Life is Delicious
September 22, 2015
One of my all-time favorite neighborhood, North Park has so much character and charm with its bungalow style homes and historic ones sprinkled in between, this town is one of San Diego’s hidden gems with a food scene that is second to none in the county. Here it’s hipster all the way, and the residents don’t rest on good looks or thick pocketbooks; they thrive on personality and artful presentation. So, guess how they like their restaurants? One place you might eat like a king on the cheap, another you may find upscale peasant food in slick surroundings. So let’s take a tour and taste some of North Park’s finest.
The name says it all!!. The staff is friendly, the beer selection nicely curated, the vibe relaxed and unpretentious. The regular menu is wonderful, but the constantly changing menu on the specials chalkboard keeps things fresh and continues to offer new and creative fair right out of their wood fired oven. Also, be sure to pay particular attention to the seasonal vegetable offerings; I’ve had wonderful Delicata squash and Padron peppers when in season that were to die for. And if you’re just in the mood for good old well-made bar grub from quality ingredients, well you can’t go wrong with the charcuterie made on the premises, Chicago dog or Fish and Chips!
Alexanders of North Park
A cute little Italian restaurant, perfect for date night or any other night of the week. One of my personal favorites, Alexander’s features an all-white décor, accented with tea lights and white Hydrangeas; a perfect ambiance that is truly charming and romantic, not to mention the old Italian movies they play on the outside patio wall. This place is character magnified!! The food is also wonderful ranging from delicious appetizers to artisan pizzas and homemade pastas and salads. Wine list is great too!! My favorite thing there is their baked penne in vodka sauce that is sure to warm the soul and put a smile on your face. One last thing, keep in mind that they have an awesome special on Mondays featuring $6 pizza and $1 beers.
Dominated by a set of imposing concrete tables lit with fire features, wood “fins” that line the interior walls and glass panels which lever up to allow for seating on both sides of a bar that spans the length of the restaurant, makes this dining room a show piece to say the least. There are more bar-height seats along the open kitchen, where UnderBelly chefs prep the menu’s appetizers, buns, ramen noodles and other Asian fair. The selection also rotates nightly, with options ranging from skewered chicken thighs, hearts and livers to truffle oil and parmesan-seasoned cauliflower and heirloom tomatoes, but my personal favorite is a hefty vegetarian bowl of Ramen with a salty broth that’s a perfect balance against the sweet veggies and creamy boiled egg on top. So check them out; the beer selection is also great!
Rita’s Carnitas Snack Shack
The line out the door will help you find your way to this precious gem, hole in the wall type of place located right off the hustling and bustling University Ave. But as discouraging as the line may seem, have no fear and just know that the wait will be well worth it, especially if you are a pork loving fanatic! This place features patio seating under beautiful olive trees, nestled in giant planters serving as the actual tables for the seating arrangement. The food ranges from pork tacos, to awesome Tortas piled high with luscious pork carnitas, pork belly appetizers, burgers and fries and much more. And don’t forget the ice cold beer to wash it all down.
This is it for this month Aquatera, but be sure and checkout next month’s blog for even more delicious flavors from unexpected little neighborhoods in the San Diego area. For now, go ahead and venture out outside your comfort zone and let me know what you thinks. Also feel free to share with me any suggestions you may have for quaint little places that are unique and delectable.