Best Of: Eat

    Kearny Mesa
    Manna BBQ

    Many posers like to say, “I’m so hungry I could eat a cow!” Let’s get real: If you’re hungry, eat a cow. If you’re hungry, go to Manna. A short drive to Convoy is your solution to turn the figurative into the literal. Literal, you might ask? Yes, there are beef tongue and rib and intestine and brisket. Voila, your cow. But along with your “cow” comes an array of vegetables that, of course, a bovine might eat. The combination of the specially seasoned beef and pickled sides remind you that simple is good. What does come with this dream of pasture is an immense wait on prime days, so avoid dinner times on the weekend or sit in the agony of food being cooked before your eyes when you cannot do anything about it. Regardless, at a flat $20, it’s eat till you pass out. How’s that for a night out?

    P.S. A token Korean will be to your benefit.

    — Vincent Pham
    Staff Writer

    La Jolla
    Prep Kitchen

    Sometimes, the original is hard to beat. This is certainly the case with the Prepkitchen restaurants, a popular trio of fusion-gastro pubs owned and operated by celebrity chef Arturo Kassel. Yelp users have rated the old La Jolla PK 4.8 out of five, or nearly a full star higher above the newer Del Mar and Little Italy locations — good news for hungry UCSD students.

    At Prepkitchen, steer clear of the classic American offerings and stick to the fusion fare: When we tried them, the tuna melt and roast beef were mushy, uninspired and far too bland. In contrast, it’s hard to go wrong with items like the nettle and mint tagliatelle, the bacon-wrapped dates and the persimmon & bacon rolls.

    If you’re craving a sandwich, however, get something like the duck confit panini with machengo, roasted pumpkin and orange jam instead. Don’t worry if you don’t know what some of the ingredients are. In fact, it’s probably for the best, because this is where Prepkitchen shines: taking the ordinary and using a hint of the unknown to make it incredible.

    — Ayan Kusari
    Features Editor

    Ocean Beach
    Sappora Sushi

    In the vibrant neighborhood of Ocean Beach lies Sappora Sushi, a lively Japanese restaurant and bar with reasonably priced delicious meals. The sushi is served quickly, the portion sizes are very generous and the rainbow rolls are a particular highlight. They always have a great deal, like 50 percent off selected sushi rolls and combination dinners for around $10. The restaurant has a classy decor and a constant hum coupled with tasteful background music. You can even come and watch the game — sit on a stool snacking on the freshest sashimi and then either celebrate or drown your sorrows at the bar. At Sappora you can easily satisfy your tastebuds without spending more than about $15.

    — Lara Budge
    Staff Writer

    Clairemont
    Sipz Vegetarian Fusion 

    If you’re a vegetarian or vegan looking for a restaurant that you don’t have to drag your friends to, make sure to visit Sipz at least once during your time in San Diego. Adorned by mini-Buddha statues and paper lanterns, Sipz looks like any hippie-dippie place on San Francisco’s Haight Street, and their menu is entirely vegetarian. But the soy-based “chicken,” “pork” or “beef” meat replacements that come with many of their foods are heavy and make for a hearty meal, and are also well-flavored by Sipz’s many flavorful sauces and curries. The Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese and Japanese inspired dishes include rice bowls, noodles, sushi, wraps and even a surprisingly healthy, yet delectable, dessert menu. Sipz also does take-out, and the generous portions provide at least two meals’ worth of food per order.

    — Mina Nilchian
    Associate Features Editor

    University Heights
    El Zarape

    Forget about Cotixan: Tucked away in the often-sleepy University Heights, El Zarape is an excellent alternative to the greasy, all-night burrito places that surround campus. Take their California burrito ($5.50). Though smaller than those usually found in San Diego, boasts fresh, lime-saturated guacamole and high-quality carne asada. Also amazing is Zarape’s selection of seafood dishes, like calamari burrito ($6) or their mind-blowing shrimp and fried fish burrito ($6). For $8, Zarape will serve you a shrimp burrito, a fish taco and rice and beans. Their salsas are unparalleled, their employees are completely non-judgmental and if all this wasn’t convincing enough, they serve stellar fish tacos for $1 at all times of the week.

    — Andrew Whitworth
    Associate A&E Editor

    Point Loma
    Phil’s BBQ

    When you come to San Diego, there are a few things you just have to accept wholeheartedly: the beach, surfers and Phil’s BBQ. Located right next to the San Diego Sports Arena, Phil’s is the quintessential SD restaurant. With a guaranteed three-hour line out the door, these ribs are no joke. Save yourself the trouble and go on a weekday when the crowd has died down, and make sure to wear your stretchy pants because Phil’s doesn’t skimp on portions. Your best bet is the pulled pork sandwich or the baby back ribs with macaroni salad or coleslaw on the side. Bring a friend, share a meal and prepare yourself for the biggest food baby you’ll ever conceive. Be sure to take a picture in the Phil’s photo booth while waiting in line.

