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What San Diego restaurant staffs eat, dumpster diving for dinner

How food critic Naomi Wise started her life in San Diego, how food critic Eleanor Widmer ended hers

Facciola and Ali Fouladi. On a hillside in Bonsall Fouladi has an Iranian garden - eight varieties of fig and more than a dozen varieties of mulberry.
Facciola and Ali Fouladi. On a hillside in Bonsall Fouladi has an Iranian garden - eight varieties of fig and more than a dozen varieties of mulberry.
  • What Insiders Eat

  • Travis Murphy, also a cook, planned the staff’s daily dinner. At Nine-Ten, he said, the hardest part of arranging the staff meal, also called the “family meal,” was “to find something to use. The biggest challenge is protein. I have to improvise with what’s extra. Basically, we have to scavenge around. The family meal is…what’s the word I want? Spontaneous.”
  • By Shari McCullough, Jan. 22, 2004
Emerald Chinese Seafood Restaurant. “We have a couple of chefs sponsor the employees’ lunch and dinner."
  • The Late Long-time Queen of the Cafe Critics

  • One of the ironies of Eleanor Widmer's life is what she ate in her last months. Widmer had become a restaurant critic in 1974, back when brunch at La Valencia featured molded Jell-O "Seafoam." In the following years, Widmer had dined on Japanese donburi and barbecue ribs, Peruvian anticuchos and French quenelles, Turkish baklava and Indian raitas. But toward the end, confined to her bed in La Jolla, she wanted only chocolate.
  • By Jeannette DeWyze, Nov. 23, 2005
Eleanor Widmer on KNSD 7/39 news
  • The Well-Traveled Tomato

  • On a hot day in late November, I'm all set to enter Vons: my role for the day — food archaeologist. Janice Baker, a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and medical nutrition therapist, is my guide. My goal is to learn what food we San Diegans buy.
  • By Thomas Larson, March 8, 2007
Eric Larson: "Often, you'll see that a tomato picked in Oceanside is shipped to L.A., then turns right around and comes back to San Diego."
  • Cornucopia: Stephen Facciola's Edible World

  • “You’re eating bug excrement.”
  • Stephen Facciola and I are standing in the parking lot of a Middle Eastern grocery in disheartening Anaheim. The streets are eight lanes wide. The blocks, a mile long. The air is hot, humid, smoggy. Strip malls and traffic stretch on and on to the hazy horizon. Facciola has just handed me a chewy white square of Iranian candy that tastes mostly of rose water.
  • By Abe Opincar, Nov. 22, 2000
Ben Poirier shepherded us through his trees in Fallbrook: the 15-foot-tall Babaco papaya, the very ugly ice cream bean, the Buddha’s Hand tree, the Tacso vine from Ecuador; the Marula berry from Africa.
  • Dumpster Diving for Dinner

  • Half of a “nutrition bar” sat before me on the wobbly café table. I couldn’t eat the rest because it was oily yet granular but also couldn’t force myself to throw it out. I had arranged to meet freegans at the Other Side coffeehouse on 30th and Lincoln. If they saw me toss out good food, they’d probably think, yeah, another wasteful American.
  • By Ollie, June 25, 2008
  • Happiness on a Plate

  • My assignment, should I choose to accept it, was to come down from San Francisco (where I’ve been a restaurant critic since the Bronze Age) and eat out anonymously until I’d identified and interviewed San Diego’s ten hottest chefs.
  • By Naomi Wise, Sept. 28, 2000
Patrick Ponsaty: “I buy fish from France like turbot and Dover sole, and I buy mushrooms from there."
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Facciola and Ali Fouladi. On a hillside in Bonsall Fouladi has an Iranian garden - eight varieties of fig and more than a dozen varieties of mulberry.
Facciola and Ali Fouladi. On a hillside in Bonsall Fouladi has an Iranian garden - eight varieties of fig and more than a dozen varieties of mulberry.
  • What Insiders Eat

  • Travis Murphy, also a cook, planned the staff’s daily dinner. At Nine-Ten, he said, the hardest part of arranging the staff meal, also called the “family meal,” was “to find something to use. The biggest challenge is protein. I have to improvise with what’s extra. Basically, we have to scavenge around. The family meal is…what’s the word I want? Spontaneous.”
  • By Shari McCullough, Jan. 22, 2004
Emerald Chinese Seafood Restaurant. “We have a couple of chefs sponsor the employees’ lunch and dinner."
  • The Late Long-time Queen of the Cafe Critics

  • One of the ironies of Eleanor Widmer's life is what she ate in her last months. Widmer had become a restaurant critic in 1974, back when brunch at La Valencia featured molded Jell-O "Seafoam." In the following years, Widmer had dined on Japanese donburi and barbecue ribs, Peruvian anticuchos and French quenelles, Turkish baklava and Indian raitas. But toward the end, confined to her bed in La Jolla, she wanted only chocolate.
  • By Jeannette DeWyze, Nov. 23, 2005
Eleanor Widmer on KNSD 7/39 news
  • The Well-Traveled Tomato

  • On a hot day in late November, I'm all set to enter Vons: my role for the day — food archaeologist. Janice Baker, a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and medical nutrition therapist, is my guide. My goal is to learn what food we San Diegans buy.
  • By Thomas Larson, March 8, 2007
Eric Larson: "Often, you'll see that a tomato picked in Oceanside is shipped to L.A., then turns right around and comes back to San Diego."
  • Cornucopia: Stephen Facciola's Edible World

  • “You’re eating bug excrement.”
  • Stephen Facciola and I are standing in the parking lot of a Middle Eastern grocery in disheartening Anaheim. The streets are eight lanes wide. The blocks, a mile long. The air is hot, humid, smoggy. Strip malls and traffic stretch on and on to the hazy horizon. Facciola has just handed me a chewy white square of Iranian candy that tastes mostly of rose water.
  • By Abe Opincar, Nov. 22, 2000
Ben Poirier shepherded us through his trees in Fallbrook: the 15-foot-tall Babaco papaya, the very ugly ice cream bean, the Buddha’s Hand tree, the Tacso vine from Ecuador; the Marula berry from Africa.
  • Dumpster Diving for Dinner

  • Half of a “nutrition bar” sat before me on the wobbly café table. I couldn’t eat the rest because it was oily yet granular but also couldn’t force myself to throw it out. I had arranged to meet freegans at the Other Side coffeehouse on 30th and Lincoln. If they saw me toss out good food, they’d probably think, yeah, another wasteful American.
  • By Ollie, June 25, 2008
  • Happiness on a Plate

  • My assignment, should I choose to accept it, was to come down from San Francisco (where I’ve been a restaurant critic since the Bronze Age) and eat out anonymously until I’d identified and interviewed San Diego’s ten hottest chefs.
  • By Naomi Wise, Sept. 28, 2000
Patrick Ponsaty: “I buy fish from France like turbot and Dover sole, and I buy mushrooms from there."
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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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