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Short Visit (Unfortunately!)

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excel Feb 11, 2011 07:49 AM

Hello,

We will be in San Diego for exactly 2 dinners, 2 lunches, and 2 breakfasts. I just read through the post with the Google Spreadsheet of Favorite Dishes....but am now OVERWHELMED!

What are the do-not-miss's in San Diego? Which restaurants represent San Diego the best?

Mariscos German seems to be a MUST. Is that a lunch or dinner spot?

Aqui es Texcoco also seems popular and the fish market also looks interesting to us!

There are a few Chinese/dumpling restaurants on the list, but we are probably going to skip those.

Any help would be appreciated!!

Thanks!

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Mariscos German
3515 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

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  1. DiningDiva RE: excel Feb 11, 2011 08:12 AM

    Where are you staying and will you have a car?

    1 Reply
    1. re: DiningDiva
      e
      excel RE: DiningDiva Feb 11, 2011 09:23 AM

      We don't have a hotel yet, but are probably going to be staying in the downtown area. We will have a car and are willing to drive to where ever you tell us the GOOD FOOD is!

    2. c
      cstr RE: excel Feb 11, 2011 08:44 AM

      Marisco's German are food trucks, excellent for lunch but, you'll be eating in your car. If you have a car, Marisco's Godoy in Chula Vista, off the 5, may be a better option for dinner, it's a restaurant. Aqui es Texcoco, another excellent choice, is also in CV. If you go to the Fish Market go upstairs to Top of the Market. I'll also put in the traditional SD plug for Cafe Chloe and add my own, Saffron on India St. Enjoy your visit.

      1. Josh RE: excel Feb 11, 2011 09:12 AM

        I'm sure some will disagree. These are assuming you have a car and are willing to drive.

        Breakfast:
        Cafe Chloe
        Farmhouse Cafe*

        Lunch:
        Mariscos Beyer/German truck, corner of 22nd and Imperial
        Aqui Es Texcoco

        Dinner:
        Blind Lady Ale House
        Wine Vault and Bistro

        * Breakfast is only available at Farmhouse on Sunday mornings, I believe.

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

        Aqui Es Texcoco
        1043 Broadway, Chula Vista, CA 91911

        Blind Lady Ale House
        3416 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA

        6 Replies
        1. re: Josh
          jmtreg RE: Josh Feb 11, 2011 09:38 AM

          I would replace Blind Lady Ale House with either the Linkery or Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano, but otherwise a good list.

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

          Blind Lady Ale House
          3416 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA

          Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano
          4203 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92103

          1. re: jmtreg
            Josh RE: jmtreg Feb 11, 2011 10:13 AM

            I have a few reasons for BLAH over the other two for a tourist.

            While Bruno definitely has better pizza, BLAH's pizza is still good, and their salads, charcuterie plates, and specials (like the fried green tomatoes, for example) show off some of the best locally sourced produce treatments. They also have a huge selection of great beer, much more diverse than the other two spots owing to the huge array of taps. Lastly, I think the atmosphere and vibe is more conducive to hanging out and having a nice evening. Linkery's bar is convivial, but BLAH to me seems a little more friendly for a long evening.

            1. re: Josh
              c
              cstr RE: Josh Feb 11, 2011 12:25 PM

              Can't see recommending pizza, you can alway find some respectable za anywhere, even in Canada!

              1. re: cstr
                Josh RE: cstr Feb 11, 2011 01:06 PM

                As I said, it's not the pizza that distinguishes BLAH, but the other items on the menu and the huge selection of beers.

                The OP asked for things done particularly well in San Diego - to me, that means they should definitely try some of our local beer. If they're going to do that, then I think BLAH is a great place to do so. The food is good, creative, and locally sourced; the beer selection is plentiful and skewed heavily towards locals; and it's got a nice atmosphere to hang out in.

                1. re: Josh
                  c
                  cstr RE: Josh Feb 11, 2011 05:18 PM

                  No argument from me, you are the Beer Czar!

              2. re: Josh
                jmtreg RE: Josh Feb 11, 2011 12:40 PM

                That's why I also recommended the Linkery, which, of course, is the godfather of San Diego's farm-to-table scene. Granted, heaven would be a place with Bruno's pizza and BLAH's beer selection.

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

          2. c
            chezwhitey RE: excel Feb 11, 2011 09:53 AM

            Depends, from where are you coming?

