In light of the world's current affairs, I found myself with a lack of appetite this month. In fact, after hearing of the heinous attacks Hamas committed on innocent Israeli civilians, I could barely eat in the following days. The images of torture, rape, and beheadings overtook my thoughts and have left me in a constant state of fear for our humanity. In order to shield my kids from the evil that lurks in this world, I spent extra time with them this month. In fact, they have been my dining guests at every restaurant that I feature below. After learning about all these innocent children barbarically murdered and kidnapped, I wanted my kids by my side as much as possible. Food for thought: reach out to your friends who are suffering beyond a text message. As of this moment when I write this article, there are still 224 hostages being held by Hamas including babies, toddlers, teenagers, young men and women, and elderly.
Lola 55 (East Village)
This Bib Gourmand taqueria is set in an uber-chic, loft-like setting with high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows and makes the meanest tacos on the market. I have eaten the most creative, and delicious, tacos here than anywhere else. This one is a must.
pros: innovative taco menu, cool setting, full view of kitchen and tortilla maker
cons: no table service (at least not during lunchtime), they ran out of chips and salsa by 12:30 pm.
must order: the squa-shroom taco stuffed with grilled portabello mushroom, a squash blossom, and topped with a homemade cilantro sauce; the fish taco lightly battered with a tomato vinaigrette, frisee, pickled serrano, and purple basil
Tribute Pizza (North Park)
Fun and lively this pizza joint has an extensive menu of Italian dishes with an emphasis on wood-fired pizza.
pros: really good food, great energy cons: even with a reservation, we had to wait ten minutes for our table
must order: mushroom whitestone white pie with garlic sauteed mushrooms, calabrian chile, mozzarella, ricotta, pecorino romano, fresh parsley; the elaine benes little green salad with baby greens, heirloom tomatoes, red onion, carrot, cucumber, marinated garbanzos, provolone, and red wine vinaigrette; both of the special order pizza condiments: calabrian chili crisps and swayze edition pizza ranch to dip your crust in (not on the menu)
Izola (East Village) This is the coolest bakery in San Diego. Upon the street-level entrance, you will be prompted to plug in a code to get into the building and then make your way to the third level. As you walk up the unimpressive flights of stairs, you'll first encounter the bakery's barista bar. Signs will guide you to the doors that finally get you into an expansive, lofty space - one that you'd easily find in Tribeca. The smell of freshly baked croissants and breads fills the air along with the tunes of the live musician.
pros: great customer service, very cool atmosphere, incredibly delectable baked goods
cons: pricey - a chocolate croissant is $8.45, iced- lattes are served in hot cups
must order: moroccan black olive chocolate croissant
Fruittitude (La Jolla)
I've come here too many times to not mention this quaint shop that is my go-to place for excellent smoothies and healthy eating.
pros: spotless, very healthy breakfast and lunch items
cons: staff lacks warmth and friendliness- they aren't rude in any way, just not friendly
must order: the organic energy booster smoothie made with espresso, peanut butter, mocha, banana, and almond milk; and the chocolate acai bowl
Havana Kitchen (La Jolla)
La Jolla's newest addition brings locals Cuban cuisine with a low-key, casual vibe. pros: great customer service, large menu with lots of Cuban classics
cons: small portions for big bucks, food heavily fried must order: the loaded yucca fries and the rice and beans (which are prepared exceptionally well here)