title

San Diego Magazine's Happy Half Hour

San Diego Magazine

3
Followers
43
Plays
San Diego Magazine's Happy Half Hour
San Diego Magazine's Happy Half Hour

San Diego Magazine's Happy Half Hour

San Diego Magazine

3
Followers
43
Plays
OVERVIEWEPISODESYOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Details

About Us

Troy Johnson, Erin Chambers Smith, and Lauren Winget talk dining out, drinking up and what’s making news on the restaurant scene.

Latest Episodes

Fernando Gaxiola Gives us Taste of Mexico’s Wine Country Through His Co., Baja Wine and Food

This week’s special guest is Fernando Gaxiola, founder of Baja Wine and Food. Fernando was born and raised in Mexico and has a degree in engineering, as well as an MBA from Arizona State University. He spent years traveling and consulting around the world, but in 2011, settled in the San Diego-Tijuana area. In 2013, he launched Baja Wine and Food, a tour company which takes people to the boutique wineries and restaurants in the Valle de Guadalupe, Baja's wine country. He also helps these vintners distribute their wines internationally and promotes their events. We featured Baja Wine and Food in this month's Food Lover's Guide as an Immersive Food Experience. For Two People, $50, Fernando chose Lola 55, which is located in his same office building, so he says it’s both convenient and delicious. Lauren chose Tribute Pizza, but for the brunch, not for the pizza—she says they have the best bagels and breakfast calzones. Troy chose the Staff’s Favorite pizza at Blue Ribbon in Encinitas. In Hot Plates, we discussed the opening of a 6,000-square-foot conveyor belt sushi restaurant near Convoy called Mikami. San Diego just got a Venezuelan restaurant: Mi Pana Latin American Cuisine just opened in National City after the Venezuelan owner said he didn't see the cuisine being represented here. Feeding San Diego, a local nonprofit, says they are using a new app called MealConnect, created by Feed America. The app allows hotels, restaurants, events planners, farmers’ markets vendors, and convenience stores to donate their extra food and have someone come pick it up, like an Uber for food donations. This week’s Hot Topic was brought to us by one of our listeners, Tom. Tom just moved to South Park from the Bay Area a year ago, and he wrote to us with some questions about what’s going on with some of the restaurants in the neighborhood: he says several are still under construction or have delayed openings. Lauren has intel on the status of each restaurant Tom asked about, and Troy gave us insight on why there might be a backlog in the permitting process. Thanks for listening, and we’d love to hear from you! Call us at 619-744-0535 and leave a message. Or if you’re too shy to call, you can email HappyHalfHour@sdmag.com. You can give us your recommendations for Two People, $50, tell us about any news happening in San Diego’s culinary world, or let us know who you’d like to hear featured as a guest on the podcast.

57 MIN2 d ago
Comments
Fernando Gaxiola Gives us Taste of Mexico’s Wine Country Through His Co., Baja Wine and Food

Tommy the Fishmonger Talks About Going Solo while Staying Sustainable

Welcome back to the Happy Half Hour podcast! Our sponsor this week is the SoNo Fest and Chili Cook-Off, and with us today is long-time chili competitor and beer donor, Lee Chase from Automatic Brewing, Tiger! Tiger!, Blind Lady Ale House and Panama 66. SoNo Fest is now one of the largest festivals in the North and South Park neighborhoods and is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year on December 1. This week’s special guest is Tommy Gomes, also known as Tommy the Fishmonger. Tommy joined us on the podcast in 2017, but is back to talk about his new consulting and advocacy work under his new brand, Tommy the Fishmonger. Tommy has a long history in San Diego working for Catalina Offshore Products, helping them open the Seafood Education and Nutrition Center. Tommy also founded Collaboration Kitchen, a nonprofit dinner series focused on seafood education, and you can also find him on YouTube cooking up some great seafood recipes. Tommy’s work helped Catalina Offshore receive a grant in 2019 to help expand the demand for underutilized species. We featured Tommy in our latest issue's Food Lovers’ Guide, where he gave us tips on how to buy the best seafood. For Two People, $50, Tommy chose Volare on Midway because he says their pasta with red sauce is the most authentic in San Diego. He also chose Fiddlers Green because you can get a steak with a baked potato and a salad for just $12. Lauren chose Brian Malarkey and Chris Puffer’s new restaurant, Herb and Sea. Troy liked the garlic chicken wrap at Mama’s Bakery and Lebanese Deli. In Hot Plates, it was all about restaurant openings: the new Puffer Malarkey Collective, Herb and Sea, the new Hillcrest steakhouse, Rare Society, and a new Southern restaurant in Hillcrest, Sunnyboy Biscuit Company. We also talked about Daniela Martinez, the pastry chef at Il Dandy—she just won the Sweets Showdown on the Food Network show Chopped. Daniela competed against the chefs from Milk Bar in New York and Broken Spanish in LA, and won $50,000! This week’s Hot Topic is about what to do when you’re a huge foodie, but you have a kid who is a picky eater. Troy wrote a heartfelt essay for the November issue and shared that while he’s a restaurant critic and an adventurous eater for a living, his daughter has a long list of things that she will not eat. Thanks for listening, and we’d love to hear from you! Call us at 619-744-0535 and leave a message. Or if you’re too shy to call, you can email HappyHalfHour@sdmag.com. You can give us your recommendations for Two People, $50, tell us about any news happening in San Diego’s culinary world, or let us know who you’d like to hear featured as a guest on the podcast.