            2 Replies
            1. re: chezwhitey
              e
              excel RE: chezwhitey Feb 11, 2011 11:07 AM

              We're from Toronto/Vancouver.

              1. re: excel
                l
                lyn RE: excel Feb 11, 2011 11:10 AM

                so don't need to bother with Chinese/dumpling here, thats is for sure

            2. l
              lyn RE: excel Feb 11, 2011 10:23 AM

              I think Mariscos German is a good choice...right down the street (if you go to the city heights location of MG) is Super Cocina-this is a pretty special place and unique to san diego. It is VERY casual. Basically caferteria in style-but the food is amazing. Slow simmered, complex flavored, Mexican stews. They let you try them for free so you can pick a couple favorites for your meal. Heck just yesterday, I had a bowl of stew -you can get them ala carte or on a plate with rice, beans and tortilla- and then went to Mariscos German for a smoked marlin ("Marlyn") taco. Made for a perfect lunch

              -----
              Mariscos German
              3515 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

              1 Reply
              1. re: lyn
                c
                cstr RE: lyn Feb 11, 2011 12:23 PM

                Last week I did the opposite, I warmed up with 2 fish tacos in MG, then went to Super Cocina for some spicey rib tips, wow what a kick in that bowl. SC does a great job with helping gringo's taste before you buy and a small bowl, which is a good meal for me, is just $3.99 with corn tortillas.

              2. e
                excel RE: excel Feb 14, 2011 05:49 AM

                Thanks for all your suggestions!

                So far we've decided to definitely have one of our lunches at MG/Super Cocina. The 2nd lunch will either be Aqui Es Texcoco or the Fish Market, but we are open to more suggestions here.

                Dinners will be: BLAH and Linkery (awesome recommendations as we love restaurants that use locally sourced produce!).

                9 Replies
                1. re: excel
                  Josh RE: excel Feb 14, 2011 07:48 AM

                  I'd skip Fish Market. The only memorable thing about it is the view, and even that is only so-so.

                  1. re: Josh
                    e
                    excel RE: Josh Feb 14, 2011 09:24 AM

                    Ok. But if we don't feel like a Mexican/Taco lunch two days in a row, where else can we go?

                    1. re: excel
                      Josh RE: excel Feb 14, 2011 09:51 AM

                      The food at Aqui is very, very different than what you'll get at a mariscos truck. The foods served at the two establishments come from completely different states in Mexico, which means the food has very little in common, apart from the presence of tortillas - and depending on what your order even those are treated very differently.

                      Mariscos trucks offer food that's pretty light, fresh tasting, and 100% seafood-centric. Aqui Es Texcoco specializes in lamb, slow-roasted, with a much heartier, heavier menu.

                      My advice, if you're concerned about not wanting to eat tacos, is to get the non-taco items at the mariscos truck - I suggest trying the ceviche tostadas. You can get them with fish only, shrimp, or in combination. Tostada Mixta is my personal favorite, with fish, shrimp, and octopus.

                      You can also try a campechana - which is a kind of cold seafood soup, in a sense. Lots of fresh seafood in a cool, seasoned, tomato-based broth that you drink at the end. Very very tasty.

                      Mexico's a huge country, and the states that comprise it have pretty different cuisines. Fish Market is really boring compared to either of the other options, IMO.

                      -----
                      Aqui Es Texcoco
                      1043 Broadway, Chula Vista, CA 91911

                      1. re: Josh
                        Captain Jack RE: Josh Feb 14, 2011 10:31 AM

                        mmm campechana :) Good call Josh. Don't miss out on one of these excel. It is kind of like a baja style seafood cocktail. Truly excellent. I get my fix on at the tiny dive La Playita on Clairmont Mesa Blvd. near the 805 freeway.

                        1. re: Captain Jack
                          e
                          excel RE: Captain Jack Feb 14, 2011 02:01 PM

                          Thanks so much for the clarification. Done. MG and Aqui Es Texcoco are both on the list and the Fish Market is out.

                          Is BLAH the type of place that needs reservations?

                          -----
                          Aqui Es Texcoco
                          1043 Broadway, Chula Vista, CA 91911

                          1. re: excel
                            j
                            JRSD RE: excel Feb 14, 2011 02:34 PM

                            BLAH is a seat-yourself establishment that does not take reservations. You order at the bar/counter and then find a seat.

                            1. re: excel
                              Josh RE: excel Feb 14, 2011 03:41 PM

                              If you're concerned about crowds, get to BLAH early. If you're only two, then it's not necessarily that hard to get a place to sit. Their charcuterie plate is really good.

