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Stories by Ian Anderson

Swedish Royal Bakery brings fika to Poway

Scandinavian pastries fuel a coffee break ritual

A lot of new information has come to light since I learned there is a Swedish bakery in Poway. For example, did you know there’s a distinctly Swedish baking tradition? Somehow, in my case, this ...

J & Tony’s Discount Cured Meats And Negroni Warehouse is a mouthful

Aperitivos and sandwiches go with vinyl records and imported cheese

When I grab a seat at the counter, the first question I’m asked is whether I’d like any parmesan to snack on. The correct answer to that question is always yes. It’s especially so when ...

Driving two hours for duck “tacos”

Chinese restaurants are just an excuse to visit Mexicali

From downtown San Diego, the drive to Mexicali took a little over two hours, most of it traveling east. Past the Cuyamacas, past the Jacumba hot springs, past the Desert View Tower and its surrounding ...

The character driven wines of Charlie & Echo

From sparkling naturals to wet hopped whites, sour reds, and hard spritzers

San Diego’s larger-than-you-think wine industry has emerged from the shadow of craft beer, and it’s primarily thanks to a growing national reputation among fans of natural wines. Among the local wine labels getting notice is ...

Belgian Beer and Waffles (and fries)

Sweet, savory, vegan, gluten-free, and twice fried

As I approach what used to be a Starbucks on University Avenue, a corner unit of the historic North Park Theatre building, a sign written in large letters announces a welcome change: it’s now a ...

Kilowatt brews quirky tiki cocktails for Forbidden Cove

Undistilled spirits fuel a glowing Kearny Mesa speakeasy

To access Forbidden Cove, you’ll need a carved wooden idol that unlocks a secret doorway leading into a narrow hallway where your own mirror reflection echoes before and behind you into infinity. It’s a simple ...

The Friendly gets friendlier

Cult burger spot stretches out into second North Park location

It’s not even two years since The Friendly dusted off an old pizza joint in North Park and started smashing patties for a legion of raving burger fans, but it feels like a lifetime when ...

Rust General Store, emphasis on general

Pretzels, pickles, and candy aren’t even the half of it

It can be fun to play tourist in your own city, but that doesn’t mean we’re obliged to eat Mexican food when visiting Old Town. While traipsing about the historical park the other day, rather ...

Meadiocrity Mead's honeycomb hideout

Beekeeping mead makers now serving in San Marcos

Slowly but surely, San Diego’s mead industry is growing. The latest example: Meadiocrity Mead, a brand that, now a little over three years since contract brewing its first mead, has finally opened its own meadery ...

San Diego drinking without IPAs

Porters, lagers, pilsners, bocks, ales, bitters, grisettes, sours, ciders, meads, natural wine, kombuchas, beerwhiskey, upcycled vodka, sakes, San Diego gin

Nobody’s knocking IPAs. The hoppy pale ale style that built San Diego’s beer reputation is alive and well. We have hundreds to choose from every single day. We are spoiled with IPA options. But sometimes, ...

San Diego brunches every day

Morning Glory, Eclipse, Mexipino, Brockton Villa, Great Maple, Feast & Fairway

Sunday brunch is a joy so great they named a fourth meal to honor it. Which is why Sunday brunch is sort of a nightmare event. Every-dang-body wants to meet for brunch about 11 am ...

You want the sauce at Doner Mediterranean Grill

An overachieving falafel and rotisserie shop in the Gaslamp

Perhaps it’s owing to the small size of Doner Mediterranean Grill, or to its Gaslamp location. Maybe it only has to do with the doner shop’s generic name. For whatever reasons, I’ve always ignored the ...

The sixteen spices (and thirty toppings) of Zen Curry

A choice of curry toppings includes a few surprises

A lot of different cultural cuisines offer curry. Countries on the Indian subcontinent alone are responsible for dozens of different types of curry. Southeast Asia developed a whole other curry lineage, led by Thailand, with ...

Eppig Brewing grows up, moves to North County

The popular North Park brewer got its own place in Vista

Three years almost to the day after brewing its first beer in North Park, Eppig Brewing officially became a North County brewery this month, producing the first batch at its new brewhouse and headquarters in ...

The home style Ukrainian of Village House Kalina

Enjoy babyshka’s recipes, just don’t order mineral water

Several months back, I wrote enthusiastically about a plate of stuffed cabbage made by a local market vendor and caterer. One reader responded by recommending the same dish, made by La Mesa restaurant, The Village ...

Barrio Dogg grows again

A bar and beer menu beef up Logan’s top dog stop

It feels like yesterday that low rider loving hot dog specialist Barrio Dogg first set up shop in a small Logan Avenue storefront fronted by a piece of ‘64 Impala. But not only has it ...

Jason Mraz and the million dollar cup of coffee

This is only the beginning for San Diego-grown coffee beans

As promised in March, premium San Diego-grown coffee beans were served for the first time by Bird Rock Coffee Roasters last weekend. The surprise is whose farm grew them: two-time Grammy-winning local musician Jason Mraz. ...

