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Saturday, November 1, 2014

It's Coming - The 2014 San Diego Bay Wine and Food Fest

You want one of these?  How about two?  OK, stop twisting my arm!

The San Diego Wine and Food Festival is one of the largest in the nation attracting over 10,000 food and wine addicts with 200 purveyors of wine beer and spirits along with over 70 of San Diego's top restaurants handing out food tastings.  This is the Comic-Con for foodies, an essential annual event that has grown men and women counting the days until they can run around the Embaradero to sample the best that San Diego has to offer.

November is the perfect time of year for an event like this. 
Throughout the week there are tons of food-centric activities, from fish taco competitions to fancy dinners with fancy dinners with fancy chefs.  There are oyster events, port pairing events, just about anything you can think of that has to do with good wine and good food.  But the big event, the one you won't want to miss, is the Grand Tasting Event on Saturday, Nov. 22nd.  That's where they take over the area behind Seaport Village, line it with tents and offer up unlimited samples of great San Diego food.

Expect beautiful presentation from the top chefs in San Diego.
As for the food, it's almost like you get to walk into a Top Chef competition where you get taste the best thing the chefs can cook.  Unlike most tasting events where the tastings are sometimes better at Costco, the San Diego Wine and Food Festival has never failed to impress me with the quality ingredients and superb presentations.  Hey look, they're using tweezers to put the micro-sprouts on the plate!  Just like on TV!

I hate it when people write "nom nom nom" so I won't - but you get the idea.
Expect lots of seafood all expertly prepared.  Oh my, that shrimp still has it's head on and that guy just ate it!  That's right, there are no dumb'd down sliders or pasta with marinara sauce there.  When they serve you a slider you'd better be ready for it to be the best slider you've ever tasted.  I mean, look at the picture!  You want that, I want that, let's go get another!

Stop staring at me before I eat you.
By now you should have gotten the message that this is no ordinary food tasting event.  It's the San Diego foodie event of the year, the one you won't want to miss.  Get your tickets now, get there early, and don't you even think about having a snack before you arrive.  Walk the circuit and fill up, kick back in the sunshine and listen to some live music, repeat until they tell you it's time to go.

If you ever wanted to taste the Best that San Diego has to offer, this is the event.  Kick off your holiday season with a gift to yourself and check out the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Fest 2014.

Local Wally

Friday, September 26, 2014

Hotel Thrillist Bombs San Diego With The Party of all Parties

All night I kept saying to myself "Do Not Fall Into the Pool!!"
Last weekend I got invited to a party!   And it wasn't some lame party thrown by my brother-in-law who likes to go to bed at 830, this was the Hotel Thrillist San Diego party held at the Hard Rock Hotel.  With a line that wrapped around the block you knew that this was the hot ticket of the night and once inside the place was kind of crazy and wild.  I'm guessing the open bar featuring Malibu Rum had something to do with it.  Maybe.....

Or was it the food?  There were 11 restaurants/food trucks there serving up some really great stuff as well as some craft beer served up by a few of my favorite local breweries, namely Karl Strauss, Coronado Brewing and Mother Earth Brewing.  Before we get to the food let's take another look at this place.

Great shot probably taken from the police helicopter wondering what all the commotion was about.

I mean, come on!  Only could pull this off.  I like these guys because they really just cut to the chase with showing some of the coolest things in San Diego and when they say they are throwing a party they mean an all-weekend party.  Seriously!

There are a lot of guys in this pool.  Just saying...
The food event was Friday night but the next day there was a pool party for those who just could not get enough.  That's me in that photo above.  Find Wally.  Where?  Where????? 

I think I need to work out more if I'm going to parties like this!  No, that is NOT me on the right.

