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Great coffee in SD..?

Dark Horse doesn't sell espresso drinks, only excellent pour over, unless something has changed since my last visit. (OP was asking about espresso drinks.)

Coffee & Tea Collective is a solid third place in my rankings, below #1 Zumbar and #2 Calabria.

My #4 is Cafe Bassam since I've had some decent cups there, even if the owner of the place is notorious. Also, it is open very late which is nice on the weekends.

#5 is Black Rock Coffee in Oceanside. It's a fantastic drive through coffee stand that I always hit on my way to LA. (Technically not San Diego city, but thought I'd throw it in.) Sometimes I'll also hit Portola Coffee Lab in Costa Mesa if I need another kick later on.

Other than those gems, not much stands out otherwise. I have never been impressed with Bird Rock's coffee, especially their espresso drinks. I've been to the coffee cart in front of Mary Birch several times (wife was in the hospital there for a week) but I wasn't really impressed by it at all.

Mar 31, 2014
ikeg in San Diego

Where is the Best Vegetarian Pho in San Diego

I'll give you another place to try if you'd like.

Saigon Bistro & Grill
16769 Bernardo Center Dr.
K-8
San Diego, CA 92128

I've never had the vegetarian pho (Phở Rau Cải & Đậu Hũ), but my wife (who lived in Vietnam until she was 19) and I have enjoyed everything that we ever eaten here.

This is the best "upscale" Vietnamese restaurant that we have found in San Diego. We've had lots of different dishes here and nothing has disappointed. I noticed the vegetarian pho because my sister is a vegetarian and figured we would take her the next time she visits. The prices here are a maybe a buck or two higher than other places, but the quality is also better. My wife had the pho once and thought it was good. Our regular pho joint is Pho King on El Cajon, but we also take semi-regular trips up to visit Pho Thanh Lich and Pho Dakao up in Westminter.

Mar 26, 2014
ikeg in San Diego

San Diego New Places Opening Thread, Part Deux

My favorite so far has to be Smitty's, which was the original location of Kruez BBQ before they had a family feud. They've been kept the same fire burning for like a hundred years and the entire building looks like it burned down years ago. Second place is probably Louie Mueller. Franklin is also really good, but the lines are too long now and when I went last time they were running out of everything. Don't know if it's still the same. I was lucky to try that place just after it opened and before it had a huge word of mouth and was impressed, now I just head to Taylor because it isn't that much farther from the in-laws.

Nov 20, 2013
ikeg in San Diego

San Diego New Places Opening Thread, Part Deux

There's a reason that place has "Dog Friendly" signs all over it...

Nov 20, 2013
ikeg in San Diego

San Diego New Places Opening Thread, Part Deux

Yeah, about two or three months ago. Unfortunately they don't have a jukebox that I can mention here.

Don't get me wrong, it's not bad, just nowhere near the level of great BBQ that I've had from about every little town within 100 miles of Austin.

The best Texas style I've been able to find around Southern California is from a guy named "Big Mista" that sells his BBQ at farmer's markets around Orange and LA counties. Drove up to the South Central LA farmer's market a couple of years ago on my day off and I was not disappointed. Some day I'll hopefully get a chance to hit up Bludso's in Compton, I've heard some decent things about that place too.

Nov 20, 2013
ikeg in San Diego

San Diego CLOSED Restaurants: Thread Three- The Saga Continues.

I'm not surprised at all. Their food was great the first year or two after they opened, but fell from grace about the time they started getting featured on "Groupon."

The last time I visited, the menu had lost the local scallops my wife used to enjoy and nearly all of the higher quality seafood options. In their place: fish sandwiches. Needless to say, we were not amused, and a little mortified that we had brought guests with us.

