Local Wally's Guide to San Diego

Local Wally's Guide to San Diego

San Diego FINALLY Gets a Real BBQ Joint - Grand Ole BBQ y Asado

restaurantsLocal WallyComment

GRAND OLD BBQ Y ASADO (official site

3302 32nd Street, San Diego (map)  |  619.213.3765 (Click to Call)

AT A GLANCE:  Funky picnic style eatery surrounded by smokers, authentic BBQ, they cook to capacity and when it's gone they close.  Best BBQ in San Diego, hands down.

OPEN WED - SUN, NOON TO SELL OUT


This is it. Do not be afraid. Instead, rejoice!

I'm picky when it comes to BBQ.  Perhaps it's because in my former life I traveled to Kansas City a lot and got to taste the real deal.  After a plate of burnt ends or smokey St Louis ribs it was always hard to come back to San Diego. Fish tacos we nail, BBQ was more elusive. But that has all changed with the opening of the Grand Ole BBQ y Asado in North Park.

Grand Ole BBQ y Asado at first looks a bit, well, temporary, but don't let that scare you off. Real BBQ is all about the food and let's face it, San Diego can use a little more Portland in it's style. The menu changes depending on what they have cooked that day.

Oh the smoke, so delightful and delicious, I knew this was going to be good from down the block.

There are sandwiches (pulled pork, brisket, etc), of course, but you can also order by the pound and that's what I recommend. The day I was there the meats were going for around $18 a pound so get a half pound of whatever looks good and add a few ribs - you can tell them how many you want and they'll weigh them out.

Beans, pulled pork, more beans (my wife loves them), smoked turkey, cole slaw, potato salad, and pork ribs - and yes, white bread!

This is what I got - here's a quick review:

White Peruvian Beans:  Creamy, almost buttery, very delicious. These are NOT your typical BBQ beans. In fact, you put these in a fancy big bowl and you'll pay big bucks for these at a normal restaurant. Grade: A

Pulled Pork: Slightly smokey, tender, juicy, just aching for a bit of Carolina vinegar sauce which is on the side the way it should be. I'd like a bit more smoke so I'll give it a B+.

Texas Turkey: My wife ordered this and I didn't say anything but I thought this was going to be a disaster. Turkey breast is hard to do right but Grand Ole BBQ nailed this one, so juicy, so flavorful, I loved it.  A+

Cole Slaw:  Nice balance, not too sweet, add some jalapenos and it's perfect. B+

Potato Salad: This deserves an award, perfect potato salad. I could not have made this better if I did it myself. A+

St Louis Ribs: OK, the real test. The ribs without extra sauce had a nice smoke to it, a slightly sweet finish that suggested almost a bit of Asian flavoring, perhaps a hint of Char Sui flavors but not in a way that makes it a crazy fusion rib. No "fall off the bone" fail. Let me just say it - best ribs in San Diego. A++

And yes, for you sauce fans there are plenty of options from sweet to spicy, Texas to Carolina, and they are all very, very good. I also like that you can grab a complimentary pile of pickles or pickled onions or jalapenos to kick it all up. And sure, get a shirt to show San Diego you know good BBQ!

Yes, best ribs in San Diego!

OK, the close up!  Don't you love it that's not all smothered in sauce? White bread included so you can make your own sandwich if you want.

Smoking up some Beef Ribs at Grand Ole BBQ.

At the end I was so impressed I asked to see what was in the smoker and he opened it up to show me the Texas Beef Short Ribs. Oh my, I wanted them so bad but they needed a few more hours on the smoker so come back at 6. Dang!  The menu changes from lunch to dinner and Sunday's there's an Argentinian menu with skirt steak and chorizo and even blood sausage (don't cringe, it's really good). I haven't tried everything but what I had I loved enough to tell you to get yourself over to Grand Ole BBQ and be ready to experience San Diego's best BBQ. 

