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Do I want to move to San Diego?

I'm about to (finally) finish up grad school and I've been browsing jobs mostly in CA, but also in other states. I have a few pretty good leads in San Diego, but I've never spent much time there before.

Do you like living in this area? How do you think it rates from a chow perspective? If it was you, and you had a *slightly* less exciting job opportunity in the bay area would you take that instead (because of the food/atmosphere)?

If it makes a difference, I would be near UCSD, so North of San Diego proper.

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  1. I've lived in both the Bay Area and San Diego, and for me (hands down) I'd rather live in SD.

    If the food scene is your #1 priority then you're going to be happier in the Bay Area. The food is more interesting, more innovative and overall quality of food and service is higher. The Bay Area does fine dining far better than SD

    If your #1 priority is your overall quality of life, then America's Finest City is the better bet. You may have to work harder to find the food and ingredients you want, but the trade-off is that you really learn your way around town and who the produers and vendors are that interest you. SD county has more farms than any other county in the U.S., the quality and availability of our raw ingredients is excellent. SD does bistro dining very well. We are also pretty much ground zero right now in the craft beer world.

    From the cultural and arts perspective, San Diego can compete well with the Bay Area and is only 90 minutes from LA. Do you want a higher degree of sophistication, or do you want an easy, laid-back, live and let live environment. Plus our weather is w-a-y better than the Bay Area. You can go to the beach in January and get a sun tan. You can go from the beach to the mountains in 45 minutes.

    Baja is only 30-60 minutes away from SD (depending upon where you live). Yes it's safe and some of the best eating in the area is in Baja norte these days. You can visit the Valle de Guadalupe for great wine tasting. V de G has been compared to where Napa was 20 years ago in terms of affordability and development.

    And since I'm probably considerably older than you ;-), I'd take the more exciting job. You've got to do what excites you. If you do, the rest will follow regardless of where you live. Good luck with your decision.

    8 Replies
    1. re: DiningDiva

      Interesting perspective, thank you so much!!

      1. re: DiningDiva

        Wow! I'm surprised at just how similar DD's response was to what I was going to write. I've also lived in the Bay Area and SD each for about a decade. I won't repeat what DD wrote but add that the one place where SD has a far more interesting drinking and dining scene is if you are a fan of beer. Not just 'beer' but really, really good, flavorful, sophisticated, creative beer, you will be in heaven in SD. As an example, San Diego breweries just took 20 medals at the recent Great American Beer Festival, more than Oregon and Washington combined. There's also a food scene developing in SD that pairs well with beer and tends to focus on farm-to-table cuisine, as DD pointed out. If you're a fan of wine and wine focused dining, you can't beat the Bay Area. But SD is leading the world in creativity and quality in beer right now and it's quite exciting to be in the middle of it.

        Good luck with whatever decision you make. Both are wonderful places.

        1. re: steveprez

          This is good to know -- the beer will be a huge selling point to my fiance :)

          1. re: steveprez

            I don't know how you can say this, unless you simply haven't been to SF lately. The Bay Area beer scene is very good, indeed. Russian River, Drake's, Marin, Magnolia are all top notch. 21st Amendment makes some very good beers, and bottle shops like City Beer have a great selection. Plus, you have Toronado, Rogue Public House, and Zeitgeist.

            San Diego has a lot of breweries, but I wouldn't say it's necessarily better than San Francisco. It's different.

            1. re: Josh

              I've lived in the Bay Area about a decade and travel there regularly on business and pleasure trips. I'm a big fan of 21st Amendment, Toronado (both SF and SD) and Russian River (which isn't really in the Bay Area, is it?). But you really can't compare the Bay Area, which has a few good breweries, to the SD craft brewing scene which has coalesced into more of an eco-system that you sometimes see in other industries (Napa in the 70s, Silicon Valley, Hollywood) where you have numerous breweries in close proximity, cross-sourcing, cross-fertilization and "competitive cooperation" which leads to tremendous creativity.

              This isn't just my opinion. Look at the GABF where SD took 20 medals (21 if you include Pizza Port San Clemente) and Bay Area breweries took just a few. Or look at the beer geek website "RateBeer" where people serious about beer rate the various craft beer offerings. An astonishing 20% of the Top 100 of 2011 were from SD breweries. SF Bay Area: Zero.

