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Stories by Ian Anderson

Five black-owned restaurants to try in San Diego

I’m witnessing something this week I never imagined I’d see: local restaurants, already hurting due to the covid-19 shutdown, are openly promoting other restaurants. It’s due to the fact that injustice against African-Americans is on ...

After a weekend of unrest, lunch at El Chingon

At a nearby table, a group of young women are discussing the weekend protests, which saw thousands of San Diegans demonstrate against police brutality. Primarily they express concern the message of peaceful protestors could be ...

Forty years in business, D.Z. Akin's adapts to the changing times

Forty years ago this year, Zvika and Debi Akin put their initials together to open D.Z. Akin’s, the San Diego region’s foremost Jewish restaurant, delicatessen, and bakery. Originally a small counter shop, the business expanded ...

Is your favorite brewery open yet? Check Magie's spreadsheet.

The past ten weeks have been a roller coaster ride for the San Diego beer industry, as abrupt public policy shifts due to coronavirus have kept breweries and fans on their toes. Every individual beer ...

May 29, 2020
Glass partitions and spirit bottles at El Agave

There was bound to be some awkwardness. The ‘rona closed restaurant dining rooms more than two months ago, and if the intervening weeks taught us anything, it’s to be leery of human contact. The government ...

Brewery taprooms are back, with a catch

At noon on Thursday, May 21, for the first time in more than two months, Mike Hess Brewing opened its North Park, Imperial Beach, and Ocean Beach taprooms to customers, allowing them once again to ...

Solomon Bagel Company attracts lines anyway

It will be interesting to see what it’s like to hang out at Solomon Bagel Company. North Park’s newest donut and bagel destination has been open a few weeks, only since the shutdown started. So ...

Three good reasons to order from Madison on Park

I have to be honest: I did not expect to find myself ordering from Madison on Park during this shutdown. The University Heights restaurant has much going for it, but near the top of the ...

JuneShine’s outlook remains healthy

Last week, following ten months of development, Scripps Ranch hard kombucha maker JuneShine launched a new product line: JuneShine 100. Finishing at 100 calories and one gram of sugar per 12-ounce can, the diet-friendly drink ...

May 14, 2020
A hot opening day at Mr. Trustee

As afternoon temperatures pushed 90 last Wednesday, ice cream fans lined up in Mission Hills to be among the first to get scoops from Mr. Trustee, the neighborhood’s newest ice cream shop. Like me, they ...

Re-opening the neighborhood coffeeshop

The jacaranda blossoms have made their spring return to the trees out front, in striking purple contrast to the pale green A-frame that has been home to Influx Café for 18 years. And for the ...

Flying Toad dishes comfort from a fine dining kitchen

We’ve seen a number of restaurants successfully pivot in the covid era, whether they’ve transformed into on-site groceries or added family combo meals to the menu. Escondido’s premier fine dining restaurant has found another way ...

Metl Bar delivers boozy ice cream to San Diego

Rock music should have been what drew me to Metl Bar & Restaurant. That’s the new mantle of the Gaslamp space previously called The Hopping Pig. New ownership gave it a rock bar revamp late ...

Five Suits and Three Frogs

Counted among the world’s top amateur brewers, national and state homebrew champion Nick Corona has steadily worked toward opening his own brewery, somewhere in North County. He came close on locations in San Marcos and ...

Surf & Soul Spot touches down in La Mesa

The first time I ate at Surf & Soul Spot, it was operating as a pop-up restaurant, serving fried fish and soul food select days per week at a church banquet hall in the southeast ...

Mi Pana: take-out for the no longer jet set

Call me optimistic, but I still believe food has the power to bring people of the world together, even if the times call for us to maintain a certain distance. Under normal circumstances, restaurants serving ...

El Cajon – from rednecks to immigrants

The slow end of the Kalasho regime At a city council meeting in September Elia spoke publicly to Kalasho: “Ben, you need help. It hurts me to see fellow Chaldeans spiral like this. It might ...

