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Stories by Ian Anderson

Grains — when soft opening's time is up

The vegan default menu

Is there an expiration date for a soft opening? A soft open is when a restaurant opens to the public for a trial period before declaring itself officially ready for business. Ostensibly, it gives a ...

Crowlers are changing the way we take beer home

Pint-size advantage for the nanobrewery

I recently reported that San Diego's breweries have begun favoring cans over glass bottles, but that's only half the aluminum story. The same trend has been taking hold in the way tasting rooms offer growler ...

Beer cans big

San Diego breweries bypassing glass — aluminum becoming the rule

Last year, cans were trending in San Diego craft beer. This year, they appear to be taking over. Beer buyers at several local retailers report that consumer demand for six-packs have contributed to canned beers ...

Italian dip sandwich not so dainty

A popular wedding food among poor Italian immigrants

I don't know why football season makes me crave Italian beef sandwiches. I've never lived in Chicago, and only ever visited the Windy City in the spring. I'd blame the onset of fall weather, if ...

Burgers for those with exquisite taste

Craft & Commerce, Barleymash, Mastiff, Fathom, Notorious, Burger Bench, Original Tommy's

I like my burgers like I like my beer — made with purpose using quality ingredients so it’s obvious to everyone I possess exquisite taste. So don’t be surprised that all of my picks are ...

The stuffed cookie wait is over

Refillable jars on G Street

For months I'd been taunted by the online traces of the Good Stuff Cookie Co. The pop-up cookie shop serves up stuffed cookies from inside East Village's idiosyncratic men's apparel boutique, 5&A Dime. At least ...

La bomba breakfast

Three kinds of chilaquiles just north of the border

Usually when I make it this close to the Mexican border, I eat on the other side. But this day I was taking a late breakfast in Otay Mesa. Though I stayed north, I still ...

Craft beer seeps into new neighborhoods

Benchmark, Culture, Eppig, Kensington carve out territories

The growing trend among beer companies to open satellite taprooms in commercial districts is bringing a craft-brewery presence to neighborhoods that didn't previously haven't one. There were 20 off-site tasting rooms at the beginning of ...

Coava’s coming to town...go elsewhere for batch brew

Portland coffee roaster opening at Westin Hotel

Coava Coffee may not be a household name, but in the world of specialty coffee, it’s always positioned at or near the top of any list ranking the best coffee roasters in Portland, Oregon. And ...

A bagel not trying to be a New York one

Rolled oats, wheat bran, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, and sea salt.

The Gaslamp got a new bagel shop in August, and like North Park's new iteration of Nomad Donuts, this one's offering an artisanal take on Poland's chewy and beloved boil-and-bake pastry. However, while Nomad has ...

That's progress — Modern Times heading for Portland

Pacific Northwest distribution of brew has exceeded projections

Modern Times Beer announced it has signed a lease to take over an existing 10,000-square-foot brewhouse in Portland, Oregon. In a blog entry posted to the Modern Times website, founder and CEO Jacob McKean explained ...

San Diego — the anti-bagel city

Nomad Donuts disproves the stereotype

In this world, there are cities steeped in bagel tradition, and then there's San Diego. Yet somehow, August brought not one, but two locally-born bagel shops to the metro area. And I dig them both. ...

Ebullition bubbles in to Vista

Do the math: city's 18th brewhouse, 4 more in planning stages

Ebullition Brew Works soft-opened in Vista at the beginning of July. Nearly two months later, the brewery has yet to announce a grand-opening date but has been keeping regular hours and served nine different beers ...

Mira Mesa tempura crab a star on Yelp and Instagram

Custom fish, cooking, sauce

It's a simple rule of thumb that any place calling itself fancy ain't really all that fancy. Such is the case with The Fancy Fish, a casual seafood spot sitting in the elbow slot of ...

He said he would destroy our neighborhood

Albatross Street loses its canyon

A developer’s plan to build on a canyon property in Hillcrest sparked an ever-escalating two-year dispute with the project’s immediate neighbors. As the differences have become more contentious, one or the other side has appealed ...

Lightning Brewery (still) open for business

Poway business-park suds center recharged with new business plan

When news broke in June that Lightning Brewery had sold its assets to Orange County–based Cismontane Brewing Co., rumor spread that the 11-year-old brewery had joined the ranks of San Diego ex-breweries. But reports of ...

Smokehouse in a food court?

Slow meats next to Macy's in La Mesa

The thought of a food court evokes strong sensory memories burned into my consciousness by the presence of trashy mall franchises: the baked cinnamon aromas of Cinnabon, the pulpy viscosity of Orange Julius, the slab ...

