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Stories by Barbarella Fokos

Mid-City mash-up

Our friend Mike recently brought David and me to Romeo and Julieta Wine Cafe, a little restaurant tucked away in Talmadge that I assumed, from its name, specialized in Italian food. The cozy interior has ...

Japan on Convoy

While on the way to Tofu House, I rarely pay any mind to the big red awning advertising “Japanese Noodles” across the street. Once every few months, David and I venture to try something new ...

Sweeter, funnier, and kinkier than Fifty Shades of Grey

For anyone in a tizzy over the innocuous and mentally challenged Fifty Shades, allow me to direct your attention to older films that are both sweeter, funnier, and most certainly kinkier than that fan-fiction mommy ...

March 11, 2015
Clean slate

“You don’t even have an ex,” David said.
“You act like it’s some kind of shortcoming that I nailed this relationship stuff the first time around,” I joked.

March 11, 2015
Best slow-smoked meat in San Diego?

When it comes to meat, I like it lean — no chewy gristle, no greasy globules of fat, I just want that succulent muscle. Meat-wise, I’m a bad foodie — I prefer filet mignon over ...

Scheming Diva

I might compliment her and she’ll say, “Are you manipulating me?” I’ll say, “No, of course not.” And she’ll look distressed and say, “Are you just saying that to manipulate me?”

February 25, 2015
It's a Big Front Door, so open wide

I learned my lesson the hard way about eating in, rather than taking food to go, at the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious deli that is jokingly named for its entrance, Big Front Door (and also for its titillating ...

Linner at Cantina Mayahuel

When I find myself with a pocket of time on a warm San Diego afternoon, I crave a quiet spot to sip a refreshing margarita. Quiet is easy to find in the slow-restaurant hours between ...

San Diego's falcon lovers

It was during one of my forays down the YouTube rabbit hole that I happened upon a “parahawking” video. In the two-minute clip, a hawk soars alongside a man as he paraglides over the oceanfront ...

February 18, 2015
Kensington's changing tastes

It’s casual. It’s comforting. And it won’t break the bank. This seems to be the restaurant of choice these days for residents of Kensington — the quaint, but pricey-homed neighborhood that boasts a library, a ...

GroundFrog Day

The mayor assured us it had happened, the great frognosticator let out a croak, thus proclaiming an early Spring for the friendly, frog-worshiping citizens of Snohomish, Washington.

February 11, 2015
Art seen

In a bid to rid themselves of the “starving artist” label, veteran San Diego artists came together to create the Studio Door, which is a business that allows them to produce their own work but ...

February 4, 2015
Taste the East at Lobster West

It was only a handful of months after he’d finished his lobster crawl across the island of Martha’s Vineyard (ingesting 9 lobster rolls in 11 days) that David discovered Lobster West in Encinitas. We were ...

He posted, she posted

Watching someone have a meltdown or witnessing a drama unfold by way of updates or comments is just as popcorn-chomping engaging as watching train-wreck reality television.

January 28, 2015
Satan's spice scale

“The spice scale is one to ten, but three is medium,” said our server. She looked to be in her early twenties, but she worked the tables in the small, crowded space with the easy, ...

Creeping crud

Why had they come? Why had we not been warned? We’d been sharing dishes, tasting drinks; they were laughing and spitting and double-dipping. What the hell?

January 21, 2015
At 18 months old, he was one of the youngest people with type 1 diabetes in San Diego County

"My son didn't develop this because we gave him Twinkies and Coke."

January 14, 2015
Scones for Frodo

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” Even wannabe geeks like me can raise a glass of the Elven-made miruvor to that.

December 31, 2014
Worldly flair

Hanna Tesfamichael has been cooking for San Diegans for over ten years via her catering company. It was three years ago that she opened a small storefront, and six months ago that she expanded the ...

Imaginative apps, classic entrees

We bustling foodies tend to be so focused on what’s new and hip that it’s all too easy to forget the unassuming time-honored restaurants that have been steadily serving hungry San Diegans for generations. One ...

Weird aunt

Brian insisted I download another game called Geometry Dash. I did as he requested, and he excitedly gave me a tutorial. Cool Aunt Level: Unlocked.

December 17, 2014
Lunch at Pacifica Del Mar

I’d only ever been to Pacifica Del Mar around sunset, most often with reservations so I could be sure to sit at one of the primo tables that are cleverly arranged so diners are half-facing ...

Hearty garden at Great Maple

When I hit up Great Maple, on the easier-to-park side of Hillcrest, it's usually mid-morning and I have two items on the brain: salad and doughnuts. I don’t even look at the menu anymore. Rather ...

Anything chestnut

I cut in to mention that David is an avid amateur cook who loves to “bring it” for any culinary occasion, but that when one of our guests is a professional chef he pulls out the stops.

December 3, 2014
Skip the same old gatherings

Handmade holiday at the downtown library From grandparents, moms, and dads to teens and toddlers, there’s something for every member of the family at this holiday fiesta. Enjoy live music presented by Rarefied Recording, and ...

December 3, 2014
Trick or teeth

Mom’s place is where I’d want to be during the zombie apocalypse. We could survive for years on all those boxes with pictures of balanced meals on the front, along with the words, “Just add water and heat.”

