Back to profile

Stories by Chad Deal

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 ...

Heart & Trotter makes the cut for L.A. Lakers

Whole animal butchery provides locally-sourced, hormone- and antibiotic-free meat for basketball players

San Diego’s first and only whole animal butchery, Heart & Trotter, has yet to find a place to call home (they’ve been eyeing North Park for a few months now), but their sustainable, locally sourced, ...

From coffee gift card to saucy MILF card

Local porn purveyors offer swap-out

Those holiday gift cards gathering dust in your drawer are now good for something other than a day at the movies, an elaborate latte, and a few plates of lackluster potato skins. Adult website Naughty ...

Posada Cañamera: Baja underground spiked with holiday punch

A modern twist on a four-century-old tradition lands at DC nightclub in Tijuana

It’s December in Tijuana, and that means residences and public spaces across the city are exploding with seasonal posada parties. The 400-year-old Mexican custom celebrates the Virgin Mary’s immaculate conception and pregnancy with candle-lit processions, ...

Desi N Friends rings of a ’90s sitcom

Writer Chad Deal gets drunk under the table with Fireball shots by a 90-some-year-old woman in a wheelchair.

Adventures in Adobada: "Tacos Coahuila"

A street cart with no name slings dope pork in the red light district.

Tijuana’s so-called “tolerance zone” has been canonized as a post-topian hive of lechers, dope fiends, harlots, swindlers, and godforsaken gringos — and all for good reason. The infamous red light district is Biff Tannen’s alternate ...

Adventures in Adobada: Diego-MXN

MXN establishes an indulgent baseline for classic San Diego-Mex cuisine

Before we head south to navigate the late night street carts and hole-in-the-wall taqueros of Tijuana, let’s check in at one of our most widespread (with at least 14 locations countywide) Diego-Mex institutions: MXN. There ...

Adventures in Adobada: Tacos El Paisa

Sherman Heights landmark remains true to the taste of Tijuana

In deference to the spirit of Yuletide cheer, let’s kick off our inquiry into the mesmerizing porcine monument known interchangeably as adobada and al pastor with a success story. Tacos El Paisa (2494 Imperial Avenue, ...

Guadalupe Valley’s days of wine and tacos are now

Baja boutique

You don’t have to look far to find Baja California’s influence on San Diego’s food-and-drink scene. Family-owned taco shops and mariscos trucks are hallmarks of our city’s culinary landscape. Seasonal, sea-and-farm-to-table Baja Med cuisine is ...

Really Idol revamps lineup for 1980s Holiday Hangover Party

Tributes to Billy Idol, the Cure, Depeche Mode, R.E.M., and Tears for Fears at House of Blues

Billy Idol cover band Really Idol left keyboardist and backing vocalist Ashley Custer dancing with herself when the rest of the band (David Wilson, David Francis, and the Wheeler twins, formerly of Scarlet Symphony and ...

Adventures in Adobada: An introduction

If you like bacon, you'll love its sophisticated, eccentric uncle, adobada.

While glistening towers of adobada are ubiquitous in the streets of Tijuana, San Diego’s bouquet of badass ‘bada is limited. Adobada (“marinated”) is better known beyond borderland as al pastor (“shepherd style”), a nod to ...

Swim a little deeper at the Merrow

Hillcrest’s Ruby Room transforms into the Merrow -- a Gaelic-influenced bar with a nautical theme. You’ll figure it out. Start at the bar.

That speakeasy type of vibe

Mexican New York speakeasy in former strip mall

You hear it all the time: “We are not Mexico. We are not the U.S. We are Tijuana.” Just as this mentality has bred a number of cultural hallmarks that are distinctly tijuas (the Caesar ...

Cholo goth

Rafael Reyes, a self-described “cholo goth” musician who says, “Killwave, occultwave, shadowave are all outlets that I use to expose and celebrate fragments of who I am, may it be my vulnerability or, at times, my ego.” Jeepers.

The dark and heavy of ILYA

Their acidic-sweet separation is over.

Returning from a four-year hiatus (minus a local Halloween appearance in 2011), ILYA is back in the studio wrapping up their third full-length album with two new members: guitarist Demetrius Antuña (ANA, KATA, the Dropscience) ...

La Mesa steakhouse moves charcoal to outdoor hookah lounge

Charcoal House puts the kibosh on karaoke night.

Sequestered on the eastern end of La Mesa on a recent Wednesday evening, I headed over to the Charcoal House (9566 Murray Drive) with my girlfriend and a buddy visiting from Colombia to dive into ...

MC Lars: Halloween post-punk laptop rap

The Merrow hosts a cosplay and Nerdcore extravaganza for All Hallows' Eve

Fresh off a UK tour with Wheatus and summer’s Warped Tour, MC Lars is bringing his tongue-in-cheek white-boy rhymes (he calls it “post-punk laptop rap”) to The Merrow (1271 University Avenue, Hillcrest) on Thursday, October ...

