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The One Month Mark of our 7 Week Stay-Food Report and Where Else to Go Next?

  • j

Hi there:

Everyone has been so helpful that I thought I would do a little foodie report and "come to the well" again for more ideas for our final 3 weeks.

We are have been hanging out in SD for about a month now and tying to get our share of many of the local delicacies.

So far here are the places we have tried (in no particular order)

Carnitas Snack Shack-really yummy although our timing was bad-we had a quite a wait to get our food-but well worth the wait.

Went to Tom Hams Lighthouse during restaurant week for the view mostly. The food was okay at that 3 course price but not so great that I would make a repeat visit unless I really want the view.

We also went to C-Level when we needed to drop off my sister at the airport. Again, pretty good, but I wasn't blown away although but of course loved the view there and at Tom Hams.

For lower end places we have been twice to Rubicon Deli since it is nearby and also tried the California Kebab & Beer Garden and finally got to try some local beer-really yummy beer by the way. We liked the fact that you can order small portions there since it was Superbowl Sunday and we wanted to have a light lunch before we started noshing at home. Rubicon is great for the reverse-their portions are huge so you can share nicely.

Other PB places we have been were Tweety's Thai (meh-wouldn't go back) but that fortuitously introduced us to Pure Cupcakes right next door. We had Mexican one day at La Perla Cocina which was good value but not super memorable. I want to try Oscar's and Taco Surf across the street.

We did go for Thai on Hillcrest at Amarin which was pretty good and very reasonable-particularly because they ran a 2 week special in January to coincide with restaurant week where they offered 2 lunch specials for $10 total-so an exceptional deal.

Today we tried Dim Sum at French Concession since you are supposed to eat dumplings to welcome in the Chinese New Year. Apparently the same owner as Lucky Liu's and Rama Thai. Food was fair-but we are kind of dim sum snobs since we can go to the San Gabriel valley in LA for really world class choice in that category. Also we were the only ones in there at 12 noon on a Saturday and it has kind of a weird hipster meets Shanghai vibe-but needless to say we got great service.

I think that is about it-we did go to Blue Water Seafood Market-which we had visited a few years back. I am wondering now how folks think it compares to Point Loma and El Pescador Fish Market in La Jolla. They all seem to be the same kind of formula-taco, salad or sandwich, so I would be interested to hear folks' opinions, We also had lunch at the Fishery here in PB and thought their mussels were really yummy-we will return just for those at least once.

So I think that is the list so far. I would love other not to be missed ideas for our last 3 weeks. Some places I have on my list from reading the board are:

Mexican:
Susper Cocina-this is pretty far away for us, but sounds like it is worth it. We have just finished Peace Corps service in Mexico so had some amazing food there, but I like Mexican so would travel for good food. I also am wondering whether to try Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro. I know they are very different but what they have in common is the fact they seem kind of far. A few years back we ate at El Indio and Lucha Libre but I thought they were good but don't stick in my memory as extraordinary.

Pizza and/or Italian
Buona Forchetta or Pizzeria Bruno Napoletano or Project Pie and it sounds like Cucina Urbana is a must for Pizza and other great food.

Any other not to be missed places? Others I have read good things about are Urban Solace, Tiger Tiger, Chloe's, Smoking Goat (although we generally prefer lunch and this is dinner only).

Anyway, I am going on and on-but mostly wanted to thank you all for all the great suggestions and help! We are having a blast eating our way through SD!

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  1. You should explore the different asian places on Convoy,e.g. Sakura etc.
    Cucina Urbana is good but pizza is their weak part

    5 Replies
    1. re: honkman

      Yes it looks like there is good Asian around Convoy-is it mostly for the Japanese or are other Asian cuisines also good around that neighborhood. Thanks to you and others about the heads up on the Pizza at Cucina Urbana-sound like I should try them for their other stuff and go to the others mentioned in the thread for pizza. Here is an article I found on the pizza thing that mentioned them:

      http://www.sandiegomagazine.com/San-D...

      1. re: jpie

        Convoy is actually stronger in some of the other Asian cuisines than they are in Japanese.

        Buona Forchetta and Pizzeria Bruno are both worth seeking out and I'd add Caffe Calabria to your short list.

        1. re: DiningDiva

          Hmm that is really interesting-I saw that Caffe Calabria roasts coffee and thanks to you just saw the pizza-so we will definitely give it a try and buy some coffee while we are there.

          1. re: jpie

            Caffe Calabria is an Italian (more or less) coffee house and their primary business is coffee. Several years ago they started building a pizza oven and ran into permitting issues with the city. It took a long time but it all worked out and they opened their pizza business about 2 years ago +/-. They are one of a very small handful of pizzarias certified by the Italians as being "authentic". I like both Bruno and Calabria, tho' I lean a little more towards Calabria. Parking is lots easier to Bruno, tho'

          2. re: DiningDiva

            DD--what Asian cuisines do you think are stronger than Japanese in and around Convoy? Personally, I've found the Japanese food here quite strong w/ a wide variety in comparison to Chinese, Vietnamese (excluding pho and banh mi), Korean, Thai and Indian.

      2. Buona Forchetta or Pizzeria Bruno are both better than Cucina Urbana for pizza. Much.

        1. Agree with honkman and ipsedixit. I'd say try to make it to Cucina Urbana, but for the pasta dishes, not their pizza.

          Also, don't miss Romesco, Cafe Chloe, or Super Cocina while you're here.

          Pass on El Indio.

          1. Yes to Tiger!, Tiger!, Smoking Goat, Urban Solace and Cafe Chloe. I would also add Alchemy to your list, I think they're back on their game.

