2013 – The Year’s Best Eats – Restaurant Edition

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I never bothered to publish this – then again, I have not written anything for quite some time.

For what it’s worth, here are the lovely dining establishments I enjoyed visiting in 2013 ~

Consider this Joel’s substitute for Yelp.

Sea & Smoke in Del Mar, CA – Niman Ranch Burger, Warm Spinach Salad
Under The High Wheel, Edmonton, Alberta – House Burger
Rudy’s Taco Shop in Carlsbad, CA – California Burrito with Guacamole
The Crown and Anchor in Monterey, CA – Cheeseburger
Señor Pancho’s in San Marcos – California Burrito with Guacamole
Lallapalooza in Monterey, CA – Blue Cheese Steak Bites
First Food and Bar @ The Palazzo in Las Vegas – CLOSED – Mini Wedge Salads
Golden Road Brewery Pub in Los Angeles, CA – GRB Burger
Urge Gastropub in Rancho Bernardo, San Diego, CA – Garbage Burger
Sublime Ale House in San Marcos, CA – Jalapeño Popper, BYO Mac & Cheese
Tin Leaf Kitchen in Carlsbad, CA – Grilled Loch Duart Salmon
Pizza Port in Carlsbad, CA – BBQ Chicken Pizza
Marina Kitchen in San Diego, CA – Tuna Nicoise Salad
Hubcap in North Park, San Diego – CLOSED – Herbed Boursin Burger
The Linkery in North Park, San Diego – CLOSED – Beer Battered Cheese Curds, Fish Tacos
Tommy V’s Urban Kitchen & Bar in Carlsbad – Hanger Steak Salad
Slater’s 50/50 @ Liberty Station in San Diego, CA – Peanut Butter & Jealousy Burger
Slater’s 50/50 in Pasadena, CA – Nacho Supreme Burger
The Waffle in Hollywood, CA – Red Velvet Waffle
Peace Pies in Leucadia, Encinitas, CA – Bliss Burger (Vegan)

My list of the top ten spots I would love to visit in 2014:

  1. Verde y Crema in Tijuana, Baja México
  2. Bull Taco in Cardiff By The Sea, CA
  3. Carnitas Snack Shack in North Park, San Diego, CA
  4. Rocky’s Crown Pub in Pacific Beach, San Diego, CA
  5. Blind Lady Ale House in Normal Heights, San Diego, CA
  6. Ballast Point Tasting Room & Kitchen in Little Italy, San Diego, CA
  7. Young Hickory in North Park, San Diego, CA
  8. Urban Solace in San Diego, CA
  9. Romesco Mediterranean Bistro in Bonita, CA
  10. Caesar’s Restaurante Bar in Tijuana, Baja México

2013 – The Year in iPhone Photos

If the photographic evidence dumped off my iPhone and stamped with a date that puts its time of origin somewhere in the year 2013 is to believed… I did a lot of eating and drinking this last year. Like, probably at least three meals a day, I bet. Shoo, that’s a lot of food photos, people. I did my best to weed out all the duds and leave you with only the finest, heavily-edited, shared-on-social-media pictures of edible items. Enjoy!

Beer Diary #1

Medley of Beers
Some of my recent tries.

One of my hobbies over the years has been tasting new craft beers. This was a sometime indulgence of mine, where I would make a trip up to The Anderson’s (arguably the best place to discover and acquire fine beers and wines in Ohio) and see what there was to see. A visit to other local watering holes might yield a few brews from Stone, Sierra Nevada, or Bell’s. The state of Ohio’s premier craft brewery was, and still is, the Great Lakes Brewing Company, based out of Cleveland. They have a number of memorable brews, bearing names like Dortmunder Gold, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, and Holy Moses White Ale.

When I became a married fellow, I moved down to Texas, itself a haven for home brewers and some upstart craft breweries (The Foam Rangers and Jester King, for example). However, my fortunes were cut short by the cold, hard fact that the area of the Lone Star State into which I had relocated was peppered with ‘dry’ counties. This meant that there were no places to legally purchase alcoholic beverages to take home. There were plenty of restaurants with bars, but none of them served anything remotely unique. Budweiser, anyone? Best of all, many grocery stores carried non-alcoholic ‘brews’. Any Bavarian purist acquainted with the Reinheitsgebot would scoff at any such beverage’s existence.

What really kicked my hobby into high gear was our subsequent move out west, beyond El Paso, beyond the Rockies, beyond the Mojave, to southern California. San Diego, to be more precise. Imagine my surprise upon arriving and inadvertently discovering that the one and only Stone Brewery was situated just a few miles across town from where I now live, in Escondido, CA. I visited and went on a free guided tour of the brewery, followed by a flight of free tasters. Our tour was conducted by none other than Ken Wright, the self-described Minister of Evangelism and Indoctrination at Stone. He described, in no uncertain terms, the many reasons why San Diego is among the most vibrant and exciting craft-brewing hotspots in the entire world.

And lo, I was baptized into the richly abundant culture of home brewers, nano-breweries, micros and macros and local pubs with flowing taps, dispensing some of the tastiest, hoppiest, and most-decidedly different beers. Leave it up to Californians to be as contrarian as possible when it comes to the status quo (we’ll leave out the miserably-failed state budget plan).

And so begins, in a way, my beer diary. I will update biweekly to describe the most recent brews I have had the pleasure of tasting. Below is a minor accounting of some delicious libations I tried over the course of May and June, 2012.