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Native fruits, Bread and Cie, taco extremist, pho forager, Baja cuisine

Best San Diego food stories

Some restaurants, such as El Colegio, are using pizza as a vehicle for Baja ingredients.
Some restaurants, such as El Colegio, are using pizza as a vehicle for Baja ingredients.

Between Slurps

Hmm…menu has things like “amuse-bouches,” “tartines,” and “baguettes.” Where do I start? The tartines (“open-face toasted sandwiches with melted cheese”)? For eight bucks you get “two of your choice, served on arugula salad.” The choices are prosciutto, Black Forest ham, turkey, a “cheesy” combo of mozzarella, brie, and blue, with walnuts and cranberries — that sounds good — and roasted veggie (with eggplant, zucchini, and goat cheese).

By Ed Bedford, Aug. 22, 2012 | Read full article

Loris (right) with his chef, Jack

Made in San Diego

Yard to table.

The first stop: Aaron St. John’s place in Rancho Peñasquitos, where my hosts point to a brace of coffee bushes in the front yard. “You can eat the red coffee berry; there’s more caffeine in the berry than in the bean,” I am told. Roughly the size of a good-size pearl, it’s mildly sweet when I bite into it. Inside is an off-white seed that will be the coffee bean, now embryonic, I guess. It looks like a tooth that fell out of my daughter’s mouth when she was small.

By Moss Gropen, Aug. 22, 2012 | Read full article

Ben Kotnik: “Some people say they know about jackfruit — but they don’t know jack about jackfruit.”

9/11 is the best thing that ever happened to Baja cuisine

Is this Baja med?

What’s interesting is what the Blue Quetzal’s selling; tacos, yes, but not just same-old carne asada tacos like at your nearest Aliberto’s, but with original takes on the street food of all street foods. The “arrachera asada” flank steak taco has meat that’s marinated in orange juice, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. The shrimp in the ceviche tostada has been butterflied, split and spread out, then doused in aguachile, mainly lemon juice. The citric acids cook the shrimp till it turns white. Beetroot and avocado are involved. They also do shrimp with hibiscus flower, and octopus a la plancha.

By Ed Bedford, Dec. 25, 2013 | Read full article

Kokopelli serves a taco with octopus grilled in a Mexican pesto sauce.

Tacos Are a Tiny Taste of Temptation

Eat up, little burros.

Fancy wimmen are okay, but there's nuttin' like the real thing: a nice warm adobada taco on a nice cold night beside a nice hot grill outside a friendly taco catering truck, with that marinated pork swimming with cilantro and spices and slimy sautéed onions. And a dollar bottle of Sangria Señorial, of course.

Sigh. Is it just me, this wacko taco love affair?

By Ed Bedford, Jan. 23, 2008 | Read full article

La Posta, El Indio, El Porvenir, Pokez, El Borrego, El Comal, Carnitas Uruapan, Las Cuatro Milpas, Tony's Jacal, Senor Frog's, Cafe Especial, Porkyland, Clayton's Mexican Take-out, Azteca - to name a few

Pho Forager

It came to me four or five years ago as — surfacing to catch my breath — I looked up from a steaming bowl of pho: there were more non-Vietnamese patrons having lunch in this Linda Vista pho shop than Vietnamese. That’s when I knew that pho (usually pronounced “fuh,” though regional accents differ) — Vietnamese noodle soup — had made it. When we moved to San Diego ten years ago, you rarely saw this demographic in Vietnamese restaurants, but that day I saw Hispanic workers looking for a cheap and hearty lunch, several tables of students, and even three men in suits, ties slung over their shoulders, cautiously sipping away.

Since then, there has been an explosion of pho shops across the greater San Diego area, from Santee to PB, Oceanside to Ocean Beach, Mission Gorge to Mission Valley.

By Kirk K., Jan. 12, 2011 | Read full article

Pho Hiep and Grill opens at 7:30 a.m., so you can have a bowl for breakfast, just as in Vietnam.

Of B Movies and Bread

A slice of life

Behind the glass that separates the kitchen from the customers at Bread & Cie Bakery and Café in Hillcrest, steam heat pours from the oven. Bakers in long aprons and French bonnets lift loaves of artisan bread from the oven and place them into baskets.

Patrons gather at the wraparound counter, pointing to this loaf or that quiche as the line to order swells. Order-takers with earrings and tattoos help the customers.

