3275 www.mtrp.org With its rocky landscape and varied wildlife, Mission Trails Regional Park offers city dwellers an escape from ...

          Best of 2001: Best Place In County To Mine For Gold

          Cleveland National Forest, Buckman Springs Area U.S. Forest Service Descanso Ranger District Office, 3348 Alpine Boulevard, Alpine 619-445-6235 Is there still gold in them thar hills? "Yes sir," says Donald Sheckler, 86, who's been mining ...

          Best of 2001: Best Original Women's Studies Program

          San Diego State University 619-594-6524 The women's movement really came of age between 1970 and 1972. After the protests and the furious national debate, colleges across the country started wondering if this wasn't a subject ...

          Best of 2001: Best Npr Rising Star

          Nancy Greenleese KPBS-FM, 89.5 FM 5200 Campanile Drive, San Diego State 619-594-1515 www.kpbs.org If you listen to KPBS radio at all, you've heard the voice of Nancy Greenleese. She has a distinctive voice, like an ...

          Best of 2001: Best One Hour Lesson In Victorian Architecture

          Villa Montezuma 1925 K Street, Sherman Heights 619-239-2211 Friday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The Jesse Shepard House, also known as the Villa Montezuma, offers a break from tract-housing suffocation. Built in 1887, it is ...

          Best of 2001: Best Old Graveyard In North County

          Mission San Luis Rey de Francia 4070 Mission Avenue, Oceanside 760-757-3250 The rolling hills of Casa de Oro to the south are much unchanged since the Franciscans established this graveyard at the turn of the ...

          Best of 2001: Best Multicultural Way To Pig Out

          House of Pacific Relations, Balboa Park 619-234-0739 If you've ever craved Hungarian goulash followed by Norwegian abelskiver and Ukrainian pierogi, once a year you can have that meal -- and follow it with genuine French ...

          Best of 2001: Best Land Restoration

          Campo Band of Mission Indians 36190 Church Road, Campo 619-478-9046 So you thought that when Europeans came to San Diego, they found a pristine wilderness? Wrong. What they discovered, says the Kumeyaays' Mike Connolly, was ...

          Best of 2001: Best Luxury Hospital

          UCSD Thornton Hospital 9300 Campus Point Drive, La Jolla 858-657-7000 The John M. and Sally B. Thornton Hospital isn't just a sick bay, it's a palace. Only 125 beds on three floors, no wards, two-room ...

          Best of 2001: Best Industrial Conversion

          Del Mar Powerhouse, Powerhouse Park 1658 Coast Boulevard, Del Mar Back in the 1930s it provided steam and hot water for the horsey crowd at the Del Mar Hotel. Then, when the hotel went, the ...

          Best of 2001: Best Historic Building In Old Town For Out-Of-Town Visitors

          Seeley Stables Calhoun Street near Juan Street, Old Town 619-220-5427 The best way to introduce a newcomer to the Old Town State Historic Park is to take one of the free one-hour guided tours given ...

          Best of 2001: Best Job For Sea Lion Lovers

          Everingham Brothers Bait Co. Barges anchored off Point Loma, north of Ballast Point, and in Mission Bay, Quivira Basin 619-696-6673 or 619-223-5384 www.baitbarge.com The night shift on Everingham Brothers' bait barges isn't for the squeamish. ...

            Best of 2001: Best Highway

            State Route 94 East County commuters know State Route 94 as a quick way to get to work downtown and an alternative to traffic-heavy I-8. Going the other way, in under 30 minutes you can ...

            Best of 2001: Best Hidden Historic Tijuana

            Old Tijuana Train Station "Cuidado Con El Tren," says the X-shaped sign where a dusty road crosses Tijuana's only railroad tracks. If you cut over to the left, just south of the US Port of ...

            Best of 2001: Best High School Sports Program

            Poway High School Wrestling In 2001, Poway High School's wrestling team, under the direction of coach Wayne Branstetter, won the California Interscholastic Federation San Diego Section Division I Championship with eight of its wrestlers taking ...

            Best of 2001: Best Garden For Sick Children

            Carley's Magical Garden/Oncology Gardens, Children's Hospital 3020 Children's Way, Kearny Mesa 858-576-1700 www.chsd.org Carley died of leukemia when she was three. Her parents wanted to do something in her memory. They came up with a ...

            Best of 2001: Best Free Aquarium

            Fountain's Aquarium 7575 University Avenue, La Mesa 619-465-5333 Just shy of Parks on University Avenue, Fountain's Aquarium is an aquatic feast for the eyes, even from the road. Muraled windows of sea life beckon customers ...

            Best of 2001: Best Harley Accessories

            South Coast Harley-Davidson 345 E Street, Chula Vista 619-420-7000 They do sell motorcycles here. That's how the business started, with the Harley-Davidsons arrayed in a nondescript showroom with concrete floors. A couple of racks of ...

            Best of 2001: Best Factory Tour

            Taylor Guitars 1980 Gillespie Way, El Cajon 619-258-1207 It's free, given every Monday through Friday (except for holidays) at 1:00 p.m., and all you have to do is show up. The receptionist will issue you ...

            Best of 2001: Best Firehouse Art

            Glass Sculpture by Nina Karavasiles San Diego Fire Department, Station #11 25th and Broadway, Golden Hill This fire station was already a winner. Station number 11 announces your arrival in the Art Deco Golden Hill ...

            Best of 2001: Best Example Of Benevolent Government

            Balboa Park Municipal Golf Course Clubhouse 2600 Golf Course Drive, East Balboa Park 619-239-1660 There are two courses at Balboa: an 18-hole course that ranks as one of the most challenging in the county and ...

            Best of 2001: Best Electrified Cross

            Trinity United Methodist Church 3030 Thorn Street, North Park 619-281-2592 or 619-281-2768 Every evening from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. an illuminated eight-foot cross slowly rotates on the tower of Trinity United Methodist Church, casting its ...

            Best of 2001: Best Community Center

            La Mesa Community Center 4975 Memorial Drive, La Mesa 619-667-1300 La Mesa Community Center has a lot to offer little Suzie on her road to culture. Parent & Tot gym classes for one-year olds -- ...

            Best of 2001: Best City Park

            City Heights Urban Village 3795 Fairmount Avenue, City Heights 619-641-6125 It began seven years ago with a vague plan to build a police station on 43rd Street. But Price Club founder Sol Price is an ...

            Best of 2001: Best Carousel

            Broadway Flying Horses Seaport Village The carousel at Seaport Village is one of two permanent carousels in San Diego and is the more enjoyable of the two. The other carousel, at Balboa Park, with its ...

            Best of 2001: Best Children's Museum In North County

            Children's Discovery Museum 300 Carlsbad Village Drive, Suite 103, Carlsbad 760-720-0737 You might have trouble finding the Children's Discovery Museum. Tucked into a mall near the ocean end of Carlsbad Village Drive, the museum blends ...

            Best of 2001: Best Break On Your Way To Ensenada

            Halfway House (Restaurant Medio Camino) Kilometer 32 on the Tijuana-Ensenada free road In the days of boiling radiators, this was a natural stop for people taking the free road (the only road back then) to ...

            Best of 2001: Best California-Style House/Office In San Diego

            Lloyd Ruooco's 1950 Design Center Fifth Avenue, north of Brookes Street, near Hillcrest It's hard to believe this glass-dominated redwood and cedar complex is 50 years old. Certainly it has been restored and rebuilt after ...

            Best of 2001: Best Bridge

            Spruce Street Suspension Bridge Between Brant and Frost Streets, Banker's Hill Built in 1912, this pedestrian bridge is suspended 70 feet above what Banker's Hill locals call Arroyo Canyon. It was designed by former San ...

              Best of 2001: Best Beatles Collection

              Team Reprographics 1200 Fourth Avenue, San Diego 619-234-4488 From the earliest days of Beatlemania, band manager Brian Epstein licensed merchandise rights to any product manufacturer with an open wallet. Fab Four mittens, toothbrushes, dishes, wallets, ...

              Best of 2001: Best Baby Bird Rescue

              Wildlife Rehab, Project Wildlife 887 Sherman, Mission Bay area (near Morena/Linda Vista trolley stop) 619-225-9202; 619-692-9453 You're taking your cat for a walk. He sees a tree. Up he goes. Oh Lord. Down he comes ...

              Best of 2001: Best Apartment Complex

              Egyptian Court Apartments 3772 Park Boulevard, Hillcrest Egyptian Court on Park Boulevard has no Jacuzzi, no swimming pool, no tennis courts, and no meet-your-neighbors barbecues. But its 12 apartments have hardwood floors and horsetail ferns, ...

              Best of 2001: Most Intimate Hall For Classical Music

              The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library Corner of Wall Street and Girard Avenue, La Jolla 858-454-5872 It seats only 130 for the Athenaeum's series of classical concerts, on a casual mixture of folding chairs and ...

              Best of 2001: Coolest Place To Dawdle Over A Coffee

              Claire de Lune Coffee Lounge 2906 University Avenue, North Park 619-688-9845 Is this place on fire? Seems like smoke is coming out from under the sidewalk overhang. Then you see people dancing in it! Holding ...

              Best of 2001: Best Time To Visit The Coast's Most Historic Bar

              Sunday night at Hussong's Avenida Ruiz, #113, Ensenada (011-52-61) 78-32-10 At Hussong's Cantina in Ensenada, they're still waiting for somebody to dispute their claim they're the longest-running cantina in all of the Californias. They've been ...

