Downtown San Diego Stories

Pork chops and nostalgia at YMCA’s Grand Central Café

Army & Navy brekky

“Don’t get me wrong. If I didn’t love my place up in the Hollywood Hills, I’d come live down here.”

Cocktail queen becomes west coast’s only mezcalier

All tequilas are mezcal, not all mezcal is tequila.

Sommeliers, professional wine experts in charge of ordering and pairing wines, are fairly common in upscale restaurants. One San Diego restaurant pro is doing the same thing with mezcal, one of Mexico’s most important contributions ...

Earth’s fastest violinist

Juilliard-trained David Garrett won’t talk about departing the Royal College of Music in London after one semester, but he can play 13 notes in one second and is scheduled to play Balboa Theatre on January 26 — so what’s the big deal?!

Trust me. I’m a chef.

Ed gets protective of his egg-topped pizza in the Gaslamp.

“Hi there!” “Hello. Care to see...” I notice they target the man every time. Good strategy.

New chef makes headway at Gang Kitchen

Downtown Asian-fusion spot picks up Craig Jimenez, comes closer to reaching its full potential

It’s been a year since Gang Kitchen’s initial Reader review, and the restaurant’s kitchen has seen some shakeups. Craig Jimenez, formerly of Roseville Cozinha and Craft and Commerce, is in as the new executive chef, ...

In the Time of the Butterflies at San Diego Rep

In 1960, Rafael Trujillo, the brutal dictator of the Dominican Republic, confessed to his inner circle: “My only two problems are the church and the Mirabel sisters.” Patria, Minerva, Maria Teresa, and Dede Mirabel grew ...

Extreme Midget Opera

San Diego Opera needs a little person on stage.

San Diego Opera has a casting problem. They need an actor to be featured in the upcoming production of The Elixir of Love. Why the problem? I mean, the role is paid, it’s a non-singing ...

Down under collaboration for Karl Strauss

Back to scene of company’s inspiration for San Diego’s eldest brewery

Twenty-five years ago, Chris Cramer had an epiphany when he entered an Australian brewpub called Sail and Anchor and drank one of its house beers. The concept of brewing beer on-site blew him away, leading ...

Deep South arrives downtown

Acme Kitchen promises grits, green tomatoes and angel cakes

"I like being early," says Terryl Gavre. She's the wunderkind gal who started up Café 222 (remember her on posters wearing a waffle on her head?), and then Bankers Hill Bar/Restaurant, and then Bankers Hill ...

Beer of the Week: Play Date Stout

With the camaraderie between San Diego County breweries, collaboration beers are natural and frequent occurrences. For many brewers, the only inhibitor to embarking on a group project is the inability to fit a collaboration into ...

Ed does — eek! — salad

New year, new eating habits to gain (and 10 pounds to lose)

Oh Lawdie. Some much gunk. This whole holiday season I have gone ape on burgers, spuds, chocolate cakes, Cool Whip, donuts, burritos, donuts, grog, beers, vino... Time to pull back. Take the higher road. Eat ...

Is Downtown eating its own?

This week's departure of Croce's makes you wonder why the good places downtown so often die young.

Croce's is on the way out — of downtown — and on the way in, to Bankers Hill. Like Café Bassam before it, the beloved live music icon had to abandon downtown and retreat up the hill because it had been too successful. It sounds as though Croce's Park West will be pretty much the same, but the Gaslamp won't. A bit more life has just been sapped from it.

Dumpster dining host planned a street Christmas

Environmental activist Rob Greenfield takes up the homeless challenge

After spending a whole week eating nothing but food found in dumpsters of grocery stores, Rob Greenfield hosted a dinner party at his home in Ocean Beach on Friday, December 20. With the goal to ...

Gothic in the Gaslamp

Bah, humbug!

You can’t go wrong with black. It’s slimming. It’s simple. It’s sleek. It’s the shade that Audrey Hepburn is remembered most for wearing in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Her little black dress is a look that ...

The Nutcracker's incorrect notes

California Ballet's Nutcracker at the Civic Theater

I went to The Nutcracker on Friday night at the Civic Theater. The production was by California Ballet and I have to admit that I was impressed. Of course, I'm not an expert when it ...

Beethoven 9th: San Diego Symphony (2 of 2)

As beautiful as the Brahms performance was, it was not the primary draw to last weekend’s concerts. The big piece of music was Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. We weren’t disappointed. The performance was magnificent. The ...

