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Stories by Ian Pike

Murder at the Howard Johnson’s — probably not meant to serve as a rich cultural study of 20th-century Americana

More than once during Scripps Ranch Theatre’s production of Murder at the Howard Johnson’s, ditzy would-be femme fatale, Arlene (Maelyn Gándola), refers to HoJo’s fried clam strip dinner with lustful glee. This is perhaps the ...

June 8, 2016
The only fitting approach

About halfway through the first act of Cygnet Theatre’s production of Aaron Posner’s Stupid Fucking Bird, after the “showing” of the play-within-the-play, but before the “We need new forms” speech, occurs a brief dialogue between ...

A visit to Camp David

Perhaps there’s a secret society of actors who have played the President of the United States. Membership is as simple as standing onstage, or in front of a camera, and portraying the holder of this ...

May 25, 2016
Normal Heights is not Memphis

A little while back, I caught wind that hipster sandwich shop Burnside had rebooted itself with a barbecue theme. As self-appointed local barbecue doyen, a position I realize is somewhat oxymoronic, I knew I had ...

Sharks rampage in La Jolla

May the Fourth. International Star Wars day to some, but to La Jolla kayak fishermen, it will forever be the beginning of the Wide Open Thresher Bite of 2016. The gray, windless day — with ...

Boundaries of exploitation

Before Moxie Theatre’s production of Katori Hall’s Our Lady of Kibeho even started — as audience members found their seats, and while director, Jennifer Eve Thorn, eyed the room in anxious anticipation — I began ...

May 17, 2016
San Diego Reader 2016 taco issue

Asada days and adobada nights — A little taste of Loreto in San Diego. by Mary Beth Abate Tacos where you least expect them — Looking beyond standard tacolandia. By Ed Bedford Taco mecca — ...

May 11, 2016
Poor little rich girl

The conflict between Old World aristocrats and American New Money was once a real concern. The peerage dreaded the inevitable wresting from their hands of social privilege by plucky upstarts with Gilded Age fortunes. In ...

May 11, 2016
Taquerias up and down the coast, inland and outland

I know what I like. No matter what the cuisine, I go here for this, there for that, and somewhere else for a third thing. Up and down the coast, inland and outland, there are ...

This argument denigrates theatergoers

Small productions, such as ion theatre company’s Jesus Hates Me (directed by Glenn Paris and Claudio Raygoza), lack big budgets, so actors double as techies. During scene changes, they might be mere feet from the ...

May 4, 2016
Estranged from the darkness

Where will you be when the world as we know it ends? What will you be doing? Will you be at home, tucked in bed and sleeping soundly with your beloved at your side? Or, ...

April 22, 2016
The takeout junkie trope

In Scripps Ranch Theatre’s production of Skin Deep, female lead, Maureen Mulligan — played to the Irish Catholic spinster extreme by Brenda Adelman — seems to survive on a steady diet of takeout food, the ...

Trust is the issue

It seems like everyone wants to be at Hillcrest’s Trust, ordering expensive hipster nibbles and struggling to be heard above the din (though in all fairness we are assured that the installation of noise baffles ...

To accept Renaissance foolery

“I just can’t tell the man I intend to marry apart from his twin brother,” said no one, ever. At least, not in real life. Nowhere is it written that comedy ought to be more ...

March 30, 2016
The duck soup kicks

Before I left on my Euro Odyssey 2015, I would have divided (if pressed to do so candidly) the local Thai food scene into two camps: Sab-E-Lee and Everything Else. I know. Haters gonna hate. ...

Who's afraid of Grampy Pike?

“I didn’t know there was so much humor,” said audience member Kim during the first intermission, an hour into Intrepid Theater Company’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? She remembered the story from watching the 1966 ...

March 23, 2016
Chekhov skewers theater culture

Whether torn by love (Masha, Treplev, and Nina), antagonized by the unstoppable march of aging (Arkadina and Sorin), beset by ideas of their own mediocrity (Treplev, again, and Trigorin), or burnt to cinders by the ...

March 16, 2016
Give us an inch...