But back to the Friday night party and, yes, the food.  Here's who was there:

  • Brian’s Malarkey's restaurant, Searsucker, served hamachi tartar with shallot, crème fraiche, chives and jalapeno
  • Salt & Cleaver created an authentic Moroccan lamb merguez with mint, lime and cucumber
  • Puesto dished up a California taco complete with filet mignon, melted cheese, crispy potatoes, homemade guacamole and tomatillo roja salsa
  • Donut Bar created a ‘Big Poppa Tart’ Donut 
  • The Cravory invented ‘wookies,’ their own version of whoopie pie – they served lemon bar, birthday cake and banana pecan pie wookies 
  • Duck Dive served pan seared duck breast with Duck Dive dragon glaze over blueberry risotto and sautéed spinach
  • Slaters 50/50 prepared a Tequila Chorizo Fundido Burger topped with beer battered onion rings, fire roasted green chilies, fresh guacamole and drenched in house-made fundido sauce
  • Casanova Fish Tacos supplied Baja-style shrimp ceviche
  • GreenGo Grilled Cheese prepared a Nogada Grilled Cheese with pork belly, grilled dates, caramelized red onion and their signature Nogada spread 
  • New York on Rye served up delicious rueben wontons<
  • Not So Fast Food Truck made Scarpariello chicken wings served with fresh baby fennel.

OK already, here's a photo.  Just one because it's not fair to show you all this great food if you can't taste it.
This is good, really good.
Oh yeah, this is the Slaters 50/50 looking very civilized in a messy sort of way. First off, if you have not had a Slaters 50/50, which is half hamburger and half bacon meat, it's really something else!  Here's why you don't ever want to try to do this at home.

Try to look cool, don't worry, stay calm, you will not burn down the Hard Rock Hotel.  Probably not.

Ha, I guess there's just a little bit of tasty fat in the 50/50 meat mixture!  The smoke got so dense that people were ducking behind poles but I did not move one inch.  I wanted my burger!  And everything else was equally good.  I went back a few times for the duck breast from Duck Dive and the weird won ton filled the makings of Reuben sandwich inside from New York on Rye was oddly appealing.  And, of course, Seersucker does everything right so can't complain there!

OK, one more photo.  This innocent looking wonton was filled with Reuben sandwich fixings which my  wife thought was weird and I was glad she did because I got to eat her wontons.  It was weird, to be honest, but weird in a good way. 

So go eat, San Diego.  If you are lucky enough to be reading this post today, Sept 26th, you can go to any of these restaurants and order these off-the-menu items.  But if you missed it, don't worry!  Each restaurant here is worthy of your time and worth seeking out.  If their food is anything close to what we had at the Hotel Thrillist San Diego event then you you can't go wrong.

Local Wally 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Lookie Loo's Unite at the San Diego Modern Home Tour 2014

AT A GLANCE:  Come tour some of San Diego's coolest and most extravagant modern homes.
WHEN:  Saturday, Sept. 27th
TICKETS and INFO:  San Diego Modern Home Tours

I love driving through San Diego's coolest neighborhoods to check out the houses.  Let's face it, there's no way a guy like me can ever afford one of these homes but it sure is fun to try to imagine how the other half lives.  Ahhh, the views, the style, the elegance, WHY WON'T YOU LET ME IN TO SEE THE INSIDE??? 

Stop it already!  Because now you can visit some of these homes on the San Diego Modern Home Tour.  From Golden Hills to North County the best of the best of the Modern Homes are open to the public to tour and perhaps just dream a little.  Of course, those who love design and architecture will want to go but anyone who has watched HGTV or toured a model home just for fun will love taking the tour.  Got a high school reunion coming up?  Make sure you take a picture of yourself inside one of these incredible homes so you can show off your "fixer upper" to that girl who dumped you.  Who's sorry now? 

The price is a very reasonable $30 for online tickets and the tours are self-drive and self-paced so you don't have to worry about looking like an idiot as you drool over the grandiose of the homes.  To see the lineup of the homes you'll visit go to San Diego Modern Home Tour where you can also buy tickets.  Kids under 12 are free but if it were me I would leave them at home with the TV on and go explore without them.  But that's just me. 

So go do it this Saturday.  Forget about mowing the yard, forget about painting that back room, just get in your car and go visit some homes that aren't furnished by IKEA or can't be towed away.  That's right, go to the San Diego Modern Home Tour and enter into a world of the San Diego rich and famous that has to be seen to be believed.  Ding Dong - Come on in!

