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San Diego identified by TripAdvisor Community as "Best U.S. Destinations for Pizza" Really?!

globalevent Aug 7, 2013 12:10 PM


Why isn't Chicago even ranked among top ten?

Las Vegas and Boston over NY?


Personally, I think Trip Advisor loses huge credibility points on this one.

What say you Chowhounders?

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  1. honkman RE: globalevent Aug 7, 2013 12:20 PM

    TripAdvisor had credibility about anything food related ?

    1. phee RE: globalevent Aug 7, 2013 12:57 PM

      I read that this morning and nearly choked on my coffee. Then when I saw it was Trip Advisor, it all became clear.

      1. Dagney RE: globalevent Aug 7, 2013 01:08 PM

        I just read that too. It must be some splinter group of Yelpers that were mistakenly allowed to roam free.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Dagney
          4wino RE: Dagney Aug 7, 2013 03:22 PM

          Man, you guys are the type that if your kid came home with a "My child is a superstar at..." sticker, you would call back the school to call them on their bullshit!


          1. re: 4wino
            Dagney RE: 4wino Aug 7, 2013 07:11 PM

            lol! no kids, but I probably would.

        2. Josh RE: globalevent Aug 7, 2013 03:21 PM

          New Haven also missing, which is inexcusable.

          1. s
            steveprez RE: globalevent Aug 7, 2013 03:32 PM

            I use TripAdvisor quite a bit as I travel a lot for business and pleasure. The heavy users are not necessarily foodies but do tend towards affluent, sophisticated travelers who often have similar interests in food.

            Why so surprising that SD establishments could make good pizza? It's not like pizza is all that hard to make well and quality ingredients are not limited by geography. Much less difficult than beer and SD went from nowheresville to international recognition in about a decade. Perhaps the pizza in SD compares well with other more traditional pizza cities.

            Personally I'm not surprised the Chicago didn't make the list. The style is so different and I could do without it (as was confirmed during my last visit to Chicago).

            1 Reply
            1. re: steveprez
              honkman RE: steveprez Aug 7, 2013 04:18 PM

              Tripadvisor is very helpful for hotels, B&B etc but not so much for food. Nobody doubts that there are a number of places in SD which make very good pizza (even though I would argue that it is quite complicated (like with most food) to make top notch pizza) but best place in the US for pizza is a stretch as with beer it will take some time that a "pizza scene" will grow in SD.

            2. Fake Name RE: globalevent Aug 7, 2013 04:43 PM

              I use TripAdvisor (I am a contributor!) for destinations with few alternatives- small towns, etc.

              Bigger cities, I use Chowhound when possible.

              "I'll be downtown, are there any chow-worthy places? Thanks in advance".

              1 Reply
              1. re: Fake Name
                DiningDiva RE: Fake Name Aug 7, 2013 08:26 PM

                I use Trip Advisor and am a Senior Contributor, including the occassional recommendation for SD.

                I've had good luck with their hotel recommendations and the food recs for parts of Mexico are actually quite good.

                I think many people here forget that SD is a major tourist desitnation. We're used to it, we live here. A lot of the recs are posted by tourists that have come and gone and only got a chance to experience a small slice of SD. Pizza is pretty easy to find here; it may simply be the most recommended food by our tourist population.

              2. p
                pedalfaster RE: globalevent Aug 7, 2013 04:51 PM

                I have used TripAdvisor for hotels.
                ~Never~ for food.

                1. ipsedixit RE: globalevent Aug 7, 2013 04:59 PM

                  While I don't necessarily agree with the ranking, I think that list got about 7 out of 10 places right.

                  1. El Chevere RE: globalevent Aug 7, 2013 06:20 PM

                    Tripadvisor has as much credibility re: food to me as Yelp--none.

                    I'm a TA Destination Expert for San Diego and you should see the overwhelming number of suggestions for the Gaslamp area or the crappy Iowa Italian restaurants in Little Italy--none from me. Take it with a grain of salt....would be like North Carolina being voted best US destination for beach vacation.

                    1. ipsedixit RE: globalevent Aug 7, 2013 06:36 PM

                      For everyone here that is dissing the TA list, if you removed the name "TripAdvsior" what exactly do you find objectionable about the cities named on the list?

                      Like I said up above, while I don't agree with the rankings per se (as I think NYC should be No. 1, and then perhaps SF, and then everyone else in big cluster of Nos 3-10), which cities do you think do not belong on that list -- irrespective of ordering?

                      For me, it's probably Indy, Austin and maybe Philly. I think some combination of Chicago, DC, and Portland should be on the list in their stead.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        El Chevere RE: ipsedixit Aug 7, 2013 06:48 PM

                        Why are so many preoccupied with San Diego's ranking as a food destination or best this or best that.

                        Since my days after college, I've lived by the motto if a person has to tell me how great they are, how much they have, how many members of the opposite sex they've been with they usually are (1) not that great; (2) don't have that much and (3) cut in half, or more, the # of people they've told you they have been with.

                        Let me ask you this--do you ever hear San Diegans having to defend or boast they have the best climate or some of the best beaches in the US?...no, it's a given...those who have don't have to. But San Diego ranked #1 for pizza....puhlease.

                        1. re: El Chevere
                          ipsedixit RE: El Chevere Aug 7, 2013 06:54 PM

                          I wasn't commenting on SD's ranking, I was commenting on the list as a whole.

                          I mean, are you taking issue with the list because SD is either on it, or ranked No. 1? Or because you think the list is flawed for other reasons -- e.g., that a majority of the cities on that list do not belong?

