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Friday, March 31, 2017


GUEST BLOG / By Mike Shess, Publisher, West Coaster craft beer website and print magazine.

Once a year, usually in the Fall, as in 2016, West Coaster craft beer website and print magazine publishes the results of its Readers’ Poll.  For the next few weeks, daily online magazine in its weekly The Brewspaper column will profile on “Best of” from West Coaster’s annual poll.
Publisher Mike Shess and Editor Ryan Lamb asked readers to vote for their favorites among the following categories:
         Best San Diego Beer
         Best San Diego Brewery
         Best Brewmaster
         Best Brew Pub
         Best Homebrewer
         Best Tasting Room
         Best New Beer Spot
         Best Beer Bar
         Best Beer Restaurant
         Best San Diego IPA
         Best Beer Region within San Diego County
         Best Beer Festival
         Best Bottleshop
         Best Beer Selection
         Most Underrated Brewery

This week:
Best San Diego Brew Pub
Abnormal Beer Company/Cork & Craft

For the second year in a row, Abnormal Beer Co. is the best brewpub in San Diego according to our readers. In 2016, the Rancho Bernardo operation expanded brewing possibilities and then beers like Boss Pour IPA started appearing on taplists countywide. The Abnormal Dinner Series continues on March 6th with one of #LABeer’s finest: Beachwood BBQ. These quarterly-held pairing dinners are a good way to figure out what all the fuss is about. Don’t forget they make wine on-site, too!

Thursday, March 30, 2017


The Living Room Coffee House, San Diego

Later this afternoon (March 30), the San Diego Police Department has made available Captain Thomas Underwood and his command staff from the Mid-City Division to meet the public as part of SDPD’s regular Coffee with a Cop series.

The casual setting is an excellent way for the public to meet with the police and discuss community issues.

Venue: The Living Room, a coffee house, 5900 El Cajon Blvd.
Time: 4 to 6 pm.

Non hosted event. No speeches or agendas just simply the old fashioned way of doing policing: getting out of the car and conversing with citizens.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017


The historic Marston House Museum will close March 27 for three months while a new roof and gutters are installed. Reopening is expected July 1, announced Save Our Heritage Organisation, the nonprofit preservation group that operates the 1905 Arts & Crafts mansion at 3525 Seventh Avenue for the City of San Diego.

Much of the Marston House gardens and sweeping lawn with shade trees, part of Balboa Park, will remain open to pedestrians during construction.

The Marston House Museum Shop, in the estate's historic carriage house, will stay open Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 5pm. The museum's offering of neighborhood walking tours of Seventh Avenue and Bankers Hill will continue to run and have been expanded to every weekend during this time.

"We are pleased the City is undertaking this much-needed roofing work to preserve and maintain one of San Diego's most beloved cultural sites," said Bruce Coons, SOHO's executive director. "We hope residents and tourists will be understanding during the three-month repair period."

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Marston House was designed by Hebbard & Gill, San Diego's leading architecture firm at the turn of the 20th century. Replacement of the wood shingle roof and repair of gutters will comply with national preservation standards: The new roof will replicate the original in materials and construction method. For example, the roof's lifespan will be extended thanks to the historic skipped sheathing technique that allows the shingles to breathe and dry out.

While the Marston House is closed, the on-site caretaker will remain in residence.

SOHO hopes to take advantage of the museum's closure for some interior restoration projects, if funding becomes available. If you would like to donate and earmark your contribution for the Marston House Restoration Fund, click HERE or call (619) 297-9327.

All year round, SOHO operates other historic sites and museums in San Diego County. High quality tours and intriguing programming are also ongoing at the Whaley House Museum and Adobe Chapel in Old Town, Santa Ysabel Store and The Feed Store - Antiques & Such and adjacent Hoover Barn in Santa Ysabel, and Warner-Carrillo Ranch House in Warner Springs.