Limbo doesn't last long at Circle 9 Brewing

Lager up, sinners, or wait till the next batch

Back in June, the Reader reported a new nanobrewery, Circle 9 Brewing, had debuted its first beer at a fighting float festival in Japan. As of August 19th, the Kearny Mesa craft brewer is officially ...

Go east, Green Flash

San Diego beer-crafters buy a Lincoln, Nebraska, brewpub

Mira Mesa–based Green Flash Brewing announced this week it has purchased a 10,000-square-foot production brewery and restaurant in Lincoln, Nebraska, where it plans to expand its bicoastal beer brand by the end of the year. ...

Potato stuffed with meat sounds appealing enough

Cuban oasis in Chula Vista shopping center

I can't pretend to have much experience eating at a Cuban bakery. To be specific, I was dealing with exactly zero experience before I stumbled across Los Pollos Rotisserie & Cuban Bakery. Which was all ...

No pulse at Magnetic Brewing

Attempt to sell stake in business results in $12K judgment and eviction

One of San Diego's smallest breweries appears to be closed following an eviction notice and a $12,000 judgment from a recent lawsuit related to the brewery's attempt last year to sell 1 percent stakes of ...

Surprised by vegan tacos in middle of South Park

Satellite of Tijuana's La Taqueria Vegiee

I'm fortunate to have my favorite fish tacos within easy reach. A Mariscos Nine Seas food truck sets up daily in what is now the Target Express parking lot, by the corner of Hawthorn and ...

Second Chance Beer Co. celebrates second anniversary

OG San Diego brewers dig up proven recipes for three-day party

This Labor Day weekend, Second Chance Beer Co. will celebrate a busy first two years in business with a three-day party at its Carmel Mountain brewery. Second Chance already distributes six varieties of beer in ...

Warming up to cold noodles

Sashimi topped ramen may be the perfect summer dish

My ramen consumption has been down. Not because I'm over it, and definitely not for lack of availability — Yelp tells me I have roughly 300 ramen choices within a 15-minute drive. I've just been ...

Alta Brewing's no-get-rich-quick scheme

"The focus is really just do killer beers, not reinvent the wheel."

New breweries in San Diego join a crowded field. With over 150 brewhouses at work in the county, there's a growing sense that the time has passed for startup breweries to achieve the scope of ...

3 Punk Ales goes live in Chula Vista

And the feedback is good

Thr3e Punk Ales Brewing Co. has officially returned, adding to Chula Vista's rising status as a craft beer destination. Following an 18-month build-out, Punk cofounders John Marshall, Steve Garcia, and Kevin Lewis opened their new ...

Why slow and low cooking is worth the wait

Paris Bakery Coop's BBQ, Tamales Ancira, Campfire, Wrench and Rodent, Village North, Buona Forchetta, Aladdin's

You won’t find a better sandwich for $3.75 than you will among the bánh mì of this low-key Vietnamese deli counter. Bánh mì literally translates as “bread,” and Paris Bakery does well to live up ...

Cajun/Creole in East Village

From time to time, alligator sausage makes an appearance

Between Emeril’s “Bam!” and the House of Blues chain Disneyfying the concept of a bayou restaurant, I’ve subconsciously come to expect all Cajun eateries in California to be in some way larger than life. Bud ...

Do growlers count as open containers?

Law-enforcement agencies weigh in on a commenter's question

Following a recent story I wrote about the growler concept taking hold at an urban winery, a commenter asked whether filled growlers can be considered open containers during a traffic stop. Good question. I posed ...

A snowball’s chance in Escondido

Baltimore-style shaved ice, best served with marshmallow sauce

If you’re interested in trying the sweetest, coldest treat you can get your hands on this summer, turn your attention to Escondido and a small shack called Baltimore Snowball. As its name suggests, the snowball ...

Camp Pendleton: A hell of a place to grow up

In a good way

We were nearing the end of a late-afternoon soccer practice, trying to squeeze in a few more minutes of scrimmage time before the sun set when coach blew his whistle. The long, shrill tweet stopped ...

Escondido Feed & Pet Supply and Brewing Company

"It's a little less than 300 square feet. We had to be a little imaginative."

A 14-year homebrewer, Ketchen Smith has long dreamed of leaving his job in the medical device industry to start a brewery. "I wanted to go 15-barrel," he says, "and retire to brewing." Doing so would ...

Range of brews

Beer, cider, mead, and sake producers hybridize

With alternative craft beverages such as cider, mead, and sake gathering momentum in San Diego, local beer producers have taken note, and in recent months brewers of all kinds have gotten together to experiment with ...