Local Wally
San Diego's Original Local Guy

Friday, July 18, 2014

Top 10 Reasons Why Paradise Point Resort is San Diego's Best Place to Stay

San Diego is blessed with a lot of things, including a plethora of great hotels and resorts.  But for my vacation (or stay-cation) dollar, Paradise Point Report on Mission Bay stands out as my top pick.  Here are the Top 10 reasons why your next getaway should be the Paradise Point Resort.  It's my favorite as you will soon see.


Lush landscaping and tropical setting makes this one of San Diego's most beautiful resorts.

No one can blame you if you start hollering "AAA-LO-HAAAA!" at the top of your lungs when you arrive.  If you didn't know better you might think you were in Maui with the mature tropical plantings and meandering walkways.  Palm trees swaying in the breeze, the serenity of the ponds, the sound of birds in the background, you instantly forget that this is on Mission Bay.  Lush and beautiful, it's  simply is one of San Diego's most beautiful resort settings.


An early morning stroll on the beach to start the day.

Hey you - did you really buy your wife a new set of tires for your last anniversary?  I know, they were steel belted radials - but really??  A weekend at Paradise Point Resort is guaranteed to get you out of the doghouse though what happens after that is up to you.  Perfect for honeymooners, anniversaries, special occasions, or anyone just needing to get away, Paradise Point rates higher than a Barry White album on the romantic scale. Bring champagne!



Nothing says vacation more than a tropical drink and you'll find them all over Paradise Point, from the popular Barefoot Bar to poolside.  The Mai Tai's pack the punch but if punch is what you are after then there's nothing better than an ice cold, rum filled frosty glass of Paradise Punch, a drink that so easy to sip that you might never leave.  Tasty, tasty, tasty!


Vintage Barefoot Bar menu still captures the feel of the restaurant.

The story is that The Barefoot Bar was built on top of a bomb shelter back when the original Vacation Village opened in 1963 and the joke was that you could get bombed at the bar but not bombed from the sky.  Ahhh, humor back in the Cold War times, nothing better!  The original Barefoot Bar had sand on the floor but no longer, which is probably OK when you think about it.  Great food, live music, a view of the bay, this place screams VACATION!  Locals, stop in for lunch and take a "play-cation" this weekend and be a tourist in our hometown.  It's super fun and the food is great.  Speaking of which....


Super fresh seafood, this is the ahi poke on a crispy won ton.  Dang it's good!

Just look at that bite - fresh ahi poke with some mango salsa and avocado on top of a crispy won ton wrapper.  CRUNCH!  Ahhhh!  If you could taste what I tasted you would know why I rave about The Barefoot Bar.  Open for both lunch and dinner the menu features plenty of fresh seafood options as well as steaks, chicken and burgers.  It's a creative menu and one that was so good the last time I went that I can't wait to go back and try more dishes.  Next time you're looking for a place to eat and you want something different from the usual suspects in San Diego set your sights on The Barefoot Bar.  It's good, really good!


The large resort pool has lots of energy and a great place to people watch - just don't get caught!

A great resort needs a great pool and Paradise Point's main pool fits the bill.  Kids splashing in the pool and a cocktail waitress to help you ignore the kids splashing, it's the perfect set up for a perfect day.  But if the idea of pumped up music and Summer-sized energy isn't your idea of relaxation then head over to any of the other smaller, more private pools, some with age restrictions that keep the munchkins on the other side of the gate.  Nice!  I mean, nice that there are options.


Watch the boats sail by from your private patio.

This is the view from my room.  I sat in that chair and watched the sailboats go by in the afternoon.  I watched the sun go down.  I watched the bonfires at night.  And in the morning I watched the day slowly unfold, the kayakers taking advantage of the calm, and the beginning of another day in Paradise.  Now imagine you sitting in that chair with your glass of wine and imagine that this is your vacation, not mine.  This is the Paradise Point lifestyle and it doesn't get much better than this.


