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Stories by Ed Bedford

I’ve gone crazy and ordered a breakfast salad

And the bread bowl is not just a cheaper choice on the menu, it’s delicious

‘Body Butter,” says the sample the guy’s handing out. “Free application,” he says. “Step inside.” So La Jolla. “Not now,” I say. Truth is, I’m desperate for brekky. And also, I wanna to try this ...

In the company of cats

They say purrs lower blood pressure

Autumn in Paris! I’m in a French-feeling patio with about eight wood-slat tables under a big tree. Fall leaves saucer down in the breeze. We’re in the Gaslamp’s Chinatown area at 3rd and Island. “The ...

Sip, nibble, sip as you watch the world go by

Man, this place has atmosphere

Four men sit heads-down in the middle of a card game. Two of them hold dead cigars in their card hand. They’re speaking Italian. “What’s the game?” “Scopa,” says the gent with the merry face. ...

Taco joint at the Hotel Del?

“Better hurry, they close at sunset.”

I’m standing staring out to sea along with maybe fifty people here where the Del segues into beach. We’re on the brink of sunset. And what a sunset. For sure, it’s the wildfires causing it. ...

Rib tips are beckoning

“I just do this for a hobby.”

What is going on up here? This is Chollas View-Mount Hope. Guess I’ve been looking for ribs in all the wrong places, heh heh. We’re talking Market Street in the 4200 area. Trundling east in ...

All I can say is, lavish!

I waddle out, a couple of pounds heavier.

I swear. Thought I knew Barrio Logan. I’m wandering down Beardsley to where it gets more industrial. Right where Newton Avenue crosses, by Perkins Elementary School, I spot a sandwich board. Huh. A kind of ...

Poke power

I need some of the pure protein tuna has. Not greasy cheeseburgers.

Are we running out of tuna? Standing here in Poke Etc, in the middle of National City’s Highland View Center, I’m starting to wonder. Little signs on the counter say they’re going to have to ...

A beautifully angry cauldron of tastes

“We are all Issan here.”

To understand a cuisine, you’ve got to look around. That is, look at the countryside of an area. Like Issan cooking. These people live in the not -so-fertile crescent of Thailand’s northeast. The land doesn’t ...

To beat hunger and heat in El Centro

Cathy brings my mollete, and boy, for $2.85, it’s a lot

‘Cher was born here,” says Sonny. “Right, Lawrence?” Lawrence lifts up his aristocratic, bloodhound-wrinkled face and nods. “Her dad was a truck driver.” We’re standing in the muggy heat of an El Centro Greyhound depot. ...

Mold gold

This is the best danged torta I can ever remember eating.

It’s black. It’s a fungus. It’s a disease. It’s delicious. I know because I’m sinking my fangs into a torta that’s drooling with it: huitlacoche. That’s a Nahuatl name meaning “sleeping excrescence.” It grows on ...

Haggis: bad, Nessy burgers: good

A nap and a Scottish piper wailing in the heather would go down well right now

"You can see forever!” says Mag. We’ve just got out of her car. Wind sifts up from the San Luis Rey river, snaking through the valley below. Interstate 15 swoops towards us like a gigantic ...

People look up to Syrian food

Competition among Middle East restaurants around here is intense.

People look up to Syrian food

Gluten-free duck

So next night, here I am again, staring across at their come-hither lights

Gluten-free duck

Sushi and tacos, making whoopee

“You could really fill yourself for eight bucks, no problem.”

Sushi and tacos, making whoopee

The Reader's 2018 burger issue

The most complicated of sandwiches The Friendly, Born and Raised, Balboa Bar, Viewpoint, Mishmash, Currant, Bleu Boheme By Mary Beth Abate We’re burger rich, y’all Craft House, Gourmet Sandwiches, Salud, Ty's, Bunz, Hamilton's. Chinatown Bar ...

Gimme the biggest burger you got

Werewolf, Longhorn, Night and Day, Nessy, Cafe 505, Cali O, Nicky Rottens

This time I’m thinking don’t spare the horses, think BIG! So I got the biggest burgers these places had, and the climax was out in Rancho San Diego, where Nicky Rottens has a two-pound, $30 ...

I’m hemorrhaging mayonnaise

“Boy, hero to zero in five minutes flat.”

I’m hemorrhaging mayonnaise

Typically Cuban

I love how people drop their inhibitions here

Typically Cuban

What Italians like to do

Any time I can afford it, I’ll be here.

My friend Carlos paid for this. I would have been too mean. By the time I arrive, he already has a large plate of one of the taglieri (“cutting boards”). It’s laid out on the ...

