jmtreg's Profile

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San Diego breweries among best in the world....

Josh, San Diego has over 80 breweries, and there seems to be 2-3 more open every week. Beyond just the sheer volume, the quality of our breweries is quite high. So everything seemingly revolves around beer, from restaurants to brewpubs, to dive bars. Now, I haven't been to Portland, but I've been to SF and I've been to Denver, and their beer scenes are good, but they don't compare.

Apr 03, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

Great coffee in SD..?

Same.

Apr 01, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

Great coffee in SD..?

If you are strictly going for espresso, then Caffe Calabria is probably your best bet.

Apr 01, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

Great coffee in SD..?

Again, I have never had any issues with the service at C&TC, but the aesthetic is hipster.

Apr 01, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

Great coffee in SD..?

Actually, the guys at C&TC have treated me quite well, and they are very knowledgeable about coffee. But the aesthetic is soooooo hipster-chic. We're talking, handlebar mustaches, tattoos, bicycles, overalls and/or skinny jeans, beanies, etc.

But here's the thing - coffeehouses are full of strange people (especially the staff), and that's part of what makes a good coffeehouse. I expect my barista (hate to use the Starbucks terminology) to have a few tattoos, some odd body piercings, etc. C&TC is no different, but they pretty much hit every stereotype someone of my generation (Gen X/Gen Y) has of a hipster. So, I ignore the aesthetic and focus on the coffee, which is usually excellent.

Apr 01, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

San Diego CLOSED Restaurants: Thread Four (2014 edition)

I'm pretty sure its not.

Mar 31, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

Great coffee in SD..?

I like Caffe Calabria, the Coffee & Tea Collective (yes, in all its hipster glory), and Dark Horse.

Mar 31, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

San Diego CLOSED Restaurants: Thread Four (2014 edition)

Not that I've gone, but Juan Chou in South Park has closed. http://sandiego.eater.com/archives/20...

A good Chinese restaurant would be a fantastic addition to the area, but that seems unlikely. Still, one can hope.

Mar 25, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

San Diego's Donut Star to Open in Fountain Valley, Orange County

Yeah. . .isn't Donut Star the place in Mission Hills across the street from the formerly scary Vons (but now is a totally new and modern Vons)?

Mar 19, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

Source for organic pork in San Diego Grocery Stores

Pigs fed a diet of avocados? That sounds awesome!

Mar 14, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego
1

Cocktail Bars in SD

I've been to Polite Provisions, Coin-Up Game Room and Seven Grand. For Polite Provisions, the snacks through Soda & Swine are not particularly fancy, but after a few cocktails the allure of the food becomes undeniable. In other words, the food is good, but becomes incredible after a few drinks. *ahem* And you will be drinking said cocktails because they are well balanced and delicious.

The Coin-Up Game Room is less a cocktail bar and more of a bar with great cocktails (haven't tried the food yet). Or, probably better put - a Dave & Busters for a more discriminating (hipster) audience. So, you're going to get good cocktails and probably good food.

As far as Seven Grand goes, I have no idea if the cocktails are good or not because the one time I was there I ordered a High West whiskey with a splash of water.

I would also suggest that you check out Imig's (the hotel bar at the Lafayette Hotel), particularly now that Brandon, the bar manager, is back at work after suffering a broken leg. The food has generally been good, and if the bar isn't too full, you can talk to Brandon and let him make you something that may or may not be on the drink menu.

Mar 12, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

Bachelorette dinner with vegetarian options near ocean beach

Actually, I like the food, but I don't think of it as a dinner place (i.e., full entrees). Aside from the burger, I don't think I've ordered a single entree. The appetizers are good-great, though.

Mar 05, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

Bachelorette dinner with vegetarian options near ocean beach

Oddly, I view Starlite completely the opposite way - its good for cocktails and snacks, but not great for dinner.

Mar 03, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

SD Places 8 Restos on Top 100 List

Interesting. . .I don't know if I'd pick any of those places (though I haven't been to Alforon or Oscar's).

Feb 28, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

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

It's kind of a shame this place isn't better, since the concept is solid. Dim sum + craft beer = happy customers and profit. With that said, you have to execute good food, have a better beer list, and avoid expensive Hillcrest rents.

Feb 24, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

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

Wait, that place closed already? It was open for what, a month? Two?

Feb 24, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

Source for ORGANIC Sourdough bread?

