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#1 Gugelhupf

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 08:01 AM

Would appreciate any recs for San Diego~Coronado specifically.

Thanks!
~A~

#2 PDXWine

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 03:23 PM

Can you narrow it down by type?

#3 stu

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 04:16 PM

I am taking the train to San Luis Obispo and then San Diego and was wondering if any of you can convince me to stray from my planned Mexican taco shop and bar food diet. In San Luis I will have dining partners, but in San Diego I will probably be dinning solo. I am not looking for any particular cuisine or type of food, just something to add a little variety. My only dietary restriction is that I don't have to get dressed up to go out.

Thanks.

#4 ExtraMSG

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 04:28 PM

Why would anyone want to convince you to stay away from taco shops? I encourage you to indulge in taco shops!

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#5 Calabrese

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 05:52 PM

There used to be a great Mexican place in Old Town in San Diego that served great red snapper vera cruz. It's been years since I visited SD (a close friend went to med school there) but that place was memorable. There's a big fountain out in front in the off chance it's still around. I'd really recommend checking out places that specialize in seafood Mexican style.

I hope you get good weather.

#6 polloelastico

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 08:42 PM

There used to be a great Mexican place in Old Town in San Diego that served great red snapper vera cruz. It's been years since I visited SD (a close friend went to med school there) but that place was memorable. There's a big fountain out in front in the off chance it's still around. I'd really recommend checking out places that specialize in seafood Mexican style.

I hope you get good weather.

Unless you can get the exact name of this place (I'm sure it was good Calabrese), I would stay away from Old Town. Since it became the nexus of the Trolley, Old Town has become synonomous with touristey and erstwhile Mexican (See Rockin' Baja Lobster). I was there last summer (groomsman at a wedding, wedding party stayed in Old Town and rehearsal reception was at one of the crappy Mexican joints). Perhaps the restaurant Calabrese mentioned could be Casa Guadalajara, which is supposedly known for its seafood dishes, but I'd approach with a bit of trepidation.

Will you have a car? If you're staying by the beaches, there's not much. Small sushi/bento places, lots of taquerias, etc. Stay away from any place that ends in "berto's", i.e Umberto's, Roberto's, etc. We commonly referred to those places at "Regretto's", because if you hit it at 2am after a night of bar hopping you'd be regretting it the day after.

For good bar food the shrimp cocktail at the Brigantine is pretty renowned and cheap (there are a few locations - I used to hit the one in Point Loma). World Famous in Pacific Beach is a good happy hour experience (if you can get past the total tourist trap environs), and they used to have a killer lobster cocktail for five bucks. Just up the street from that, in Mission Beach on Mission Ave. is Surfside Sushi/Steakhouse(I think that's the name) that I remember as being ok.

The entire Hillcrest area has good options (north of downtown, young, urban feel - home to San Diego's GLBT community). There's a retro, old-skool steakhouse/piano bar in the area - the name escapes me - that we used to frequent, smoke cigars and sing Sinatra tunes late into the night. It's where Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone's first date was filmed in "Anchorman".

Stay away from La Jolla/Cove if you want to spare yourself a totally overpriced experienced (i.e. George's at the Cove and other permutations). There's a place just south of Old Town, in Mission Hills (just off I-5) called Saffron which serves good, fresh Thai food to go. The lady who runs the joint is pretty famous and has been featured in a few national publications.

In Ocean Beach, at the end of the main drag where the sand meets street (and right in front of the Ocean Beach Pier) is South Beach Bar and Grill, which was a regular haunt for us for good beer and awesome seafood tacos. Shark, Wahoo, Ono, Ahi - everything is grilled (unlike your standard Baha fish taco).

There are some decent Italian joints on 5th Ave. in the Gaslamp. I haven't been in a while, but when I worked for San Diego Magazine in the later nineties we had an expense account at Fio's, which was good, standard Italian fare (carpaccio, pasta, pizza, bistek, etc.). Across the street is Croce's, where Jim Croce's son plays, and that might be something worth checking out (food was generally ok).

One of my favorite places, more for the experience, was at the Turf Club in hills just west of Downtown. You order your meat — it comes wrapped in plastic wrap with a baked potato and veg on the side — and you go to communal grill and sear your own meat. There's a bunch of sauces where you can go nuts and oversauce/season your steak and basically ruin it, but it's more for the experience. Drinks are cheap, everyone's in a good mood, and it's a swinging, retro experience.