                          I'm not trying to defend or rank SD with respect to pizza quality. All I am trying to point out is that that list - in my opinion - is not as flawed as many here make it out to be.

                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            El Chevere RE: ipsedixit Aug 7, 2013 06:59 PM

                            When I saw San Diego ranked #1 the list was immediately flawed in my mind, but that being said how can you not include Chicago and New Haven--as others have suggested--on that list....Look at how the list was compiled--by TA viewers. Very similar to the "Best of San Diego" rankings each year conducted in San Diego Magazine--to be taken with a grain of salt.

                            1. re: El Chevere
                              ipsedixit RE: El Chevere Aug 7, 2013 07:01 PM

                              Absolutely, every list of Top __ anything complied by anyone or entity (Chowhounds included) have to be taken with a grain of salt.

                              Perhaps the only Top 10 list beyond reproach would maybe (stress, maybe) the 10 Commandments.

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                El Chevere RE: ipsedixit Aug 7, 2013 07:30 PM

                                Maxim's Top 10 hot gal list is usually pretty accurate

                                1. re: El Chevere
                                  Dagney RE: El Chevere Aug 8, 2013 08:32 AM

                                  I just laughed out loud.

                                2. re: ipsedixit
                                  Veggo RE: ipsedixit Aug 9, 2013 07:46 AM

                                  Commandment #11: Thou shall not divide by zero.
                                  Commandment #12: Thou shall not extrapolate.

                        2. d
                          DoctorChow RE: globalevent Aug 7, 2013 08:40 PM

                          I think that "Best of..." lists that are based on votes from the general public aren't worth the electrons they're distributed with. My conspiricy theory is that placement and location on these lists, such as the Trip Advisor's "Best Pizza City" list, simply correlate one to one with social network size. The smaller the social network, the lower on the list. The larger, the higher. What's nice about CH is that the website itself doesn't ask people to collectively vote for "the best" of anything. People provide their own suggestions and lists, thumbs up or down, which reflect their own personal preferences and experience. That's a whole 'nuther ballgame.

                          1. c
                            cstr RE: globalevent Aug 8, 2013 05:01 AM

                            Just by looking at TA's list and the names of pizza places in those cities, they did very little research.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: cstr
                              DoctorChow RE: cstr Aug 8, 2013 09:47 AM

                              I don't think TA did any research at all. The list was based on open voting.

                            2. Fake Name RE: globalevent Aug 8, 2013 05:23 AM

                              I believe these lists are improperly named. Instead of "10 Best", a more accurate title is "10 Most Popular".

                              So titled, the lists make better sense and are useful as intended by the publication.

                              Remember, magazines, newspapers and websites don't make money by being through or accurate. They make money by selling advertising. Given the lists are intended to help make money, it does not serve the publication to identify small places of high quality..it's much better to promote the Cheesecake Factories of the world who have budgets with which to buy advertising. Further, places like CF appeal to more readers- more people will agree with their choice, and this will be reflected in greater metrics- this allowing a higher price for the advertising they sell.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: Fake Name
                                El Chevere RE: Fake Name Aug 8, 2013 08:23 AM

                                agreed...it's like the "Best Steakhouses in America" lists (i.e. advertisements) you see in airline magazines--they pay to be part of those "listings".

                                1. re: El Chevere
                                  DoctorChow RE: El Chevere Aug 8, 2013 09:59 AM

                                  @FN (My mistake, El C):

                                  The most popular is rarely the best. In anything.

                                  But these lists reach beyond popularity.

                                  Restaurants, companies, chambers of commerce, hoteliers, etc., work hard to get all of their friends and their friends friends to vote for their city, restaurant, or company. It's obviously in their economic interest to be high on a "Best.." list. I've seen full-page advertisements by companies urging people to vote for them as the "best thus-and-such contractor in SD" for the UT's annual "Best of SD" tabloid for the uninitiated. You can bet these companies are busy on Facebook, too.

                                  1. re: DoctorChow
                                    El Chevere RE: DoctorChow Aug 8, 2013 10:16 AM

                                    absolutely...and that's one reason I do not trust Yelp....if you are a business owner, they will solicit you to pay to advertise with them in exchange for making bad reviews disappear; if you refuse, you can see some positive reviews disappear (happened to a friend of mine who is a dentist in OC)...likewise, you can pay to hire a firm who will write bogus, positive reviews for your business.

                                    1. re: DoctorChow
                                      ipsedixit RE: DoctorChow Aug 8, 2013 05:04 PM

                                      The most popular is rarely the best. In anything.

                                      Taking the pulse of this Board, Tender Greens is not only popular but one of the best of its kind.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                        DoctorChow RE: ipsedixit Aug 8, 2013 05:56 PM

                                        I was referring to popularity within the general public, ipse, not the focused community that posts to this board. Tender Greens is popular with CHs, but if it were the most popular with the general public, they'd need many more than two of them in town. IDK, but I'll bet the numbers lean towards fast-food salads, or those at places like Denny's. Anyway, I did say "rarely", not "always".

                                        1. re: DoctorChow
                                          ipsedixit RE: DoctorChow Aug 8, 2013 06:45 PM

                                          I don't think "popular" is defined by number of locations, or volume of stores. Rather I think it's more a function of how desirable it is.

                                          Take cronuts. One location but lines longer than a bad rendition of the Iliad. And for now cronuts *is* the definition of popularity.