How nice is this?

I'm not sure which is prettier, the view from the room or the room itself.  Pick a room on the bayside and you'll be stepping outside to a patio that drops right into the sand and the rooms on the interior aren't slouches either, especially if you get one that lines one of the pools or tropical gardens.  What's cool about Paradise Point is that the rooms are bungalows.  No high rise hotel.  No boring corporate compound.  It feels like you are on vacation - hey, you are!  I've stayed at enough boring Marriott's throughout the year on dismal business trips.  When I go on vacation I want something that makes me forget about work and a bungalow on the beach sound just about right.  


Rent a sailboat for an afternoon of gentle sailing on the calm waters.

Located right on the bay, Paradise Point offers plenty of opportunities to get out on the water.  If you've never been to San Diego then here's a quick lesson.  There are two bays in San Diego.  The big one near the airport, Seaport Village and the Convention Center, is called, well, San Diego Bay.  It's the one with the Coronado Bridge going over it and an aircraft carrier docked on it.  It's big, it's windy, and it's great for experienced sailors wanting to push their skills.  Mission Bay, on the other hand, is nice and calm.  That's where Paradise Point Marina is and this is where you can rent a little sailboat and try to remember what you learned back at Summer camp in Junior High.  You can also rent a kayak or jet ski or whatever you want.  Or forgetaboutit and just hop on the water taxi to take a short trip to SeaWorld where you can skip the long lines in front if you purchase your tickets at the resort. 

And if water isn't your thing then rent a bike and cruise around the bay.  I might suggest a little ride over to the Catamaran Hotel on the other side of the bay as a destination (tip:  cocktail bar) and a leisurely ride back then a jump in the pool.  There are so many options that there is no way you'll run out of things to do.


Create lasting memories doing nothing more than relaxing on the beach.

Remember that favorite family vacation you took as a kid?  This is the place to create those happy memories with your family and friends.  A bungalow on the beach, the sand between your toes, the kids laughing while floating on a raft, you've done a good job picking Paradise Point as your vacation spot.  And locals, when the kids are getting restless forget about the long lines at Disneyland or the scorching hot temps of Palm Springs and just stay here. The kids get an adventure, you get a drink and some sunshine, everyone wins!


Get that balance back into your life with a stay at Paradise Point.

Whether this is your big family vacation, a honeymoon destination or just a weekend getaway the end result is the same - a Zen-like happiness that makes you feel great about your experience.  Paradise Point Resort is a hidden gem, a piece of Hawaii that somehow ended up on Mission Bay. There are a lot of places to say in San Diego but only one that is truly paradise!

The original locals guide to San Diego.... since 1996

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Growing Up in Sacramento and the 4th of July

The Fourth of July always brings me back to my days as a kid growing up in Sacramento.  By July the weather would be hot, scorching hot, and the smell of ripe fruit would be in the air.  The 4th should be hot, that’s all there is to it.

The fourth also meant fireworks and Sacramento had more Red Devil stands then than there are Starbucks today, and that’s saying a lot.  Walking across the hot parking lot pavement to the stand I could get a faint hint of gunpowder in the air, a scent lovelier than a candy store to this kid with money his pocket.  Standing on my tip toes I peeked beyond the screen, past the “No Smoking” signs and into a world of glory and excitement.

Vintage Red Devil fireworks flyer
Sparklers, fountains, and the holy grail, the “49’r” combination box.  The 49’r was $49 and included just about everything a kid could dream of, including the triple canister fountains that would spray sparks of red, white and blue.  But that was far out of my price range so I carefully picked the best value for my small change and that meant Piccolo Petes.

A Piccolo Pete cost a quarter and it screamed a blood curdling high pitched wail with some sparks coming off the top but would end in a highly anti-climatic “poof”.  It was my cousin Brandon, who at the time seemed like the kind of kid that perhaps you shouldn't hang out with, who showed me a trick to get even more fun out of a Pete.  Using pliers he crimped the bottom of the tube.  I watched him carefully to learn from the great master.  He lit the fuse and the Piccolo Pete wailed like before but when it got to the end it blew up!  The wooden stand splintered and shot like shrapnel across the driveway.  It was unbelievable but cousin Brandon found a way to make a Piccolo Pete even better!

