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Stories by Ian Anderson

Bottle Rocket fills a Monkey Paw sized hole

Burgers and Nashville hot chicken join cheesesteaks on the menu

There’s an unavoidable sense of déjà vu as I sit at the bar, steadily chomping my way through a cheesesteak, intermittently washing it down with a local craft beer. Part of that feeling is driven ...

Moto Deli enjoying its Leucadia revival

Smoked turkey and pork belly drive the return of a chef-helmed sandwich shop

Over the past six years, Moto Deli has woven one of our region’s most circuitous food truck stories, with nearly as many twists and turns as a Bong Joon-ho film. After first hitting the road ...

Golden Hill – slowly gentrifying

City Mark, Victorian homes, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Big Kitchen

19 townhomes at 32nd and C instead of park The largest undeveloped parcel in Golden Hill, once considered by the Greater Golden Hill Planning Committee as a top choice for a neighborhood park, is now ...

Can you stomach the head at De Cabeza?

Former Texcoco location savors every part of a cow’s noggin

When Chula Vista’s longtime lamb barbacoa favorite, Aqui Es Texcoco, moved into bigger digs up the street last year, the folks behind it held on to its 1043 Broadway location to focus on a different ...

Order anything you want at Enclave, it’s good for you

Re-imagining fried chicken wings to beef dip as health food

Trying to eat healthy at restaurants gets exhausting. Depending which internet study you read last, animal fat could be killing you, or vital to your survival. Maybe eating rice daily can extend your life, or ...

San Diego fancy fish fileters

JoJo Ruiz of Serẽa and Lionfish won't serve just any salmon

It’s moments before dinner service on a Thursday night in the kitchen of Lionfish, the seafood restaurant and showpiece of swanky Gaslamp hotel, the Pendry. Executive chef JoJo Ruiz mentioned earlier that this kitchen rarely ...

Dinner With a View brings circus dining to San Diego

The thing to remember about a dome, is that it has no point

Last week, behind a lot of online promotion, the pop-up dining event calling itself Dinner With a View rolled into a Liberty Station courtyard for a month-long residency. Its pitch: “A completely luxurious dining experience ...

Yerba mate, Paraguay style

Cold brew tea brand Mi Mate grows out of UCSD

You might not know it unless you’ve been to college recently, but the caffeinated South American tea yerba mate has become a bona fide beverage trend. Students returning from semesters abroad in Argentina probably deserve ...

San Diego Reader first Pets issue

They make us happy

Shared Loki My dog has a favorite bar. Loki quickly learned how to navigate the blocks to Hamilton’s Tavern, and if I let her control the leash on our afternoon walks in South Park, that’s ...

It’s not shrimp at Purple Mint

Vegan Asian eatery makes it fast casual in Linda Vista

There’s a controversial ingredient on my rice noodles: cilantro. Most of us love the citrusy, parsley-like herb, which grows from coriander seeds. About ten percent of us think it tastes like soap. I’m firmly entrenched ...

3Ten Churro Bar is an excuse to eat ice cream

Cinnamon and sugar churros get overshadowed by sweeter stuff

It took visiting a churro bar in Mira Mesa for me to learn where churros originated. As a child of Southern California, I’ve always associated the crunchy, fried dough treat with Mexico. It’s served at ...

When craft beer momentum slows down, Longship keeps rowing

“Being a local, smaller brewery has better longevity than being the next giant”

Viking longships were the dominant naval vessels of their time, in part due to their versatility. They were pushed by large, rectangular sails, but also fitted with oars so they could row on, regardless whether ...

A year of chili cheese fries

Sister Rays turns a pile of meat, cheese, and potatoes into pure comfort

Last year, 2019? It was trying. I’m sure we all felt it. Mine did have a saving grace though, in an unlikely source: chili cheese fries. Bear with me. It’s been a year since Ed ...

South Park Kitchen dishes comfort to beer fans

Homestyle soups, skillets, pies, and sandwiches

Something new seems to come out of the kitchen at South Park Brewing Co. every year or so, and with the departure of Tacos La Mezcla to Twisted Taps in North Park (more on that ...

Oshi, it’s Chef Jun Sushi

Raw fish and flames flavor new Bay Ho restaurant

The place is familiar, and it turns out I’ve been here before, when it was a low key spot serving hot sandwiches, salads, and bar food. But it looks different now, with cherry blossoms painted ...

Hillcrest got its Babycakes back

Cupcake maker returns to the neighborhood

A couple of years ago, after a decade doing business in Hillcrest, fancy cupcake maker Babycakes moved out of its 5th Street home base to pursue a bigger bakery opportunity out in in Paradise Hills, ...

The torta at the end of the tunnel

Crossing the border to fly has its benefits

For most of my adult life, the intentional misspelling Xpress has been applied to services including oil changes and dry-cleaning — it certainly hasn’t been a word I associate with crossing international borders. But Cross ...

