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Feb 11, 2014 11:22 AM

San Diego dining scene getting better?

Matt Gordon of Urban Solace fame seems to think so:


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  1. There is no explanation in the whole article why the San Diego food scene is now better then for example 5 years ago beside Matt stating his opinion without any facts. In addition, his restaurants are successful but part of it is based on the food which is good but nothing special and which wouldn't work as good in for example LA or SF. Based on this if you count more successful burger places than 5 years ago as a better dining scene in SD he is correct but if you go beyond your standard SD menu the dining scene got worse over the last few years.

    7 Replies
    1. re: honkman

      It's total B.S.

      Comparing Linkery or ETIEZ to places that source from standard distribution networks is an apples-to-oranges comparison. Lots of restaurants in San Diego do well, Jay never claimed otherwise.

      1. re: honkman

        Good point...when I stop seeing these weekly "San Diego is getting better or San Diego is now a foodie town" articles or posts, then I will know the San Diego dining scene HAS improved dramatically. I've never seen a top 10 city so insecure about its status.....if you have to talk about it all the time, it tells you something---like the guys in college who talked about getting laid yet didn't vs. the ones who never talked about it but did.

        1. re: El Chevere

          That's a reasonable view of it, but I'm not sure what was in it for Matt to write that. It obviously is a counterpoint to this interview with Jay from last week (not sure it was covered here):

          I don't think Jay was that negative; it sounded like "it is what it is".

          1. re: El Chevere

            My, what an EXCELLENT analogy! lol.... But you're right. We are perpetually on the junior varsity team of the food scene. We have food trucks, so that's a new wrinkle, but it seems like every time we get a Farmhouse or god rest it's soul, a Region, they only last for glimmer in time, then poof! They die like a falling star.

            At least we have good beer.

            1. re: Dagney

              Food trucks - don't most of them pretty much do the brewery tasting room circuit these days?


          2. re: honkman

            Have to agree, I haven't seen much change in the last 5 yrs+/-. I don't put much stock in the health care cost issues either, most places keep jobs as part-time and will keep the employee counts below 50. As for improving well, the exception are burgers and beer, we cant be topped!

            I'd still like to see better seafood, Indian, Greek, Peruvian, Lebanese, even Italian options.

            Oh, and if you want to charge $$$ for a burger, it better be something. I've eaten $40. burgers in NYC and enjoyed them because they had some good quality in them, not because we were in NYC. Just don't think you can charge me that just because we're in SD, it won't work.

          3. But what is really needed are more restaurants named after fabrics...

            6 Replies
            1. re: Tripeler

              No. Just no. I know where you are going with this, but don't even think about it, Tripeler.

                1. re: DiningDiva

                  A tip of the fedora to you both...

                  1. re: Tripeler

                    Maybe different hat styles, no?

                    1. re: Tripeler

                      they expanded way too aggressively. they honestly have great concepts and usually great execution, but they need to work on customer service and quality control of what they already have..

                      1. re: jsabalos

                        Actually, I have never been to any of them, but was always amused by the stories about Chef Malarkey.

                1. Why does it matter if the dining scene is "getting better"?

                  Better than what? And who cares?

                  Will you be taller, more beautiful, smarter because your hometown is now officially a "better" dining destination?

                  Isn't the more important, and relevant, question whether you enjoy dining and eating out in San Diego?

                  I, for one, do.

                  Is it the greatest food city in the country? Probably not, but that can't possibly be the goal, or point of reference.

                  If a person is not happy with the dining scene, hoping that it gets "better" (whatever that may mean) will not necessarily make that person more personally content with dining and eating out in the city.

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    If nothing is better than anything else then why discuss restaurants at all?

                    1. re: Josh

                      Because not all discussions have to be about "what's better".

                      Much to celebrate about differences without assigning mostly subjective ideas of superiority.

                      1. re: Fake Name

                        What's better: a loaf of country levain from Bread and Cie or a loaf of Wonder Bread?

                        I don't recall your complaints about Brooklyn Girl being phrased in a way where you said your meals were hunky dory. If you're describing bad meals then you are indeed indulging in the tacky practice of having opinions and making judgments.

                        If nothing is better than anything else then shut down Chowhound and let's just eat at Carl's Jr.

                        1. re: Josh

                          Some people may like Wonder Bread over Bread & Cie and some may not. It doesn't mean that one is better than the other. The term 'better' is, as you know, quite subjective. God forbid we if we were all like you, we'd be grass-fed and swilling fru fru beer.

                          1. re: cstr

                            I think it is possible to say something is better or not even about food especially if there are significant differences in quality of ingredients. You still don't like the better food but it is still a higher quality product

                            1. re: cstr

                              Can anything be objectively true? Because when people claim that nobody can say if one thing is better than another thing you're essentially saying that truth is nothing more than opinion.

                              I'm not asking if there are people who prefer Wonder Bread to artisanal loaves - I'm asking if one can say that the artisanal loaf is objectively better as a thing to eat.

                              1. re: Josh

                                'The statement can anything be true', explain the in the context of a loaf of bread. FWIW, the term 'artisanal' doesn't mean anything.

                                1. re: Josh

                                  "Can anything be objectively true?"

                                  Certainly, math is one place, science another. But is the Mona Lisa better than "Nude Descending Staircase?"

                                  I've enjoyed reading Ian Fleming more than Thoreau, which might make me an idiot, but to me, it was better.

                                  Can't declare a winner.

                                  Wasn't it you who pointed out many years ago that each CH post should include, in some silent way, the words "in my opinion?"

                                    1. re: Fake Name

                                      " math is one place, science another" - That's certainly not correct, the results of the majority of science experiments can be interpreted in very different ways and come to very different conclusion.

                                      Coming back to your example of Ian Fleming and Thoreau - you might like personally Fleming more than Thoreau but if you ask a large majority of experts in a specific field and they overwhelmingly clearly can point put why somebody is better than somebody else I think it is fair to say that this author for example is better than somebody else. Wouldn't you agree also in your field of work that if you show photographs of a well known professional photographer and just somebody who starts taking pictures that a large majority of experts in your field could clearly lay out why the photos of the professional photographer are objectively better. That's doesn't mean that there might not be some particular photo of the beginner which you might like more. The same can also be said in the field of food, e.g. Addison is objectively better than McD

                                      1. re: honkman


                                        If you put one photographer's body of work against another of less experience and talent, I'd agree.

                                        But if you put two images side-by-side and asked to choose one or the other, I might pick the less-experienced photographer.

                                        And then..did I tell you Ansel Adams bores me to tears? Technically, a master- no doubt, the guy was a wizard. By all the objective criteria, he's amazing.

                                        And bores me.

                          2. re: ipsedixit

                            IMO, *hoping* it gets better might not improve the dining scene, but acknowledging that there's room for improvement could be a good first step in actually improving it.

                            The piece wasn't generally about how nice it is to live in San Diego all things considered. It was a specific discussion of the dining scene.

                            I love living in San Diego, but I've had enough dining experiences in those other places to which it is presumably being compared to arrive at the conclusion that it could improve and think it would be great if we came closer to those standards.

                            Am I any less happy with myself or my life because we're not there yet? No. Will I be happier with the dining scene when we are? Absolutely.

                          3. Me used to be angry young man
                            Me hiding me head in the sand
                            You gave me the word, I finally heard
                            I'm doing the best that I can

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: RB Hound

                              You may have missed your calling, RBH...

                              1. re: RB Hound

                                You forgot the important harmony between those lines:

                                [But I can't complain!]