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A few weeks ago, I went on a Bite San Diego walking tour of Hillcrest. It’s a 1 ½ - 2 hour excursion that stops at five local restaurants, where you get a sample of the specialty of the house and learn a bit about the food and history of the place.

One of my favorite stops on the tour was Local Habit on Fifth Avenue, just south of University Avenue.

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The dining room is sunny, bright and airy. Beautiful warm reclaimed wood lines the walls, expansive windows let in plenty of natural light and offer views of the passing street scene.

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Our food sample was a slice of the Napolitano style bacon and egg pizza ($14). A thin, crisp crust was slathered with pesto hand made in a mortar, the traditional Genovese way, then topped with crunchy bacon lardons, a sunny side up egg, and a grilled stalk of asparagus. The mix of aromatic spicy basil, salty, savory bacon, and creamy rich yolk worked wonderfully together. Whole wheat or gluten free crust, and Daiya non-dairy cheese is available at no extra charge.

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The cask beer that day was Ballast Point’s Victory at Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter ($7). Beautiful cascade, thick, mocha-colored head, it’s made with cold brewed Caffè Calabria coffee and vanilla beans. At 10% ABV, it packs a punch. The aroma has a nice backbone of chocolate malt, roasty caramel and dark sugar. The coffee and vanilla are pronounced but not over powering. It tastes rich and chocolatey, with a soft, velvety mouthfeel, and the appropriate amount of carbonation. Again, the coffee and vanilla make their presence known, but don’t venture into “flavored beer” territory. Despite the high alcohol content, it’s smooth and highly drinkable.

Our tour precluded a leisurely stay, but we enjoyed Local Habit so much that we already have a return trip planned so we can sample more of the menu.

Local Habit is located at 3857 Fifth Avenue, between University Avenue and Robinson Avenue.

Hours: Mon-Thu 4:30pm - 10:30pm; Fri 4:30pm - 11pm; Sat 11am - 11pm; Sun 11am - 10:30pm

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