Tin Fork

Crispier chicken than KFC or Church's

How a Chinese place with five tables lasts 25 years

"Mmm. Helps with the cold,” croaks Ria. She’s leaning over the steam of her wonton soup. She fishes for a wonton that’s hiding beneath the cabbage and crispy croutons she dunked in the soup. Then ...

Slow season but "we’re smoking 560 pounds”

Apple and cherry wood give a fruity flavor, pecan a nutty flavor

Hail to the chef! That’s what I’m thinking as Danny lowers two whole racks of pork ribs into the maws of his Smokaroma Bar-B-Q Boss. He says it’s a wood-fired pressure-cooker. No more fuming black ...

How to go cheap at upmarket places

“We’re the only restaurant with a cheese cave”

Amazing how long since I’ve been up here in Mission Hills. I’m at the corner of Washington and Goldfinch. Pass a doorstep with a carving in it: “Welcome Back to the Gathering.” It has a ...

Eleven kinds of patties at Burgerim

Beef, turkey, lamb, chicken, dry aged, salmon, veggie, Spanish beef (chorizo), wagyu beef, and merguez

Merguez. Never quite knew what it was. A North African region? No. That’s the Maghreb. Some organization in a James Bond movie? Nuh-uh. It took me coming to the squirty fountain in the new Horton ...

Not melted cheese, not sour cream

Fonda Don Diego casts cold eye on border food

Guy sits at a bar, staring at a bull. Or is it a pig? Or is it a man? The bull’s part of a fresh-painted wild-colored mural on the wall behind the Negra Modelo and ...

Ordered the lamb, got the goat

Somali hospitality: "You must have it.”

Feel like goat again. Last time I had some was at Mercado Hidalgo in TJ, where a couple of birria joints really deliver on the chivo stew. Before that, the cluster of Somali eateries around ...

The lines go clear to Sixth Avenue

Donuts versus salad — vice and virtue — guess who wins

Between the optimist and the pessimist, the difference is droll; The optimist sees the donut, the pessimist, the hole. — Oscar Wilde I can’t help thinking of Oscar. Because in the heat of this Santa ...

Really want pork

Japanese comfort food on Fir Street

Huh. Row of guys’ butts bulging out onto the sidewalk, right where Fir crosses Kettner. This has to be the first place I’ve seen where people actually sit up to a bar on the street, ...

Vampire tacos and more at Border X Brewing

From Mexicali to Logan Heights to L.A.

Erk! Suddenly strikes me: Halloween’s around the corner. And seeing I’m here in Barrio Logan, my mind starts gravitating to vampire tacos. Tacos vampiros. Always wanted to try one. Never had one. Only problem: the ...

Momentary meatball regret at Hungry Lu’s

It’s good to be O.B.-pure, but...

"I’m a vegan and I live on Bacon.” “Ocean Beach is a sunny place for shady people.” Kip Krueger’s signs are everywhere. He paints them on blocks of wood. He has plenty more. “Dissent is ...

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 ...

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