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Stories by Ed Bedford

Poetry on a plate

Drawn in by the sign, “Japanese Tapas and Noodles.” Huh. Japanese tapas?

Under the stainless grill is a fire with a pleasant resinous flavor wafting up from it.

Breakfast or bust

"Best Breakfast in Town Coming Soon.” I’ve been watching this sign for months. We’re up on Hancock in the courtyard of 57 Degrees, the wine barn that hosts a monthly food-truck get-together. Not to mention ...

Michelle and the Great Boffee Experiment

Coffee shop barista makes crafty beers even more interesting.

Michelle Shirley shakes some Ghirardelli cocoa powder on top of my beer. Am I surprised? No way. This gal is into experimentation big-time, specially when it comes to Cafe 1134's coffees and San Diego's craft ...

Transmogrified

That North Park feeling in National City.

At night, that long walk up from the 8th Street trolley stop to National City Boulevard can get a little spooky. Especially when you’re walking the echoey stretch under the I-5. But then you cross ...

Manic about organic

Gastro missionaries almost convert with a sweet potato longboat and cashew cream.

"Become totally manic about organic. Get your healthy on. Super foods for super humans!” Uh-oh. Back in the land of the super-healthy again. It’s incredible. Healthy is busting out all over. This cute place with ...

Danged sweet fish

Lunging into a couple tacos in Popotla.

No power and a dirt road mean fish doesn't get any fresher.

Juices get running at Al Azayem

“That is lamb-shank tshreeb, like stew. It is very Iraqi. Comfort food.”

Sunday night. East Main. El Cajon. Warm, balmy, a relief from another El Cajon day. Families, older men (Chaldean, mostly) sit around in clumps on the boulevard’s benches and in Prescott Promenade Park, talking, playing ...

No pho king here

OB — packed, noisy, cheap, cool.

I don’t know how O.B. does it. Places like the Joint — packed, noisy, cheap, cool. And now this joint, packed, noisy, cheap, cool. I guess we can only blame O.B. Tonight, Saturday, 9:30, I’m ...

Stake ready to grill

New, really expensive steak joint "rare" treat coming to Coronadans

In a blizzard of new openings in Coronado, the latest, Stake Chophouse is — finally — all but ready to start serving steaks. But be warned: this might turn out to be the island’s single ...

O Truck, where art thou?

Brussels with benefits.

Not your grandma’s sprouts. Get 'em while they're hot.

First Nations-Asian

Surprise, surprise — Ed opts for the poor-man’s lobster

I’ve never been Number One at anything. Not till now. But so happened I was loping down Orange Avenue, past where another eatery, Rhinoceros, had always been, — just at the moment the new “Islander” ...

Coffee break? Take your time!

Slo-ow coffee inching into East Village

What is up with East Village? Every time I look, a new place has "Now Hiring" signs in its window. We've seen Común and Bottega Americano opening to mucho fanfare (and success, looks like. Last ...

We like sweet things

Ed finds many forms of sustenance among Somali vendors.

Oh, man. What’s up? When a place you’ve been going to every now and then for years turns up in world headlines, you sit up with a jerk. When the news hit that a San ...

Fit for a sultan

Blown away by spunk and gusto.

"I built our own oven. Just like they have had in Beirut since forever."

Customer #1

Ed is the first to chow down on chowder at "Islander."

"Can I be your first customer?" This is me, at "Islander," Coronado's newest eatery, on the actual evening it opens. Well, soft, soft opening. Only thing that's open is the doors, really. So far no ...

Progress in pizza

Ed picks up something round, brown, and with a pepperoni crown.

She looks up. “Anything else? Honestly, whatever you want.”

Basted, Azeri-style

Lamb for $5? Think Gaslamp. think Azerbaijan

Sunset. Goin' with the flow like a pooh stick in a slow crick, sauntering with the crowd down Fifth Avenue. It's the height of happy hour. Conventioneers have been let out and are looking for ...

Real or gringo way?

Ed floats in to Johnny’s Deli; his torta isn’t so lucky.

