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Stories by Chad Deal

Jacumba – the far edge of San Diego

Across border in Jacume, De Anza nudists, In-Ko-Pah, Border Angels, hippie fest, flying saucers

A quiet street and an old hotel Jacumba is a kind of living ghost town out in southeast San Diego County, on the Mexican border, in what’s called, the Mountain Empire district. It has come ...

Spring Valley – land of contrasts

Dictionary Hill, mobile homes, Deering Banjos, Mt. Helix trail, the new North Park, Noah Homes, horseback riding, Cali Comfort BBQ, whiskey distillers

Dictionary Hill in Spring Valley got its name from encyclopedia salesman One of the oddest things about the Dictionary Hill area, also known as La Presa, is the way the streets were laid out on ...

Campo –small town rich in drama

Naked monks, Tecate train, Luman gunfight, 2004 fire, sand trucks, selfish developers, Campo Diner, vigilante Minutemen

Complications of Tijuana to Tecate to Campo train Ten federal agents waiting at the railway museum are demanding that the train continue onto its last stop in Campo and be cleared through customs before anybody ...

San Diego Reader 2018 taco issue

Tacos with seafood, tacos that tell a story, tacos from Tijuana

Great atmosphere, better tacos Baja Oyster, Border X, Carnitas, Canteen at Quartyard, Candelas, Señor Taquero By Ed Bedford Shrimpquest 2018 City Tacos. Lolita's, Oscar's, Mariscos Alex, Blue Water By Ambrose Martin Year-round taco festival Corazon ...

Every taco tells a tale

LOLA 55, Tacos el Panson, Taco Stand, Tuetano Taqueria, Tacos El Ranchero, El Borrego

Some speak of ancient Aztec pit cooking. Some recall distant coastal villages and the catch of the day. Some crow about the possibilities when price is not an object (you may have heard murmurs of ...

San Diego shows to get this sellout off his couch

Anxiety. Disbelief. Wonder.

Last month, a local Facebook friend posted: “‘There’s no music/art scene in SD.’ Sure there is, but you are in your room missing it.” Easy for him to say, I thought. He’s the promoter of ...

San Diego Reader 2018 Music Issue

Rap, jazz, young lions, geezers

San Diego raps, too By Jonah Valdez Bands deserve what they can earn By Dryw Keltz Gigs in the retirement digs By Dave Good Care and feeding of Young Lions By Robert Bush San Diego ...

San Diego Reader 2018 arts issue

Movies, theater, artsy spots, special nonprofits, textiles, classical music, dance, Rotten Tomatoes

No better musical experience of its kind in the world (!) Opera, symphony, Mainly Mozart, L.J Music Society, Bach Collegium, ProArte Voices. By Garrett Harris Used T-shirts, medical gauze, old hankies — The faction of ...

San Diego arts nonprofits on the ground

Open to homeless, recycling, immigrants

Nonprofits nationwide are nervously waiting to gauge the impact of the recent tax overhaul, which reduces the number of taxpayers who qualify for the charitable deduction by about half and is predicted to slash giving ...

San Diego Reader writers dig deep into Christmases past

The great Santa swindle came crashing down

Every Power Rangers toy known to man The exact moment the sleigh bells stopped jingling — by Chad Deal Sister Santa’s once-a-year smile I adored American Christmas — by Tam Hoang We were ruthless Christmas-letter ...

I wanted every Power Rangers toy known to man

The exact moment the sleigh bells stopped jingling

I’ll never forget the day the great Santa swindle came crashing down around me. It was Christmas morning, and I was eight years old. When I bolted out of bed, Santa was as concrete a ...

San Diego Reader 2017 guide to holiday fun

Bar crawl, good causes, Tijuana, Legoland, Zoo, Seaworld, Liberty Station,

A holiday tourist in my own city Tree farms, Nativity scene, gondola and trolley rides, Christmas movies by the pool. By Siobhan Braun Why not a holiday bar crawl? Bike ride, Messiah sing-along, Santacon bar ...

