Old Town Stories

La Costa Ave. missing time capsule found

Open next year at Old Town museum

Back in 1966, a young Dave Naylor remembers he and his father attending a dedication of the new Interstate 5 rest area at the La Costa Avenue exit, in Leucadia. He clearly recalls a time ...

Adam Parfrey goes to the zoo

An inside look at how he operated

Ed. Adam Parfrey, publisher of books from Feral House and writer for the Reader, died on May 10, 2018. The following came by email to the Reader on July 3. It is not generally appreciated ...

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." ...

Bus rider pet peeves: walking and waiting

What will get more riders to saddle up?

Metropolitan Transit System or MTS has been hanging Choose Transit posters at bus stops around town. Plus they reached out to ask public opinion in April and May. Shorter commute times, more transit options, and ...

"Are you kidding me? It's a cow pasture."

Presidio parking lot gets more action than the greens

In March, the city rejected all proposals vying to operate the Presidio Hills Golf Course. This was a harsh blow to the Friends of Presidio Hills Golf who spent a lot of time and money ...

Everything gets better at Ceviche House

The move to Old Town proves more than photogenic

When we last saw Ceviche House, chef Juan Carlos Recamier's business had graduated from farmers market stall to a tiny counter service shop in North Park. Not even two years later, Ceviche House took another ...

Java "the Magnet" Joe at 26 years old

“I remember Frank Drennen squirted ketchup and mustard all over the audience."

It’s been 26 years since Joe Flammini opened Java Joe’s, one of the few coffeehouses back then that offered live music with your latte. In 1991, Java Joe’s was located in Poway. The shop moved ...

Natives under your nose

Half-acre of Old Town reclaimed for lemonadeberry and hummingbirds

A half-acre of Old Town State Historic Park, located at the junction of Taylor and Congress streets, is a native plant landscape that focuses on coastal native plant restoration. The San Diego Chapter of the ...

Jewel, Jason Mraz, Steve Poltz started at Java Joe’s

Too late I discover that I could’ve had a quiche for $4.95.

Sixties time-warp! I’m sitting in the friendly gloom, watching Lisa Sanders and Karen Hayes sing personal songs in dreamy harmonies. Acoustic, coffee-bar singing, outside. It feels time-warpy in more ways than one. This space is ...

Presidio Hills golf course: storied past, unsure future

Old Town ready to roll up sleeves — will the city help them?

On May 24, a city council subcommittee unanimously recommended to make $14 million available for golf course projects over the next three years. Kris Shackelford, city’s public works department, gave a one-minute presentation. The whole ...

Visit the hill where Alta California began

Presidio Park — try to channel Serra and Portola.

In 1769, Father Junípero Serra along with Gaspar de Portolá established the mission and presidio as the first European settlement on the Pacific Coast. There is minimal evidence of the original site just west of ...

New Orleans Cafe puts the Old South in the Old West

Try something with the word “creole” in it

Between the quality shows at Cygnet Theatre and the lighthearted comedy of Old Town Improv, I’ve been finding more reasons to spend time in Old Town, an area that, along with the Gaslamp, I once ...

Home & Away surpasses Old Town average

A neighborhood pub in a touristy area

If ever there were a compelling reason for San Diegans to hang out in Old Town, it’s Home & Away at the former location of Kelly’s Pub. For about two years now, locals and tourists ...

Bad audit times at iHigh

Staffmembers "improperly paid"

San Diego Unified’s iHigh Virtual Academy, “a tuition-free public high school offering students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma primarily online,” per its website, has an overspending problem. So says a report for ...

The whole half-yard at Hungry’s

“You San Diego guys wimp out that easy? Drink! Drink! Drink! Drink!”

"Milwaukee.” “San Diego.” “Milwaukee!” “Saan Diy-egow!” “’Scuse me. Ever hear of Miller? Schlitz? Pabst? Old Milwaukee? And you’re trying to tell me San Diego is the beer capital of America?” Did I mention Saf is ...

City's bike-share program needs help, says report

Transit system says DecoBike hasn't sought out new locations

A May San Diego County County Grand Jury report accuses officials at the Metropolitan Transit System of refusing to get onboard with the city's bike-sharing program. DecoBike, launched in 2013, has been touted as a ...

Raise an unlimited joe to long-dead Yankee Jim

Real seducer

He thought they were joking. Even when they had him standing on a horse-drawn dray with a rope around his neck. All he’d done was go for a joyride in a rowboat. He called it ...

