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Stories by Charlie Morgenstern

Sushi fans head to Serra Mesa

Reservations required at Kokoro

You have to want to go to a sushi bar such as Kokoro. Apologies to Serra Mesa residents, but this place isn’t near anything. Chef/owner Akio Ishito claims “many Japanese” seek out his restaurant, and ...

Tasting the beast

2011 Wildebeest at Pacific Time

Near as I can tell, Buty Vineyards produces Beast wine as the experimental section of their operation in Washington’s Columbia Valley. For this particular bottling, the winemakers blended Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, and Mourvèdre (if ...

Young, white wine in the La Jolla sunshine

Tasting notes on LJ Crafted Wines' 2015 Albariño

You can’t help but like the way the sun streams into a southwest exposure during the afternoon in Bird Rock. This time of year, it slides in obliquely, without the driving force of summer, but ...

How many ramen shops can San Diego sustain?

Nishiki tries to distinguish itself from the competition

How long does a restaurant have to stay open before a GRAND OPENING sign comes down? Nishiki Ramen, sharing a parking lot with Mitsuwa market, still proudly flies their big, red banner, six months after ...

Have you tried the bone broth?

Unexpected coolness at Farmer & the Seahorse

In the world of nightlife and dining, there are cool scenes and there are bad scenes. There are plenty of weird scenes out there, too. Then, there are the random scenes, the likes of which ...

USD’s secret

La Gran Terraza, a nook of affordable luxury

“People lined up around the block!” states one exuberant diner, his orotund voice booming with joyous, blustery, academic indifference. “They’ve never had voter turnout like that before,” he adds, closing his assessment of Bernie Sanders’ ...

Burgers and beer, then and now

La Jolla Tap and The Shack

It’s easy to talk about a restaurant’s food. Almost too easy. Sometimes there are better stories to be told if you go a little deeper. In the mid-‘90s, all we wanted was cold Tecate, cheap ...

What is “New American” anymore?

The same tavern-chic at Masters Kitchen and Cocktail

The designers of Masters Kitchen and Cocktail embraced the building’s auto parts warehouse history. Perhaps too much. Cold drafts bother when the weather turns cool, the whole place seems designed to an inhuman scale, and ...

Tiny dogs and good sushi

A day on the patio at Shimbashi Izakaya

If you’re dining on a patio somewhere, one good way to tell you’re in Del Mar is when multiple impeccably groomed, toy-sized dogs discretely nibble bits of sushi from the manicured fingers of their doting ...

Expensive, and worth it

Just another night at Pamplemousse Grille

Diamond solitaires and pearls glimmer in the dim. A woman laughs loudly, sharing a private joke with the bartender as she orders another $20 glass of wine. A table of attorneys from L.A., fresh from ...

Jinya offers a big dose of chic

PB’s new cool spot?

Worlds collide to the tune of “Fresh garlic, yo! This is key!” from a well-dressed 20-something, who only moments before elaborated on how one particular dish was “so bomb” that it’s what he gets every ...