Savor every sip at 1994 Bar

“All four shareholders have a thing for 1994” at the 1994 Bar in Tijuana. There, you can “go anachronistalgic to “All Apologies” while choosing from over 35 beers.

Know your meat

No mechanical slaughter here, folks

I didn’t know sheep had rectangular pupils. I guess I’d never gotten close enough to notice. But there they were, pleading up at me as I held the animal’s head and torso in place over ...

RELÁMPAGO: imperfect family photos

Omar Lopex's pretend family portraits on tintype wet plates

At first glance, the colorless photos don’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary. Weathered and faded around the edges, the collection looks like something you might find in an unmarked shoebox at the ...

Staricide saga

A collection of local experimental musicians and physics enthusiasts will be transforming the captivating saga of “staricide” — the tale of the sun’s impending death in six billion years — into death-metal performance Our Star Will Die Alone.

Five minutes to Baja's finest

La Faraona, in Tijuana’s Zona Rio, offers a taste of Baja’s finest cuisine

One of the most visible symptoms of the cultural shift that has been taking place in Tijuana over the past several years is the reclamation of former tourist dumps by businesses that now highlight Baja’s ...

Feast! Leftovers

An overabundance of contributions to our September 5 Feast issue allowed us to offer these leftovers. Find Chad Deal's Baja leftovers below. Not in the mood for Mexi? Try Eve Kelly's Cheapskate's Corner or munch ...

Celebrating Mexican independence in Sherman Heights

The food way is the good way at Ma Eugenia's.

Ma Eugenia would hear the cry every year. It was the cry of Don Miguel Gregorio Antonio Ignacio Hidalgo-Costilla y Gallaga Mandarte Villaseñor. Okay, Father Hidalgo to you and me. He gave that famous cry ...

I Eat People: Children's Monster Art

A collection of multimedia monsters as imagined by kids.

“My nephew and I used to hang out and draw monsters,” says Sam Lopez, curator of the upcoming I EAT PEOPLE: Children's Monster Art exposition. “He was probably 5 years old. He is a great ...

Baja Makes Me Hungry

Tijuana and nearby cities to the south have become famous in the past few years for their locally sourced Baja Med cuisine. The fusion fare of traditional Mexican dishes with Asian and Mediterranean influences highlights ...

Tom Ham's Lighthouse remodels and debuts new menu

Historic Harbor Island restaurant gets an overhaul.

Harbor Island landmark Tom Ham’s Lighthouse recently underwent a $3.5 million renovation by late architect Graham Downes, who reimagined the interior design and bayfront bar. Boasting views of the San Diego Bay, the downtown skyline, ...

Hops over the border

Baja wages beer war

If the idea of craft beer in Baja is new to you, you aren’t alone. But now, more than ever, it’s time to catch up. As any southbound San Diegan knows, the selection of suds ...

Amorous Abyss: Brian Meanswell's flowers and women

National City artist examines the emotions behind body language in an exhibit at EQ Culture Studios.

Spring Valley is the new North Park

The Bancroft opened at the site of the defunct dive Fannie’s, and the Spring Valley spot is now a punk and hardcore haven.

Apt for an epitaph

Upcoming gigs for Late Nite Howl, featuring Tijuana guitarist Pablo Dodero.

The Malcolm X Experimental Music Festival

Stay Strange teams up with fellow sonic deviants to host Valencia Park noise fest.

Outsider art and music outpost Stay Strange is taking part in a experimental music festival at the Malcolm X Library (Valencia Park) on Saturday, September 21. “It's been a dream of mine to host a ...

Capitol of cool

Local filmmaker Bill Perrine of Billingsgate Media is collaborating with musicians, promoters, and club owners to produce It’s Gonna Blow!!! — San Diego’s Music Underground 1986–1996.

Getting wooly at Mamut

Pasaje Rodríguez totally changed my preconceptions of Tijuana about a year and a half ago, when I accidentally discovered the bustling arts-and-culture alleyway while searching for tacos one Friday night with Reader foodie Ian Pike. ...

Groovy nightlife in Tijuana

We’ve all heard the story by now: 9/11-mania brought the border to a halt. Tourism died. Tijuana got bad. Locals stopped going out. Locals got tired of not going out. La Mezcalera opened. Locals went ...

Grace Ann Piano brings visual story of indigenous cultures to Queen Bee's

Detroit native takes her solo exhibition to Queen Bee's Art & Cultural Center in North Park.

Join our
newsletter list

Enter to win $25 at Broken Yolk Cafe

Each newsletter subscription
means another chance to win!

Close