                            2. re: Captain Jack
                              cgfan RE: Captain Jack Feb 14, 2011 03:57 PM

                              If they're the same ones that I'm thinking of, (south side of CMB, very limited hours, hole-in-the-wall), note that they also have a booth at the Solana Beach Farmer's Market serving Ceviche and Tacos.

                              -----
                              Solana Beach Farmer's Market
                              S Cedros Ave, Solana Beach, CA 92075

                              1. re: cgfan
                                Captain Jack RE: cgfan Feb 14, 2011 04:42 PM

                                Yup, that is the place (Smart & Final strip mall). My favorite is the large Vuelve ala Vida $13. Served with fresh avocado slices, this mixed mariscos cocktel is fantastic.

                    2. c
                      chezwhitey RE: excel Feb 14, 2011 02:15 PM

                      Whatever you end up eating, absolutely make sure you save room for extraordinary deserts. That is THE place in SD that visitors will remember.

                      I'll throw in another name also. I would recommend whisk n ladle. While you can get new american almost anywhere, the food is excellent and the atmosphere is great. You can walk around la jolla afterwards too.

                      14 Replies
                      1. re: chezwhitey
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                        Ewilensky RE: chezwhitey Feb 14, 2011 02:48 PM

                        Maybe it's me - I always find Karen's Extraordinary Desserts to look incredibly amazing - I mean her cakes are works of art - but lacking in flavor and often incredibly dry.

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                        Extraordinary Desserts
                        2929 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

                        1. re: Ewilensky
                          honkman RE: Ewilensky Feb 14, 2011 02:51 PM

                          I never found them lacking in flavor or dry but too rich. One piece of cake is enough for 2-3 people. The icecream can sometimes be very good but we had also some disappointments

                          1. re: honkman
                            c
                            chezwhitey RE: honkman Feb 14, 2011 03:27 PM

                            They are uber rich, but isn't that the fun of it, especially for visitors? I take all my friends who visit town to ED, forget the zoo and sea world!

                            1. re: chezwhitey
                              honkman RE: chezwhitey Feb 14, 2011 03:49 PM

                              Everybody has different preferences but I would prefer better/more sit down places for dessert with high quality products which are open late instead of a place with decent but hardly edible stuff. We also brought a number of visitors to ED when we moved to SD but there was hardly anyone who really enjoyed it. The richness is like a nice gimmick which helps to cover up the overall average quality of the dessert. And like gimmicks - it is fun for a very short time before you just want to get rid of it.

                        2. re: chezwhitey
                          Josh RE: chezwhitey Feb 14, 2011 03:44 PM

                          I would only say that it depends on just how sweet one's sweet tooth is. If you're not especially a fan of very sugary desserts, then ED is just OK. Their desserts are absurdly rich and sweet.

                          I'd also add that both Blind Lady and Linkery make excellent desserts, which are typically more interesting than what's on offer at ED.

                          Linkery's Lardo ice cream sandwich is ridiculously good.

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

                          1. re: Josh
                            DiningDiva RE: Josh Feb 14, 2011 06:33 PM

                            Gotta agree with you on the sweetness issue. I actually like a lot of what I've had at Extraordinary Desserts but they are awfully sweet. I ususally get sugared out before I can finish my whole dessert. Maybe that's a good thing...fewer calories in ;-)

                            -----
                            Extraordinary Desserts
                            2929 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

                            1. re: DiningDiva
                              Josh RE: DiningDiva Feb 14, 2011 07:03 PM

                              That's one of the reasons I like Linkery's desserts so much. They taste like they're meant for adults.

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

                            2. re: Josh
                              c
                              chezwhitey RE: Josh Feb 15, 2011 08:09 AM

                              Extraordinary is worth it for the experience alone, seeing that many deserts with such great presentation at a restaurant dedicated to deserts. Of course it is totally decadent, that's what you would expect going to a place like that. Do I go every week? Of course not, but it certainly my guilty pleasure and I think it is safe to say that our friends from canada would not regret a stop at ED.

                              1. re: chezwhitey
                                Josh RE: chezwhitey Feb 15, 2011 08:23 AM

                                We can't all have similar tastes, obviously. There are things I think ED does well (ice cream, for example), but it's not a place I'd ever highlight as one of our city's "must eat" spots.