                Best of 2001: Best Seats For Classical Music

                Copley Symphony Hall (balcony, top rows) and Civic Theater (upper balcony, front and center) The two largest venues for classical music in San Diego are the Civic Theater and Copley Symphony Hall. Here is where ...

                Best of 2001: Best Spot To Steam It Up

                The Tubs 7220 El Cajon Boulevard, La Mesa 619-466-TUBS Don't have the resources to shell out the dinero for your own spa or sauna? Don't worry, The Tubs is waiting for you. For $26 per ...

                Best of 2001: Best Submariners' Hideout

                Horse and Cow Bar and Grill 2734 Lytton, Loma Portal 619-224-6409 Inside it's as dark as a mile-deep sub after lights out. Once you get used to it, you start seeing things. "Caution: vent tube ...

                Best of 2001: Best Restaurant Server Birthday Dance

                Buca Di Beppo 705 Sixth Avenue, Downtown 619-233-7272 If you go to Buca Di Beppo for your birthday the servers won't bring you cake and ice cream. However, if you catch the right group of ...

                  Best of 2001: Best Running/Drinking Club

                  Hash House Harriers 760-599-7448 www.SDH3.com This group of more than 1000 runners call themselves "a drinking club with a running problem." Runs, or "hashes," are done in different locations around the county on different nights ...

                  Best of 2001: Best Place To Smoke A (Real) Cuban Cigar And Drink A (Real) Cuban Coffee

                  La Casa del Tabaco 1115 Revolución Avenue, Tijuana (011-52-66) 85-52-48 A zillion signs hang out on Revolución advertising "real" Cuban cigars. Most, according to "Casa" owner David Tourgeman, are made in Mexico. He proudly shows ...

                  Best of 2001: Best Place to Hear a Laotian Khaen

                  Asia Café 4710 Market Street, Chollas View 619-527-1917 Bob Dylan may not realize it, but he wouldn't be playing his harmonica if the Laotians and Chinese hadn't invented the khaen and the sheng. The bamboo ...

                  Best of 2001: Best Place To Hear New Music

                  Spruce Street Forum 301 Spruce Street, Banker's Hill www.sprucestreetforum.com 619-295-0301 or 619-297-3531 Musicians with big names in new music play here from September to June. The space is warmly lit, with cream-colored walls and large ...

                  Best of 2001: Best Place To Rub Shoulders With Olde La Jolla (And Score Happy-Hour Freebies)

                  La Valencia Hotel, Whaling Bar 1132 Prospect, La Jolla 858-454-0771 Dark woods, red carpets on black-marble floors, women in long dresses, men in silk suits, red-studded booths, brass table lamps with black shades. Apart from ...

                  Best of 2001: Best Place To Catch A Cocktail While Watching Surfers Catch Waves

                  Cecil's Café and Fish Market 5083 Santa Monica Avenue, Ocean Beach 619-222-0501 Over the past decade, Cecil's, with its clear view of the popular surfing spot near the Ocean Beach pier, has made a name ...

                  Best of 2001: Best Opportunity To Hear Young Classical Musicians

                  La Jolla Chamber Music Society's Discovery Series Sherwood Auditorium, La Jolla 858-459-3728 To most concertgoers, the performers in the La Jolla Chamber Music Society's "Discovery Series" have been relatively unknown. Of next season's musicians, how ...

                  Best of 2001: Best Place For A Late-Night Hookah

                  The Cairo Café 3569 Adams Avenue, Normal Heights 619-255-3095 www.cairocafe.org We mean the Middle Eastern hubble-bubble water pipe, of course. The Cairo Café is a little place with outside garden seating serving a few coffees ...

                  Best of 2001: Best Local Band Venue

                  Dream Street 2228 Bacon Street, Ocean Beach 619-222-8131 Almost all new San Diego bands play here at some point. Feeling comfortable in the lounge-style atmosphere, the energy of bands like Ten Percent and Lot 13 ...

                  Best of 2001: Best Limousine Service

                  Top Cat Limousine Service 8750 Miramar Place, Miramar 858-546-7550 www.topcatlimo.com Limos aren't just for brides, prom dates, or rich folks anymore, thanks to Top Cat. For any occasion, ride like royalty at reasonable rates. From ...

                  Best of 2001: Best Monthly Party

                  Fred's Mexican Café 1165 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach 858-483-8226 also at 535 Fifth Avenue, Downtown 619-232-8226 By the fifth, if the rent is paid and you've still got a little cash left over to party, ...

                  Best of 2001: Best Musician With A Heart Bigger Than His Ego

                  Joe Rathburn Regular gigs: The Tin Fish, The Galley at the Marina (Chula Vista), Cozy Mel's www.joerathburn.com Last October, local singer-songwriter Joe Rathburn found out that Mikey's Coffeehouse in Poway had less than two months ...

                  Best of 2001: Best Hippie Hangout

                  Winston's 1921 Bacon Street, Ocean Beach Box office/schedule: 619-222-6822 Event information: 619-222-3802 Talent booking: 619-223-8609 Demographically speaking, any event promoted or perceived as a "Deadhead" happening is sure to attract a specific customer base, if ...

                    Best of 2001: Best Hard Rock Hairdos

                    Collage Menage www.collagemenage.com Identical twins Hans and Fritz Jensen have fronted Collage Menage for over ten years. "We have become a live video extravaganza by combining everything in the show we can, like a collage ...

                    Best of 2001: Best Hangover Cure

                    Coctelería La Playita 2121 Imperial Avenue, Sherman Heights 619-702-6059 also at 5185 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard 858-715-6773 Around 9:30 a.m., in the restaurant street inside the Farmers' Market, you'll often see a rack of well-dressed men ...

                    Best of 2001: Best Free-Food Happy Hour

                    Alambres 756 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp 619-233-2838 For the price of one beer, $2-$3, you can fill your gourd with Mexican food, plate after plate, every day in the Gaslamp during happy hour at Alambres. Sure, ...

                    Best of 2001: Best Electronic Music Venue

                    Club Don Loope Jai Alai Palace, Revolución and Calle 8, downtown Tijuana www.donloope.com or www.norteccollective.com A collective has taken over the café to the left of the main entrance. They've called it the "Don Loope." ...

                    Best of 2001: Best Country-Western Line Dance Teacher For Timid Beginners

                    Shirley King, Foothill Adult Education Center 1550 Melody Lane, El Cajon 619-401-4122 and Coronado Adult Education Center 650 D Avenue, Coronado 619-522-8911 By day, Shirley King serves as a waitress at the Hotel Del Coronado's ...

                    Best of 2001: Best Dinner Cruise

                    Hornblower Cruises 1066 North Harbor Drive, Downtown 619-686-8700 Hornblower offers the only three-hour dinner cruise in San Diego aboard its 150-foot yachts with a chance to meet an authority on the local sights -- the ...

                    Best of 2001: Best Concert In A Living Room

                    Dark Thirty Productions House Concerts Eucalyptus Hills, Lakeside 619-443-9622 www.darkthirty.com When Jimmy Duke throws a concert at his house, it's worth the drive to East County. Eight to ten times a year, the gigs get ...

                    Best of 2001: Best Coffee House Menu Chalk Art

                    Tyler Jordan at Caffe Calabria 3933 30th Street, North Park 619-683-7787 Tyler Jordan, who works behind the bar, does it all, from the menu to Italian Riviera and Romanesque scenes on the wall. He did ...

                      Best of 2001: Best Classical Concert Series Organized By Genre

                      Mainly Mozart Festival Neurosciences Institute 619-239-0100 San Diego's two-decade-old Mainly Mozart Festival used to be limited to a couple of weeks in June, with a variety of concerts (orchestral, chamber, and solo) in various venues. ...

                      Best of 2001: Best Bloody Mary

                      The Waterfront 2044 Kettner, Little Italy 619-232-9656 The "Mary minions" often salt their red elixir with a bit of elitism. Every club claims to have its own secret ingredient, which usually turns out to be ...

                      Best of 2001: Best Arab Music Nightspot

                      Hajji Baba's 1065 Fourth Avenue, Downtown 619-595-7887 During the daytime, Hajji Baba's is a normal Mediterranean restaurant. Shish kebobs, Greek salads, gyros. But Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, the place transforms. Musicians arrive. Tablas (bongo-like ...

                      Best of 2001: Best Beach Bar Patio

                      Lahaina Beach Club 710 Oliver Avenue, Pacific Beach 858-270-3888 You don't have to leave the waterfront to get an ice-cold beer or a gin and tonic. This beach bar, between Reed Street and Grand Avenue, ...

                      Best of 2001: Best (Only) Bar In PB To Grab A Beer And Not Get Puked On

                      Latitude 32 5019 Cass Street, Pacific Beach 858-273-0501 Latitude: 32 degrees north. Longitude: 117 degrees west. Drinks on bar: 92 feet above sea level. Attitude: zero. Two things distinguish this bar from the rest of ...

                        Best of 2001: Best Fountain Coca-Cola

                        Costco Wholesale Nine locations countywide www.costco.com The perfect combination of syrup and effervescence makes the Coca-Cola at the outdoor food windows at Costco the best there is. If you like your Coke sweet, go to ...