Winter is God's cocktail hour

Good causes at Holsem Coffee, Tin Roof, Brick Bar, Taste & Thirst, 12 Bars of Charity, and Model Railroad Museum

Winter. It’s the five o’clock of the annum. God’s own cocktail hour. A time to rejoice and be merry and say things you’ll later frown about at family gatherings. New year, new you. This is ...

Kimpton Hotel's alleyway of Mexican primo spirits

1/4 ounce of creme de violet binds to scent receptors

“Curadero” may not mean much outside of the downtown San Diego Kimpton, but within its lobby-side, mural-strewn walls, the neologism signifies top-quality Cali-Baja cuisine, inspired cocktails, choice drafts, 80+ premium Mexican spirits (including mezcal, bacanora, ...

San Diego Reader 2017 Burgers issue

Urge is the root word

Burgers with a side of ambience Brewski's, Bruski, Legacy, Banzai, Sunrise Deli, San Marcos Brewery, Tivoli, Balboa Bar. By Chad Deal Burgers for those with exquisite taste Craft & Commerce, Barleymash, Mastiff, Fathom, Notorious, Burger ...

Burgers with a side of ambience

Brewski's, Bruski. Legacy, Banzai, Sunrise Deli, San Marcos Brewery, Tivoli, Balboa Bar

We all know what makes a burger. It’s gotta have ground beef, or at least ground something. Mash it into a patty, fry it, grill it, broil it, or nuke it (you know who you ...

Spooky Cigarette's infectious intersection

"It’s a hardship to live but we want to do it."

Spooky Cigarette has just wrapped up a full-house set at Space Bar. The show was well-attended and the audience more than enthusiastic, yet frontman Frank Mindingall gives off little more than a sense of calm ...

Reckless Brewing slaughters sacred cows

Like something your precocious punk friends pulled together

A metal ball rolls down a ramp, launching an RC car into a series of homemade 2˝x4˝ dominoes. Clack, clack, slam! A stuffed bunny hangs from a noose, a baseball glove drops, and a jug ...

The Beyond Burger lives up to its name

Beat the heat with faux-meat

Santa Monica-based fast casual vegetarian chain Veggie Grill rotates their menu with the seasons, highlighting crisper, more refreshing offerings over the summer months. San Diego claims two of their more-than-thirty nationwide locations. About three years ...

Cache — Hillcrest's proto-Parisian salon

Cervantes Magana: “I’m not just building cocktails”

A trip to modern speakeasy cache is a trip through time. From the moment you discover its entrance disguised as a walk-in freezer by the bathrooms of not-for-profit Tacos Libertad (the latest offering from Cohn ...

There’s always a full moon over the Caliph

It was bizarre then, and it’s bizarre now

One day in 1957, Philadelphia disc jockey Hy Lit fell asleep listening to a stack of new releases. The last single played repeatedly until Lit awoke, leading him to include it in his rotation at ...

Space Time to poke hole in San Diego bubble?

"We want the major art mags to talk about what is happening here."

There’s a time and a space for everything. At least, that’s the idea behind art-and-music collective Space Time, which held its first of many events at Barrio Logan’s Bread & Salt in July of 2016. ...

All about those buns

La Mesa's first ramen house still in its infancy

La Mesa’s downtown strip has been raising eyebrows as an aspiring food and drink district lately. The fast-casual BLVD Noodles is among the more recent arrivals, touting a menu of pan-Asian appetizers, ramen (the first ...

San Diego Reader 2017 Fun issue

Eagle Mining, Bike the Bay, USS Midway, Lucha Libre

Climb the California Tower in Balboa Park Balboa Park’s California Tower at the San Diego Museum of Man was closed to the public in 1935, but after extensive construction and safety renovations it reopened for ...

Adam Gnade finds love in this meatgrinder called life

“‘America,’ in the post-colonial sense, was a slaughterhouse from the get-go.”