                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                            DoctorChow RE: ipsedixit Aug 8, 2013 08:12 PM

                                            Ipse, I think we're having trouble understanding each other on this. With only one location and a limited daily run, the Cronut Guy is making all the money he needs or wants to, I guess. But do we really know that cronuts are popular with the general public in NYC (or even of interest to them or desired by them)? It's a big city. Do we really know that Tender Greens is wildly popular with Mr. & Mrs. General Public (and kids) in SD? Well, I don't know. Maybe we should just table this one for now. Or not.

                                            1. re: DoctorChow
                                              ipsedixit RE: DoctorChow Aug 9, 2013 06:27 AM

                                              As to your first question. Yes.

                                              Having been in that line just this week, I can tell you that 80% of the people in that line either live in Manhattan or one of the Boroughs.

                                              And given the proliferation of imitators from coast-to-coast, I would say that the general public in the U.S. is definitely more than a little interested in them.

                                2. b
                                  BoNapateet RE: globalevent Aug 8, 2013 08:39 AM

                                  The real joke is that New Haven, Connecticut, the epicenter of Pizzadom in New England isn't on the list, while Indianapolis (really?) is!

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: BoNapateet
                                    cstr RE: BoNapateet Aug 8, 2013 08:43 AM

                                    I know with Pepe's and Sally's being some great places, maybe New Haven is their red headed step child!

                                    1. re: BoNapateet
                                      RB Hound RE: BoNapateet Aug 8, 2013 11:40 AM

                                      I don't think a lot of people travel to New Haven.

                                      I think that your average traveller to New York is going to be more picky about the pizza there than your average traveller to San Diego.

                                      Chicago may not be on this list because most people travelling there are probably fans of other pizza styles. 95% of the people that laud the Chicago style pizza (which in my opinion is more of a pizza casserole) live within 100 miles of the city - and thus aren't going to vote on a travel site.

                                      Even as far as lists go, this one is flawed.

                                      1. re: BoNapateet
                                        qbdave RE: BoNapateet Aug 20, 2013 12:30 PM

                                        Second that comment!! As a Connecticut Yankee and long time patron of Pepe's and on occasion, Salley's I am amazed that New Haven did not make the list.
                                        BTW, I lived in Indianapolis for three years. Other than the restaurant chain capital of the world I cannot imagine the city receiving any other foodie recognition. It is a waste land...

                                      2. globocity RE: globalevent Aug 8, 2013 10:25 AM

                                        What I take umbrage with is the mention of "Fillippi's" and "Bronx" as evidence that SD has the best pizza. But we do offer some seriously good pie (Bruno, Buona Forcetta, Luigi's).
                                        It's just seeing our city as number 1 (not to mention the omission of New Haven) that makes this list truly ridiculous.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: globocity
                                          El Chevere RE: globocity Aug 8, 2013 10:37 AM

                                          Agree with you about Fillipi's (meh...challenge anyone to find thesauce on the pizza) and Luigi's (very good, especially when Luigi is present)....I have also heard very good things about Long Island Mikes in Murphy Canyon but have not yet had a chance to visit.

                                        2. Dagney RE: globalevent Aug 8, 2013 07:14 PM

                                          On the upside, my Sergeant read the article and since he has never dined at Bronx, we are having a squad dinner here right now.

                                          1. m
                                            mcgrath RE: globalevent Aug 9, 2013 07:36 AM

                                            I think the methodology is to blame here.

                                            As I understand it, these pizza ranking are a product of the number of restaurants serving pizza that are in TA's top 50 or so for each city. Cities like NYC, Chicago and SF are clearly going to have more high end and sophisticated resto's in their top 50 than SD, simply because there are more such restaurants in those cities. Therefore, there will be fewer pizza-serving places in the top 50 for those cities. Same with L.V. and Boston.

                                            All this list tells us is that SD has more restaurants serving pizza in TA's top 50 (or 100, can't remember which), NOT that the pizza is better. Flawed methodology.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: mcgrath
                                              cstr RE: mcgrath Aug 9, 2013 07:46 AM

                                              Good points McGrath, based on your theory, can't wait to see TA's ranking for burgers. SD should be a shoe in for #1!

                                            2. Beach Chick RE: globalevent Aug 13, 2013 04:44 PM

                                              I've had some fab pizza at Basic and back in the day, Etna's too..
                                              I remember way way back when Carino's in LJ was da bomb.

                                              If we had pizza like Regina's or Umberto's in the North End of BOS, then I could see SD being #1.

                                              8 Replies
                                              1. re: Beach Chick
                                                DiningDiva RE: Beach Chick Aug 13, 2013 05:36 PM

                                                Urbn is going into the space recently vacated by the late El Cajon Brewing. Be interesting to see how the heart of east county accepts their pizza and price points....

                                                1. re: DiningDiva
                                                  cstr RE: DiningDiva Aug 14, 2013 05:24 AM

                                                  For their large pizzas, please apply for a 30 yr mortgage. Can't see that flying in EC.

                                                2. re: Beach Chick
                                                  cstr RE: Beach Chick Aug 14, 2013 05:22 AM

                                                  BC, you're BACK!!!! Glad to have you reference BOS, two great places!

                                                  1. re: cstr
                                                    Beach Chick RE: cstr Aug 14, 2013 07:16 AM

                                                    Miss me. .

                                                    1. re: Beach Chick
                                                      RB Hound RE: Beach Chick Aug 14, 2013 07:45 AM

                                                      I'm glad you're back, too. For some reason, you came to mind when I saw the "best spicy dish" thread.

                                                      1. re: RB Hound
                                                        Beach Chick RE: RB Hound Aug 14, 2013 08:16 AM

                                                        Love love love me my posse of CH homeboys with that food centric, craft beer guzzlin', smart ass, fast driving, kick butt spicy, mensa mentality, goofball kind of guys. .

