Naomi Wise

Naomi Wise (real name Joan Goodwin) spent her teens living in the Carnegie Hall Building and eating in Manhattan's ethnic restaurants. She waitressed her way through the University of Michigan, then returned to New York. Following a motorcycle-camping trip across the U.S., she and her then-husband moved to San Francisco, where she worked a civil service day-job while writing film criticism for every low-paying publication in the Bay Area, plus a stint as restaurant critic for Francis Coppola’s City Magazine.

Meanwhile, she traveled the Pan American Highway from SF to Tierra del Fuego in a '57 Chevy pickup; visited England, France, Italy, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, and Thailand; and made numerous trips to New Orleans, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, and Hong Kong, collecting flavor-memories and scribbled recipes. She served as restaurant critic for the East Bay Express and the San Francisco Weekly. She wrote/cowrote four cookbooks, an unauthorized biography of Francis Ford Coppola (On the Edge: The Life and Times of Francis Coppola), and served as consulting editor on several cookbooks, travel, and gardening books. She relocated to San Diego In 2000 when the Reader made her an offer she couldn’t refuse — a salary.

Naomi passed away on December 15, 2011.

Latest Articles

The Last Supper

San Diego Reader food critic Naomi Wise (Joan Golomb Goodwin) 1945–2011 ★★★★★ (Superb) Ratings reflect the reviewers' affinity for the critic and reaction to food, ambience, and service. December 14, 2011 We all gathered around ...

Tale of Two Fishes

It’s been ten years since I last ate at Top of the Market. Back then, the menu was similar to the downstairs Fish Market (plus a few luxury bites), with higher prices for identical upstairs-downstairs ...

Harvest Fests at Your Ease

It’s no longer difficult to find a restaurant serving Thanksgiving dinner, in part because, in these hard times, it’s a good opportunity (like Valentine’s Day) for a restaurant to reap a little profit and possibly ...

Secret Love

“Once, I had a secret love/ That lived within the heart of me./ All too soon, my secret love/ Became impatient to be free.” So sang Doris Day in the Eisenhower-era film Calamity Jane. My ...

Neighborhood Restaurants

Café 21 began as a lunch joint in University Heights, moved to a larger location there, and has now accepted the dare of downtown. It’s the zesty creation of a young couple from Azerbaijan, a ...

Muted Magic at Alchemy

The menu of Alchemy has expanded considerably since I first ate there after its opening, and the restaurant has become a South Park neighborhood favorite. Of course, there’s not much else to eat in the ...

Coronado Loves Locavore

I love driving through Coronado, admiring the comfy million-buck family houses where they might shoot updated versions of old TV favorites... Leave It to Lord Beaver, say, or Sir Ozzie and Dame Harriet. But not ...

Acqua Gets Off to a Heavenly Start

I woke up and — whoops — it was already mid-August. Nearly all my friends were vacationing in places with unbearable weather and aged parents. I wanted a little vacation of my own without those ...

Nine-Ten Is Off the Charts

It’s been too long since I’ve eaten at Restaurant Nine-Ten, but I’m always hoping for an excuse to revisit, as the restaurant’s reputation has slowly rocketed (forgive the oxymoron). July marked their tenth anniversary, with ...

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