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Stories by Ian Anderson

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
OK burger

When ballyhooed East Coast burger chain Shake Shack made its way west a few years ago, all we loyal Southern California burger fans rushed to say how much we still prefer In-N-Out. And yet, somehow, ...

Loaves, pastries, and breakfast pizza: Matteo is now open

When Italy native Matteo Cattaneo opened the original Buona Forchetta, in South Park, he turned a corner commercial space that had been sitting empty for years into one of the city’s most in-demand restaurants. Seven ...

South Park: not cut by high-volume road

North Park and South Park – say goodbye to 30th Street as it is The main roadway connecting North and South Park may be on the eve of a massive transformation. Councilmember Chris Ward is ...

Flap Your Jacks and unleash your inner child

Pancakes make up maybe two percent of the menu, but they’re clearly the lead focus of North Park’s newest breakfast restaurant. You can tell because the center of each table in Flap Your Jacks is ...

Preston's Ginger Beer adds soft brews to Miralani

Beer and booze tasting rooms are responsible for turning an obscure hilltop of Miramar warehouse suites into the small business cooperative dubbed Miralani Makers District. So when visitors see the signs for Preston’s Ginger Beer, ...

March 5, 2020
Mad Munch now grills cheeses six days a week on Newport Avenue

It’s been over six years since I started encountered a booth slinging memorable grilled cheese sandwiches at local farmers markets. Back then, Zach Heinz and his then girlfriend Kate Uhle were operating the Mad Munch ...

Ta ta Toronado

The great North Park revival was teetering toward critical mass in 2008. It had exciting new clubs, restaurants, coffee shops, an art scene pumping blood back into the neighborhood, but it was thirsty. There were ...

February 28, 2020
Greenspot proves you do make friends salad

As I drove into Mission Valley to try out a new salad restaurant, I found myself two kinds of conflicted. On the one hand, this was fast-food territory, which didn’t augur well for my well-being. ...

Shakira Pastry does pistachio two dozen ways

It’s early on a Sunday afternoon, and the bakery is busy. I presume the time waiting will give me a chance to figure out my order before it’s my turn at the counter. But as ...

Hangin with the kitties of The Cat Café

Casanova has taken an interest in my iced tea. He eyes it warily at first, then leans forward for a closer look. Then he bares his teeth like he’s mad at it, but instead reaches ...

AleSmith at 25: making the classic new again

As recently as ten years ago, you couldn’t browse a beer section in San Diego without spotting 22-ounce bombers of AleSmith Brewing’s eponymous flagship beers. Subtly featuring the brand’s anvil logo, the labels’ design placed ...

February 21, 2020
Bottle Rocket fills a Monkey Paw sized hole

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

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

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?

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

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

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 ...

February 11, 2020
Dinner With a View brings circus dining to San Diego

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

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 ...

It’s not shrimp at Purple Mint

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 ...

January 17, 2020
Simsim Outstanding Shawarma a hit in Carmel Mountain Ranch

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

“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

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

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 ...

January 10, 2020
45 years later, at Sandwich Emporium...

“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

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

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

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

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

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 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 ...

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