                        Best of 2001: Best Flood Cleanup Service

                        A-Thuro-Clean 5663 Balboa Avenue, Clairemont 858-270-5600; 760-720-5200; 619-275-5600 A-Thuro-Clean has been cleaning up the mess in San Diego for over 15 years and can handle large and small jobs. If your house gets flooded, you'll ...

                          Best of 2001: Best Fish Art

                          Don Hubbard's Gyotaku www.coronadoartassn.com/Don_Hubbard/ Gyotaku is the Japanese art of fish-printing, originally used to record the catches of sports fishermen. The fish to be printed is covered with pigment, whereupon rice paper or cloth is ...

                            Best of 2001: Best Way To Put Your Customers On Hold

                            Hold This 877-HOLD-THIS (465-3844) www.ephoneman.com Customers calling a company with two or more phone lines spend an average of one minute "on hold." If greeted with silence, callers often hang up, but piping in music ...

                            Best of 2001: Best Weight Watchers Meeting In North County

                            Quails Inn Hotel, Bridge Room Mondays, 1:30 p.m. 1025 La Bonita Drive, San Marcos 800-888-7546 The first thing you notice is the view. Stepping out of the afternoon sun into the Quails Inn Bridge Room, ...

                            Best of 2001: Best Farmers' Market

                            Uptown Farmers' Market DMV parking lot, 3960 Normal Street, Hillcrest Sundays, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. A Sunday-morning outing extraordinaire, Uptown Farmers' Market offers a large and eclectic mix of crops and goods. Stalls are abundantly stocked ...

                              Best of 2001: Best Way From Coronado To The Mainland

                              Water Taxi 619-235-8294 Taking a conventional cab from Coronado to Seaport Village will cost you $13-$15 and take 10-20 minutes. But call the other cab, a water taxi, and you can get to the mainland ...

                              Best of 2001: Best Feed Store

                              Double S Feed Company 14335 Olde Highway 80, El Cajon 619-443-9211 A lesser-known fact about San Diego County is that it has more horses per capita than any other county in the United States. With ...

                              Best of 2001: Best Vacuum-Cleaner Repair

                              Ebey's North Park Vacuum 2346 University Avenue, North Park 619-291-1194 Cal Ebey stocks a full line of replacement bags as well as other parts and can repair any vacuum. With 20 years' experience, he is ...

                              Best of 2001: Best Vacuum Haircut

                              Flowbee International 9389 Dowdy Drive, Suite D, Miramar 800-728-2887 or 858-578-8011 "Using the suction power of your vacuum cleaner, the Flowbee then draws the hair evenly into the recessed blades and cuts it precisely. The ...

                                Best of 2001: Best European Department Store Ambience

                                Saks Fifth Avenue 7047 Friars Road, Fashion Valley 619-260-0030 The weighty swoosh of Saks Fifth Avenue's bronze and glass entry doors transports you from the bustling mall promenade into a shopping haven. A mood pervades ...

                                Best of 2001: Best Ethnic Jewelry Store

                                Byzantium 2607 Congress Street, Old Town 619-497-1848 10:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m., closed Mondays This is the place to go for small quantities of reasonably priced burial amber or antique white agate from Africa. Two blocks away ...

                                Best of 2001: Best Entertainment For A Children's Party

                                Clown Mates 10890 Poblado Road, Suite 1222, Rancho Bernardo 858-451-6907 www.clownmates.com Clown Mates offers a full line of cartoon, comic, and popular television character look-alikes to entertain small children and even toddlers. Entertainment includes storytelling, ...

                                Best of 2001: Best Dry Cleaner

                                Mission Dry Cleaners 105 Washington Street, Mission Hills 619-295-4139 Dry-cleaning work is the same no matter where you go; the biggest difference is service, which is top-notch at Mission Dry Cleaners. Jan and her husband, ...

                                Best of 2001: Best Discount Store

                                GTM Discount General Store 7663 Broadway, Lemon Grove 619-460-2990 716 16th Street, Downtown 619-234-7122 8967 Carlton Hills Boulevard, Santee 619-499-4953 350 Cypress Lane, El Cajon 619-441-8183 Parking is sometimes at a premium in front of ...

                                  Best of 2001: Best Vacation From Yourself

                                  Buffalo Breath Costume Company 2050 Hancock Street, Old Town 619-297-1175 www.buffalobreath.com The ultimate getaway doesn't have to be somewhere else. Why not be someone else instead? Without the physical and fiscal pain of plastic surgery. ...

                                  Best of 2001: Best CPA

                                  Fred Cutler, CPA 609 South Highway 101, Solana Beach 858-794-9035 Cutler's not interested in preparing simple returns. "I tell those people to go to H&R Block. They don't need me. I go for the more ...

                                  Best of 2001: Best Decorative Rocks To Replace Your Lawn

                                  RCP Block and Brick 8240 Broadway, Lemon Grove Other locations in Santee, Chula Vista, and Escondido 619-460-9101 Fred, of the 50-year-old RCP (It stands for "Revolutionized Concrete Products"), says dropping a 2-1/2-inch deep layer of ...

                                  Best of 2001: Best Used Telephone Guy

                                  B&C Company 1135 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach 619-222-3334 or 858-490-4376 Bob Nourani collects used but perfectly good, common telephones, reconditions them and sells them at about half what your new systems would cost -- and ...

                                  Best of 2001: Best TV Repair

                                  Contec Video And Audio 4425 Convoy Street, Suite 212, Kearny Mesa 858-277-2641 With the low price of VCRs and the imminent dominance of DVD, not many places repair VCRs anymore, but Contec still does. They ...

                                  Best of 2001: Best Travel Agencies If You're Flying To Cuba

                                  Viajes Cuauhtli 8160 7th (Galeana) Street, between Revolución and Constitución, Tijuana (011-52-66) 85-33-10 Taino Tours 9330, Ignacio Comonfort Street, next to the ball-shaped Cultural Center, behind the McDonald's (011-52-66) 84-96-34 Flights to Cuba are becoming ...

                                    Best of 2001: Best Classical Music Radio

                                    Music Choice Through Cox Cable 800-234-3224 or Time Warner Cable 858-695-3220 Both Time Warner Cable and Cox Cable offer their customers a service called Music Choice, which provides the best-sounding, most reliable source for classical ...

                                    Best of 2001: Best Clock Repair

                                    House of Clocks 3748 Sixth Avenue, Hillcrest 619-298-1345 There was a time when a house clock had more inner works than a battery unit on the back. House of Clocks specializes in the repair and ...

                                    Best of 2001: Best Country General Store

                                    Al Atallah's Pine Valley Store 28820 Old Highway 80, Pine Valley 619-473-8723 Talk to the old folks, and they lament the loss of the old general stores, where you knew Al and Al knew you, ...

                                    Best of 2001: Best Cheap Mechanic

                                    Hi Auto Repair 2820 Midway Drive, Midway District 619-223-0998 Mr. Hai and his crew are experts at getting repairs done as quickly and cheaply as possible. It is common for new customers to quote the ...

                                    Best of 2001: Best Transitional Tattoos

                                    Michael's 1652 Camino Del Rio North, Mission Valley 619-294-5891 Temporary tattoos allow the indecisive to ink themselves with whimsical abandon. The artwork rubs on with a damp cloth and can be washed away easily with ...

                                    Best of 2001: Best Cigars

                                    Mr. Bone's Fine Cigars 909 Prospect Avenue, La Jolla 858-551-7047 "Cubans aren't as good as they used to be, but I remember smoking some that were as fantastic as they were rare," smoke-shop owner Ned, ...

                                    Best of 2001: Best Children's Bookstore

                                    The Prince and the Pauper 3201 Adams Avenue, Normal Heights 619-283-4380 or 800-454-3726 www.oldkidsbooks.com People remember the books they read as kids: Little Golden Books, Dick and Jane, Mercer Mayer, Maurice Sendak, Uncle Wiggly, Huck ...

                                    Best of 2001: Best Bygone Bicycles

                                    Rusty Spokes Vintage Bicycles 1344 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach 858-581-1931 Rusty Spokes' owner Dave enjoys showing off his collection of rare wheels almost as much as he loves selling them. "I've been doing this for ...

                                      Best of 2001: Best Tattoo Removal

                                      Dr. Kenneth G. Gross, Skin Surgery Medical Group 5222 Balboa Avenue, 6th floor 858-292-5101 Dr. Gross has been doing tattoo removals -- more than 20,000, he says -- since the early '70s. He's grown with ...

                                      Best of 2001: Best Car Wash

                                      Body Beautiful Downtown 2045 Pacific Highway, Downtown 619-544-7070 All of the Body Beautiful Car Washes do excellent work, but the crew at Pacific Highway and Hawthorne Street are a little more outstanding. Like most other ...

                                      Best of 2001: Best Celebrity Produce Stand

                                      Chino Farms Produce Stand 6123 Calzada del Bosque, Rancho Santa Fe 858-756-3184 Back in 1946, the Chino family's Japanese-born parents were released from internment camp. Today, 55 years later, the family sticks by that generation's ...

                                      Best of 2001: Best Tailors

                                      L & A Tailoring 2911 University Avenue, North Park 619-299-7326 Brothers Liam and Minh Tran are throwbacks to an age when men's suits were not found at shopping malls but were made to fit. Trained ...