According to Adam Gnade’s latest album, Life Is the Meatgrinder That Sucks in All Things, recent American history is split into two distinct parts: before and after September 11, 2001. The spoken narrative serves as ...

Party at the snakes' place

Rock in a rocky and snaky place

"We got any locals here?” one of the Widows asks to scattered whoops of recognition. “Thank you for coming out from under your rock.” Two hits on a snare drum and a brass crash. The ...

Liberty lunch for the office crowd

Officine Buona can get you out the door in 30 minutes

You have a choice of about 30 eateries at Liberty Public Market, but if you’re taking a quick workday lunch break you’d do well to check out neighboring Officine Buona Forchetta, a recent expansion of ...

Pig meets ramen

Tajima and Carnitas’ Snack Shack join forces

Tajima’s new Adams Avenue locale, discreetly lodged between a French bistro and a coffee house, was thoroughly covered by Reader writer Patrick Henderson shortly after it opened. New since his visit, however, is a flash-in-the-pan ...

Hand-pumped, bellows-powered

“Most people practicing yoga don’t know Kirtan exists."

“The Kirtan scene [in San Diego] is pretty small,” says Tom Warner, bassist in Pilgrimage of the Heart Kirtan Band, which has performed on over 400 occasions throughout Southern California. “Most people practicing yoga don’t ...

Banzai! Dollar Bud drafts when the Pads win

Equal parts tiki lounge, sports bar, and surfer haunt

Cousins Chad Cline and Jason “Rocky” Nichols come from a long lineage of dives. Their great-grandfather purchased the Waterfront Bar (whose liquor license dates back to the end of Prohibition) around the late ‘60s. While ...

The Routine flits between genres with bass

To share stage with Chali 2na's funk at Music Box

About seven years ago, Jamie Minotti of the Madero Group management outfit teamed up with several promoters throughout town to produce the Ocean Beats series, a forum for electronic bass music that had hitherto been ...

This way to the Donkey Show in North Park

Tamarindo gives shout-outs to the flavors and aromas one finds anywhere from Tijuana to San Juan to Buenos Aires and beyond.

Everyone knows that gringos going gaga for Cinco de Mayo is stupid, but new North Park neighbor Tamarindo takes it in stride, cheekily dubbing the day’s drink special “The Donkey Show.” It’s a nod to ...

Shades McCool, lighthearted nihilist, at your service

"I have little interest in trying to be deep or poetic."

Bob Baker’s Auto Group, Mossy Nissan, Drew Ford, Toyota of Escondido... The manic anthems of San Diego auto commerce are forever seared into the brains of anyone who spent time near a radio in the ...

San Diego Reader 2017 guide to tacos

Taco secrets, octopus, importance of tortillas

Taco means tiny taste of temptation. Satisfaction by a thousand different cuts of meat and veggies. Is it just me, this wacko taco love affair? I don’t think so. Every San Diegan has a secret ...

Hangin' with Mom at South Park Abbey

Wings smoked and fried, 4-buck beers, Skerry Pickles...

The locale on the corner of Grape and Fern was built in the late ‘40s as a laundromat and went on to operate as a thrift store, a lighting store, and a “Cuban restaurant with ...

Paradox Effects — serious gear for those who play

"That's our robot," built from a streetlight, a heater, old speakers, and hoses

The workshop of Paradox Effects looks a lot like what you might picture when you imagine “Tijuana do-it-yourself boutique guitar pedals.” The low-ceiling warehouse overlooks TJ’s affluent Hipódromo neighborhood from the lower-class residential hillside of ...

Maybe the best surf-and-turf taco in town

Marinated flank steak, juicy shrimp, cilantro, tomato, onion, avocado, gooey cheese, and a splash of crema on a corn tortilla.

Tamarindo North Park Latin Kitchen and Bar Last month, Tamarindo debuted at the former site of North Park landmark Claire de Lune Coffee Lounge. The locale serves inventive agave and sotol cocktails (Mark Broadfoot of ...