47 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Tommy the Fishmonger Talks About Going Solo while Staying Sustainable

Co-Founder of Coronado Brewing Company Rick Chapman, Joins Us

This week’s special guest is Rick Chapman, the co-founder of Coronado Brewing Company, which has been open for over 23 years. Rick and his brother, Ron, opened the brewpub in the heart of their hometown of Coronado in 1996. Since then, their beers have won some major awards, including the 2014 World Beer Cup Champion for Best Mid-Sized Brewery, and they won four medals at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival competition. They expanded in 2012 with a state-of-the-art production facility and tasting room in Bay Park, and in 2014, they opened up the Imperial Beach Restaurant. They have also expanded their brewhouse to meet the distribution demands of 16 states and 15 countries. For Two People, $50, Rick gave us a few choices: Kaiserhof Restaurant and Biergarten in OB, and his Coronado favorites, Village Pizza, Lil’ Piggy’s Bar-B-Q, and the Brigantine. Lauren chose George’s Level 2 because of their creative custom cocktails, like the pumpkin spice margarita. Erin chose Waypoint Pub...

41 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Co-Founder of Coronado Brewing Company Rick Chapman, Joins Us

We Step Inside the City’s Newest (and Spookiest) Speakeasy with Tahona Owner Amar Harrag

Welcome back! We’re here at the Hotel Del Coronado with Sara Harper, the director of marketing for the Hotel Del and Beach Village at the Del. Sara oversees all the branding for the iconic resort. This week’s special guest is here right in time for Halloween. Joining us is Amar Harrag, the co-owner of Tahona restaurant and mezcal bar in Old Town, which has a new speakeasy that just opened called Oculto 477. Tahona, opened earlier this year, is the city’s first mezcal tasting room. Both drinking dens are next door to the old El Campo Santo Cemetery. We learned that Amar is a native of Antibes in the south of France, and a graduate of the University of San Diego. In addition to Tahona, he co-owns Matisse Bistro in San Diego and Irvine, and runs the real estate brokerage Allied Green Realty. He is also the founder of the San Diego chapter of Corazon de Vida and sits on the board of directors for Create Purpose—both are nonprofits that help orphaned and abandoned children in Mexico. For Two People, $50, Amar chose Tacos El Gordo for quick and delicious carne asada and lengua tacos. Troy picked El Pescador because of their tasty local fish. Lauren chose Tiger!Tiger!, which recently had a Japanese craft beer pop-up (she enjoyed a matcha lager). Erin ventured out to East County with her family and had smoked turkey on a roll at Grand Ole BBQ. In Hot Plates, we talked about how after more than 50 years in business, Su Casa in La Jolla closed. There is a new Oaxacan restaurant coming to Hillcrest named Cocina de Barrio, replacing the old Swami's Cafe on Fifth Avenue. SKA Bar and Restaurant is a new two-story rooftop bar in Normal Heights on Adams Avenue—it’s now the largest restaurant and bar in the neighborhood. David’s 60 Second Beer Review this week is Collabapalooza—it's a mix of Queen of Tarts from Karl Strauss and Tabula Rasa porter from Second Chance Beer Company, blended in wine barrels with Michigan tart cherries. This week’s Hot Topic is from a recent story from the San Francisco Chronicle, which says that the gig economy (and companies like Uber and Lyft) are making it harder for restaurant owners in the Bay Area to find new kitchen staff. Thanks for listening, and we’d love to hear from you! Call us at 619-744-0535 and leave a message. Or if you’re too shy to call, you can email HappyHalfHour@sdmag.com. You can give us your recommendations for Two People, $50, tell us about any news happening in San Diego’s culinary world, or let us know who you’d like to hear featured as a guest on the podcast

34 MIN3 w ago
Comments
We Step Inside the City’s Newest (and Spookiest) Speakeasy with Tahona Owner Amar Harrag

Sponsored: We Chat with the Crew behind Hornblower Cruises and Events Aboard the High Spirits Ship

Welcome to a very special episode of the Happy Half Hour! This week, we are sailing through San Diego Bay on the High Spirits, a vintage ship belonging to Hornblower Cruises and Events. We’re chatting with the marketing manager, director of food and beverage, national sales manager, executive chef, and the captain who make the Hornblower cruises sail so smoothly. Hornblower offers several different dining cruises which include brunch, cocktails, dinner and holiday cruises, whale watching tours (resuming on December 14), and private events like weddings, and corporate and school events. There are seven different Hornblower ships in San Diego, with the biggest one hosting up to 1,200 people. Sophie Shrader, marketing manager and fan of the Happy Half Hour podcast, tells us Hornblower Cruises and Events is hosting a Thanksgiving brunch and dinner, as well as a Christmas Eve and Christmas Day brunch and dinner complete with carolers and Santa. If she’s not eating a delicious holiday dinner on the Hornblower, Sophie says she likes to indulge in the cheese wheel pasta at Monello in Little Italy. Next up is Chris Schlerf, director of food and beverage—and previously Troy’s boss when Troy worked for Hornblower back in the day. Chris has been with the company for 32 years, and focuses on gathering local and seasonal ingredients in addition to providing free-flowing Champagne during their brunch cruises with bottomless mimosas. His famous grandmother’s bread pudding, which is still on the menu today, started in 1987 when Chris was working in the Bay Area and made the pudding out of day-old Danish pastries. While waiting for our entrees to arrive, we talk to Mandy Brown, national sales manager, who takes care of business not only here in San Diego, but in the many other ports the company has on both the East and West Coast (they have more than 100 vessels). Mandy says when she’s not eating on the boat, she goes to Pete’s Seafood and Sandwich to get the mozzarella sticks filled with either mozzarella or pepper jack cheese. While digging into our main courses, we chat with Dave Mango, executive chef for Hornblower. He had his start in Boston and loves to be creative with his cooking, even in the small, cramped cooking quarters. For example, he recreated the 10-course, final meal served on the Titanic for a special themed cruise. In addition to cooking on the Hornblower, Dave is the executive chef at Union Kitchen & Tap downtown, which serves what he calls the best chilaquiles north of TJ. Captain Jose Gurganus is the last guest of the night, and he just celebrated his 25th anniversary with Hornblower Cruise and Events! The captain says when he’s not saving struggling jet skiers or partaking in dinner on the boat, he likes to go to Leroy's on Coronado with his wife and order the deviled eggs. Visit hornblower.com to schedule your next dining, whale watching, or special event cruise aboard one of the many Hornblower ships.

