Downtown San Diego Stories

Honeymoon at the San Diego county building

Hanky panky on Pacific Highway

For an $88 fee, a couple can opt to have a civil marriage ceremony overlooking the San Diego Bay in front of the San Diego County Administration Center at 1600 Pacific Highway. On the westside ...

False alarm brings out police ingenuity

Birds for security tape, Birds for homeless tents

On the morning of October 24, Sam saw a photo tweeted by John Gibbins from the U-T. The photo depicted two San Diego police officers propping up yellow police tape on two Bird motorized scooters ...

John Cox or Venezuela

Alpine Chamber gets $75K for Snow Festival, Christmas Parade, and honey event

Bombs away San Diego’s bigger-than-life public art world is in turmoil. A proposed million-dollar pair of oversized plastic straws designed in Los Angeles to grace the entrance of San Diego’s new toilet-to-tap water plant has ...

Free Ride Day – a few left behind

How many trolley riders will end up buying fares?

On Oct. 2, a Tuesday, everyone could board public transit and go all over the region – how about El Cajon to San Marcos and back? – for nothing; yes, no fare, no tickets, no ...

Fleet Week's celebration on Broadway Pier

Ship visits plus Notre Dame-Annapolis party

It was the water that brought them. Since the first forays of Europeans, San Diego’s natural harbor offered a strategic naval location. Silts carried by runoff and outflow from the inland mountains could not fill ...

The daughter who eats anchovies and huitlacoche

Well, it was the Westgate

It was time for a little father-daughter bonding and what better place than a drag show? Exactly! That’s why I had no problem when my daughter asked to go to Werq The World, featuring drag ...

Marriott strike – from both sides

San Diego film festival proceeds with sidelong glance

On October 13, as we neared The Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter, next door to Horton Plaza, the chants of the strikers in red shirts became louder. At the glass door entrances by the hotel ...

Downtown dog owners point fingers at homeless

14th and Market could use more waste bags

On October 6, I saw Emma walking her corgi and lab-hound mix dogs in front of the downtown Albertsons. As I approached her, her corgi defecated on the sidewalk; Emma was quick to pick up. ...

Oceanaire a chain, but with some local nuance

$55 seabass, $49 halibut

“Not all chain restaurants are the same,” my friend told me while biting into a crispy piece of calamari. “Some chains just go for the quick buck with mega-meals. Others want that fast casual meal ...

The fate of Ofo bikes in San Diego

Still serving in one form or another

On September 21, between 12 noon and 2 pm, I noticed over 75 yellow Ofo bikes around town; about half were still being used. “It’s a score,” Joey G. said, “if you find them unlocked, ...

Back to the brewpub life

A good hard day of making beer beats your desk job

Fifteen years ago, recent college grad Ignacio Cervantes moved to San Diego for what was supposed to be a six-month adventure living rent-free near the beach at a friend’s place around Del Mar. He didn’t ...

Uber glitch not paying drivers

Who will drive to Kaaboo?

A glitch within the Uber driver payment system is forcing San Diego drivers off the road, and riders are paying for it with higher charges. Uber drivers earn a commission on each drive that they ...

Fancy Hot Pockets?

What's worth savoring at Empanada Kitchen

I wanted my family to try something different, but it was a hot night and we wanted something casual. Knowing the family liked tacos, I thought empanadas might be a nice alternative, since they are ...

Why everybody's talkin bout tacos

A shiny new place for taco fiends and vegans

Even in this city, it’s rare for a taco shop to emerge as a city’s must-visit dining destination. Still only weeks removed from its first day in East Village, counter restaurant Lola 55 has proven ...

They spend thousands on Nike on Market Street

Not too much burning here

On September 5, Dante Rowley from Golden Hill posted an Instagram photo of the billboard that sits atop the Nike store in San Francisco. He captioned it: “How do you feel about the @kaepernick7 Nike ...

Spit at in Del Taco

Don't expect the cops to help with misdemeanors

On Friday (August 24) I had lunch at Del Taco on C and 11th downtown. I used the restroom and came out to see a tall middle-aged homeless man yelling at the restaurant’s security guard. ...

Ice creamery in summertime meltdown

Court scoops downtown's Cali Cream out the door

On June 22, a federal judge ordered a newly-opened ice cream shop in the Gaslamp to close down, citing a "high likelihood" that a venerable ice cream parlor chain based in Youngstown, Ohio, would otherwise ...

