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    by ibobi Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 20, 17 at 01:24 PM
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Trip Report Trip report--San Diego food experiences

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Ate several meals in San Diego, ranging from excellent to terrible. Experiences below, with restaurant name listed first and neighborhood location following:

Old Town Mexican Café, Old Town. Chowhounds and almost everyone else seem to hate this place, but the experience here was fine. A chicken mole enchilada special was surprisingly tasty, though some may not like the slightly grainy sauce texture. This was paired with nicely executed refried beans and rice. Old Town pollo was a Mexican style rotisserie chicken, not fancy but cooked well, with no shortage of sides. Our shuttle driver from the hotel said it makes a big difference who’s doing the cooking when you go; maybe luck was in the air this visit, who knows?

El Prado, Balboa Park. Pleasant patio style seating outside, with just okay food. A Portobello salad was pretty good (mushroom was marinated but not especially distinctive), while a Caesar salad was generic with large romaine leaves you had to chop up.

Hash House a Go Go, Hillcrest. Not bad, though this was enough food to feed a medium-sized army. Chicken pot pie was smooth and tasty, while mushroom hash and eggs saw the hash mostly in large deconstructed chunks with a boatload of scrambled eggs. Tasted fine, though.

The Spot, La Jolla. Essentially a pub, with comparatively reasonable prices in this ritzy neighborhood. A summer salad mixed greens and fruit, all scrupulously fresh with a nice vinaigrette dressing. A lamb burger was perfectly cooked, pleasantly flavorful and not greasy or gamey in the least. A pleasing surprise.

Broken Yolk, Pacific Beach. It doesn’t get any worse than this. The food at this breakfast/lunch spot was at Denny’s level and below, with a longer wait than usual for such fare. Chicken enchiladas were nothing special. A veggie open face egg white omelet was bland, accompanied by a side plate of badly undercooked home fries cut in rounds instead of the usual cubes. But the meal came to an abrupt end when a cockroach ran onto the table and decided to sample the potatoes. Needless to say, the meal was comped, and the offered gift card was tossed in the trash after beating a hasty retreat. Yuck!

Mimmo’s, Little Italy. This is one of many restaurants in Little Italy, and a good option. Pasta dishes, one cappellini with pomodoro and veggies, the other whole wheat spaghetti with pomodoro and a meatball, were cooked just right and delicious.

Phil’s BBQ, Point Loma. Good for non-Southern barbecue. A mix of rib-less and chick-less (boneless versions of the usual BBQ fare) were tender and delicious with decent smoke flavor and sauce with a bit of bite, accompanied by baked beans (generic, but good) and potato salad (excellent, with skins on and minimal mayonnaise), though an additional side of steamed veggies was unevenly cooked and tasted a little off.

Tea Pavilion, Balboa Park. Better than El Prado for my money. Tried teriyaki and curry rice bowls with chicken, both fresh and tasty.

Casa Guadalajara, Old Town. Food here was just okay. Guacamole and chips made a decent appetizer, but fish tacos and chicken mole enchiladas were nothing special, the latter better at Old Town Mexican Café. The best part of this was the strolling mariachi band providing pleasing entertainment.

Berta’s Latin American, Old Town. A welcome change from Mexican food in this part of the city. A Costa Rican plate of slaw, plantains, rice, and beans was nicely and subtly spiced, while a Brazilian spaghetti dish with a peanut and chile sauce had some zip and plenty of flavor – an unusual combo for sure.

Lucha Libre Taco Shop, Mission Hills. It’s a little hole in the wall with a Mexican wrestling theme, featured on “Man vs. Food,” but they make a really top flight burrito. Got ones with beans, rice, and guacamole in whole wheat tortillas, with one adding pico de gallo and the other zucchini. The flavors melded really well in both, extremely nice in texture and flavor. Really glad to have taken the chance on it.

El Indio, Mission Hills. Another humble Mexican spot with counter service, this one appearing on “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.” This was arguably the best Mexican place gone to. Potato tamales were had twice around, with one addition of a vegetarian taquito, the other as part of a plate with a chicken enchilada, rice, and beans covered in a deliciously spicy red sauce. Cooked and spiced perfectly, really nice textures and flavors all around. A must.

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