The Presidio: Old Town national landmark

Explore San Diego's origins on the grounds of this 1700s Spanish fort.

Set above Old Town, San Diego’s forty-acre Presidio Park is a National Historic Landmark preserving the first permanent European settlement on the West Coast and the site from which exploratory missions embarked into California's interior. ...

Chicken climax

Lope into Harney for Late Night Social Hour

“It’s fresh, not processed, and have you ever seen a fat Japanese guy? Except for sumo wrestlers?”

Two by Noël Coward in repertory at Cygnet Theatre in Old Town

Jazz-age behavior

Cygnet Theatre offers a “double bill” of Noël Coward’s The Vortex (1924) and Hay Fever (1925). Staging his early plays in repertory has advantages. The dark, brittle Vortex is almost a photographic negative of the ...

Feast! Little Italy-Old Town

Middletown's best restaurants

These days Little Italy offers some of the best food in town, or at least the most photographed. The neighborhood keeps serving up hits, almost eclipsing the tried-and-true eateries that sit between its shiny new ...

Old Town's old pepper trees targeted

Sentiment can't repair buckled sidewalk hazard

LuAnn Porter attempted to rally the troops on Facebook to attend the Old Town San Diego Community Planning Group meeting on Wednesday, August 12. It ended up being a small affair with six or seven ...

Eve of destruction

Cygnet stages Dogfight; New Village Arts explores Forbidden Planet

Did Eddie spend four years in Vietnam? Or did it just seem that way?

July is busting out all over!

Theater preview for the month to come

T’is the season. Count some of the ways: NOW PLAYING: La Jolla Playhouse: Come From Away. The world premiere musical, by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, creates a comedy within a tragedy. On the morning ...

Point of no return

The Whale devotes his last days to honesty

Lights come up, dimly, on a dingy brown old couch with a deep sag in the middle. Close by: a laptop, a TV-tray-like table with rollers, a low slung reading lamp, and a small bookcase ...

The way figs feel

The charro and the pioneer lady set the kids into teams. “Now, don’t worry about breaking the eggs,” says the lady. “They’re made of wood. First team back with the egg still in the spoon ...

Last call: The White Snake and My Fair Lady

The final opportunity to see these notable shows is fast approaching

Two beautifully performed shows must end their runs this Sunday. The White Snake, Old Globe Theatre. Mary Zimmerman does theatrical adaptations of literary works, among them The Odyssey, The Arabian Nights, and The Notebooks of ...

Infectious exuberance

Wonderful My Fair Lady enthralls at Cygnet

“I could’ve donced all night, I could’ve donced all night” — at least half the audience at intermission, it seemed, bounced up the aisles at Cygnet Theatre singing this song, including the accent! And when ...

Last call: Sons of the Prophet must close

An outstanding production from Cygnet must close this weekend

Cygnet Theatre must close its outstanding production of Sons of the Prophet this Sunday, February 15. Stephen Karam’s comedy-drama is one of those rare plays that are, often at the same time, extremely funny and ...

My favorite San Diego theater

It’s just a room upstairs, in an old two-story house. They say when it opened, on December 1, 1868, 150 watched the Tanner Troupe perform a song and dance revue at the “Brick Building.” A ...

Ever-expanding mania

All is not well for the Sons of the Prophet, but at least it's funny

Kahlil Gibran wrote one of the best-selling books of all time. Translated into over 40 languages, The Prophet (1923) records the poetic observations of the Lebanese mystic Almustafa on self-knowledge, good and evil, death, and ...

Old feels new

Minor reinvention breathes new life into the spirit of A Christmas Carol at Cygnet Theatre.

For several years, Cygnet Theatre did a popular version of A Christmas Carol as a live, 1940s radio show — 100 years removed from the original. Sean Murray’s world premiere script returns the durable Dickens ...

Last Call: Black Sunday

Some fine productions, including one of the city's all-time best, must close November 2.

These shows must close this Sunday, November 2 — aka “Black Sunday,” given their high quality. The Royale, Old Globe Theatre One of the year’s best directed shows is so well done you’d think Marco ...

Emotional gamesmanship

Shepard seeks to convey "what it feels like to be two-sided."

Cygnet Theatre Shep-reps, staging True West and Fool for Love

What you see is not what you thought

Fool for Love at Cygnet Theatre honors the spirit and the anarchy.

