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Does San Diego suck that much?

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Hi All, Sorry, I just wanted to get your attention. I'm from San Diego originally, so I feel like I can say that. I'm now an East Coast chowhound, but will be in San Diego for one night only in a couple of weeks. I will get my much needed Mexican food at a haunt I used to frequent when I was younger (Indio) for my taquitos, but I was hoping to see what San Diego has to offer in the way of organic, local fine dining. The only restaurant I could come up with is JSix which I have made reservations for. Do you approve of this choice. I will have a car and I will be coming from east LA. I'm meeting my sister who lives in Ramona (where I went to high school) so really the location is flexible. I will be staying in Old Town and I would love to see the changes to the downtown area. I would love somewhere along the coast - I used to hang out in Pacific Beach and La Jolla when I lived closer so if you have any recommendations that will bring me back, I'd love to hear them.

If the restaurant is not organic and local, that's kind of okay if you think I really MUST get back to PB so's I can try such and such restaurant. I love all food. Thanks for your recommendations. I'd like to make this a memorable evening in my memory filled childhood city.

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JSix Restaurant
616 J Street, San Diego, CA 92101

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  1. Not in PB, but The Linkery may do.

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    Linkery
    3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

    9 Replies
    1. re: cstr

      Thanks for the reply. I looked at that restaurant and want to seriously consider it. Do you think the Linkery is a better choice then the JSix in terms of quality of food and ambience of restaurant? The Linkery looks much more sustainable, but JSix does offer local organic cuisine and is in a fun location. What would your choice be and why? Thanks.

      -----
      Linkery
      3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

      JSix Restaurant
      616 J Street, San Diego, CA 92101

      1. re: nyawira

        I would choose the Linkery over Jsix in a heartbeat - see the Jsix thread for more information...

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        Linkery
        3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

        1. re: shouzen

          For some reason, I cannot do a search right now on my computer, but I'll take your word for it.....

        2. re: nyawira

          The Linkery probably is more local and sustainable than is JSix, but JSix is more consistent and the quality of end product better. If, however, you do decide to go to The Linkery instead (and it is a perfectly fine choice), call ahead as they were going to close for a few days to do some spiffing up of the interior and repositioning of their menu.

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          Linkery
          3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

          JSix Restaurant
          616 J Street, San Diego, CA 92101

          1. re: DiningDiva

            Thanks so much for the information. I will do that if the decision is to go to the Linkery. Thanks for your comparisonn of the two restaurants also....

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            Linkery
            3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

            1. re: nyawira

              If you want to combine the food sourcing of the Linkery with your craving for Mexican (albeit of a different level than a *bertos), be sure to also check out El Take It Easy, which is Linkery's sister restaurant specializing in small plates with a Mexican theme.
              They even have taquitos, though they contain rabbit, not mystery meat.

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              Linkery
              3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

              El Take It Easy
              3926 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

              1. re: The Office Goat

                Oh dear....do I need to rethink El Indio? Yikes, mystery meat does not sound good to me......thanks for your input. Maybe I will get my Mexican food craving satisfied elsewhere besides El Indio, but it will have to be quick and it will have to be off the freeway on my way to Ontario.

                I did see the El Take it Easy when I was researching Linkery and it does sound wonderful. I'm starting to wish I could be in San Diego longer! But that's always the case in any location where I'm researching food. Thanks for your thoughts.

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                Linkery
                3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

                1. re: nyawira

                  You should go to El Indio to find out for yourself if your childhood memories of the food there is the same. Shredded beef and shredded chicken are not mysterious.

                  If you are comparing to other taquitos, you will prefer one over the other. But it still may be El Indio is the one that you prefer.

                  1. re: Cathy

                    agree. it's not mystery meat.

      2. I would go to George's in La Jolla..fine dining or the casual ocean terrace restaurants.go a little before sunset overlooking the Cove.
        Kitchen 1540 at L'Auberge Del Mar would be another great choice.
        I really enjoy Jsix at the Hotel Solamar in the Gaslamp.