Beautiful Brahms at San Diego Symphony (1 of 2)

Saturday night was the first time I've been able to catch the San Diego Symphony after their return from touring China. The first sound they made was Brahms' Variations on a Theme by Haydn and ...

Lotus Thai Happy Hour: where's the Thai?

Ed is underwhelmed at the HH offerings, but learns a lot about seasonings

"Uncle Jerry was from Baton Rouge," says David. He's at the next stool, sipping his ruby-red Zen of Zin ($5). "He'd make his own seasoning and for the holidays, send it out to our family ...

L.A. NFL stadium rivals sink big cash into Brown bid

U-T San Diego ramps up push for new Chargers venue

The professional football season is nearing a wrap and the campaign for San Diego mayor is ramping up, time yet again for another push by La Jolla real estate maven, Republican money-man, and U-T San ...

Pizzeria Mozza opens strong

Highly-anticipated LA pizza restaurant serves exceptional cuisine, living up to its own hype and then some

It was so easy to bear Pizzeria Mozza all the ill will in the world. For starters, people go bonkers over the one in Los Angeles, and, as any true San Diegan knows, nothing good ...

Deviled Egg Craze

The one item on the menu that keeps me coming back to the Lion's Share is their deviled eggs. The restaurant sits at the south end of Kettner Boulevard in Downtown's Marina neighborhood. Dark wood ...

Beethoven 9th

Beethoven's Ode to Joy is on this weekend

Speaking of Germans, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 is coming up this weekend at Symphony Hall. The orchestra, conductor Ken-David Masur, and the San Diego Master Chorale are all familiar entities, but what about the soloists? ...

Tri-tips and home-made pickles: Hot!

New eats in downtown's oldest drinkery

They're smoking, upstairs above the Tivoli Bar. Smoking tri-tip, that is. JJ and Ashley, his wife. They're the new proprietors of the grill at the far end of the ancient bar, the one with the ...

The Muslim Experience comes to the Central Library

A film series focused on presenting the history and diverse cultures of Muslims around the world is coming to downtown San Diego. The new Central Library downtown begins this month’s series of Friday Talking Pictures ...

Back in San Diego

The San Diego Symphony Orchestra returns for their first post-tour concert.

The San Diego Symphony is back from China and ready to continue the Jacobs Masterworks season this weekend. They program the are performing is strong. For starters, the strings will be featured in Sir Edward ...

Fatty, hot, tender

Ed corners the New York on Rye food truck. They can’t leave until he pushes a big sandwich into his face.

All Things BBQ: Kansas City Barbeque

A primer on Kansas City-style 'cue, and a bit about the downtown restaurant of the same name.

Where’s a better place to start a San Diego barbecue excursion than Kansas City Barbeque (600 W. Harbor Drive), the place most famous for appearing in the movie Top Gun? There’s no escaping the anecdote ...

A first look at Puesto at the Headquarters

San Diego's premier tacoteurs go big

Earlier this week I had a chance to preview the new menu from Puesto at The Headquarters, slated to soft open on Tuesday, November 19th. I’ve eaten at the La Jolla location and the Puesto ...

Farewell, Bulgogi

Fat Cat Café started with such hopes, but... location, location, location

Sad to see Fat Cat Cafe didn't make it. Saw they were closed, passingly on the trolley. This location, 819 C Street, between 8th and 9th, has been the graveyard of one eatery after another. ...

The art of GMONIK

San Diego painter spent time traveling the world, now he's committed to decades in front of a canvas.

“I incorporate a lot of garbage and trash imagery because that’s the byproduct of our culture. When we all die, we’re leaving our garbage behind. It’s like when we find old pottery, or whatever, from ...

Best of Beer Week: November 9

Hitting the home stretch as San Diego Beer Week nears an end

Open House: Vista’s Mother Earth Brew Co. has done some major expanding and upgrading at its original brewery, which has necessitated them closing off its tasting room. Come in for a long overdue brew and ...

Best of Beer Week: November 8

Go beer-crazy on the eighth day of San Diego Beer Week

Ballast Point Tap Takeover: For years, The High Dive has been standout Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits’ best, most loyal account. Now, it’s time for payback in the form of specialty beers that will flow ...

Freebies to keep you downtown after work

Downtown Johnny Brown's happy hour takes off on Fridays

Mark this for Friday. I came in here around six last Friday evening, on the hunt for Stone Brewing's November "Enjoy By" beer. It's a series of brews that last for a month and are ...