                                1. re: Josh
                                  c
                                  chezwhitey RE: Josh Feb 15, 2011 03:31 PM

                                  You are right, but typically, ED is a crowd pleaser. Linkery does fulfill some of the OP criteria, but that place has its share of problems and you'll probably end up getting more of a mixed response to that place vs ED. I really do think ED is one of SD's better places, I think there is maybe a handful of places in SD that could make it in a more food centric city, ED is one of them.

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

                                  1. re: chezwhitey
                                    honkman RE: chezwhitey Feb 15, 2011 03:47 PM

                                    "but that place has its share of problems and you'll probably end up getting more of a mixed response to that place vs ED. I really do think ED is one of SD's better places" - I see it the exactly the other way around. Linkery had already an enormous impact on the food scene in SD but I don't see it anywhere with ED. I would think that the quality (food, service, impact) of ED is much more controversial than Linkery.

                                    1. re: honkman
                                      Josh RE: honkman Feb 15, 2011 04:05 PM

                                      Agreed 100%. ED was inventive for its time, but that time was the early '90s and their desserts have not worn well over the intervening years. Nothing on their menu shows even half the creativity of Linkery's Lardo ice cream sandwich.

                                      Is ED a crowd pleaser? I'd say it depends on the level of sophistication of the crowd.

                                      I have a soft spot for ED, and still enjoy going there every few months for sentimental reasons, but as I said before, it's nothing I'd hold up to out-of-town visitors as one of our best and brightest.

                            3. re: chezwhitey
                              cgfan RE: chezwhitey Feb 14, 2011 04:03 PM

                              On an absolutely make sure you save room for type of place for deserts, I'd suggest the other ED, Elizabethan Deserts, although the logistics (North County + not a sit-down place but rather a take-out counter) might not otherwise be the best fit.

                              But they are spectacular, something that I cannot claim for Extraordinary Deserts. (They're not even extraordinary, though the "other ED" is, as well as Elizabethan for that matter, as Elizabeth is the one who makes them!)

                              1. re: cgfan
                                e
                                Ewilensky RE: cgfan Feb 15, 2011 01:23 PM

                                Oh, now Elizabethan Desserts is well worth the drive North - and one can then cut over to the beach and take the scenic ride back.

                                Agreed on the Linkery's dessert menu - that lardo ice-cream sandwhich is worth the visit alone.

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

                                Elizabethan Desserts
                                155 Quail Gardens Dr, Encinitas, CA

                            4. geekyfoodie RE: excel Feb 16, 2011 11:45 AM

                              On the dessert front, I'm going to say that there is nothing you can find at either of the EDs that you can't find at Sweet Obsessions in Vancouver. So, if you're walking around Balboa Park and want a hot drink and a sweet snack, then visit Extraordinary Desserts. If you're driving up the coast, then stop by Elizabethan Desserts. Both great stops, but if I was in town for that short of a time, would I travel specifically to either place? No.

                              I'll throw my vote in for Aqui es Texcoco. Definitely skip Chinese and Japanese here... you have it WAY better at home. BLAH's a great rec and I'll toss in a non-food beer rec: Toronado. Divey little bar that's a great stop after a run at SC/MG. Great selection of beer.

                              I wouldn't go to the Fish Market... again, that type of food's way better in Van. However, I'd actually recommend Cucina Urbana for lunch. It's an example of what San Diego does well, which is an American restaurant with good food and fun ambiance. The dishes are tasty, but nothing outrageously inventive. It'll be fun to kick back with a glass of wine and enjoy the atmosphere. Unfortunately, you'd have to be here Tues-Fri for them to be open for lunch. Urban Solace is another good lunch stop on the same vein as Cucina Urbana and they're open all week for lunch.

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: geekyfoodie
                                honkman RE: geekyfoodie Feb 16, 2011 12:03 PM

                                I would second Urban Solace ofr lunch ( and dinner) or Cafe Chloe for lunch but think that Cucina Urbana is not bad but overhyped. I had good dishes but also too many just average dishes and some of them like their pizza are just bad.

                                1. re: honkman
                                  geekyfoodie RE: honkman Feb 16, 2011 07:53 PM

                                  Yeah, I wasn't a huge fan of the pizza at CU, but I've had a lot of great meals there. Like I said, not inventive. I'd actually rec Bruno to the OP, but like Cstr said, good pizza isn't exactly unique. Bruno's one of my favorite places in SD and, at least to me, good pizza isn't something I've had regularly.

