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Stories by Mary Beth Abate

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
San Diego Reader 2018 Holiday issue

You don’t have to do anything this holiday season. Despite what the song says, you don’t have to deck the halls, join the chorus, or don any sort of gay apparel. You don’t have to ...

December 5, 2018
San Diego Reader 2018 winter fun issue

Drums, giants, and Mother Goose Stargazing in Anza-Borrego 652 Palm Canyon Drive Borrego Springs This year, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park was officially designated an International Dark Sky Community, thanks to years of concerted effort to ...

November 7, 2018
The Reader's 2018 burger issue

The most complicated of sandwiches The Friendly, Born and Raised, Balboa Bar, Viewpoint, Mishmash, Currant, Bleu Boheme By Mary Beth Abate We’re burger rich, y’all Craft House, Gourmet Sandwiches, Salud, Ty's, Bunz, Hamilton's. Chinatown Bar ...

The most complicated of sandwiches

At its essence, it’s a beef patty ensconced in a simple white bread bun, perhaps a smear of ketchup atop. But Americans, in our never ending quest for new flavors and combinations, love to think ...

September 12, 2018
San Diego Reader 2018 Feast issue

When dinner is a gift El Jardin, Cowboy Star, Coasterra, Born & Raised, Charles + Dinorah, Nine-Ten, Juniper & Ivy By Mary Beth Abate I burst with hometown pride George's, Himitsu, Kokoro, Starlite, Gelato Vero ...

When dinner is a gift

It was an easy decision, the day my husband John and I resolved that, instead of giving each other more stuff on special occasions, we’d prefer to spend the money and time enjoying a meal ...

August 8, 2018
Tacos to feed your body and soul

One of my favorite taco shops is El Rey Del Taco in Loreto, B.C.S., a charming little town about two thirds of the way down the Gulf of California coast. It has no posted hours, ...

May 16, 2018
Surfboard Santa

Growing up in the Chicago area, the holidays meant snowy hills and hushed landscapes, warm, woolly scarves and mittens, puffy down coats and sturdy boots. It also meant shoveling two feet of snow off the ...

December 6, 2017
I’ve eaten many fancy pants burgers

My favorite scene in Pulp Fiction is when Vincent Vega, aghast that Mia Wallace orders a five-dollar milkshake, asks for a taste because he’s “gotta know what a five-dollar milkshake tastes like.” After a brief ...

Save room for the Mexican chocolate bread pudding

An unabashed fan of Rick Bayless, I was thrilled when Red O finally opened in May. You could make a statement by ordering the tablita for two, a grilled 32 oz. prime tomahawk chop, one-pound ...

August 9, 2017
San Diego Reader 2017 Fun issue

Climb the California Tower in Balboa Park Balboa Park’s California Tower at the San Diego Museum of Man was closed to the public in 1935, but after extensive construction and safety renovations it reopened for ...

June 21, 2017
San Diego Reader 2017 guide to tacos

Taco means tiny taste of temptation. Satisfaction by a thousand different cuts of meat and veggies. Is it just me, this wacko taco love affair? I don’t think so. Every San Diegan has a secret ...

It's a slippery, messy delight

Aqui es Texcoco The moniker translates to “Here is Texcoco,” an homage to the Texcoco region of Mexico, largely considered to be the birthplace of barbacoa in that country. The specialty of the house is ...

Gateway burger garnishes

Burgers. I love them. I’m a traditional sort. Acceptable toppings are lettuce, tomato, raw onion, American or cheddar cheese, and a smear of mayo. At least that’s what I told myself. Somewhere along the line, ...

September 14, 2016
Crushes evolve

I love crushes. I get crushes on television shows, on singers, on colors, cookbooks, chefs, and, of course, food. My longest food crushes are enduring passions for buttered popcorn and marshmallow Peeps (nobody’s perfect), and ...

August 3, 2016
Nine hundred degrees of pizza

Almost a year ago I relocated from the Westfield UTC area to Liberty Station. One of the most pleasant things about moving to that area is being able to walk to so many restaurants, bars, ...

Subtle sweet smoke

I lurked for months, surveying the perpetual construction and interminable delays that come with opening a new restaurant in San Diego. I watched in anticipation while huge wood burning grills were installed. I speculated endlessly ...

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
Asada days and adobada nights

I spent February and March in Loreto, Baja California Sur, a charming town on the Sea of Cortez that dates from 1697. Small and friendly, the place made it easy to settle into a routine ...

Mother’s Ruin gets a makeover

Gin has always been a drink of dubious repute.

A line out the door since 1933

Mitch’s Seafood Whenever I’m at family-owned Mitch’s Seafood I think, This is why I live in San Diego. Beer-battered rock cod ($3.05) or seasonal fresh grilled fish and seafood ($3.60) are almost exclusively from San ...

May 13, 2015
Don't let the size of the list intimidate you

Solare I can’t think of a better way to spend a lazy afternoon than on the gorgeous patio of this chic Italian eatery. Sip Solare’s Blood Orange Daisy, a sophisticated twist on a traditional margarita ...

April 15, 2015
A desire named StreetCar

Doughnuts seem to be having a bit of a moment, but despite my sweet tooth and love for anything deep fried, I've never been much of a doughnut person. I've never swooned over a flashing ...

My fantasy food day

My day always starts with coffee from Cafe Moto (2619 National Avenue), whether it ends up being a dream day or not. It’s usually in my own kitchen, but my fantasy morning would have me ...

Cocktails with a personal stamp

I love craft cocktails because I have a hard time following the rules, or recipes. Everything tastes better when you put your personal stamp on it. Bailiwick Wide-open windows, big comfy sofas, and a great ...

July 9, 2014
Hookah up in Sorrento Valley

This Thanksgiving, for once, I was neither cooking for a crowd nor eating with a crowd. It’s been an exhausting year, so John and I decided we were overdue for a long weekend of lazy ...

A first look at Puesto at the Headquarters

Earlier this week I had a chance to preview the new menu from Puesto at The Headquarters, slated to soft open on Tuesday, November 19th. I’ve eaten at the La Jolla location and the Puesto ...

A love-hate relationship with top-ten lists

The one question I’m asked most frequently is “What’s the best restaurant in San Diego?” Impossible! How can I compare this deliciously fresh, perfectly seasoned, crisply battered fish taco with that subtly nuanced, silky smooth, ...

September 4, 2013
The Spirit of Family Dinnertime

Places where food is created with care, where the service is warm and welcoming, and where you can relax and reconnect with family and friends.

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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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