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Stories by Patrick Henderson

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
Bob Marley impersonator brings peace to San Diego

Since California voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2016, dozens of dispensaries have popped up, the biggest concentration being in Mission Valley. A budding cannabis connoisseur can tour the region’s top weed hot spots or choose ...

December 25, 2019
Whatever Lola's got

San Diegans rejoice, because we are experiencing a golden age of tacos. Great tacos are nothing new here. Taco shops are one of the things people miss most when they move away. But new taco ...

619 Spirits uses local spirits including own vodka brand

Has there been a better time to be a boozehound in San Diego? As the craft beer scene has matured, some locals are branching out into other liquor areas and creating an intoxicating distillery scene ...

Theatre Box – one sweet splurge

I love seeing movies in theaters, but it’s hard to leave home when you have a big screen TV, streaming and DVD options, big easy chairs, and food available for delivery. That cruel fact has ...

Lil' Piggy's – that glorious sauce

Ever taste something that immediately fulfills all the flavor dreams you’ve had in one bite? That’s how I feel about the habanero bbq sauce at Lil' Piggy’s Bar-B-Q in Coronado. I admit it: I’m a ...

A guilty trip to Wingstop

I admit it: I love buffalo-style chicken strips, but not the wings so much — too much work getting out all the meat. I’ve previously satisfied my jones at Epic Wings and Things, a locally-based, ...

A pizza my heart

I’m in a mixed marriage — my wife is a vegetarian and I eat meat. Usually, we are able to deal with our differences, but the one time when it does come up is when ...

Tacos next to Old Town cemetery

Tahona Bar in Old Town is one of those places that is going to get a lot of jokes, just because of its location: next to the Old Town cemetery. “Tahona? I’m dying to go ...

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
One more craving

It was my wife’s birthday and I was on a quest: To find a really superlative chocolate croissant. Here’s the backstory: We got engaged in Paris back in 2000, and one of the other highlights ...

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 daughter who eats anchovies and huitlacoche

It was time for a little father-daughter bonding and what better place than a drag show? Exactly! That’s why I had no problem when my daughter asked to go to Werq The World, featuring drag ...

Oceanaire a chain, but with some local nuance

“Not all chain restaurants are the same,” my friend told me while biting into a crispy piece of calamari. “Some chains just go for the quick buck with mega-meals. Others want that fast casual meal ...

Scaring up healthy food

My son was ready for a rite of passage: Going through the haunted attractions at the Scream Zone on the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Yes, at the age of 12, he was ready to deal with ...

Farm doors on the bathrooms

Some things are worth the wait. That’s how I felt when Fourpenny House opened on La Mesa Boulevard back in April. This Scottish-themed pub has been in the works for at least two years before ...

September 20, 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 ...

Thanks, Hamburg

Although the hamburger was named after the German city of Hamburg, America is the country that made it great thanks to access to relatively cheap beef, wheat for the bun, and the imagination of a ...

September 12, 2018
Fancy Hot Pockets?

I wanted my family to try something different, but it was a hot night and we wanted something casual. Knowing the family liked tacos, I thought empanadas might be a nice alternative, since they are ...

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 ...

Don’t forget the giant chicken

This slightly upscale but still casual Italian restaurant is a hidden gem for East County foodies. Open and airy with a decor that is shabbily chic like an Italian farmhouse, there are plenty of dishes ...

August 8, 2018
The perfect canvas

The main reason San Diego is better than LA comes down to the fast food of choice: San Diegans have so many options for tacos, they never have to eat the same place twice. Los ...

May 16, 2018
Perfectly balanced BBQ

Think politics is polarizing? It’s got nothing on BBQ. It’s a passionate topic where people have their theories on things like wood or propane. sauce or rub, and brisket or ribs. BBQ aficionados are picky ...

Light Greek

When my family and I managed to beat all odds and get Hamilton tickets through the lottery, we knew we wanted to make it an evening out by also getting dinner. But Dad had just ...

Lemon Grove goes upscale

Lemon Grove doesn’t get hyped as a dining destination like North Park or Little Italy, but it may be San Diego’s hole-in-the-wall capital. Foodies know that in between the chain restaurants are wonderful ma-and-pa type ...

Cool vibe and crispy croquettes

I haven’t had much opportunities to try Cuban food in San Diego — a taco shop always seems to get in the way — but I was intrigued when I discovered a new Cuban restaurant ...

Holidays at the big attractions

San Diego’s mild winter climate makes it an attractive spot for people who don’t want a white Christmas. So that means there is a good chance you’re hosting out-of-towners over the holidays. That means that ...

