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Stories by Chad Deal

Veggiejuana: Veggie Smalls at Food Garden

Well-dubbed veg hub dishes out fusion grub.

Veggie Smalls gets a sterling rating right off the bat based on their name alone, but the instinctive kudos is backed up in full by their menu of veg-friendly burgers, dogs, and tacos. For the ...

The curious walking reeds of the Tijuana River

Have we got a green card for you.

Art on the hoof, in the river, but not quite across the border.

Cozy café with a dark side

Human skulls dangled from the ceiling in birdcages.

La Cupula is everything I’d hoped a vampire bar in Tijuana would be. At first I’d pictured an all-out monster mash: freaks sipping gore-toned cocktails and stomping around to industrial remixes of 45 Grave. It ...

Veggiejuana: an introduction to vegetarian TJ

It's no longer just elotes and frijoles for Tijuana vegetarians.

The thought of eating vegetarian in Tijuana may seem strange. After all, when considering the cuisine of our neighbor to the south, one generally pictures the carne asada, chorizo, adobada, and braided tripa tacos that ...

Pork rinds now, shawarma later at Bakbuk

When it comes to nightlife, Tijuana’s Sexta has something for everyone — time-honored cantinas, craft-beer cinema bars, kitschy mezcalerías, jazz joints, after-hour dance clubs, ’til-dawn punk dives, and old-timey cumbia halls. Now, Bakbuk is bringing ...

La Esquina has a Parasite

Barrio Logan architects explore parasitic structures and permit evasion

You may have seen it on a Barrio Logan hilltop just west of I-5: an electric-green trapezoid in an otherwise vacant lot, a triangular opening on one end and a larger square portal on the ...

Fine international fusion at beach bum cost

Turquoise Cellars is home to masters and obsessives.

You wouldn’t guess it from their island-style coffee-shop façade, but beyond the organic drip java and veggie wraps lies a top-notch wine and beer bar with selections meant to be paired with their eclectic, globally ...

Moments of Clarity with Whales Whailing

San Diego soul quester returns to hometown with spiritual folk outfit

Peter Ryan has played percussion in a number of projects from his hometown of San Diego, on to Seattle with Kusikia (whose record was put out by fellow San Diegan-gone-Northwesterner Alex Miranda on his vinyl ...

Nunu's sees the light

Hillcrest mainstay tweaks the vibe but not the essentials.

Anyone who’s had the pleasure of tossing back a few cocktails at this 50-some-year-old Fifth Avenue landmark knows that a large part of the appeal comes from its shadowy interior lined with red Naugahyde booths. ...

Because cyborgs

Chad's account of his time as a soldier in the battle against chair loss.

Cyborg party at the Xoo brings in a few lawn chairs.

Left speechless

Divine intervention may be at play when Chad visits Little Bonanza.

In an era when any jerk with a Wi-Fi connection can condemn every small business on Earth for no good reason, it speaks volumes to find a bar with zero Yelp reviews. No off-topic whiners. ...

Con gusto

Be it a liter of gut-wrenching booze-cophony from a TJ punk cave or a martini glass of tamarind/mezcal slush, borderland cocktails unite us, con gusto. Chiquita’s Mexican Food This Fairmount Park villa is the epitome ...

El Dorado rebrand

“There are a lot of really crazy rumors going around town about El Dorado,” says Ryan Kuntz, manager of the East Village cocktail lounge. “‘I heard it was going out of business.’ ‘I heard it ...

Cross-cultural interactive art in the park with Figment

2nd annual, free, all-ages day festival returns to Chicano Park.

Aiming to bridge the gap between art creators and art appreciators by removing expression from the confines of a gallery, FIGMENT made its San Diego debut last year, drawing over 1000 participants for the day-long ...

Things to do

What do you mean you’re bored?! An anti-ho-hum compendium.

Jetpack America Want to feel like Superman? After a training video and in-office instruction, strap on a jetpack and take to the air. During the 15- to 60-minute ride, the water-jetting pack can go as ...

Baja music fest grows chefs

All My Friends music festival started as a house party in Tijuana five years ago and has been broadening its scope and attendance annually ever since. This year, they’re shifting from an autumn to a ...

Lunar pilgrimage

Chad floats in a sea of fisherman hats, ponchos, and high-waisted mom shorts

On January 1, a wizard-bearded Norman Feller emerged from his Canadian bunker for the first time since he’d locked himself away from the impending anticlimax of Y2K. Actually, he didn’t. The CBC Radio broadcast turned ...