                                      Best of 2001: Best Bicultural Bookstore

                                      Libreria Latino Americana 539 H Street, Chula Vista 619-427-7867 Don Jose Figueroa's place has everything you need, from fine editions of Don Quixote to Spanish for Dummies. And for fun learning, books you already know ...

                                      Best of 2001: Best Surf Shop

                                      Mitch's Surf Shop 631 Pearl Street, La Jolla 858-459-5933 Opened in 1967, Mitch's Surf Shop in La Jolla is probably the oldest surf shop in the city under single ownership. Today it offers brand-name, fashionable ...

                                      Best of 2001: Best Surf Rentals

                                      Cheap Rentals 3685 Mission Boulevard, Mission Beach 858-488-9070 Surfboard rentals start at $5 an hour, or $15 per day for soft boards, with fiberglass models priced at $10 an hour or $20 a day. Both ...

                                      Best of 2001: Best Store To Get Lost In

                                      Ikea 2149 Fenton Parkway, Mission Valley 619-563-4532 You'll get out eventually, but not until the crafty Ikea floor planners have routed you past every sofa and bookcase in the store. Once you mount the stairs, ...

                                      Best of 2001: Best Bizarre Toys

                                      Babette Schwartz 421 University Avenue, Hillcrest 619-220-7048 Babette Schwartz's taste stems from a fascination with pop-culture campiness, and this is the hook upon which her toy store dangles. After paying her dues, and her rent, ...

                                      Best of 2001: Best Store For Women Suffering From Cancer

                                      The Brighter Side 439 S. Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach 858-481-7565 The Brighter Side has been helping cancer patients for six years. "We like to think of ourselves as a one-stop shop for women who are ...

                                      Best of 2001: Best Barbershop

                                      Harvey's Barber Shop 105 South Meadowbrook Drive, Southeast San Diego 619-479-2784 On Saturdays at four in the morning, when Curtis Harvey, 67, unlocks the door to his barbershop, there is already a line. Harvey's customers, ...

                                      Best of 2001: Best Store For The Well Endowed

                                      The Enchantress 2465 Heritage Park Row, Old Town 619-294-4544 If you are busting out of that bra, head down to the Burton House in Heritage Park Row in Old Town. Up some creaky steps, above ...

                                      Best of 2001: Best Bargain Designer Furniture Store

                                      Reliable Furniture 1210-B West Morena Boulevard, Bay Park 619-275-6006 Located next to Jerome's new furniture store on West Morena Boulevard, Reliable offers a more affordable alternative to the furniture establishment of San Diego. (You didn't ...

                                      Best of 2001: Best Automobile Broker

                                      Automobile Discount Services 112 Encinitas Boulevard, Encinitas 760-720-1972 You bring the make, model, color, year, and any other specific requests to Automobile Discount Services. They find the new car you are looking for the same ...

                                      Best of 2001: Best Appliance Repair Guy

                                      Tom Jones of Mission Hills Electric and Appliance 902 Fort Stockton Drive, Mission Hills 619-291-6955 Tom Jones can repair just about anything from exhaust fans to convection ovens to washer-dryers. But if you come in ...

                                      Best of 2001: Best All-Night Drugs

                                      Rite Aid 535 Robinson Avenue, Hillcrest 619-291-3705 Rite Aid's Hillcrest branch dispenses drugs 24 hours, with three pharmacists during the day and one working the graveyard shift. The evening crew is also limited to one ...

                                      Best of 2001: Best Architect To Design Your Straw House

                                      Drew Hubbell 930 Orchard Lane, Santa Ysabel 1970 Sixth Avenue, Downtown 619-231-0446 www.sandiegoart.com Hubbell is the architect son of the revered artist-designer-builder James Hubbell. Father and son work together on what they call "the architecture ...

                                      Best of 2001: Best Animal Faucet Sculptor

                                      Célou Bonnet c/o Artworks of Fallbrook Foundry 300 East Alvarado, Fallbrook 760-731-2732 or 760-731-5972 www.celoubonnet.com Célou Bonnet started creating this functional art almost accidentally when an advertising executive commissioned one for his new beach house. ...

                                      Best of 2001: Best Store For Free Kids' Activities

                                      Lakeshore Learning Store 7510 Hazard Center, Mission Valley 619-297-8494 At Lakeshore Learning Center things are different. From 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. every Saturday, little creators can test their artistic side at a new craft for free: ...

                                        Best of 2001: Best 30-Minute Workout For Women

                                        Curves, located in mini-malls around San Diego County, seven locations www.curvesforwomen.com If you're a man, don't go to Curves. If you want to look like the 1972 East German women's swim team, don't go to ...

                                        Best of 2001: Best Affordable New Housing

                                        Laurel Tree Apartments 1307 Laurel Tree Lane, Carlsbad 760-918-1780 "I wanted to get rid of the anonymous tenant," says architect Carlos Rodriguez of his affordable-housing design for low-income tenants in the Carlsbad area. It's part ...

                                        Best of 2001: Best Stacks Of Wax

                                        Bell, Book And Candle 2007 Main Street, Julian 800-664-5851 or 760-765-1377 Popular sellers include scented candles made from natural fragrances such as Warm Apple Crisp (keeping with Julian's Apple Country theme). Yankee Candles are recognized ...

                                        Best of 2001: Best Smoking Supplies

                                        The High Road 6166 El Cajon Boulevard, College Area 619-265-1410 1463 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach 858-273-7501 Everybody smokes those Marlboro reds and GPC longs, but you want to stand out from the smoky clouds surrounding ...

                                        Best of 2001: Best Shady Dealer

                                        Sunglass City 1478 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach 858-272-6041 7007 Friars Road, Mission Valley 619-325-2565 Corporate Office: Sunglass City Incorporated 4414 Dale Avenue, La Mesa 619-668-6952; 888-218-6952; 800-925-GLASS www.sunglasscityonline.com Daily shipments provide a selection from manufacturers ...

                                        Best of 2001: Best Seeds

                                        Urban Seed and Flower 7079 University Avenue, La Mesa 619-463-2536 Sixty-seven years ago, Charles Ledgerwood, a UC Davis graduate, began selling seeds to North County flower and vegetable growers. Over time, his market shifted to ...

                                        Best of 2001: Best Septic Tank Service

                                        Prater's Septic Tank Service 1675 Vista del Valle, El Cajon 619-444-3318 Septic tanks act as filters while the water is released into the leach field. When the tank gets full, it has to be pumped ...

                                        Best of 2001: Best Seasonal And Party Decorations

                                        Dave's Display World 1306 Kettner Boulevard, Downtown 619-232-3097 Since 1959, Dave's Display World has been the most comprehensive, all-encompassing store for holiday and party decorations in San Diego. If they can't find it in the ...

                                        Best of 2001: Best Seaside Property Values

                                        Desert Shores, off Highway 86, Imperial County Diversified Realty and Investments 800-385-1040 Let's compare: size of Pacific Ocean: 69,000,000 square miles. Price of houses overlooking Pacific Ocean: humongous. Size of Salton Sea? 525 square miles. ...

                                        Best of 2001: Best Rosarito Resort

                                        Las Rocas Resort & Spa 619-234-9810 or 888-527-7622 Thirty minutes south of the border and ten minutes past "The Rosarito Beach Hotel," Las Rocas rests cliffside and boasts a seamless sunset into the ocean. Each ...

                                          Best of 2001: Best Rose Deal

                                          Hildago Flowers Farmers' Markets all over San Diego 760-940-0414 It's hardly a secret that local farmers' markets are often brimming and bursting with blossoms that cost less and seem to last longer than flowers purchased ...

                                            Best of 2001: Best Rent-A-Psychic

                                            Outcall service covering San Diego County 619-543-0334 rentapsychic@aol.com Since 1985, Shelly Deegan and Rent-A-Psychic have provided just-for-fun performances featuring palm and tarot reading, handwriting analysis, numerology consultation and related entertainment, with the emphasis on "entertainment," ...

                                              Best of 2001: Best Rest-Stop Weddings

                                              Mobile Marriage Outcall service covering San Diego 619-447-4066 or 619-299-5520 "We travel to any location and perform marriage ceremonies," says Mary Austin. "We can also help couples with necessities like getting their marriage license and ...

                                              Best of 2001: Best Place To Rent Tools

                                              Aztec Rentals 6602 University Avenue, Rolando 619-582-2245 Some say it's as high as 95 percent. But it's safe to say, at least 75 percent of being a successful do-it-yourselfer is having the right tools to ...

                                              Best of 2001: Best Place To Rent Cameras And Darkroom Materials

                                              Ken Petsch at Camera Exposure 2703 Adams Avenue, Normal Heights 619-640-5300 At Ken Petsch's place you can rent super-ultra telephoto lenses or hot-shot cameras by the day. So you can try out a couple of ...

                                              Best of 2001: Best Place To Get Your Nails Done

                                              Lynn's Nails of Kearny Mesa 4411 Mercury Street, Suite 109 (Mercury and Balboa), Kearny Mesa 858-495-0816 Lynn's Nails doesn't appear to be anything more than another nail salon sporting a fruit shrine worshipping Buddha. But ...

                                              Best of 2001: Best Place To Punch Dad In The Nose

                                              Doc's Family Boxing/Athletic Fitness Club 702 Broadway, El Cajon 619-448-3551 or 619-579-8004 Sales rep Marco says, "You have access to a ring every day, all day, but first you have to prove yourself responsible and ...