50 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Sponsored: We Chat with the Crew behind Hornblower Cruises and Events Aboard the High Spirits Ship

Crystals and CBD Cocktails: Matt Sieve Talks About His Daring New Drinks at Madison on Park

This week’s special guest is Matt Sieve, the owner of Madison on Park. Matt opened the restaurant and bar in University Heights four years ago, and their newest drink, called the “Queen of Crowns,” is going to be featured as the cocktail of the month in the November issue of San Diego Magazine. Recently, Madison generated buzz for being at the forefront of making CBD cocktails in San Diego. Matt is a third-generation restaurant owner—he is one of five brothers, and his family owns five restaurants in Minnesota, one of which is 100 years old. For Two People, $50, Matt gave us an entire day of food for $50 starting with breakfast at Little Lion Cafe in Ocean Beach. For lunch, he recommends going up the coast to Mission Beach for the No. 9 sandwich at Gabbiano Pizza. He then goes to The Rose in South Park for some appetizers, then drops into the Turf Supper Club for a dirty martini. Matt finishes off the day with a Cali burrito from Adalbertos. In Hot Plates, we talked about Patxi's Pizza, a chain from the Bay Area focused on Chicago deep dish pizza, opening today in Hillcrest. Valle de Guadalupe has a new restaurant called Lunario at La Lomita Winery, with 28-year-old chef Sheyla Alvarado creating a masterful menu. The rooftop bar downtown, The Nolen, quietly went through a Paul Basile redesign. Convergence Harvest is a new food festival happening on November 2 at Temecula Olive Oil Company. The event brings together top local talent intermixed with farmers, fishermen, and producers (plus local, natural winemakers and breweries) and benefits The Ecology Center. David’s 60 Second Beer Review this week is Sea Señor, a Mexican-style lager from South Norte Beer Co. This week’s Hot Topic is about how millennials are fleeing cities and heading to the burbs. The Wall Street Journal reported that recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau says 27,000 millennials between the ages of 25 and 39 left big cities like New York, San Francisco, and Houston last year for the suburbs. Locally, we're seeing cooler restaurants like these pop up in the suburbs: The Florence, One Paseo, and Windmill Food Hall in Carlsbad. Thanks for listening, and we’d love to hear from you! Call us at 619-744-0535 and leave a message. Or if you’re too shy to call, you can email HappyHalfHour@sdmag.com. You can give us your recommendations for Two People, $50, tell us about any news happening in San Diego’s culinary world, or let us know who you’d like to hear featured as a guest on the podcast.

42 MINOCT 24
Comments
Crystals and CBD Cocktails: Matt Sieve Talks About His Daring New Drinks at Madison on Park

From Refugee Camp to Running a Restaurant Empire: Steven Yeng of OB Noodle House Shares His Story

This week we have a very special episode, and it’s a must-listen. Our guest is Steven Yeng, the co-founder of OB Noodle House, The Holding Company and Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey, which launched nationally and will be available in all 50 states by the end of this month. Steven is a Cambodian-born immigrant and polio survivor, and he grew up in Ocean Beach, where he met his now-wife, Brittany. He’s known in the community for his philanthropy, and last year he won the Humanitarian of the Year award from the Ocean Beach Town Council. Steven shared his origin story with us, and it’s harrowing: His family had to flee Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge, and they spent four years in a refugee camp in Thailand before they made it to the U.S., settling in Ocean Beach. We learn how Steven’s parents starting working at and eventually bought OB Donuts, and the backstory to Steven and his brother opening OB Noodle House. Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey is Steven’s latest venture, which he co-founded with Brittany, who has a master’s degree in chemistry. Steven tells us that peanut butter has a special place in his heart, because it’s one of the first foods he was introduced to when he arrived in the U.S. David’s 60-second beer review this week is Pedaleur, a limited edition session IPA collaboration brew fromRouleur Brewing Company. It supports Padres Pedal the Cause, a leading nonprofit that raises money for cancer research organizations throughout San Diego. For Two People, $50, Steven chose a gathering of street food vendors stationed at the Wat Sovannkiri Buddhist temple in City Heights. He said it’s a great place to pick up some yakitori and papaya salad, and your money goes to helping those in need. Lauren’s pick this week was Anime, where she tasted several of their appetizers. And Troy’s pick this week was the mango habanero and chipotle hot wings at Buffalo Wing Star in Linda Vista. In Hot Plates, we talked about two recent restaurant closings: The Land & Water Co. in Carlsbad and Oscar's Mexican Seafood in the East Village. We also talked about “Wasted,” an event where 35 local and national chefs and bartenders are challenged to prepare dishes and cocktails using food that might otherwise be thrown away. There was also a lot of chicken news this week: Dave's Hot Chicken is expanding from Los Angeles and opening in San Diego, and Pluck just opened in Carlsbad. This is perfect timing because Troy is currently on the hunt for the best chicken wings in San Diego. Thanks for listening, and we’d love to hear from you! Call us at 619-744-0535 and leave a message. Or if you’re too shy to call, you can email HappyHalfHour@sdmag.com. You can give us your recommendations for Two People, $50, tell us about any news happening in San Diego’s culinary world, or let us know who you’d like to hear featured as a guest on the podcast.

66 MINOCT 17
Comments
From Refugee Camp to Running a Restaurant Empire: Steven Yeng of OB Noodle House Shares His Story

Brandon Zanavich talks all things Dirty Flat Top Cheeseburger and The Friendly

This week’s special guest is Brandon Zanavich, owner of The Friendly in North Park. The Friendly is known for its New York-style pizza and “dirty flat top cheeseburgers.” Customers aren’t allowed to modify anything on the burgers, so what you order is what you get: butter-braised onions, American cheese, and garlic aioli all piled on top of a grilled burger patty. Brandon recently teamed up with Hanis Cavin of the Porchetta Shack to open a second location, The Friendly Tavern, in the Shack’s former walk-up space on University Avenue. The stand has only been open for a few weeks, and so far, business has been good, Brandon says. For Two People, $50, Brandon chose Dumpling Inn on Convoy Street. Lauren’s pick this week was Zinqué, a new French restaurant where Troy had the First Look when it opened in September. And Troy’s pick this week was Born and Raised, where he thoroughly enjoyed the bone marrow escargot. In Hot Plates, we talked about the owner of Pokirrito closing both ...

