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SD - Steingarten link?

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An article in the NY times on Jeffrey Steingarten (food writer extraordiaire) said that his wife is the curator for Asian art at the San Diego Museum of Art. He said she eats terribly when he's "not there", which led me to think that maybe he makes appearances in San Diego from time to time. I'd love to know if he's found anything here to suit his tastes.

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/04/din...

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  1. He is pictured at the Chino's in the December 2002 issue of Saveur.

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    1. He hasn't found much, as can be assessed from his generous feedback to questions on this eGullet forum:


      Look for the thread titled "San Diego Dining".

      4 Replies
      1. re: cgfan

        Wow. That post makes me sad. I can't say I necesarily disagree. I have seen improvements in my 4 years in SD, but progress is slow.

        1. re: cgfan

          Elitist right coast perspective demonstrating a complete lack of insight or understanding into the dynamics of the evolution of food in San Diego.

          His comments were made in 2003, it would be interesting to hear them now 3 years later. San Diego is not about fine dining. It never has been and it never will, but dining in San Diego has gotten remarkably much better in the last 3 years.

          1. re: DiningDiva

            Good summary about stupid comments from Steingarten

          2. re: cgfan

            Steingarten is very knowledgeable about food, and a talented and highly amusing writer. I've got a couple of his books and frequently read his Vogue columns (which, BTW, are the raw materials for the books). When it comes to San Diego, though, Steingarten's views are colored by his displeasure at having to leave the places where he feels comfortable and come to the godforsaken lower left hand corner of the US, which to a guy like him is about as foreign as Darfur -- and with (to him) about the same number of dining opportunities.

            I remember reading that when he first came out here, he brought his own steaks from New York because he wasn't confident that he could find anything wholesome and tasty here. I knew then that he wasn't without his irrational side. On the other hand, he did write a nice piece a few years ago about a fantastic taco joint in Rosarito. Anyway, if there's an SD-Steingarten link, it's the weakest one.
            . . . jim strain in san diego.

          3. “People who move to San Diego and tourists who visit the city do so, I think, for the weather, for the beaches, for water sports and golf, and for tourist attractions like the zoo (way overrated), Sea World, etc. Are these the sort of people who care about food, think about it half the way, and like spending their money on good food? Certainly not.

            P.S. About San Diego: If you think I'm saying that people who move somewhere for the weather are shallow or chronically ill, you're right.”

            I’m not sure why anyone that lives in San Diego would care what this clown thinks after making the remarks above. As heard over and over “only NY and LA have good food.” I find his comments and other comments like it...quite sad!

            1 Reply
            1. re: pbhomey

              Well for someone who didn't MOVE here and has traveled(eaten) across the country and to Europe repeatedly, I'm becoming pretty proud of San Diego. To fully understand how far we've come, you would have to have experienced the restaurant scene of the 1960's. When a place like Roberto's taco stands could hit North County and change the eating habits of the locals, you get an idea of how "white bread" things were. I was the only child in my class who had eaten Japanese food (Monterey), when our Japanese American teacher brought in rice rolled in nori. No one had ever tried escargot when my jr. high teacher extolled their garlicy virtues. Before the post Vietnam influx of refugees arrived, San Diego county was a wasteland of bland, indifferent food. Given how far we've come, I expect great things in the future. Now if Zagat would recognize us as a market and we could get our own board...

            2. I remember reading something that made me think he is not coming here regularly anymore - I think in one of his recent Vogue columns. I used to enjoy his writing in Vogue, but I picked up "It Must Have Been Something I Ate" and found it almost unreadable. I have also seen him on American Iron Chef, where he seems really unpleasant in person. Reading these comments on EGullet didn't help. He actually sounds a little nuts. Also sounds like he didn't get out much, but stayed mostly in La Jolla and Del Mar. That would make it difficult to explore the full range of San Diego cuisine.

              1. Its news to me that people move here because of our "overated" zoo.

                Too funny.

                1. As an ex NYCer i can understand where he is coming from. The major difference is that there are 6 million or so less people, and probably 10,000 or so less restaurants here. So you have less competition for peoples food dollar. Besides that there are tons of other reason why NYC and LA have better food than SD and this cannot really be argued.

                  Howver i can totally why San Diegites would be offended by Steingartens comments. I am not sure how it was 3 years ago, but right now there are things that San Diego does well. I have had some of the best Sushi experiences of my life here and the Vietnamese food out here is generally pretty good too. However when compared to the variety and quality of variety you can find in a more international city, you will be lacking. To compare the two in my opinion is unfair.

                  SD will never be NY or LA, despite the room for improvement. I would expect someone of Steingartens repetoir of eating all kinds of food would not come to SD expecting NY or LA, however from reading his posts it would seem that he did. Not every area specializes in as many things as NY does, you really need to focus on what an area does well. For this reason i dont eat European, African, Carribean or mMediteranean food of any sort out here, not pizza or bagels. I try to eat my way around the pacific rim and i do just fine. There is good food to be had out here.

                  Also I would like to sort of help Mr Steingartne be understood. While it is easy to dismiss him or anyone else as an elitist right coast snob, the better way would be to understand where he is coming from. Growing up in NYC you are subjected to scores of different cultures and ethnicities at every turn. You have the ability to eat your way across the globe, and in most cases to do so well. Not to say all food in NYC is good but alot of it is. There are alot of people who really care about food there, more so than any other place in the US I have been maybe save SF and NO. When you grow up with this, it sort of spoils you. It leaves you jaded in a way. This is where I believe Steingarten is coming from. It is not just food, this sort of NYerness appears elsewhere. This is most likely why he views the SD zoo as overated. If you have been to the Bronx Zoo, there really isnt much difference.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MVNYC

                    My problem with Steingarten is that he often has a very preconceived opinion (not only about San Diego) but not always based on facts. Because he is writing for a well known magazine a lot of people take is opinion as a matter of fact without challenging his position. He reminds me of Michael Moore - both write/say a lot of correct things but that doesn't mean that they are impeccable.