Guardian readers choice: the best of UCSD 2001

Best Mall: Fashion Valley

140 Fashion Valley

San Diego

(619) 297-6440

For some poor souls — usually of the male persuasion — the act of purchasing wares is viewed as a laborious task, and is performed in the same dispirited manner that would accompany any act of drudgery. However, for the more enlightened, searching for various elusive items remains a never ending quest to be dutifully performed with the same passion and fervor as any other ritualistic act — and almost always occurs at malls.

Complete with an array of stores designed to satisfy the most fantastic need or whim, this modern-day bazaar is not only the purveyor of a diverse assortment of goods, but also of convenience.

Within San Diego County, Fashion Valley Mall, located off Friars Road and situated only 15 minutes from campus, is generally held by most to offer the best in mall shopping. While not designed to cater to a student’s often-constrained budget, this luxurious outdoor mall is a shopper’s paradise, boasting over 140 stores all contained within a spacious and aesthetically pleasing setting.

Generally viewed as the standard criteria in assessing a mall’s worth, upscale anchor stores such as Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus can be found at Fashion Valley, along with mall requisites Macy’s and Robinsons-May. Another favorable aspect of Fashion Valley is that it is largely devoid of the usual droves of prepubescent rabble that infests most malls — thanks largely in part to the fact that its stores serve a more exclusive clientele.

Where Fashion Valley truly succeeds is in its diverse assortment of smaller stores, including Tiffany’s, which represents the ultimate source of happiness for every girl, and Sun Diego, an overpriced, mass-marketed store that no self-respecting surfer or skater would be caught dead in. In the end, with its pleasant atmosphere, wealth of stores and prime location, it’s easy to see why Fashion Valley Mall is generally held in such high esteem within San Diego.

— Kian Tayrani,,

Contributing Writer

Best Pizza: Papa John’s

4130 La Jolla Village Dr.

La Jolla

(858) 458-9800

Papa John’s has become a major staple of UCSD student life ever since it made itself visible on campus through coupon books, advertising and word of mouth.

With 13 locations in San Diego alone — including one on Villa La Jolla Drive (which is the closest franchise to campus) — Papa John’s has become a popular spot for students to find sanctuary, or maybe just a little pizza. As the cheese melts over a delicious, trademark thin-crust dough, your cares melt away with it. And who has had butter garlic sauce with bread sticks and not felt their knees go weak from the taste?

“”I think it’s just a great pizza place to go to off of campus,”” said Roosevelt senior Natalie Greenberg.

And that is why Papa John’s is this year’s best pizza joint: because it is just a great place to go when one is off campus.

“”I enjoy [the pizza]. When it was the cheapest I ate it more, but it’s still good,”” commented Muir sophomore Spencer Pforsich.

One can hang out with friends, order whatever kind of pizza he’d like and relax under the cool lighting. And what about pizza for delivery? Fast, convenient, efficient and, as most the student body agrees, “”damn good”” when it arrives. Quality is what Papa John’s is all about, not kowtowing to some grand corporation that is only concerned with monetary gain like other pizza companies.

Although most students look upon Papa John’s as “”good stuff,”” there are a few who have other opinions.

“”I don’t really like Papa John’s pizza because it doesn’t seem like real pizza,”” said Revelle sophomore Caitlin White. “”Their bread is like cardboard with crap on it. I don’t know — it’s not very good.””

Think what you want — Papa John’s was still voted a great place to have some pizza.

— Sabrina Morris,

Staff Writer

Best Club: On Broadway

615 Broadway

San Diego

(619) 231-0011

Built in 1925 by John D. Spreckles, the building at 615 Broadway is now home to San Diego’s most upscale hot spot — and UCSD’s best nightclub pick!

On Broadway is without a doubt the place for those wanting to live it up in style. If you are looking for a posh evening and are not worried about a budget, you will certainly find what you’re looking for at this club, which is located on the Gaslamp Quarter’s northern border.

Inside On Broadway, a floor of Italian marble sparkles under a ceiling made of gold. Two 72-inch monitors and a stratosphere of lights line the walls and dance floor, providing a backdrop of flashing color.

On the first floor alone you will find a VIP lounge, a 35-foot-long bar and the Zen Cafe and Sushi Bar. No details have been spared in this posh nightclub — from the dapper doormen to the “”Barbie Doll Powder Room”” for the ladies, which is enormous, mirrored and pink!