Ice cream puffs?

This could be a thing, except for the donut itself

I’ve got to hand it to Coronado Spice & Tea. When I spotted the sign saying, “Try our ice cream puffs,” I took notice. I didn’t know what they were, but I guessed that they ...

Lemon Grove railroad ties used to replace Starbucks vibe

James, OB Beans, Ryan Bros. test local loyalty

Several San Diego neighborhoods have gained locally roasted coffee this spring. First up, James Coffee Co. has opened a 413 square foot coffee counter in Bankers Hill, at newly constructed building The Louie (2870 Fourth ...

Beer cans on the beach A-OK...in South Korea

Abnormal sees and takes opportunities out west

In June, Rancho Bernardo's Abnormal Beer Co. opened its first offsite location: in Busan, South Korea. Abnormal Taphouse + Cantina opened in the popular beach community Haeundae, where it serves street tacos in addition to ...

Little Miss growlers on demand

"If we roll up and they're wasted, we can't give it to them."

Little Miss Brewing opened a satellite tasting room in Normal Heights in June. While the brewery makes beer in Miramar, its business model has always been to open tasting rooms in more populous urban neighborhoods. ...

The place seemed to be verging on chaos

Getting seated is a hassle, and then the food is not worth the wait

A sign tells you to order at the register first and then find your seat. That’s where the trouble began when I visited North Park’s colorful new tapas-style joint, Tamarindo Latin American Kitchen and Bar. ...

Coronado Brewing buys in to Monkey Paw

Scot Blair to retain oversight

In a move it's describing as a partnership, Coronado Brewing Company has purchased a majority stake in Monkey Paw Brewing Company. According to a press release announcing the acquisition, Monkey Paw owner Scot Blair will ...

There was fontina, scamorza, buffalo mozzarella, jamón serrano…

Every neighborhood deserves a gourmet Italian market

Vigilucci’s several restaurants are familiar to me, but I might never have noticed Vigilucci’s Gourmet Market except for an empty parking space I found next to its sidewalk patio. Being next door to the larger ...

Viewpoint is good beer upside down

High-rent city's first brewery didn't happen without effort

Just in time for opening-day races, Del Mar's first craft brewery has opened to the public. Viewpoint Brewing Company sits directly south of the Del Mar racetrack and fairgrounds, just across the San Dieguito Lagoon. ...

San Diego's official destination beer is not Stone

"There are so many breweries people don't know about."

The San Diego Tourism Authority has enlisted the help of Bay City Brewing Co. to create what it's calling San Diego's official destination beer. "We're the first destination to do anything like this," says Tourism ...

The tails were firm, plump, and juicy

Don’t skip an opportunity to eat fried lobster

I don’t usually order tacos outside of a Mexican restaurant. In San Diego that means I’m skipping a lot of tacos — everywhere from Jack in the Box to George’s by the Cove. At this ...

Baked goods distilled into booze

Misadventure & Co. makes vodka out of discarded bread

A new spirit producer in San Diego has debuted a line of vodka made from an unlikely source: discarded baked goods. Misadventure & Co. was founded by local bartenders who initially got together four years ...

Is this bánh mì five times better?

You pay for the sandwich, and you pay for the view

I don’t normally valet park when I go to lunch on a weekday (or ever, really). But June gloom had ended, the sun was out, and a sandwich with a side of ocean view sounded ...

Modern Times officially puts stock in employees

First brewery in California to take the initiative

Modern Times Beer announced today (July 7) that it has transitioned to a 30 percent employee-owned company, with long-term plans to raise that number to 100 percent. According to the announcement, "At only 4 years ...

Adventurous sushi rolls

Korean street food out of the back of a supermarket

Most of the time I visit Korean grocery store Zion Market, it’s for a quick bite in its food court. That’s at the front of the store, all the way to the right as you ...

Latitude 33 distributed to 38 states

Beer-of-the-month subscriber service sends Vista brew far and wide

A new, national beer-of-the-month service launched this summer, featuring a San Diego brewery in its inaugural shipments. Two beers from Vista's Latitude 33 Brewing were offered for the June delivery of CraftX, a Los Angeles–based ...

Blue Fourno has everything going for it, except flavor

Pass the salt

I learned that fourno is the Greek word for oven when I dropped by the new Hillcrest spot for lunch. I could not see whether Blue Fourno Grill actually cooks with a blue oven, but ...

New English celebrates 10 years

Finally, a tasting room expansion — and a party, of course

New English Brewing Company marks its tenth anniversary July 8, celebrating with a party debuting its capacious new taproom and events space to the public. Located in the suite next door to its Sorrento Valley ...

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