Looking at this photo takes me way back. Well, back to 2009, and my second visit to Hodad’s. A few days earlier, I had my mind blown by my first-ever Hodad’s cheeseburger and was already craving another fix. I was visiting San Diego to see my first love, over a decade after we connected on IRC as angst-filled suburban teenagers (and then reconnected on Facebook as mostly responsible adults).

Hodad's Bus

I crave pasta year-round. It’s one of the few things I’m awesome at making, and I’m always hunting for exciting new dishes at local (and not-so-local) restaurants. For the winter issue of Dining Out SD, I tasked myself with finding four delicious pasta dishes, covering a range of noodles and sauces.

asparagus lasagna from Hanna's Gourmet

In recent months, Little Italy has cemented itself as San Diego’s hottest dining ‘hood. With everything from ramen to classic standbys, deciding where to eat is now a daunting proposition. To help narrow down the options, I consulted a panel of food experts for Dining Out SD’s winter issue.

hot bites in San Diego's Little Italy

It starts differently each time, but always ends the same. I’m in Toronto, or Vancouver, or Montreal. People around me are immersed in conversation, but to my ears, it’s muted. Words are indistinct murmurs that I don’t even strain to hear. My focus has narrowed to one startling realization: I’m in Canada. That can only mean one thing: Timbits. Timbits immediately. Timbits forever.

erin-timbit-victoria

Don’t move to San Diego. The weather is too nice. It’s sunny 267 days out of the year and almost never uncomfortably hot. Rain is rare, and when it does happen, it’s legitimately exciting (and sometimes leads to remarkable conditions for surfing). Snow, slush, and sleet are abstract concepts that happen elsewhere. Hoodies are outerwear. Scarves are purely cosmetic. Layering is a fashion statement.

Ocean Beach, San Diego

With the upcoming opening of The Headquarters, a shopping and dining complex near Seaport Village, the downtown food scene is set to get pretty damn exciting. Anchor tenants like The Cheesecake Factory and Seasons 52 have the largest spaces, but I’m most excited about the second outpost of Puesto, and Pizzeria Mozza.

Puesto’s new space is expansive and impressive. There are two large patios that serve up courtyard views, an upstairs mezzanine that looks into the bar area below, and a stylish dining area decked out with a splashy mural by Chor Boogie (pictured above). Inside the restaurant, you can go one of two ways: grab some tacos, a bowl, or a salad from the quick-service line (and eat in dedicated indoor dining area or patio space) or order off the full menu.

Dining Room at Puesto