Bedford in hot Tecate

I’m just the kind of turista the people of Tecate don’t need.

The tuba player sweats as he wiggles into his tuba — sousaphone, more accurately. It sends evil glints into the café crowd. But it’s so hot, he wriggles out again, and goes to sit under ...

Pure pupusa pleasure

“I’ve always loved their soft squelchiness, and the things you can fill them with.”

Sunday night, seven, 8th Street, up near Highland, National City. Not many places open for a hungry lad like myself. Yes, Cabo Wabo Grill and Bar is blasting out Historia de Un Amor, but I’m ...

Reader 2018 Feast issue

Writers and their favotrites

When dinner is a gift El Jardin, Cowboy Star, Coasterra, Born & Raised, Charles + Dinorah, Nine-Ten, Juniper & Ivy By Mary Beth Abate I burst with hometown pride George's, Himitsu, Kokoro, Starlite, Gelato Vero ...

Gather a dozen of your best friends

Yellow Deli, Not-Not Tacos, Grandma's Tofu, Garden Kitchen, Villa Manila, Piazza 1909, Mariscos El Titanic

The first element for a nice evening out is not to rush it. Which makes this place perfect: Yellow Deli never closes, except from Friday 3 pm through Sunday 3 pm, sabbath for Twelve Tribes, ...

Panini plan has to work

“I turn away people asking for omelets every day, but I’ve stopped feeling guilty about it.”

Bob and Kate Carpenter had a decision to make. “I said ‘We have no pension, no safety net. This has to work,’” says Bob. The question? Whether to give up their lives as journalists and ...

Sam the taco guy

“I’m not a purist. I’m a food agnostic.”

When is a taco not not a taco? I’ve come to this brand-new Little Italy Food Hall’s opening day to find out. From The Princess Pub, you can see it happening at the other end ...

Out of South Africa

“I made 300 pounds of sausages for the Fourth of July. We sold out.”

‘Just think about it,” says Perky. Graham Perkett, actually, but his friends call him Perky. “Four, five hundred years ago, the Cape of Good Hope was where every ship from Europe had to stop in ...

If La Jolla had a Cheers

The Spot to be in Mat Kulaaxuuy

Welcome to Mat Kulaaxuuy — Land of Holes. ’Course, you may know it as “La Jolla.” But to the Kumeyaay, always and still, Mat Kulaaxuuy’s the name. Mat means “land,” Kulaaxuuy means “holes.” Ergo, Land ...

Colombian carbs

Usually, plantains are kind of like unsweet bananas. Not this luscious baby.

Are we too hung up on spicy? On hot habanero burns to make our eating life sexy? The question came up the day Colombia beat — no, thrashed — Poland in the World Cup, 3 ...

What’s a red-blooded sake drinker to do?

Deal aside, this place just seems to have the right vibe. Good fusui.

DMV. Wednesday afternoon. “H.H. Zero. One. One,” says the woman’s auto-voice over the loudspeaker. “Report to counter #3.” Okay, that might not be exact, but I’ve been sitting hearing the numbers creep up for the ...

Famous for all-u-can-eat ribs

“He always lived by the motto, ‘Not as mean, not as lean, but still a Marine.’”

“First,” says the lady driver, “watch this traffic. It can be lethal out here.” I see what she means. Cars and trucks hurtle into this valley like the last plunge of the Giant Dipper at ...

Urchin Merchants

“This market is the first time we fishermen can be our own masters. No middle man.”

‘It’s a record! A state record!” This is Randy Hupp. He’s standing behind a rack of angry fish that look like scarlet versions of grouper. He points to two other fishermen in the tent. “These ...

A good time (and timing) in Dulzura

"They only feed you on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays."

Peaceful countryside? Zoom! Zum zum zum, rattle, baarp! Highway 94, the old stagecoach route, is one crazy turnpike. Gravel trucks, tankers, buses, and cars, cars, cars. This one-shop stop is Dulzura (population maybe 850, scattered ...

A beautiful, free lunch

King and poor man are treated equally at Sikh "kitchen for all."

“You need to take your shoes off and put a covering on your hair.” He says it in the kindest possible way. Vikash Kumar. He ties a triangular orange scarf over my head. Because this ...

Korean cuisine and conversation on Convoy

Mimi feels at home in California, but still craves chicken feet and raw crab

Almost didn’t make it out of Kearny Mesa Friday night. Caught the last bus by a hair. I blame the Koreans. Came up here looking for Korean food. BBQ. And conversation. Because I’m kinda curious ...