Up in Smoke BBQ now cookin' in San Marcos

A food truck finds new beginnings, a food writer finds burnt ends

I consider myself lucky. Though I’ve gone too many years without discovering the joy that is burnt ends, once I’d learned about this delicacy of BBQ brisket, only 30 minutes passed before I was trying ...

Sampling the Pacific at JJ’s Island Grindz

A stand-out grilled menu, from kelaguen to huli huli

We’re driving south on Broadway when we spot it: a simple, boxy storefront with a banner sign and cartoon graphic depicting a spiky haired toddler in an aloha shirt. Usually, when I’m in this part ...

The city's latest ramen obsession: Artisan Noodle Tatsuki

Los Angeles ramen chef delivers the richest broth we've seen

Every time I think my list of San Diego’s top five ramen spots is set, along comes a new one to shake things up. Artisan Noodle Tatsuki opened a few weeks back in the Gaslamp ...

Julian – chock full of history

Hosking's Ranch, blessing box, badgers, Brian Kenner, Tom Nickel, volunteer fire dept., Mike Julian, windmills, logging, drought, Cauzza dairymen, orchards, poachers, Chariot Canyon Massacre

Appellate court turns back Hosking's fake cattle ranch Inhabitants of Julian who oppose the development of 1416 acres of local back country have a newfound victory to celebrate. An appellate court has reversed the decision ...

California Spirits pivots into packaging

San Marcos distillery out, Poway bottling and canning plant in

Over the past couple of years, when I’ve asked local spirit startups where they produce their alcohol, I’ve quite often been met with the same answer: San Marcos. Specifically, at the small batch distillery home ...

Sushi Tadokoro and its bass reputation

More than four days in a house-made miso marinade

“It’s the best seabass in San Diego.” That’s what a server tells me, when I tell her I’m trying to choose between the grilled Chilean sea bass and the teriyaki black cod. Often, black cod ...

Nessy Burgers in Fallbrook, period

Rocky’s has the Crown Pub, but is it still the best? Was it always?

Every year, when the Reader publishes a burger issue, a good chunk of San Diego’s population only seems to care about one thing: was Rocky’s Crown Pub included? This year, the Crown Point mainstay was ...

Pure Project's environmental approach to beer

New packaging solutions extend the brand's plastic-free lifestyle

Since Pure Project launched in early 2016, a significant part of its impact on local craft beer has been seen in its canned special release beers. Fans routinely line up for these limited batch releases, ...

The Wurst Nox in the food court

Currywurst parks in a permanent UTC location

When last I saw the Currywurst Frankfurt food truck, it was doing its thing: serving finely minced pork and veal bratwurst smothered in ketchup and curry powder. The Berlin street food favorite is a natural ...

Siamo Napoli embraces its Italian identity

Neapolitan pizza is only part of the coastal town’s cuisine

We are Naples. That’s what the name means of San Diego’s latest Italian restaurant operated by people from Italy, means. Siamo Napoli recently picked up where Il Postino left off in a large North Park ...

Bowlegged BBQ is your next Texas temptation

Music, art, and slowly smoked meats converge in Mount Hope

There’s music and art all around me as I dig in to a pile of BBQ meats. Old soul and R&B album covers hang, framed on the walls, packed in alongside stylized paintings depicting scenes ...

Fruitcraft makes just about everything but beer

The fruit wine specialist now ferments grapes, apples, honey, and teas

When Fruitcraft Fermentery and Distillery dropped anchor in Hillcrest two years ago, it primarily carried on the work of its original brand iteration, California Fruit Wine. That is, it fermented wine from virtually every type ...

Mary’s Gourmet: ghost salad restaurant

Miramar kitchen delivers big, healthy chopped salads to your doorstep

It’s probably fair to count me among the nine out of ten of Americans the CDC says don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables. One problem is that my preferred diet of tacos, fried chicken, and ...

Trust the Breakfast B in suite 3825

Sassy brunch spot brings life to a struggling Hillcrest location

It’s tough to ignore a restaurant name like Breakfast Bitch. Which could prove to be important, because the willfully sassy breakfast spot recently filled in a Hillcrest location that’s been devastating to its past few ...

Revolt Wine Co. targets a different kind of wine drinker

The keg-only local wine label wants its wine where there’s live music

No adult beverage is more closely tied to a sense of geography than wine. Names of wine growing regions are used as shorthand for quality, attributed to an appellation’s terroir. In other words, the flavor ...

San Diego Reader 2019 Burgers issue

From Oceanside to Escondido to Sherman Heights to Mount Laguna

Ian Anderson Look out for the burger of the day A hub for carnivores in Escondido’s historic downtown, it might be tough to notice the burgers past all the smoked meats and poutine. You’ll do ...

