Grant Hill Stories

Matthew Philbin — landlord to the homeless

Rent control without being told to do so

Matthew Philbin just turned 30 years old on March 18. He celebrated his birthday by hopping into his lifted Dodge Ram truck and picking up one of his new tenants. “I pick them up with ...

Cornbread in the time of Colombia

Little cravings from the land of García Márquez

Nothing's likely to displace Mexican food as the object of my heart's — and belly's — affection. But I have been trying to learn more about a few of the other cuisines in our hemisphere ...

Engulf the Garlic Shack

The powers of garlic

"Soju!” says my buddy Ernesto. “Au jus?” “No, soju. What’ve you been talking about, on and on? Soju? Korean sake? Then it clicks. ’Cause I have been going on about soju and how it’s gonna ...

Food for thought

A park, a view, a middle school, and a sandwich

When I first spotted Food for Thoughts Cafe on a Yelp map, I thought it was a glitch. The small coffee and sandwich shop sits just south of Island Avenue, on 26th Street. Not on ...

New Jamaican spot is not like the old one

Go with the jerk chicken

No sooner had I lamented the departure of my neighborhood Jamaican restaurant, Island Spice, to another part of the city that I noticed another had taken its place. Rock Steady Jamaican offers a spruced-up dining ...

The only other cemitas shop in San Diego

Facebook leads to Lucy’s Bakery & Donuts

Having recently discovered the Puebla-style torta known as a cemita, I began a countywide search for the thing which led me to one option — a single devoted shop in Vista called Cemitas Fandanguero. The ...

Hot pot!

Thermal imaging of building leads to weed bust and trial

On February 12, 2012, police executed a search warrant at a commercial building at 2953 Imperial Avenue in Grant Hill. "Numerous items" were seized related to a marijuana-growing operation said to belong to Howard Maurice ...

Happy devouring machine at Island Spice Jamaican

“By the fifth or sixth bite I started scooping the rice and beans into the sauce.”

For three years I lived a mere 2000 feet from Jamaican restaurant Island Spice, but due to the mystery of dead ends and freeway overpasses I rarely ever passed by, and I never paid a ...

Gas-price bloat

County's nine most expensive stations asked why they buck the trend

With gas prices falling every day in San Diego, averaging $2.63 a gallon on January 9 (according to gasbuddy.com), motorists may wonder why nine stations in the county seem to be bucking the declining-price trend. ...

Serving soul food since the beginning

Grant Hill eatery dished it up way before it was a "concept"

"Ain't nothing fancy about this place except me!" says Barbara Harris, the ebullient and charismatic lady behind Sister Pee Wee's Soul Food. And she's right. If anything's changed about the modest lunch- and dinner-counter over ...

A taco platter silver lining

Learning the true meaning of antojitos

Due more to bad luck than to any exhilarating lifestyle choice, I've found a nail stuck in my tire four times the past two years. It's made me somewhat of a regular at a Grant ...

Eating goat like a kid in Little Jamaica

Island Spice is as near as you'll get to Bob Marley's paradise this side of the Rockies

Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble... The two huge ollas, pots, roil and steam away over the flames. Donna takes a big stick and stirs them around, adds more water. "Oxtail," she says. "Getting it ready ...

Totally stuffed at Sherman's

“Rich,” she tells me. “Too rich.” Dang. No way is it too rich for me.

Sherman’s Shack offers Ed interesting burgers and tacos… a garlic shrimp and cream cheese–stuffed burger topped with orange sweet & sour, for example.

Grant Hill: I’ll take my burgers stuffed

Is this the next generation of burgers?

Wow. This corner. Market and 25th. Every time I come up and over the hump here, seems like this place has a different eatery. Think it was a tamale place, an Urban Chicken place, an ...

Grant Hill’s Island Spice: A little curried goat'll make a man of you

'Diego locals are gradually taking to the Jamaican specialty.

It’s one of those surprises you’ve got to work for. Here I am walking down 28th Street from Broadway, past a sign that says “Grant Hill, a community of San Diego, America’s Finest City." Jes’ ...

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