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San Diego - where are the best biscuits?

I happen to like the biscuits at Popeye's but am sure I can do better; any recs?

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  1. The ones at Hash House are really outstanding - they almost make it worth the wait, but not quite. :-)

    1. Being a native southerner, I know biscuits fairly well. I agree that Popeye's biscuits are good. In fact, probably the best you will find in San Diego. On the other hand, Hash House's offering is extremely bland and uninspired. Size does in no way equal quality, which seems to the the general motto of said establishment. Otherwise, I've yet to find anything truly outstanding in San Diego region.

      Having lived in many areas of the country, I've learned a very valuable culinary lesson: embrace what is unique to a region and search for the foods that capture the hearts of its citizens. For example, I spent way too many hours trying to find decent southern bbq in San Diego. It's particularly disheartening when searching for your favorite "comfort" food items from your homeland. So, after striking out each time, I realized that this time would have been much better utilized seeking out the ultimate fish taco, for example. I now try to apply this idea to my food adventures in every city I visit; the true gems of any locale exist in the foods that have evolved locally, be it adaptations of traditional cuisines to truly unique creations.

      With that said, I still fall prey to the temptations of non-locale dishes; you'll always find me first in line at any BBQ restaurant opening in SD. Hey, I'm only human!

      15 Replies
      1. re: estocastica

        Estocastica--I wholeheartedly agree with your culinary lesson! Having lived mostly in CA and had a chance to live in the Deep South for a year, I learned to appreciate all the wonderful Southern dishes and quit searching for "good" sushi, Chinese, Vietnamese and other Asian places because I knew I would be frustrated and disappointed. I lucked out instead and discovered sweet tea, okra, chess pie, boiled peanuts, good BBQ and the best strawberries, peaches and tomatoes ever!

        1. re: daantaat

          I love Southern food. I love Hash HOuse, however i don't recall the biscuits being great just big. Popeyes are very tasty.

          There is a place in Carlsbad called Dans country kitchen. THey do a very good biscuits and gravy.

          1. re: SeanT

            Thanks for the recommendation on Don's -- it's right around the corner from my house and I've yet to try it.

          2. re: daantaat

            Daantaat: I can't begin to tell you how much I miss sweet tea (mango and raspberry does not count!) and fried okra. And you're right on the money regarding the strawberries, peaches, and tomatoes - they're hard to beat.

            Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

            1. re: estocastica

              Estocastica, You can find sweet tea and fried okra at Bonnie Jean's Soul Food Cafe on 54th.

              1. re: pbhomey

                Thanks for the rec; I'll definitely try it out.

              2. re: estocastica

                aaahhh, what I would give to hit the Charleston Farmer's Market in the spring and summer to get Wadmalaw strawberries and peaches! I thought CA had the best berries until I had Wadmalaw ones. Sad to say, I hear a lot of the farms are being bought up by housing developers and turned into houses and condos.

                and if Chick Fil-A existed around here, I recall their biscuits being pretty good, although a tad on the salty side for me.

                1. re: daantaat

                  There are two in San Diego- Chula Vista on Olympic Parkway and right in front of the Sports Arena where the Krispy Kreme used to be. Always closed on Sunday.... sweet tea, too. Chicken biscuit breakfast.

                  1. re: daantaat

                    Hi Daantaat. Actually there are four Chick-Fil-A's in the SD area. Hopefully one is close to you. Here are the addresses:

                    3475 Marron Road
                    Oceanside, CA 92056

                    587 Grand Avenue
                    San Marcos, CA 92078-1234

                    40531 Margarita Road
                    Temecula, CA 92591-2859

                    3570 Sports Arena Blvd.
                    San Diego, CA 92110-4919

                    1. re: estocastica

                      You forgot Chula Vista...that was he first one in San Diego County

                      1. re: Cathy

                        Yep, not sure how I missed that one. Thanks for the correction.

                      2. re: estocastica

                        no wonder I didn't know Chick-Fil-A was out here--none of these are on my typical routes! Thanks!

                2. re: estocastica

                  I agree with your lesson as well!!!
                  But I think it applies to everything and not just food!!
                  Search out all that is unique and wonderful in your area and experience it before it is too late!

                  Nothing worse than moving away from an area and realize that you never did some of the things you should have done, knowing that you may not ever get back there or at least not for long enough to do those things you should have already done!

                  1. re: estocastica

                    I have to agree that the biscuits I've found here are, well, lacking. It could be that the majority come in the big pre-fab, pre-baked pack from Sysco (or other distributor of choice). Since moving here we, too, have given up on some foods, while finding others to fill the gaps.

                  2. I’m also not a fan of the hard & tasteless biscuits at Hash House. Their only purpose is to hold that tree that comes with the meal.

                    My favorite in the area are the Gouda biscuits & seafood gravy at Savory in North County. I also like the biscuits at Gulf Coast Grill.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pbhomey

                      I also remember the biscuits being really good at Gulf Coast Grill; I'll definitely give the Gouda biscuits at Savory a try - sounds super interesting. Thanks for the recommendation!

                    2. Wow, I totally agree with you estocastica. I also grew up in the SE US and biscuits are as important as sweet tea and BBQ! Speaking of BBQ, now there's a truly controversial topic for ya...even more so between fellow southerners!

                      Honestly, the best biscuit I've found in San Diego is, unfortunately, from the freezer aisle of Vons (I didn't realize there was a Popeye's in SD!). However, I can't wait to try the other recommendations in this thread.