              Yeah, the Bay Area has a few good breweries but what's going on in SD right now is something special!

              1. re: steveprez

                I definitely think the local craft beer scene has helped to improve the quality of food in San Diego restaurants over the last few years. Gone are the days when people went out for a beer and pizza. Nowadays, it has to be the right beer, with the right pizza (or burger), at least among people I know. I realize it's just a start, but Im loving that San Diegans have become more sophisticated with food and alcohol. And the fact that our beers are getting national recognition makes it even sweeter!

                1. re: hungerpane

                  I hope that's true, but IMO there's a bit of a "gold rush" vibe to the whole thing. I've eaten at almost all of the newer gastropub-type places, and there aren't many I'd be compelled to return to.

                  One aspect of this I find particularly troubling is that as the beer scene explodes, and people see money to be made, you see a proliferation of second- and third-tier beers being served around town, presented as something quality because they are local, as though there was some kind of magic that makes any beer from San Diego good.

                  While we do have a number of great breweries, not all of our breweries rise to that level, nor are they all similarly blessed with talented brewers (without naming names).

                  So while I do agree it's a good sign that there seems to be more demand for quality, I am troubled by what seems to sometimes be an over-eagerness to see any place serving rustic food and craft beer as high-quality. Hence my gold rush comment above. I think it will take a little time to see which of these places can last.

        2. I am curious to know if you are looking for a job in industry, or a postdoc. If it is the former, I can't help you :) If the latter, then I was in your position 15 months ago. My advice would be: go where the science is best. All other concerns should be secondary. This from someone who lives and breathes food.

          13 Replies
          1. re: shouzen

            Looking for a postdoc, so I'm sure the decision will mainly be based on the science. I guess I just wanted to hear that San Diego isn't some kind of foodie wasteland. If it came down to two labs of similar caliber in different cities, I would definitely consider the locations when comparing them.

            1. re: LabLady

              San Diego is not a foodie wasteland. It's not the Bay Area, but it's not a desolate food destination

              1. re: DiningDiva

                It sounds pretty good from your description, actually! I'm getting the impression that it is a good city for food/drinks, just in a more casual way than SF. Casual probably suits us better anyway.

                1. re: LabLady

                  Casual? We luvs us some casual in SD. If it helps, there are 785 burger joints in San Diego. Of those 785 places, 783 of those received some form of "Best Burger in San Diego" accolade last year. San Diego has a 25:1 ratio of residents to taco shops, more farms than tables, 582 places that serve some form of truffle oil fries, and there are more than 60 food trucks that you will probably never see unless you work in an office park.

                  If that is not enough, craft beer establishments breed like rabbits in SD, we are on pace for 2 new gastropub openings a week for the next 2 years, and most SD bartenders can text 45 WPM on their iPhones while ignoring you. To seal the deal - by the end of 2012 - we will have 8 restaurants named after a fabric (and I still think pork pie hat is a fabric). :)

                  Did anyone mention 360 days a year of flip-flop weather?

                    1. re: DiningDiva

                      Yeah. That one gave me chuckles too. :)

                2. re: LabLady

                  If science was equal, and it was a decision between SF and SD, I'd have to go with SF (too bad none of the labs I was interested in were in SF). That being said, we are fairly happy living here. SD is a much better place than MANY other places in the country, all things considered. And hey, it's only a few years!

                  1. re: shouzen

                    yes, my reaction was "ya could do worse" a heck of a lot worse

                    1. re: hill food

                      besides if you get bored with SD (doubtful) you can eat the abundant veggies from Imperial and Riverside Counties and then with the money you saved, if you shop around do a cheap 40 minute flight up to SF for a day trip lunch 'n' dinner out once in a while.

                  2. re: LabLady

                    If you are looking for a postdoc than food shouldn't really play a role in your decision as you won't have much time for restaurants anyway (We never had so much processed food/junk food as during our postdoc time in SD). Choose your location based on science, recognition of your PI and network possibilities as they are key for your future career in industry or academia

                    1. re: LabLady

                      I would put education first, then the food. You won't starve in SD and can find enough decent food to satisfy you while you're here. If you can't find what you want to eat, then you can always learn to cook it. Can't quite say the same for education...

