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SD Food News: Dec. 12-16

The latest in food and drink happenings around town this week
Courtesy of Mister A's
Mister A's, food news

Mister A’s, food news

Courtesy of Mister A’s

The Mains

A Familiar Name in Mexican Food Opens Taco Joint in Barrio Logan

Pablo Becker is back. Becker, a native of Mexico City who grew up around food (his cousin is famed Mexican chef, Richard Sandoval), owned a higher-end Mexican restaurant in Downtown years back called El Vitral. It was before its time (we’ve railed against this many times, but San Diegans have refused to let Mexican food charge for great food the way, say, they let French chefs do). After decompressing in Chicago for five years (“I wanted zero pressure so I worked as a line cook, it was great,” he says), he’s opening a seafood shack called Fish Guts in Barrio Logan (next to Salud!).

“I grew up in Mexico City and we’d go to Acapulco in the summer,” says Becker. “That’s the kind of seafood we’ll be doing.” With ten seats indoors and a wraparound patio that seats another 20, Fish Guts will have a traditional guac, a ceviche, and about eight seafood tacos (including a riff on fish n chips with a housemade serrano tartar sauce).

They’ll have a beer and wine license, and be doing some beer and wine cocktails. He’s most likely doing oysters as well. “There was a little island off Acapulco where you could anchor your boat and locals would paddle little boats out, and dive for fresh oysters and clams for you, crack them right there,” he recalls. Fish Guts should be opening in the next couple of weeks.

The Barbacoa Factory Debuts in Spring Valley

The Barbacoa Factory opened on November 1 in Spring Valley off Grand Avenue, specializing in two meats: lamb barbacoa and beef birria—each slow-cooked for six hours. Owner Rogelio Penaloza Cruz says the meats are flavored and inspired from family recipes. Using Cruz’ lengthy culinary background, he hopes to provide the service of a fine dining experience paired with a welcoming, family environment at the intimate, 25-seat restaurant. Along with burritos and tacos, guests can also enjoy specialty dishes like birria ramen.

South of Nick’s Coming to One Paseo in January

South of Nick’s joins One Paseo in Del Mar next month, next to its original sister restaurant, Nick’s Del Mar. It’s the first San Diego location, third overall (San Clemente, Laguna Beach). Expect Mexican-inspired dishes like soups (albondigas) and plates like birria tacos and seafood enchiladas alongside tequila flights and margs.

Al Dente Opens in University Heights

Italian restaurant Al Dente officially opened on Thursday at the corner of Park Boulevard and Howard Avenue in University Heights. It’s a mix of traditional and “reimagined” Italian dishes like oxtail ravioli, truffle gnocchi alongside homemade pasta, made in-house. The Sicilian and Neapolitan team behind the restaurant are also behind Rusticucina off Park Boulevard and recently-opened Zama in the Gaslamp.

The Westgate Hotel, food news

The Westgate Hotel, food news

Courtesy of The Westgate Hotel

Quick Bites

Oceanside’s Valle is hosting “12 Chefs Before Christmas.” Twelve guest chefs (split into two nights) will collaborate on a six-course meal on December 14 and 15 alongside Valle’s chef Roberto Alcocer. The $250/person meal will benefit El Sauzal Foundation in Valle de Guadalupe (an orphanage) and Autism Society San Diego.

Mister A’s is serving seven new festive cocktails through the month of December for their “Elf on the Twelfth” holiday cocktail celebration—like “Las Posadas” (Mezcal, Peppermint Tea Amaro, Carpano Antica, Candy Cane Bitters) and “Yule Nog” (Torres 10 Brandy, Bourbon, Clove and Nutmeg Infused Cream, Eggs).

Second Chance Beer Company and Coronado Brewing Company collaborated to brew “Dog Beach Double IPA,” a limited release on draft at both breweries’ taprooms and in four-packs.

The Marine Room will be hosting a four-course prix-fixe meal on Christmas with dishes like gin-cured salmon, Sonoma lamb, wagyu prime rib and dessert options like eggnog crème brûlée or a yule log cake for $150/person.

The Westgate Hotel is hosting a tea experience for the whole family at their “Santa’s Story Time Teas” event from December 17-21. They’ll have premium teas, tea sandwiches and fresh house-made pastries, with live holiday music and a story time with Santa.

Have breaking-news, exciting scoops, or great stories about San Diego’s food scene? Send your pitches to [email protected].


By Elena Gomez

Elena Gomez is an Emmy-nominated reporter who has spent much of her journalism career working in broadcast news in San Diego and Los Angeles. She joined the San Diego Magazine team as a freelance writer in 2020.

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