30 MINOCT 10
Comments
Brandon Zanavich talks all things Dirty Flat Top Cheeseburger and The Friendly

Meet Justin Vaiciunas, the ‘Cutthroat’ Chef at Luca

This week’s special guest is Justin Vaiciunas, the executive chef at the new Guild Hotel on Broadway, and its in-house restaurant Luca. Justin is from Detroit, where he was the chef at the city’s prestigious Detroit Athletic Club. He loves to travel and experience new cultures, foods, and cooking techniques. His taste for adventure recently brought him to Food Network to compete on the show, “Cutthroat Kitchen,” where he had to make breakfast tacos on a pullout couch. Justin gave us two picks for Two People, $50: Stone Brewing in Liberty Station and Nolita Hall. Erin shared that she celebrated her 11-year anniversary with her husband at one of their favorite restaurants, Jaynes Gastropub, where she can always count on a perfect martini and classic menu. Lauren’s pick this week was Bivouac where she was able to try some great, dry ciders (even a festive Pumpkin Spice flavored cider). Troy’s pick was Galaxy Taco, where he chose their grilled yellowtail taco as the Very Important Taco in April. In Hot Plates, we talked about the latest update on the Patio restaurants: The Patio on Goldfinch, Fireside by the Patio, The Patio Express, and Bao Beach and Swell Coffee have closed. Blade 1936 is now open in Oceanside and Troy got the First Look at this new Italian restaurant named after the newspaper that occupied the space in the ’30s. WhipHand in the East Village closed. Lastly, there will be a food festival at the San Diego Asian Film Festival called “Chew the Scene.” This week’s Hot Topic is DoorDash’s recent security breach, where nearly 5 million customers and drivers may have had their personal data exposed, according to the Washington Post. Jason shared on the podcast that Luca does partner with all of the delivery apps, and is hoping to gain more business through them. Thanks for listening, and we’d love to hear from you! Call us at 619-744-0535 and leave a message. Or if you’re too shy to call, you can email HappyHalfHour@sdmag.com. You can give us your recommendations for Two People, $50, tell us about any news happening in San Diego’s culinary world, or let us know who you’d like to hear featured as a guest on the podcast.

44 MINOCT 4
Comments
Meet Justin Vaiciunas, the ‘Cutthroat’ Chef at Luca

How the Founder of Puesto Turned His Love of Home-Cooked Meals into a Thriving Restaurant

Welcome back! This episode is brought to you by our sponsors, Angela Landsberg, executive director of North Park Main Street, and Sara Crichlow from Redwing Bar & Grill on 30th Street. Redwing has karaoke seven days a week and a full patio bar in the back, so get ready to drink, eat and then belt out your favorite song. This week’s special guest is Eric Adler, co-founder of Puesto. Eric grew up in a Mexican American household in La Jolla, and home-cooked meals were a big part of his childhood, which he says cemented his love for food. Eric moved to Boston for college, then he went to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. to earn his master’s in sports business, and went on to work with pro sports teams like the Washington Wizards. In 2010, he moved back to San Diego, and met chef Luisteen Gonzalez at a party. Chef Luisteen was making creative tacos wrapped in layers of crispy cheese, and Eric wanted in. A year later, Eric teamed up with his two brothers and two cousins to open Puesto in La Jolla. Puesto now has six locations in San Diego, Orange County, and the Bay Area, and they’re about to open their seventh restaurant in the old Gordon Biersch space in Mission Valley—where they’ll start brewing their own beer onsite. Another exciting feature is that someone from a (still unnamed) three-star Michelin restaurant will be heading up the new cocktail menu. Eric gave us his pick for Two People, $50, and he chose El Pescador Fish Market in La Jolla because of their salmon and crab sandwiches on sourdough. Erin shared that Jim Fitzpatrick, CEO and publisher of San Diego Magazine, sent in his pick for Two People, $50, to the podcast’s email address: Jim chose dinner at La Jolla Shores Hotel because the view and good food can’t be beat. Lauren’s pick this week was J & Tony’s Discount Cured Meats and Negroni Warehouse, a bar that just opened this summer in the East Village which is serving up canned seafood and drinks that James Bond would hate, stirred not shaken over hand-cut ice. Troy’s pick this week was the lamb barbacoa tacos on the patio at Luce Bar. In Hot Plates, we talked about the closing of Seasucker in Del Mar, set for October 30. Troy got a First Look at Brian Malarkey’s new $5.5 million-dollar restaurant, Animae, that opened on the bottom floor of the Pacific Gate complex by Bosa. There’s a rooftop bar on the 16th floor of the new Carte Hotel in Little Italy just opened, called Above Ash Social. The owners of The Rose wine bar in South Park are opening up a new bar on 30th Street devoted to oysters and gin, Mabel’s Gone Fishing. Stories written by our own Troy Johnson are now part of college curriculums—one of his articles, “Farm to Fable,” was published in a MacMillan textbook! This week’s Hot Topic is the release of some new programs that Yelp just launched on its app, like a newsfeed feature called “Yelp Connect,” according to Nation’s Restaurant News. Restaurants can pay $200 a month to be a part of the service, where they can share real-time updates with users about menu changes, happy hour deals, and special dining events. Diners can now “follow” their favorite restaurants on the app. Eric says he will definitely try these new features out, especially with the opening of his new Puesto location coming up. Thanks for listening, and we’d love to hear from you! Call us at 619-744-0535 and leave a message. Or if you’re too shy to call, you can email HappyHalfHour@sdmag.com. You can give us your recommendations for Two People, $50, tell us about any news happening in San Diego’s culinary world, let us know who you’d like to hear featured as a guest on the podcast, or ask Troy a question!