                      1. re: daantaat

                        True, but it's not like the education is exactly lacking in SF...

                        If cost of living isn't too much of an issue for OP, and if the educational opportunities are roughly on par with eachother, it's largely a lifestyle choice, I think.

                  3. If you're in any major city on the west coast you can always find good food so I would consider weather and culture as the two most important differences between SD and SF. If you love to eat outside and do lots of physical activities then SD is the place. If you want to eat in art museum cafes and spend hours at bookstore/coffee shops then SF is the one. I've lived in both, and if it wasn't for the quakes and cost of living I'd be in SF, even though SD is an easy place to live.

                    1. Few people will disagree that the Bay Area is food friendlier, but living in San Diego, you have access to good ingredients. If you plan on dining out often, and it is a top priority, SF proper is probably a better bet for you. Also, if you're a person who prefers a somewhat urban energy over a more laid back one, SF is also preferable in that regard.

                      Politically, SF is also much more liberal, so if that matters to you, then there's that.

                      That said, SD is a lovely place to live. I lived in the UTC area, and that's about 20 minutes from Hillcrest, which has pretty decent eats, and a fairly liberal vibe.

                      Since I cook a lot of my meals, for me, all other factors aside, the decision between these two places would come down to urban vs. laid back vibe, weather, and political climate.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: inaplasticcup

                        San Francisco's ingredient access seems much broader and deeper than we have here. They have great produce, AND great wine, AND lots of ranching. So they not only have the produce, they also have meat. AND wild mushrooms.

                        1. re: Josh

                          Oh, no doubt. Foodwise, SF is superior in every way, IMO. I just wanted to let OP know that it's not a total food desert out here. Good ingredients can be gotten with minimal trouble.

                      2. curious, where do you currently reside, it may help with the foodie side of your choice.

                        1. biotech is in baaaad shape around here. that being said, it's bad everywhere. my unsolicited advice to you is to figure out asap whether you want to go academic or industry. if you want to do industry, try to line up a post doc in industry because at the end of the day it's all about connections. Food wise, both places are perfectly acceptable with sf having the edge in fine dining, but you are going to be a post doc anyway unless your significant other is bringing in serious cash. You won't be splurging every weekend at benu or the french laundry.

                          1. If you are basing your decision solely on food, then you should move San Francisco without a doubt.

                            1. Hi folks, please pardon the interruption. Please keep your responses focused on local chow in San Diego. General discussion of life in San Diego or discussions of other cities would be off topic for this board. Thanks!

                              1. Food-wise, and everything else-wise, San Diego is a smaller-but-developing area (bigger central city, but smaller metropolitan area, population-wise), and the Bay Area is a larger, and more stable area. With the Bay Area, you know what you're going to get. With San Diego, not so much. The City changes ever ten years or so. Right now, we're in a craft beer, farm-to-table, farmer's market, growth that's pretty amazing. The urban core neighborhoods - North Park, South Park, University Heights, Normal Heights, City Heights, Hillcrest, Bankers' Hill, and the East Village - are all becoming revitalized and much more interesting. And if that's not enough, we have one of the greatest food towns in Mexico - Tijuana, the creator of the margarita, the caesar salad, etc., just to our south. Overall, its not a bad place to live.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: jmtreg

                                  I agree with everything except: " The City changes ever ten years or so."

                                  I think it changes more often than that.

                                  A (recent) San Diego Food History:

                                  2001-2003 - Overpriced, mediocre food. What is Caprese salad? What is tuna tartare? They both sound "gross".

                                  2003-2007 - Steakhouses, bottle service, San Diego trying to be Las Vegas. Non-stop Caprese salads and tuna tartare. 99% in multicolored striped shirts. Mortgage Brokers. What the heck is "farm-to-table"?

                                  2008-? - Burger is King (not Burger King) Glittery shirts (on men). What is "Jayne's Gastropub"?