A gasmask wedding and the unlikely rise of a pandemic grocery

In March, to mark their fifth anniversary, Ike and Yulia Gazaryan decided to renew their vows with a small event where they originally wed: at their Pushkin Russian Restaurant & Bar. With the pandemic and ...

Bay City Brewing comes back pouring in East Village

I’m not saying we jinxed it, but San Diego sports were enjoying an uncommonly good year before all sports were canceled due to coronavirus. Aztecs basketball started 26-and-0 and figured to make noise as a ...

Spring in my Corazon de Torta

It was about three years ago next weekend that I got my first taste of the Corazon de Torta food truck. It was parked towards the back of the Reader’s Tacotopia taco festival, but buzz ...

Market Box delivers the rest of the farmers market to your door

Throughout most of the county, weekly farmers markets were initially shut down on March 13, while the first rounds of covid-19 restrictions were put in place. Though many of the markets have re-opened in April, ...

April 27, 2020
Burger (and pizza) cravings lead back to Lefty's

Whether for work, fun, or plain hunger, I reckon I’ve tried a good six or seven hundred San Diego restaurants over the years. But at remarkably few can I claim to know the whole menu. ...

Coronavirus slows, but doesn't stop San Diego's mead and cider momentum

On El Cajon Boulevard, just about the point North Park becomes University Heights, the new taproom for Serpentine Cider was originally slated to open this weekend (2311 El Cajon Boulevard). The coronavirus had other ideas. ...

April 24, 2020
Gluten Free Baking Co. makes desserts for all

A gluten free cinnamon roll shouldn’t taste this good, I tell myself, before taking another bite. Then I recall what the woman behind the counter had told me. “We sold out of the iced cinnamon ...

Japanese goes plant-based at The Yasai

This spring was supposed to be sort of a moment for vegan sushi in San Diego, a reminder that — minus the fish — rice, rice vinegar, and seaweed fit well within the plant-based ethos. ...

Restaurant delivery, without the delivery apps

It’s been a dozen years since I first started getting tacos and burritos from Los Reyes Mexican Food in Golden Hill. The family business has been at it since 1991. But only since restaurant dining ...

How to stay caffeinated and support local coffee roasters

Normally, a late morning visit to the James Coffee co-op in Little Italy would mean searching for a place to park, bumping into someone I know on the street, standing in line for a pour ...

Observing one month in isolation with take-home sushi

The seven pieces of sushi were packaged in the sort of container you’d expect to find in a grocery: one of those rectangular trays with a clear plastic, snap-on top. Except grocery store sushi boxes ...

These essential businesses still bake cookies

Since the call went out for all but essential businesses to close during the coronavirus crisis, exactly what constitutes an “essential business” has been a point of public debate. “Are restaurants?” some wonder; “Are bakeries?” ...

Drink local beer like the economy depends on it

Drink local. This has long been a rallying cry of San Diego’s beer industry. But nearly a month into California’s covid-19 shutdown, the overture has more urgency than ever. Particularly for breweries that rely on ...

Farmers Market: masked shopper edition

I don’t know what it says about our appetites in isolation, but well before noon the stand for Da-Le-Ranch meats had sold out of rabbit. Duck breast and Cornish game hen too. This was the ...

No meat, no waste, no dining in: newly opened The Plot goes express

Once upon a time, before people wore protective masks outside the home, there was a new North County restaurant at the top of everybody’s must-try list. Given another week of open dining rooms, I would ...

To feed vulnerable residents during a pandemic, Oceanside turns to restaurants

In the weeks since American public life was officially put on pause in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, too much the news out of the restaurant industry has been dire. Dining rooms closed, millions out ...

San Diego open restaurants – East County, South Bay, and Tijuana

East County Dirty Birds D.Z. Akin's Funky Fries and Burgers - El Cajon Sammy's Woodfired Pizza - La Mesa South Bay Tijuana For restaurants in the San Diego beach area, click here. For North County ...