                                              Best of 2001: Best Place To Get A Showtune Fix

                                              Tower Records 8657 Villa La Jolla Drive, La Jolla 858-452-2566 www.towerrecords.com Any record store will have copies of The Producers or the collected works of Andrew Lloyd Webber. A few might even know the difference ...

                                              Best of 2001: Best Place To Pick Up Classic One-Armed Bandits

                                              Olhausen Pool Tables 5620 Kearny Mesa Road, Kearny Mesa 800-570-7665 The law says you can't buy one-armed bandits that require coins unless they're genuine antiques, i.e., 1940 or earlier. No problem, says Sheila Roesink, the ...

                                              Best of 2001: Best Place To Pick Up A Little Something For The Former Drunk In Your Life

                                              Cloud Nine Recovery 260 1/2 Third Avenue, Chula Vista 619-422-1865 Owner Richard Johnson, 67, ran a used-car business in Imperial Beach for ten years before he retired in 1995. When inactivity palled, he says he ...

                                              Best of 2001: Best Place To Look Like One Of The Beautiful People On Your Salary

                                              Marshalls 685 San Rodolfo Drive, Solana Hills Town Center, Solana Beach 858-755-0791 As a chain, the company advertises prices 40 to 60% off. But there's a difference between the Solana Beach store and the other ...

                                              Best of 2001: Best Place To Make Jewelry

                                              The Black Bead 5003 Newport Avenue, Ocean Beach 619-222-2115 Nestled between a juice bar and a smoke shop, this eight-year-old bead store is just a block from Ocean Beach pier. Inside you'll find thousands of ...

                                              Best of 2001: Best Place To Find Cheap, Out-Of-This-World Fabric

                                              UFO (Upholstery Fabric Outlet) 1919 Hoover Avenue, National City 619-477-9341 1120 N. Melrose, Vista 760-941-2345 At UFO's two warehouse locations, every material you could ever hope to weave into your world exists. And, at a ...

                                              Best of 2001: Best Place To Get A Gladiator Massage

                                              Carlsbad Mineral Water Spa 2802 Carlsbad Boulevard, Carlsbad 760-434-1887 The brochure for the Carlsbad Mineral Water Spa features massage rooms that look like a Hollywood set circa 1957: parquet floors, friezes, massage tables that look ...

                                              Best of 2001: Best Place To Buy Light Bulbs And Have A Lamp Repaired

                                              The Light Bulb Center 7735 University Avenue, La Mesa 619-697-9371 Sid Levinson and his two older brothers started a light bulb wholesale business more than 20 years ago with the help of their dad, who ...

                                              Best of 2001: Best Place To Buy Your Locally Grown Salt

                                              Western Salt Company 1470 Bay Boulevard, Chula Vista 858-566-6600 It looks like a sparkling white pyramid, but it's salt from the last naturally sun-cured salt pans in the West. Western Salt evaporates salt water the ...

                                              Best of 2001: Best Place To Buy Gear To Help You Through Your Survivalist Phase

                                              G.I. Joe's 544 Sixth Avenue, Downtown 619-531-1910 799 El Cajon Boulevard, El Cajon 619-401-7589 G.I. Joe's carries products honed from 200 years of military survival insights. Like Meals Ready to Eat -- military rations -- ...

                                              Best of 2001: Best Place To Buy New Kids' Clothes Cheap

                                              Kid's Outlet Retail & Wholesale 5971 University Avenue, northeast San Diego 619-582-1676 Other locations in National City, Chula Vista, and San Ysidro The rate at which children outgrow or ruin clothes is startling. At Kid's ...

                                                Best of 2001: Best Place To Buy Classical CDs On The Internet

                                                www.amazon.com The winner here, by far is Amazon.com. Their database is enormous and well arranged. If you know what you want, you can find it in an instant, by title (or partial title), composer, or ...

                                                Best of 2001: Best Place To Buy Cheetahs

                                                Sanborns 1102 Revolución Avenue (at 8th), Tijuana (011-52-66) 88-14-33 Beautifully proportioned, life-sized, true-to-color black-spotted golden cheetahs are for sale at Sanborn's. They are papier mâché models from Jalisco. You can also buy an antelope or ...

                                                Best of 2001: Best Place To Buy A Handmade Girl's Dress

                                                Charles Alterations, Tailoring & Dry Cleaning 3435 Adams Avenue, Normal Heights 619-283-1574 As children's fashions look more adult, finding a special-occasion dress for your little girl is becoming more difficult. The big chains seem bent ...

                                                Best of 2001: Best Place For Stage Makeup

                                                J&S Beauty Supply 7734 Girard Avenue, La Jolla 858-551-4056 J&S in La Jolla stocks the affordable stage makeup of the stars usually found only in L.A. or by mail order. Concealer by Joe Blasco, worn ...

                                                Best of 2001: Best Place For Bali Masks

                                                Toko, Antiquities of the Orient 3241 Fifth Avenue, Middletown 619-542-1226 Architect-engineer Eric Fotiadi wanted to do something else. He was vacationing on the French island of Ré when a friend suggested Javanese antiques. "I was ...

                                                  Best of 2001: Best Piano Teacher For Your (Talented) Kid

                                                  Ilana Mysior 619-583-0076 Back in 1977, Gustavo Romero was just a Mexican-American kid from Chula Vista. Now he's a world-renowned concert pianist, San Diego's most famous musical export. "I was teaching a piano master class ...

                                                  Best of 2001: Best Person To Tell You If All That Silverware You Inherited Is Worth A Dime

                                                  Connie McNally, The McNally Company Antiques 6033 Paseo Delicias, Rancho Santa Fe 858-756-1922 Connie McNally is cold to gold. "It's not practical. But silver! It is noble and practical. We wear silver. We eat with ...

                                                    Best of 2001: Best Petite Pony Rides

                                                    My Little Pony Rides Outcall service covering San Diego County 619-579-6655 "We come to your backyard, frontyard, sidewalk, a park, or wherever your party is," says Cathy at My Little Pony Rides. "We dress the ...

                                                    Best of 2001: Best Person To Transport Your Giant Palm Tree

                                                    Doug Coomes, The Palm Company 395 Sunset Drive, Encinitas 760-942-2796 Doug Coomes can truck an 80-foot-tall, 80-year-old Canary Island date palm to your place for maybe $500 or $600, depending on how far he has ...

                                                      Best of 2001: Best Person To Rescue Your Garden From Mediocrity

                                                      Jim Stelluti, Artistic Garden Refiner 619-298-7641 Jim Stelluti has spent 30 years creating gardens, and -- uniquely -- taking pictures of them. By now Stelluti has 100 slide shows on every conceivable garden subject, from ...

                                                      Best of 2001: Best Paper Supply Store

                                                      The Paperie 534 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter 619-234-5457 Find Japanese rice paper here for reviving an old lampshade. If you want to make invitations for your garden party, select patterned vellum, organdy ribbon, and sealing ...

                                                        Best of 2001: Best Outcall Pet Sitters

                                                        Pawprints In-Home Pet Sitting 619-624-0360 or 619-584-7501 In addition to feeding, walking, and playing with your pet, Pawprints' perfect roommates maintain litter boxes, administer medications, bring in mail and newspapers, water the yard and plants, ...

                                                        Best of 2001: Best Old-School Pump House

                                                        Stern's Gym 3831 Granada Avenue, North Park 619-299-9853 Back in 1946 Leo Stern opened the first (and now oldest) body building gym in California. The gym's second floor location had been a bowling alley, and ...

                                                        Best of 2001: Best Newsstand

                                                        Paras News 3911 30th Street, North Park 619-296-2859 Opened in 1950 as a cigar shop and transformed to a newsstand in 1952, Paras is the most comprehensive newsstand in San Diego. If there's a newspaper ...

                                                          Best of 2001: Best New House Coat

                                                          Quality House Painting 760-940-9192 or 760-632-4110 www.members.home.net/qhp/photo.htm Julian Ayad began painting homes as an apprentice in 1992, and by 1994 he was a fully bonded and licensed contractor, operating his own business, Quality House Painting. ...

                                                          Best of 2001: Best New-Age Crystal Shop

                                                          Wisdom Crystals 4967 Newport Avenue, Ocean Beach 619-223-6938 Silversmith Chris Reimer and partner Carol Holaday opened their crystal shop in April of 2000 and have developed a faithful, fanatical clientele. According to Reimer, people buy ...

                                                          Best of 2001: Best Monstrous Pets

                                                          Live Cargo 8874 La Mesa Boulevard, La Mesa 619-466-0665 It begins with Uncle Milton's Ant Farm ($11.99), and for many, that is where it ends. Hard-shelled, mandible-clad marchers give way to puppies, kittens, and horses. ...

                                                          Best of 2001: Best Model Train Shop

                                                          Reed's Train Shop 8039 La Mesa Boulevard, La Mesa 619-464-1672 Call the Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park -- it's the largest such museum in North America -- and ask them to recommend a model ...

                                                            Best of 2001: Best Mobile Printdusting

                                                            A-24 Hour Mobile Notary and Fingerprinting 800-536-7233 or 619-233-6654 A-24 Hour Mobile Notary and Fingerprinting specializes in dusting digits for employers who want fingerprint records of their workers, government contractors with security clearance needs, private ...