                                  2009-? Gastropubs! (We didn't know what it was a year ago, but now all we can say is "Gastropub!" Skinny Jeans. (on men).

                                  2010-? Farm to table! And Mixology! You want vodka with that? You can't have it, we are a "Mixology Bar".

                                  2011 - ? Gastropub/Comfort food paired with Craft Beer. Don't even think about opening some place without craft beer. Is it possible to go to a place without craft beer?

                                    1. re: cstr


                                      I knew I was forgetting at least one or two.

                                      Let's throw "grass fed" here:

                                      "2008-? - Burger is King (not Burger King) Glittery shirts (on men). What is "Jayne's Gastropub"?"

                                          1. re: stevewag23

                                            you forgot creme brulee, or was that pre-2001?

                                        1. re: stevewag23

                                          you should add

                                          2008- Interesting idea for a restaurant? throw it in a truck instead.

                                      1. I love San Diego and I moved here for a postdoc (industry) 9 years ago, you will have more "disposable" postdoc money living here versus the bay area. The food scene is plentiful and LA is driving/train distance. To extend that disposable $$ I would move away from the UCSD area..you will find better restaurants.

                                        16 Replies
                                        1. re: Ela0427

                                          Oh boy; this thread made me smile. In my experience, San Diego in no way comes close to the culinary atmosphere of the San Francisco Bay area.

                                          The restaurants in San Diego are, for the most part, forgettable. Would anyone on this board really compare Arrivederci to A16? Spices Thai to the Slanted Door? How about Michael Minna to Georges "California" Modern? I respect this board for being one of the only places that I see lively, accurate conversations about food, wine and service but I want to bang my head against the wall when I see fellow chowhounders making this comparison.

                                          To compare San Diego to San Francisco in terms of restaurants is absurd, it's not a lucid conversation. I have lived for nearly 10 years in both locations and the reality is that San Diego is a restaurant backwater.

                                          Someone earlier said it best, we have great local ingredients and some of the worlds best beer. Just be prepared to spend some money on cooking classes and good glassware.

                                          Sorry for the rant, I just get a little bunched up over this topic :)

                                          PS - an earlier post stated the vast selection of outdoor dining in San Diego. I have not found many outdoor restaurant (non hotel/resort) options that have more than a few tables facing the parking lot or inner courtyard. Why do we lack great outdoor (view) options? Land to expensive?

                                          1. re: JKCDN

                                            In a post you wrote Aug 12, 2008..
                                            'I am opening a restaurant and lounge this fall in San Diego with 200 wines by the glass and a seasonal/organic menu.'

                                            Did the restaurant/lounge ever get off the ground?
                                            Totally agree about the lack of great outdoor venues..it's getting better but slowly.
                                            Best to you.

                                            1. re: JKCDN

                                              I wouldn't compare Arreviderci to A16, I would respect what The Chowhound Team requested- don't compare cities and keep it to specific food in San Diego.

                                              1. re: SteveRB

                                                Steve, While I would normally agree with you, I think that comparison is exactly what the OP asked for in this instance.

                                              2. re: JKCDN

                                                Anyone know why you can't really drink outdoors in san diego unless there is some kind of railing?

                                                Even then, it is only till a certain hour then you have to bring your drinks inside.

                                                Is this a san diego specific law? I don't recall it being enforced as obnoxiously in other places in california (if at all).

                                                1. re: JKCDN

                                                  I think San Diego is becoming less of a backwater, but obviously, as you can see from my earlier comments, I largely agree with you.

                                                  1. re: JKCDN

                                                    If you think San Diego is a culinary backwater, try going to anywhere in the middle of america not named chicago. Come back then we'll talk about culinary backwater. I don't think anyone was trying to say san diego was superior in terms of restaurants, we're merely saying that we have a few places that hold their own and that the OP won't starve due to lack of options.

                                                    1. re: chezwhitey

                                                      " try going to anywhere in the middle of america not named chicago"

                                                      And not named New Orleans.