December 6, 2017
While my family slept in

I try to have three square meals a day, but for weekend breakfasts, I like to keep things round: As in bagels and doughnuts. One of my fatherly duties on Saturday is to get a ...

Reading the menu vs. eating it

Running a restaurant in the Gaslamp isn’t easy. The transitory nature of the place means you have to appeal to discerning locals as well as tourist traffic passing by. That’s the challenge facing a place ...

Make room for shrooms

British pubs are so boring, but a pub themed after one of its former colonies? That’s clever! That’s the conceit behind Dunedin, a New Zealand-themed pub in North Park that just celebrated its first anniversary. ...

Farm eating — the life for me

In the fast casual restaurant space, convenience and consistency is often the goal more than transcendent eating experiences. But places that can do all three can shine. Case in point: Mendocino Farms, an L.A.-based chain ...

Red Robin — 27 years later

Because I write food reviews, people assume that I like food. Yet you’d be surprised at how many people give me gift cards for chain restaurants. I get ‘em all: Chili’s, Applebee’s, Buffalo Wild Wings. ...

Special occasion burgers

I used to eat burgers all the time, but as I got older and developed a taste for all types of food, I became more discerning. Hence, when I have a burger these days, I ...

Pig ears, lamb testicles at Village North

I once read a piece written by an economist about how he looks at a restaurant menu. There was lots of good advice, but one thing that stuck out was his recommendation about weird-sounding items: ...

Perfect for a heat wave

Between now and mid-November, San Diego is likely to have the hottest days of the year. I love heat waves, but they usually don’t inspire cravings for anything other than ice cream. That’s why I’ve ...

Sweet, spicy, satisfying

BBQ aficionados can be particular, but this hole-in-the-wall in La Mesa should satisfy lovers of brisket and tri-tip. The meat is smoked for hours until tender in a tangy rub. Customers then can add the ...

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
A new place for selectively health-conscious OB

Although the food scenes of Little Italy, North Park, and Convoy get more attention, Ocean Beach has also been experiencing a bit of a restaurant renaissance in recent years. A lot of decent eateries have ...

Seaweed burritos

Locals love both Mexican food and Asian cuisine, so why not combine them? That is the idea behind Pokirrito, a restaurant that gained a reputation for its sushi burritos. If you’re not a foodie purist ...

Where to get lunch during Comic-Con

Brian Malarkey’s latest Little Italy restaurant Herb & Wood is attracting a lot of crowds and got a good review from the esteemed Barbarella Fokos, who called it a great special occasion dining spot when ...

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 ...

The rise of octopus

Galaxy Taco If you believe it’s heresy to pay more than $7 for a combo plate, Galaxy Taco is not for you. If you want really high-quality tacos that linger in memory, Galaxy Taco is ...

Werewolf has Homer Cakes

To me, a good breakfast is like a good blues CD: Talented artists work on an established formula, whether it be three chords or eggs, bacon, and potatoes. Done well, it’s simplicity with style. Brunch ...

Salmon and sourdough for breakfast

The sign for Royal Stone Bistro, a Bankers Hill eatery on First Avenue, says “Seasonal. Savory. Sincere.” That’s an apt description of the brunch we had. I never thought of myself as a brunch person, ...

Does Harbor Town Pub have the best brunch dish ever?

My wife and I have had a weekly brunch date on Saturday mornings since November. It’s been fun to have real conversations (without kids) while drinking real adult beverages (without kids). We’ve had a lot ...

Legitimate proof that La Mesa is hip

For some, a Starbucks is a sign that the neighborhood has arrived. For others, it’s a microbrewery. For me, it’s a noodle shop. La Mesa already has its share of sushi joints, pho spots, and ...

Eclipse hits the sweet spot with savory breakfasts

When a restaurant has “Chocolate Bar” in its name people assume that the place is just a sweet shop or a candy store. In the case of Eclipse Chocolate Bar & Bistro in South Park, ...

Madison’s Mediterranean brunch

Madison in University Heights has been open for about a year. My wife and I dined there in February and liked the cocktails, but we felt the food needed more seasoning. Then my wife said ...

Healthy but still “breakfasty”

My wife and I enjoy going to Trust in Hillcrest before going to a play at the Old Globe, and we thought we’d check out the brunch. Trust has been around a little less than ...

You gotta use your noodle

Once found mostly on Convoy Boulevard in Kearny Mesa, noodle spots have lately popped up in hipster neighborhoods such as Little Italy, North Park, Hillcrest, and University Heights. Tajima started as a small restaurant in ...

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