The building that now houses On Broadway once housed Bank of America and Home Federal Credit Union and still retains its daunting vault doors. Through the doors, however, you find a billiards room, ultra-lounge complete with white couches and blue-vinyl pillows, and the classy Gallery Lounge decorated by cutting-edge artists.

DJ Mark Thrasher, who won the 2000 San Diego Award for best club DJ, has been known to spin the best in techno, house, funk and disco to please the “”exclusive crowd.””

That’s right: Don’t plan on getting in unless you dress to impress — and sorry, freshmen and sophomores, this club is 21 and over.

On Broadway is open Friday and Saturday, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Admission is $15. The Zen Cafe and Sushi Bar serves up Euro-Asian cuisine Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.

— Lindsay Boyd,,

Staff Writer

Best CD store: Tower Records

8657 Villa La Jolla Drive, Suite 231

San Diego

(858) 452-2566

I could rant about how Tower Records is The Man and how sly and corporate it is. I could rant about how we should all support our local record stores. And by the way, we should.

But how can you compete with Tower’s massive selection? Tower Records features thousands of CDs ranging from soundtracks to jazz to Mozart box sets to The Clash box sets. You’ll find a small vinyl section and a massive collection of all the latest singles. Tower Records has a passable electronic music section and a solid import section. Not to mention hundreds of old CDs that have been marked down to bargain-basement rates. And of course, Tower Records carries all of the albums that are on the charts.

Nearly half a dozen listening stations allow you to listen to new music and there is always music playing in the store courtesy of the employees.

It also boasts a large video and music video selection, along with a relatively new DVD section that grows every week. Tower also boasts a huge publication section, which includes small local publications, thick and glossy photography mags, the latest music mags from England — not to mention an impressive adult entertainment section.

There is also a wide selection of high-end personal electronics ranging from stereos to CD players.

What else is hidden away at Tower Records? A great world music collection featuring hit-makers from around the globe. There is also a decent collection of books. And if you venture through the “”back”” entrance of Tower Records, you’ll find all the jazz and classical music you want.

And in all that clutter at Tower Records, there’s also a small selection of guitar strings somewhere in that cavernous room.

The Tower Records store in La Jolla is located in the Ralph’s shopping center near Sports City and The Good Guys. It is open from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. daily. You can line up for new releases on Tuesdays just past midnight. You can also order music online from

— Joseph Lee,

Hiatus Editor

Best radio station: 91X

4891 Pacific Hwy.

San Diego

(619) 291-9191

When you see the familiar black and yellow 91X bumper sticker on a car, go up to the person, introduce yourself and tell him or her that 91X happens to have won as the favorite radio station of UCSD. Then politely reach in, give them that winner’s high-five, congratulating yourself on passing the word that XTRA 91.1 FM is the best radio station around.

Well, maybe you shouldn’t reach in the car, but feel free to shout it loud and clear that the favorite over the airwaves is the alternative rock broadcast that gives us the Brand X morning show, Bob Marley at 4:20 p.m. everyday and a dose of Adam Corolla and Dr. Drew on “”Loveline”” at night.

If at any time you are asleep for these benchmarks of the 91X day, make an effort to stay up and catch one of them. No one needs an extra few hours of sleep when he can listen in on the Brand X rejection line, where the 91X-ers do the dirty work for you.

If a young man is accosted by an overbearing female who definitely wants his species, he can give her the phone number (858) 522-5597, and “”the Brand X Rejection Line certified specialists will handle [his] case….”” 91X is really looking out for its listeners, who, according to Program Manager Bryan Schock, is the younger demographic.

“”91X is really tuned into the lifestyle of our listeners,”” Schock said. “”This is the 19th year that we have been in this format, and in those 19 years we try to be relatable.””

To be “”relatable,”” Schock said that 91X brings community events to San Diego to get residents out in the world.

“”We do anything from toy drives to beach cleanups to promotions and concerts,”” Shock said. “”We have been in touch with our listeners for a long time and will continue to try and communicate with them.””

In celebration of 91X’s triumph as UCSD’s favorite radio station, get up early and listen to the morning show. Check out the calendar on the Web site and get out to some local shows to support San Diego bands. Donate a toy for the holidays. Above all, have the radio pre-set to 91.1 FM so you don’t miss out on anything.