SUMMARY:  Grand Old BBQ is to Barbecue as Las Quatros Milpas is to Tacos. It's San Diego's most authentic BBQ joint and a must taste to believe experience for anyone who loves smoked meats and a funky fun dining experience.

Local Wally

Islands Restaurant Teams With Left Coast Brewing

restaurantsLocal WallyComment

Hula Burger at Islands Restaurant

If you follow me you know that I pretty much avoid nationwide chain restaurants. I mean, San Diego has so much good food that there's no reason to eat average food in an average setting. But while I avoid big chains I cheer on our local restaurants who have made it big.  And that brings me to Islands, a popular burger joint that many forget got its start in our very own Carlsbad.

Islands goes back to the early 60's when founder Tony DeGrazier stepped off the beaches of Oahu after a day of surfing with his Navy buddies and doing what came naturally to him. He went searching for a juicy burger, a hot basket of fries & a cold drink. He never forgot those days of youth and 20 years later in 1982, it was that sense of place & satisfaction he was trying to recreate when he took a little chunk of the islands & plopped it down right in the mainland of Southern California. So while Islands is a successful chain, it's still a local joint, still our restaurant, and still satisfies, whether you're coming off the swells or coming in with the family.

Local Burger meet Local Beer

And this summer, Islands Restaurants and SoCal based brewery Left Coast Brewing Co. are teaming up to create an exclusive new brew. The Hula Bay IPA – which launched in restaurants on June 13 – is a classic West Coast IPA with hints of citrus, grapefruit, tangerine and pine, and will be available for a limited time. That's the combo you want - a great fat Islands burger, a basket of their fantastic fries, and a cold local beer from Left Coast Brewing Co.

While you're there you might want to check out:

  • Heat Wave Burger:  Back on the menu for a limited time, the Heat Wave comes topped with grilled Serrano chilies, grilled green chilies, melted pepper-jack cheese and spicy mayo, and is one of the best burgers to pair with the Hula Bay IPA. Would be happy to pass along other contenders in the area for a list of “hottest burger and beer pairings for summer”, if you see a fit!
  • Colada Sunset:  Adding to Islands’ tropical cocktail repertoire, the Colada Sunset is a twist on the classic pina colada with pineapple, coconut cream and a float of Myers’s Rum.
  • Beach Cruiser Giveaway:  Each of Islands’ 54 restaurants is giving away custom his and hers Freedom Cycle Co. beach cruisers complete with Hawaiian floral designs and bells. Guests can enter every time they visit an Islands, and winners will be selected on August 18.

So go local this weekend and get a burger at Islands!  Great burgers, tacos, fries, even salads, now even better with The Hula Bay IPA.

Del Mar Racetrack to Host BBQ State Championships Sunday, July 17th, 2016

eventsLocal WallyComment

Let's get Smoking!

BBQ Competition at the Del Mar Racetrack!

I am addicted to BBQ. I love the smell of the smoke in the air, I love the artistry behind great BBQ, and I love to try it all, from perfectly tender spare ribs to juicy brisket. I've been to BBQ joints in Kansas City that look like something in a Blues Brothers movie, I've done Texas BBQ, and love the tang of Carolina.  Wherever there is BBQ is where I am at. So you know where I will be on July 17th - at the Del Mar Racetrack where the 2016 BBQ Championships are taking place.

More than 40 of the nation's top professional BBQ pitmasters, local restaurants and chefs will be competing in the State Championship for more than $15,000 in cash prizes. Best yet, those attending can purchase BBQ samples to see for themselves how good BBQ can be. Four 2 oz competition ready samples of brisket, pork, ribs, chicken and steak are only $10 and include a People's Choice ballot so you can vote for your favorite. 

Del Mar San Diego Fair BBQ Championship coming July 17th

Come for the races, stay for the BBQ - or the other way around!

The competition, sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society, also features local craft beer options and live music and is held at the Seaside Concert Area west of the Grandstand, tickets included with track admission of $6. Oh yeah, the Del Mar horse races will be going on at the same time so dang this is going to be a great day!

