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02/02/2011
By: yourmagazineusa
Ue kara Grill
Turning the tide and getting jobs back is Master Sushi Chef Gerardo Torres. Behind the counter at Ue Kara Grill he is serving up quality Sushi with jalapenos and cilantro. Thus knocking out the wasabe supplier and serving the balance of trade, keeping it all home grown and locally owned. The tea is Yamamotoyama though.At the helm of Ue Kara Grill is Arturo Ayala of Chula Vista. Building it through sweat equity, no bank's outrageous loans to tie him down. At times I think, "Like Sancho Panza he is chasing fish gills." I'd like to say he is 25 years too late but he is only 23 years old, shouldn't he be going Chinese? Whatever the case I will be fascinating to see his business grow. Torres is a creative chef with 15 years at Ichiban in PB and a two-year stint as head chef at Sushiya in Otay Ranch. Ayala's grandfather was the largest exporter of fish in the state of Morenos, Mexico. They have a fighting chance in a tough downtown market.Try the Sashimi Mexican Style. I had it with Yellow Tail Tuna, but I think with Salmon may have been a better selection. The dish was topped with jalepeños, lemon, cilantro, a seaweed salad and gobo. Nonetheless, it was a nice surprise like a jumbo ceviche and a beautiful photo op. In fact all of Torres' creations are almost too pretty to eat. The decor is not yet much to look at, but there is tile for a new floor in one corner, new higher tables are on order, and a liquor license application has been filed. Yogata! That is Japanese for Que Bien! He has a 42 inch flat panel in place and a large projection screen. Outdoor seating is available. There were no Foo Fighters, in fact the place was a bit too silent, make your mark drop off some classical Biwa (a pear shaped lute) or some hardcore Japanese punk.Ue Kara Grill also has a great selection of Udon Noodles, Bento (lunch) boxes for under $7.00 making it a destination for a quick and convenient downtown lunch and in San Diego, isn't it right to have Sushi with a bit of Mexican flair?
10/04/2009
By: downtownreporter
El Vitral
Walking past El Vitral along the open stadium of Petco Park, shelves of premium tequila glisten in the restaurant window. Walking into the establishment, it becomes evident that tequila is definitely a theme. And why not? It is a quality product from Mexico, which falls in line with Chef/Owner Pablo Becker’s whole vision. His vision is to introduce all things good from fine Mexican cuisine and changing the way San Diego views Mexican food. If that isn’t the best first impression, wait until you walk into the main attraction, the open kitchen. Floor to ceiling stainless steel wrapped in glass pane, the kitchen is the ultimate centerpiece. Chef Becker compares the development of a restaurant is like fitting together pieces of the puzzle. He knows because he speaks from experience. When he first started in the restaurant business his mentor asked him to start like any other employee with no prior experience; by washing dishes. From there, he went through every step of the business from the bottom up. Today, as a restaurateur, he knows a restaurant inside and out and top to bottom. In fact from the hostess to the bartender, all are trained to answer any questions a patron might have about the décor, the various brands of tequila and most importantly, the food. Also on his team is Chef de Cuisine Norma Martinez. She heads the concept menu and blends items in like grandma’s mole recipe. With Chef Becker’s depth of culinary skills, extensive restaurant experience, and love for the restaurant industry, El Vitral is a definite home run.
02/02/2011
By: yourmagazineusa
Mama Testa
Some restaurants don't only speak for themselves, but yell. And you should be caught by Mama Testa, every dish is made from scratch. In an age when fusion is all the rage, Mama Testa is happy to show that going back to the authentic is by no means archaic. Each dish represents a focus on the traditions and techniques responsible for producing complicated flavors and textures. This is all especially true when fish tacos are the topic of conversation. Mama Testa was the first restaurant in San Diego to take on Bobby Flay, as part of Throwdown with Bobby Flay. And although these tacos may not have been the original cause of Mama Testa's good reputation, besting Flay was a great way to prove that it was one fish taco you don't want to miss.What made all this possible is Cesar Gonzalez, owner of Mama Testa, and his passion for Mexican cuisine and culture. He didn't want free range chicken just for the health reasons or because it was the current trend, but because only free range can bring out the flavors realized by the dishes as they are made in Mexico. In fact, all the fresh ingredients are for making Mexican food the way Mexicans do. And Cesar knows that just the food is not enough to give a sense of the culture, so he has made sure that while you dine, you can't help but notice the decor; pieces taken from themes of the golden era of Mexican movies and chairs baring actor's names. The entire idea of Mama Testa Taqueria is to fill your senses with the flavors, smells and sights of Mexico. A goal it has surely achieved.
02/03/2011
By: bustersd10
Dirty Del's
The Ciabatta bread was absolutely wonderful. I had the option of adding any veggies to the sandwich and asked to have a little bit of all of them. Perfect mixture of fresh veggies, fresh bread and quality meats and cheeses. A very well constructed sandwich. Complimented by a tasty dill pickle. The same can be said for all of the items reviewed here. Brian “Dirty Del” Delprino knows his sandwiches. And he should, he has been dreaming about this business long before it opened about two years ago. For what he has added to the San Diego Restaurant scene, and a right near Petco Park, add to the mix that he is an SDSU you Grad and one can almost forgive him for his OC roots. Dirty Del’s is small but its impact is big. 6 flat panels are spread around ensuring that on those packed nights (and there are many) one is guarantee to see the game. Heck, the pro’s both Charger and Padre do occasionally pop in too. “It’s the happy hour that really pulls the crowd in,” says bartender/server Lauren Shortliffe. Those run Monday to Saturday from 4 to 7pm and again from 10pm to midnight, and all day Sunday. The draw - 1$ shots, 2$ Bud/Bud Lite, and 4$ cocktails.I disagree, I think it is the sandwiches. Dirty Del’s should be on your list of places to visit.