                                                        Stay classy San Diego.

                                                        BTW..that includes the chica's too!

                                                        1. re: Beach Chick
                                                          treb RE: Beach Chick Aug 14, 2013 01:17 PM

                                                          So, if I may ask, where the heck were you? BOS, Europe, Japan, Aussie, NZ, HI? Or have you flown the coop?

                                                  2. re: Beach Chick
                                                    nessy RE: Beach Chick Aug 14, 2013 07:39 AM

                                                    The new Pommorola Neapolitan style pizza in Point Loma is fantastic. An adorable guy they seemed to have imported from Naples along with the oven! Right next to Elegant Truffle. Ranks up there with Cafe Calabria, Bruno and Buona Forchetta. And I don't have to find parking in North Park! We may not be number one, but we can be good enough!!

                                                  3. n
                                                    nutrition RE: globalevent Aug 17, 2013 12:42 AM

                                                    Touring the Terminal 2B addition to the San Diego Airport, I checked out the new Sunset Cove Food Court for improved places to eat, while waiting for a flight instead of counting on anything on the planes.

                                                    I had a great BBQ Goat Cheese Thin Crust slice of Tommy V's Pizza.
                                                    It had to be one of the best, I had in many years!
                                                    Will have a whole pizza before the next foodless flight.

                                                    It is next to a SPICES THAI outlet, that is one of my favorite SD restaurants on India near Washington Blvd, that also has a choice of well prepared dishes with a Brown Unpolished Rice option. No need to stop on India on leaving the Airport on the Return flights now. Just a stop at the Sunset Cove will do it.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: nutrition
                                                      nutrition RE: nutrition Aug 18, 2013 01:33 PM

                                                      I believe the correct name is Saffron Thai.
                                                      They do a great job and present a tasty dish of Thai food at reasonable prices

                                                    2. scottca075 RE: globalevent Aug 19, 2013 05:40 PM

                                                      The list wasn't a "best of" or anything that anyone voted on, but rather comes from the very weird way that TripAdvisor logarithms work.

                                                      I don't know why Chicago would be in the top ten, they don't even have pizza in the city. I don't know that stuff from Lou Malnati's and Giordano's is, but it isn't "pizza". Just because they call it that, doesn't make it so. It would be like calling a hot dog a hamburger just because it is grilled meat between two pieces of bread.

                                                      And I am glad NY is below Boston & Las Vegas too. New Yorkers are so freaking arrogant about what is mostly mediocre pizza it will be fun to see them whine and pout some more.

                                                      I don't know if San Diego has more good pizza places per capita than other places, but there are some truly great ones including Luigi's, Blue Ribbon, Na Pizza, Buona Forchetta, Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano, Pommarola, Cucina Urbana, even Blind Lady, just to name a few. Let everyone else whine..... who wants to go to New Haven anyway?

                                                      16 Replies
                                                      1. re: scottca075
                                                        ipsedixit RE: scottca075 Aug 19, 2013 07:06 PM

                                                        I don't know why Chicago would be in the top ten, they don't even have pizza in the city. I don't know that stuff from Lou Malnati's and Giordano's is, but it isn't "pizza".

                                                        Then what is it?

                                                        1. re: scottca075
                                                          cstr RE: scottca075 Aug 20, 2013 05:17 AM

                                                          Doubt many will whine over a TA opinion, BTW - there are pizza places in Chicago, like Uno's was the first. It's not my style but, it is pizza.

                                                          1. re: scottca075
                                                            El Chevere RE: scottca075 Aug 20, 2013 10:45 AM

                                                            New Yorkers's should be arrogant because they put out great pizza at many--not all--places that blow away any and all of the pizza establishments I have eaten at in San Diego. I'll easily take a pie from Grimaldi's, Di Fara, Patsys, Totonno's, Lucali, and Paulie G's not to mention a handful of favorites of mine on Long Island over any pizza place in San Diego hands down....I hope your opinion of NY pizza is not based on the mediocre crap that is put our by Famous Rays--I agree that is mediocre pizza and many people's experience with NY pizza is based on hitting 'popular' places recommended to them on tourist sites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp in the touristy Manhattan theatre district rather than areas where local residents eat, let alone Brooklyn. One might make the same conclusion or ask what's the big fuss about NY or East Coast Chinese food being good after their hotel concierge or a post on TripAdvisor sent them to the 'popular' but overpriced, supercramped, mediocre food, and super-hyped Mr. Chow--and with good reason.

                                                            Luigi's is good, often very good--especially when Luigi is there. Very inconsistent when he is not (at least at the Golden Hill location). Buona Forchetta had little flavor until I had them add garlic to the pizza...ditto for my findings at Bruno Napoletano--not impressed..Blue Ribbon was good--but no better or as good as any of the NY places I mentioned above...I have not yet been to Pommarola nor Cafe Calabria but do happen to like the pizza at Cucina Urbana and the Michael's pizza at Brooklyn Girl--a place many on this board do not care for. NaPizza is overpriced and also inconsistent--I could care less if it is organic (if I want organic, I'll buy a Prius or Tesla) and don't even get me started on Isola--arguably the most bland tasting pizza I have ever had in my life--or Fillipi's--nothing more than a ton of melted cheese on gooey dough.......I have yet to try Long Island Mikes, but hear very good things about it. Basic (i.e. New Haven style pizza) can be very good as well. Not saying there aren't any good places in San Diego, but comparing San Diego pizza to NY pizza is like comparing Thomas Jefferson Law School to Stanford....would be like my comparing Jones Beach to La Jolla--I'll take LJ.