By Maryann Castronovo, July 4, 2012 | Read full article

Lorena uses a lame to score the dough before it goes into the stone hearth oven to bake.
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Some restaurants, such as El Colegio, are using pizza as a vehicle for Baja ingredients.
Some restaurants, such as El Colegio, are using pizza as a vehicle for Baja ingredients.

Between Slurps

Hmm…menu has things like “amuse-bouches,” “tartines,” and “baguettes.” Where do I start? The tartines (“open-face toasted sandwiches with melted cheese”)? For eight bucks you get “two of your choice, served on arugula salad.” The choices are prosciutto, Black Forest ham, turkey, a “cheesy” combo of mozzarella, brie, and blue, with walnuts and cranberries — that sounds good — and roasted veggie (with eggplant, zucchini, and goat cheese).

By Ed Bedford, Aug. 22, 2012 | Read full article

Loris (right) with his chef, Jack

Made in San Diego

Yard to table.

The first stop: Aaron St. John’s place in Rancho Peñasquitos, where my hosts point to a brace of coffee bushes in the front yard. “You can eat the red coffee berry; there’s more caffeine in the berry than in the bean,” I am told. Roughly the size of a good-size pearl, it’s mildly sweet when I bite into it. Inside is an off-white seed that will be the coffee bean, now embryonic, I guess. It looks like a tooth that fell out of my daughter’s mouth when she was small.

By Moss Gropen, Aug. 22, 2012 | Read full article

Ben Kotnik: “Some people say they know about jackfruit — but they don’t know jack about jackfruit.”

9/11 is the best thing that ever happened to Baja cuisine

Is this Baja med?

What’s interesting is what the Blue Quetzal’s selling; tacos, yes, but not just same-old carne asada tacos like at your nearest Aliberto’s, but with original takes on the street food of all street foods. The “arrachera asada” flank steak taco has meat that’s marinated in orange juice, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. The shrimp in the ceviche tostada has been butterflied, split and spread out, then doused in aguachile, mainly lemon juice. The citric acids cook the shrimp till it turns white. Beetroot and avocado are involved. They also do shrimp with hibiscus flower, and octopus a la plancha.

By Ed Bedford, Dec. 25, 2013 | Read full article

Kokopelli serves a taco with octopus grilled in a Mexican pesto sauce.

Tacos Are a Tiny Taste of Temptation

Eat up, little burros.

Fancy wimmen are okay, but there's nuttin' like the real thing: a nice warm adobada taco on a nice cold night beside a nice hot grill outside a friendly taco catering truck, with that marinated pork swimming with cilantro and spices and slimy sautéed onions. And a dollar bottle of Sangria Señorial, of course.

Sigh. Is it just me, this wacko taco love affair?

By Ed Bedford, Jan. 23, 2008 | Read full article

La Posta, El Indio, El Porvenir, Pokez, El Borrego, El Comal, Carnitas Uruapan, Las Cuatro Milpas, Tony's Jacal, Senor Frog's, Cafe Especial, Porkyland, Clayton's Mexican Take-out, Azteca - to name a few

Pho Forager

It came to me four or five years ago as — surfacing to catch my breath — I looked up from a steaming bowl of pho: there were more non-Vietnamese patrons having lunch in this Linda Vista pho shop than Vietnamese. That’s when I knew that pho (usually pronounced “fuh,” though regional accents differ) — Vietnamese noodle soup — had made it. When we moved to San Diego ten years ago, you rarely saw this demographic in Vietnamese restaurants, but that day I saw Hispanic workers looking for a cheap and hearty lunch, several tables of students, and even three men in suits, ties slung over their shoulders, cautiously sipping away.

Since then, there has been an explosion of pho shops across the greater San Diego area, from Santee to PB, Oceanside to Ocean Beach, Mission Gorge to Mission Valley.

By Kirk K., Jan. 12, 2011 | Read full article

Pho Hiep and Grill opens at 7:30 a.m., so you can have a bowl for breakfast, just as in Vietnam.

Of B Movies and Bread

A slice of life

Behind the glass that separates the kitchen from the customers at Bread & Cie Bakery and Café in Hillcrest, steam heat pours from the oven. Bakers in long aprons and French bonnets lift loaves of artisan bread from the oven and place them into baskets.

Patrons gather at the wraparound counter, pointing to this loaf or that quiche as the line to order swells. Order-takers with earrings and tattoos help the customers.

By Maryann Castronovo, July 4, 2012 | Read full article

Lorena uses a lame to score the dough before it goes into the stone hearth oven to bake.
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