Today I live near the coast and it’s cool and overcast and I feel somehow cheated.  Fireworks are illegal in my town and with the kids all grown I didn’t make the annual drive to the desert to pick up some sparklers for the backyard.  The 4th without fireworks and 100 degree weather is like
Christmas without presents.

How I long for a Sacramento Summer day.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

How to Find Sustainable San Diego Seafood in a Town Filled with Fish Tacos

Check out this photo from 1905 in front of the Hotel Del Coronado.  This is not some crazy Photoshopped image.  Back then you could actually catch giant sea bass off our coast.  Heck, San Diego once had a thriving tuna fishing industry.  Not that long ago there were so many fish being caught off our coast that it drove the development of the canning industry so we could sell it to other markets.  There were so many fish in the sea, as the saying goes, that no one thought it would ever end.

Today it's a bit different.  Overfishing and destructive fishing techniques have put the oceans into serious jeopardy.  So what can you do?  One of the better ways to know whether you should order that sushi roll or not is to use the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch app on your phone.  It lets you know quickly whether the fish you are thinking of ordering is sustainable or whether you should avoid them.  Of course, you can also just go to Rubio's where they lead the way with their sustainable offerings labeled with a easy to see blue icon.  See it? 

I was hungry so that's what I did.  I was feeling a bit nostalgic for the original Rubio's Fish Taco joint in Mission Bay area.  I used to go there and wait in long lines back when it was the only place to get a fish taco.  I hadn't been there in a long time so I wondered if it was still the funky joint I remembered or if was cleaned up like the ones in the mall.

 Psssst - want to Win 2 Rubio's gift cards?  Just add a comment to the end of this post and go to my Facebook page and Like me and you might be the lucky winner!

Thankfully it hadn't changed much at all.  I like the new Rubio's restaurants but the original has a cool San Diego taco shop vibe that makes it feel like you've come to someplace special.  You line up inside and order, then grab a seat outside and wait for your name to be called. It's old school.  In fact, the speaker they use to call out the names is so old school that there is no way you can understand who is being called so pay attention and keep an eye on the pick up window.

I love shrimp but have been shying away from them a bit after reading about how terrible the farming practices are in other countries and how net fishing has so much "by-catch" waste.  Farmed shrimp from Asian countries are highly destructive to the environment and imported wild shrimp from outside the US uses bottom crawling nets that catch everything - a pound of shrimp often has 5 pounds of other sea life caught with it that is tossed away or left to die.  Thankfully Rubio's uses sustainable shrimp so you can eat as much as you want - and you will want to eat a lot of these shrimp enchiladas!  The green sauce had a nice tang and the enchilada was overflowing with plump, juicy, perfectly cooked shrimp.  Sustainable.  Delicious. What more could you want? 

My friend got the trio of tacos, all sustainable.  Blackened talapia, a grilled shrimp taco, and the classic battered fried fish taco.  All were delicious, but does Rubio's make anything that's not?  And it's good to know that the standard battered fried fish taco, the one that started the entire fish taco craze across the U.S., is 100% sustainable. That's really good to know when Tuesdays roll around as you can get one of these original fish tacos for a buck and a half after 230PM.

In fact, most of the offerings on Rubio's menu are sustainable.  There are a few that are not - sadly the Mango Habanero Mahi Mahi taco, one of my favorites, is not.  Maybe Rubio's could do a Mango Habanero Talapia taco???  Man, I would eat that for sure!

So thanks Ralph Rubio for bringing us the fish taco, and thanks for keeping an eye on the ocean that we love and the sea life in it.

(Don't forget - Win 2 FREE gift cards to Rubio's by posting a comment on this post and going to my Facebook page and liking me!)

Local Wally
The original San Diego local guy.... since 1996

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Locals Rate the Best Food at the San Diego Fab Fair 2014

Eat This, San Diego!