                                                      1. re: chezwhitey

                                                        I don't have experience with the restaurant scene in the middle of america myself but read many foodblogs covering those areas and based on that I don't think that the larger cities in many of those areas have such a worse dining scene than SD. Compared to the size of the city SD has still a quite underdeveloped restaurant scene not only compared to the big food cities, like NY, SF, LA, Chicago. And I often read here that the restaurant scene has improved significantly over the last few years and yes there are a few interesting new restaurants/chefs but beside SD getting a lot of justified praise for the beer scene I don't see significant improvements over the last few years beside following a few trends that other cities started years before. To become a food city SD has for example to get a number of restaurants with an own identity. And no I don't think that SD is a culinary backwater but on the other site I also don't think that SD is becoming closer to become a food city which is even close to the big shots like some people seem to think in this discussion.

                                                        1. re: chezwhitey

                                                          I've had better meals in Austin and Dallas than I've had in San Diego - dramatically so.

                                                          San Diego's coming around slowly, and we have some places that are really doing good stuff, but I'd say we have a ways to go before we're a bona-fide food city.

                                                          It's almost like we're doing food city karaoke. We have places that look legit, with menus that read legit, but the food doesn't eat legit. It does seem we're ever so slowly turning a corner, but it'll take a long time before we're a San Francisco.

                                                          Four exhibits for you to ponder: the long lines at El Indio, Cheesecake Factory (yeah, I said it), and Hodad's, and the absence of same at any of our good restaurants.

                                                          1. re: Josh

                                                            "We have places that look legit, with menus that read legit, but the food doesn't eat legit."

                                                            Agreed. It is almost a bizarrely strange thing about san diego.

                                                            Even when you go to a restaurant like Nobu, it is a few notches worse in san diego compared to other locations (NYC, London, Miami Beach).

                                                            And of course the service is always worse.

                                                            I think that is the "hang up" many people have about san diego.

                                                            It has all the "ingredients" to be a decent food city, but the ingredients rarely seem to come together.

                                                            1. re: stevewag23

                                                              Another example:

                                                              Owner of Davanti does great in Chicago.

                                                              Then throws up an airball in san diego.

                                                            2. re: Josh

                                                              I agree, there is excellent food in austin and dallas, (real) bbq, tex mex which I think is far superior to cali-mex. Where did you go in dallas, french room, abacus? I think it's not that san diego is worse than dallas or other places, it's just different. I think our strength is in the neighborhood places like north park, south park, hillcrest etc. If we are talking about the highest of the high end, yeah, we might not have as many places as other cities, but what we do have are not bad by any stretch of the imagination. Fwiw, I tend not to lump texas and louisiana into "middle of the country since they touch ocean.

                                                              As far as your exhibits, find me a cheesecake factory that doesn't do well, sadly that's what joe plumber and family want to eat in every city. Hodad's is good, not gourmet but solid and piggy backs with the beach vibe. El Indio and Lucha Libre, I got nothing, you would think people around here would have higher standards for mexican food but it is what it is. As far lines at our good restaurants, which ones are not doing so well? Restaurants work on buzz and some are able to maintain it through shrewd marketing and consistency, some just can't. In addition, the places you mentioned are at a much lower price point, much easier for them to keep people coming in rather than places that are more of a special occasion type.

                                                              Hodads Restaurant
                                                              5010 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107

                                                              1. re: chezwhitey

                                                                I don't think we are talking about high end places here for comparision to other cities- there aren't too many mid price/bistro-style places in SD (which I agree are the strength of SD compared to other "styles" of restaurant within SD) which are really good and would survive in other "food cities", perhaps 5-10 which I think is very low number for the size of this city.

                                                                1. re: honkman

                                                                  "perhaps 5-10 which I think is very low number for the size of this city."

                                                                  That is a great point.

                                                                  San diego has a very low number of good restaurants for a city of this size. You can literally eat through the place in 4-5 day period.

                                                                  Compare that to many other cities where it would take 4-5 months minimum.

                                                                  A good food city does not accept mediocrity. San diego embraces it.

                                                      2. Yes. Yes you absolutely do. After 3 days in San Diego I knew I wanted to relocate there.

                                                        If you're into food the scene in SD is really picking up, and you're close enough to LA for trips to some big names.

                                                        Out of curiosity, what field are you in?

                                                        1. Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts!