                                                            1. re: El Chevere
                                                              Josh RE: El Chevere Aug 20, 2013 10:56 AM

                                                              Not to mention the comments about New Haven. Frank Pepe or Modern Apizza blow anything in SD far, far away.

                                                              1. re: Josh
                                                                cstr RE: Josh Aug 20, 2013 11:50 AM

                                                                I think you meant Sally Apizza.

                                                                1. re: cstr
                                                                  Josh RE: cstr Aug 20, 2013 08:32 PM

                                                                  I've heard good things about Sally's but they've always been closed when we were there. Modern is my preference over Frank's.

                                                                  1. re: Josh
                                                                    Veggo RE: Josh Aug 21, 2013 06:19 AM

                                                                    Sally's is not open for lunch.

                                                                2. re: Josh
                                                                  El Chevere RE: Josh Aug 20, 2013 12:02 PM

                                                                  Never been to New Haven (was not smart enough to get into Yale or stupid enough to make the trip and sit in the decrepid Yale Bowl when the football Giants played there pre-Meadowlands) but I've usually enjoyed the New Haven style pizza at Basic, here in SD....for a great pizza elsewhere, I have always enjoyed Apizza Scholls in Portland.

                                                                  1. re: El Chevere
                                                                    Josh RE: El Chevere Aug 20, 2013 08:37 PM

                                                                    Basic and URBN both have pretty decent New Haven-style pies, actually.

                                                                3. re: El Chevere
                                                                  Beach Chick RE: El Chevere Aug 20, 2013 12:31 PM

                                                                  'comparing San Diego pizza to NY pizza is like comparing Thomas Jefferson Law School to Stanford.'

                                                                  Back in the days, my 2 boyfriends, one went to TJL and the other Stanford Law and the TLJ made more money and made partner with a prestigious law firm...the third one, that went to Boalt and was a conservative, beat them both out. .

                                                                  Pizza vs. attorneys...some pies are better than others, no matter where their from.

                                                                  Chica Lama

                                                                  1. re: Beach Chick
                                                                    El Chevere RE: Beach Chick Aug 20, 2013 12:49 PM

                                                                    There is always an exception or two to the rule... All things being equal, if I am on trial for murder or embezzlement I am going for the more accomplished attorney....odds are I am more likely to find that one from Stanford than TJL, but there is always an exception.

                                                                    1. re: El Chevere
                                                                      Beach Chick RE: El Chevere Aug 20, 2013 01:10 PM

                                                                      I'm impressed you've been to Havana 10 times..there is nothing like smoking a Cubano.

                                                                      1. re: Beach Chick
                                                                        El Chevere RE: Beach Chick Aug 20, 2013 01:31 PM

                                                                        no need to go to Havana for a Cuban...I've got a place (legitimate franchised outlet) I've been going to for years in TJ that sells them and even "has a burro" that can get them across you know where so I don't even have to leave my house (private email me for more details, if interested).

                                                                        1. re: El Chevere
                                                                          Beach Chick RE: El Chevere Aug 21, 2013 06:16 AM

                                                                          We have a place in Cabo that we hit up.

                                                                          1. re: El Chevere
                                                                            DiningDiva RE: El Chevere Aug 21, 2013 07:27 AM

                                                                            Wrong kind of tabacco ;-)

                                                                            A couple years ago I was in Veracruz. The night before I was flying out I decided to pick up some Cubanos for my site supervisors as gifts. I wrapped them up in several layers of bags and clothing and buried them somewhere in the depths of my luggage.

                                                                            My port of re-entry back into the U.S. on that trip was IAH, Houston International. I've cleared immigration/customs there many times and other than the fact I ALWAYS get diverted for secondary inspection by customs, it's a pretty efficient port of entry. Secondary usually just consists of putting everything through the turbo x-ray machine, but not this time. As my luggage was coming out the CBP agent said she needed to physcially search one of my bags. Of course it was the one with the Cubanos in it. Uh-oh... busted...or so I thought. Whether she missed them on purpose or by accident, the Cubanos made it to SD in tact.

                                                                            1. re: DiningDiva
                                                                              Veggo RE: DiningDiva Aug 21, 2013 07:34 AM

                                                                              You can take the rings off the cubano puros and discard the packaging, but that takes away some of the fun of it. I have brought numerous boxes of Cohiba Siglo iii, iv, and Robustos back without notice or incident.

                                                                4. j
                                                                  JeremyEG RE: globalevent Aug 20, 2013 10:49 AM

                                                                  My wife and I recently did a culinary trip in Chengdu, capital of the Sichuan Province and TripAdvisor's #1 restaurant in the province was a place that specialized in pizza and French Fries. Oh well.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: JeremyEG
                                                                    CampySD RE: JeremyEG Aug 20, 2013 12:52 PM

                                                                    ^^For the win!^^


                                                                  2. jmtreg RE: globalevent Aug 20, 2013 02:56 PM

                                                                    My only issue here is this - San Diego has places that produce reasonably good New York Style pizza (Bronx, Luigi's, A Sicilian Thing), reasonably good New Haven Style apizza (Basic, Urbn), reasonably good Chicago style pizza (Lefty's, Berkeley's), reasonably good Neapolitan style pizza (Bruno's [though the change from chili oil to chili mayo is a horrific crime against nature and all that is holy], Caffe Calabria, Buona Forchetta, etc.), but is there a San Diego style of pizza? Probably would be Filippi's, right? Is that style, even a good version of the style, better than New York, or Chicago, or whomever? No. So, we shouldn't be ranked higher than these other cities.