How Mother Earth quietly became one of our most successful breweries

Brewing in Idaho even made its Vista beer better

Fun fact: Idaho’s largest brewery is headquartered in Vista, California. That’s because, in 2016, Mother Earth Brew Co. expanded beer production to Nampa, Idaho, a small city about 15 miles outside Boise. San Diego beer ...

Simsim Outstanding Shawarma a hit in Carmel Mountain Ranch

The new chain brings scratch Middle Eastern cooking to shopping center land

From a food lover’s perspective at least, good things have been happening in Carmel Mountain Ranch. Frankly, I ignored the place for years, because this is shopping center country, the sort of place populated by ...

Now Sushi is vegan

Is it possible to love a vegetable as much as a fish?

“This is the kind of place you take your non-vegan friend,” says a woman to her friend as they walk out of Now Sushi, a Mission Beach eatery that makes sushi without the fish. Entirely ...

Goi Cuon makes a meal out of spring rolls

All the Vietnamese rolls you can think of, and plenty of dipping sauce

Every time I’ve eaten at a Vietnamese restaurant with a group, deciding on appetizers has become a whole discussion. Should we get spring rolls, or egg rolls? How many? Tofu or pork? Shrimp or sweet ...

Latitude 33 sold its brewery and only got bigger

Vista brewer doubles capacity shifting production to Green Flash brewhouse

After seven years in business, Latitude 33 Brewing met a crossroads. Led by flagship beers including Blood Orange IPA and Honey Hips blonde, the Vista beer company had quadrupled beer production in 2016, and doubled ...

45 years later, at Sandwich Emporium...

Food trends and tech are a part of the neighborhood sandwich shop's lifespan

“Established in 1974 in the neighborhood of Clairemont,” is the first thing that stands about Sandwich Emporium. That makes it about 45 years old, which would have to put it not far down any list ...

Neff Coffee, a roaster on the go

A father-and-son mobile roasting operation hits the streets

While exercising my dog last week, I found San Diego’s newest coffee roaster; or should I say the coffee roaster found me? Neff Coffee Roasters isn’t San Diego’s first coffee truck, but it is the ...

How to find Alex’s Brown Bag

When it comes to Philly-style cheesesteaks, where’s a Feaster to look?

Just a few years ago, it made a list of “the best cheesesteaks outside Philly” compiled by the Food Network, but when I went looking for Alex’s Brown Bag at its home inside Pacific Beach ...

Hopnonymous Brewing unmasked

With a new taproom, an under-the-radar beer company comes into the light

Back in June 2018, a small startup started offering local restaurants a chance to pour their own house beers, using custom-branded, 3-D printed tap handles. In this way, Hopnonymous Brewing Company began as a specialty ...

Mikami Revolving Sushi serves instant gratification

By belt or by train, you will get your fill

There’s a snazzy looking new sushi restaurant in Kearny Mesa, one that employs early 20th century technology to serve its customers. Mikami Revolving Sushi serves kaiten sushi, better known in the U.S as conveyor belt ...

The Balboa South finally slings burgers on Third Ave

After years of waiting, South Bay burger lovers wasted no time showing up

The place opened at 4 pm, and I showed up on the dot. Too late to be first in line though — three other parties were ahead of me. I stopped to snap a couple ...

Snared by a few of San Diego’s Finest Donuts

How a late-night craving leads to a New Year’s resolution

How many times can you drive past a donut shop without going in? That’s the question I ask myself in the waning moments of 2019, as I once again roll past the little pink shop ...

What to make of MAKE pizza+salad

The unexplored overlap of salad and pizza toppings

I don’t know exactly what to make of the name Make Pizza + Salad. Is it pronounced, “make pizza plus salad,” or, “make pizza and salad?” That’s before I even notice the East Village business ...

Biggest San Diego beer news stories of 2019

Rising competition is the force behind of a lot of beer news

In previous years, I’ve used this space to reflect on the number of San Diego breweries that have closed the year prior. Sadly, such closures have become such a common part of the industry. Even ...

Chatty afternoon tea at the Cosmopolitan Hotel

Hints at Old Town's Californio history

Walking around Old Town last month, I noticed a sandwich board sign advertising afternoon tea at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. That’s the proper, British-style afternoon tea, complete with a big ceramic pot and a three-tier platter ...

Take your pick at Windmill Food Hall

Finally a legitimate excuse to visit Carlsbad’s windmill

I never went when it was a Pea Soup Andersen’s, though I’ve been around long enough to remember it. I never went when it was a TGI Fridays, for reasons I hope would be obvious. ...

Tijuana’s Cerveceria Insurgente has its brewery back — for now

Baja’s esteemed craft brewer survived with help of a hush hush taproom, and beer friends

On Wednesday, December 18, Tijuana craft brewer Cerveceria Insurgente resumed making beer in its Zona Rio brewery for the first time since October 5, when municipal authorities abruptly closed the property, reportedly at the behest ...

