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The Food Hit List: November 2023

SDM staff shouts out their favorite food finds this month
Variety of sandwhiches, sides, and drinks from San Diego restaurant Coty's Deli
Courtesy of Coty's Deli

By Jackie Bryant, Mateo Hoke, Jennifer Ianni, Troy Johnson, Mimi Le, Nicolle Monico, Will Riddell, and Amelia Rodriguez

Sandwiches. Tacos. S’mores. Good ol’ American breakfasts. When the weather in San Diego takes on its (admittedly minor) winter chill, often all we want is a really delicious, occasionally Michelin-recognized take on the classics. Here are 15 local dishes that hit the spot for us this month. Go get some.

Where to Eat in San Diego Right Now

Lumpias from San Diego restaurant Lia’s Lumpia

Lia’s Lumpia


One of the most likable mother-son duos have opened a permanent shop in Barrio Logan (their OG food truck was on Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race). Mom Benelia hand-rolls paper-thin lumpia, and son Spencer Hunter applies some of the techniques he learned cooking at Water’s Fine Catering and Searsucker. The result? Gossamer-fine Filipino pastry filled with deliciously seasoned meat (they’ve got vegan rolls, too). —TJ

Cassoulet dish from Coronado restaurant Little Frenchie

Little Frenchie


Whether art, punk, or food, the best creations often come from struggle. Cassoulet historically began as “peasant” food, made by people short on money but rich in ingenuity. Chef Matt Sramek’s classic riff is phenomenal: duck confit cured overnight in salt, thyme, and citrus, served over white beans and pork belly cooked in duck stock made from the bones. —TJ

Viennoseries from San Diego spot Pâtisserie Mélanie

Pâtisserie Mélanie


As a plain croissant enthusiast, it takes a lot—like, say, my favorite nuts and fruits—to get me to choose a flavored version. So, I found myself rendered powerless when faced with the pistachio croissant from North Park’s Pâtisserie Mélanie. I further gave into desire after realizing there was a Danish-like strawberry diamond, too. —JB

Honeydew Gelato from San Diego shop Cafe Hue

Cafe Hue

Honeydew Gelato

Next time you’re on the Convoy strip, head to this little shop. I don’t typically do dessert, but the velvety honeydew gelato hits the perfect mark on the sweet scale. Get it on top of a crepe or waffle or add it into a tea float. Flavors switch out often here, but you can find the honeydew every couple weeks or so. —ML

Filet Mignon taco from Puesto Mexican restaurant in San Diego


Filet Mignon Tacos

Okay, okay. Admittedly, we’ve written about Puesto a few times. But I’m not sure you appreciate the acuteness of just how good this taco is. I wasn’t aware. And it hit me like a joy hammer recently. Marinated filet mignon wrapped in crispy melted cheese, avocado, and pistachio-serrano salsa. One of the city’s best. —TJ

Espresso martini called "Espress-Ya-Self" from San Diego spot The Rose Wine Bar

The Rose Wine Bar


Espresso martinis are the name of the game these days. At The Rose, you pick your own poison (vodka, mezcal, or bourbon) to mix with coffee liqueur, cold brew, chocolate-mint tea, and aged rum cream. It’s definitely sweet, so skip the dark liquors to make it less so, but when you need a way to wind down without going to sleep, this is it. —NM

Whiskey Sour from The Bar at Moniker General

The Bar At Moniker General

Whiskey Sour

Gotta dry shake the egg white for a proper sour, but not every place does (a travesty). Moniker General has fancier choices, but this sour speaks to its cocktail program overall: quality in an unpretentious setting. Coffee all day, bar opens at three, multiple patios? Yep. The WS is unique yet familiar. Mouthfeel like whiskey-citrus mousse, topped with cinnamon and luxardo syrup—this one is a winner. —MH

Croque Madame sandwhich from French San Diego restaurant Jeune et Jolie

Jeune Et Jolie

Croque Madame

It’s a ham sandwich. Just simple lunchbox food filtered through the mind of Michelin-starred chef Eric Bost. He toasts brioche in clarified butter and tops it with bechamel and grated gruyere cheese, iberico de bellota, caviar, chives, and basil flowers. —TJ

Adobada Mulita from TJ Tacos Mexican restaurant in San Diego

TJ Tacos

Adobada Mula

Can’t decide between a taco and a quesadilla? Get the best of both with the adobada mula at TJ Tacos in Escondido. Tender shards of chile-marinated pork are sliced right off the trompo and sandwiched between two warm corn tortillas with queso blanco. While it may not be the prettiest dish in San Diego, flavor always has the final say. —WR

Sunrise Breakfast Sandwich from San Diego spot Rose Donuts

Rose Donuts

Sunrise Breakfast Sandwich

In a world of french-toast flights and mimosa towers, sometimes the rarest wonder is something simple, cheap, and pretty good. This strip-mall donut shop’s meal deal includes an egg and cheese on your choice of bread (I like sourdough), a drink (coffee, duh), and a donut for the price of a single specialty latte elsewhere. Go ahead and splurge on bacon. —AR

Caesar-Ish Salad from San Diego Restaurant Viewpoint Brewing

Viewpoint Brewing

Caesar-Ish Salad

Beachside restaurants get all the water-view love. But there is another wet look in Del Mar. Viewpoint Brewing is as close to the edge of the San Dieguito Lagoon as nature-conservation laws allow. Get a beer and this surprisingly great salad—Italian kale, parsnips, fried chickpeas for crunch, and a tangy dressing good enough to bottle and drink. TJ

Bluefin Tuna Poke from Japanese restaurant Hitokuchi


Bluefin Tuna Poke

The menu at Hitokuchi, a hidden spot in Kearny Mesa, is filled with sexy dishes like uni and caviar and a Chilean sea bass glazed in miso and sake. The star of the show? The bluefin tuna poke. Four delicate squares of puffed, toasted, sweet milk bread are loaded with fish, guacamole creme fraiche, micro cilantro, and pickled red onions bursting against a garlic-ginger ponzu. —JI

Torta de Jamón sandwhich from San Diego restaurant Coty’s Deli

Coty’s Deli

Torta de Jamón

While the ingredients are deceptively commonplace—ham, lettuce, avocado, tomato, mayo, and onions on fresh, housemade bread—this little hole-in-the-wall shop in Logan Heights has one of the best sandwiches in town. Add jalapeños for a kick, and pair your torta with a smoothie (I recommend the mango with orange juice and condensed milk).—ML

Yes, We Have S’Mores from San Diego restaurant Campfire


Yes, We Have S’Mores

I love restaurants that invite you to cook your own food. Hot pot, DIY pancake spots… I’m there with my chef’s hat on. So imagine my delight when the s’more at Carlsbad’s Michelin Guide–recommended Campfire came deconstructed (sea salt–dusted dark chocolate, crisp gingersnaps, marshmallow, all housemade) with a teensy campfire of ultra-hot coals. Roasting the mallow is a given, but don’t forget to warm up the chocolate square on a spoon for extra gooeyness. —AR

Trio of dips, hummus, and pita from San Diego restaurant Zizikis Street Food

Zizikis Street Food

Trio of Dips + Pita

Somewhere around bite three of this shared plate at the Del Mar Sky Deck, my dining companion declared, “I could eat this every day for the rest of my life.” There’s spicy feta, cooling tzatziki, and the MVP, artichoke hummus. Scooped up with fluffy pita (and mixed with the other dips), it’s like spinach-artichoke dip’s way sexier cousin. —AR

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