                                                                    41 Replies
                                                                    1. re: jmtreg
                                                                      El Chevere RE: jmtreg Aug 20, 2013 03:23 PM

                                                                      You make a great point. When San Diego style pizza invades and takes over NY, I'll wave the white flag.

                                                                      1. re: El Chevere
                                                                        DoctorChow RE: El Chevere Aug 20, 2013 09:29 PM

                                                                        Now let's see. What would a "San Diego style" pizza look like?

                                                                        Maybe the crust would be made from flour, lard, and baking powder?

                                                                        And instead of tomato sauce, it'd be tomatillo sauce?

                                                                        1. re: DoctorChow
                                                                          DoctorChow RE: DoctorChow Aug 21, 2013 07:08 PM

                                                                          And the cheese would be queso asadero. And the toppings would be tomatoes and avacado slices. And chorizo. And scallions.

                                                                      2. re: jmtreg
                                                                        ipsedixit RE: jmtreg Aug 20, 2013 08:43 PM

                                                                        What is the Filippi's style of pizza?

                                                                        To me, it's just run-of-the-mill pizza - not thin nor thick crust. Not Neapolitan. Not anything in particular really. Sort of the mutt of pizzas.

                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                          DoctorChow RE: ipsedixit Aug 20, 2013 09:26 PM


                                                                          I guess some people associate Filippi's with pizza in SD because they've been around since the dawn of time.

                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                            cstr RE: ipsedixit Aug 21, 2013 05:05 AM

                                                                            IM (Italian) O, Filippi's is a tomato pie with a huge glob of thick rubber cheese on top. No particular style, just a mess.

                                                                            1. re: cstr
                                                                              Beach Chick RE: cstr Aug 21, 2013 06:42 AM

                                                                              Sledge...you're Italian?
                                                                              We're in the same tribe..I'm Italian/Swedish!

                                                                              1. re: Beach Chick
                                                                                Veggo RE: Beach Chick Aug 21, 2013 06:47 AM

                                                                                Good lineage for meatballs.

                                                                                1. re: Veggo
                                                                                  Beach Chick RE: Veggo Aug 21, 2013 07:01 AM

                                                                                  Blonde, olive skin and can cook like nobody's business, I'd say that is good lineage..

                                                                                  Viva 916!

                                                                                2. re: Beach Chick
                                                                                  cstr RE: Beach Chick Aug 21, 2013 11:21 AM

                                                                                  I'm a Naples thoroughbred, complete with papers! You're part Italian, wow?

                                                                                  1. re: cstr
                                                                                    DoctorChow RE: cstr Aug 21, 2013 07:41 PM

                                                                                    The pizza in Italy is much less interesting than pizza to be found in the USA (well, and also Argentina), IMO.

                                                                                    I don't know the stats, but I'll bet Italians (the ones in Italy, that is) don't eat as much pizza as we do or that Argentinians do.

                                                                                    1. re: DoctorChow
                                                                                      El Chevere RE: DoctorChow Aug 21, 2013 07:52 PM

                                                                                      Interesting point and you could be on to something--Brazil has the largest Italian population outside of Italy and I don't recall running into many pizza places on my visits to Rio (i'm not saying they don't exist)....granted Sao Paulo, which I have not been to, is the largest city in the country and many Italians in Brazil live in the South (i.e. Porto Alegre), but Rio's not exactly a small city and lacking Italian residents. Would seem to possibly back up your point about Italians (Italian residents--not non Italian tourists) not being into pizza as much......on the other hand, Brazil also has the largest Japanese population outside of Japan and I will tell you there is definitely no shortage of sushi restaurants.

                                                                                      1. re: El Chevere
                                                                                        DoctorChow RE: El Chevere Aug 21, 2013 08:11 PM

                                                                                        Pizza is ubiquitous in Argentina. Huge Italian influence there.

                                                                                        1. re: DoctorChow
                                                                                          El Chevere RE: DoctorChow Aug 21, 2013 08:17 PM

                                                                                          I'm aware of that...for some reason it appears more popular there than in Brazil, even though Brazil has a larger italian population...great steaks there as well--and I'm hard to please.

                                                                                          1. re: El Chevere
                                                                                            DoctorChow RE: El Chevere Aug 21, 2013 09:41 PM

                                                                                            @ El Chevere: Yes! The steaks in Argentina are wonderful. Unbelievably inexpensive, awkwardly huge, and just plain delicious. I don't know how the people there stay so thin!

                                                                                      2. re: DoctorChow
                                                                                        Shannon RE: DoctorChow Aug 21, 2013 08:21 PM

                                                                                        Italians in Italy eat plenty of pizza. More than here (not sure about Argentina, though.)

                                                                                        Pizza restaurants are full of Italians - families with kids, students hanging out together, businessmen even.

                                                                                        They can also eat a whole pie, whereas I can only manage a half. Seriously.

                                                                                        1. re: Shannon
                                                                                          DoctorChow RE: Shannon Aug 21, 2013 08:26 PM

                                                                                          These days, Italians eat American-style pizzas in Italy. Let me know if I'm wrong about that.

                                                                                          1. re: DoctorChow
                                                                                            Shannon RE: DoctorChow Aug 21, 2013 08:31 PM

                                                                                            I am totally confused. Italian pizza is Italian pizza, one per person (usually) eaten with a knife and fork. I wasn't there 40 years ago but that's how it is now... American style pizza as I think of it is NOT the norm in Italy. Where are these "American style" pizzas you are talking about in Italy... just trying to get a sense of it.