Engage with Edgeland Futurism

Alterity, liminality explored by students at Space 4 Art

Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” It was under this premise that Ash Eliza Smith has spent the last several months teaching an experimental course at ...

Hillbilly-tinged steampunk

So many missed opportunities, so many sweet-ass zingers lost to the space-time continuum

The Bucking Delorian is the kind of place you want to fall in love with. I mean, it’s a freaking Back to the Future–themed bar in downtown Lakeside! But, not unlike the broken promises of ...

Lions out of cage

It’s been less than a year since Soft Lions started playing together, but they are releasing an EP titled Earth Energy, on June 7 at Soda Bar. The self-described “moody post–riot grrl jams” feature members ...

Distance and disappearing with Wages

L.A.'s honey-glazed retro-rockers play with Manuok at Whistle Stop Friday night!

The last time Nick Campbell came to San Diego, he set up an innovative sound-art installment at Space 4 Art as part of the fourth annual San Diego Experimental Guitar Show. The installation, called PERSONO, ...

Are you ready to rumble?

A few months back, my roommate Matt came to me with an idea. His buddy David — a mixed-martial-arts student at Chakal Mx gym in Tijuana — wanted to throw a festival. The gym would ...

Beer Town, MX

Ask any Santa Ana breeze and she’ll tell you, Mexicali’s known for sweltering hot summers, a relaxed, rural demeanor, Chinese food and an abandoned underground Chinatown, carne asada, outlandish music, and beautiful women (some attribute ...

Everything is for the locals

Seth and Alexis Sullivan don’t look like they belong in Mexico. A gringo by blood — his parents relocated to Tijuana from North Carolina and Kansas nearly four decades ago — Seth is known among ...

Tropical wave strikes 30th at Chris' Ono Grinds

Island-style cuisine just like mom used to make it

Over the past few years, the food and drink corridor of 30th Street has grown beyond its University Avenue origins to extend past El Cajon Boulevard and clear through BeHe up to Adams. Locales such ...

Only beginning to express its potential

Teorema takes its place in the burgeoning Baja beer scene.

Behind a nondescript door next to the new TJINCHINA gallery and down a long hallway, the first batches of Tijuana’s greenest microbrewery are bubbling up in small, stainless steel tanks. “When I started at Beer ...

There was no scene here

Mexico City has always been a magnet. Post-Toltec Nahua tribes gravitated there to live along the shores of the now-drained Lake Texcoco. The Aztecs then claimed it as their promised land and the center of ...

Eat like a caveman

Local butchers, chefs, and sommelier stir up a spring Paleo popup

On Sunday, April 27th, local Paleolithic diet advocates will host a dinner at Turquoise Cellars (5026 Cass Street, Pacific Beach) to demystify the so-called “Caveman Diet.” The dinner includes keynote speeches from local whole-animal butchers ...

Diazepam dandelions

The first thing you notice is the whistling: this sprightly ditty that feels familiar at first, but you can’t put your finger on it. Then he rounds the corner, a willowy, relaxed figure with a ...

Adventures in Adobada: Taquería Los Albañiles

Well-constructed tacos on a dismanlted Segunda

Having finally come to terms with the jeering orange pile of disillusionment that is being marketed as the original taco al pastor in Mexico City, I returned to an old Tijuana favorite to reaffirm the ...

Taste and vibe

When a collective of Pomona musicians and artists known as Moon Block Party got invited to host a show in Desert Hot Springs concurrent with the 2012 Coachella festival, they had no idea that they ...

Adventures in Adobada: Melancholy in Mexico City

Losing faith at al pastor Mecca.

El Tizoncito invented the taco al pastor in 1966 by exchanging the lamb shawarma brought by Lebanese immigrants for marinated pork shoulder on a tortilla. Blame the half century since its inception, but these tacos regrettably don't hold a candle to Baja's succulent adobada tacos served on fresh masa tortillas.

Five elements of fun

Despite the never-ending sunshine, San Diego is rarely thought of as a “green” city. While it ranks 14th in a 2012 study by Corporate Knights (a publication that promotes “clean capitalism”), the city failed to ...

Salty Frog

Like most sterling life decisions, the Salty Frog was born out of little more than camaraderie and a sturdy dollop of beer-addled whimsy. Jason Hasty, his wife Alisha, and Kanai (pronounced “Can-I”) — a buddy ...

