Jay Porter opened The Linkery on February 25, 2005, near a residential stretch of San Diego’s North Park, which sits just northeast of Balboa Park. Porter centered on sausages due to their global appeal and because they’re hand-made, a lost art in most establishments.
The Linkery lists the day’s sausage offerings on a chalkboard out front. Hot Italian, chicken parmesan, Boerewors from South Africa, and The Victory. Every day is different, depending upon what types of meats General Manager Michael McGuan chooses to grind and encase.
Chef Mars Wasterval has written an interesting menu. Sure, there will always be sausage links, but Mars also draws inspiration from Europe, Asia, South America and Mexico. The day’s specials include Cowgirl Creamery cheeses, fish and chips made with halibut and ono, and a chilled cucumber-celery-fig soup, plus a sandwich made with ham from Ossabaw Island, Georgia, and several intriguing wines by the glass. Of course it was just my luck to miss a five-course “porkstravaganza” (their word) by one day. On Sunday, they even poured an ale called Hog Heaven. Still, what we ate was delicious.
The two-room establishment features blond furniture and these colorful hanging lamps. The ambient music also added to the mood. I never expected to hear country classics like “The Streets of Bakersfield” and “You’re The Reason God Made Oklahoma” in San Diego.
After five sweltering hours at the San Diego Zoo, I needed a cold drink in the worst way. This tall cooler incorporated guava, tea, and ginger, spicy and sweet relief.
Sausage is served in many ways at The Linkery, including paired with cheese and bread; with melon and Stilton; wrapped in a crepe with Creole honey mustard; sautéed with Anaheim chiles, red bell peppers, and onions; and grilled in tacos, topped with queso fresco, and mustard jalapeño aioli.
Mars also makes the desserts, and she enlists help from some of the The Linkery staff, including our waitress, Chrissy. Chrissy taunted us with tales of desserts past, including a recent jalapeño fig cheesecake, but we still made out well.
Note: If you’re interested in learning about ingredients, The Linkery newsletter makes for fascinating reading. Jay writes about sourcing fruits, vegetables, meat and fish, in incredible detail. Go to The Linkery homepage and subscribe.