Angkorian Pikestaff serves one dish per day in East Village

With her weekday lunch pop up, a local chef explores the world of Asian cuisine

A thousand years ago, when Cambodia’s Angkor empire extended across what is now Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand, its infantry brandished long, piked staffs, sometimes from the back of an elephant. That’s the reference being made ...

Verde y Crema resumes service, this time on La Revu

Beloved Tijuana restaurant is back with Baja-inspired favorites, old and new

A feather in Tijuana’s culinary cap since it opened in 2013, farm to table restaurant Verde y Crema closed the doors of its site near the Club Campestre de Tijuana golf course in mid-2018, offering ...

Bali Coffee serves digital latte art

A dog photo goes from phone to coffee foam

Dog on the leash, we were only passing by the little, below the sidewalk café in East Village, with its garden patio and a nifty white bench with a built-in, pop-up center table. A chalkboard ...

The ambitious Pacific Coast Spirits brings urban distilling to Oceanside

Grape vodka, heirloom corn bourbon, and a plan to malt its own barley

A December 5 grand opening of Pacific Coast Spirits has officially made the city of Oceanside home to an urban distillery. For the past two years, the craft spirits producer has been transforming the 12,000-square-foot ...

FireBirds Chicken is hot out of the gates

The city’s first Nashville hot chicken restaurant could be hotter and Nashviller

For a restaurant in City Heights, FireBirds Chicken has come up a lot in local foodie conversations over the past three weeks; especially surprising because that’s about how long the place has been open. There’s ...

Duck Foot’s new menu proves gluten isn’t necessary

The brewery’s East Village taproom and restaurant raises its game

By the end of this story, chances are you’ll forget I’m talking about gluten free food. That’s exclusively what Duck Foot Brewing serves at its East Village restaurant and taproom, where even the beer has ...

The heart, and chicken parm, of Sisters Pizza

A beloved sibling memorialized at Hillcrest eatery

I heard about a place that uses chicken parmesan as a pizza topping. Lucky I did, because Sisters Pizza operates in a part of Hillcrest I don’t normally go looking for restaurants. It’s a stretch ...

Stew, salad and Soup Du Jour

Every day soup restaurant brings an impressive variety to Serra Mesa

Rain. Wind. Cold. Our long summer has finally given way to what passes for winter (for the time being), which has proven the perfect time to visit a new restaurant built around a fondness for ...

Who are Kings & Convicts Brewing, and what are their plans for Ballast Point?

A look at the surprising new players in local beer, and a reaction from the San Diego Brewers Guild

How did a suburban Chicago nanobrewery wind up buying San Diego’s famous billion dollar craft beer icon? That’s the question that crashed the website of Kings & Convicts Brewing when news broke Tuesday the little ...

The Latin Chef still cooks in Liberty Station

Soulful Peruvian eatery moved from Pacific Beach to Liberty Public Market

A Pacific Beach restaurant called Latin Chef closed earlier this year, following a good thirteen in business. I never visited the Peruvian and Brazilian eatery, but it sounds like I missed out — it was ...

Plant Power Fast Food growing fast

San Diego-born vegan fast food chain is flipping burgers throughout So Cal

I recently wrote about how a certain global fast food chain has brought meatless versions of its burgers to the San Diego market, but a more exciting development may be the growth of a 100-percent ...

Novo Brazil is huge in Otay Ranch

Beer, seltzer, and kombucha flow at Chula brewer's new brewpub

Already the county’s southeasternmost brewery, Novo Brazil Brewing has opened a second location somehow even farther southeast. And it’s not small. The roughly 14-thousand-square-foot brewery and restaurant occupies a corner spot at the upscale Otay ...

Fine casual pasta shapes at Ciccia Osteria

New sauces, hats, and ribbons, and an old favorite

I don’t know whether San Diego has gone through some sort of culinary looking glass, but we seem to have entered an era where Little Italy is flush with great non-Italian restaurants, while every other ...

Empanada Kitchen bakes hand pies on the Boulevard

A farmers market vendor adds empanada restaurant number two

Pierogi, sambusa, calzone, pupusa: the world has come up with a lot of cool sounding words to describe what the English would call a pasty, and what we here in America might rather mundanely call ...

Where the beef isn't: the Impossible Whopper

For an extra buck, Burger King burger goes from hundred to zero percent meat.

The “Where’s the beef?” commercials of the 1980s popularized the common joke that fast food restaurants skimp on beef in their burgers. Less amusing have been ongoing stories of fast food chains adding food additives ...

Calico Cidery returns with organic natural ciders, and a barn

Julian ranch concocts booze from its own apple, pear, and quince orchards

For several years, the opportunity to sit in a barn drinking hard cider made from locally grown apples has been a charming draw to the little mountain town of Julian. When Julian Ciderworks abruptly announced ...