November 19, 2014
Thumb Drive

“It’s a good thing it happened to that thumb. I mean, if you’d cut your right thumb? Buttoning your pants, holding things, writing? That would be the worst — you use your right thumb for a million things.”

November 3, 2014
Jackie & Jill

“It’s sad for her dad. I feel bad for him. He’s the one being deprived today. Most parents just want their kids to be happy, and that’s enough. But this guy, he’s robbing himself of this moment.”

October 22, 2014
So You Think You Can Kizomba

She explained how students bounced around, frequently switching partners. “It’s, like, ‘Hi, how are you? Here’s my chest,’ okay, boom, ‘Hi, how are you? Here’s my chest,’ over and over.”

October 8, 2014
Bedeviled by the details

The closest San Diego comes to having a “China Town” is the stretched out expanse of cold, industrial Convoy Street in Kearny Mesa. The mile-long stretch of pedestrian-unfriendly road is home to nearly 100 Korean, ...

Children, children everywhere

For the fourth year in a row, the San Diego Museum Council and Time Warner Cable present “Kids Free in October,” which means kids under 12 have a free pass (more specifically, two kids per ...

October 3, 2014
Upscale Italian at Liberty Station

I had only been to Solare Ristorante in Liberty Station a handful of times over the past six or so years. In my mind, I had it filed as an easy spot for a relaxing ...

7 for 7 plus Pappy

It’s no secret that Starlite is one of my major haunts — this remote, hip and chill restaurant in the middle of an industrial strip of India Street is home to my favorite burger, and ...

Ups, downs, views at the Lighthouse

Bouts of balmy weather make outdoor dining that much more enjoyable in San Diego. Especially when the patio comes with a stellar view, as is the case with Tom Ham’s Lighthouse. David and I have ...

Gluten-free in Texas

“I wouldn’t usually mind if we were going to a vegetarian restaurant,” I said as David pulled into the lot. “But for the few days we’re here, I’m reluctant to order anything but beef.”

September 24, 2014
Sharable treats at the Rose Wine Pub

Both casual and elegant, the Rose Wine Pub is ideal for catching up with a friend over a glass (or three) of wine and toothsome, sharable fare. David and I often order our wine by ...

Ladies night in La Jolla

My friend Kimberly is the quintessential lady — she dresses with the style and flair of a Mad Men character but speaks her mind (peppered with plenty of colorful words and ideas) like a post-modern ...

September 21, 2014
A sure bet at Il Fornaio

Il Fornaio in Coronado is one of those “sure-bet” restaurants. You know the view looking out over the water toward the San Diego skyline will be stunning, and the umami-rich, fine Italian fare is always ...

September 18, 2014
Lunch at Nine-Ten

When I’m in La Jolla, most often to gawk at the seals or check out the latest installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art, my number one go-to spot for lunch is Nine-Ten, located at ...

September 16, 2014
Ten years

“Enjoy it. Oh, and don’t be offended if you get lingering glances from some of the leather-clad men here tonight. On the contrary, take it as a compliment if they even notice you in those clothes.”

September 10, 2014
Barbarella al fresco

Nothing enhances the flavors of nibbles and sips like fresh air, sunshine, and blue skies. Fortunately for us, it’s not hard to find these extra special ingredients. On an ideal day of dining al fresco, ...

September 3, 2014
Happy horses

Someone else, having overheard our conversation, piped in, “Most of these horses have stylists, massage therapists, and veterinarians constantly catering to their every need.”

August 27, 2014
Good smut

“This is an actual quote from the book: ‘If this guy is over thirty, then I’m a monkey’s uncle.’ And, ‘My inner goddess is dancing.’ I mean, come on... It’s like she’s trying to make readers groan.”

August 13, 2014
Dubstep speaks to me

“When you talk about ‘classical music,’” he said, using air quotes, “you limit yourself to composers of a specific era. Why aren’t you exulting the genius of the ancient Greek composer Limenius?”

July 30, 2014
Apologetic demons

“You just bought me lunch,” I responded. “And I told you I could help. If I wasn’t available, I would have said no. And give me a little more credit — you know I don’t do things I don’t want to do.”

July 16, 2014
Puppies and provisions

Combine a few of my favorite things — shaded outdoor patio, fine cheeses, tasty share-able plates, and a variety of dogs to ogle — and you have my new favorite happy hour hangout spot. [The ...

Quality and balance

Just as a memorable soirée includes a mix of interesting guests, a craft cocktail stimulates the senses with the quality and balance of its ingredients. Ironside Fish and Oyster Ironside boasts the newest crafty cocktail ...

July 9, 2014
Southern comfort in East Village

For the same reason we keep returning to New Orleans, David insisted we try out ACME Southern Kitchen when he realized (upon researching the menu after driving past the joint on his way home) that ...

And the Emmy goes to...

I found out later that, when the nominees were being announced, Mom had anxiously dug her nails into my sister Heather’s leg. “Yup, that’s gonna bruise,” Heather said.

July 2, 2014
Making up my own mind about Mozza

I’m not much of a Yelper, but when I was searching to verify the address for the new Pizzeria Mozza restaurant at the Headquarters two weeks after it opened, Yelp was the first site that ...

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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