Just as well you get a plastic knife and fork. It is a mess — a hot mess at that.

Your town

Good enough, but Ed may not remember the Alamo.

Scoping the new-old and admiring Wisconsinite appetites at Taco Tuesday.

Bursting to go in East Village

Ed visited Bottega Americano just before its soft open

Huh. Door's open, a bit. Squeeze through. Oh man. This is spacious, but busy. Bars everywhere, huge white pizza oven dome, communal tables kinda winging out from it, sit-up seafood bar beyond, schools of cute ...

The last word in cheap eats

First up, I’m not an early-morning guy. But on this perfect food day, you’ve got to start at the crack of dawn. Because that’s when the dja kwai are at their freshest at Trieu Chau ...

Rhinoceros Café to close: Big free party!

Coronado is reeling in shock. One of their most beloved eateries, Rhinoceros Cafe & Grille, is closing down, kaput, about to go extinct. The place has always served middle-priced, middle-of-the-road American bistro food, which suits ...

Lotsa pork and onions

Ed slurps pork — tender like it’s been through a blender.

Wow. Pointed prow of a big ol’ Navy cruiser knifes right past. In the waters between us and the island of Coronado. It kinda fills the sky. Heading under the bridge and home port. The ...

Arabs and Jews alike

Vegetarian and vegan heaven on Midway Drive.

Whew. Hot day out here on the La Playa Trail. La Playa Trail? Just the oldest commercial trail in the Western United States. ’Course we know it as Rosecrans Street. I notice this li’l historical ...

Bar la carte at Fleming's

Ed discovers half-pound, six-buck burgers for Happy Hour

Usually I'd walk straight past. I mean Fleming's? Steaks muy caro. Thirty bucks? At least, probably. This is expense-account land. Plus when you do walk in, into the dark, where you can just make out ...

We like cows

Ed’s twitching nostrils give him away at the Fish Co.

“Want some? It’s not on the menu yet. We’re just experimenting for winter.”

The jam they give you

Ed fattens up in the front row at Rebecca’s Coffee House.

“When I first met her, I weighed 190 pounds. Now I’m 240,” he says.

Pleasure additive

An Ed-ucation in cheap, local Thai in IB, nothing tamada allowed.

‘Whu-where are we?” Yes, I’m kinda nervous. Driving with Ria, Carla’s best buddy. I mean, she’s a good driver and all, but this wagon: Volvo, 200,000 miles before the odometer stopped working, heater won’t turn ...

First nibbles at Común

Chad White's new flagship is bringing the new Baja north

The octopus tentacle sticks up purple and angry out of the roiling mass of pink and white quinoa, and the green and yellow and red wall of heirloom tomatoes. In the enamel mug beside it, ...

The Alabaman way

“People would come home from work, shower, then go out…to places like this.”

Tuesday, 8 p.m. What’s this buzz outside Felix’s? People, mostly African-American, are milling around the entrance, some dressed to the nines. Inside you can hear music and see what looks like a party going on. ...

Late latte with Lulu

Ed finds the perfect people-watching spot in the Gaslamp.

Café Lulu is the nearest thing to a Bohemian hangout in downtown's Gaslamp. Great for late-nite lattes, hubble-bubble pipes, and street-life people-watching.

Dog fight in Golden Hill

Street King's taco truck makes you choose between SD & TJ

Street King Tacos is a food truck with very good tacos, plus tortas, and TJ-style hot dogs that are as good as any on Revolución. Excellent fish tacos, too. Open late. Stays at this location.

Just the right amount of wrong

Ed susses out and scarfs Desi’s crunchalicious bargain half-pounder.

Oh, man. This is one desolate little stretch of street. Lytton. Loma Portal. Quarter mile of traffic-crammed blight. Maybe it’s the half light. Whatever, I come to a closed-up, windowless, brick-red-painted concrete building with no ...

Hoary gents & brandy

Ed’s eyes lock on a knockwurst-on-waffle sandwich.

"Come in, sir,” says this voice. It’s a guy looking through a partition. We’re inside an ancient, 100-year-old building right by the ballpark. I just wandered in here looking for food. We’re in this passage ...

