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Stories by Kirk K.

A New Gaijin-neration

I wasn’t sure what to think when I first heard about Gaijin Noodle + Sake House. Taken literally, the word “gaijin” means “foreigner.” In actual usage, it means “non-Japanese.” But growing up in Hawaii, “gaijin,” ...

Borrego Bonanza

The broaching of the subject is inevitable: in any extended conversation, I’ll always find a way to sneak in a “Have you eaten anything good recently?” And, quite often, that little question bears fruit. A ...

February 15, 2012
Wonderful Wagashi

It’s amazing what you can learn sitting at your friendly neighborhood sushi bar. Back in 1999, when we were still living in the greater Los Angeles area, I took on a consulting gig here in ...

December 21, 2011
The Bun Bo Hue Dossier

Nothing gets my Vietnamese friends’ blood boiling more than when some foodie calls bun bo hue “spicy pho.” They tell me, “Bun bo is about as close to pho as chicken noodle soup is to ...

November 9, 2011
Neighborhood Restaurants

Café 21 began as a lunch joint in University Heights, moved to a larger location there, and has now accepted the dare of downtown. It’s the zesty creation of a young couple from Azerbaijan, a ...

October 19, 2011
Dinner at Mom’s

I recall that first sniff on a warm September evening in 2008, the sight of various nimono (simmered dishes) piled into oozara ryori (large plates) lining the sleek wooden bar, the light crunch of the ...

September 28, 2011
Turkish Treats

The missus had decided on the destination for our yearly vacation: it was to be Greece. From a little kernel of an idea in my wife’s head comes a locale, in this case Athens, along ...

August 10, 2011
Tenured Trucks

On bright, sunny, San Diego days, I often crave a crisp, Ensenada-style fish taco. With apologies to Ralph Rubio — and the popular bar-and-grill that tops their fish tacos with a concoction that includes ranch ...

June 15, 2011
Bring in the Banh Mi Brigade

You could say that the missus and I were stalking the banh mi lady through the streets of Hanoi. Winding through unfamiliar enclaves and avenues, she was easy to spot with the tall wicker basket ...

April 20, 2011
Ramen-mania

Have you ever run into a ramen-maniac? And how would you know? It’s pretty simple: Query the suspect with a simple question regarding ramen, and you’ll hear an amazing amount of ramen-based jargon and slang. ...

March 9, 2011
Pho Forager

It came to me four or five years ago as — surfacing to catch my breath — I looked up from a steaming bowl of pho: there were more non-Vietnamese patrons having lunch in this ...

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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