I just bought a country loaf from Prager Brothers as well, and it was definitely a sourdough. I recall the guy selling the bread said the previous time I bought a loaf (I bought a semolina sesame loaf that time) that all their breads had a 72 hour fermentation.

Feb 24, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

Two measly nights in SD

I think it's worth noting that the lines at CSS are nowhere near as persistent as those for Lucha Libre. And in contrast to Lucha Libre (which is a good, but not great taco shop), the lines to CSS actually make sense.

Feb 19, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

San Diego dining scene getting better?

Yes and no. For restaurants like Urban Solace, the restaurant scene has improved. There are a number of restaurants at that mid-level of restaurant that are growing and improving. And I do think that Jay Porter did a lot of good to the local restaurant scene, especially in promoting local farms and produce.

What San Diego doesn't do especially well is the ultra fine dining. My wife and I were in Chicago for Christmas, and as a Christmas gift to each other, we had a meal at Blackbird, where the chef has been nominated for a James Beard award pretty much every year for the past 10 years (the meal was 7 courses and was fantastic). We don't have any restaurant producing a meal that you'd save up for.

Feb 14, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

Two measly nights in SD

The best time I've found so far is to show up 15 minutes before opening. That should put you in front of the line. Or, you can call in an order and pick it up (but no eating on premises).

Feb 11, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

San Diego breweries among best in the world....

Thank you for some detail, but you still haven't mentioned a name of either restaurant. Were either Sycamore Den, Polite Provisions, Craft & Commerce, or any well-regarded cocktail bars? Or did you go out to dinner at a random restaurant, order some Manhattans and then get pissed? (By the way, Manhattans at Starlite don't use Marachino cherries).

As far as beers go, craft breweries (from homebrewers to nanobrewers to large-ish brewers like Sam Adams) are SUPPOSED TO BE CREATIVE. That's the key benefit over the macrobrewers. They can afford to take risks and experiment, and that's a good thing. But you, as the drinker, can choose to not drink the experiments. Oh, and the brewers don't market their weird beers - instead they focus on their production beers.

So again, unless you have a specific criticism about a specific brewery and/or bar, you're just trolling.

Feb 10, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

San Diego breweries among best in the world....

Would you care to elaborate which beers and/or cocktails you tried and didn't like? Or perhaps which breweries and/or cocktail bars don't use quality ingredients? After all, the whole point of Chow is to point out which places have the best food - and I think beer and cocktails fall into that spectrum.

If not, then you're just trolling.

Feb 10, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego
1

San Diego breweries among best in the world....

Lest we forget that this whole beer thing is just hipster marketing by Stone, a quote from Erick Castro of Polite Provisions:

"The cocktail scene here owes a large debt to the beer scene. Brewers have been making incredible beer here for 15 years; they're been training palates, getting people to try IPAs, sours and more esoteric beers, so people are more receptive to all kinds flavors. Because of that, I feel like people are very receptive and open-minded to trying different cocktails. In a lot of cities, you have to do training wheels on people but I feel like in San Diego, you can just skip that entirely and not coddle them."

http://sandiego.eater.com/archives/20...

Damn hipsters.

Feb 10, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

San Diego breweries among best in the world....

Well deserved by Alesmith. There are breweries that have better beers, but Alesmith is consistently great across the board.

Feb 09, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego
1

Two measly nights in SD

There's no Happy Hour in MA? Really?

Fathom Bistro is great for a drink by the water, or hit up the Waterfront. For the quick cultural deal, Balboa Park really is fantastic with the Spanish Colonial architecture. Old Town goes for the late 19th Century, frontiery stuff. Not bad for a quick jaunt, but Balboa Park is probably better.

Feb 06, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

Two measly nights in SD

Now you're talking my neighborhood - I live across the street from the Lafayette. Here are a few of my suggestions:

1) Little Italy is okay, but not a must visit unless you decide to go to the Embarcadero. Then swing by and grab a bite to eat - Bencotto and PrepKitchen are probably the best bets.

2) I tend to avoid the Gaslamp as its too touristy. Since you are, in fact, a tourist, it might be worth swinging by, but whatever you do, don't stay there long.

With that said, here's a quick info on the places around you:

Luigi's Pizza serves good New York style pizza and is half a block from you, though Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano which is two blocks away, is absolutely better. Must go.

The Live Wire, about a block from the Hotel, is my favorite dive bar in San Diego, hands down. Good beer, great jukebox, and well, its a dive. Mama's Kitchen, right next door, is a Lebanese restaurant that makes its own bread and/or pastries. Good for lunch.