    — Laira Martin
    Lifestyle Editor

    Point Loma
    Slater’s 50/50

    Burgers will never be the same after Slater’s 50/50. The pork-fat empire, famous for its 50/50 burger made of 50-percent ground beef and 50 percent ground bacon, brings unorthodox burgers to your plate. There are the “Peanut Butter and Jealousy” – yes, this actually does mix up meat, peanut butter and jelly and, of course, bacon – and the “Burger Carbonara.”

    These burgers may sound too experimental, but just a taste of their 50/50 would convert any nonbeliever. Just when people think Slater’s 50/50 has gone all in with their new artery-clogging burger for each month, they surprise their customers with bigger monstrosities, not to mention their latest “Election Burgers.” For the creative customer, Slater’s 50/50 offers customers the choice of creating their own burger off a checklist of almost anything possibly imaginable on a burger.

    Now also known for their budding late-night scene, featuring craft beers and game viewing for avid sports fans, Slater’s 50/50 is certainly not your average burger joint.

    — Ashley Kwon
    Associate Lifestyle Editor

    La Jolla
    Don Carlos Taco Shop

    Against the landscape of the fancy boutiques of downtown La Jolla — and about two miles away from Mitt Romney’s beach home — stands a tiny, daring taco shop. Don Carlos, which proudly boasts the tagline “Ugly, gaudy, and looks like Mexico” (echoing criticisms by neighboring businesses), is a gem among La Jolla’s lacking-Mexican-fast-food scene. For the same price as most other taco shops, Don Carlos’s made-to-order fare, loaded with the freshest ingredients, is the best value in town. The shop also stocks “soyrizo,” a spicy, soy-based meat replacement that even real chorizo fans have to admit packs the necessary flavor to keep vegetarian Mexican food from being a bland afterthought. Make sure to try their homemade hot sauces. But before visiting the shop, which unfortunately doesn’t deliver, make sure to call in — their opening hours tend to vary.

    — Mina Nilchian
    Associate Features Editor

    Kearny Mesa
    Pangea Bakery

    If you ever find yourself with a hankering for taro or red bean pastries, salvation can be found on the ever-popular Convoy Street in Kearny Mesa. The Pangea Bakery Café boasts a wide selection of baked goods — the melon bread is especially tasty — and plenty of teas to match. They have also recently added smoothies and sandwiches to their menu. All of the artisan bread is baked fresh from scratch daily and with locally produced ingredients. But perhaps the most appealing part of Pangea is the atmosphere — it’s a cozy place to eat and socialize and even study if the fancy, or necessity, strikes. There is a piano available for (talented) patrons to use, and Pangea offers itself as a venue for open mic nights and live music as well. Pangea is located at 4689 Convoy St Suite 100, perfect for dessert after a Convoy dinner or a snack after shopping.

    — Hillary Dakin
    Staff Writer

    La Jolla
    Burger Lounge

    Burger Lounge in downtown La Jolla does the classic American favorite with a flavor-packed, healthy twist. The company confidently boasts grass-fed beef from a single farm in Kansas. Burger Lounge places the animals at the forefront of their burgers, with special emphasis on the cow’s diet, which lacks antibiotics or hormones.

    Every burger is served on a lounge bun (a blend of organic whole wheat and white flours with a touch of blackstrap molasses for sweetness) with crisp lettuce, fresh tomato, house-made Thousand Island dressing, the option of organic Cheddar or American cheese and grilled or fresh onion. The company’s Classic Lounge Burger ($7.95) includes the simplest of these ingredients so that the beef may speak for itself. The burger is tender, juicy and bears all of the flavors expected from the American favorite. Burger Lounge also offers alternatives to beef, such as their Free Range Turkey Burger ($7.95) and Quinoa Veggie Burger ($7.95).

    — Joelyn Suarez
    Staff Writer

    La Jolla
    Piatti

    Somewhere between Hillcrest and Gaslamp, Piatti Ristorante and Bar demands to stand out in La Jolla, a neighborhood that is normally populated with the up-and-coming middleclass population. Claiming the corner spot of the street, the store’s lights, decorations and white walls give it an elegant, yet homey feel. The dishes you’ll see on the menu will be just as comforting. The linguini ($19.95), covered in an assortment of fresh shrimp, mussels, clams and calamari, has delightfully surprising splashes of lemon, chili flakes and white wine to round out the classic dish. The affogato ($6.95) is a must have to finish off your meal: This vanilla gelato soaked with amaretto and a shot of espresso is topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of chocolate shaving wisps.

    — Claire Yee
    Staff Writer

    University City
    KI Sushi

    Friday and Saturday nights are Greek central at KI Sushi. Located in the Costa Verde Center, KI Sushi has both regular and midnight happy hours, meaning the place is constantly packed with UCSD students looking for inexpensive—but good—sushi and dirt-cheap sake bombs all along the shuttle route. This spot is great for group outings — even though the restaurant is pretty small, the staff is fairly accommodating. Don’t forget the jalapeño bomb appetizer to start, a specialty roll for dinner and plenty of Sapporo to wash it down. But be warned: Splitting the check with a big group is usually the cause behind the long wait for tables during happy hour, so bring cash.

    — Laira Martin
    Lifestyle Editor

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