Forget the foodies.  Forget the critics.  In fact, forget everything you know about fair food and listen to San Diego locals who ate it all and picked the best things to eat at the San Diego Fair, 2014.

NAME: Kodi (with a little heart over the "i")
LIVES IN:  4S Ranch
SOUND BITE:  "It's everything I love in the world"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS:  If you have never tried these, Australian Battered Potatoes are slices of potato dipped into a tempura batter and deep fried.  Top them with your favorite sauce.  As heart stopping bad as this sounds they are surprisingly delicious - so good that they got my vote for best thing to eat at the far a couple of years back.  But fair warning, a little bit goes a long ways so share an order.  As for the "Best Value" giant bucket, are you insane?
Before we get too deep into this a quick plug:  Don't miss Local Wally's San Diego microbrewery night with the Padres!  Tickets and info here.  Padre's versus the Mets and lots of beer tastings from San Diego north county breweries.  And now back to the fair....

NAME:  Michael
LIVES IN:  Chula Vista
SOUND BITE:  "I'm going to really hate myself tomorrow"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS:  You can count on Chicken Charlies to come up with the oddest of odd fair food.  They seem to have this obsession with legitimizing the use of a Krispy Kreme donut as a bun.  I give them credit for trying but this really is a WTF sort of idea.  I mean, really, imagine moms' across America serving this for dinner and the reaction at the table.

Mom:  "Look kids, I made burgers with donuts for the buns!" 
Kids:  "Dad, Mom's smoking weed again." 

This one is shock value only, but if you must try a burger with a glazed donut for a bun then this is the place.  Their better idea is the fried chicken skins. Wait, that was my idea a few years ago.  And it was a joke!!  Don't believe me?  Read my blog from 2010 where I said, and I quote, "chicken skins would be BIG, BIG, BIG!"

NAME:  Elizabeth and Toni
LIVES IN:  East Lake and Vista
SOUND BITE:  "Super delicious...Amazing!"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS:  Funnel cake is life changing.  Yeah, it can kill you if you eat too much so I mean it when I say it can change your life.  But who can resist donut batter poured through a funnel into hot oil?  And you thought the Dutch were all about wooden clogs?  Little did you know that they are pioneers in deep fried fair food.  Don't mess it up with ice cream or bad sauces.  Go clean, go pure, just dust some powdered sugar on it and you will be in heaven (one way or another).

NAME:  Charles and Alejandra
LIVES IN:  Escondido
SOUND BITE:  "This is the first time we have had these and we're fans!"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS:  First off, is that the weirdest photo or what?  Is that guy the Geico caveman?  I mean that in the nicest way, of course.  I told these two (possible winner of cutest couple at the fair) to get together so I can take their photo and they did this strange wedding sort of pose eating Tasti Chips.  This was their first time trying Tasti Chips so perhaps they were just in fried potato bliss.  Tasti Chips are totally legit, freshly fried potato chips that would be perfect on the menu at Fleming's steakhouse if only they were smart enough to add them.  Guilty enough to be fair food worthy but so good you won't care about the calories.

NAME:  Kristi
LIVES IN: Laguna Beach
SOUND BITE:  "Thumbs Up"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS: Gourmet grilled cheese is all the rage in foodie circles.  And these aren't the cheese sandwiches you grew up with.  Grilled Cheese A-Fair takes a basic grilled cheese and adds Mac N Cheese to the gooey cheddar and tosses in a helping of pulled pork for good measure.  The result is a carb heavy delight, a perfect bite of deliciousness that takes the absurd to new levels.  I knocked a point off because a grilled cheese needs that greasy, buttery outside to finish it - but that wouldn't be healthy, would it?

NAME:  Ray
LIVES IN:  Chula Vista
SOUND BITE:  "Very good, it IS good!"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS: Juicy's is the place that grills up the giant turkey legs and this year was pushing the giant sausages.  These were quite good but how hard is it to heat up a sausage on a grill?  On the other hand the deep fried zucchini and onion rings were so greasy that you should lean over when you take a bite unless you want to look like you were playing paintball with Crisco.  "Grease-Bomb" was the quote from Mallory above and that says it all.  So go for the sausage, avoid the fried foods.