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: LabLady

                                                            No problem, come back here when you are looking for a place to eat in your postdoc area.. UCSD or Torrey Pines..not many options but the Food Trucks are improving the dining scene. BTW...the biotech sector IS struggling..BUT.. even more of a reason to choose a fantastic postdoc opportunity for the future.

                                                            1. re: Ela0427

                                                              Speaking of food trucks, while the food court at UTC is being renovated, there are a whole bunch of food trucks manning the lunch hour there:


                                                              Hey Beachchick - lunch on Thursday? :)

                                                              1. re: RB Hound

                                                                Dang, I'm the keynote speaker to the local Nobel Laureate's today at the Salk Institute...
                                                                ; )

                                                          2. I've been trying to restrain myself here, but this is a simple, clearcut decision. I'll grant you (keeping within the moderation) many other cities have better fine dining than San Diego. You'll find no argument from me.
                                                            In the other city mentioned, they *put rice and lettuce in their burritos*. I don't care about their fine dining options if they miss this fundemental cornerstone of cuisine.

                                                            It's San Diego for me.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: Fake Name

                                                              'fundemental cornerstone of cuisine"
                                                              Does sour cream in a carne asada burrito from Super Sergio's count?
                                                              hee hee

                                                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                Sour cream is a fine addition to the classic CAB.

                                                                1. re: Fake Name

                                                                  Do they make a tofu Carne asada?

                                                                  Love me gobbs of sour cream in my burrito but sadly, to your 'specifications', I would be sent to the wood shed for the utterance of 'could I have rice and lettuce with that'..

                                                                  Great, now all I want right this second is a huge ass burrito...thank's Fakey!

                                                            2. Although, many of the postings have made reference to the great burrito divide, it has occurred to me that no one has explained it. We must remedy this immediately as burritos will play a large role in your diet regardless of where you move to.

                                                              Now, in San Francisco (and probably the rest of the country), they serve Mission-style burritos, which, regardless of what protein you put on it, comes with rice, beans, cheese, sour cream, etc., and is served inside a steamed flour tortilla. Basically, every burrito you have ever had was probably a Mission-style burrito.

                                                              In San Diego, however, are much more restrained. Burritos are composed of a protein, guacamole and salsa fresca, and are served in a grilled wheat tortilla. We might accept cheese, french fries, sour cream (occasionally), or lettuce (only on a carne asada burrito, and only if the lettuce gives the burrito the illusion of healthiness at particularly greasy taco shops). Also, with the exception of a surf and turf burrito and burritos with egg in them (chorizo, machaca, breakfast burritos), crossing the proteins is verboten. So no beans in a carne asada burrito, and no carne asada in a bean burrito. Ever.

                                                              For some reason, (and even being a native, I have no clear idea how this happened) San Diegans are really, really particular about this. Even people, like yourself, who are transplanted in San Diego from somewhere else become really attached to the San Diego style burrito. Taco shops that do not serve burritos properly do not survive. Only chains like Chipotle have managed to serve mission-style burritos in San Diego and do well.

                                                              So, now you know. And given that burritos will be the food of choice during the early morning hours (regardless of which city you choose), they will be a huge part of your diet. So pick wisely.

                                                              3680 Rosecrans St, San Diego, CA 92110

                                                              15 Replies
                                                              1. re: jmtreg

                                                                "Only chains like Chipotle have managed to serve mission-style burritos in San Diego and do well."

                                                                Another one is opening soon in san diego:


                                                                OPENING NOVEMBER 22, 2011

                                                                3958 5th Ave
                                                                San Diego, CA 92103

                                                                1. re: jmtreg

                                                                  There is a big burrito place in Point Loma that we go to when we're down in the area. You pick what you want on the burrito and the choices include rice, french fries and all sorts of meats. This place is always busy and it just moved to a bigger location so even though 1 lb burritos are not my favorite, this place not only survives it thrives with a very mixed clientele.

                                                                  Point Loma Cafe
                                                                  4856 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92106

                                                                  1. re: escondido123

                                                                    Okay, we're up to three places in San Diego that serve the mission-style burrito.