— Jessica Kruskamp,

Senior Staff Writer

Best fast food: In-N-Out

2910 Daman Ave.

Pacific Beach

1 (800) 786-1000

Hidden amongst our fast impersonal modern lives, there is a tiny memory of the pleasant, familiar past. This pleasant reminder is the delicious food found at IN-N-OUT burger.

Founded in 1948 by Harry and Esther Snyder, IN-N-OUT burger follows the philosophy, “”Give customers the freshest, highest quality foods you can buy and provide them with friendly service in a sparkling clean environment,”” and they will return. And this philosophy has proven delightfully successful.

By 1993, IN-N-OUT had grown from its first location in Baldwin Park to 93 locations. Despite the chain’s enormous growth, it still remains family-owned and the main philosophy has not changed, making it a formidable force in the fast food industry with happy employees earning much higher wages than at other fast food restaurants and receiving better benefits.

But why is IN-N-OUT the absolute best fast food joint ever? The food of course!

Even though there are only about six items on the menu (Double-Doubles, hamburgers, shakes, fries, etc.), they are the bare essentials. Each item is great because of the freshness of the food and the quality of the products.

As Marshall sophomore Kevin Keyser said, “”I like how I always get consistently good burgers. I’ve been to a lot of IN-N-OUTs, from Northern Cal to Southern, but no matter which one I go to they are always good.””

And this consistency can be explained by the high quality products in their food. The patties in their burgers are 100 percent pure beef, the fries are made of fresh potatoes cut on location, and their shakes are made of 100 percent pure ice cream. And I’m sure their secret sauce plays a big part in the popularity of the burgers.

So if you suddenly have the urge to get your hands on a great, big, juicy IN-N-OUT Double-Double, you can find the nearest IN-N-OUTs in Pacific Beach, Mira Mesa, San Deigo, Kearny Mesa and Mission Valley.

— Anne Cong-Huyen,,

Staff Writer

Best SD community: Pacific Beach

1706 Garnet Ave.

Pacific Beach

(858) 483-6666

Grand and Garnet Avenues are the land of perpetual traffic, tattoo parlors and hip coffee places. You can mark your body, caffeinate your soul and rummage up a used pair of Levis in any of the thrift stores that so many flock to for that second-hand feel. Tucked between Ingraham Street and Mission Beach, Pacific Beach has earned its own personality.

The PB culture has grown on UCSD students who claim it has the best community status over the likes of hazy La Jolla and the mini-malled UTC.

That culture is what draws the cars off of Interstate 5 to sit in the line on the off-ramp. It may be that they want to get down to the beaches that draw a rowdier crowd than most. As the locals arrive home and see the familiar blue wave sign that proclaims “”Pacific Beach,”” they know that life is different down there.

During the day, shopping ranges from the fresh produce at dirt- cheap Henry’s market to the vintage haven Buffalo Exchange. Nightlife can be synonymous with “”party.””

Saturdays and Sundays, Garnet and all the surrounding side streets are full of people who are claiming the Pacific Beach life and partying with their friends. The infamous PB Bar and Grill where friends meet and apparently everybody knows your name is the social hangout to eat, drink and be merry.

“”PB is really a place of its own down here in San Diego,”” local and junior Thad Herington said. “”The commute that everyone thinks is so bad with the traffic is really nothing. It’s a trade off that is worth it.””

According to Herington, PB is what you make of it. You can find quiet nooks, such as Cafe 967, to trudge through the mounds of reading courtesy of your professors a bonfire to join or the social scene that he described as “”pretty alive.””

“”You just learn to love the area because you can make it your own,”” Herrington said.

In PB, there really is something for everyone, if they are brave enough to venture outside of UCSD.

— Jessica Kruskamp,

Senior Staff Writer

Best sports bar: Seau’s

1640 Camino Del Rio

San Diego

(619) 291-7328

There are many sports bars to choose from in San Diego. Sports City and Trophy’s are close to UCSD, but the students have spoken and they have chosen Seau’s sports bar as their favorite.

This sports bar and grill is named after the great Chargers linebacker Junior Seau. Opened in 1996, Seau’s has been quite successful at luring fans and television crews alike. Occasionally, you may run into some of the stars of the Chargers as well.

The inside is reminiscent of Jack Murphy Stadium with a gray-concrete look. But Seau’s is vast and always filled with lots of people and lots of energy.