Cygnet Theatre is running two of Sam Shepard’s plays in repertory: True West and Fool for Love. In Cygnet’s opening day/night double bill last Sunday, True West came off the stronger [to be reviewed 10/15]. ...

Your town

Good enough, but Ed may not remember the Alamo.

Scoping the new-old and admiring Wisconsinite appetites at Taco Tuesday.

Café Coyote lives up to its name

A meager scavenger looking for easy prey in Old Town.

What do the tourists see when they come to San Diego? I wondered this as I walked around Old Town, trying to decide in which hokey Mexican spot to have lunch. Fiesta del Reyes seemed ...

A beauty contest with a twist

Pageant: the Beauty Pageant Musical at Cygnet Theatre

From the fluffy curtains to the large G hovering over the faux marble floor, everything’s an ardent pink — the signature color of Glamouresse, whose beauty products include an aerosol that protects the ozone layer ...

Full, vivid authenticity

Surprises, double standards, and reversals in The Motherf**ker With the Hat at Cygnet Theatre

It’s a snappy chapeau: reddish with a narrow brim and wide band. The question for Jackie, on parole after 26 months in stir for dealing drugs, is “who’s the motherf--k who owns this motherf--ker?” Jackie ...

Last Call: Red and Spring Awakening

Two quality shows must close this Sunday; now you see ‘em, or you won’t

Mark Rothko and his fellow Abstract Expressionists (though they didn’t like the name) battered the Cubists to pulp. Now, as Rothko contemplates what could be his masterpiece — and the place to showcase his special ...

Still Crazee after all these years

But still far from being the best burger in town

We're a hamburger town in a hamburger country, and whether it's fast food or fine dining, most of the American-style restaurants in the city include a burger on the menu. Hell, some of the Asian ...

Maintenance deferred

It’s an open and shut case, according San Diego’s city auditor. The operator of Old Town’s Presidio Golf Course, owned by the city, was using it as an illegal parking lot over last year’s Cinco ...

Stomp holes in the floor

Spring Awakening's lovely/evil

This idea for a musical sounds doomed from the start: base the story on a 100-plus-year-old play so controversial several countries banned it, which closed after one night on Broadway; talk and sing openly about ...

Residential rehab facility opens in Old Town

Aspire Center to treat veterans, help stop homelessness

On Monday, February 17, community dignitaries, public officials, veterans’ representatives, and members of the neighborhood gathered in Old Town for a grand-opening ceremony for the Aspire Center; Aspire is an acronym for "American Service members ...

Ramona returns to Old Town

Saturday, February 15, the Save Our Heritage Organization offers two screenings of D. W. Griffith’s silent film, Ramona. Griffith based the 1910 movie on Helen Hunt Jackson’s best seller about star-crossed lovers in 1850, the ...

Maple & Vine at Cygnet Theatre

There’s good news about Cygnet’s show: Amanda Sitton is back on a stage. She took time off — a decade, it seemed — for maternity leave. She’s in tip-top shape as Jenna, a social-mediated NYC-ite ...

South American salad in hidden Old Town

Ed discovers Andes superfood with Berta and Marta

When you think about it, Mexican restaurants are everywhere. But South American restaurants? Not so much. Tonight, I'm wandering away from the crowds on San Diego Avenue in Old Town, heading down Twiggs in the ...

Holiday fur fix

Petting tour of San Diego

The awe of nature or the snuggle of a warm snout or cute paw give us a fill of joy that we're looking for around this time of the year. For those of us without ...

The importance of seeing Travesties at Cygnet

Social revolution.

“Unaccompanied women smoking at the opera, that sort of thing?”

For-real deal on Congress Street

Ed feels guilty for getting a lunch so cheap at Christopher’s on Congress. “You know, that’s the biggest complaint I get,” Chris says. “People say I’m undercharging."

The Importance of Being Earnest at Cygnet Theatre

There are probably plays as funny, though I doubt there’s one funnier than Oscar Wilde’s “trivial comedy for serious people.” The jokes flow like ocean waves, in sets of three, with the third the capper. ...

Witches’ brew in a hotpot

I’m wiping the back of my neck and my brow more than my mouth.

Ed visits a hero's grave in Old Town, gets distracted by the smell of Tom Yum coming from D'O Thai Cottage. C'mon, Ed!

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