You want a bite?  I know you do.  And you can, at the Del Mar Racetrack BBQ Competition

Here are some BBQ rating tips from your favorite local expert, Local Wally.

1.  Fall off the bone = fail.  Ribs should be tender but still have some bite to them. If you take a bite and all the meat falls to the plate and you're left holding the bone then you overcooked them.

2.  Sauce should never be the star.  It's the meat that needs to shine. Bad BBQ is over-sauced to hide mediocre BBQ. 

3.  Too much smoke is as bad as crockpot BBQ.  Smoke should be there but not overpowering. If it sort of tastes like an ashtray smells it was oversmoked. And don't get me started on cooking BBQ in a crockpot!

THE DETAILS

Where:  Del Mar Racetrack

When:  July 17th, 12 to 5

Cost:  Included with $6 track admission, get four samples for $10

VIP Pre-Sale Package
Gain early entrance to sample the mouthwatering BBQ from noon - 1 p.m. Includes four BBQ samples, racetrack admission and Peoples' Choice ballot, for $25 now through July 10th. 

Pre-Sale Package
Includes four BBQ samples, racetrack admission and Peoples' Choice ballot, for $14 now through July 10th.

LINK TO BUY TICKETS

Bite San Diego Review: Tasting San Diego One Neighborhood at a Time

restaurantsLocal WallyComment

BITE SAN DIEGO |  619 634-8476

At a Glance: Culinary walking tour through some of San Diego's trendiest neighborhoods. Spend an afternoon sampling food from 4 to 5 restaurants in a small group of like minded food lovers.

Wally Says: Whether you're a tourist or a local, if you love food and love discovering new places to eat then this is your type of tour.


He cuts the cheese at Venissimo Cheese Shop in Hillcrest - wait, that didn't sound right but you get the idea!

He cuts the cheese at Venissimo Cheese Shop in Hillcrest - wait, that didn't sound right but you get the idea!

This is a pretty good idea! Bite San Diego is a food tour where you walk through various San Diego neighborhoods to taste what their restaurants have to offer. Started in 2010, BITE San Diego is an adventure for locals and tourists alike, really anyone who loves good food and wants to explore the San Diego food scene and maybe even learn a little history on the way.

What's cool about this type of tour is that you discover cool restaurants that you might have walked right by in your past. For example, Red Wing Bar and Grill in Hillcrest has been described as a dive bar by some, a crazy gay bar by others. I'd never been in but so glad I did after sampling their insanely fantastic hot wings, washed down with a giant PBR. Really, you like wings you need to get in there!

BITE San Diego has tours not only in North Park but Pacific Beach, Liberty Station, La Jolla, Encinitas, Downtown/Little Italy and Coronado. All of those areas have well known restaurants, places you've already been to, but that's not what BITE focuses on. Instead they find the eclectic and unusual, you know, the more foodie focused places that make you wonder why you've never been in before.

Walking to our next stop, Crazee Burger

Walking to our next stop, Crazee Burger

Mention Crazee Burger to someone who lives in North Park and they'll tell you that this is one of the best burgers in town. But I had never heard of them. That's one of the problems in San Diego - it's so big, so spread out, that it's impossible to have the insider scoop on every neighborhood. But that's exactly what BITE does - it shows you where the locals in that neighborhood eat, their favorites.

Our next stop was Berkeley Pizza North Park, a Chicago Style pie that has a crispy, buttery crust and lots of fresh toppings. Really great, authentic, and popular with the neighborhood locals. 

Deep dish Chicago style pizza at Berkeley Pizza North Park

Deep dish Chicago style pizza at Berkeley Pizza North Park

By now I was clearly stuffed. They call this a walking tour but you really only walk a mile and a half, maybe two total, over the entire afternoon so it's not like you're burning up calories like this was the Rock and Roll Marathon. So come hungry. Come super hungry, in fact.  But come on, our leader shouted, let's move on to the next stop!