                      1. Ok - maybe I was a little grumpy this morning, but I do think it's telling that there are only 3 other recs for biscuits aside from Hash House, including Chik Fil A and the Vons freezer aisle. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I have had so many awful biscuits at restaurants in San Diego that I rarely order them anymore, despite the fact that I love a good biscuit dearly. More often than not they taste like they came out of the microwave, which completely ruins even a good biscuit.

                        There are also two distinct types of biscuits, buttermilk and baking powder - baking powder biscuits are large and soft on the outside, more like Popeyes. Buttermilk ones tend to be a little more crisp on the outside (more like a scone) and drier. The ones at Hash House are buttermilk, and they are more or less drop biscuits, not the soft fluffy rolled ones you might be looking for. I hate the rosemary bushes they insist on sticking in them, but I do think that when they're fresh, they're pretty good. I have no idea where you would find good baking powder biscuits - I've never seen them offered locally. Maybe baking up a batch is the best solution.

                        1. I hesitate to make this suggestion since I have not tried them and the place changed owners a couple of years ago, and it may not be what you want. This rec came from a different thread (on biscuits & gravy) from a different board on a different site, I'm simply passing the suggestion along, which was for The Bread Basket in Alpine.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: DiningDiva

                            Alice, I tend to agree with you. The biscuits at Hash House are tasty. No, im not from the south, nor have I ever had southern biscuits, but my Indiana Grandmother used to make them from scratch for us as kids. They were hard and flaky on the outside and soft and delicious on the inside - just like Hash House.

                            This is not a criticism, but daily, there are posts about people who cannot find foods that they grew up with here in San Diego. I have news for you, you wont. You see, it's not just about the biscuits, it's about the place itself. A philly cheese steak is always going to taste better in Philly, a New York Slice of pizza is going to taste better in NYC and a fish taco is going to taste better right here in good old San Diego.

                            1. re: naven

                              Well said naven, I remember when I first moved here and I couldnt find all the things I had back home in England. Then I learned about sushi and all the fresh fruit and veggies here and I havent looked back. Well, apart from still getting people to bring a suitcase full of tescos red label teabags and twinings english breakfast (I swear you can get them here, but they arent the same!!)

                              Also, I'm not sure how good I am at making them as I've never been to the south, but biscuits seem very easy to make at home! Alton Brown goes into great details about them on one of his shows.

                            2. re: DiningDiva

                              I'll add this to my list...and you should never hesitate making a suggestion! Thanks!

                              1. re: estocastica

                                The best biscuits can be found at Blue Coral in La Jolla Aventine area. They're served with a whipped cream/butter spread that literally can ruin dinner it's so good.

                            3. A little SD heat today, a little biscuit talk: I'm so homesick I caint stand it. I always order biscuits out, ever hopeful. But when I need good biscuits bad, I make a batch o' Edna Lewis's. They are hands down the best. So if you can't find the biscuits you want, try making your own. As a fast bread, they're hard to keep and reheat. Hence the problem the large restaurants have.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: pickypicky

                                If you've never been to Rudford's on El Cajon Blvd for breakfast, you have to try it. The biscuits are wonderful, light and high and flaky, especially delicious when covered with Rudford's own sausage gravy. Rudford's isn't upscale, but it's truly great for breakfast. Here they are: http://www.rudfords.com/

                                And they make a salsa roja that is the best I've ever eaten in the USA.

                                Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

                              2. I like the little cheese biscuits at Urban Solace, but still....Popeye's somehow seems to be the best I have had in San Diego. I think I would prefer the KFC biscuits over the Hash House ones. wow.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: MrKrispy

                                  I've had the ones at Broken Yolk, the're flaky but can be a tad dry, it's pretty sad that the recommendations are pretty lean, can't SD even put out a freggin biscuit?

                                2. Had a great one last night with dinner at A R Valentin (as part of the Nickel & Nickel wine maker dinner)

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: ibstatguy

                                    I love the biscuit and Claim Jumper it comes with whipped butter that has just the right amount of sweetness. The buttermilk biscuit itself isn't very sweet so the butter goes perfect with it.

                                    1. re: ibstatguy

                                      I love the biscuit and Claim Jumper it comes with whipped butter that has just the right amount of sweetness.

                                    2. I've tried the biscuits at a lot of the places locally and while they may have a satisfying flavor, they tend to be on the dry side.

                                      My son stops at Cracker Barrel in Yuma and brings me biscuits when he is coming to town and even after the 2 hour trip, they are moist and flavorful when they get here. AND they heat up wonderfully the next day, too.

                                      I used to like the cheddar biscuits at Red Lobster but since I can't stand any of the other food there, I don't get to eat them (well, I suppose I could stop by for some to go...).

                                      I lived in the south for 12 years and it seemed like EVERY restaurant had good biscuits but I think it is partly because of the availability of White Lily and Martha White flour. That may be part of the problem with light, tasty biscuits out here...

                                      1. Wow, Ibstatguy. Popeyes to ARV. You are stepping up and out. I just had some mighty fine bisquits (or "bistits" as my best friend in elementary school used to say) at Urban Solace. They're nicely sized in this age of monstrous baked goods, moist and perfectly browned, top and bottom. They're made with chives and cheese, but judiciously so. I closed my eyes and pretended I was back home in the delta, the bayou, the piney woods, and sharecropper shack of my past.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: pickypicky

                                          I agree with you that the biscuits at US are pretty dang good ;-)