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Top food & drink stories of 2015

San Diegans care about beer just as much as food

Maine lobster in North Park

Pete’s Seafood and Sandwich brings the crustacean.

Lobster roll, overflowing with meat

The lobster roll had good-sized pieces of knuckle and claw meat from a Maine lobster, served chilled on a griddled New England style, split-top hot dog bun that Pete has shipped in because he can’t find the right ones locally. Listed as market-priced on the menu, on this day that price was $17, a reasonable sum considering most rolls on the East Coast run $15-$25. +more

By Barbarella Fokos, November 21, 2015


Beer snobs are kind of ridiculous

Reckless brewer and his Honey Badger Don't Care.

Reckless brewing opens where Wet 'N Reckless left off.

Reckless is the reboot of Wet 'N Reckless Brewing, which burned to the ground last July. Before that, the 2.5-year-old brewery endured bad press and negative associations within the industry due to its name — “wet reckless” is shorthand for a charge of reckless driving involving alcohol.

Hyndman wants to distance himself from that association and insists keeping the name Reckless has a different meaning for him. "Opening this brewery, spending many thousands of my savings on this brewery, some might say is reckless."+more

By Ian Anderson, June 22, 2015


Urge Gastropub co-owner Grant Tondro

Moving, shaking, brewing

Urge Gastropub moves on from Vista bowling alley to O-side brewpub

Urge Oceanside will be located between two other popular North County coastal brewpubs: Bagby and Pizza Port Carlsbad. Each is just over a mile away, but Tondro believes there's enough distance between that they won’t cannibalize each other. If trends ring true, the trio of brewing venues will create a beer-tourable route to benefit all three. +more

By Brandon Hernández, April 6, 2015


Jumbo Doggz, not your average wiener

Pop-up hot dog tent isn’t cheap but may have the best dogs in town

Kielbasas taking up the grill

“Honestly,” says Carla. “This is the best damned dog I have ever had. Ever.”

Is somebody paying her to say this? Not possible, because I’ve just brought this baby back to her from a pop-up tent on the edge of Barrio Logan. +more

By Ed Bedford, June 7, 2015


Best slow-smoked meat in San Diego?

Brazen BBQ has reason to B.R.A.G.

Exterior of Brazen BBQ

Though barbecue aficionados often beeline to brisket, our meat of choice is the baby back ribs ($14.99 for half rack, $22.99 full). I have tried and enjoyed the brisket and pulled pork, and sometimes, to shake things up, we'll get a platter with both ribs and pulled pork, but most often we keep it simple with just the ribs. Two people could easily split a half rack, which comes with two sides, and be more than satiated. +more

By Barbarella Fokos, Feb. 26, 2015


Revolving Sushi Bar opens on Convoy

A “game-like” dining experience

The conveyor belt, Mr. Fresh-contained sushi, and plate slot

Each Mr. Fresh has a chip (an RFID, or radio-frequency identification) that notifies the kitchen when food has been removed (so they know which items need to be replaced) and also lets them know how long an item has been circulating. The maximum amount of time any one dish will remain on the belt is three hours, though I was ensured “it is almost never that long.” +more

By Barbarella Fokos, April 3, 2015


Early Look: South Park Brewing Co.

Sneak peek at Hamilton’s Tavern spin-offs brewpub and beer menu

South Park Brewing Co. and Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery head brewer Cosimo Sorrentino

I was given a view of that five-barrel system in its new environs and a tour of a construction site in its final stages last week. Though littered with raw materials, it’s taking shape quite nicely, enough that I was able to envision it as a hub for this community seeking what Blair calls “honest fish” and “thoughtfully crafted beer.” +more

By Brandon Hernández, Feb. 9, 2015


Sneak Peek: San Diego County Fair Food

From deep-fried SlimFast bars to deep-fried Starbucks coffee

Deep-fried Starbucks coffee

The San Diego County Fair opens June 5, but they opened the door to the press last night for a culinary preview.

If you are wondering which deep-fried delicacies or served-on-a-stick specialties you should prioritize, here’s a review rated one to five on the defibrillator scale. +more

By Patrick Henderson, May 30, 2015


Saint Archer sold to MillerCoors and the world didn't end

Big Beer's stake in San Diego sparks outcry

The owners got their social media followers to drink the beer by the case.