If you do have a car, I would suggest heading up the 805/163 interchange (north of the stadium, Convoy/Linda Vista area), which is the nexus all the Asian ethnic activity (though there are many Vietnamese restaurants as well on the far East side toward El Cajon on University & El Cajon Blvd). If you're interested in this, I would check out Kirkk's blog. He's pretty much documented every place in San Diego, and he's a real nice guy - drop him a note and he'll steer you in the right direction.

Finally, if you're staying downtown/Old Town, I would suggest a half-hour trolley ride to the border, and hitting the tacos al pastor stands in Tijuana. 3 tacos for a dollar (though the going rate might be two now), freshly shaved spit roasted red tinged pork, the creamiest guacamole you'll ever taste (Mexican avocados rule - you can't get them stateside), bowls of help-yourself radishes and roasted jalapenos perched on the counter. Order 3 or 6 at a time, wash down with a beer after every three or so, hang, loiter, and pay on the honor system. Stroll to a sports book and put some money on NBA or the ponies and that's a damn good afternoon. Just stay away from the tourist bars and the crazy assholes chortling annoyingly shrill whistles and brandishing bottles of water-down tequila.

Also you can check out the pharmacia and stock up on steroids.
“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” — George Carlin

#7 Flynn

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 10:32 PM

I'd definitely start with pollo's post over some of the threads I've read on Chowhound.

My fave mexican restaurant in SD used to be El Tecolote in Linda Vista, but it's been gone for years. Last time I was there I ate dinner at Casa Guadalajara in Old Town. The shrimp and seafood dishes are indeed fresh and tasty, but really, it's not much better than slightly above average california-style mex. I certainly wouldn't spend a meal there if you had other options to consider.

If you're a fan of the tequila, don't miss El Agave in old town though. They've got an amazing selection with some crazy things going on, like rare mezcals. Also really good moles, but it's a bit spendy to eat there.

#8 PDXWine

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 05:46 AM

So, Pollo - you used to work for SD Mag, huh? The publication by a few people, for a few people, about a few people? Tom Blair's the editor and Winke Self is (was?) the publisher (both of whom I went to high school with)? That one?

The restaurant with the fountain in Old Town is probably Casa de Bandini. There are only two places to eat in Old Town - Old Town Mexican Cafe where you should ONLY order the carnitas, and Cafe Pacifica. I disagree about places ending in "berto's". Roberto's, Alberto's, Rigoberto's, Royberto's . . . all good. Some are just better than others.

Fio's closed several years ago.

Good call on the Brigantine which has reliable food on the full menu as well - also the Red Sails across the street. Hush puppies!

Also a good call on La Jolla's Prospect St. Fine dining, yes. Also spendy.

Up the boardwalk from World Famous are Armando's Green Flash (the former home of WF until the owners had a disagreement) and Kono's - a kind of take-out lunch/breakfast place that offers good food at cheap prices.

Convoy is definitely the Asian capital. Emerald Seafood used to be some pretty primo Chinese.

Hillcrest - good call. Fun neighborhood.

Avoid the Gaslamp. Trendy restaurants and beautiful people. Lots of tourists. As a rule, don't eat anywhere that abuts the harbor.

All in all, and I lived there most of my life, SD's a culinary wasteland when compared to what we have here. Restaurants, shopping, the whole enchilada - so to speak.

#9 tammi

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 07:52 AM

Pollo and SD Mag....PDXWine..I grew up there too!

Stu looks like you got some good recs...don't miss the fish tacos at the Brig....(Not a traditional Baja style but righteous) I wouldn't eat dinner there just happy hour and not to be missed.

I would avoid Convoy for Asian, I think Portland has far better...best to stick with tacos and fish IMO.

A great funky bar with super deals on premium drinks don't miss Pac Shores in Ocean Beach. Maybe its a nostalgic thing for me but I never tire of the place. Pollo mentioned South Beach Bar and grill above...its just up the street from the beach a ways.

Good breakfast spot at the end of Garnet is Kono's in Pacific Beach. Its cheap, very casual and good.

As PDX mentioned...La Jolla is spendy but Happy Hour at Georges by the Cove is fun, great view and good place to people watch and hang out.

Great coffee at the Pannikin on Girard in La Jolla. Ahh the memories!