For more information, visit or call (619) 297-9327.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Original Joe's in San Jose is not associated with other Original Joe's restaurants
GUEST BLOG / by Eric Peterson author of “The Dining Car.”
It’s an insidious practice: upscale restaurants are increasingly serving small plates in lieu of properly portioned entrées. If the trend continues, a generation of diners will be permanently saddled with the palates of dilettantes and the appetites of Lilliputians. Fine dining in the traditional sense will go the way of the Princess rotary-dial phone.
I confess to being a dinosaur: When setting out for a night on the town, my destination is invariably a top-tier chophouse: dim lighting, white linen tablecloths, a full glittering bar, and food portions that guarantee I’ll walk out groaning.
This being my reference, you can imagine my horror when an online restaurant-industry trade magazine crossed my desk, and the feature article extolled the virtues of small, shareable seafood plates. According to the newsletter, called Restaurant Hospitality Eat Beat, the craze for small bites was hitting trendy, upscale restaurants in a big way:
“Small plates are really good because we’re in an iPhone world and our attention spans are getting smaller and smaller as time goes on,” said restaurateur and Top Chef finalist Brian Malarkey, whose small plate of Buffalo octopus “stole the show” at Sundance Film Festival this year, according to the newsletter. “The days of giant steaks and big fish are done,” Malarkey added. “It’s now one bite of this, one bite of that. I can’t get three bites into something before I’m like, ‘What’s next?’”
At this point, reading at my desk, I grew faint. The next thing I knew, my assistant was waving smelling salts under my nose and helping me off the floor.
The trend toward small-plate, prix fixe menus is incontrovertible. Such celebrated establishments as Benu, Chez Panisse, and The French Laundry all follow the despotic formula of “you’ll get what the chef gives you, and that’s that.” But then, so does the state prison at San Quentin.
What galls me is that these chef-driven restaurants are so unapologetic about their approach to fine dining, which is an affront to American tradition, a healthy appetite, and personal choice. On its website, The French Laundry says, “We serve a series of small courses meant to excite your mind, satisfy your appetite and pique your curiosity. We want you to say, ‘I wish I had just one more bite of that.’ And then the next plate arrives and the same thing happens.”
I have to ask myself, Has the restaurant world gone completely mad?
I was beginning to think yes—that is, until last weekend, when my travels took me to Santa Cruz, CA, for a wine-bottling weekend high in the mountains. On Sunday we had a late-afternoon plane to catch, and this gave my traveling companions and me the opportunity to grab an early lunch near the airport.
The restaurant we quite inadvertently stumbled upon in downtown San Jose was Original Joe’s Italian Restaurant, a descendant of the Original Joe’s founded in San Francisco in 1937.

Low lighting, crescent leather booths, white linen tablecloths under a cavernous ceiling—this was a real restaurant. Our server, Jose Luis, wore a tuxedo. He was perhaps 60. In his 29 years at Original Joe’s, he had personally tasted every one of the menu’s 117 items. He wasn’t so fond of the sweetbreads or the liver, he said, but the spaghetti, lasagna, and minestrone soup were excellent.

“The prime rib is ready to be served,” Jose Luis added. It was 11:30 in the morning.

At Original Joe’s, the omelets are made with four eggs. Order bacon and eggs, and you get crispy stout steak fries and a truckload of bacon with your scrambled eggs. The Bloody Marys arrive nearly colorless at the top. And the sheer girth of the club sandwiches being portaged through the dining room made our eyes pop.  Imagine what dinner must be like.

My advice to those of you in the iPhone generation who are putting down a credit card and waiting two to three months for a table at some small-plate, prix fixe nirvana of gustatory endeavor: Cancel your reservation. Use what you save to spring for an Uber. Go to Original Joe’s in San Jose, where a gentlemanly server in a tuxedo will unobtrusively attend to your every need. You’ll eat what you want and you won’t go away hungry.

Chew on that with your minuscule plate of Buffalo octopus, chef Brian Malarkey. ##.

Eric Peterson, Author, Dining Critic, Californian
Eric Peterson is the author of The Dining Car, a contemporary novel about a former college football player who enlists as bartender and personal valet to a curmudgeonly food writer and social critic who travels the country by private railroad car.

Breaking News: Peterson’s novel is a finalist in the Independent Book Publishers Assn’s 29th annual Benjamin Franklin Awards 2017.

Also: The Dining Car available at Amazon Books