I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books as a preteen, probably because every classroom in school had a near-complete set on the shelves. That, and we didn’t have iPhones to stare at. The best part ...

March 9, 2016
Masuo Sato returns to Masuo’s

Once upon a time, Masuo Sato opened up a sushi restaurant in Solana Beach. He did well, endearing himself with the locals. His restaurant built a reputation as a reliable sushi joint where friendly people ...

Puck will make amends

Within moments of The Metromaniacs’ opening lines, I had visions of Blackadder dancing in my head. Specifically, I thought about an episode of Blackadder the Third, in which the Prince Regent (Hugh Laurie) hires a ...

February 24, 2016
Delectable bones at D’Carlos

Some of you may remember that a while back I undertook an epic journey throughout the county in search of barbecue. I found good and bad in ample amounts, but the ordeal was so strenuous ...

This could be the best bread in the universe

I could spread Nutella on Pacific Time’s challah till Kingdom Come, and I haven’t seen such pretty baguettes since 2009. Oh, to be a fly on the wall while their baker feeds his starters and ...

Relevancy for the less-than-rabid

The arts carry a terrible burden. They are supposed to elevate our culture, to separate us from the beasts. Art moves the Guggenheim Foundations of the world to unburden themselves of money by the truckload ...

Reader writers tell stories about Mom

Wonder and Hope — Mom always convinced me it would be an adventure. By Ian Anderson The Animal Keeper— Animals spoke to my mother “in a language only she understood.” By Whitney Butler La Gringa ...

May 6, 2015
We didn’t understand her exhaustion

My mother doesn’t get as much space in my early memories as does my dad. She worked during the day and went to school at night for years that felt like decades in my little ...

May 6, 2015
Hillcrest boba station open on Fifth Ave

Does anyone remember when “bubble tea” was the new hotness? The raging popularity of milk tea loaded with swollen tapioca balls created a niche market overnight, and opened the gate for a bubble bubble, so ...

Harbor Breakfast finds its feet

Despite being something of a hot mess in its early days, Harbor Breakfast has gotten its act together. The restaurant gave the appearance of having rushed into opening much later than expected, which barely makes ...

Now Try This: Chi Chocolat's Cafe Mocha

Until contrary information comes to light, the wildly energetic proprietor’s claim that Chi Chocolat’s mocha is “the only one in town with liquid couverture chocolate in it” will have to stand. And what a mocha! ...

Overpriced and unappealing

Bird Rock Sushi and Oyster and Sushi Bar took over the old Station Sushi, opening at the end of the summer. On paper, it seems like a great idea. Who doesn’t love mariscos and sushi ...

¡Ay chapulines!

Would you look at that. Insects are popping up just everywhere! The Reader’s other Ian gagged on some crickets at Tacos Perla over the summer. Recently, little fried bugs crawled onto the specials board at ...

Can the Buffalo Public House work in Hillcrest?

Brazilian cuisine receives little exposure in the US. Churrascaria restaurants, like Rei do Gado and Fogo de Chao, contribute to the popular image of South American carnivorism, where diners disappear beneath mountains of roast meat. ...

Circa tries to fill some big shoes

Tempting as it is to mourn the Farm House Cafe’s departure from Adams Avenue until the prophesied reappearance of Olivier and Rochelle Bioteau’s restaurant in larger quarters somewhere far from University Heights, uptown diners ought ...

Pillbox Tavern's good look, cold beer, and typical eats

No big-name design firm attached itself to Solana Beach’s Pillbox Tavern, but the group that opened the bar and grill includes plenty of restaurant industry vets, and their collective expertise turned out a nice looking ...

Are you Santa enough?

Gift’s got stamina Hillcrest Craftsmen at the Planet Rooth Design Haus make heirloom-quality furniture out of reclaimed wine and bourbon barrels. Elegant in the way that overstuffed classic American furniture will never be. Sturdy and ...

December 3, 2014
Reserved fare for modest brunchers

The doorway between the Royal Cafe and the Royal Food Mart in Hillcrest disappeared during the recent remodel. In its place, a bigger menu materialized, replete with more substantial breakfast items (about $6-$10), and some ...

