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What the heck is “linner”?

You can do it at Stella Public House

Stella House Salad
Stella House Salad
Place

Stella Public House

1429 Island Avenue, San Diego

“Linner” (a relaxed, late-afternoon feast that covers both lunch and dinner) is one of my favorite meals. Since David and I both work from home, our days have little structure. Sometimes we’ll wake early and have our usual yogurt with fruit and nuts breakfast and then work through lunchtime, only to poke our heads up at around 2 or 3 p.m. to realize we’re hungry.

Interior of the indoor/outdoor Stella
Wild Mushroom pizza
Lamb meatballs
Budino dessert
Inside Halcyon Coffee Bar, which shares the space

That’s when we seek out those restaurant gems such as Cantina Mayahuel that remain open in the dead hours between 2 and 6 p.m. We are glad to add Stella Public House to our linner repertoire.

It was just after 3 p.m. when we arrived and chose a seat in the shade overlooking the fairly new Fault Line Park, recognizable by the two giant metal spheres, a public art piece called “Fault Whisper” by Po Shu Wang.

Once we were seated, our server informed us that we still had time to take advantage of the lunch special (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays) — the house salad and a pizza for $15. That’s a good deal considering the salad is usually $8 and pizzas are up to $17 each. When I heard “house salad,” I expected plain lettuce with a few chunks of tomato and some kind of vinaigrette. But this salad, with walnuts, pears, cranberries, gorgonzola, and a creamy honey mustard vinaigrette all over fresh mixed greens, could have been a meal in itself.

We opted for the wild mushroom pizza with local mushrooms, roasted onions, and a blend of asiago, parmesan, mozzarella, and provolone cheese. The dough was crispy on the outside but chewy within. The richness of the mushrooms and cheese was cut and complemented by the sweet savoriness of the onions. All of the flavors were made better with the addition of a few pinches of salt, which we asked to be brought to the table.

We debated on getting the meatball pizza instead and ended up compromising by adding the lamb meatballs as a side ($10). I’m a mixer and matcher, so it brought me great pleasure to spread the herbaceous meatballs and tomato sauce (with a hint of nutmeg — a great combo for lamb) atop a slice of the mushroom pizza. It was the best of both worlds.

We ended the meal on an indulgent note with the Budino ($9), the Italian version of the pot de crème, a smooth rich chocolate pudding, this one with sea-salt caramel swimming within and fresh whipped cream on top.

The ambience was lovely, open to the outside, with a warm breeze wafting through the space. We could have lingered for a few more hours, sampling the array of craft beer on draft and waiting for the lights overhead to sparkle, but we had more work to do. At least, we agreed as we walked toward the car, we didn’t have to figure out what to have for dinner.

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Stella House Salad
Stella House Salad
Place

Stella Public House

1429 Island Avenue, San Diego

“Linner” (a relaxed, late-afternoon feast that covers both lunch and dinner) is one of my favorite meals. Since David and I both work from home, our days have little structure. Sometimes we’ll wake early and have our usual yogurt with fruit and nuts breakfast and then work through lunchtime, only to poke our heads up at around 2 or 3 p.m. to realize we’re hungry.

Interior of the indoor/outdoor Stella
Wild Mushroom pizza
Lamb meatballs
Budino dessert
Inside Halcyon Coffee Bar, which shares the space

That’s when we seek out those restaurant gems such as Cantina Mayahuel that remain open in the dead hours between 2 and 6 p.m. We are glad to add Stella Public House to our linner repertoire.

It was just after 3 p.m. when we arrived and chose a seat in the shade overlooking the fairly new Fault Line Park, recognizable by the two giant metal spheres, a public art piece called “Fault Whisper” by Po Shu Wang.

Once we were seated, our server informed us that we still had time to take advantage of the lunch special (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays) — the house salad and a pizza for $15. That’s a good deal considering the salad is usually $8 and pizzas are up to $17 each. When I heard “house salad,” I expected plain lettuce with a few chunks of tomato and some kind of vinaigrette. But this salad, with walnuts, pears, cranberries, gorgonzola, and a creamy honey mustard vinaigrette all over fresh mixed greens, could have been a meal in itself.

We opted for the wild mushroom pizza with local mushrooms, roasted onions, and a blend of asiago, parmesan, mozzarella, and provolone cheese. The dough was crispy on the outside but chewy within. The richness of the mushrooms and cheese was cut and complemented by the sweet savoriness of the onions. All of the flavors were made better with the addition of a few pinches of salt, which we asked to be brought to the table.

We debated on getting the meatball pizza instead and ended up compromising by adding the lamb meatballs as a side ($10). I’m a mixer and matcher, so it brought me great pleasure to spread the herbaceous meatballs and tomato sauce (with a hint of nutmeg — a great combo for lamb) atop a slice of the mushroom pizza. It was the best of both worlds.

We ended the meal on an indulgent note with the Budino ($9), the Italian version of the pot de crème, a smooth rich chocolate pudding, this one with sea-salt caramel swimming within and fresh whipped cream on top.

The ambience was lovely, open to the outside, with a warm breeze wafting through the space. We could have lingered for a few more hours, sampling the array of craft beer on draft and waiting for the lights overhead to sparkle, but we had more work to do. At least, we agreed as we walked toward the car, we didn’t have to figure out what to have for dinner.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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