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Stories by Ian Anderson

The Lab Collaborative basks in Oceanside’s attentions

If you’ve paid attention to travel media in the past year, you might have noticed a newfound appreciation for that three-mile stretch of surf and sand called Oceanside. Never mind those singing its praises are ...

2022 Summer Fun Issue

The other night at dinner, the Young People asked the Old People, “How do you know when you’re an adult?” Your humble Editor’s answer: “When you realize that life is no longer play that gets ...

El Peladito imports a better sports bar menu

Baseball rules at El Peladito. Its entire back wall creates the illusion the Otay Ranch bar and grill sits on the first-base line of a baseball stadium, complete with lawn stripes and a replay screen ...

Hayes Burger built a burger hub beside Chicano Park

Hayes Burger is the first shop on Logan Avenue, coming out of Chicano Park, and as I approach on foot, I can see a few other people have the same lunch plan I do. A ...

Gorilla Eats Sushi, but that’s not fish

Over the past few years, plant-based sushi has become a fixture of San Diego’s restaurant landscape. That’s a big win for vegans and the vegan-adjacent, because there’s a distinct pleasure to the ritual of dining ...

Algo Bueno grows in Chula Vista

Usually, we see this go in the other direction. Somebody with cooking talent tests the market with a food truck, then works to make the dream of a brick-and-mortar restaurant a reality. For Silvia Loya ...

San Diego resists – but not completely – the invasion of Austin breakfast tacos

Is San Diego finally becoming more of a breakfast taco town? Nobody’s suggesting that tacos haven’t long been a part of San Diego’s balanced breakfast. They may not be what middle America would call breakfast ...

Formoosa adds Taiwan to the Convoy Asian Cultural District

If a current fundraising effort succeeds, the 805 freeway will get a set of new, city-official signs announcing the offramps to the Convoy Asian Cultural District. Highway signs may not sound like that big a ...

Eat all the pastries at Hans and Harry’s Bakery

You have to wake up pretty early in the morning to beat the lines at Hans & Harry’s Bakery. The Euro-style cake and pastry shop has been luring customers to a shopping center in the ...

The Pad Thai Stand’s noodle-friendly patio

It had been a few years since I sought out a certain pad thai farmers market stand to receive a tasty lesson in Thai street food, and I felt overdue for a refresher course. However, ...

Everything in San Diego all at once

A group of boats appear to be racing across the bay, their striped, colorful sails puffed out by steady winds and shining in the midday sun. From left to right behind them, a panorama of ...

Baked Café won’t make us pronounce “kolaches”

When I wrote about it in 2015, East Village bakery Brooklyn Bagel and Bialy was the closest our city came to having a legit New York bagel shop. Meaning I might have experienced lasting disappointment ...

Hooleys truly is a San Diegan Irish Pub

Because I first spotted it at a mall, I walked around for years assuming Hooleys Irish Pub & Grill was part of a national franchise; like it was the Irish answer to Chili’s or TGI ...

The all you can eat lessons of Buga Korean BBQ

It had been well over two years since I last plied my hunger at an offer of all-you-can-eat. Back in the 2010s, friends and I would saunter into a place determined to out-eat such offers. ...

Better desert dining at The Fox Bistro

We’ve reached that time of year when folks head out to the easternmost reaches of San Diego County in search of desert wildflowers. Thanks to a drier than usual winter, this spring won’t be hyped ...

Beard Papa’s, a cream puff boutique

For as long as I’ve known the Village of La Jolla, I’ve associated its Girard Avenue with exactly three types of businesses: high-end cosmetics, designer clothing, and Warwick’s bookstore. So it’s fair to say I ...

Everytable offers a different take on fast food

We may live in uncertain times, but I’d still call it a fair assumption, in 2022, that any meal priced under ten dollars will either be served on a tortilla or bun. So how is ...

Elote puts corn front and center

It’s customary for a restaurant to ask a diner’s preference for certain things. How well done do you take your steak? Which toppings on your pizza? How spicy your chicken? It’s far less common for ...

Camino Riviera evokes Tulum all right

It’s a fish taco so long, it comes wrapped in two corn tortillas, laid end to end. So blackened by squid ink tempura, you might never guess that impeccably cooked white fish lies within. So ...

Make The Girls Deli your next sandwich counter

As I drive along El Cajon Boulevard through North Park, a swirl of pink neon lets me know that it’s not just the same old deli making sandwiches within the ABC Market & Deli. Rather, ...

Omelets by day, Al Pastor Town by night

It’s after 4pm, and I’m sitting in a booth at the Omelette Factory, the egg-centric breakfast restaurant that’s been operating in Santee for some 28 years. Of course, nobody’s eating omelets at 4pm, and no ...

Mmm… Cakes… and cookies, and cinnamon rolls, and danishes

They say a lot of Americans took up baking, roughly two years ago this month. I’m not one of them, but during the pandemic I did start paying closer attention to the bakeries doing business ...

Sanguchería means Peruvian sandwiches in Tierrasanta

The word sánguches will be new to most of us, but if you say the word quickly it’s not hard to tell what sánguches means to the people of Peru: sandwiches. Knowing this makes it ...

Grandpa Tao Kitchen’s beefed-up broth

Thank the kitchen god, our days of mediocre phở have come to an end. One year ago, my family moved from central San Diego to East County. Though we occasionally miss the walkability of our ...

Burma Place adds to the global menu

The last time I tried Burmese food, I had to drive hours to get it. But on this sunny afternoon, the car only has to make it as far as Rancho Bernardo. Still, I’m impatient ...

Carlsbad Aquafarm is making locals shellfish

In the parking lot, it takes me a moment to realize what’s missing. I’m standing beside the old power plant in Carlsbad, only I don’t recognize it at first, because the stack is gone. The ...

