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Eat: Bits & Bites

Food porn, ode to the old, and the food dude


sugar-dusted beignets from Craft & Commerce

Food Porn

The crispy-to-fluffy ratio is so perfect on these warm, sugar-dusted beignets, a new addition to the dessert menu at Craft & Commerce, that we almost don’t need the bourbon chocolate sauce. Almost. 675 Beech Street, Little Italy



Ode to the Old

Why we’re still hooked on the Whaling Bar, despite the fact that it tanked

From the 1950s to the 1970s, my grandpa had a high-end home store on lower Girard in La Jolla, and often, after a day of talking thread counts and throw pillows, he would walk to the Whaling Bar at La Valencia and order a Johnnie Walker. Local merchants from Warwick’s, Adelaide’s, Burns Drugs, and the Ascot Shop likely did the same. When people talk about past clientèle of the historic Whaling Bar, they name-drop Raymond Chandler or Dr. Seuss, but name-dropping was not for the type of people who frequented the place and made it great. It wasn’t flashy. It was never what we today call a “hotel bar.” It was a neighborhood watering hole in a really expensive hotel. It was a piece of history.
Alas, there weren’t enough bodies in the place, despite local outrage upon news of its closing. Café La Rue will open soon in its place, with a French art deco look. The barstool count will increase from nine to 20. New chef Daniel Barron will make the food. It won’t be the same. But here’s to new memories. See you soon at Café La Rue. 1132 Prospect Street, La Jolla —Erin Meanley



The Food Dude

Juan Vargas

Freshman U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas is arguably the most important person in San Diego when it comes to food. Why? Because for the first time, a San Diegan has landed a coveted seat on the House Agriculture Committee, just as the $955 billion Farm Bill was up for renewal. That food policy impacts everything from farm subsidies for big commodity crop growers to crop insurance reform to the bulk of the bill—the polarizing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. Immigration will also be at the forefront for Vargas, who came from rural beginnings. His parents were laborers on a chicken farm where he lived with nine siblings.  “It was a diet of chicken and eggs for 13 years,” he says. “We weren’t on any government programs. “Farmers want immigration reform,” Vargas says. “They’re worried about the future.” A future where food is at the very crossroads of the economy, science, the environment, and health. —Clare Leschin-Hoar

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