Nov 20, 2013
ikeg in San Diego

San Diego New Places Opening Thread, Part Deux

I think you've got Texas-style BBQ confused with St. Louis-style BBQ-- I (have to) visit Texas at least once each and every year, and I've eaten at about half of the famous places in Texas-- including Lockhart, which is usually considered the BBQ capital of Texas. Texas BBQ is all smoke-- no sauce at all on the meat, just a dry rub. Served with pickles, onions, and sliced bread or saltines. One or two of the places do offer a sauce (as a condiment) but it is nothing like what you'll find at Phil's.

Nov 20, 2013
ikeg in San Diego
2

Fallbrook? Anything worth eating?

Has nobody mentioned Las Brisas? They have some of the best carnitas you can find in San Diego county, if you're in to mexican food. It's not a fancy place by any means (paper plates and plastic silverware) but most everyone I've taken there has been impressed.

Apr 26, 2013
ikeg in San Diego

Tea leaves

My wife and I were walking around the Del Mar Highlands shopping center and found a new store called "Leaf and Kettle" which sells some decent loose leaf teas. My wife picked up an oolong that has really good flavor.

Usually we wait until we take a trip up to LA to stock up on our green teas-- there is a store out in San Gabriel called Wing Hop Fung that has hundreds of varieties...

Oct 22, 2012
ikeg in San Diego

The Best Tamales

We usually hit up Tamales Betty whenever my wife is craving tamales. I won't say they're the best in SD, but I haven't found any better ones so far. They used to be located in Barrio Logan but moved to Chula Vista a couple of years ago.

Tamales Betty
226 Broadway
Chula Vista, CA 91910
(619) 565-2244

Oct 16, 2012
ikeg in San Diego

Recommend me one burrito.

I know I may get shot down for this, since it's not actually referred to as a burrito on their menu, but...

SPECIAL QUESADILLA at La Posta #8

They essentially make a huge quesadilla and then throw carne asada, guacamole, and pico de gallo on it-- then wrap it like a standard CAB. It's like a stuffed crust burrito-- and the greatest drunk food I've ever found between 12:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m.

PROTIP: If you go to La Posta #8, be sure to ask for the GREEN SAUCE, not the crappy red sauce they hand out to everybody. I don't know what the hell they put in that green sauce, but it is fabulous.

Jul 03, 2012
ikeg in San Diego

Best Bakeries or Baked Goods in San Diego?

Peterson's Doughnut Corner in Escondido has the best cake doughnuts in San Diego IMHO. They're open 24 hours, which is also a plus.

Cupcakes Squared off of Voltaire in Pt. Loma is another one of our favorites. Those are a great treat every once in a while. My wife likes the carrot cake and I'm partial to the lilikoi, although they're all great.

The double fudge brownie sundae at Eclipse Chocolat is insanely good.

The brioche cinnamon rolls at Con Pane are pretty awesome, too.

I'll throw in an obligatory mention of Dudley's Bakery in Santa Ysabel since you like good jalapeno cheese bread. Not sure who's is the best, but we always pick some up when we're driving by.

You can hit Dudley's on the way up to Julian for a slice of pie (Julian Pie Co, Mom's), which should also get an obligatory mention here...

May 24, 2012
ikeg in San Diego

San Diego CLOSED Restaurants - Replacement for old board.

My wife is going to be very sad about Sam's Place closing... she LOVED their broasted chicken.
Does anybody have good tips on restaurants that serve good broasted chicken in SD county?

Apr 30, 2012
ikeg in San Diego

Good coffee in San Diego?

Having had the two, I think I actually preferred the taste of the free drink at Fixtures than the one I had at Portola last night. Maybe they were having an off night, because it was the put a lot of work into something that I thought was just above corporate-chain quality (it was about as good as Influx-Little Italy, which I never bother with for good reason).

Mar 11, 2012
ikeg in San Diego

Mariscos Truck on University & 35th

That truck changed ownership like a year ago, part of the agreement was that the new owners could continue to use the Mariscos German name for the first year. I haven't been there recently since I've been hitting the MG truck in the IGA parking lot in South Park. (By the way, fish tacos at the MG truck in South Park are $1.50 each.)