Underdressed at the donut shop

Nomad stakes out a fancy presence downtown

Whether its original location on 30th Street, or its larger, newer spot on University, North Park donut purveyor Nomad Donuts has not been one to fuss over design elements. When the latter took over what ...

Good morning, Ma'am. I'm your Uber driver today.

A San Diego guide to how it works

At no time previously did I ever have aspirations to have an Uber career. On the last Friday in March, Good Friday, I arrived at my corporate office shortly before 6 am. Friday is always ...

City leaders don’t mention “convention center”

In plea for convention center expansion vote

Local media are reporting this morning (August 9) that the initiative to raise the hotel tax to expand the convention center and purportedly fix the roads and help the homeless doesn’t have enough valid signatures ...

A cool patio on a hot day

Parkside property in East Village gets Amplified

When two-headed business Halcyon Coffee and Stella Public House launched in a new East Village construction in 2014, it created one of the best outdoor drinking spaces in all of downtown. Its perch overlooking Fault ...

Comic-con not great for Uber and Lyft drivers

L.A. drivers moved in on the territory

Ava Valentine averages $1200 a week driving for Uber and Lyft; Comic-Con last week might’ve slowed down her bankroll. “There was a lot of short fares downtown that took up a lot of time,” she ...

Too bad for the cameramen

No press parking at Comic-con

Comic-Con International 2018 did not have special parking for media/press, as in the previous years. On July 18 (Wednesday), as I made a left from Harbor Drive to Park Boulevard in between the convention center’s ...

Floating celebrity

Comic-con yacht with Jumbotron

“Watch out San Diego Comic Con 2018 because Captain Kevin Smith is going to be onboard the IMDb boat,” Smith said on an online video. Smith is a 47-year-old actor and director of movies Mallrats ...

Convention Center expansion absurd

Soak the taxpayer

The push for an expansion of the Convention Center is said to be a “citizens’ initiative.” It is actually a government initiative drawn up to feed money to downtown plutocrats — the hotel industry. The ...

Meridian — many storied high-rise

Pete Wilson versus Chumash Indians

Murder at the Meridian? Downtown’s Meridian condo tower on Front Street is getting some help from San Diego cops in covering up the details of a mysterious death at the building, fueling growing speculation that ...

Build the Wall sign attracts Waterfront Park scuffle

Where does hate begin?

When 75-year-old Dan Russell isn’t cleaning up trash from the side of highways he participates in civil demonstrations, mostly holding his “Build the Wall, Enforce the Law” sign. On June 30 brought his sign to ...

Taggers' paradise or slum bait?

Bladimir Lopez of Vista was arrested for 300 graffiti in 2014

Graffiti is nothing new along transit routes. The local trolley's general manager was quoted in 1987 saying graffiti clean-up was a high priority. "When graffiti is noticed, it is our policy to remove it immediately." ...

The fall of Horton Plaza

What happened between 1985 and now?

Pete Wilson grins at a homeless man sprawled near Horton Plaza mall, the downtown shopping center he muscled through city hall in the late 1970s. Wilson’s eyes never blink; the coattails of his tailored suit ...

Sports car racers fret next to Midway

Can they use North Island?

On June 12 at 7:30 p.m., about 30 European vehicle owners met by the USS Midway on North Harbor Drive south of Broadway, downtown. Volkswagen, BMW, Audi, and other European-make vehicle owners have been congregating ...

We all scream for déjà vu

New ice cream shop has the feel of an old one

The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company was due to reopen this week after a long renovation, but it left a Gaslamp Quarter in need of ice cream heading into summer, and now Ghiradelli returns to find fresh ...

The case for fresh pasta

Sauces include local ingredients and vegan options

Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, Italian master chefs would hone their culinary arts in France, then return to cook for aristocratic households in Naples and Sicily, plying French techniques with Italian ingredients and ...

Property crimes low, worries still high

Transients, theft, reckless driving, vandalism/graffiti, and illegal dumping

San Diego is one of the safest regions in the U.S. according to a report released by the county in April. Data from 2017 reflects the fourth-lowest violent crime rate since 1980 and the lowest ...

So how's the beer?

Visiting 10 Barrel a year later. Was it worth the fuss?

It’s been a year since Anheuser-Busch subsidiary 10 Barrel Brewing Co. opened its controversial, multimillion dollar, East Village brewpub amid an epic troll battle with local craft breweries, beer media, and fans. That made me ...

Instagram — perfect medium for tattoos

Especially the 3D nipples

On Cinco de Mayo weekend, a handful of tattoo collectors from around the country received complimentary tattoos at the Golden Hall (inside the San Diego Concourse) on C Street downtown. “We had three winners,” said ...

