The San Diego Sriracha Festival, which took place in September, motivated six trips to San Diego in 2014. Here are my 10 favorite foods from San Diego County over the past year.
Numbers on the map correspond to listings below and appear in alphabetical order instead of order of preference.
1. Betty’s Pie Whole Saloon Grandma Lucy’s Chicken Pie
Elizabeth Harris shares a freeway-friendly Encinitas compound with Sunshine Gardens Nursery. Betty’s Pie Whole Saloon has a cowgirl feel, complete with Wagon wheels, wooden dining room with horseshoe chairs, cowgirl placards and Hank Williams on the stereo. A blackboard menu lists over 20 different Savory and Sweet pies. The blue ribbon goes to Grandma Lucy’s Chicken Pie. My first flaky forkful of pie was nearly good enough to make a cowboy cry.
2. Churros El Tigre Churros
Louie Saloumi, Sam, and the rest of the Churros El Tigre Team built street cart success before finding a permanent home at Las Americas premium outlets in San Ysidro, less than a mile from the Mexican border. They of course specialize in churros, which are fried to order and supple within, with crispy ridged coats that sport cinnamon sugar. El Tigre also fries bananas and serves raspados. Bonus: Fruteria El Tigre resides right across the plaza.
3. The District Downtown Hash Brown [CLOSED]
Michael Blair, Rex Camerino, Trong Nguyen-Dinh, and Chris Toledo teamed on this East Village sandwich shop at the base of a mixed-use development. The space features a glass front, wood picnic tables on the sidewalk, and high-backed wood banquettes. Order at the counter with a honeycomb base. Chef Gustavo Torres and The District crew have a way with breakfast sandwiches, perhaps none better than Downtown Hash Brown. Bonus: you can add luscious tomato fennel soup, garnished with cream and basil, for an extra buck.
4. George’s Ocean Terrace Marinated and Grilled Fresh Fish Tacos
The Ocean Terrace occupies the top floor of George’s La Jolla compound and provides views of the Pacific Ocean, palm trees, squawking seagulls, cove swimmers and barking seal. With a setting like this, keeping the food simple works well. Their Marinated and Grilled Fresh Fish Tacos pair well with the sea breeze. George Hauer, April Johnson and chef Trey Foshee are gearing up for Galaxy Tacos nearby, so it’s no surprise they already serve a good grilled fish taco.
5. Las Cuatro Milpas Chorizo and Eggs
This Barrio Logan institution from the Estudillo family, starting with Petra & Nati, houses blue walls, an open kitchen with bubbling cauldrons, and a dining hall with blue tables. The food is pure Mexican comfort, starting with their pliable flour tortillas. Add a scoop of seasoned rice to soak up the juices, and spoon on spicy red salsa that’s cooked with chicharrones.