Saint Archer has had an uneasy relationship with San Diego beer fans from day one, precisely because its business model suggested this sort of sale was inevitable. A partnership of professional skaters, surfers, snowboarders, photographers, and filmmakers, the company was custom built for marketing prowess. The owners got their social media followers to drink the beer by the case. +more

By Ian Anderson, Sept. 12, 2015


Spilling the beans on the city’s best salsa

South Park market a best-kept secret

Fresh chips, guacamole, and a tub of Sonia Campos’s chipotle salsa

First of all, the chips. At $1.99 a bag, they might not be as impressive as the lightly spiced chips of El Indio, but at less than half the price they’re a steal. You’ll need them for the guacamole. I've long turned my nose at any premade packaged version. But not this. It’s a simple mix of avocados, lemon, garlic, salt, and cilantro with some pico de gallo on top.

The real brilliance is in the salsas. These too are simple, blended with chili peppers, garlic, salt, and tomatoes or tomatillos. I’ve tried six kinds. +more

By Ian Anderson, Oct. 31, 2015


Happy hour even students can afford

The Hive's stellar cellar atmosphere rocks on Friday nights.

Sign on C Street

This dive called The Hive sits right across the street from City College. It has a kind of dark hideaway feel, and, hey, for starving students and hard-up associate profs, it sports a pretty darned good happy hour.

I'm sitting at the table next to the steep stairs. You need to be good and sober to get down those suckers in one piece. +more

By Ed Bedford, Jan. 16, 2015


Thousands of thirsty customers in Santee

Pacific Islander Beer Company already running low on beer

The island vibe has been bringing beer fans to Santee.

"I'm not sure we want any more publicity right now," said co-owner Ku'uipo Lawler when I first called to set up an interview.

By the time I met with him, barely two weeks after opening, he estimated roughly 4500 people had already come in looking for beer. A week later, PIB put a two-week moratorium on growler fills to ensure guests could at least taste the two kinds of beer they still had in reserve — the resinous DaKine IPA and Li'ke Li'ke Honey Blond (pronounced likey likey). "We have two beers," Lawler says, "and people are just knocking the door down."+more

By Ian Anderson, July 11, 2015

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Life is important on this side of death, but what really matters is eternity.

Maine lobster in North Park

Pete’s Seafood and Sandwich brings the crustacean.

Lobster roll, overflowing with meat

The lobster roll had good-sized pieces of knuckle and claw meat from a Maine lobster, served chilled on a griddled New England style, split-top hot dog bun that Pete has shipped in because he can’t find the right ones locally. Listed as market-priced on the menu, on this day that price was $17, a reasonable sum considering most rolls on the East Coast run $15-$25. +more

By Barbarella Fokos, November 21, 2015


Beer snobs are kind of ridiculous

Reckless brewer and his Honey Badger Don't Care.

Reckless brewing opens where Wet 'N Reckless left off.

Reckless is the reboot of Wet 'N Reckless Brewing, which burned to the ground last July. Before that, the 2.5-year-old brewery endured bad press and negative associations within the industry due to its name — “wet reckless” is shorthand for a charge of reckless driving involving alcohol.

Hyndman wants to distance himself from that association and insists keeping the name Reckless has a different meaning for him. "Opening this brewery, spending many thousands of my savings on this brewery, some might say is reckless."+more

By Ian Anderson, June 22, 2015


Urge Gastropub co-owner Grant Tondro

Moving, shaking, brewing

Urge Gastropub moves on from Vista bowling alley to O-side brewpub

Urge Oceanside will be located between two other popular North County coastal brewpubs: Bagby and Pizza Port Carlsbad. Each is just over a mile away, but Tondro believes there's enough distance between that they won’t cannibalize each other. If trends ring true, the trio of brewing venues will create a beer-tourable route to benefit all three. +more

By Brandon Hernández, April 6, 2015


Jumbo Doggz, not your average wiener

Pop-up hot dog tent isn’t cheap but may have the best dogs in town

Kielbasas taking up the grill

“Honestly,” says Carla. “This is the best damned dog I have ever had. Ever.”

Is somebody paying her to say this? Not possible, because I’ve just brought this baby back to her from a pop-up tent on the edge of Barrio Logan. +more

By Ed Bedford, June 7, 2015


Best slow-smoked meat in San Diego?