Primus rocks the Chocolate Factory

“I know we’re Primus and we suck,” said frontman Les Claypool, to cheers from the packed California Center for the Arts in Escondido. “But if you want to yell and scream, get it out of ...

November 28, 2014
Now Try This: Frozen Custard at Bruxie

SoCal waffle sandwich chain, Bruxie, has carved out its niche by stuffing lunch meats and fried chicken between slender waffles, marketing the result as, “a new take on The Sandwich.” The most popular item, fried ...

East Coast Pizza open in Hillcrest

Cardiff-based East Coast Pizza’s Hillcrest location is up and running regular hours now, including moderately late-night service (till 2:30 a.m.) on Fridays and Saturdays. ECP closes before midnight other days, but being able to get ...

Iron Pig Alehouse open in PB

Are those….Edison bulbs I see hanging from the exposed rafters at Iron Pig Alehouse? The beer and barbecue spot opened in Pacific Beach last month, with decidedly hipster trappings throughout. The wood appears suspiciously “reclaimed,” ...

Now Try This: Vegan donuts at Donut Panic

Six months after taking over the old Sunshine Donuts, Donut Panic still doesn’t have a proper sign. One was delivered, but it didn’t fit, so it had to go back to the manufacturer. Nevertheless, the ...

Now Try This: Aguas frescas at Tortas and Beer

Yes, Tortas and Beer has killer sandwiches ($5-$7). Pitching superlatives isn’t my style (though fellow local critic Michael Gardiner thinks the house special Cubana sandwich is a contender for best sandwich on the planet, loaded ...

Sunny seating, drab dinners at La Jolla bistro

The people who built the Shorehouse Kitchen did a fine job consolidating a handful of separate spaces into one, unified whole. Sitting probably a quarter of a mile from La Jolla shores, the dining room ...

Not-half-bad dinner is also not half good

North County stalwart, Swami’s Cafe, must have been dreaming big when they moved into the cavernous space left behind by Casa de Luz following the macrobiotic restaurant’s swift shove-off from North Park. Swami’s Encinitas location ...

Now Try This: Duck Wings at the Rabbit Hole

Duck wings can suck. Compared to chicken wings, they’re scrawny, and filled with connective tissue, which makes them hard to cook. The extra fat lurking beneath the skin makes it borderline impossible to achieve the ...

Now Try This: Sledgehammer at the OB Warehouse

Considering how most “craft cocktails” fail to live up to their own audacious recipes, it’s no surprise that beer cocktails suffer the same fate, perhaps even worse. That’s what makes the OB Warehouse’s “Sledgehammer” ($10) ...

Le Parfait Paris open Downtown

Totes-adorbs, Euro-chic café, Le Parfait Paris, grand opened for business in the Gaslamp earlier this month. Depending on one’s viewpoint, the decor is either cold and cheerless, or stylish and minimal. One thing is certain: ...

Now Try This: Hambāgu at Wa Dining Okan

Drop what you are doing for yet another trip to Convoy Street. This time, it’s the hambāgu from Wa Dining Okan that ought to drag you out of your hiding place for an extended lunchtime ...

Exit Sloppy's, enter Bearitos

Somebody pulled a burrito switcheroo in Hillcrest. 86 Sloppy’s Burritos, sub Bearito Republic. Allegedly, Sloppy’s owners decided to move to Utah, and the Bearito crew flipped the place over and changed up the concept, albeit ...

Blue Smoke drifts in from Blue Ocean

Love Boat Fashion Valley is no more. The former K-pop sushi pig-out spot (best known for gargantuan “Love Boat” platters) shut down for a remodel period, and recently reopened as Blue Smoke Sushi Lounge. Ooooh. ...

A rare jack for San Diego

Whether the weathermen decide it’s an El Niño year may be perpetually debated, but with reports of wahoo and blue marlin caught off shore, and the confirmed sighting of a whale shark near Catalina Island, ...

September 30, 2014

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