48 MINSEP 26
Comments
How the Founder of Puesto Turned His Love of Home-Cooked Meals into a Thriving Restaurant

Latest Episodes

Fernando Gaxiola Gives us Taste of Mexico’s Wine Country Through His Co., Baja Wine and Food

This week’s special guest is Fernando Gaxiola, founder of Baja Wine and Food. Fernando was born and raised in Mexico and has a degree in engineering, as well as an MBA from Arizona State University. He spent years traveling and consulting around the world, but in 2011, settled in the San Diego-Tijuana area. In 2013, he launched Baja Wine and Food, a tour company which takes people to the boutique wineries and restaurants in the Valle de Guadalupe, Baja's wine country. He also helps these vintners distribute their wines internationally and promotes their events. We featured Baja Wine and Food in this month's Food Lover's Guide as an Immersive Food Experience. For Two People, $50, Fernando chose Lola 55, which is located in his same office building, so he says it’s both convenient and delicious. Lauren chose Tribute Pizza, but for the brunch, not for the pizza—she says they have the best bagels and breakfast calzones. Troy chose the Staff’s Favorite pizza at Blue Ribbon in Encinitas. In Hot Plates, we discussed the opening of a 6,000-square-foot conveyor belt sushi restaurant near Convoy called Mikami. San Diego just got a Venezuelan restaurant: Mi Pana Latin American Cuisine just opened in National City after the Venezuelan owner said he didn't see the cuisine being represented here. Feeding San Diego, a local nonprofit, says they are using a new app called MealConnect, created by Feed America. The app allows hotels, restaurants, events planners, farmers’ markets vendors, and convenience stores to donate their extra food and have someone come pick it up, like an Uber for food donations. This week’s Hot Topic was brought to us by one of our listeners, Tom. Tom just moved to South Park from the Bay Area a year ago, and he wrote to us with some questions about what’s going on with some of the restaurants in the neighborhood: he says several are still under construction or have delayed openings. Lauren has intel on the status of each restaurant Tom asked about, and Troy gave us insight on why there might be a backlog in the permitting process. Thanks for listening, and we’d love to hear from you! Call us at 619-744-0535 and leave a message. Or if you’re too shy to call, you can email HappyHalfHour@sdmag.com. You can give us your recommendations for Two People, $50, tell us about any news happening in San Diego’s culinary world, or let us know who you’d like to hear featured as a guest on the podcast.

57 MIN2 d ago
Comments
Fernando Gaxiola Gives us Taste of Mexico’s Wine Country Through His Co., Baja Wine and Food

Tommy the Fishmonger Talks About Going Solo while Staying Sustainable

Welcome back to the Happy Half Hour podcast! Our sponsor this week is the SoNo Fest and Chili Cook-Off, and with us today is long-time chili competitor and beer donor, Lee Chase from Automatic Brewing, Tiger! Tiger!, Blind Lady Ale House and Panama 66. SoNo Fest is now one of the largest festivals in the North and South Park neighborhoods and is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year on December 1. This week’s special guest is Tommy Gomes, also known as Tommy the Fishmonger. Tommy joined us on the podcast in 2017, but is back to talk about his new consulting and advocacy work under his new brand, Tommy the Fishmonger. Tommy has a long history in San Diego working for Catalina Offshore Products, helping them open the Seafood Education and Nutrition Center. Tommy also founded Collaboration Kitchen, a nonprofit dinner series focused on seafood education, and you can also find him on YouTube cooking up some great seafood recipes. Tommy’s work helped Catalina Offshore receive a grant in 2019 to help expand the demand for underutilized species. We featured Tommy in our latest issue's Food Lovers’ Guide, where he gave us tips on how to buy the best seafood. For Two People, $50, Tommy chose Volare on Midway because he says their pasta with red sauce is the most authentic in San Diego. He also chose Fiddlers Green because you can get a steak with a baked potato and a salad for just $12. Lauren chose Brian Malarkey and Chris Puffer’s new restaurant, Herb and Sea. Troy liked the garlic chicken wrap at Mama’s Bakery and Lebanese Deli. In Hot Plates, it was all about restaurant openings: the new Puffer Malarkey Collective, Herb and Sea, the new Hillcrest steakhouse, Rare Society, and a new Southern restaurant in Hillcrest, Sunnyboy Biscuit Company. We also talked about Daniela Martinez, the pastry chef at Il Dandy—she just won the Sweets Showdown on the Food Network show Chopped. Daniela competed against the chefs from Milk Bar in New York and Broken Spanish in LA, and won $50,000! This week’s Hot Topic is about what to do when you’re a huge foodie, but you have a kid who is a picky eater. Troy wrote a heartfelt essay for the November issue and shared that while he’s a restaurant critic and an adventurous eater for a living, his daughter has a long list of things that she will not eat. Thanks for listening, and we’d love to hear from you! Call us at 619-744-0535 and leave a message. Or if you’re too shy to call, you can email HappyHalfHour@sdmag.com. You can give us your recommendations for Two People, $50, tell us about any news happening in San Diego’s culinary world, or let us know who you’d like to hear featured as a guest on the podcast.

47 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Tommy the Fishmonger Talks About Going Solo while Staying Sustainable

Co-Founder of Coronado Brewing Company Rick Chapman, Joins Us

This week’s special guest is Rick Chapman, the co-founder of Coronado Brewing Company, which has been open for over 23 years. Rick and his brother, Ron, opened the brewpub in the heart of their hometown of Coronado in 1996. Since then, their beers have won some major awards, including the 2014 World Beer Cup Champion for Best Mid-Sized Brewery, and they won four medals at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival competition. They expanded in 2012 with a state-of-the-art production facility and tasting room in Bay Park, and in 2014, they opened up the Imperial Beach Restaurant. They have also expanded their brewhouse to meet the distribution demands of 16 states and 15 countries. For Two People, $50, Rick gave us a few choices: Kaiserhof Restaurant and Biergarten in OB, and his Coronado favorites, Village Pizza, Lil’ Piggy’s Bar-B-Q, and the Brigantine. Lauren chose George’s Level 2 because of their creative custom cocktails, like the pumpkin spice margarita. Erin chose Waypoint Pub...