09/01/2010
By: yourmagazineusa
Humberto's Taco Shop
This is San Diego and you can't swing a golf club with out hitting the ball into a taco shop. So what makes this one special? It's hard to say, but it is at the top of my list for Mexican food. The locals are here once a week if they are shy, two to three if they are hungry (in any of the 24 hours of the day,) and more often if they appreciate an excellent, inexpensive, and filling meal. The ratings here might not be good, but that is only because of the fast food tables and styrofoam plates. Since you don't eat those, this place is almost 5 stars. And do not be put off by the bars around the open kitchen-counter they are a quaint tribute to the past when this neighborhood was strictly gang turf. Those days are gone and the neighbor hood and this place are family friendly.It is open 24 hours and is good before or after a Padre game, or if you partied too hard at the Turf Club for drinks and not steaks. A good Carne Asada burrito will soak up all that gin and juice and mitigate your hangover. The Carne Asada Fries are a must have.
06/27/2012
By: axelandoutlaw
CUCINA urbana
Order the Squash Blossoms...Order the Squash Blossoms...did you hear me? Order the Squash Blossoms!My friend and I ate here before going to the theater and the biggest problem was I ate way too much and was uncomfortable during the entire musical. Nothing like watching Wicked while turning green yourself! Seriously, the squash blossoms are so delectable and light, full of flavor, and simply one of the best appetizers I've ever had. We also shared the polenta board, which is polenta severed table side with the ragu of the day. The polenta was creamy and delightful, and the ragu is always different ours was filled with summer veggies and full bodied flavors.For our main courses I ordered the spring lamb bolognese rigatoni and my friend ordered the short rib pappardelle. I really wish I had stopped eating half way through my pasta, however it was so delicious I couldn't control myself. Cucina Urbana is totally worth putting on your list of places to mangia!
08/13/2016
By: Angel R.
Vitality Tap - Downtown
I come to this location nearly everyday for their Avocado toast, Popey Juice and Manhattan Mocha. I am addicted to these three items and recommend them to everyone! Try it at least once because you'll always come back for more. The best qualities that I love about this establishment is their organic options, everything is organic, even the Manhattan Mocha is made with organic coffee. The juices are by far some of the freshest I have ever had and I truly believe this health and wellness juice bar sets the standard for all other juice bars. When you like to maintain a healthy lifestyle like I do you need a place that can provide cleansing juices on the go and online. I also love that this local is ready to go with your juice cleanses and you can even have them delivered fast! when ordering online. If you haven't tried Vitality Tap then you MUST! I believe in their products, like I said. I am here nearly everyday at least once per day.
09/30/2010
By: yourmagazineusa
Veg N Out
Very rarely does a sure thing arise, but when the opportunity is there, take it. That's just like VegNout. If you are a card carrying carnivore, take a bite out of a meaty burger or smothered hotdog, and ask whether you can tell the difference; the great part is, even if you can, the taste won't make you care. And for vegans, many items on the completely vegetarian menu can be made so.But at VegNout not only is what you eat important, but what you eat with. Every utensil, to go box and anything else you lay your eyes on involving the in house choices comes from either recycled products or otherwise eco-friendly material. Except one little thing, promotions for the bottled water that makes donations to cleaning up water sources around the globe are made of plastic. A more than forgivable instance. So for bringing a substantial dining choice to the community, and realizing it in green hues, VegNout is a definite destination.
02/06/2010
By: downtownreporter
Gaslamp Garage
Walking into the Gaslamp Garage, I notice that this was not a typical novelty store. The walls were covered with murals, the ceiling lined with old rims and tires, making true every sense of the store's name. On the back wall were Roxy, Hurley and Quicksilver clothing and accessories. This means that I could find a bathing suit for me and a gift for my little sister all in one store. I was impressed by the colorful decor and upbeat music. With 5,000 square feet of retail space, I could browse for hours. The coffee table books were fun, with titles like "He Said, She Said." Not only that, this store offers the largest selection of souvenir merchandise in San Diego. You can find anything from a T-shirt, keychain, shot glass, or fleece hoodie. The employees were professional, dressed in store polo shirts. I could definitely do a lot of shopping here.
08/10/2016
By: Teegan M.
Garlic Shack
I love the Garlic Shack! I had read many reviews before visiting and so was expecting some giant size meals, but OH MY GOSH. My burger was the biggest that I have ever laid my eyes on. And those fries, I cannot even describe how amazing they were. $6 for a large is always good enough for me, but you could make a meal of the fries themselves, there were just so many! Garlicky, salty, perfect; I am in love with those fries. The food was definitely amazing. My friend's Korean Beefholic was huge enough for me to steal a few unnoticed bites and was nearly as good as my awesome burger. Besides the food though, the service was just top-notch incredible! Every single person on the staff is so nice, it's hard to describe.

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