                                                              Best of 2001: Best Locally Made Cat Treat

                                                              Kitty Kaviar Distributors: ITI Limited 800-583-4339 or 619-266-9886 Back in 1996, San Diegan Todd Myrick's cat gave him an idea. Every time it got around bonito fish, it went wild. "Bonito have that rich 'fishy' ...

                                                              Best of 2001: Best Mobile Computer Repair

                                                              Micromobile 333 N. Cedar Street, Escondido 760-747-8465 or 760-747-8881 www.micro-mobile.com "If we can fix it in a half hour or less, it's only $39!" is the flagship catchphrase of Micromobile's marketing strategy. The firm rolled ...

                                                              Best of 2001: Best Kids' Furniture

                                                              Dream Kids Flower Hill Mall 2710 Via De la Valle, Del Mar 858-755-8552 The imagined bedroom constructs of childhood find incarnation on the showroom floor: a bunkbed system shaped (and painted) as a cottage garden ...

                                                              Best of 2001: Best Magic Shop

                                                              Brad Burt's Magic Shop 4204 Convoy Street, Kearny Mesa 858-571-4749 This is a one-stop source for bendable keys, flying coins, dove pans, vanishing bottles, magic ropes, die cyphers, and other tools of the conjurer's trade. ...

                                                                Best of 2001: Best Hot 'N' Cold Experts

                                                                Energy Control On-site service covering San Diego County 619-371-5914 or 858-273-5012 www.energy-control.com Pat Sukup has owned the company since 1985. Sukup is active in all aspects of the business, from sales to service to installation. ...

                                                                Best of 2001: Best Housecleaning Service

                                                                Panda's Domestic Service 7677 Ronson Road #202, Kearny Mesa 858-292-5503 Panda's offers reliable housecleaners who will clean to your specifications and stay out of your way. When Pam Thompson started Panda's in 1986, she was ...

                                                                Best of 2001: Best Independent Pharmacy

                                                                Park Boulevard Pharmacy and Medical Supply 3904 Park Boulevard, Hillcrest 619-295-3109 or 619-295-9505 When your health is at stake, the last thing you feel like doing is waiting in line at Rite-Aid or Sav-On. When ...

                                                                Best of 2001: Best Itty-Bitty Bikinis

                                                                Gone Bananas Beachwear 3785 Mission Boulevard, Mission Beach 858-488-4900 "All our bathing suit pieces are sold separately, so you can buy a medium top with a small bottom," says Gone Bananas sales clerk Jackie. "We ...

                                                                Best of 2001: Best Herb Store

                                                                In Harmony Herbs & Spices 4808 Santa Monica Avenue, Ocean Beach 619-223-8051 No other herb vendor in Southern California can match the variety of the products available in this herbal emporium. John Noble and Jodi ...

                                                                Best of 2001: Best High-End Stereo Equipment

                                                                Stereo Design 7260 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Clairemont Mesa 858-573-0060 Sound does count. It's astonishing how much subtlety and sensuality good reproduction equipment can bring out, even when the sound source is an early CD or ...

                                                                Best of 2001: Best Funky L.A. Gear Sold Here

                                                                Anissa M 6903 La Jolla Boulevard, La Jolla 858-459-3251 A Fred Segal-style boutique is putting more la-la in La Jolla. International designers such as "B.U.K." duke it out with brands like "Joe's Jeans" and "Seven." ...

                                                                  Best of 2001: Best Glass Repair

                                                                  The Glass Doctor 858-268-3200 At the Glass Doctor's 24-hour phone center, Judy is one of the operators who answers service calls and dispatches mobile specialists who can repair, replace, retrack, reseal, or respond to whatever ...

                                                                  Best of 2001: Best Grocery Store Kiddie Rides

                                                                  Gala Foods 3030 Grape Street, Golden Hill 619-239-8850 The miniature mechanical pony, space ship, and Model-T sitting at the entrance of Gala Foods are the ephemera of a distant childhood. Gala Food's kiddie ride vendor, ...

                                                                  Best of 2001: Best Funeral Joint, If You Don't Want To Pay An Arm And A Leg

                                                                  Mayer Mortuary 2859 Adams Avenue, Normal Heights 619-281-7055 It's extraordinary for one reason: it's independent. This, in a time when the funeral chains are eating up small independents all over. Corporations like the Houston-based Service ...

                                                                  Best of 2001: Best Free Ride

                                                                  Orange Cab 3911 Pacific Highway, Downtown 619-291-3333 or 619-291-4444 The drivers at Orange Cab are independent operators who pay a fee for company services like radio dispatch. Being self-employed (Orange owns no taxis), the cabbies ...

                                                                    Best of 2001: Poll Results

                                                                    Best Afghan Khyber Pass 521 University Avenue, Hillcrest 619.294.7579 Best After-Hours Club Club Montage 2028 Hancock Street, Midway 619.294.9590 Best American Corvette Diner 3946 Fifth Avenue, Hillcrest 619.542.1001 Best Antique Store Ocean Beach Antique Mall ...

                                                                      Best of 2001: Best Way To Judge A New Sushi Bar

                                                                      Get there at the start of the dinner hour (when many French and American chefs go for a bite before heading for their own restaurants), and sit at the counter. Early arrivals tend to get ...

                                                                        Best of 2001: Best Way For The Blue-Eyed To Get The Best Chinese Dishes

                                                                        Whenever possible, show up at a Chinese restaurant with a family-size group. Often, tables of six (better yet, eight) have an edge over couples in the quality of service as well as the freedom to ...

                                                                        Best of 2001: Best Tofu That Thinks It's A Roasted Marshmallow

                                                                        Gen Lai Sen Seafood Restaurant 1065 12th Avenue, Downtown 619-239-5478 Across from City College, right by the trolley stop, Gen Lai Sen looks like a forsaken dive and has the standard endless pan-regional San Diego ...

                                                                        Best of 2001: Best Value Chinese Lunch Buffet

                                                                        Jade House Restaurant 569 H Street, Chula Vista 619-426-5951 You're shopping at Macy's, Chula Vista. Your feet are killing you. You're starving. Stop! Resist the shopping-mall eateries. Just a walk away. Cross H Street. Head ...

                                                                        Best of 2001: Best Waffle Sunday Brunch

                                                                        Caffe Italia 1704 India Street, Little Italy 619-234-6767 There's something about Little Italy on a Sunday morning. All the faithful pour out of Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic church into the sunshine and make ...

                                                                        Best of 2001: Best Seafood

                                                                        Marine Room Restaurant 2000 Spindrift Drive, La Jolla 858-459-7222 With Bernard Guillas as its top toque, the Marine Room has become the quintessential fine San Diego restaurant, with awesome food to match the view. Guillas ...

                                                                        Best of 2001: Best Substitution For An Endangered Species

                                                                        Anthony's Star of the Sea 1360 North Harbor Drive, Downtown 619-232-7408 "Chilean seabass," as fishmongers like to call it (its real name is Patagonian toothfish), has been fished nearly to extinction, thanks to the unbridled ...

                                                                        Best of 2001: Best Pork Chop Breakfast North Of Mission Valley

                                                                        Wagon Wheel 427 West Mission Avenue (at Centre City Parkway), Escondido 760-745-3227 It's a stone and dark wood place with a white wagon wheel nailed on the front and a sign saying "Good Food Since ...

                                                                        Best of 2001: Best Place To Fish For Crabs

                                                                        99 Ranch Market 7330 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Kearny Mesa 858-974-8899 A zillion live rock crabs, each the size of a woman's hand, are sitting on a bed of ice. Luckily, they're not as crabby as ...

                                                                        Best of 2001: Best Place To Eat Vegan Fish

                                                                        Formosa Chinese Vegetarian Restaurant 16769 Bernardo Center Drive, Rancho Bernardo 858-487-8999 Julie Teng says she has invented a new way of eating without killing animals, which also gives the eater a longer lease on life. ...