Corporate quinoa

Ed gets the lowdown on inside-out superfoods

‘Look, I’m telling you,” says my buddy Daley, “this place is the real deal. Ya gotta have the quinoa burger.” He’s talking about this health chain. I mean, Daley was in the Army. Likes no-nonsense ...

Hot dogs and holiness

Ed learns about the spirit of giving and makes an offering of a half-dog.

"Misery loves company, but holiness loves company more!” I can hear him across Petco Park’s parking lot. He’s standing, speechifying, holding forth. Something about “I was high on crystal meth. I got beat up by ...

Hawaiian sandwich, Russian stout: perfect combo?

Ed mixes Mission grog, Drunken Grill

Is this the future of food trucks? Joel — Joey — Rodriguez calls it a pop-up. It's just a canopy over a cooking ring. With a couple of canvas chairs for Joey, his wife Olive, ...

A whole lot of lunch

Ed just about busts his gut at the Parlour.

At last. Have been watching this site for months. I’m riding on the southbound Orange Line as it pulls in to the Park and Market stop. Bunch of school kids haul out and start streaming ...

Dollar belly filler

Ed searches for a meal that costs a single buck

Can a feller fill a belly for a dollar in this town? Just ask Carlos. That’s what I did, because that’s all I had. Exactly one Washington in the pocket, eaten nothing all day, had ...

Ploughman's ten-year-old lunch at The Headquarters

Old cheese is good cheese at Venissimo

What's the best lunch deal at The Headquarters downtown? Four slabs of ancient cheese in a stretch of crunchy baguette and a fresh pear for $6.50. That's a deal? You betcha. Those four golden slabs ...

Mad with envy

South of Rosarito, at Ruben’s, Ed becomes a happy camper.

“You come at, say, nine in the morning, I guarantee you won’t get out before two.”

All the wine glasses on the high shelf shatter

Bedford finds an aria and a cream river at Café 1134

Opera? On Orange Avenue? I was ambling up Coronado’s main street, trying to figure out what to do for the three hours Carla usually takes to get her hair frou-froued up over here — Diane ...

It’s worth dipping into

Down at the Chula Vista Marina, Ed continues on his big mussel jag.

"’ll meet you at the Galley,” says Joe into his cell phone. This was during one of the heat waves. He lives way east of El Cajon, so I knew he was pitching for the ...

Korean taco + Russian ale = heaven

Tacos La Mezcla and Mission Brewery: first flush of tastebud love?

Sometimes two good things create a third thing that's bigger than the two of them. Case in point: Outside Mission Brewery's big ol' brick place at 14th and L. Used to be the Wonder Bread ...

Sprouts and mussels and — wait, did I miss it?

Slurping it up at Sea180.

“Everyone has waited ten years for this,” he says. “People said, ‘It’s I.B. It’ll never happen!’”

Like it was dug out of Tenochtitlan itself

It pierces the night. A sharp whistle and then a woolly hoot. First thought: train. But how come a train is running through downtown Tijuana late at night? It’s not far. I can see the ...

Don Pedro’s bit of real Mexico

Is there any real Mexico left in the borderfied, industrialized, Spanglish north end of Baja? Oh, yes, there is. Like, right now, we’re just pulling up beside an isolated house beside the old highway, south ...

Ed Bedford's 1000 Cheap Eats

Welcome to Tinforkland

He’s never seen a chafing dish that rubbed him the wrong way.

Ed scarfs his 1000th Tin Fork meal after a game of craps

He celebrates by adding the hot link from Dreams for Change.

‘Oh, no. Midnight!” The guy looks at the dice. Two sixes facing up on the pavement. (Two sixes? Like, twelve. That’s why they call this roll “Midnight.”) He picks up the dice and shakes them ...

Gumbo on the run

It's gumbo, not jambalaya

What's the difference between gumbo, jambalaya and étouffée? Tonight I've got a chance to find out. This is at 57 Degree's monthly food truck gathering (1735 Hancock Street, near Washington), and the last truck in ...

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