We did a short pitstop to taste some lemonade at a coffee shop and then headed over to Splash Wine Lounge, a cool place where you can purchase a wine sample one ounce at a time. You insert a card, you push a button, and out comes your taste. It's a really great way to try some unusual wines. I wish Trader Joe's had this! And yes, food, more food, so much food that I could barely take a bite but there I was diving into a great flatbread. So. Stuffed! BITE San Diego says that this is supposed to be "bites', not a buffet, but really you need to be John Candy to not leave this tour feeling like you got more than your money's worth of deliciousness.  

So tourists, if you want to do something really unusual, if you love food, if you want to learn more about San Diego than the basic tourist stops, then pick a neighborhood and spend a few hours exploring the food scene with BITE San Diego. And locals, you'll love it too. Go discover a part of San Diego you might have overlooked - gather some friends and spend the afternoon on a BITE San Diego tour. You'll love it!

Alfonso's of La Jolla Reopens in Solana Beach (and boy are we happy!)

restaurantsLocal WallyComment

Alfonso's of La Jolla (now open in Solana Beach)

437 South Highway 101,  Solana Beach  |  (858) 454-2232


The original Alfonso's of La Jolla

San Diegan's are lucky. Mexican food, real Mexican food, has always been at your a part of your world. Not so for those of us who transplanted here. I came to San Diego to go to SDSU (Go Aztecs) way back when, originally from the Bay Area where tacos where filled with hamburger meat and tamales came out of cans. I am not kidding!

Ultra crunchy chips with the best salsa - seriously, I would drink this salsa with a shot of vodka and a straw!

Flashback to La Jolla 1977 when my hair was long, my car was an MGB, and Supertramp was my band of choice. My buddy Barry lived up the street in a rental with 4 or 5 other guys and one night we stumbled down Prospect in search of cheap eats, ultimately seduced by Alfonso's of La Jolla, a restaurant that looked like it had more in common with Tijuana than La Jolla. It was that night I had my first carne asada taco, grilled strips of marinated steak topped with guacamole and salsa fresca and double wrapped in a fresh tortilla.

It was life changing. Literally one of the best things I have ever eaten.

Over the years I revisited Alfonso's of La Jolla, always to eat there first and then heading across the street to Chucks Steak House to listen to live jazz and then to Bratskeller for a Zombie before driving back to State. Hey, I'm not saying this was a good plan, I'm just telling you that a trip to La Jolla always meant a stop at Alfonso's to get a carne asada taco. And a margarita. A good margarita.

So nearly 40 years later (holy cow!) when I heard that Alfonso's was closing I was more than bummed. But here's proof that there's a God, or at least a Taco God, because Alfonso's not only reopened, they opened near my house! Their new location in Solana Beach is open, airy, a bit more urban contemporary than the original restaurant but with the same owner and same waiters. And there's even parking, something that was hard to find in La Jolla.

Alfonso is back!

Alfonso's of La Jolla captures the north county beach vibe.

This is it! The Carne Asada taco at Alfonso's of La Jolla

I went on opening day and ordered a carne asada taco and a margarita. Heaven! Throughout the years I've eaten perhaps 10,000 carne asada tacos, give or take, and none of them are even close to Alfonso's of La Jolla. Their new location has music at night on the weekends, happy hour specials, and a North County beach vibe that's sure to make this a popular spot with locals and tourists. Go. This Weekend. And you tell me if this is not the best Carne Asada Taco in San Diego.


The Vibe: Beach friendly

The Price: Very reasonable - a couple of fish tacos, rice and beans, $12, less than ten bucks gets you 3 rolled chicken tacos with rice and beans, a serious bargain.

Margaritas: Lots of options, the house margarita still the best value for a real margarita with enough punch to make you happy!

Wally Says: North County has some very good Mexican restaurants - Fidel's, Tony's Jacal, La Especial Norte - but none of them beat Alfonso's carne asada taco!