        Cheer's in Ramona has the best damn burger and has won 'best burger' in SD..also, there is an old Pizza Hut on Main street called Pepe's that is a Produce place but has a taco stand inside that has street tacos that are so frigging good..they make me a killer quesadilla but they have carne asada and carnitas with different hot sauces that kick some serious ass!

        Welcome back home nyawira!

        www.georgesatthecove.com
        www.laubergedelmar.com

        3 Replies
        1. re: Beach Chick

          Thanks much beachchick! Wow, Pepe's sounds really good and we will be flying right by Ramona (sort of) on our way from Ontario to San Diego. I wonder if we should just take a little hike to Julian (do they still have that AMAZING bread place where I used to get the YUMMY YUMMY cheesbread! Not in Julian, but in a small town on the way too-can't remember the name) and then on our way back eat at Pepe's and visit with my sister in Ramona. Hmmmm......I have sort of wanted to go back to Ramona to see what it looks like. When I was living in Ramona they did not have a stop light until my junior year or something like that.....

          1. re: nyawira

            Dudley's Bakery in Santa Ysabel is probably the place your thinking of..
            Pepe's is a real dive but they have bar stools and a griddle and street tacos are $1.25 a piece.

            Keep us posted on what restaurant you choose..

            1. re: Beach Chick

              Dudleys! That's it. I'll keep you posted. Thanks, much.

        2. I find it funny to see such a title from someone going to El Indio on purpose.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Josh

            I think the term you wanted was "ironic", Josh. :)

            1. re: RB Hound

              I have heard that El Indio is poo pooed, but I used to go there ALL the time for their taquitos when I was a youngster and I'd like to go back to see how I react to the memories today.

              1. re: nyawira

                Food memories. Yes that's how I feel about their shredded chicken burrito. Haven't had it in a long time, but their taco chips are still our go to for parties. Love them.

                1. re: Island

                  Good to know. I'm starting to worry about El Indio. Maybe I'll do their chicken taquitos to avoid the possibility of "mystery meat".....I'll definitely get the taco chips...

            2. re: Josh

              hear that!

            3. I'm a massive fan of starlite, which is close to old town. The menu changes a lot, there is a lot of local/seasonal there are a few hits and misses but the cocktails are great. I think alchemy does a great job too of sourcing local and seasonal cuisine and I like that it is chilled out but with some super classy dishes. Tender greens is a more inforaml place that I've heard does lots of local stuff.

              I'd encourage you to check out the little italy mercado on a saturday morning, thats really fun and there is some lovely produce there.

              10 Replies
              1. re: jennywenny

                Starlite looks super duper yummy. Thanks for the recommendation. The ambience looks good too. Alchemy has a nice menu. We love tapas, but it looks awfully brightly lit and sterile. Is it? Thanks for the recs. We will be driving out of the airport around noon on Friday and stopping at El Indio on our way to Ontario. We won't be in San Diego on Saturday, unfortunately. Otherwise the little italy mercado looks like fun.

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                Starlite
                3175 India Street, San Diego, CA 92103

                1. re: nyawira

                  I think the pictures of alchemy are in the daytime with no customers, its actually on the darker side, and much more ambient with people in! and its down that 30th street coridoor of yumminess, so you could even couple it with some beers at toronado/hamiltons.

                  1. re: jennywenny

                    I love Alchemy.

                    Best to bring earplugs and text each other across the table, though. Conversation should be reserved for the ride there and back.

                    1. re: Fake Name

                      Alchemy is louder but not so loud that you can't have a conversation.

                      1. re: honkman

                        Even having to raise our voice may not be what we want this go-round.....thanks for weighing in honkman.

                        1. re: nyawira

                          In this case I also wouldn't recommend Starlite and even Linkery can be louder that you might have to raise your voice.

                          1. re: honkman

                            Even on a Sunday? In any event, I will have to risk it - Linkery is where we will go! Thanks much!

                            -----
                            Linkery
                            3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

                            1. re: nyawira

                              Linkery is not really loud but when a lot of people are there (and that might be the case on a Sunday evening) you might have to raise your voice (it also depends where you are sitting).

                      2. re: Fake Name

                        Thanks, Fake Name. Loud would not be good. We don't like loud. We don't even like it when we need to raise our voices while eating our dinner. Hmmmm.....