                                                                                            1. re: Shannon
                                                                                              DoctorChow RE: Shannon Aug 21, 2013 08:36 PM

                                                                                              Yes. In Italy, the norm is one (small one) per person, and it was that way 40 years ago. But I think the style there has changed from the "old style" (very simple) to a more Americanized style (more complex).

                                                                                              The pizza revolution started in the US, not in Italy. My first pizza, about 60 years ago, was an Italian style pizza, but it was a family sized, BIG, one, which I only later found out wasn't the norm in Italy. But who cared? I loved the "pizza pie" thing! And so did everyone else here.

                                                                                              1. re: DoctorChow
                                                                                                Shannon RE: DoctorChow Aug 21, 2013 08:51 PM

                                                                                                So what was the old style? Margherita? A lot of pizza restaurants have long lists of combinations and toppings but they aren't what I would call "complex," French fries on pizza anyone?

                                                                                                Regardless of the complexity the Italians do love their pizza just as we do... I personally am a bit of a junkie.

                                                                                                1. re: Shannon
                                                                                                  DoctorChow RE: Shannon Aug 21, 2013 08:53 PM

                                                                                                  The old style was very simple. Just crust and spiced tomato sauce, and very frequently -- if not usually -- without cheese.

                                                                                                  The first time I was in Italy, my companion and I stopped at the very first small town across the border and ordered a pizza. Now, I thought, I'd finally get to taste The Real Thing!

                                                                                                  What a disappointment. The Real Thing turned out to be this little plain-jane pizza pie with nothing on it!

                                                                                                  As FN might say, dodgedly, "I liked the crust".

                                                                                                  By "more complex", I mean anything beyond that.

                                                                                                  1. re: DoctorChow
                                                                                                    Josh RE: DoctorChow Aug 22, 2013 07:58 AM

                                                                                                    Where were you in Italy? It makes a big difference since the food there is so different region-to-region.

                                                                                                    I've only been to Italy once, but we ate pizza in three of the four different cities we visited and only two of them had good pizza. In Venice the pizza was nothing special, but in Florence and Rome we ate delicious Neapolitan pies that were much better than anything we've had in the US.

                                                                                                    1. re: Josh
                                                                                                      DoctorChow RE: Josh Aug 22, 2013 01:08 PM

                                                                                                      In the north. I'm not sure where the "north" formally ends, though. We were driving around (in a Renault 4 the first time and an equally tiny car the second), went wherever we chose, and stayed without reservations in small towns that looked cool to us. We went further south than Florence, but never quite made it to Rome either time. This was roughly 40 years ago (first time) and about 35 years ago the second, and the pizzas we had were very simple things, by comparison to what was available back home.

                                                                                                      1. re: DoctorChow
                                                                                                        Josh RE: DoctorChow Aug 22, 2013 01:18 PM

                                                                                                        The pizzas we had were also simple, but the quality of the ingredients and the craft in their production made them sublime. Pizza's not about the toppings.

                                                                                                        1. re: Josh
                                                                                                          DoctorChow RE: Josh Aug 22, 2013 02:49 PM

                                                                                                          Yes, I agree, they were very tasty. Which is why we had more than one!

                                                                                                          I don't completely agree with you about toppings, though. The crust and sauce are key, of course, but the cheese and toppings are what make a pizza more "complex" and interesting.

                                                                                                          1. re: DoctorChow
                                                                                                            cstr RE: DoctorChow Aug 23, 2013 07:37 AM

                                                                                                            I do agree about the fold and chewy, as in a pizza from NYC. I make my own and when people see me fold it they look as if I'm committing a crime.

                                                                                        2. re: DoctorChow
                                                                                          cstr RE: DoctorChow Aug 22, 2013 05:11 AM

                                                                                          True, pizza is not a main stay in Italy. Just a quick bit while on you way.

                                                                                          1. re: cstr
                                                                                            Shannon RE: cstr Aug 22, 2013 09:45 AM

                                                                                            this hasn't been my experience and I spend a fair bit of time over there....

                                                                                        3. re: cstr
                                                                                          Beach Chick RE: cstr Aug 22, 2013 04:20 AM

                                                                                          Giddy up..

                                                                                    2. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                      El Chevere RE: ipsedixit Aug 21, 2013 08:43 AM

                                                                                      to me, it's a ton of cheese on soggy Wonder Bread that makes me long for Domino's, yet many people I know love it...I'll tell you this--if they ever served this pizza where I grew up the 'chef' would be pulling a fork out of his eyeballs right about now.

                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                        jmtreg RE: ipsedixit Aug 21, 2013 11:59 AM

                                                                                        Except, the same style of pizza can be found at Sanfillipos, Volare's and a fair number of old San Diego Italian restaurants. All have cheese covering the toppings.

                                                                                      2. re: jmtreg
                                                                                        cstr RE: jmtreg Aug 21, 2013 05:08 AM

                                                                                        Neapolitan style generally is simple tomato, cheese and thin crisp well done crust, where does Bruno's with chili mayo fit in, the garbage?

                                                                                        1. re: cstr
                                                                                          jmtreg RE: cstr Aug 21, 2013 11:54 AM

                                                                                          They used to serve chili oil if you asked for it, in lieu of the red chile flakes. I would put said chili oil on my pizza. Then Bruno's started to emulsify the oil in a mayo-type spread to put as an addition to the pizza. Not cool.

                                                                                          That said, Neapolitan style pizza is not crisp at all. You should be able to fold a slice of Neapolitan style pizza like a handkerchief. If you want thin and crisp, you want a St. Louis style pie.