Across the street from the Hotel is Pomegranate, Taste of East Africa, and the barbeque place. Don't go to the barbeque place. Pomegranate is a Russian/Georgian restaurant and is chow-worthy. Taste of East Africa is also good, but skippable.

For breakfast, Mystic Mocha is about 4 blocks from you, but kind of hidden. The coffee is good (though leaning too much on different types of mocha drinks), but the food is great. If you are more of a coffee snob, then go with the Coffee & Tea Collective, about eight blocks east.

That will also take you to 30th Street, which is exactly where you want to go. The Co-Op Arcade is pretty sweet, and is a great addition to the street. If you want to drive, Polite Provisions, which is on 30th and Adams (Adams is 4 blocks north of El Cajon, so this bar would be about 12 blocks from the hotel), is also a good choice. The meatball centric menu at Soda & Swine (connected to Polite Provisions) is delicious. Jayne's Gastropub would also be a good choice.

As far as 30th around El Cajon and south, I would strongly suggest the Ritual or Urban Solace for new American food.

For tacos, I would go with the recommendations for Mariscos 9 Seas truck in South Park, or go to Mama Testa. If, however, you are looking for late night eats, Colima's Taco Shop is a solid, classic, San Diego taco shop (California burritos and everything). I also recommend Carnitas Snack Shack, though the lines are atrocious.

Feb 05, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

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

So you've gone from "it's a marketing thing" to it's a business phenom? Nice backtrack. Yes, Napa is somewhat unique in that good wine requires a certain climate and soil, whereas beer can be made virtually anywhere.

But, San Diego has the best craft brewing scene anywhere. We have 80 breweries up and running, and something like 70 in the works (and there are a fair number of homebrewers who have held back on opening breweries because of saturation). So, there has to be something more than "marketing" or "business" that's driving the craft brewing scene. After all, if clever marketing could drive up craft brewing, then every city would be beer crazy, and they're not.

Nor is the beer craze a regional thing - craft brewing is not as big in Riverside County, Orange County or LA (particularly not in LA). There are brewers there, but the scene is virtually nonexistent compared to San Diego.

And, breweries have to pay more for their brewers than in other regions http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/f..., which means the operating costs of brewing in San Diego are higher.

So, with the market saturation, the higher brewing costs, and the fact that other regions (who are presumably being marketed in the exact same way by the same brewers as those in San Diego) have much smaller scenes, indicates that marketing is not the driver.

Feb 04, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

One Beer dinner

Great question. Probably my favorite beer dinner location is the Ritual. Great beer on tap, good food, and a quiet restaurant setting. I really like that place.

Now, you could also go with the Waypoint Tavern. I haven't been yet, but it is owned by one of the owners of Bottlecraft (a local bottle shop), so you know the beer will be good. I've heard good things.

Another option would be Alchemy, which has great food, and pretty good beer. You could eat there then then walk next door to Hamilton's, and have amazing beer (though Hamilton's is noisy).

I've been to Ballast Point's Little Italy restaurant, and that would also be a solid choice. As would Tiger!Tiger! and BLAH. Atmosphere-wise, they're definitely more bar than restaurant, but they're all solid on the food, and have great beer.

Jan 28, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

Old Timer Coming Back...

Yes, that's exactly why I raised the point about craft beer. San Diego is the #1 beer city in the U.S. - we're well past Portland with close to 80 breweries, and another 70-80 in development. So, its a much bigger deal here than even in the Bay Area. I'd suggest your husband look for a kolsch style beer if he likes lagers.

From what I hear, a fair number of farmers in the county are switching to grapes and olives because of drought conditions. On one hand, drought is bad, on the other, better local wine.

Jan 21, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego

Carnitas Snack Shack..

Um. . .pork is fantastic. Pork is, in fact, manna from heaven (or, as referred to in "Field of Dreams," Iowa). But I kid. . .

Is Carnitas Snack Shack overrated? Probably. The food is, IMHO, excellent and well prepared. Now, if you aren't a pork person, then things like the Triple Threat sando would not be your thing - which is why you could have ordered the steak sando or the cheesburger.

Now, is the Carnitas Snack Shack the best restaurant in San Diego? Heavens no, but for a place that you order from a counter and then get your food after waiting way too long in line, its pretty damn good. In fact, I'd say it compares favorably to Hot Doug's in Chicago. Sure, there are no duck fat fries, but CSS has beer. Lovely, lovely beer.

Jan 15, 2014
jmtreg in San Diego