Argentinians ascendant on C Street

Stuffed like an empanada at Empanada Kitchen

“All the Argentinian children thought I was Brazilian,” says Brandon, “because I was black, and they’d never seen a black American before. They all wanted to take pictures with me.” Brandon, his buddy Matt, and ...

Great atmosphere, better tacos

Baja Oyster, Border X, Carnitas, Canteen at Quartyard, Candelas, Senor Taquero

Most of these taco joints you just wanna be at, anyway. Some, it’s their fun, or their music, others, it’s the incredible eye candy they give away for the price of a taco – fabulous ...

Tom kha in the desert

55 Thai aims to bring sweet simplicity to San Diego

So ’t’other day my buddy Ernesto — Neto — and I met at this corner liquor store over the summit in Golden Hill for lunch. His idea. “Uh, likker store?” “Wait till you get inside,” ...

Good eats at Gillespie Field

Really, I haven’t had such a good brekky for ages

First time I see the sign, I think hot diggity: A pie café on an airfield! So I walk in off Marshall Avenue to where all the hangars with the apartments above form a little ...

It's the blankets (tartines, cupcakes) at Frost Me Café and Bakery

Piazza della famiglia finally open in Little Italy

It’s the free blankets. A whole wicker basket filled with them, all rolled up. Mexican blankets, waiting for patio customers to grab ‘em and warm themselves up. April 16th, opening day, on the patio of ...

Nobody uses their phones at Quartyard II

"The three architecture students who conceived this, they proved something here."

“Look around,” says Ivan. “What do you notice?” I look around. Uhhhh? “I’ll tell you,” he says. “Nobody’s using their phones See? They’re all talking to each other, drinking, eating, playing with their dogs, whatever. ...

Point Loma happy hour tour

Stopping to snack in the magic hour

Hurry-up time: Have to hit happy hour because, well, this is Point Loma. Million-dollar yachts, hundred-dollar eateries. Can’t afford full-freight. I’m here for three days. Work. So, hey, three chances at happy hour happiness! Day ...

Grabbing the grilled pork at Villa Manila

"Most Filipinos like eating with their hands when it comes to feasting. It ties them to the old ways.”

“With your fingers, dude?” says Wes. “Hey, what else did people eat with, before you French brought in the fork, right? You invented cutlery! The Curse of the Eating Classes!” Actually, Wes has always been ...

Nine miles from nearest bus stop

Twelve Tribes branch in Valley Center

“Could you let me off at Lilac Road?” That’s me, asking the driver of the 388 as we climb through the hills and orange orchards of Valley Center Road, northeast of Escondido. “Just in time,” ...

The world's largest larder

"Peruvian cuisine is not just Inca."

Who has the largest larder in the world? Peru. Why Peru? Because it has the most vertical of back yards. Restaurants in Lima can get produce from 17 different altitudes, from 6 feet below the ...

The hidden food of Barona

Feisty Kate's, Ho Wan Noodle Shop, Barona Oaks Steakhouse

‘The long and winding road,” sing the Beatles on this bus’s sound system. And, boy, have they nailed it. I look out the bus window and see rocks, bluffs, isolated houses with dusty trucks in ...

You want more chicken

Carlsbad Mexican broilers — yum

Three armed guys come through the door. They’re all chunky hardbodies, wearing what look like bulletproof vests. Written across their backs, one word: PROBATION. They head for the counter. Maria, Rosana, and Carmen face them ...

Pick and poke at a delicious yellowtail head

“And the eyes. The fatty deposits at the back of the sockets are delicious. Use your chopsticks.”

"Eight bucks,” says my friend Jim. “For a fish’s head?” I ask. “You’d be surprised how much meat’s on it.” He tells me about sitting next to a Kenyan couple in Saiko, the sushi place ...

Comfort food was never so needed

Thank God for Franco's large menu. It becomes my shield.

It’s Carla. She’s been ailing. Today, down here in Bonita, in a hospice, her suffering melted away. It was indescribably beautiful. Me, family, nurses, had been in close, talking with her, looking for even nods ...

Unlimited toppings for $10!

Aspirations for that 30-story East Village tower

"J ó étvágyat!” says Zorka. It means “Bon appetit,” in Hungarian, she says. She’s from Budapest. We’re sitting in this brand-new, two-week-old pizza-and-salad joint, in East Village. Man, I’ve been waiting for this place to ...

South Park corner store morphs into Paris bistro

A cafe is born

We haven’t quite got things ready,” says Jordan. “We’re working on a small-plates menu and a wine-by-the-glass menu, but we’re not quite there.” Don’t rush it, I say. Because this is big. We’re here at ...

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