                      3. re: jennywenny

                        Okay. Thanks, Jennywenny. I know nothing of this 30th street corridor, but it sounds just perfect. Me and hubby can get a beer or two before and/or after dinner.....hmmmm....

                  2. All great suggestions so far, I would also include:

                    Farmhouse Cafe in University Heights
                    Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant in....Bankers Hill
                    Market Restaurant in Del Mar
                    A. R. Valentien at The Lodge at Torrey Pines

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: foodiechick

                      Thanks, Foodiechick. I like the looks of Bankers Hill Bar. I will research the others as well..

                    2. Oh, if you're going to be in San Diego this week, then I suggest checking the website for San Diego Beer Week http://sdbw.org/ That's one area where San Diego has really developed in the last ten years or so. Yes, we had craft beer before, but the breweries are now much more established and somewhat more refined, in a good way.

                      If I were you, I'd definitely go to the Linkery, if only to check out what's happened to North Park. Seriously, its a completely different place now.

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                      Linkery
                      3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

                      27 Replies
                      1. re: jmtreg

                        Thanks Jmtreg! I can't even remember North Park accept isn't that the location of that awful plane crash back in the mid to late 70s? Beer week sounds AWESOME. I love a good beer. Will definitely check that website out. From all the feedback thus far, it is kind of looking like the Linkery or JSix might be the two neck and neck choices.

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                        Linkery
                        3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

                        JSix Restaurant
                        616 J Street, San Diego, CA 92101

                        1. re: nyawira

                          Yes, the PSA crash happened 30 years ago in North Park.

                          1. re: DiningDiva

                            If the time frame nyawira was here was the mid-70s, then El Indio *was* the cat's pajamas, North Park had yet to emerge on the dining scene, and the San Diego restaurant choices were very slim. :)

                            1. re: RB Hound

                              Yup, I was in San Diego until around 1981 (born and raised). The crash occurred when I was in high school. I remember because my art teacher lived in North Park. And he was quite traumatized by what he saw on his drive home (me too!). And thanks for validating my El Indio memories! I'll be interested to see what I think of the place now.....

                              1. re: nyawira

                                I lost several friends in that crash; a guy I graduated from high school with and 2 that were flight attendants deadheading back to SD :-( That was indeed a sad day.

                                El Indio isn't awful, it was better when you lived here, it's just that the options for Mexican have gotten better and El Indio hasn't managed to keep itself very current. Resting on laurels and it's exposure on Diners, Drive-ins & Dives

                              2. re: RB Hound

                                Actually, you can stretch out the time frame to 2001 - okay Rubio's was the cat's pajamas, but El Indio wasn't that far behind. North Park sure as heck didn't have a dining scene until recently.

                                As far as El Indio goes, the place isn't that bad if you think of it as a tortilla factory with a restaurant attached.

                                1. re: jmtreg

                                  I think I can do that...

                                  1. re: jmtreg

                                    I don't think of longevity or good tortillas/chips as any reason to let a place slide.

                                    To me, the awfulness of El indio is summed up by three things:

                                    1) Mordiditas - chopped up taquitos drowning in canned plastic nacho cheese sauce.
                                    2) Chile rellenos made from canned Ortega chilies wrapped around a stick of yellow processed cheese.
                                    3) That crowds line up to eat this stuff.

                                    I just think of El Indio as a long-past-its-prime local place that had the good fortune to be here at the right time. If you're only going to be here for a day, surely there are numerous, conveniently located, better options for taco shop fare.

                                    1. re: Josh

                                      Let me know where that would be! I'm coming from the airport, I have limited time-we will Need to pick something up and eat it in the car. We will be getting on 163 to 15 to Ontario. We can get off the freeway anywhere as long as it's not to far off the freeway. I certainly don't want processed foods or plastic cheese for my only quick street Mex food while there. My memories are my memories...it's not that important for me to stroll down memory lane if it's that horrible. Fresh is best! Where should I go instead for this much improved fast food Mexican that I hear of.....