            Where in Mexico did you do your Peach Corps stint? If you're looking for home-style comida casera, Super Cocina is worth a visit, but if you're recently out of Mexico, you *could* be disappointed. Their claim to fame is that the owner only employees local women (i.e. not cooks) and they cook their regional specialties and when they're gone, they're gone. It's kind of like the small towns and villages that have dedicated cooks doing pozole, mole, pipianes and such for fiesta. I like Super Cocina, and it's probably as good as San Diego is going to get outside of the pervasive taqueria culture for traditional Mexican.

            I would make the trek to Bonita and try Romesco's, bonus is that they are open for lunch. I've eaten there within the last 2 weeks and it was pretty stellar. They just introduced a street food lunch menu that several people on this board have tried and liked. If their hot/cold tapas menu is available at lunch take a look at it as it is very good. If you like octopus, the kitchen has a way with it. And if you like wine and have some extra $$$, do try the Valle de Guadalupe wines. It's one of the better wine lists in town for V de G wines, but they are spendy...they're spendy in Mexico too, so it's not an import thing :-)

            San Diego basically has embraced the taqueria as it's Mexican identity. Why I don't know, but that's what we do best and to get the best, you're going to have to travel to south county for it. In fact if you're lamb people Aqui es Texcoco is definitely worth the schlep as well. Paco does pretty traditional Mexican barbacoa. His salsa macha is outstanding. The Mexican in SD is really pretty pedestrian and that's certainly a shame given how close to the border we are!

            7 Replies
            1. re: DiningDiva

              Thanks for the in depth reply about Super Cocina-It think it sounds interesting enough to make the trip based on that. We were in Guanajuato for our Peace Corps service. It is in the center not too far from San Miguel de Allende. It is not actually in a region known for great food, so most of our memorable eating was done in Mexico City or Puebla visits. But I am not looking for EXCELLENT necessarily-just good execution for the basics and interesting salsas, etc. I think we will also have to go to Romesco's for lunch at least-I saw the street food mentioned on their site and that sounds fun

              I will also add Alchemy to the list to check out.

              1. re: jpie

                I'm leaving for GTO and SMA on Thursday :-).

                You were close enough to Michcoacan, there is some really good food there, including some of the best carnitas in the world in Zamora!

                1. re: DiningDiva

                  Yeah we would have loved to go to Michcoacan-but that is on the forbidden list to travel (due to security) when you are in the PC. Tons of our expat friends go all the time but we weren't allowed to go.

                  Sounds like you know GTO and SM well-have you eaten at Las Mercedes-that is probably the best high end GTO place in a house away from the center. We also liked a French place that just recently re-opened called El Midi Bistro (only for dinner-I didn't like the lunch salad bar so much-kind pf pricey since they weigh the food. There is also a newish Indian veggie place called Centro Bharati that is yummy and a good Japanese called Delica Mitsu

                  1. re: jpie

                    Actually, this is my first trip to GTO :-)

                    I am much more familiar with Michoacan, Oaxaca, Veracruz and Baja. This will be more for (serious) folk art than food.

                    1. re: DiningDiva

                      Oh-well I think you will GTO-super unique city because of its topology-we loved it! Eating isn't world class but there are some decent choices-almost all of which you can find on tripadvisor to be honest. The one hidden one I will mention is that if you find delica mitsu-walk up the little alley or callejon as they are clled where their table are and at the top you will find 2 women making little treats on a outdoor grill-usually has a long line of students. Everything is delicious and they are know around town as clean so you shouldn't have to worry about getting sick. I would be careful at some of the places around the market-I never got sick but our local friends told us to be careful so we didn't eat at really any of those places. Hope you lovet GTO-it is a great time of year to visit!

                  2. re: DiningDiva

                    DD, be SURE to go to Las Mercedes. It's allegedly the best restaurant in the city of Guanajuato, maybe even in the whole state.

                    We need to go back to Zamora. *sigh*

                    Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

              2. Here are some places to try on Convoy and Linda Vista road to the south:

                Pho Hoa (best pho in town)

                Sab-E-Lee (best Thai in town)

                K-Sandwiches (best Vietnamese bahn mi in town, and good spring rolls, too)

                Chef Chin (Chinese, order from the black-colored menu, they have two)

                Dae Jan Keum (very good Korean)

                Yakudori Yakitori (great Ramen)

                Phuong Trang (very good Vietnamese)

                1 Reply
                1. re: DoctorChow

                  Wow this is going to keep us busy!! Thanks for all the suggestions-I will check them out!

                2. Hope I'm not to late and you still have time to explore and eat.
                  Do go to Romesco's. It's like old Mexico, charming, with good food and service. They used to have a guitar trio on Thursday nights. Call and check.
                  El Indio has good chips, period. I'd pass on Luche Libre in favor of Mama Testa's excellent taco selection.
                  Buona Forchetta is a bargain for the money and a unique little place. Authentico.
                  I like Blue Water Grill for a laid back fish dinner, as good as any in the city.
                  Anything at Chloes is a winner.
                  For something different, cruise up Fern Street to Eclipse Chocolate. Everything has some kind of chocolate. The sandwiches have mole...yum! and a cup of Choc has more caffeine than a double espresso.
                  Sakura is really good, less expensive at lunch.
                  Out by the Bonita Golf Course...up the street from Romesco's is TJ's Oyster Taco House. Worth a visit for any kind of fish taco or cebiche but the oysters have it.
                  Good eating...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: P Macias

                    Thanks so much! We will check out a few of these before we head out if the big rains don't stop us :)