Lido’s Italian Foods are too classic to be pretty

A mid-century Italian restaurant survives, despite the times

When the server places a thick white ceramic plate on the table, it’s all but spilling over with a pile of spaghetti. The noodles, and the two racquetball size meatballs astride them, are so drenched ...

Claro Coffee goes with the grain

An industrial zone lumber shop furnishes the prettiest café in town

The best looking coffee shop in San Diego has sprung up in a surprising place: within a specialty lumber shop in the Morena district. Claro Coffee serves locally roasted coffee from Zumbar Coffee & Tea, ...

This 55 Thai fries chicken thighs

Healthy, affordable Thai chain grows into large Pacific Beach restaurant

When 55 Thai Kitchen first appeared in the cramped back room of a corner market in Golden Hill, the community-minded eatery had me intrigued. When the food turned out to be good, in addition to ...

It’s always fünf o’clock at Deft Brewing

Linda Vista area brewer finds a year-round audience for European styles

It’s September, and that means several of San Diego’s craft breweries have been gearing up for Oktoberfest, breaking out their German beer recipes and planning modest parties loosely modeled after Munich’s massive end of summer ...

Rad Habits brings the juice back to South Park

Organic produce and superfood smoothies return from three-year hiatus

For a couple of years there, South Park had a great little organic produce market slash cold pressed juice bar called Sacred Juice. Except one day, the shop abruptly closed due to water damage, according ...

Going back to Mystic Mocha for the muffins

A longtime neighborhood favorite known for distinctive pastries

Once upon a time I lived in University Heights, less than a block from the truncated corner where Mission Avenue crosses Alabama Street at an odd angle. That’s how I came to know about Mystic ...

Amplified Ale Works' underground arts venue

The Acid Vault brings poetry, comedy, drag shows, and more to East Village

The Acid Vault was supposed to be a place for barrel aging beers to sour. At least, that was the original plan when Amplified Ale Works took over the space overlooking Fault Line Park last ...

Sugar highs and lows at Theatre Box

Yes, you can order food from your movie seat, but should you?

The tabloids invaded the movies. The public relations team for Theatre Box, the luxury movie theater and sugar-themed restaurant complex that opened in the Gaslamp this spring, started sending press releases about celebrities making appearances. ...

The Melt wins over this grilled cheese troll

Fast casual chain makes macaroni sandwich and hobo toast look easy

Big deal, it’s easy to make a grilled cheese sandwich. That’s what the troll on my shoulder reminds me whenever I encounter a grilled cheese restaurant. His words are more nefarious because they’re true. I’m ...

Feasts on a bun at Daddy’s Hot Dogs

Hillcrest’s finest street food purveyor makes a frank case for vegetables

Through a sidewalk counter window in the middle of a lively block on University Avenue, I meet Hillcrest’s resident hot dog maven. His name is William Schroeder, but with a streetwise New York accent, he ...

Serra Mesa – outsiders easily get lost

Mobley Street, Jewish deli, sushi restaurant, Ruffin Canyon, aviation gas, the bus that goes through

New generations in Serra Mesa That first southbound walk home from Wegeforth Elementary, back in '68, was long and hot, each shadow on Mobley Street a refuge. For a transplanted fourth-grader, it was an arduous ...

Bibigo Kitchen brings Korean eats to the mall

Hot stone bulgogi bibimbap is far better than the food court

There’s an aisle on the ground level of the B parking lot on the south side of Fashion Valley mall, where two arrows painted on the asphalt point away from the exit. Problem is, you ...

How’s the San Diego beer industry doing? It depends who you ask

Stinging small brewery losses undercut reports of economic impact

Last week, the San Diego Brewers Guild revealed that 2018 saw local beer production increase to 1.1 million barrels. The economic numbers likewise continued to rise, with craft beer alone accounting for $848 million in ...

Seasurf Fish Co. shows the cost of affordable seafood

Farmed fish comes off lackluster in a city rich with fish markets

San Diego has trained me well. When I see the words “fresh fish market” associated with a restaurant, I imagine glass counters that contain glistening fresh filets tempting customers toward one seasonal catch or another. ...

The Modern Vegan succeeds with classic meat dishes

A place for plant eaters who don’t want to sacrifice meaty textures and flavors

A hunk of thickly breaded, fried chicken sitting atop a pile of mashed potatoes, all smothered in gravy. A Rueben of marbled rye bread loaded with corned beef, melted cheese, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing. ...

Cascaraa makes sparkling tea from leftover coffee fruit

Antioxidants and organic botanicals in a lightly caffeinated beverage

The life cycle of coffee has been well documented. The coffee cherry grows on a shrub until it's red and plump, then gets harvested for its seed, which is extracted, dried, and ultimately roasted into ...

El Trompo grows in Barrio Logan

New taco shop specializes in Tijuana-style street tacos

The sight of a trompo spinning on a Tijuana street corner is usually accompanied by a crowd, and the same appears to be true in Barrio Logan. At least, so suggests the early popularity of ...

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