                                2. re: geekyfoodie
                                  cgfan RE: geekyfoodie Feb 16, 2011 03:12 PM

                                  I beg to differ on recommending that our OP skip Japanese food altogether in San Diego. While I haven't been to Vancouver in ages, I'd hate to reduce our local recs down to a matter of only choosing to patronize S.D. restaurants only when they are strictly better. I think there are a couple of choices for Japanese specialties that now should be considered irrespective of where the visitor is coming from. Not that they'll necessarily be better, but that we no longer have to "apologize" for them and should be able to confidently stand behind them. (After having suffered through nearly 3 decades of waiting for credible local options for Japanese food to arrive in S.D., only in recent years do I believe that we have finally reached a point where some of our specialty Japanese shops can be confidently recommended without disclaimers.)

                                  So far I've stayed away from mentioning any of my Japanese favorites, as the topic of Japanese food hasn't been raised until your post. But now that it's been mentioned, I see no reason for taking it off of the list if it might catch the OP's interest. (Though I do agree with bypassing San Diego's Chinese options; there's going to be no contest against the likes of Vancouver...)

                                  The most compelling option for Japanese in San Diego regardless of where one is from is with a Sushi session in front of Morita-san at Kaito Sushi. Other considerations are Yakyudori Ramen and Yakitori for a Yakitori session with Nabe-san, and Okan for their (Oozara) cold dishes. But across categories I believe a session with Morita-san at Kaito to be our best representative with regards to a Japanese specialty cuisine.

                                  -----
                                  Kaito Sushi
                                  130-A N El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024

                                  1. re: cgfan
                                    geekyfoodie RE: cgfan Feb 16, 2011 06:55 PM

                                    But would you travel somewhere to eat something that you can get at home? The OP wanted to know what San Diego does best. They have two days. Vancouver has some of the best expat Asian food on the continent, if not the planet... so they do have it better. Vancouver has good sushi, an active izakaya scene, and places for good ramen. We don't have to apologize for the Japanese and Vietnamese offerings in San Diego, but I wouldn't steer a time-strapped Vancouver native to them. With six meals to consider and two being breakfast, I don't think they need to try our Asian offerings and based my recs on that.

                                    On a side note, I was in Vancouver 6 months ago and was asking for beer recs. Coming from a big beer town, I like trying local brews when I travel. The Vancouver 'Hounds (amazing bunch, btw) quickly convinced me that I had better things to spend my short visit on. They were right. And for what it's worth, I ended up cutting an izakaya crawl from my must-eat-Vancouver list... I knew I could get good Japanese here.

                                    Visiting Kaito is up to the OP, of course, but given their specific situation, I feel they have other options.

                                    1. re: geekyfoodie
                                      cgfan RE: geekyfoodie Feb 16, 2011 07:09 PM

                                      Well my main point was to not rule it out; that I'd rather leave up to the OP.

                                      We do the advizin', the OP does the decidin'.

                                      1. re: cgfan
                                        geekyfoodie RE: cgfan Feb 16, 2011 07:51 PM

                                        On that note, I'm a little puzzled as to why you didn't just recommend it to begin with? Why wait until it was brought up?

                                        1. re: geekyfoodie
                                          cgfan RE: geekyfoodie Feb 16, 2011 08:26 PM

                                          Because there was nothing that led me to believe in the OP's post that they were looking for a Japanese dining option. But once you introduced Japanese food into the discussion as a cuisine to throw out, I just didn't see any basis for that.

                                          1. re: geekyfoodie
                                            c
                                            chezwhitey RE: geekyfoodie Feb 16, 2011 08:44 PM

                                            LOL, you guys crack me up (in a good way). Anyway, why don't we just say this, there are certainly a few good places around SD, nothing world class. It's all relative right, so adjust expectations accordingly. If the OP really wants to experience a SD dish, go for fish tacos at south beach or brigatine for lunch( I know I know it's a baja mexico dish but close enough.) The fish tacos here should be better than anything you can find in Canada, just like you can't find good poutine around here. I went to a "canadian" bar to watch the hockey gold medal game and the place promised to serve "poutine." Their version was canned gravy with nacho cheese over stale fries. Talk about lame.

                                            Oh, which reminds me, go for the california burrito, that is definitely a san diego staple. Super Sergios, Cotixan etc.

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

                                            1. re: chezwhitey
                                              Josh RE: chezwhitey Feb 16, 2011 09:02 PM

                                              Our beer is certainly world class.