The atmosphere can be quite vibrant during big games with big televisions that can be viewed from almost any angle. And there is, of course, enough food to satisfy all tastes. The menu covers your standard bar foods like burgers, onion rings, wings and fries, but then branches out into wood-fired pizzas, salmon and lobster ravioli. The cigar lounge was recently changed into a sushi bar.

If you happen to be of the post-21 variety, the bar is where the action is at. There are plenty of microbrews on tap and a slew of specialty drinks including “”Lightning Lemonade.”” There is a great selection of domestic brews, such as Budweiser and Coors Light, and import beers like Fosters, Bass and Guinness. Seau’s Lightning Gold is a specialty beer.

Seau’s is located in Mission Valley Center on Interstate 8 between Highway 163 and Interstate 805. It is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

— Joseph Lee,

Hiatus Editor

Best date restaurant: Forever Fondue

1295 Prospect St., Ste. 201

La Jolla

(858) 551-4509

Located in picturesque downtown La Jolla, Forever Fondue is a favorite place for an intimate evening with that special someone. It offers a unique dining experience around melted cheese, two-pronged forks, and lots and lots of dipping.

At your table, the mixture of your choice of cheeses, liquor and flavorings are delicately prepared to accompany bread consumption. You just stab and dunk a selection of seafood, meat and vegetables, which take a flavorful bath in hot broth. As much of an attraction as the main courses is the dessert: molten chocolate that dances with strawberries and marshmallows.

“”It’s just a really fun place to eat,”” says Revelle senior Teny Abebian of her experience at Forever Fondue. “”Everyone gets to dunk and try different things. It’s such a lively place to be at with friends. You can find what you like and so can every one else, and you have a great time in the process.””

Prices are midrange, so you can expect to pay about $10 to $20, depending on how much you order. Some find the portions a little on the small side, but the taste is definitely worth it. You really get what you pay for.

This is a great destination for couples because the shared dipping quickly promotes conversation and a lively atmosphere. But heed the many warnings about not eating directly from the fondue forks and save yourself the embarrassment of burning your tongue. Come for either the whole experience or just for dessert, but you’re sure to sing Forever Fondue’s praises and live by their slogan: “”Dip it, dunk it … do it.””

Reservations are strongly recommended.

— Rinaldo Dorman,

Staff Writer

Best coffee shop: Cafe 976

976 Felspar St..

Pacific Beach

(858) 272-0976

Isn’t it just sickening how all coffee shops are alike these days, each one a mediocre copy of the other?

If you find yourself nodding in agreement, you obviously haven’t been going to the right coffee shops. On 976 Felspar St. in Pacific Beach, Cafe 976 is more than just a coffee shop; it’s an oasis, a home away from home. It’s what you’ve always wished your house looked like.

What’s the appeal, you ask?

Aside from the coffee being superb and the service being excellent, there’s a special feeling you get when you walk into this place. For starters, the renovated building that the cafe inhabits was originally built in 1927, so the brightly painted yellow walls and the kitchen table seating make it feel like your grandmother’s house when you were a kid.

Cafe 976 feels like your own private safe haven — a place where good things dwell. There’s a breakfast nook in the corner that has every kind of breakfast food you can imagine. For the afternoon to evening crowd, there are obligatory quiches, pastries and more.

With a lovely selection of James G. Respess photographs, the inside is quite cozy, but the real star of this show is the outdoor seating. Full of roses, vines, fountains, trees and plenty of benches and tables, this fairy garden is the perfect place to mingle, read or just contemplate something beautiful.

One patron commented that “”you can smell the narcissus when you walk in the front door — that alone makes it worth coming in everyday.””

There’s a certain magic there. With the noisy traffic and bustling people outside, this place feels like its own little world. While Cafe 976 is far from being deserted, the atmosphere there is much more chill than hip.

Clubbers: Go elsewhere. Keggers: Crash someone else’s party. Here at 976, it’s all about stopping to smell the roses.

— Keely Hyslop,

Staff Writer

Guardian readers choice photo credits:

In-N-Out, PB, Papa John’s, Cafe 976 — Rebecca Drexler

Fashion Valley, Seau’s — Sam Scoufos

Forever Fondue — Tyler Huff

Tower Records — Colin Young-Wloff

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