The low-key virtues of Shootz Fish and Beer

Given the recent tourism features in several travel magazines and the Los Angeles Times, Oceanside looks on a mission to raise its profile with out of towners. However, the city’s local-oriented developments may be more ...

Zad Mediterranean proves flavor is more important than location

Zad Mediterranean Cuisine sits several hundred feet down a peculiar, obsolete offshoot of Campo Road that dead ends beneath highway 94. Technically, Zad is visible from the eastbound lanes, but the storefront’s muted hues are ...

What An’s Hatmakers really makes is frozen indulgence

It’s easy to imagine that some who drive the North Park section of Adams Avenue still think clothes are being washed in An’s Dry Cleaning. However, a legion of loyal fans know that, four years ...

Function follows art on the Artifact menu

For those who haven’t yet found the time to check out the new-look Mingei International Museum, here’s a sure-fire way to make room in your busy schedule: by leveraging your appetite. Following a couple failed ...

The loveably unpolished Bambino’s Pizza & Deli

It was the heart-shaped pizza that brought me to Paradise Valley, a southeastern San Diego neighborhood roughly at the halfway point between National City and Spring Valley. Aside from single-family homes and apartment complexes, there ...

Kingfisher brings cuisine to Golden Hill

For differing reasons, mussels and chicken wings were not what I imagined eating when I first heard about Golden Hill restaurant, Kingfisher. Granted, it has been nearly three years since word got around a modern ...

Agave Birrería chases the American internet’s dream

Birria — a Mexican dish of shredded goat or beef, stewed in a broth warmed by chili peppers and adobo spices — has been around for hundreds of years. But only since the foodie internet ...

Rosemarie’s works to make sliders interesting

Time was, you wouldn’t expect any remarkable effort from a kitchen trailer parked outside a brewery taproom. Particularly if its menu were limited to sliders and dirty fries. So, why have I driven to Bay ...

Barrio Donas finds beauty in fried dough

“Chubby, round, and very pretty.” That’s how Google translates gordita redondita y bien bonita, the Spanish words written in pink neon on the wall of Barrio Donas. The shop’s name itself translates to “neighborhood donuts,” ...

The Señor Mango’s at the other end of North Park

As of late January, work crews had finished installing the last leg of buffered bike lanes along 30th Street, in North Park. I noticed the new lanes, added just south of Adams Avenue, while slurping ...

Head Lettuce and the art of the quiet lunch rush

There were no other customers present when I walked into fast casual salad shop, Head Lettuce. But, make no mistake, the lunch rush was underway. The small eatery does business in University City, where it’s ...

Ichiban Sando has a way of making fried meats feel special

You can slap just about anything between two slices of bread and call it a sandwich, but that doesn’t mean all sandwich making arts are equal. I pointed the car south toward Chula Vista this ...

The plant-based bread schtick of Ben and Esther’s Vegan Jewish Deli

Hailing from a cuisine characterized by the likes of schmaltz, schmears, corned beef, and brisket, the staples of a Jewish delicatessen would not appear to be likely candidates for veganization. Nevertheless, the newest addition to ...

The French Oven, hidden among family homes

Wander the tightly packed, urban neighborhoods of Paris, and you may expect to find a boulangerie on nearly every city block. Drive the sprawling blocks of Scripps Ranch, on the other hand, and it’s a ...

Evolution Fast Food does just fine with old fashioned fake meat

A certain fried poultry chain garnered buckets of free press last week for announcing it will be serving vegan chicken options at its restaurants. Really, KFC is just the latest fast-food brand to make hay ...

Valet Market invites you to skip the cashier

It’s 2022, and we’re all more or less accustomed to ordering food from touchscreens. That could mean delivery order placed from our phones, fast food order made at digital kiosks, or — thank you, pandemic ...

Underbelly’s neon noodle showcase

However much I might like a restaurant these days, it’s tough to achieve regular customer status with a food writing gig that always has me on the lookout for new and different. But when Underbelly ...

Ending the year with Pozoleria Doña Maria

Not that I need encouragement, but the late year rain and chill reminded me that New Year’s is the traditional time of year to feast on pozole. Which meant the thing to do was aim ...

A Wei Wei Asian Express Xmas

If there’s a fine line between tradition and cliché, no action straddles it better than ordering Chinese take-out on December 25th. Noodles, dumplings, mistletoe — all swirl together in whichever part of the brain nostalgia ...

Bucking the breakfast norm at Café 222

Hot chocolate and Oreo pancakes might not be what my wife had in mind when she sent me off with the children in search of breakfast. But it’s a chilly morning, and we’re dining outside, ...

Inpasta brings more Italian to Lemon Grove

How much does Lemon Grove like Italian food? The answer may be forthcoming, as a new restaurant and market has set up shop in the neighborhood. Inpasta Artisan Pasta and Pizza opened this month a ...

Sahara Taste of the Middle East (and East County suburbs)

Having recently moved out of San Diego’s urban center, I’ve spent much of this year reconciling myself to the idea that, beyond the city proper, sometimes independent restaurateurs manage to outdo competition within suburban shopping ...

Tuétano shows up in Old Town, with Mar Rustico in tow

It’s fair to assume that the Michelin Guide will never revisit San Ysidro. Nor that any restaurants in the small border district will again receive attention from magazines including Food & Wine, Fortune, or GQ. ...

Side Chick’s not-Nashville hot chicken sandwich

It probably says something about which stage of the fried chicken craze we’ve entered that I can squeeze in a couple of minutes of grocery shopping while waiting for my hot chicken sandwich to be ...

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