                                                                    1. re: jmtreg

                                                                      Not to pile on, but I think you'd have to describe the "Big Burrito Especial" at Rubio's as Mission style. Lotsa arroz y frijoles!

                                                                        1. re: jmtreg

                                                                          I really think the steamed flour tortilla (ick) is the signature of Mission style burritos more than anything. Some San Diego style burritos (vegetarian, specifically) have both rice & beans in them, and are clearly still San Diego, not Mission.

                                                                          By my taxonomy, *any* burrito in a steamed flour tortilla is 1) evil, and 2) San Francisco style aka Mission style. On the other hand, a burrito whose tortilla has been properly griddled on a lard/butter/meat-grease soaked plancha, is eligible for consideration as a proper San Diego style burrito (as long as the fillings are correct to the genre).

                                                                            1. re: jayporter

                                                                              I have had steamed tortilla burritos that were good, but that was in Texas. The tortillas were thicker, which gave a nice, tender texture.

                                                                              1. re: jayporter

                                                                                I agree the prep you demand makes a great burrito. No doubt. But my interpretation of a San Diego style burrito is exactly what comes out of the various 'bertos and my favorite, Super Sergios, which was calling to me while I ate macrons at the Big Joy Bakery last night despite I'd already has Com Ta at Phong Trang, but there was Supers- beckoning, it's clarion call! Had Mrs Name not been there, I'd have danced across Convoy to get there.


                                                                                I believe a San Diego Burrito is not improved by using higher-quality ingredients. It's not "taken up a notch" (ugh, cliché) by using grass-fed beef, or locally-sourced carbon neutral cilantro.

                                                                                It changes it's nature.

                                                                                Would the resulting dish be good by using all the "right" stuff? Absolutely.

                                                                                But then it wouldn't be a San Diego Style burrito.

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

                                                                                1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                  Is that reply to me or to a deleted post?

                                                                                  I think we're talking about that same thing - the classic xBertos burrito, which IIRC is how they make it at SuperSergio's. they all start out with the flour tortilla griddled in grease of some sort on a plancha, no? To me, that 's what makes it uniquely San Diegan, I don't know any other city in the world that makes burritos like that.

                                                                                  As for quality of ingredients, I assume you just brought that up because you know I prefer to eat quality ingredients over meat from a can (which is typical of taco shops) but certainly I'm not making a case for that being relevant to whether a burrito is San Diego style or not.

                                                                                  1. re: jayporter

                                                                                    Yes, it was a reply to you, but yes, we agree. I think I was confused about the tortilla treatment. I assumed the wonderful, glorious, delicious and oh-so-healthy grease on the tortilla came from the lard with which they are made rather than the method by which they are cooked.

                                                                                    Damn. Now I'm hungry. I'm miles away from Convoy, but the siren's call reaches my ears. I'm powerless.

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

                                                                                    1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                      Oh yeah, I'm sure lard in the tortilla or its general composition is a factor too. Here the tortillas don't have the dry, mealy quality of many Mission style tortillas. Which perhaps is what they're trying to steam out of the tortillas. Anyway, the whole Mission style burrito thing is just unappetizing to me.

                                                                                      1. re: jayporter

                                                                                        Agreed. Come to think of it, the griddled tortilla has that same leopard-spot pattern as Brunos Napolitano.

                                                                                        But, yes, the original poster should move to San Diego.

                                                                                        1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                          Had one of my twice-yearly carne asada burritos today in celebration of the successful unloading of a 3,000 lb Acra milling machine at a friend's business on Voltaire St. Seemed weightily appropriate.

                                                                                          I recommend it, but blank-erto's it isn't: Tommy's TexMex (not sure why Tex is there- really just a normal taco shop). Nice tortilla cooked to order, pura carne with a a few avo slices, salsa picosa, and toasted on the plancha after being rolled. Great, and no cistern of funky salsa water at the end. Top notch.


                                                                                          1. re: SaltyRaisins

                                                                                            And so these are the kind of food discussions you will find if you move to San Diego...not saying that's a bad thing.

                                                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                        You have to question any guide that rates Fresno a "B".

                                                                        1. re: mikec

                                                                          Perhaps, but at least they didn't rate Bakersfield a "B" ;-)