41 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Co-Founder of Coronado Brewing Company Rick Chapman, Joins Us

We Step Inside the City’s Newest (and Spookiest) Speakeasy with Tahona Owner Amar Harrag

Welcome back! We’re here at the Hotel Del Coronado with Sara Harper, the director of marketing for the Hotel Del and Beach Village at the Del. Sara oversees all the branding for the iconic resort. This week’s special guest is here right in time for Halloween. Joining us is Amar Harrag, the co-owner of Tahona restaurant and mezcal bar in Old Town, which has a new speakeasy that just opened called Oculto 477. Tahona, opened earlier this year, is the city’s first mezcal tasting room. Both drinking dens are next door to the old El Campo Santo Cemetery. We learned that Amar is a native of Antibes in the south of France, and a graduate of the University of San Diego. In addition to Tahona, he co-owns Matisse Bistro in San Diego and Irvine, and runs the real estate brokerage Allied Green Realty. He is also the founder of the San Diego chapter of Corazon de Vida and sits on the board of directors for Create Purpose—both are nonprofits that help orphaned and abandoned children in Mexico. For Two People, $50, Amar chose Tacos El Gordo for quick and delicious carne asada and lengua tacos. Troy picked El Pescador because of their tasty local fish. Lauren chose Tiger!Tiger!, which recently had a Japanese craft beer pop-up (she enjoyed a matcha lager). Erin ventured out to East County with her family and had smoked turkey on a roll at Grand Ole BBQ. In Hot Plates, we talked about how after more than 50 years in business, Su Casa in La Jolla closed. There is a new Oaxacan restaurant coming to Hillcrest named Cocina de Barrio, replacing the old Swami's Cafe on Fifth Avenue. SKA Bar and Restaurant is a new two-story rooftop bar in Normal Heights on Adams Avenue—it’s now the largest restaurant and bar in the neighborhood. David’s 60 Second Beer Review this week is Collabapalooza—it's a mix of Queen of Tarts from Karl Strauss and Tabula Rasa porter from Second Chance Beer Company, blended in wine barrels with Michigan tart cherries. This week’s Hot Topic is from a recent story from the San Francisco Chronicle, which says that the gig economy (and companies like Uber and Lyft) are making it harder for restaurant owners in the Bay Area to find new kitchen staff. Thanks for listening, and we’d love to hear from you! Call us at 619-744-0535 and leave a message. Or if you’re too shy to call, you can email HappyHalfHour@sdmag.com. You can give us your recommendations for Two People, $50, tell us about any news happening in San Diego’s culinary world, or let us know who you’d like to hear featured as a guest on the podcast

34 MIN3 w ago
Comments
We Step Inside the City’s Newest (and Spookiest) Speakeasy with Tahona Owner Amar Harrag

Sponsored: We Chat with the Crew behind Hornblower Cruises and Events Aboard the High Spirits Ship

Welcome to a very special episode of the Happy Half Hour! This week, we are sailing through San Diego Bay on the High Spirits, a vintage ship belonging to Hornblower Cruises and Events. We’re chatting with the marketing manager, director of food and beverage, national sales manager, executive chef, and the captain who make the Hornblower cruises sail so smoothly. Hornblower offers several different dining cruises which include brunch, cocktails, dinner and holiday cruises, whale watching tours (resuming on December 14), and private events like weddings, and corporate and school events. There are seven different Hornblower ships in San Diego, with the biggest one hosting up to 1,200 people. Sophie Shrader, marketing manager and fan of the Happy Half Hour podcast, tells us Hornblower Cruises and Events is hosting a Thanksgiving brunch and dinner, as well as a Christmas Eve and Christmas Day brunch and dinner complete with carolers and Santa. If she’s not eating a delicious holiday dinner on the Hornblower, Sophie says she likes to indulge in the cheese wheel pasta at Monello in Little Italy. Next up is Chris Schlerf, director of food and beverage—and previously Troy’s boss when Troy worked for Hornblower back in the day. Chris has been with the company for 32 years, and focuses on gathering local and seasonal ingredients in addition to providing free-flowing Champagne during their brunch cruises with bottomless mimosas. His famous grandmother’s bread pudding, which is still on the menu today, started in 1987 when Chris was working in the Bay Area and made the pudding out of day-old Danish pastries. While waiting for our entrees to arrive, we talk to Mandy Brown, national sales manager, who takes care of business not only here in San Diego, but in the many other ports the company has on both the East and West Coast (they have more than 100 vessels). Mandy says when she’s not eating on the boat, she goes to Pete’s Seafood and Sandwich to get the mozzarella sticks filled with either mozzarella or pepper jack cheese. While digging into our main courses, we chat with Dave Mango, executive chef for Hornblower. He had his start in Boston and loves to be creative with his cooking, even in the small, cramped cooking quarters. For example, he recreated the 10-course, final meal served on the Titanic for a special themed cruise. In addition to cooking on the Hornblower, Dave is the executive chef at Union Kitchen & Tap downtown, which serves what he calls the best chilaquiles north of TJ. Captain Jose Gurganus is the last guest of the night, and he just celebrated his 25th anniversary with Hornblower Cruise and Events! The captain says when he’s not saving struggling jet skiers or partaking in dinner on the boat, he likes to go to Leroy's on Coronado with his wife and order the deviled eggs. Visit hornblower.com to schedule your next dining, whale watching, or special event cruise aboard one of the many Hornblower ships.

