International markets, specialty shops, farm tours, and adventurous eats—it’s all in this month’s cover story, compiled by Senior Editor Marie Tutko. "The Food Lovers’ Guide" is a crash course in ingredients, global cuisines, and eating fresh. Even I was inspired to start cooking, beginning with that yellow squash you see at the top of the cover—I took it home and Googled "how to roast vegetables." For a person who grew up on microwave burritos, the knowledge packed into this feature is just this side of overwhelming. (Persimmons and sunchokes, what are those?) But for the initiated, it’s a creative and comprehensive guide you’ll want to keep, especially in time for the holidays.
We all need a Marie Tutko in our life to point out the soppressata and the speck, and to escort us to the mom-and-pops as well as the mainstream and worthy. It’s hard to admit, but even something as simple and obvious as Las Cuatro Milpas—an iconic taco shop just a six-minute drive from our office—I had never been to until this month. It took Marie scheduling it into my calendar, hailing the Uber, and accompanying me there for lunch. I only spent $4.30 for two meaty tacos and a Diet Coke! Marie ordered tacos to review and a big bowl of rice and beans with tortillas for us to share (we’re doing the classics this month, including a restaurant review of Pamplemousse Grille).
Another taco-centric story I’m excited about in this issue is "The Fish Taco King." Troy Johnson sat down with Ralph Rubio, the man who brought the fish taco to San Diego and created a fast food empire. Few people know the story behind Rubio’s, whose first location is still serving that best-selling taco on Mission Bay Drive. It’s a good old-fashioned American success story, with all the pitfalls of building a business—and embarrassing ’80s photos to boot.
Finally, you must read Dan Letchworth’s personal essay. He traces the physical and spiritual life of his late father and all I can say is, this moving piece—and the elder Letchworth—will help make you a better person. His example made me reconsider the little negative thoughts in my head. Dan gives us storytelling par excellence and I am most proud to publish this piece in San Diego Magazine. Read it before you sit down with your family on November 28.
This Thanksgiving season, I’ll share the tortillas and the stories with you. But you’ll have to find your own Marie Tutko.