Point Loma seafoods is a place I stop to buy smoked fish....great stuff. We usually get an array of different kinds, grab a few beers and sit on the pier and eat.

Personally I would have HH at the Brig everyday just for good measure... Get to Mexico by day for shoping and hitting taco stands! Have fun! PS I second the notion to avoid any Albertos Robertos ect...Definetely!

#10 Calabrese

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 10:36 AM

The restaurant with the fountain in Old Town is probably Casa de Bandini.


Was it around 28 years ago? Hating to date myself but that's about when I ate there last. According to the web, Casa de Bandini is now closed.

My point about my experience there is that the Mexican seafood dishes in SD can be awfully good. If the place I ate is still open, it's probably quite different than when I was there.

#11 PDXWine

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 10:49 AM

Pollo and SD Mag....PDXWine..I grew up there too!

Okay, Tammi - which HS?

I second the notion to avoid any Albertos Robertos ect...Definetely!

Looks like I'm outvoted, 2-1. I actually prefer El Cotixan but their various locations are inconsistent from one to the next. The one in El Cajon is fabulous but there's no other reason to go to El By God Cajon.

Rubio's for fairly genuine San Felipe fish tacos. It was better when they only had a few locations (or, in my case, just the one on E. Mission Bay Dr.). Get the regular ones, not the "especiales" with guacamole.

Pt. Loma Seafoods is a great spot - just not between 11:30 and 1:30.

I believe I mentioned Kono's. Steve Bettles is another person I went to high school with. Used to own Lamont St. Grill.

Garnet in Pacific Beach is loaded with cheap, dive-y bars as is the main drag in Ocean Beach, Newport Ave. Unfortunately, I think the best little breakfast place on Garnet, Bustamante's, has closed.

#12 Twitch

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 11:08 AM

Stone brewing's bistro is now open. San Diego IPA is enough to make me consider moving to town...if the foods as good as their beer, you can bury me there.

http://www.stoneworldbistro.com/

#13 PDXWine

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 12:48 PM

Stone brewing's bistro is now open. San Diego IPA is enough to make me consider moving to town...if the foods as good as their beer, you can bury me there.

http://www.stoneworldbistro.com/

If you'd move to anyplace because of one brewpub you need to shorten your name by removing the last two letters.

BTW - the place is in Escondido (Escondildo among the locals), which is to San Diego as Hillsboro is to Portland - though a little farther away and close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit most summer days. You'll need a lot of beer.

#14 polloelastico

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 12:55 PM

Kono's was a favorite place for us (I lived Bird Rock/PB/Mission) - however, it fell from favor after a while as I couldn't justify a 30 minute wait in line for eggs and potatoes. Weekday morning of course are much easier.

Tammi - loved Pac Shores. The booths there are so cool - and $2 cocktails!

PDXWine - you're right about Gaslamp. Stay away, far away, from Dick's Last Resort. And the harbor spots are to be avoided - my buddy dragged me to the Fish Market last summer for an overpriced, mediocre experience that was all the more insulting when the valet openly scoffed at me when I tipped him only $5.

There's great Vietnamese places to be had in the Linda Vista area (near the community college), including K Sandwiches which is a new-fangled banh mi deli/french bakery with hot table entrees as well (curry and lemon grass chicken) and impossibly cheap. In the same complex is Pho Pasteur, which is some of the best Pho in San Diego. Interesting that Vietnamese (and most ethnic for that matter) in San Diego is cheaper than Portland. Many places are hardly more expensive than when I frequented them back in the late nineties.

Also, "Little Italy" on India Street just north of downtown has some small, affordable places that might be worth checking out.

For splurging, Rainwater's on Kettner is old school, high-end steakhouse. It's waaaay overpriced, though, and I only have an opinion because we had an expense account there as well, but I've always enjoyed my meals there.

Of course I would be remiss without reminding you that there's In-n-Out - near Sports Arena, off the 805/163, and another off I-5 between Pacific Beach and Clairemont Mesa.

PDXwine - yes, that's the one. When I worked there we were bought by a new publisher, and Winke Self was publisher emeritus. We kept an office for his wife Gloria on the off chance she would show up — I never saw her during my two years there. I think it was where people had illicit sex during office parties.

Tom Blair was a great guy, even though I was young and was somewhat taken advantage of as a personal computer assistant for the publisher and editor. When I left, there were certain...revelations coming out re: Tom's personal life that are better left unsaid.

