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From the Archives: Best of San Diego 1996

A good old-fashioned roast pegged to our past issue


In magazine speak, we are always thinking about “service.” What service, or helpful information, are we giving our readers? Apparently, we used the term a little more loosely in June 1996. For that year’s Best of San Diego feature, we included not just the top picks for Antique Shop, Plant Nursery, and Sports Bar—we also lumped in “a few worsts.”

Some winners and losers were readers’ choices from a mail-in poll, and others were editors’ picks. We have to admit, we got a little carried away with the editorializing. Beyond the mentions of in-line skating, aerobics instructors, movie rental stores, and psychics—which now sound completely random—there were a few more egregious offenses that stick out. And what’s a good roast without some specific examples?

We were not helping the reader by including Most Obnoxious Infomercial (Ab Flex). We even said that Vons was the Best Grocery Store. Our tip? “Don’t forget those double coupons!” Also not insightful: Best Marriage Counselor (“Readers named their pastor or one’s wife”), Most Irritating Voice Mail (the county assessor’s office), and Best Pickup Line (“Hello”). There was also Best/Worst HMO.


Our thoughts on food and drink…

Best Neighborhood Bar: They’re not all like Cheers. But if you want to shoot pool or throw back a few beers, our readers recommended the Aero Club’s locals-only atmosphere.”

The TV series ran from 1982 to 1993. This pop culture reference was already three years old. But hey, Sam Malone is timeless.


Quickest Sit-Down Lunch: A tie. Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar or Islands Restaurant for a bite to eat when you’re on the clock or pressed for time.”

Uh, wrong superlative!


Our shameless plug…

Best Local Web Site: San Diego Magazine’s. Thank you very much. We think it’s pretty special too. http://www.sandiego-online.com

Launched on August 10, 1995. It seems late, but we were the first city/regional magazine in the country to have a website.


Our take on celebrities…

Most Obnoxious Radio Personality: When Howard Stern was picked up by 91X, he swore he’d become the best in San Diego. This is probably not exactly what he meant. Or is it?”


Best Divorce Lawyer: One reader wrote, ‘My husband’s ex-wife’s.’ But the winner was Matt Hervey.”

In 2013, Hervey gave $1 million for melanoma research to the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.


Best Place to Take a Sense of Humor: Jason Austell’s Improv Comedy Traffic School.”

This is indeed the anchor who recently moved from NBC to KUSI. Back then, he did standup comedy and traffic school while working as a traffic reporter.


To the future editors of 2037: go easy on us.

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