                                        2. re: geekyfoodie
                                          k
                                          karaethon RE: geekyfoodie Feb 16, 2011 07:19 PM

                                          To be fair, part of the Vancouver thing is to only use stuff within X (I think 50) miles of the city. So going to Kaito to try fish that is flown in from around the world would be something that the OP can't get in Vancouver (I could easily be mistaken about this whole point if there is in fact some high end sushi place in Vancouver that flies in fish, but I'm just going on what I've heard of the food scene there).

                                          1. re: karaethon
                                            geekyfoodie RE: karaethon Feb 16, 2011 07:39 PM

                                            Like I said, I skipped Japanese in Vancouver because I ran out of meals and we have a good scene here. If the OP wants to jump in about that, they should.

                                            You guys miss my original point... I made my recommendations based on what the OP said. They're from Vancouver, they have two days, they want to try things that are based on San Diego's strengths. I recently visited Vancouver and I was absolutely blown away by the quality and diversity of the Asian food there... and I'm a San Gabriel Valley native, so I grew up with a very extensive expat Asian food scene. That is my perspective.

                                            If y'all think Kaito (or any other Asian place) should be a priority for Excel, then just say so. My $.02 is just that, an opinion.

                                    2. e
                                      excel RE: excel Feb 17, 2011 05:52 AM

                                      Hello All!

                                      I appreciate all the opinions/advice/recommendations coming in from SD's CHs.

                                      My original question for you guys was what were the restaurants that represented SD the best. If it's Japanese/Chinese, then so be it. To me, good food can be found anywhere and I can appreciate good Asian food anywhere in the world.

                                      Thanks so much for this ongoing conversation, it's also giving me great insight into the people in SD and I'm liking you guys so far!

                                      14 Replies
                                      1. re: excel
                                        geekyfoodie RE: excel Feb 17, 2011 08:56 AM

                                        Sorry for the assumption there, Excel! When you said that you'd probably skip the Chinese/dumpling places, I just went, "Of course, why wouldn't they?"

                                        With that said, you're here for a short time and, unless you have a very short must-eat list, there are going to be choices made. I stand by my rec that, in the same situation, I'd probably forgo Asian. That's not a dis to San Diego, it's just that you have four meals not including breakfast. If you want any kind of Asian, however, here's a quick rundown:

                                        Japanese- Cgfan's recs hit all of the favorites in the area. And if you go to Kaito for lunch, drop by Elizabethan Desserts (they're not open late enough if you go for dinner).

                                        Vietnamese- We do Vietnamese pretty well here, so if you don't want more Mexican for lunch, then I'd go to the City Heights area (there are some good places in the Mira Mesa area, too) for Viet "deli" style items: egg rolls, sandwiches, banh beo (steamed tapioca patties), and a lot of other specialties.

                                        Chinese- it's passable here, but the whole "You're from Vancouver!" really applies with Chinese food. It's enough to relieve cravings, but nothing to write home about.

                                        Indian- Copper Chimney truck is a CH favorite and it's a great stop. The truck's a little hard to find and there's word that Allen is opening a brick-and-mortar location. There's a thread here on the place, so take a look there. Punjabi Tandoor is a nice stop for lunch, but it's in a random location (Miramar area) and may not be worth your time to drive there.

                                        Korean- I like Dae Jang Keum in the Kearny Mesa area... they use real charcoal for their BBQ and the meats' quality is pretty good. Buga is another favorite, although I'm not a fan. Not an expert on Korean food, but from what I hear, it's kind of like Chinese here. Passable and can be good, but not necessarily a cuisine that's a must-eat in this neck of the woods.

                                        Filipino- We have a big community here and there's plenty of good food, but I don't know much about it and where the best places are, so someone else should jump in on this front.

                                        If you're up for anything, then I'll throw in Pizzeria Bruno as a place to try. I know it was mentioned upthread that pizza may not be a great rec, but whatever... the pizza's pretty spectacular there. Venissimo is a great cheese shop to stop by if you want a snack. And really, I don't think one will tire of Mexican in two days... tacos one day, guisados the next, and there's still more to be had.

                                        It also depends on what you plan on doing while you're here. I know you said you'd travel to good food, but driving can suck up a lot of your time. Areas like North Park hit a lot of things at once... great beer, farm-to-table, pizza, American comfort food, and Mexican. We also have a sizable Ethiopian community and the Ethiopian food's pretty good (although I really have no basis for "good" or "authentic"... it just tastes great to me) here.