Manter’s rays costly to con-center ballot bid

Mayor’s friend adds another notch to City Hall money belt

Word on the street has it that the current effort by labor unions and downtown hotels to qualify a tourist tax measure for the November ballot has hit a funding wall, with a paltry $630,531 ...

Ace friend seeks Horton Plaza deal

Mall's collapse could prove costly for taxpayers

Downtown's Horton Plaza shopping mall, which used millions of tax dollars to level acres of historic buildings in the late 1970s, has itself been hollowing out of late. Multiple levels of vacant storefronts bear grim ...

Can carne asada fries be non-traditional?

A Mexican restaurant redux

We were walking around the Gaslamp looking for lunch when my friend spied a waiter, on his way to deliver food to a diner seated on a restaurant patio. It was a large, fat burrito, ...

The wild west is back in San Diego

Limebike hogs show, but it is Ofo bikes that are stolen

Sunday afternoon in El Cajon I unsuccessfully tried to find an ofo dockless rental bike to help me get around town. I traveled to five locations where the ofo app listed an available bike, but ...

Ooh, ahh, we need more convention center space

Sail Pavilion lighting precedes hotel-tax-increase sales pitch

During the month of February alone, 13 custom color schemes were drawn up to project on New York’s 103-story Empire State Building. On February 9, they went with red, white, and blue to honor American ...

Light Greek

“Meze” is a Greek term for small plates

When my family and I managed to beat all odds and get Hamilton tickets through the lottery, we knew we wanted to make it an evening out by also getting dinner. But Dad had just ...

SD City College instructors plan protest

Colleagues' lawsuit vs. administration strikes a chord

Instructors at San Diego City College will stage a protest Monday (January 29th) from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Arts and Humanities Building, 1442-1494 C Street. They will be supporting a lawsuit filed December ...

Bone-dry Broadway Fountain will be wet again

No, hepatitis scare did not shut down the Gill-built 100-some-year-old

Gregory May was at Horton Plaza last week when he noticed the historic Broadway Fountain was drained. He asked the mayor and councilmember Chris Ward via social media why it wasn't operating and "wasn't this ...

The elusive mid-range of curry heat

In search of khao soi

"Hey, what's the name of that Thai spot we liked?" my friend called to ask. Good question. I'd found its menu on a web delivery service, and I'd never once had to pronounce the restaurant's ...

A mojito with grassy flavor

Havana Club’s aged rum part of the secret

The Gaslamp’s newest Cuban eatery, Havana 1920, seeks to capture the heyday of America’s Playground and its pre-communist jazz-and-limelight nightlife. The restaurant’s beverage director Ryan Andrews says that its owners were inspired to open the ...

Sandag accused of eminent domain abuse

“We absolutely need this. We have buses laying over in eight different locations."

The San Diego Association of Governments is considering using eminent domain to take an entire downtown block. The land owners say they are concerned about what the agency plans to do with it, since the ...

San Telmo's empanadas sold out, but I waited

The sandwich not what I expected

Minus a few empanada shops, there are only a handful of Argentine restaurants around San Diego, so I perked up when I heard that San Telmo Argentine Café had opened in the Gaslamp. Argentine cuisine ...

The ice melts slowly and the flavors peel off

Striders calls it the New Fashioned

As January draws near, Striders general manager Tony Martineau found a way to raise a glass for the old year rounding the last bend even as the new year comes galloping out of the gate. ...

Dobson's happy hour includes the bisque

What's the secret? New Zealand mussels.

Bah, humbug! Seriously. Just once, I wanna be rich at Christmas. Be able to splurge, party, take folks out, presents for everybody, not sweat the lettuce. Already, the holiday thing’s starting to strain wallet, patience, ...

Cool vibe and crispy croquettes

But the best part was the Cuban sandwich

I haven’t had much opportunities to try Cuban food in San Diego — a taco shop always seems to get in the way — but I was intrigued when I discovered a new Cuban restaurant ...

Downtown homeless people driven north by cops

Normal Heights residents vexed with influx

Normal Heights residents remain frustrated and angry over the recent influx of homeless people in their neighborhood — which city staff say was prompted by the downtown streets bleaching to ward off hepatitis A. The ...

Reading the menu vs. eating it

Transitory Gaslamp means you have to straddle tastes

Running a restaurant in the Gaslamp isn’t easy. The transitory nature of the place means you have to appeal to discerning locals as well as tourist traffic passing by. That’s the challenge facing a place ...

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