Where to Find San Diego's BEST Burgers!

restaurantsLocal Wally3 Comments

I'm not dissing on In N Out Burger because frankly I think they make one of the BEST burgers in the world. I mean, come on, even Thomas Keller of The French Laundry fame, the place where dinner for two will set you back $1,000, says that In N Out is his favorite burger and one of his favorite meals.  But today we're talking San Diego homegrown burgers, the best burgers in town made by local joints so while I love In N Out, and I really do, we're going totally local here.

"Double Double" at Juniper and Ivy in San Diego

Juniper and Ivy

It's not on the menu but 30 people every night, and only 30, can get Chef Richard Blais' version of a Double Double Animal Style burger for under $20. I love all of the food at Juniper & Ivy but this burger is outrageously great. When the small plates start arriving at the table protect your giant burger from those around you who are eyeing your fries with envy. Shoo, shoo!

Tavern

Tavern has been welcoming big crowds in for drinks, dancing and sport-watching since 1997. With a revamped menu created by Chef John, beach-goers are also flocking to the hotspot for delicious food. You’ll surely crush any burger cravings with the B.E.A.T. Burger; an all-natural beef patty that is surrounded by applewood smoked bacon, arugula, bourbon-roasted tomatoes, garlic herb ale aioli and topped with a fried egg. This is the best way to B.E.A.T. your longings for a juicy patty!

1919 San Diego Suicide Burger

1919

1919 is known as one of the best sports bars in downtown, but it’s menu image002.jpgis equally as brag-worthy. There is no better way to celebrate National Burger Day then with their Suicide Burger in-hand. Made with jalapeno jam, cayenne-candied bacon and pepper-jack cheese, this burger is sure to spice up your night… and your taste buds!

Barleymash

The burgers at barleymash follow suit with the restaurants innovative theme – everything is better with a little alcohol, especially food. The Surf ‘n’ Turf Burger combines multiple proteins as well as multiple alcohol-infused ingredients. A grilled beef patty combines with Añejo tequila n’ butter-poached Maine lobster meat to make an elaborately messy burger of epic proportion. It also includes cream cheese, baby arugula, whiskey-caramelized onions and white truffle aioli.

Backyard Kitchen and Tap

Backyard Kitchen & Tap grills better burgers than your average backyard cookout, and the Bison Burger is renowned in Pacific Beach for “changing the game”.  It is a free range bison patty with Shaft bleu cheese, rocket arugula and basil aioli on a brioche bun.  If that’s not enough, add a fried egg for $2 – and then wash it down with a beer from one of their 20 taps.

Duck Dive in Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach Duck Dive

Pacific Beach’s Duck Dive is an eatery of surf and coastal culture.  The signature Duck Dive Burger is served with an all-natural beef patty, tomato relish, caramelized onions, butter lettuce, garlic aioli and pimento cheese (a southern U.S. specialty made of sharp cheddar, spices and greatness) on a toasted brioche bun.  Swim, surf, drive, bike or run on over to Duck Dive for a bite of a burger and the sun.

Barrel Republic

Barrel Republic’s Oceanside location is serving a burger that’s big on taste and a big win for cheese lovers everywhere! The Barrel Burger entertains the company of 100% chuck black wax cheddar, lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion, all served on a brioche bun. Order this burger cut in quarters, and share the juicy bite with your friends.

Pacific Beach Ale House

Pacific Beach AleHouse, providing beautiful views of the ocean from their Skydeck, is grilling up a patty of picturesque Brandt all-natural beef (raised in the California sun without hormones or antibiotics) for the Mushroom Truffle Burger.  Mushrooms of course, with Cambozola (a mix of cow’s milk cheese from Italy and France), arugula, truffle butter and a fried egg all fit onto a brioché bun. AleHouse provides you plenty of options to accompany the burger; a choice of seasoned fries, tator tots, sweet potato fries, salt and vinegar chips or cottage cheese is included.  Another courteous option the kitchen offers is switching out any beef patty for chicken breast!