                                                                        Best of 2001: Best Place To Find An Iowa Porker

                                                                        The Valley House 10767 Woodside Avenue, Santee 619-562-7878 "Back in Iowa they call it 'pork tenderloin,' " explains Dave Hayes, Valley House's owner. "I called it the 'Iowa Porker,' because nobody here knew what 'Pork ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best Place For Native American Fry Bread

                                                                          Burning Tree Native American Grill 40080 Old Highway 80, Boulevard 619-766-3442 This 1917 homestead restaurant (once the "Chateau Basque") serves the most wickedly delicious pizza in the county. Its Pine Ridge Pizza is "an Indian ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best Place For A Cheap Lunch And A Chat With Old Soldiers

                                                                          Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 2422 557 Orange Avenue, Coronado 619-435-6917 This is the biggest surprise in expensive Coronado. $2 lunches -- good, hearty ones at that. Of course, you do feel a little intimidated, ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best New Ethnic Restaurant

                                                                          India Palace 7514 Girard Street, La Jolla 858-551-5133 This is not one of those "curry palaces" where everything tastes the same. It is a beautifully decorated India palace, specializing in the delicate high cuisine of ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best Mexican Desserts

                                                                          Panadería Nacionál 1701 National Avenue, Barrio Logan 619-239-4043 Outside, you're near the Coronado bridge. Inside, you might just as well be in, say, San Salvador, Mazatlan, or Tijuana. It's a little dark. Behind old varnished ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best Mexican Lobster Feed

                                                                          Candelas 416 Third Avenue, Gaslamp 619-702-4455 "Langosta Baeza" is the signature dish of Candelas' chef Eduardo Baeza. Although the name sounds like it might be a local spiny lobster, but it's really a Maine lobster ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best New Restaurant

                                                                          Royale Brasserie Bar 224 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter 619-237-4900 If you've a yearning for the life of a moneyed fin de siècle Paris bohemian, then surely in some past incarnation you must have frequented restaurants ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best Latin American Survey

                                                                          Berta's 3928 Twiggs Street, Old Town 619-295-2343 For anyone who wants to explore the culinary world south of Mexico, where the food can change drastically every few hundred miles, Berta's is a rewarding one-stop voyage ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best Laotian

                                                                          Asia Café 4710 Market Street, Chollas View 619-527-1917 Crying Tigers is one very Laotian dish, and Asia Café is one very Laotian place. It's modest on the outside, in a mainly Lao strip mall. But ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best Jellyfish East Of Hong Kong

                                                                          Dumpling Inn 4619 Convoy Street, Kearny Mesa 858-268-9638 It's hard to find good jellyfish this side of the ocean. Most jellyfish served in the U.S. are rubbery or totally tasteless. Or maybe it's been cooked ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best Indian Breakfasts

                                                                          Jimmy Carter's 3172 Fifth Avenue (at Spruce), Banker's Hill 619-295-2070 Who'd guess you'd find Indian breakfasts in a down-home corner café in one of the town's oldest neighborhoods? What happened was that Jimmy Carter (no, ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best Historic Highway Café

                                                                          101 Café 631 South Coast Highway 101, Oceanside 760-722-5220 You're always hearing about ol' cliche-ridden Route 66, but how about our own, glorious Royal Highway, the former Camino Real, Highway 101? Friars to farmers to ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best Healthy Mexican Food

                                                                          Ranchos Cocina 3910 30th Street (at University), North Park 619-574-1288 1830 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, Ocean Beach 619-226-7619 4705 Point Loma Avenue, Ocean Beach 619-224-9815 The restaurant's underlying ethos involves cooking with olive or vegetable oil ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best Fusion Cuisine, North County

                                                                          150 Grand Café 150 West Grand Street, Escondido 760-738-6868 www.150grand.com A mural on one of the walls shows the restaurant's interior and its personnel but includes a mysterious clown. The food at 150 Grand is ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best Happy Hour Rib Deal

                                                                          Gulf Coast Grill 4130 Park Boulevard, Hillcrest 619-295-2244 Trust KC Jones to create a fantasy. The guy was a budding lawyer who wrote scripts for Hollywood before he got to this point. Perfect combo! Walk ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best Fusion Cuisine, City

                                                                          Parallel 33 741 W. Washington Street, Mission Hills 619-260-0033 The energetic Amiko Gubbins is a master of this genre. Her own background is a fusion of America and Japan, and the cosmopolitan food her mother ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best Fungus Among Us

                                                                          El Bizcocho at the Rancho Bernardo Inn 17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive, Rancho Bernardo 858-487-1611 It looks like a roast turnip, sitting there on the plate next to the squab topped with foie-gras-whipped-cream chantilly -- just ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best Foie Gras Roulade

                                                                          Top O' The Cove Restaurant 1216 Prospect Avenue, La Jolla 858-454-7779 The Top's new chef, Alain Redelsperger, hails from Strasbourg, France, where foie gras is a favorite dish -- especially eaten cold. Hence, Redelsperger's version ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best Family Pho Restaurant

                                                                          Saigon Restaurant 4455 El Cajon Boulevard, North Park 619-284-4215 or 619-284-4288 There are restaurants more specialized in pho, the traditional meal-in-a-soup dish, but the Saigon gets the balance right: atmosphere, families, airiness, and delicious pho. ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best Cheap French

                                                                          Café de Paris 819 C Street, Downtown 619-234-2559 For starters, Faiz (or Frank, as he's known) looks the epitome of the legendary French cook. Jutting jaw, well-wiped apron, hands on hips outside his little place ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best Cuernavaca-Style Carne Asada

                                                                          El Morelense 317 Dewey Street, Logan Heights 619-234-2750 Julio and Santos Arellano come from Cuernavaca, just south of Mexico City, in the state of Morelos, the home of revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata. The food's just ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best Cuban

                                                                          Andres' Cuban and Puerto Rican Restaurant 1235 Morena Boulevard, Morena District 619-275-4114 "Old clothes" (Ropa Vieja) is how the Cubans describe shredded beef, because the meat looks like shredded old rags. Maria Dolores, Puerto Rican ...

                                                                          Best of 2001: Best Chicago-Style Hot Dogs

                                                                          Chicago on a Bun Renaissance Towne Centre 8935 Towne Centre Drive, University City 858-622-0222 Everything -- from the poppy-seed buns to the Vienna sausages -- is imported from the Windy City. A decade ago, Jerry ...

                                                                            Best of 2001: Best Austrian-Style Chow

                                                                            Lake Cuyamaca Restaurant and Market 15027 Highway 79, Lake Cuyamaca 760-765-0700 When the first winter snows come, Franz Dorninger's is the place to be, watching the wildlife over steamy, wildlife-crowded Lake Cuyamaca. Golden eagles. Bald ...

                                                                            Best of 2001: Best Buffet

                                                                            Paipa's Oasis, Sycuan Casino 5469 Dehesa Road, El Cajon 619-445-6002 Paipa's is definitely an Oasis from the ka-chinging that rings 24/7 through the Purple Palace out here at Sycuan. Plus, even though it costs around ...

                                                                            Best of 2001: Best Brunch With Imperial Beach Old-Liners

                                                                            Ye Olde Plank Inn 24 Palm Avenue, Imperial Beach 619-423-5976 The Plank is IB's old-line hangout (it opened in 1886 as a liquor store). The low, palm-frond palapa dangles with nets, puffer fish, mini brass ...

                                                                            Best of 2001: Best And Biggest Breakfast Steaks

                                                                            Dim Sum Kingdom 730 Broadway, Downtown 619-239-1782 Most places, there are steaks, and then there are breakfast steaks. Your typical breakfast steak's so thin it's translucent. But not at Mr. and Mrs. Lee's. The Lees ...

                                                                            Best of 2001: Best Urban Hike

                                                                            Maple Canyon Park, Banker's Hill Maple Canyon Park begins at Thorn Street (between Third and Fourth Avenues) and dumps directly onto West Maple. The trail that runs along the bottom of the canyon makes for ...

                                                                            Best of 2001: Best Roller-Skating Route

                                                                            San Diego Miramar Reservoir 619-668-2050 The average skater can circle the five-mile paved loop around Miramar Lake in about a half hour. Vehicles are allowed Saturday through Tuesday on fishing days, but the rest of ...

                                                                            Best of 2001: Best Skate Park

                                                                            Mission Valley YMCA, Krause Family Skate Park 3250 Camino del Rio North, Mission Valley 619-281-7885 Krause Skate Park lies along the San Diego River next to Interstate 8. Fifty thousand square feet of cement and ...

                                                                            Best of 2001: Best Rock Climbing

                                                                            Santee Boulders Across Mast Boulevard from West Hills Park, Santee Park in the West Hills parking lot off Mast, a quarter mile north of Highway 52. Walk across the street and follow the beaten path ...

                                                                              Best of 2001: Best Rip Currents

                                                                              Mission Bay Channel Entrance North and South Jetties Ah, rip currents. A curse for the unwary dough-people visiting from middle America, who are rescued in droves each summer by weary lifeguards, but a blessing for ...

                                                                                Best of 2001: Best Place To Soar

                                                                                Sky Sailing (at the Warner Springs Airport) 31930 Highway 79, Warner Springs 760-782-0404 Soaring is the sport of flying engineless gliders or, more specifically, sailplanes. "The difference," explains Bret Willat, owner of Sky Sailing, "is ...

                                                                                Best of 2001: Best Place To Walk On Water

                                                                                Ocean Beach Pier Just west of Niagara Avenue San Diego Parks & Recreation Department 619-221-8901 Ocean Beach Pier resembles a manmade peninsula jutting from the natural peninsula of Point Loma. "Welcome to the West Coast's ...

                                                                                Best of 2001: Best Place To Rent A Sailboat

                                                                                Mission Bay Sportcenter 1010 Santa Clara Place, Mission Beach 858-488-1004 Since the inlet is protected from strong gusts and high seas, it's a low-key place for a day sail. If you're inept and manage to ...

                                                                                Best of 2001: Best Place To Learn How To Surf

                                                                                Tourmaline Surf Park West end of Tourmaline Street (just north of the junction of Mission Boulevard and La Jolla Boulevard), Pacific Beach You can park just above this stretch of beach, bounded by Crystal Pier ...

                                                                                Best of 2001: Best Place To Catch Ocean Poachers

                                                                                La Jolla Cove Coast Boulevard, La Jolla For scofflaws with a taste for shellfish, it's a pretty easy matter to stroke down ten or fifteen feet into the Cove's protected waters, wrangle one of the ...