Mar 11, 2012
ikeg in San Diego

San Diego New Places Opening Thread, Part Deux

Just tried the pizza at Calabria last night. Interestingly enough, my wife and I both thought that the pizza crust didn't have the same woody flavor that we would get from a Bruno pie. Their pizza seemed a lot less substantial, both in the crust as well as the toppings. (For instance, we got the "four seasons" pie, which had four toppings on it. Except they only put one topping on each quarter of the pizza, so you missed any combination of topping flavors. Made it a little bland.) My wife thought that the pizza toppings were not as hot out of the oven as a Bruno pie. The pizza also seemed to come out of the oven really fast. I'm guessing that Calabria might be running their oven at a higher temperature than they do at Bruno, which would account for the many of the differences. We both still prefer Bruno's neapolitan pizzas, but to each his own.

While we were eating, I noticed a delivery from "Specialty Produce" which you are probably familiar with. I know you're a big on restaurant sourcing, so I figured I'd give you the heads up.

Sep 25, 2011
ikeg in San Diego

Permanent market for local farmers?

Yeah, I hear ya-- We just head to Siesel's meats in Bay Park after we grab all of our produce. They have some of the best meats in town, probably better than anything they'd be selling at People's if they were so inclined.

They have tremendous bacon.

Jun 07, 2011
ikeg in San Diego

ISO East Coast Style Pizza in La Jolla or nearby

I'd second Regents Pizza-- even though I tend to enjoy their Chicago slices better than their NY style slices.

Jun 07, 2011
ikeg in San Diego

Permanent market for local farmers?

I don't know if you have ever checked out the Ocean Beach People's Co-op but it's similar to what you are describing, in that it features mostly locally grown produce and it has regular operating hours. All the produce is labelled with the location it was grown, and in some instances, the name of the farm or farmer who grew it. They do carry produce from outside california, for instance tropical or out-of-season crops, but they are clearly labelled as such. I find it a good compromise since it isn't as limiting. I know my blood oranges come from fallbrook, my carrots are grown in escondido, and my apples are grown in santa barbara county.

They don't carry any meat products, and I can't recall seeing local cheeses-- they carry quite a few local products, but most of their grocery stock are the same brands you'll see elsewhere. The prices seem to be cheaper than other stores for the same organic products (being organic they aren't cheap). The produce prices are actually cheaper than the farmer's market, for the most part, even though the quality is just as good.

Jun 07, 2011
ikeg in San Diego

Chili Fries in SD

And I assume you meant "Los Angeles" when you said "Long Beach area". The Original Tommy's Shack is on the corner of Beverly and Rampart just west of downtown LA.

Jun 02, 2011
ikeg in San Diego

Tre Porcellini - Fantastic Addition to Hillcrest!

Actually got out to use my groupon last night, and I have to say I was relatively impressed with the food I had last night. The quality of the ingredients and the execution seemed at least a notch above most of the Italian restaurants nearby (Arrevederci, Il Postino), the Busalacchi restaurants that I've tried, and Jack and Gulio's in Old Town.

For Josh, the menu claims "hormone-free" meat, and I actually asked the host about what sort of meats they use in the food. He claimed that a lot of it was free range and that they "try to use as much free-range and organic as they can." I will say that the sausage I had was pretty decent, but at the price points they are using, I doubt they are sourcing from the same places as the linkery. (We only buy meat from Iowa Meat Farms, so we have a idea of what good meat should taste like.) My wife had the pasta dish with the seafood ragu, and she thought it was good as well.

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Iowa Meat Farms
6041 Mission Gorge Rd, San Diego, CA 92120

May 17, 2011
ikeg in San Diego

Tre Porcellini - Fantastic Addition to Hillcrest!

I think in general, if a restaurant isn't bragging about free range / organic meat, it's safe to assume they are using neither.