50 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Sponsored: We Chat with the Crew behind Hornblower Cruises and Events Aboard the High Spirits Ship

Crystals and CBD Cocktails: Matt Sieve Talks About His Daring New Drinks at Madison on Park

This week’s special guest is Matt Sieve, the owner of Madison on Park. Matt opened the restaurant and bar in University Heights four years ago, and their newest drink, called the “Queen of Crowns,” is going to be featured as the cocktail of the month in the November issue of San Diego Magazine. Recently, Madison generated buzz for being at the forefront of making CBD cocktails in San Diego. Matt is a third-generation restaurant owner—he is one of five brothers, and his family owns five restaurants in Minnesota, one of which is 100 years old. For Two People, $50, Matt gave us an entire day of food for $50 starting with breakfast at Little Lion Cafe in Ocean Beach. For lunch, he recommends going up the coast to Mission Beach for the No. 9 sandwich at Gabbiano Pizza. He then goes to The Rose in South Park for some appetizers, then drops into the Turf Supper Club for a dirty martini. Matt finishes off the day with a Cali burrito from Adalbertos. In Hot Plates, we talked about Patxi's Pizza, a chain from the Bay Area focused on Chicago deep dish pizza, opening today in Hillcrest. Valle de Guadalupe has a new restaurant called Lunario at La Lomita Winery, with 28-year-old chef Sheyla Alvarado creating a masterful menu. The rooftop bar downtown, The Nolen, quietly went through a Paul Basile redesign. Convergence Harvest is a new food festival happening on November 2 at Temecula Olive Oil Company. The event brings together top local talent intermixed with farmers, fishermen, and producers (plus local, natural winemakers and breweries) and benefits The Ecology Center. David’s 60 Second Beer Review this week is Sea Señor, a Mexican-style lager from South Norte Beer Co. This week’s Hot Topic is about how millennials are fleeing cities and heading to the burbs. The Wall Street Journal reported that recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau says 27,000 millennials between the ages of 25 and 39 left big cities like New York, San Francisco, and Houston last year for the suburbs. Locally, we're seeing cooler restaurants like these pop up in the suburbs: The Florence, One Paseo, and Windmill Food Hall in Carlsbad. Thanks for listening, and we’d love to hear from you! Call us at 619-744-0535 and leave a message. Or if you’re too shy to call, you can email HappyHalfHour@sdmag.com. You can give us your recommendations for Two People, $50, tell us about any news happening in San Diego’s culinary world, or let us know who you’d like to hear featured as a guest on the podcast.

42 MINOCT 24
Comments
Crystals and CBD Cocktails: Matt Sieve Talks About His Daring New Drinks at Madison on Park

From Refugee Camp to Running a Restaurant Empire: Steven Yeng of OB Noodle House Shares His Story

This week we have a very special episode, and it’s a must-listen. Our guest is Steven Yeng, the co-founder of OB Noodle House, The Holding Company and Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey, which launched nationally and will be available in all 50 states by the end of this month. Steven is a Cambodian-born immigrant and polio survivor, and he grew up in Ocean Beach, where he met his now-wife, Brittany. He’s known in the community for his philanthropy, and last year he won the Humanitarian of the Year award from the Ocean Beach Town Council. Steven shared his origin story with us, and it’s harrowing: His family had to flee Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge, and they spent four years in a refugee camp in Thailand before they made it to the U.S., settling in Ocean Beach. We learn how Steven’s parents starting working at and eventually bought OB Donuts, and the backstory to Steven and his brother opening OB Noodle House. Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey is Steven’s latest venture, which he co-founded with Brittany, who has a master’s degree in chemistry. Steven tells us that peanut butter has a special place in his heart, because it’s one of the first foods he was introduced to when he arrived in the U.S. David’s 60-second beer review this week is Pedaleur, a limited edition session IPA collaboration brew fromRouleur Brewing Company. It supports Padres Pedal the Cause, a leading nonprofit that raises money for cancer research organizations throughout San Diego. For Two People, $50, Steven chose a gathering of street food vendors stationed at the Wat Sovannkiri Buddhist temple in City Heights. He said it’s a great place to pick up some yakitori and papaya salad, and your money goes to helping those in need. Lauren’s pick this week was Anime, where she tasted several of their appetizers. And Troy’s pick this week was the mango habanero and chipotle hot wings at Buffalo Wing Star in Linda Vista. In Hot Plates, we talked about two recent restaurant closings: The Land & Water Co. in Carlsbad and Oscar's Mexican Seafood in the East Village. We also talked about “Wasted,” an event where 35 local and national chefs and bartenders are challenged to prepare dishes and cocktails using food that might otherwise be thrown away. There was also a lot of chicken news this week: Dave's Hot Chicken is expanding from Los Angeles and opening in San Diego, and Pluck just opened in Carlsbad. This is perfect timing because Troy is currently on the hunt for the best chicken wings in San Diego. Thanks for listening, and we’d love to hear from you! Call us at 619-744-0535 and leave a message. Or if you’re too shy to call, you can email HappyHalfHour@sdmag.com. You can give us your recommendations for Two People, $50, tell us about any news happening in San Diego’s culinary world, or let us know who you’d like to hear featured as a guest on the podcast.

66 MINOCT 17
Comments
From Refugee Camp to Running a Restaurant Empire: Steven Yeng of OB Noodle House Shares His Story

Brandon Zanavich talks all things Dirty Flat Top Cheeseburger and The Friendly

This week’s special guest is Brandon Zanavich, owner of The Friendly in North Park. The Friendly is known for its New York-style pizza and “dirty flat top cheeseburgers.” Customers aren’t allowed to modify anything on the burgers, so what you order is what you get: butter-braised onions, American cheese, and garlic aioli all piled on top of a grilled burger patty. Brandon recently teamed up with Hanis Cavin of the Porchetta Shack to open a second location, The Friendly Tavern, in the Shack’s former walk-up space on University Avenue. The stand has only been open for a few weeks, and so far, business has been good, Brandon says. For Two People, $50, Brandon chose Dumpling Inn on Convoy Street. Lauren’s pick this week was Zinqué, a new French restaurant where Troy had the First Look when it opened in September. And Troy’s pick this week was Born and Raised, where he thoroughly enjoyed the bone marrow escargot. In Hot Plates, we talked about the owner of Pokirrito closing both ...