                                        Josh mentioned Wine Vault and Bistro upthread and I really, really love that place. If you like fine-dining at not-fine-dining prices, that's a place to consider. I rec'd Urban Solace and, if you're here Sunday morning, their Bluegrass Brunch with live music is awesome.

                                        Good luck! You're certainly not lacking options.

                                        1. re: geekyfoodie
                                          Josh RE: geekyfoodie Feb 17, 2011 10:59 AM

                                          I don't think the Copper Chimney truck is still around - I believe it's 100% the brick-and-mortar location.

                                          1. re: geekyfoodie
                                            r
                                            RB Hound RE: geekyfoodie Feb 17, 2011 11:03 AM

                                            Geekyfoodie - perhaps you've not been tuned in, but the Copper Chimney truck is gone and he already has set up shop in Little India - in the Spice Court Grocery and Restaurant in Little India Center:

                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/763817

                                            http://www.sdcopperchimney.com/

                                            1. re: RB Hound
                                              geekyfoodie RE: RB Hound Feb 17, 2011 11:20 AM

                                              Yeah, I haven't been following the news that closely... last I saw, Ipsit (I think it was Ipsit) had mentioned the brick-and-mortar place was going up, but wasn't open yet. That's why I mentioned that Excel should look up the CC threads. Thanks for the links.

                                          2. re: excel
                                            c
                                            chezwhitey RE: excel Feb 17, 2011 09:08 AM

                                            Thanks for the clarification, all the rec's on here are fine choices. To me personally, what represents San Diego is fish tacos and mexican beer by the water, also late night california burritos. If you are here on a sunday morning, I'd recommend walking around the hillcrest farmer's market to get a taste of the local produce and foodstands.

                                            1. re: chezwhitey
                                              geekyfoodie RE: chezwhitey Feb 17, 2011 09:10 AM

                                              Farmers' markets are really great places here. Little Italy and Hillcrest are two of the best in the area, methinks.

                                              1. re: chezwhitey
                                                Josh RE: chezwhitey Feb 17, 2011 11:08 AM

                                                Um, don't take this personally, but saying that Mexican beer represents San Diego is way behind the times.

                                                San Diego's breweries have brought home more medals in international competition than some entire countries have. Our locally produced beers win awards every year, and are some of the most sought-after beers in the world. Telling a visitor to San Diego to drink cheap Mexican lager is like telling someone going to Bordeaux to look for boxed white zinfandel.

                                                You may like drinking that stuff, but if you're telling someone what we do well here, leaving out our internationally-recognized breweries is a glaring oversight.

                                                1. re: Josh
                                                  c
                                                  chezwhitey RE: Josh Feb 17, 2011 12:38 PM

                                                  Sure, we have terrific beer around here, but for me, I can't eat a fish taco and drink a stone IPA, just doesn't work for me. Now if they want to do beer the proper way, they could take a stone tour, or go to blind lady or the bar on convoy that name escapes me at the moment.

                                                  1. re: chezwhitey
                                                    d
                                                    DougOLis RE: chezwhitey Feb 17, 2011 01:28 PM

                                                    The bar on convoy is O'Brien's

                                                    It depends on the beer, the fish and the accompaniments to the taco. You're right, I'm not sure I would choose Stone IPA or another overly bitter IPA to pair with a standard baja style fish taco, but I could easily see something like Alpine Nelson, Ballast Point Sculpin, or Alesmith X all pairing well. The crisp, floral, and citrusy notes of all of those could enhance the flavor and none are terribly bitter. Even something like Port Mongo could probably work.

                                                    Outside of the hoppy beers that we're known for there are plenty of other great options that would work with fish tacos:
                                                    Alesmith - ESB
                                                    Ballast Point - Yellowtail
                                                    Lost Abbey - Red Barn, Avant Garde
                                                    The Bruery - Hottenroth Berliner Weisse, Saison Rue, or Orchard White
                                                    Lightning - Electrostatic

                                                    1. re: DougOLis
                                                      Josh RE: DougOLis Feb 17, 2011 01:42 PM

                                                      Second what Doug said. It's a big mistake to categorize all beer made in San Diego as hoppy IPAs.