Brazen BBQ has reason to B.R.A.G.

Exterior of Brazen BBQ

Though barbecue aficionados often beeline to brisket, our meat of choice is the baby back ribs ($14.99 for half rack, $22.99 full). I have tried and enjoyed the brisket and pulled pork, and sometimes, to shake things up, we'll get a platter with both ribs and pulled pork, but most often we keep it simple with just the ribs. Two people could easily split a half rack, which comes with two sides, and be more than satiated. +more

By Barbarella Fokos, Feb. 26, 2015


Revolving Sushi Bar opens on Convoy

A “game-like” dining experience

The conveyor belt, Mr. Fresh-contained sushi, and plate slot

Each Mr. Fresh has a chip (an RFID, or radio-frequency identification) that notifies the kitchen when food has been removed (so they know which items need to be replaced) and also lets them know how long an item has been circulating. The maximum amount of time any one dish will remain on the belt is three hours, though I was ensured “it is almost never that long.” +more

By Barbarella Fokos, April 3, 2015


Early Look: South Park Brewing Co.

Sneak peek at Hamilton’s Tavern spin-offs brewpub and beer menu

South Park Brewing Co. and Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery head brewer Cosimo Sorrentino

I was given a view of that five-barrel system in its new environs and a tour of a construction site in its final stages last week. Though littered with raw materials, it’s taking shape quite nicely, enough that I was able to envision it as a hub for this community seeking what Blair calls “honest fish” and “thoughtfully crafted beer.” +more

By Brandon Hernández, Feb. 9, 2015


Sneak Peek: San Diego County Fair Food

From deep-fried SlimFast bars to deep-fried Starbucks coffee

Deep-fried Starbucks coffee

The San Diego County Fair opens June 5, but they opened the door to the press last night for a culinary preview.

If you are wondering which deep-fried delicacies or served-on-a-stick specialties you should prioritize, here’s a review rated one to five on the defibrillator scale. +more

By Patrick Henderson, May 30, 2015


Saint Archer sold to MillerCoors and the world didn't end

Big Beer's stake in San Diego sparks outcry

The owners got their social media followers to drink the beer by the case.

Saint Archer has had an uneasy relationship with San Diego beer fans from day one, precisely because its business model suggested this sort of sale was inevitable. A partnership of professional skaters, surfers, snowboarders, photographers, and filmmakers, the company was custom built for marketing prowess. The owners got their social media followers to drink the beer by the case. +more

By Ian Anderson, Sept. 12, 2015


Spilling the beans on the city’s best salsa

South Park market a best-kept secret

Fresh chips, guacamole, and a tub of Sonia Campos’s chipotle salsa

First of all, the chips. At $1.99 a bag, they might not be as impressive as the lightly spiced chips of El Indio, but at less than half the price they’re a steal. You’ll need them for the guacamole. I've long turned my nose at any premade packaged version. But not this. It’s a simple mix of avocados, lemon, garlic, salt, and cilantro with some pico de gallo on top.

The real brilliance is in the salsas. These too are simple, blended with chili peppers, garlic, salt, and tomatoes or tomatillos. I’ve tried six kinds. +more

By Ian Anderson, Oct. 31, 2015


Happy hour even students can afford

The Hive's stellar cellar atmosphere rocks on Friday nights.

Sign on C Street

This dive called The Hive sits right across the street from City College. It has a kind of dark hideaway feel, and, hey, for starving students and hard-up associate profs, it sports a pretty darned good happy hour.

I'm sitting at the table next to the steep stairs. You need to be good and sober to get down those suckers in one piece. +more

By Ed Bedford, Jan. 16, 2015


Thousands of thirsty customers in Santee

Pacific Islander Beer Company already running low on beer

The island vibe has been bringing beer fans to Santee.

"I'm not sure we want any more publicity right now," said co-owner Ku'uipo Lawler when I first called to set up an interview.

By the time I met with him, barely two weeks after opening, he estimated roughly 4500 people had already come in looking for beer. A week later, PIB put a two-week moratorium on growler fills to ensure guests could at least taste the two kinds of beer they still had in reserve — the resinous DaKine IPA and Li'ke Li'ke Honey Blond (pronounced likey likey). "We have two beers," Lawler says, "and people are just knocking the door down."+more

By Ian Anderson, July 11, 2015

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