Reptile Super Show in downtown San Diego

Mutant snakes, biting frogs

Ricardo Contreras said he arrived at 7 a.m. on Saturday, November 2, to ensure he would be first in line for the Reptile Super Show. Organizers of the two-day event opened the doors at 10 ...

Communication: San Diego Symphony (2 of 2)

No need to interpret when you communicated clearly.

While I was fuming about Lang Lang during the intermission, I saw my old friend Gerry two rows over. We chatted a bit about the trumpets sounding better this year. He mentioned how tight and ...

Best of Beer Week: November 2

Reboot and get your fill of San Diego Beer Week seconds

San Diego Originals: In the beginning, there was but a handful of fledgling operations bringing craft beer to locals. For one day, beer bar The High Dive will celebrate those innovators with special beers from ...

Bike rider crashes at Santa Fe Depot

Reportedly had plastic jug labeled "vodka"

San Diego Fire and Rescue personnel responded to a call about an injured man at the Santa Fe Depot trolley platform on Saturday afternoon, October 26, at about 1:45 p.m. An Amtrak mechanical employee called ...

Lang Lang: San Diego Symphony (1 of 2)

I waited with anticipation for Saturday night’s concert at the Jacobs Music Center. It was sold out. There is nothing I love more in this world than a sold out concert at the symphony. The ...

Opinions sought for improvements to C Street and beyond

Most ask Downtown San Diego Partnership for parks and green space

The Downtown San Diego Partnership took over a block of C Street this afternoon, October 24, astroturfing the sidewalks and inviting passersby in for an event the group billed "tactical urbanism." A band performed at ...

Police protest EDM?

Former 4th&B concert venue won’t open under Avalon name as expected this fall. New owners say they are lining up permits before they begin construction; insiders say the city doesn’t want electronic dame music.

A smoldering pile: San Diego Symphony (2 of 2)

The music from the Opus Gala

The theme of the Opus Gala at San Diego Symphony was "The Roaring '20s." The concert started with John Harbison. Harbison is a fairly well known American composer. He's one of those names that crops ...

Green surprise at the Greyhound

Downtown's shabby corner is reborn - healthy

Trotting down Broadway around nine at night, heading to the brick hotel where the Greyhound Depot used to be, at First Avenue. Used to be a pretty shabby corner, too. But recently I'd seen signs ...

Opus Gala: San Diego Symphony (1 of 2)

At of 8:00 pm on Friday, the 11th of October, the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Music Center was opened at Symphony Hall. At the Opus Gala on Saturday night, the Jacobs’ were brought onstage to ...

Cops naysay downtown opening of Phantom Lounge

“Highest crime area in the city”

Phantom Lounge and Nightclub may open soon downtown at 1014 Fifth Avenue (just north of Broadway). This will be the third Phantom Lounge location in San Diego County. Unlike the two existing businesses, this one ...

Prokofiev 5: San Diego Symphony (2 of 2)


There was a good reason for Augustin Hadelich to join the audience for Prokoviev's 5th Symphony. I was at the Saturday night concert which meant Augustin had already heard the Prokofiev on Friday. He knew ...

The Top Knot

How to achieve the effortless look of the top knot

This fall it’s all about the top knot. Buns have been in vogue for decades but this season, the traditional yawn-worthy updo has been replaced with an updated effortless and chic look. The top knot ...

The Fussy Fork

Does anything scream summer like fresh corn?

A blogger eats her way through San Diego in search of vegan restaurants.

Fashion Week San Diego Spectators

I am a strong believer that disasters come in threes. On Friday night my first disaster came in the form of a robbery--the self-pay parking machine ate my $5 bill. The injustice left me $10 ...

He inspires romance: San Diego Symphony (1 of 2)

Augustin Hadelich and San Diego Symphony.

When I saw the size of the orchestra on the stage at Symphony Hall for David Bruce’s Night Parade, I knew we were in for a rumpus. I love, love, loved, this piece of music ...

The Local to go the brewery route

Crafty eatery and drinking hole entering brewing arena

Popular watering hole The Local Eatery and Drinking Hole (1065 Fourth Avenue, Downtown) is working on establishing its own brewery. A an early adapter to the craft beer model, The Local regularly serves a long ...

San Diego Center for Spiritual Living

As an altar boy, John Poleski’s pastor at the time said, “Watch that Poleski boy — he’s going to be a priest someday!”

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