                                                                                Best of 2001: Best Place In North County To Disappear For A Day

                                                                                Prince of Peace Abbey 650 Benet Hill Road, Oceanside 760-430-1305 The monks who follow the rule of St. Benedict have carved out a serene niche on their hilltop overlooking the San Luis Rey Valley. The ...

                                                                                Best of 2001: Best Natural Beach Meadow

                                                                                Coronado Municipal Beach where Ocean Boulevard meets Ocean Drive, Coronado Up near the fire rings on Coronado's North Beach, sand hills protecting a little-visited depression from the wind and waves have allowed nature to create ...

                                                                                Best of 2001: Best Place For Near-Ocean Nudity (That Isn't Black's Beach)

                                                                                Mission Beach Jetty It's gotta be at night, and it's gotta be warm. There are people on the jetty at all hours of the day and night. But it's still possible in the wee hours ...

                                                                                Best of 2001: Best Horsing Around

                                                                                Sanford Bright Valley Farms 12310 Campo Road, Spring Valley 619-670-1861 Located about 15 minutes west of downtown, several well-maintained grassy pastures are available for rides, most including corrals where you can prep and pamper your ...

                                                                                  Best of 2001: Best Hike Into Another World

                                                                                  Canyon Sin Nombre Take I-8 east past the big grade and turn off at S2 in Ocotillo (not to be confused with Ocotillo Wells) and go north until you hit mile marker 51.3. A small ...

                                                                                  Best of 2001: Best High Lake Fishing

                                                                                  Lake Morena 619-565-3600 Grab the chicken liver, night crawlers, grubs, blood bait, gigs, shiners, dough balls, and rapallas because the fish at Lake Morena are hungry. After years of drought, this reservoir has shrunk to ...

                                                                                    Best of 2001: Best Half-Day Diversion For Wintertime

                                                                                    Whale Watching Excursion Seaforth Sportfishing 1717 Quivira Road, Mission Bay 619-224-3383 Winter hours 5:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. daily Seaforth Sportfishing has been leading whale-watching tours for over 20 years during the grey whale migrations of winter. ...

                                                                                    Best of 2001: Best Frisbee Fun

                                                                                    Morley Field Disc Golf Course Corner of Pershing Drive and Redwood Street, Balboa Park 619-692-3607 It costs $1 to play here weekdays (when it's open from 8:00 a.m. to dusk); $1.50 on weekends (when it ...

                                                                                    Best of 2001: Best Go-Kart Ride

                                                                                    Fun Farm Go Karts 408 Hollister, Palm City 619-423-0793 Mark Williamson has been running his go-kart circuit since he was in high school in 1966 and his dad bought a dairy farm on Hollister and ...

                                                                                    Best of 2001: Best Bitchin' Bike Ride

                                                                                    Rosarito-Ensenada 50 Mile Fun Bicycle Rides Baja California, Mexico Bicycling West Entry information: PO Box 15128, San Diego CA 92175-5128 619-583-3001 www.rosaritoensenada.com The Rosarito Ensenada 50 Mile Fun Bicycle Ride is the West Coast's largest ...

                                                                                    Best of 2001: Best Downhill Scare On A Bicycle

                                                                                    Slaughterhouse Canyon Highway 67 south through Slaughterhouse Canyon, Lakeside Heading down Highway 67 from Scripps Poway Parkway, the shoulder is wide, the pavement is smooth, and for three miles the road rollercoasters gently. But then ...

                                                                                    Best of 2001: Best Amusement Park For Small Children

                                                                                    Legoland 1 Lego Drive, Carlsbad (off I-5 at Cannon Road exit) 760-918-LEGO Designed for children ages 3-12, Legoland is an antidote to the Disney overkill that dominates children's entertainment. With nearly everything constructed from Lego ...

                                                                                    Thursday, December 20

                                                                                    In Case They Attack

                                                                                    “I see water and buildings. Oh my God! Oh my God!” Flight attendant Madeline Sweeney, 35, mother of two, on board American Airlines Flight 11 as it collided into the north tower of the World ...

                                                                                    Young People Need to See What It's Like

                                                                                    Carol Snyder is always prepared. Carrying a stack of folders and papers, she walks out of the Chula Vista Career Center reading a series of want ads pasted to a yellow legal pad sheet. "I'm ...

                                                                                    Rustic Firetraps

                                                                                    Imagine a wildfire driven by winds gusting at 80 miles per hour is racing toward your house east of Alpine. In the predawn darkness, you can see the red-orange glow of the inferno over a ...

                                                                                    Vacant thoughts

                                                                                    San Diego hotel magnate Douglas Manchester, whose flagship Marriott and Hyatt hotels on the downtown bayfront are suffering from high vacancy rates and whose Oceanside luxury hotel project has yet to break ground, has sold ...

                                                                                    How much smarter are you now than you were a year ago? Find out here!

                                                                                    Call it a cherished tradition, call it an annoying habit, but here we are again with our year-end assessment of how much smarter you are now than you were 12 months ago. Every December the ...

                                                                                    Hike or bike the south end of the Verdugo Mountains in Glendale for clear-air views of the L.A. Basin and the ocean.

                                                                                    Like a ship caught fast on a sandbar, the Verdugo Mountains protrude above what would otherwise be an unbroken sheet of alluvial deposits slanting down from the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains toward the ...

                                                                                    Thursday, December 13

                                                                                    Christmas Without Jesus

                                                                                    Located next to the Buddhist temple on Park Boulevard, Buddha’s Light Bookstore has a large selection of books, accessories, and statues. Inside, Charles Hardy, 43, works around a Buddhist shrine in the center of the ...

                                                                                    He Had No Right to Fire Me

                                                                                    Crystelle Love, 22, is on her way to a job interview. Sporting a black leather jacket, gray miniskirt, and black nylons, Love looks defiant. She lost her job three weeks ago and describes the event ...

                                                                                    In Lakeside, Chickens Make Good Neighbors

                                                                                    There are a few ways to spot Hilliker's Egg Ranch on El Nopal Road in Lakeside near Santee. One is to look for one of several chicken signs -- the animated white chicken will be ...

                                                                                    High-tech cash

                                                                                    Last week's deciding vote by Democratic congresswoman Susan Davis, in favor of fast-track trade-negotiating power for the president, was preceded by campaign contributions from many with a connection to free-trade backer Irwin Jacobs and Qualcomm, ...

                                                                                    Do movie stars really have such good penmanship?

                                                                                    Hey, Matt: In movies and television, when you see a hand with a pen or pencil write something on a piece of paper, is that really the actor, or does Hollywood have a large reserve ...

                                                                                    Why is Christmas abbreviated Xmas?

                                                                                    Hey there, wisdom scout: While making our list of family items to do this week, I used the abbreviation "Xmas" to indicate shopping for the holiday. My 12-year-old son asked me why it was abbreviated ...

                                                                                    Who's Earl Gray?

                                                                                    Hey, Matt: I love tea. Who's Earl Gray? -- Jason Schell, the Net Earl was a British Prime Minister in the early 1800s. The story goes that a grateful and powerful Chinese gentleman, whose life ...

                                                                                    Hike the blufftop at Scripps Coastal Reserve for vertiginous views of Scripps Pier and the ocean.

                                                                                    The Scripps Coastal Reserve, managed by the University of California Natural Reserve System, includes a small, undeveloped mesa overlooking the ocean, steep canyons to either side, and an underwater preserve beneath Scripps Pier. Up on ...

                                                                                    Thursday, December 6

                                                                                    How Steam and Sun Can Light Your Life

                                                                                    Who among us has not twitched a little during this, the year of California’s power crisis, upon hearing Tales of the End Time of the Fossil Fuel. For more than a billion years, the planet’s ...

                                                                                    Big Boom Moves East

                                                                                    At the Employment Development Department's Metro Career Center on Aero Drive, people looking for work wander around the lobby. Some are on the provided telephones, calling job leads. Others look at the jobs listed on ...

                                                                                    Mission Hills Versus School

                                                                                    "Hit any traffic on the way in?" asks Scott Borden, seated at the dining room table of his exquisite 1930s Spanish villa home on Randolph Terrace in Mission Hills. "No? Well, try driving down Randolph ...

                                                                                    Strikeouts

                                                                                    The vice president of Hispanic and international marketing for the Padres, Enrique Morones, has left the team as a result of a "consolidating and streamlining" move by new president Bob Vizas, who replaced ex-honcho Larry ...

                                                                                    Why do I see stars when I hit my head?

                                                                                    Matt: I bashed my head on an open kitchen cabinet the other day. I saw "stars," those little flashes of light. Where do they come from? -- Michelle, San Diego They're an invention of your ...

                                                                                    What is the predecessor of the music video?

                                                                                    Hey, Matt: I'm trying to convince my son that his generation did not invent music videos. I remember in the 1960s going to bars in New York that had juke boxes with video screens. It ...

                                                                                    What's the deal with iridescent ham?

                                                                                    Matthew Alice: My girlfriend is freaked out by the iridescence you see on ham. What is that iridescence? Maybe if I can explain to her what it is, then maybe she will eat it. -- ...

                                                                                    Hike or mountain-bike to Gilman Peak in Orange County's Chino Hills State Park.

                                                                                    Gilman Peak's bald summit, barely poking over the lesser ridges of the Chino Hills of Orange and Riverside Counties, affords a breathtakingly spacious view of Southern California on a clear day. To the southwest lies ...