NAME:  Susan
LIVES IN:  Rancho Santa Fe
SOUND BITE:  "They're the best.  I eat these 5 times a season!"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS:  Not everything at the fair has to be a greasy deep fried bacon wrapped glob.  In fact, one of the very best things to eat is what looks like a fairly normal cinnamon roll.  But make no mistake, these cinnamon rolls might be some of the best you might ever have.  Go ahead, cut that roll into dainty, civilized bite sized pieces and let that guy with BBQ sauce running down his chin keep his giant turkey leg and deep fried cookie dough.  You know better.  Simply none better and one of the best things to eat at the fair year after year.

NAME:  Jaqueline
LIVES IN: North Park
SOUND BITE:  "You can have Hot Dog On a Stick anywhere but these are special."

LOCAL WALLY SAYS:  Every fair visit deserves a corn dog.  But don't waste your annual corn dog allocation on an inferior dog.  Yes, I'm talking about Hot Dog on a Stick.  Come on, you can get those at any mall so when you are at the fair go to the place that makes the best corn dog in town.  They're scorching hot and plump and worth every heart artery clogging bite. 

NAME:  Paul
LIVES IN:  San Diego
SOUND BITE:  "It is as advertised.  It's a deep fried hunk of cheese!"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS:  It's brilliant.  Take a block of string cheese and deep fry it in corn batter and you have an amazingly elastic bite that's sure to have people pointing at you and asking where you got it.  Like a gooey pizza that won't let go of the box the string cheese cheese dog hangs on to the stick for dear life as your mouth tries to take it all in.  It's fun, it's tasty, don't get a regular cheese dog when you can get one of these.

NAME:  Jim
LIVES IN:  La Mesa
SOUND BITE:  "It's awesome!"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS:   I know, you can make this at home on any gas grill.  But do you?  No, you don't so when you're at the fair treat yourself to an honest to goodness healthy piece of Americana.  Every year the food at the fair gets weirder and weirder but the Original Char-Broiled Corn just keeps doing what they do and that's make the mundane ear of corn into something to look forward to.  If you haven't tried it because you've thought that it was just an ear of corn then get one this year and be prepared to be very pleasantly surprised just how delicious fresh corn cooked on a BBQ can be.

NAME:  Kerry and Andrew
LIVES IN:  Del Mar
SOUND BITE:  "It's decent"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS:   San Diego has a lot of great fish tacos.  In fact, right down the street is The Brigantine, home to arguably the best fish taco in town and there's a Rubio's now in every mall making excellent fried and grilled fish tacos.  So we San Diegan's know a good fish taco when we taste it and have gotten pretty darn picky and opinionated on who makes the best.  As for Palapa, it's good but not good enough to compete with the best.  If you really must have a fish taco at the fair then this is the place but locals agree with me that there are better bites elsewhere.

NAME:  Dave
LIVES IN:  San Elijo Hills
SOUND BITE:  "Yummy!"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS:   So hard to decide - should I get the deep fried cheeseburger or the deep fried hot dog??  Wait, pulled pork?  Tri-tip and chicken sandwiches?  That's the way to go.  Avoid the novelty foods and stick with the basics at The Ranch and you will not be disappointed.

General Info (hours, tickets, etc)

  • Best Pass Ever:  $24 gets you unlimited admission into the fair for all 24 days.  Only a certified lunatic would go every day but considering the price of one ticket the Best Pass Ever is perfect if you just want to pop in and see a show or, yes, get more chicken skin.
  • Albertson's $4 tickets for June 11th.
  • June 24th and July 1:  Taste of the Fair days mean $2 bite size samples of some of your favorites.
Bon Appetite,
Local Wally
The original San Diego local guy.... since 1996
Don't miss Local Wally's microbrewery night with the Padres, July 19th.  Tickets here.