                                                      Other good local fish taco beers:

                                                      Ballast Point - Wahoo Wheat, Longfin Lager
                                                      AleSmith - Li'l Devil
                                                      Alpine - Mandarin Nectar, Alpine Ale, McIlhenny's Red
                                                      Port Carlsbad - Good Grief Brown

                                                  2. re: Josh
                                                    l
                                                    lyn RE: Josh Feb 17, 2011 02:58 PM

                                                    I have heard the same-San Diego has a quality micro brew scene- from more than one out of town brewmaster. The diversity of styles is great, as well as the quality. I am rather crushed I no longer drink beer. I heard Alpine Brewer is the one to watch

                                                    1. re: lyn
                                                      DiningDiva RE: lyn Feb 18, 2011 07:44 AM

                                                      You heard right about Alpine. It's pretty delicious stuff. I'm torn right now between their Duet and Nelson, like 'em both. Take a trip out, easy to find, quaint little operation. I recent took my nephew out there so he could taste their beers as he's been home brewing pretty serioiusly for the last year or so. Everyone was really friendly (well except for th bar chick who set up the beer flights for us, she had the personality of a bed bug) and willing to talk to my nephew and answer all the questions he could ask. IIRC, we liked almost everything we tasted at Alpine except for the Vanilla Beer.

                                                      We got hooked up with a guy at Lost Abby who talked to us for well over an hour about their operation and brewing process. We even got the "I-hate-beer" person in our little group to start tasting and even she had to admit she liked the stuff :-).

                                                      A lot of the local brewer are so committed to what they're doing and so willing to talk and share their philosphies and products. It really makes for a fun tasting experience.

                                                2. re: excel
                                                  d
                                                  DougOLis RE: excel Feb 17, 2011 11:08 AM

                                                  The thing that represents San Diego best these days is craft beer. I don't know if you're a beer drinker or not but the quality of it here is even converting people who typically aren't. I'd make an effort to checkout some of the following places:
                                                  Blind Lady
                                                  The Linkery (farm-to-table leaders in San Diego; another area of increasing importance)
                                                  Toronado

                                                  Some of the breweries you should try beers from:
                                                  Alpine
                                                  Alesmith
                                                  Lost Abbey
                                                  Port
                                                  Green Flash
                                                  Stone

                                                  More than one meal of Mexican food really wouldn't be an issue if you choose places with different styles. I'd consider the following places if I were you:
                                                  Mariscos German or Mariscos El Pescador for seafood/fish tacos
                                                  Aqui es Texcoco for a primarily lamb influenced taco shop (but other good non-lamb offerrings too)
                                                  Super Cocina for guisados. They have good breakfast items too.
                                                  El Take It Easy if you want a nicer place w/ craft beer and local/sustainable foods

                                                  If you want a restaurant with a view then I'd go to either George's or the Marine Room

                                                  1. re: DougOLis
                                                    k
                                                    karaethon RE: DougOLis Feb 17, 2011 11:52 AM

                                                    2nd beer for being "representative of San Diego" and 2nd Blind Lady and Lost Abbey specifically.

                                                    I'll also re-affirm the Mariscos German trucks as being "representative" of the region since you can't get that anywhere else as far as I know.

                                                    For the view thing: take George's over Marine Room in a heartbeat. Had 2 bad experiences at Marine Room.

                                                    -----
                                                    The Lost Abbey
                                                    155 Mata Way Suite 104, San Marcos, CA

                                                    Marine Room Restaurant
                                                    2000 Spindrift Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037

                                                    Mariscos German truck
                                                    Cable St and Santa Monica Ave, San Diego, CA

                                                3. k
                                                  kdkrone RE: excel Feb 17, 2011 08:45 PM

                                                  Where is the Google Spreadsheet of Favorite Dishes? We are headed to SD for a meeting next wek. Thanks

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: kdkrone
                                                    cgfan RE: kdkrone Feb 17, 2011 10:41 PM

                                                    kdkrone - you can find the spreadsheet at the following link: http://tinyurl.com/SDChow

                                                    If you feel up to it, feel free to add in your 2 cents worth, or more, by entering in your favorites. To do so simply insert a new column with your CH handle on top, then list your favorite dishes in the same column for every restaurant that you have a favorite dish for. If you see a favorite restaurant missing, simply insert a new row for the missing restaurant, ideally in alphabetical order by restaurant name.

                                                    You can also find the associated "word cloud" as of 2/7/2011 here: http://flickr.com/gp/akatayama/ix9966

                                                    1. re: kdkrone
                                                      geekyfoodie RE: kdkrone Feb 17, 2011 10:41 PM

                                                      http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?ke...

                                                      And the thread it came from:

                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/715936

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