I’m going to let you in on a little secret. The best chocolate lava cake isn’t at a restaurant. You won’t have to order it 20 minutes in advance and pay $10 for it. It’s at Trader Joe’s and not only is it the best lava cake, it’s the best dessert, period.
Writing exclusive to EJ Eats:
The best pizza deal in San Diego used to be at slice shops, where $6 buys you two slices and a drink… until now. Isola Pizza Bar in Little Italy has a screaming deal during happy hour: a personal-sized pie … Continued
San Diego Magazine’s Best-Of SD issue has a ton of intel, including a round-up of the best restaurants of 2012. If you keep flipping to the South Bay section, you’ll see my top 10 places to Eat Your Way Around South Bay, including everything from fro-yo to fusion fare, like MJ’s Yogurt Time and Deli in Chula Vista, where you can get a heaping plate of fries and meat, topped with cheese, creamy sauces, and two fried eggs. The “House Fries” are their top seller (and make your typical carne asada fries look downright dainty).
I never got swept up by the bacon craze of the early aughts. Bacon on a club sandwich? Yes. Bacon on cupcakes? Oh hell no. But, one thing to come out of the nation’s preoccupation with pork is bacon jam, which can make an excellent addition to a burger.
At this point, I’m surprised bacon grease isn’t leaking from my pores. In the span of four days, I consumed a 100 percent bacon burger from Slater’s 50/50 (dubbed the ‘Merica burger) and a “Son of Baconator” from Wendy’s. Both reviews, I feel like it’s necessary to note, were done for A Hamburger Today, and were aided by my complete lack of dignity.
With nearly 100 burger reviews for A Hamburger Today under my belt, I don’t think I can ever eat burgers like a normal human being again. I started covering the San Diego burger scene almost two years ago, and have developed a technique that I’m positive makes me look like a total weirdo. Here’s how it’s done:
Options for cheap eats near the San Diego Convention Center (and Comic-Con) abound, if you know where to look. Most of the spots on 5th, right across from the SDCC aren’t worth your dining dollar, but there are a few gems right on the strip. If you go a little farther north, or east, that’s where you’ll really strike gold. Here are my top picks for cheap eats near the Convention Center (and in downtown SD, in general).
On National Cheeseburger Day (September 18th, if you didn’t know), Sacramento will be hit with a blizzard of burgers at the Sacramento Burger Battle. Local restaurants will put their best burger forward, and I’m going to be in the center of the storm as one of the official judges.
The Cravory is one of my favorite cookie bakers in San Diego. From both a technical and creative standpoint, their cookies are excellent. There are a dozen signature flavors, plus 6 additional options that change each month, and you can also create your own. There’s no retail storefront but you can try them at San Diego Farmers’ Markets (La Jolla and Hillcrest), and if you’re not local, order them online. They’ll ship anywhere in the continental USA (with a one dozen minimum).
Media dinners can be many things, but they are always bizarre. Pack a bunch of writers (and their sensitive egos) in a room, ply ‘em with booze, and bring on the food, and lots of it. In the best of times, these dinners are an exercise in feigned (and failed) restraint that end in self-loathing and a strong desire to put one’s stomach in a time machine to undo that second chocolate mousse bon bon that better judgement would have never allowed. The worst don’t usually get mentioned. In an industry where writers were once prized for their brutal honesty, it’s somehow become taboo to share any real criticism.
From a PR perspective, it’s ideal. Writers happily line up for the gavage tube, gorge themselves, and waddle out happy. When the food is good, there’s no harm in it, but when it’s bad and no one speaks up, that’s a problem. My goal as a food writer isn’t to score free meals, shake hands with the chef, and gush about how great everything was. I work for the readers, and my job is to tell the truth, even when it’s not pretty.
My last experience was such a disappointment that weeks later, it’s still nagging me, to the point that while the rest of my household happily slumbers, I’m sitting alone, in my cat-hair covered pyjamas, stewing. It’s time I told the truth: I am completely over the Malarkey empire and the proliferation of textile-named restaurants in San Diego.