In-Ko-Pah 4 a go

Rock out in the whipping wind above Ocotillo

For the past four years and for the price of a few burritos and a couple beers, Jim Ko-Pah’s and John Ko-Pah’s high-desert “High Jinks” has been one of San Diego’s best kept secrets among ...

Batman and Rodin — welcome to Perry Vásquez's world

"Today, the meaning of corruption hasn’t changed but there is a new cast of villains."

Artist and musician Perry Vásquez recently released a concept album designed to prod at the listener’s sense of morality, justice, and personal responsibility. The Gates of Heck began as a visual arts project in 2008, ...

There she is: Star Bar

Celebrating 43 years young

It’s hard to believe that any dive worth its weight in spilt Schlitz has survived the past few decades of redevelopment in the Gaslamp with any semblance of integrity left intact, yet there she is: ...

The Hot Nerds blend includes sarcasm

“Being inside your head too much is kind of what the record is about, just sabotaging yourself...”

"You’re just in time for the cupping,” Hot Nerds keyboardist Alia Jyawook says as I enter Modern Times Beer in Point Loma. Images of medieval hack medicine and bizarre sex moves flash through my mind ...

Festival of Dead Deer reunite for a night

...a Three One G/Planet B night at Blonde Bar

“We just want to do one more proper show before we get older,” says Festival of Dead Deer guitar/vocalist Michael Crain. The LA-based trio put out an LP on San Diego’s Three One G Records ...

Clutch Bar’s Bar Monster requests you stay off your phone

“You can drink alone at home. We’re here to talk.”

Were it not for the name and the salvaged “CUSTOM SERVICE” sign overlooking the pool table, you might not guess that the Clutch was once an auto shop before becoming a neighborhood bar in the ...

San Diego Reader 2017 music issue

Where it’s at: daytime discotheques, peace and quiet, etc

Make no mistake about it, San Diego is home to its share of top talents in pop, rock, jazz, and blues. The Reader’s music crew cast its net to find out why these music makers ...

Seemed sketchy

Jeff Trageser's show routine

Jeff Trageser is the Open Oscillator electronic open-mic host and bassist of indie act Takahashi. Local band? “Lucy’s Fur Coat.” Live band? “The Incredible Moses Leroy and the Softlights.” Local album? “In A Safe Place ...

A style of music I wasn’t aware of

Glen Galloway has a fiery gospel record in the works

Glen Galloway of Singing Serpent Studios has been playing with Sumatraban and Error Massage in the absence of Octagrape mate Jason Begin (the Donkeys), who relocated to New Mexico. Tyler Ward of Octagrape and Glen ...

Fast, punchy, straight to the point

Chances are good that you will see Justin Pearson at Kindred.

Three One G label owner, promoter, bassist, and vocalist Justin Pearson has been wrapping up a Dead Cross LP on Ipecac Recordings with the addition of Mike Patton (Mr. Bungle, Faith No More, Fantômas) on ...

Noise at the library

Sam Lopez's sacred albums

Sam Lopez is a promoter, label owner, and noise musician. Local artist? “I’m very partial to the artists who have had releases on [my label] Stay Strange — Monochromacy, Xavier Ramirez, and Michael Zimmerman.” Live ...

Get your head caved in

Short answers from Space Time curator Xavier Vasquez

Projection artist (RETOX, Die Mißbildungen Des Menschen), videographer, musician, and Space Time curator Xavier Vasquez... Local band? “RETOX, Hexa, Gloomsday, Schizophonics, Monochromacy.” All-time local band? “Black Heart Procession.” Venue to perform/host? “The Casbah, the Hideout, ...

Open Oscillator host Jeff Trageser talks sonic 'tronics

Electro-noodle

“We weren’t connected to the electronic scene in San Diego when we started in January 2015, but we really dug the vibe of the ‘singer/songwriter’ events like Grampadrew’s Flim-Flam Revue,” says Jeffrey Trageser, host of ...

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