Brazen BBQ's Jalapeno Burger

Brazen BBQ

It seems like the Smokin’ Jalapeno Burger, a meal-sized sambo, was made to show off during National Burger Month.  It’s been contributed to the patty craving community by Brazen BBQ . This burger is topped cheddar cheese, friend jalapenos, and B.R.A.G. BBQ sauce to make this burger a San Diego favorite. Yes, it can get messy, but like the five house-made BBQ sauces (ranging from sweet or smoky to spicy) – a roll of paper towels is on every table for stress-free availability.

Common Theory

One very uncommon take on the burger is at Common Theory in Kearny Mesa.  It’s simply and appropriately titled the Chicken-Fried Cheeseburger; a panko breaded beef patty is skillfully fried and topped with a horseradish Havarti, charred scallions and an aioli-style country spread.  Common Theory sports one of the best rotating selections of unique drafts in the craft beer capital of the world (30-34 taps at all times!).

San Diego's BEST Breakfast Sandwiches!

Local WallyComment

Weekends are Made for Indulging - Start with San Diego's BEST Breakfast Spots!

Do you oftentimes find yourself torn between breakfast and lunch? If you’re a lover of both, try these hearty breakfast sandwiches that offer the best of both worlds! Find a morning pick-me-up at these six San Diego eateries that are serving up the ultimate breakfast sandwiches to kick start the day.

Breakfast Republic in San Diego's North Park

Located in the heart of North Park, Breakfast Republic is the hot topic among breakfast lovers in San Diego. If you’re looking for classic American morning flavors in the form of a sandwich, try the Breakfast Sammie. It’s crafted on sourdough bread with their Jurassic Pork bacon, tomato, herb spread and eggs sunny side up. Combine all of your favorite items in this take on a traditional breakfast. Don’t forget to dig into the house potatoes that are served on the side!
 
Bringing a reimagined taste of New York delicatessens to San Diego, Carnivore Sandwich has sandwich cravings covered. As early as 7 a.m., with locations in East Village, Little Italy and downtown, Carnivore is serving up sandwiches fit for the most important meal of the day. Take a bite of the East Coast with the Lox Crostini, complete with toasted challah bread topped with lox, cream cheese, walnuts and sliced avocado. These stacked creations will bring a smile to your face.

Say NO to McMuffin and Go San Diego Local for Breakfast!

Head to Pacific Beach and enjoy your morning meal at The Duck Dive, a neighborhood eatery and bar inspired by the San Diego surf scene. Commence your day with Biscuit and Gravy Sliders, two handcrafted biscuits loaded with scrambled eggs and sausage and topped with scratch-made sausage gravy. Pair these hearty breakfast sandwiches with bottomless mimosas or Bloody Buddies, served daily!
 
At Farmer’s Bottega, you will find quality ingredients and farm-to-table-cuisine that allow for a guilt-free start to a busy day. Try the Farmwich, a meat and veggie filled sandwich that is sure to impress. It combines a fried egg, bacon, sautéed spinach, mushrooms, onions and aged cheddar between slices of rustic sourdough.
 
The Gaslamp’s barleymash not only offers a lively atmosphere, but a menu that has weekend brunch lovers rejoicing! Relish in the bold flavors of The Remedy Sando, a barley bun filled with applewood-smoked bacon, pork sausage, two fried eggs, pepper jack, aged cheddar and bourbon brown-butter hollandaise. The dish is served with a side of roasted potato hash, so arrive with an empty stomach and let your taste buds do the work!
 

Brian's 24

Who says breakfast has to be consumed in the morning? At Brian’s 24, you can indulge in breakfast cravings any time of day, any day of the week. Load up on the Waffle Cristo, thin-sliced ham and cheddar jack cheese served between two halves of a housemade bacon waffle. Satisfy your appetite with this meaty sub any time of the day.
 
Check out San Diego’s best breakfast sandwiches and start your morning with a meal fit for champions!