San Diego open restaurants – Central

55 Thai Kitchen Board & Brew - East Village Crest Cafe Dirty Birds -College Area Farmer's Table - Little Italy Funky Fries and Burgers - Hillcrest For restaurants in the San Diego beach area, click ...

San Diego open restaurants – Beaches

Board & Brew Donut Bar Gaglione Brothers Lemonade Mr. Moto Pizza House Snooze, An A.M. Eatery Swami's Café Woodstock's Pizza For restaurants in central San Diego, click here. For restaurants in East County, South Bay, ...

San Diego open restaurants – North County Coastal

Betty’s Pie Whole Karl Strauss Brewing Company Senor Grubby's - Carlsbad Senor Grubby's - Oceanside For North County inland restaurants, click here. For restaurants in central San Diego, click here. For restaurants in East County, ...

Que Huong Vietnamese restaurant serves quail, wild boar, deer, and more

Stay-at-home orders may keep us from going out to restaurants, but it doesn’t mean they can keep us from trying new things. Early on during this age of social isolation, my cravings went for the ...

The latest coronavirus restaurant trend: family meals

I was sitting on my couch watching TV when I had my first experience with no-contact delivery. First came the text message, letting me know my food was arriving. I watched through the peephole as ...

March 30, 2020
Best Reader stories from 2017

Spruce Street suspension bridge brings out demented thoughts It’s early, the marine layer still a veneer over the city, when we park the car just shy of the suspension bridge. The day promises to be ...

March 28, 2020
Closed to dining, some restaurants start selling groceries

Last night, I placed an order for delivery from the restaurant Tender Greens. Dinner was good, but what will help sustain me in the week to come was the grocery box I ordered. For $33, ...

Take-home cocktails join the pandemic menu

Bars closed last week by government order, but there’s a catch: bars that serve food can stay open, and serve food to go. More than that, in a notice of regulatory relief aimed at the ...

Best Reader stories from 2016

Tijuana destroys Spanish and English “Tengo que ir hacer laundry, then I have to study en la biblioteca,” I’m paraphrasing what the Latina students in my college sounded like. My first real encounter with Spanglish ...

March 22, 2020
Curbside comfort food from Pop Pie Co.

I feel the now familiar tinge of fear as I leave my apartment and get into my car, parked out front. Especially since the governor ordered Californians — all 40 million of us — to ...

Beer to go, online orders, and unemployment

The entire U.S. retail economy has been put into a state of flux by the public policy response to Covid-19, and San Diego’s beer and booze industry is no exception. The past week saw our ...

March 18, 2020
Ceviche Craft builds bowls and towers in Otay Ranch

Anecdotally, I can tell you that four out of five ceviches have shrimps in them. For those of us with shellfish allergies, that means, “No ceviche for you!” at least 80 percent of the time. ...

Restaurant options during the pandemic (updated)

Last week began a terrifying ride for the restaurant industry as public policy coping with the Covid-19 pandemic moved quickly from sanitation and social distancing advisories, to a full prohibition of dining in restaurants. The ...

March 16, 2020
Dining out in the time of Covid-19

Ten of us, seated around a long restaurant table, sharing whatever bits of news we’d heard about this disruptive pandemic coronavirus. The St. Patrick’s Day parade canceled. The Padres season delayed. Costco out of toilet ...

Bill Batten's long road (yet short commute) to TapRoom Beer Co.

When TapRoom Beer Co. hired Bill Batten, the North Park brewpub was months from opening: its corner suite in a new, mixed-use development on El Cajon Boulevard still under construction. Freshly unemployed following a stint ...

Reader writers attempt to tone up

High on fitness Patrick Henderson Pyles Peak Corner of Golfcrest and Navajo Drives Mission Trails Cowles Mountain is a very popular, very crowded hike — especially if you’re taking it from the Golfcrest/Navajo staging area. ...

March 11, 2020

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