                                      1. re: nyawira

                                        Nyawira no one specifically mentioned/trashed your beloved rolled tacos so you should see for yourself. What do you have to lose, a few minutes and a few bucks. it ain't the Last Supper and it sounds like you came here for your fine dining organic experience not your quicky Mexi food snack. Consider trusting your own palate and let us know how it compares to your past.

                                        1. re: Island

                                          Thanks, Island. I'm truly not wedded to El Indio, so I'm totally cool with trying somewhere else as long as I get my fix in. Really, El Indio is one of many mexican haunts I frequented. If I had to name one that had the greatest impact it would be El Nopal in Ramona or some small hole in the wall around Old Town that might now be closed, don't know......

                                          1. re: nyawira

                                            Las Brasas, right up the street from El Indio on San Diego Ave. Its definitely one of my favorite hole-in-the-wall Mexican places.

                                            -----
                                            Las Brasas Taco Shop
                                            1890 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110

                                            1. re: jmtreg

                                              Have you been to Nicos? If so, which would you recommend?

                                              1. re: nyawira

                                                Las Brasas used to be a Nico's and I can't distinguish them. But that's not saying much. I'm more known for my literary works than my silver palate .The Carnitas Burrito is a little slice of caloric heaven at eyether place.

                                                1. re: Fake Name

                                                  Las Brasas was Nico's? I thought nyawira was referring to the Nico's behind the gas station on Morena.

                                                  1. re: jmtreg

                                                    That's Nico's too.
                                                    Or Two.
                                                    Or there used to be two.
                                                    Now one.
                                                    Nico's is on Morena. Another Nico's was on San Diego Avenue, too. That's now Las Brasas. But it has a carnitas burrito, too.

                                                    1. re: Fake Name

                                                      don't forget Nico's in OB!

                                        2. re: nyawira

                                          another option for quick Mexican nearby, El Cuervo on Washington is not that much further inland from the 5 freeway. It's less than 5 minutes away.

                                          Other options that haven't been mentioned:
                                          Coffee Cup Cafe in La Jolla or Isabel's Cantina in PB (same owner/menu, different names)
                                          Wine Vault and Bistro (just down the street from El Indio)
                                          Cafe Chloe in the East Village
                                          Okan or Oton on Convoy

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                                          Cafe Chloe
                                          721 9th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

                                          Coffee Cup
                                          1109 Wall St, La Jolla, CA 92037

                                          1. re: daantaat

                                            Thanks Daantaat, I will check El Cuervo in my research too. And Isabel's Cantina. So much research so little time!

                                          2. re: nyawira

                                            If your craving is specifically for rolled tacos, I think the chicken rolled tacos at Nico's on Morena Blvd. in Bay Park are a good option. They make them in-house, every day, and they are pretty tasty (though I don't eat them any more since I don't do commodity meat). It's about 1 mile off the 5 North.

                                            Fake Name's favorite, Super Sergio's, is also near the 163 North, in Clairemont, and is right off the freeway as well. You'll be going right by there on your way north.

                                            -----
                                            Super Sergio's
                                            4125 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111

                                            1. re: Josh

                                              Thanks, Josh! My craving is specifically for rolled tacos....yes. I used to live in Clairemont (went to Beale elementary and Marston Junior High) so both those places are in familiar locations. I think I will do one of those places instead! They sound better. I do appreciate that you don't do commodotiy meat....I'm almost there myself. Never buy it, and only occasionally will eat it at a restaurant....so I'm with you!

                                              1. re: nyawira

                                                I mean Longfellow Elementary. I don't know where "Beale" came from...wierd....

                                              2. re: Josh

                                                Please. Super Sergio's is in Kearny Mesa. No need to downscale it's neighborhood. Similar to saying University Town Center is in La Jolla.

                                                -----
                                                Super Sergio's
                                                4125 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111

                                                Kearny's
                                                8310 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92111

                                                1. re: Fake Name

                                                  Thanks, Fake Name. I never said that Super Sergios was IN Kearny Mesa, I simply said that I used to live in Clairemont so both locations (note the plural) were familiar to me. If you re read my post, I think you will agree. They are, after all, next to eachother.

