Downtown San Diego Stories

A marketable-adjective bistro takes over

Meatballs and tapas supplant French appeal

I never made it to Café Paris, but there's enough Francophile to me that I'd looked forward to it. Wine and small plates can be just the thing some evenings, even if you have to ...

Cheap Buds, saintly salads

Crossroads at House of Blues has sweet food/booze/music deals

Will somebody please tell me where there is a better happy hour deal than here at the House of Blues' Crossroads Bar? Two-dollar pints of Bud Light! Five-buck quesadillas. Free live music! So okay, the ...

Eating with a Southern California accent

Deep-fried tomatoes get their due

Americans tend to be sentimental about Southern food whether or not they've ever lived below the Mason-Dixon. It seems to be linked to some sort of nostalgic national identity, to the point that poor-quality biscuits, ...

Portable Paintings

“Small paintings whisper to you. They tell a secret to you and you only.”

One of the great movie gangsters was also a smart, discriminating art collector. As Rico Bandello in Little Caesar (“Mother of Mercy, is this the end of Rico?”), Edward G. Robinson, born Emmanuel Goldenberg in ...

Kevin Burdette: Shakespeare is a "gateway drug into opera"

An interview with a comedic opera singer: part 1 of 2

Watching Kevin Burdette perform a comedic opera is kind of like watching Jim Carey perform opera — only Kevin sings better. Kevin is a lanky bass from Knoxville who nearly stole the show last season ...

Duck egg: cure for happy hour blues?

Grant Grill has novel dish that it, uh, curates

I swear. If I see the word "curated" one more time I'm gonna scream. "Curated," "hand-crafted" "flights" of booze, food, you name it... the hand-ringing pretentiousness has swept like a virus through the menus of ...

San Diego Symphony back from opera

Pipa master Wu Man to solo with orchestra

With Pagliacci in the books at San Diego Opera, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra returns to the Jacobs Music Center for a concert off the beaten path this coming weekend. The first rarity of the ...

Fresh and fluffy

Ed gets a quick class in cheesemanship at Venissimo.

“It’s Hook’s cheddar. Costs $40 a pound. That would come to about $15 per sandwich.”

Free trade backlash at downtown protest

Congressional members Darrell Issa and Susan Davis targeted

Protesters took to the streets near the intersection of Front Street and Broadway downtown on January 31 to denounce efforts to "fast track" approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and, more broadly, free-trade agreements of ...

Joshua Bell is back in San Diego

A quick interview with violin mega-star Joshua Bell about his upcoming concert.

Joshua Bell is a busy, busy, man but he will be coming to San Diego to give a solo recital on Friday February 7th. We all know and love him in San Diego for his ...

Dog-Friendly Dining: Café Chloe avec mon chien

Parisian-style bistro welcomes pups at outdoor tables

It may yet be years before Paris opens its first San Diego-style restaurant (though it has apparently availed itself of California cuisine in food truck form). While French gastronomy might be missing out on the ...

Meet the Dishcrawl Ambassador

On a Tuesday evening in late September, Lindsay Marks stands in the center of a group of people at Spike Africa’s Fresh Fish Grill and Bar on Broadway. She wears a cheek-stretcher of a smile ...

San Diego's top spots for picnics

“The park offers a bird’s-eye view of downtown skyscrapers, planes lifting off from the airport, Mission Bay, the ocean...”

The "barely there" dress code of the Gaslamp

Saturday night my husband and I went to a concert at Balboa Theater, afterward we decided to walk down to Quality Social for a couple of drinks. After walking a half a block on 4th ...

New life breathed into “Atmosphere” project

Future low-income apartments set for Cortez neighborhood

The dead-in-the-dirt “Atmosphere” downtown condo project, which crashed in 2004, is getting a new lease on life. Now it will definitely become a low-income apartment complex, through efforts by Centre City Development Corp. (now Civic ...

Yelled at by Skinny Puppy

After listening to a Skinny Puppy record, one feels as if having been yelled at by an angry parent. Dark moods, riddled with an irritation that either leaves you speechless or that you can completely ...

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 ...

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