But you're right about the magazine - 120 pages of gloss and ads for laser skin treatments and high end discreet dating services. Good parties, though (if you like that sort of thing - I could take it/leave it), full of beautiful, shiny people - I met Wolfgang Puck at one and he later stopped me and asked for more lamp chops because they were "tho delish-eee-ous" - I think he thought I worked for the catering company (which is about right since I also moonlighted as a catering waiter and had recently worked a function he also attended).
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#15 PDXWine

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 12:58 PM

PDXwine - yes, that's the one. When I worked there we were bought by a new publisher, and Winke Self was publisher emeritus. We kept an office for his wife Gloria on the off chance she would show up — I never saw her during my two years there. I think it was where people had illicit sex during office parties.

Pollo, you're talking about Ed Self. He and Gloria had a daughter named Winke who, at one point, was the named publisher.

#16 polloelastico

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 01:03 PM

PDXwine - yes, that's the one. When I worked there we were bought by a new publisher, and Winke Self was publisher emeritus. We kept an office for his wife Gloria on the off chance she would show up — I never saw her during my two years there. I think it was where people had illicit sex during office parties.

Pollo, you're talking about Ed Self. He and Gloria had a daughter named Winke who, at one point, was the named publisher.

You're right, it was Ed. I think he may have been already dead when I worked there, hence the office for his wife. I had no experience with their offspring.
“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” — George Carlin

#17 PDXWine

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 02:15 PM

FWIW, I think Dick's Last Resort may be the BEST reason to go to the Gaslamp. Once.

And Rainwaters may be more expensive than El Gaucho, which is saying something.

#18 tammi

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 04:00 PM

God PDX and Pollo I'm getting nostalgic!

PDX LJHS and you? I left in 1985 and moved up north, still have family down there so I get back a bit. El Cotixan!!!! I've been there! but your right there probably aren't many other reasons to head to El Cajon. I know a good Mexican place in Jamul too! Why indeed!

Rubios...yes love them tacos. We had one here in Portland that didn't last. Did you know that? Somehow it just wasn't the same as that tiny little one on Mission Bay Drive.

Pollo, I forgot Little Italy!! Great place. San Diego is so diverse, depending on part of town, I guess like many places. I think its funny though how far I'd drive to get something I loved. DB Hackers in Leucadia just for Fish and Chips. Across the border just to get 3 tacos for a buck...(such good fish tacos with all the trimmings) Really pretty funny. Things are much closer here, and for the most part I love Portland food..I just miss those damn fish tacos!

#19 PDXWine

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 07:04 PM

PDX LJHS and you? I left in 1985 and moved up north, still have family down there so I get back a bit. El Cotixan!!!! I've been there! but your right there probably aren't many other reasons to head to El Cajon. I know a good Mexican place in Jamul too! Why indeed!

Ahhh . . . a fellow Viking!!!!! 750 Nautilus St. will seal my creds along with the school colors (red and black) and song (to the tune of "On Wisconsin" if memory serves) if you doubt me. My favorite teacher was Bill McCann - English. I can tell you a story about Mrs. Grizzle's daughter, Judy, at our 20th reunion if you like, but it's not for a family forum such as this one. :wub:

Yeah, if you're going to Jamul you might as well just keep going and head for Tecate.

Rubios...yes love them tacos. We had one here in Portland that didn't last. Did you know that? Somehow it just wasn't the same as that tiny little one on Mission Bay Drive.

I did know that and I went there once - "there" being Rubio's at the corner of Halsey and . . . what? 102nd?

Best thing in Little Italy is the Solunto Baking Co. Great bread and better cannolis.

#20 polloelastico

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 08:31 PM

FWIW, I think Dick's Last Resort may be the BEST reason to go to the Gaslamp. Once.

Really? The food was worse than I would imagine Hooters to be. Basically a bucket of gristly, peel-and-eat shrimp dumped in front of you, with a lemon and a bottle of hot sauce. The shimp were mucked with a strange lubricant and smelled off, like they had been soaked in KY Jelly cut with WD-40.

It didn't help that everyone was drunk and obnoxious, and that describes the wait staff. I'm not sure if I want to fistfight the help when I go out to eat. And tables throwing shrimp shells at each other - I guess that could have been fun if I was in junior high school and wanted to relive Animal House. Which aptly describes the atmosphere.
“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” — George Carlin