Best Things I Ate This Month: January 2016
Jackfruit “BBQ” Sandwich at Kindred, Chicago Deep Dish at Regents Pizzeria, Pho at OB Noodle House Bar 1502
Jackfruit “BBQ” Sandwich @ Kindred
Vegan and vegetarian food is on the verge of booming in San Diego. Even us dedicated carnivores know that three meals of meat a day is a quick way to get acquainted with a defibrillator. Kindred is the newest vegan restaurant to come into the San Diego scene, a partnership between vegan pop-up dinner specialist Kory Stetina, Arsalun Tafazoli (the guy who brought San Diego Craft & Commerce), bartender David Kinsey (ex-Sycamore Den) and designer Paul Basile (Ironside, etc.). It looks beautiful. But how’s the food? Pretty excellent, in the hands of chef Jeremy Scullin, who briefly worked at two of the nation’s top vegan restaurants (Vedge in Philly and Blossom in NYC). This was the star of our tasting—a jackfruit “BBQ” sandwich. Meatless, of course. But the jackfruit has a meaty consistency, along with some textured tofu, and a green chili aioli. Stetina said he wants to make big, bold, indulgent vegan food at Kindred. And this succeeds in spades. Meat eaters won’t even notice the elephant not in the room (pork).
1503 30th Street, South Park, 619.546.9653, barkindred.com
Chicago Deep Dish @ Regents Pizzeria
The problem with many deep dishes is that they get too wet. There’s so much sauce, so much sausage, so much cheese—all of which give off moisture when baked. Regents manages to pre-cook and dehydrate some of the ingredients so that it’s not a soupy mess, yet still juicy enough. Many places, like the famous Gino’s East in Chicago, use cornmeal. Regents does not, which is a preference (even if it wouldn't be mine). Yet it’s still very good. Like a meat Napolean with pepperoni, sausage, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and their tangy sauce. Very good.
4150 Regents Park Row, UTC area, 858.550.0406, regentspizza.com
Pho @ OB Noodle House Bar 1502
I’m a new Ocean Beach resident. I love the funk. I love the pride. I love the sense of yoga and dogs and community and calm pace and vague illicitness. And I love OB Noodle House. At the second, larger location they opened up (after Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives put their original location at max capacity), is basically a community center just off the strip (Newport Ave.). Here it’s all about the pho (and the spicy garlic wings, and the sizzling fish). But on a warm winter day, a bowl of pho with strips of filet mignon, the broth reeking of lime and basil and beef and ginger and star anise, with a vague backnote of fish sauce—that will solve any El Nino woes. And the owner Alex was raised down the street. His folks owned the donut shop in town. This town is his life and pride.
4993 Niagara Ave., Ocean Beach, 619.255.9858, bar1502.com