Looking for San Diego's BEST Desserts? Here They Are!

restaurantsLocal Wally1 Comment

Ditch your diet for decadent desserts! We’ve rounded up some of San Diego’s most satisfying sweets that will put the cherry on top of any meal. 

Brian's 24 Root Beer Float - not flat, float!!  :-)

Brian's 24 Root Beer Float - not flat, float!!  :-)

Brians's 24

Whether it is 2:00 p.m. or 2:00 a.m. Brian’s 24 will satisfy your sweet tooth if you’re in the Gaslamp. Enjoy their Root Beer Float served in a gigantic 32 oz. mug filled with root beer and three scoops of vanilla ice cream.  Cozy up to their Joan Crawford’s mahogany bar beneath their crystal chandelier and rest easy knowing you’re at a family-owned diner with family-inspired recipes.

Pillbox Tavern

Apparently an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so go crazy for Pillbox Tavern’s Apple Pie Crisp. Sit down on their dog-friendly patio and wind down the day with this carefully-crafted dish that’s made with sliced apples mixed with brown sugar oatmeal, vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. Pillbox Tavern is a retro modern beach bar that only serves fresh and locally-sourced ingredients, so you know this crisp is some of the best around.

Tavern in Pacific Beach

If you appreciate the finer things in life and agree that crème brulee is most certainly one of them, visit Tavern in Pacific Beach. Tavern’s Crème Brulee is proof that patrons are provided with nothing but the best. Enjoy your desert inside the comfort of Tavern’s laidback bar or catch some rays on the lively street side patio.

Pan Bon

Another heavenly dessert worth ditching your diet for is Pan Bon’s Tirami-Su’ a creamy coffee treat that is baked with mascarpone image004.jpglayers and coffee soaked sponge cake that’s dusted with cocoa. Stepping inside Pan Bon is like discovering a little sliver of Italy and their wide variety of baked desserts won’t disappoint.

Taco Stand

Are you looking for something warm, sweet and easy to eat? Chomp on some Churros from the Taco Stand, with locations in both La Jolla and Downtown, while you’re on the go. The Taco Stand also offers south-of-the-border, flavored popsicles for you to cool down with in the image009.jpgSan Diego sun.

Wait - This is from Woodstock Pizza???

Woodstock Pizza

Contrary to popular belief, Woodstock’s Pizza serves more than just pizza. They also serve one of the best (and shareable) desserts in San Diego. Their Cinnabread is a warm pie smothered with brown sugar, cinnamon and icing. Add apple, bacon or caramelized pecans to truly make it a savory treat. There are seven Woodstock Pizza locations across Southern California so swing by and taste one of America’s best independent pizzerias.

S'More Sandwich from Barleymash

S'More Sandwich from Barleymash

Barleymash

Let barleymash give you that campground experience with their Grilled S’Mores Sandwich. It’s crafted with toasted cinnamon swirl bread, bourbon chocolate ganache, vanilla bean marshmallow, cinnamon crunch ice cream and graham cracker cookies. barleymash is restaurant and bar that encourages a good time with the help of entertainment and a menu that celebrates the richness of American culture.
 
Treat yourself and don’t skimp out on the good stuff. San Diego is America’s finest city so naturally it offers some of America’s finest desserts. Ditch your diet because life is too short to not eat sweets.

What to Do in San Diego: Bacon and Barrels Festival, May 21st, 2016

eventsLocal WallyComment

Bacon, Bacon, Bacon, AND BEER!

The Bacon & Barrels Festival is back, and this time it’s better than ever.  On Saturday May 21st, the hottest chefs from the finest local restaurants will prepare and serve small plates starring bacon in its most inventive forms. The best mixologists, brewers and wine makers will quench your thirst with refreshing bacon-based and bacon-inspired cocktails and brews. The event will feature equally impressive views, as it will be held on the waterfront at Embarcadero Marina Park South.

bacon_and_barrels.jpg

This hog heaven will include artisan and local vendors, live music by The Spazmatics, demos by celebrity chefs and a whole lot of fun!  To celebrate special achievement in the bacon arts, one chef and one mixologist will be named the 2016 Jefe del Porko by well-known food enthusiasts. It's pretty much the Bacon Oscars, and not one to be missed!