Music’s mad scientists

“The San Diego Experimental Guitar Show started out as an event that included all of my noise-artist friends,” says host Sam Lopez in anticipation of the event’s fifth annual incarnation at the Soda Bar on ...

Macaulay Culkin's Pizza Underground underwhelms Tijuana hipster dive

Macaulay Culkin’s Pizza Underground turned out be exactly what everyone had expected — an over-hyped, under-talented group of friends who got stoned and took an inside joke (which should have worn off with the weed) ...

Handshake and a drink at renovated Jsix

Last month, Jsix completed a renovation that included walling off the dining room with exposed brick and concealing the open kitchen to place added emphasis on the bar, which has been extended to seat 19 ...

The Jamuel fire

“There is a hilariously large population of former San Diegans in New York City.”

For the past ten months, producer/engineer/DJ Keith Milgaten (aka Jamuel Saxon) has been living in Brooklyn and, under the alias Keith Sweaty, dropping the occasional dance mix on Soundcloud, including his own spin on brother ...

Fixie freaks do the alleycat thing

It’s Saturday night on El Cajon Boulevard. A mob of cyclists banters on the sidewalk, cheering and slapping high-fives as friends wheel across the finish line with endorphin-tinged grins. The race — organized by Lucas ...

Rancho Shampoo

Amid playing with Mexicali hardcore outfit Los Nuevos Maevans (actually just some dudes Milli Vanilli-ing a pre-recorded ’80s punk play-list — seriously), Guillermo Estrada went on a spirit quest and re-invented himself as flute-tooting techno-shaman ...

Chad Deal deals details...

...on 10 of his favorite San Diego (and Tijuana) Happy Hours.

The Brigantine Landlocked pirates, beware! The Brigantine — a microchain that touts more seafood specials than one’s sextant can fathom — finds true north during Happy Hours from 4pm to close on Sundays and Mondays, ...

Revolutionizing La Revu

Tijuana cantina serves up a deconstructed margarita.

About a year and a half ago, Jaime Brambila and five associates began transforming the 1800-square-foot curio stall above his family’s former restaurant, Café La Especial (1952–2008), into a contemporary gastro bar. La Justina — ...

2014 Guide to the Arts in San Diego

A palette of possibilities

Our affinity for artistic expression sets us humans apart from all other animals. We continue to find innovative ways to communicate our complex emotions and philosophical reflections. Though it is inarguably enriching to appreciate works ...

Just the right amount of South Pacific kitsch

In 1949, Tahitian artist Felix Lynch opened up what is now San Diego’s oldest tattoo shop, at 317 F Street, catering to sailors who landed in port just blocks away. Six location changes and two ...

International influx of sound

Anything but a newcomer to electronic music, Aaron Hastings (aka Arkon) has hosted local late nights such as Ajna After Hours, Bordello Breaks, Trance Mission, and — starting in 2007 — began working alongside Gage ...

Banter and start a band

Buddy Banter is poor but they love what they do.

While the rest of the country braces for the next ice age, San Diegans take lackadaisical bike rides to neighborhood brew pubs to catch a buzz with a few friends under the burning winter sun. ...

Prayers are ready to bleed

Killwave duo's vocalist incurs severe burn during filming of music video.

The new video from killwave duo Prayers, “Ready to Bleed,” was filmed in the alleyway behind vocalist Rafael Reyes’s home in Sherman Heights and at Saint Jude’s Catholic Church in Shelltown. “Both are heavy gang ...

The waiting room to heaven is Nelson’s bar in Tijuana

Hotel Nelson premiered in 1948 as an extravagant south-of-the-border vacation destination boasting telephones in every room and the first elevator in northwest Mexico. Thanks to its central location and (at the time) luxurious accommodations, the ...

Dystopia You Can Dance To

Broken promises of an industrialized maquiladora-polis.

For a party dubbed “El Futuro,” the Tijuana-modern house situated above the Caliente greyhound track felt perfect. The façade’s dominant feature — a series of angled mirror-windows — echoed the outside swath of streetlights and ...

Bob Dazzla's records stolen

Moonshake resident and BUMP host lost vinyl rarities in front of his Bankers Hill house

Only hours after playing for a full house at El Dorado Cocktail Lounge (1030 Broadway, Downtown), Bob Dazzla had over 60 records stolen from in front of his Bankers Hill home at around 6:30 on ...

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