                                                                                          1. re: cstr
                                                                                            tonyripasso RE: cstr Aug 21, 2013 02:05 PM

                                                                                            Chili mayo?? I was there last weekend and the chili oil was the same as always. Being stationed in Naples for 3 years I was lucky to eat some of the best pizza in the world, Pizzeria Salvo, Da Michelle, Gino Sorbillo. Brunos is on par to those pizzerias (maybe a little too heavy on the toppings but I ain't complaining). The other Neapolitan pizzerias in town have no idea how the dough should be, no taste and hard, it should be soft and chewy, easily digestible. I think most Southern Californians have nothing to compare it with, since most of these type of pizzerias are in New York (Keste, Motorino, Paulie Gees, or San Fran. Una Pizza Napoletana, a16, flour and water).

                                                                                            1. re: tonyripasso
                                                                                              jmtreg RE: tonyripasso Aug 21, 2013 04:05 PM

                                                                                              Well, then I'm glad to see they changed it back.

                                                                                              1. re: jmtreg
                                                                                                Fake Name RE: jmtreg Aug 23, 2013 10:25 PM

                                                                                                Had a couple pizzas at Bruno's this evening and a pitcher of lager from Munich.

                                                                                                I was unfamiliar with the chili oil- it's goood.

                                                                                                Thanks for mentioning it.

                                                                                            2. re: cstr
                                                                                              honkman RE: cstr Aug 21, 2013 02:17 PM

                                                                                              This type of pizza shouldn't be crispy

                                                                                            3. re: jmtreg
                                                                                              El Chevere RE: jmtreg Aug 21, 2013 07:06 PM

                                                                                              Thanks for mentioning A Sicilian Thing--never knew about them and they serve NY pizza Sicilian style...have to give them a shot.

                                                                                              1. re: El Chevere
                                                                                                JRSD RE: El Chevere Aug 21, 2013 07:29 PM

                                                                                                The Sicilian slice there was nothing to write home about last time I tried it. Crust was bland and not the right texture for me.

                                                                                                1. re: JRSD
                                                                                                  globocity RE: JRSD Aug 21, 2013 11:21 PM

                                                                                                  (Does "nothing to write home about" now get changed to, "nothing to Tweet about"?)
                                                                                                  I've also been disappointed with the pizza at A Scilian Thing. When in NP I prefer to go to Calabria.

                                                                                                2. re: El Chevere
                                                                                                  Josh RE: El Chevere Aug 22, 2013 08:00 AM

                                                                                                  You should form your own opinion, of course, but I found Sicilian Thing to be pretty lousy pizza. Maybe I would have liked it more if I hadn't had DiFara's incredible rendition.

                                                                                              2. Stiflers_Mom RE: globalevent Nov 5, 2013 01:37 PM

                                                                                                If you haven't read it, San Diego Magazine has a feature this month on San Diego's Best Pizza, giving the nod to no less than 40 different establishments (some that are yet to open) for some variation of best pizza in San Diego. Yawn.


                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Stiflers_Mom
                                                                                                  honkman RE: Stiflers_Mom Nov 5, 2013 02:14 PM

                                                                                                  Reading San Diego Magazine is like reading a very badly made advertising paper but nothing one can take serious for independent reporting

                                                                                                  1. re: honkman
                                                                                                    Fake Name RE: honkman Nov 5, 2013 04:20 PM

                                                                                                    But....independent reporting is not its purpose.

                                                                                                    Should be no more disillusioned when a turnip doesn't bleed.

                                                                                                    1. re: Fake Name
                                                                                                      honkman RE: Fake Name Nov 5, 2013 04:22 PM

                                                                                                      But what's then the purpose of this magazine ?

                                                                                                      1. re: honkman
                                                                                                        Stiflers_Mom RE: honkman Nov 5, 2013 04:28 PM

                                                                                                        revenue - and to effectively generate revenue in this market, they need to scratch as many backs as possible, hand off those scratches to the sales team and have them work their magic.

                                                                                                        1. re: honkman
                                                                                                          cstr RE: honkman Nov 6, 2013 10:09 AM

                                                                                                          'But what's then the purpose of this magazine ?' makes a good cat box or bird cage liner.

                                                                                                          1. re: cstr
                                                                                                            Fake Name RE: cstr Nov 6, 2013 10:16 AM

                                                                                                            I think it serves as a good advertising vehicle (which is it's job) and as editorial fodder.

                                                                                                          2. re: honkman
                                                                                                            Josh RE: honkman Nov 6, 2013 10:57 AM

                                                                                                            Making the publisher wealthy.

                                                                                                            1. re: Josh
                                                                                                              cstr RE: Josh Nov 7, 2013 05:08 AM

                                                                                                              No harm there. Good for them, no one is being forced to advertise with them, right?

                                                                                                        2. re: honkman
                                                                                                          MrKrispy RE: honkman Nov 5, 2013 04:38 PM

                                                                                                          where was it claimed San Diego Magazine was a news and independent investigational source?

                                                                                                          1. re: MrKrispy
                                                                                                            honkman RE: MrKrispy Nov 5, 2013 09:42 PM

                                                                                                            I have read SDM perhaps 2-3 times in the last ten years and don't know their background but was expecting that they at least try to claim that they are "kind of independent" but I just took a first look at their webpage and after a look at their "About Us" it seems I was overly optimistic

                                                                                                            1. re: honkman
                                                                                                              Fake Name RE: honkman Nov 6, 2013 04:54 AM

                                                                                                              Just like any relationship, expectations can be the downfall.

                                                                                                              Try to work on your acceptance about who they are, not who you expect them to be.

                                                                                                              I'm afraid our time is up for this week.

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