May 15, 2011
ikeg in San Diego

Heirloom Tomato Plants In San Diego

If you're near Vista, you should definitely drop by this place some time, if only to see it. They have entire sections of the nursery for mints, thymes, basils, and just about every herb you can think of. My wife and I were up in Vista exploring nurseries for ideas and this place blew us away-- we probably spent an hour wondering around the place trying and comparing the different varieties of herbs. (We're planning on adding a sub-irrigated garden in front and planting Longan, Wax Jambu, Avocado, Dragonfruit, and Citrus trees from California Tropical Fruit Trees in the back, some day...)

May 05, 2011
ikeg in San Diego

Heirloom Tomato Plants In San Diego

You should definitely check out Pearson's Gardens in Vista. They have the greatest selection of vegetables and herbs I've ever seen, way, way better than Walter Anderson or any other chain nursery.

For instance, here is their selection of heirloom tomatoes, they are currently stocking 83 varieties in 4" size (not just packets of seed).

http://pearsonsgardens.com/store/page...

May 05, 2011
ikeg in San Diego

Non-Truck Marisco restaurant

Cathy, has La Playita been good recently? My wife and I were fans of this place, and we used to go semi-regularly 2-3 years ago, but the quality slipped so much the last few times we visited that we stopped going altogether. Just wondering if it is a place we should put back on our list...

I will say that before we felt the place slip they had excellent mariscos, better than what you could expect from one of the trucks. My wife would order the whole fish with tortillas, rice, and beans, and I would order fish and shrimp tacos, etc.

On another note, Mariscos German has an actual restaurant in Spring Valley. While I've never actually eaten there, I did frequent their restaurant when it was down in Logan Heights (it moved), and the food was at least as good as from the truck. So if truck-style food will do, there is a sit-down option available.

Mariscos German
1000 Grand Ave
Spring Valley, CA 91977

Apr 24, 2011
ikeg in San Diego

San Diego New Places Opening

Good catch. I live less than a mile or two from there, so my wife and I might head over there if we want something close. I think we're heading up to Little Saigon tomorrow for Vietnamese food, so I'll probably try it out in a week or two.

Apr 15, 2011
ikeg in San Diego

The Counter and Urban Plates?

I tried The Counter last week, and it was pretty much what I expected, after hearing about it on KCRW's Good Food podcast a few weeks ago. Definitely not a destination eatery, but a decent place to go considering the surrounding competition. The Counter seems very similar to Burger Lounge, with the overpriced menu and the way they are able to make their "natural" beef taste so bland. At least they will cook their burgers with about the right amount of pink inside. Meh.

Apr 12, 2011
ikeg in San Diego

Banh Mi Sandwiches

My mistake. I've only been there once or twice and I guess I just missed the oven. The bread from the Rolando location seemed so much fresher that I assumed they were trucking it in.

Apr 06, 2011
ikeg in San Diego

Banh Mi Sandwiches

The best we've found so far is Cali Baguette Express in Rolando (near 51st and El Cajon) --
which is far superior to the second store in Mira Mesa. I think the baguettes are baked in
the Rolando store and then delivered to the MIra Mesa-- the bread is fresher and the fillings seem to be higher quality and worth the longer drive.

Cali Baguette Express
5125 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92115

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Cali Baguette Express
5125 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115

Apr 06, 2011
ikeg in San Diego

The Carne Asada / Adobada Fries Reference Guide. I'm Specifically Looking for Carne Asada Fries Similar to the Now Defunct Zapata Taco Shop in Paradise Hills.

I'm no expert in Carne Asada Fries, but I've heard Rigoberto's on Miramar Road is pretty decent. I've tried them, and they were good, but I don't have a lot to compare with (not what I normally order). There are a ton of reviews on yelp if you want to check them out.

Rigoberto's Taco Shop
7094 Miramar Rd
San Diego, CA 92121

Apr 06, 2011
ikeg in San Diego