30 MINOCT 10
Comments
Brandon Zanavich talks all things Dirty Flat Top Cheeseburger and The Friendly

Meet Justin Vaiciunas, the ‘Cutthroat’ Chef at Luca

This week’s special guest is Justin Vaiciunas, the executive chef at the new Guild Hotel on Broadway, and its in-house restaurant Luca. Justin is from Detroit, where he was the chef at the city’s prestigious Detroit Athletic Club. He loves to travel and experience new cultures, foods, and cooking techniques. His taste for adventure recently brought him to Food Network to compete on the show, “Cutthroat Kitchen,” where he had to make breakfast tacos on a pullout couch. Justin gave us two picks for Two People, $50: Stone Brewing in Liberty Station and Nolita Hall. Erin shared that she celebrated her 11-year anniversary with her husband at one of their favorite restaurants, Jaynes Gastropub, where she can always count on a perfect martini and classic menu. Lauren’s pick this week was Bivouac where she was able to try some great, dry ciders (even a festive Pumpkin Spice flavored cider). Troy’s pick was Galaxy Taco, where he chose their grilled yellowtail taco as the Very Important Taco in April. In Hot Plates, we talked about the latest update on the Patio restaurants: The Patio on Goldfinch, Fireside by the Patio, The Patio Express, and Bao Beach and Swell Coffee have closed. Blade 1936 is now open in Oceanside and Troy got the First Look at this new Italian restaurant named after the newspaper that occupied the space in the ’30s. WhipHand in the East Village closed. Lastly, there will be a food festival at the San Diego Asian Film Festival called “Chew the Scene.” This week’s Hot Topic is DoorDash’s recent security breach, where nearly 5 million customers and drivers may have had their personal data exposed, according to the Washington Post. Jason shared on the podcast that Luca does partner with all of the delivery apps, and is hoping to gain more business through them. Thanks for listening, and we’d love to hear from you! Call us at 619-744-0535 and leave a message. Or if you’re too shy to call, you can email HappyHalfHour@sdmag.com. You can give us your recommendations for Two People, $50, tell us about any news happening in San Diego’s culinary world, or let us know who you’d like to hear featured as a guest on the podcast.

44 MINOCT 4
Comments
Meet Justin Vaiciunas, the ‘Cutthroat’ Chef at Luca

How the Founder of Puesto Turned His Love of Home-Cooked Meals into a Thriving Restaurant

Welcome back! This episode is brought to you by our sponsors, Angela Landsberg, executive director of North Park Main Street, and Sara Crichlow from Redwing Bar & Grill on 30th Street. Redwing has karaoke seven days a week and a full patio bar in the back, so get ready to drink, eat and then belt out your favorite song. This week’s special guest is Eric Adler, co-founder of Puesto. Eric grew up in a Mexican American household in La Jolla, and home-cooked meals were a big part of his childhood, which he says cemented his love for food. Eric moved to Boston for college, then he went to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. to earn his master’s in sports business, and went on to work with pro sports teams like the Washington Wizards. In 2010, he moved back to San Diego, and met chef Luisteen Gonzalez at a party. Chef Luisteen was making creative tacos wrapped in layers of crispy cheese, and Eric wanted in. A year later, Eric teamed up with his two brothers and two cousins to open Puesto in La Jolla. Puesto now has six locations in San Diego, Orange County, and the Bay Area, and they’re about to open their seventh restaurant in the old Gordon Biersch space in Mission Valley—where they’ll start brewing their own beer onsite. Another exciting feature is that someone from a (still unnamed) three-star Michelin restaurant will be heading up the new cocktail menu. Eric gave us his pick for Two People, $50, and he chose El Pescador Fish Market in La Jolla because of their salmon and crab sandwiches on sourdough. Erin shared that Jim Fitzpatrick, CEO and publisher of San Diego Magazine, sent in his pick for Two People, $50, to the podcast’s email address: Jim chose dinner at La Jolla Shores Hotel because the view and good food can’t be beat. Lauren’s pick this week was J & Tony’s Discount Cured Meats and Negroni Warehouse, a bar that just opened this summer in the East Village which is serving up canned seafood and drinks that James Bond would hate, stirred not shaken over hand-cut ice. Troy’s pick this week was the lamb barbacoa tacos on the patio at Luce Bar. In Hot Plates, we talked about the closing of Seasucker in Del Mar, set for October 30. Troy got a First Look at Brian Malarkey’s new $5.5 million-dollar restaurant, Animae, that opened on the bottom floor of the Pacific Gate complex by Bosa. There’s a rooftop bar on the 16th floor of the new Carte Hotel in Little Italy just opened, called Above Ash Social. The owners of The Rose wine bar in South Park are opening up a new bar on 30th Street devoted to oysters and gin, Mabel’s Gone Fishing. Stories written by our own Troy Johnson are now part of college curriculums—one of his articles, “Farm to Fable,” was published in a MacMillan textbook! This week’s Hot Topic is the release of some new programs that Yelp just launched on its app, like a newsfeed feature called “Yelp Connect,” according to Nation’s Restaurant News. Restaurants can pay $200 a month to be a part of the service, where they can share real-time updates with users about menu changes, happy hour deals, and special dining events. Diners can now “follow” their favorite restaurants on the app. Eric says he will definitely try these new features out, especially with the opening of his new Puesto location coming up. Thanks for listening, and we’d love to hear from you! Call us at 619-744-0535 and leave a message. Or if you’re too shy to call, you can email HappyHalfHour@sdmag.com. You can give us your recommendations for Two People, $50, tell us about any news happening in San Diego’s culinary world, let us know who you’d like to hear featured as a guest on the podcast, or ask Troy a question!

48 MINSEP 26
Comments
How the Founder of Puesto Turned His Love of Home-Cooked Meals into a Thriving Restaurant
hmly
himalayaプレミアムへようこそ聴き放題のオーディオブックをお楽しみください。