                                                  -----
                                                  Super Sergio's
                                                  4125 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111

                                                  Kearny's
                                                  8310 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92111

                                                  1. re: nyawira

                                                    I certainly hope the comment was received in the tongue-in-cheek manner in which it was posted.

                                                    If I offended, I apologize.

                                                    1. re: Fake Name

                                                      I was worried I had offended you!!!

                                              3. re: nyawira

                                                If I had to grab quick Mexican food near the airport, I'd choose Mexican Fiesta at 1460 India Street over El Indio. Unfortunately, I cannot speak to the quality of their rolled tacos, as I usually get the machaca and/or al pastor burritos there. My (old?) menu lists a special of 5 rolled w/ guac. for $2.69.

                                                Their hours are limited, though, so it depends on what time you're getting in. I think their hours are 8am-4pm MF and 10am-2pm Saturdays (I'm looking at an old menu).

                                                You can call ahead with your order 619/231-9851, and I'd advise that if you're going there near lunchtime on a weekday.

                                                The place is nothing to look at: just a concrete pillbox building with a couple windows for service, no seating. But if you were going to eat in your car you don't care about that anyway, do you?

                                                Good luck.

                                                Edit: Here's a review and pics of Mexican Fiesta from Kirk:
                                                http://mmm-yoso.typepad.com/mmmyoso/2...

                                                -----
                                                Mexican Fiesta
                                                1460 India St, San Diego, CA 92101

                                  2. Okay, decision made. We will be going to Nicos for taquitos before heading to LA, and then we will be going to the Linkery on the Sunday night of our return. I look forward to checking out 30th street - get a beer somewhere, etc.

                                    I'll report back in after the weekend to let all you very helpful people know how it went. Thanks so much!!!!

                                    -----
                                    Linkery
                                    3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: nyawira

                                      San Diego does not suck! First of all, I'd like to thank all you friendly chowhounds in endulging me on this thread. I'm back from my short trip to southern California and I wanted to let you know how it went. My husband and I did stop at Nicos on our way to LA county. We kind of got lost a little bit because Nicos is on Morena Place, not Morena Blvd which screwed me up. I was acting all expert and sheesh because I used to travel that road alot as a kid. I use to play at Tecolote canyon. I remember a classmate of mine was killed there when I was in 7th grade. Very sad. Anyway, once we got to Nicos I ordered up some chicken taquitos which had guacamole and salsa on top of them. They were yummy yummy. Thanks for the recommendation. I forgot how fattening those fried things are, but they were good. I also remembered that I really don't like meat in my mexican food. I usually ordered the cheese enchilada and the chili relleno when I was younger. Anyway, Bill had the cheese and bean burrito which was huge and very satisfying to him. Then for our Sunday night dinner, I met my sister and her husband at the Linkery. First we went to the Pink Bar for a drink (I had to go-it's my favorite color). I'd probably hang out at a dive like that should I live in North Park. We walked to the Linkery and the staff and service were so kind and mellow. Just like southern California. It was the last day of beer week, so I tried the sampler of two cask beers and two draft beers. I had our lovely server choose for me. My sister liked Le Freak and I liked the lighter one (can't remember which one). But it was cool, because you had four five ounce glasses placed on a piece of wood that was brought to us. I love ceremony!!! I wanted to try all the links they had but I was stuffed from getting MORE taquitos at Miguel's in Old Town about 3:00pm, so my tummy was fuller than I wished it was. So, I ordered the salad with a side of their chicken and goat cheese link. I also ordered the saurekraut. I loved the salad. It was so fresh and the snap peas were yummy and the dressing was delicious and there was just the right amount on it. The link sausages were all really really good - I tried a bit of my husbands. He got the plate with two link sausages and the potato salad. My sister loved the saurekraut. I was not too keen on it. I loved that all the windows were open and the ambience was casual. I also loved that I got to drive through Hillcrest on my way there and back. So, thanks folks. I appreciate your recommendations and I am not unhappy with my experience. Cheers.

                                      -----
                                      Linkery
                                      3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

                                      1. re: nyawira

                                        That's great. Glad it went well!