Tickets are now available for those 21 years and older and can be purchased here. Not to mention, all food and drink tastings are unlimited and included in the ticket prices. Go hog wild!

Good Eats San Diego: Seasons 52 at Seaport Village Headquarters

restaurantsLocal WallyComment
Nice dining room at Seasons 52 in San Diego's Seaport Village

Nice dining room at Seasons 52 in San Diego's Seaport Village

I normally avoid chain restaurants. It's not that I'm a food snob it's that when I want consistency I go to McDonalds. I like restaurants where the chef makes a difference, where food isn't cooked on a conveyor belt. That perfectly describes Seasons 52. With 43 locations, 2 in San Diego alone, there's no getting around it - this is a chain. But with a seasonally changing menu prepared by talented chefs, Seasons 52 rises above and places itself squarely into Good Eats territory, certainly a contender for your next night out. I was lucky enough to check out their new Spring menu - let's have a look.

Start with the Flatbreads

Lobster and Mozzarella Flatbread

Light and crispy flatbread at Seasons 52

Flatbreads are the rage at so many restaurants but so many fail. I'm no flatbread expert but many of them are just bad pizzas. No so at Seasons 52 where the flatbreads are thin and crispy and topped with super high quality ingredients. My favorite has to be the Lobster and Fresh Mozzerella with roasted sweet peppers, slivered scallions, lobster sour cream, and paired with a glass of Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee Sainte Anne Champagne. That's right, don't forget that Seasons 52 has an extensive wine list with 52 wines by the glass always available - try them all!

Oh My Cod! 

Asian-glazed Sea Bass at Seasons 52 in San Diego

Ordering something new off a menu is a bit like internet dating. It looks good, it sounds good, but will it meet your expectations when it arrives? Well let me tell you, the Asian Glazed Chilean Sea Bass is one of the most beautiful, best executed fish dishes I have ever experienced, a true 10 on the 1-10 scale, a knockout in both looks and flavor. The black rice was insanely delicious and the glaze was just sweet enough without being cloying. Order this an watch the heads turn at the tables as it passes by, it's that stunningly perfect.

Mmmmm, Meyer Lemon Ricotta Ravioli

Ravioli at Seasons 52 in San Diego

Say it - Wow! Yes, this is another example of why I love Seasons 52. The lemon ricotta ravioli was topped with a brown butter sauce, some roasted peppers and English peas and so tangy delicious that its memory is forever embedded into my taste buds. 

Even More Good Eats at Seasons 52

Grilled Scallops at Seasons 52 in San Diego

Rack of Lamb at Seasons 52

Grilling scallops could be a disaster but Seasons 52 knocked it out of the park with their Caramelized Grilled Sea Scallops with Lemon Risotto. Scallops were delicate, the risotto complimented, the fresh peas and roasted asparagus cooked perfectly, this is a top dish. Get this one if you love seafood.  But wait... there's more?

Yes, a serious Wood Grilled Rack of Lamb with spring vegetables, Yukon Gold mash and shallot jus. It was gorgeous, perhaps a touch of finishing salt would make it pop. You do bring your own Maldon Salt with you to restaurants, don't you? 

Meet the Chef

Chef Mo at Seasons 52

Chef Mo is the guy who makes it all happen at Seasons 52 at San Diego's Seaport Village Headquarters. With a resume from some of the best restaurants in San Diego he knows his way around the kitchen. So thanks Seasons 52 and thanks Mo for an awesome meal. Chain restaurant? Perhaps. Predictable chain restaurant food? No way! Seasons 52 is good enough to rival the best in San Diego and deserves to be on your foodie bucket list.

Local Wally