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This week’s Happy Half Hour takes place from one of the best perches in all of San Diego: Top of the Market. It’s a fully windowed and partially outdoor restaurant, separate and with a more fine dining or special occasion bent than its counterpart downstairs, the equally beloved and lauded Fish Market. To our front are sprawling views of Coronado a…
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This week we got out-broadcasted on Happy Half Hour, and we couldn’t be more honored to pass the torch, to, as Troy dubbed it, “the best monosyllabic baseball broadcast duo in the major leagues.” The crew went to Petco Park ahead of the start of the Padres/Rockies series to chat with the voices of the franchise, Don Orsillo and Mark Grant (the Fria…
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Did you know one of the country’s most celebrated sommeliers lives and works in San Diego? It’s true! This week, we welcomed Coco Randolph of Black Radish and San Francisco’s Californios to the Happy Half Hour podcast. Randolph is new-ish to town, having moved here about a year and a half ago from San Francisco, where she helped her family run two …
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Sometimes, it’s the most fun to chop it up with friends. And when your friends include legendary sushi chefs and top DJs, all the better. This week we brought to Happy Half Hour Chris Cantore, a former voice across San Diego’s radio airwaves, and his long-time buddy, North County sushi chef Tyler Mars. Troy goes way back with the duo, having been b…
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Jordan Howlett just needs a minute. Give him that, and he’s liable to have you hooked. Thanks to his highly recognizable, signature mirror-selfie videos, Howlett (San Diego Magazine’s cover star for our 2024 Best Restaurants issue) has amassed upwards of 30 million followers across his social channels by sharing fast food hacks and wisdom with dead…
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This week’s Happy Half Hour extra special guest is a longtime friend of San Diego Magazine, Feeding San Diego. If you tune into our channels, this fantastic organization probably doesn’t need much of an introduction. And if you’re lucky, you would have caught Troy emceeing their gala last month (in a sequin jacket, of course).But for the uninitiate…
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Our Happy Half Hour guest today is the local chapter CEO of probably one of the most beloved and recognizable charities in the world: The Make-A-Wish Foundation, San Diego chapter. We invited Suzanne Husby, who garnered her title in 2021, to talk all things Make-a-Wish at Matsu in Oceanside. Husby has been with the foundation for 17 years, moving u…
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“Close my eyes, she's somehow closer now / Softly smile, I know she must be kind / When I look in her eyes / She goes with me to a blossom world”The lyrics to the iconic Beach Boys song “Good Vibrations,” penned in part by Mike Love, are likely about a woman from long ago. But they could just as easily be about the flavors and sensations from his b…
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Everyone’s favorite Mission Hills karaoke joint, the Lamplighter, has brought its talents down the hill to the Gaslamp—and so has this podcast. The team, led by fourth-generation bar owner Frankie Sciuto, launched the Gaslamplighter, a new upscale cocktail and karaoke bar, in January. Sciuto joins us on the Happy Half Hour podcast today as we check…
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If you received this month’s San Diego Magazine, you already know about Warung RieRie. Happy Half Hour host and food critic Troy Johnson dubbed it “the star of the city's thrilling backyard restaurant scene.”Wait. There’s a thrilling backyard restaurant scene in San Diego? Indeed, there is, and the individual restaurants are formally dubbed MEHKOs—…
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Stop us if you’ve heard the Happy Half Hour cast claim a particular food item was the “best in San Diego” before (to be fair, San Diego Magazine devotes an entire issue to the topic). If we assign superlatives, we tend to stand behind them, so buckle up for the following: We’ve found the best falafel in San Diego. Hands down, bar none, et cetera. F…
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To know the illustrious Tony Tee, real name Antonio Ley, is to love him. The Chula Vista-born-and-bred, man-about-town has appeared in popular shows, like Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and Vice News, and he even had a brief career as a politico after he got his law degree in Tijuana. These days, the former party promoter is running a food truc…
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I think it’s fair to claim that this week’s Happy Half Hour guest is the most special visitor we’ve ever had on the podcast (which is saying something): Jason Mraz, the two-time Grammy Award–winning singer and songwriter who has gone platinum and multi-platinum in more than 20 countries. His tune “I'm Yours” also surpassed one billion streams on Sp…
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“It’s not just a spirits company, but a way of life.” That’s what Fierce & Kind’s owners and founders, Cyndi Smith and Basem Harb, say when talking about the ethos behind their company. In addition to peddling high-quality vodka and bourbon, Fierce & Kind donates a whopping 25 percent of net profits to charity. To learn more, we asked them to come …
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In case you haven’t noticed, we just debuted our first-ever issue dedicated to all things South Bay. On February 25, we are also holding our first Taste of South Bay food and drink extravaganza at Novo Brazil Brewing in Imperial Beach. In conjunction with that, we’re also asking various South Bay food folks to come on to the HHH podcast to talk abo…
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Avid HHH listeners will remember a few episodes back, when we announced that Ramen World, celebrity chef Lauren Lawless’ first restaurant, would open somewhere in San Diego. That opening is imminent, and so we decided to have the cooking show star and Pacific Beach native in to tell us what’s up.Ramen World’s opening is notable for a few reasons, b…
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Our HHH guest this week, the legendary Trey Foshee of George’s at the Cove, has been in San Diego’s restaurants for a long time.Actually, scratch that. He’s been in one kitchen during the entire 27 years he’s lived, cooked, and managed here, and that’s in La Jolla at George’s (and its related establishments). In an age where people hop around faste…
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When your boss tells you to do something, you do it. When your boss is Troy Johnson, food critic and Chief Content Officer of San Diego Magazine, texting you: “I just left Tunaville. He’s doing amazing stuff. Get Tommy on the podcast,” well, you get Tommy Gomes on the Happy Half Hour podcast.Gomes, a commercial fisherman by trade and blood, is no s…
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According to some of San Diego’s finest food minds (umm, us), one of the hottest restaurants of 2023 is easily Bird Rock’s Paradisaea. The Michelin Guide thinks so, too—it recently gave the restaurant, which opened in late 2022, a special recognition for being pretty damn good (and also new).A year or so is a good length of time for a restaurant to…
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“I said to myself, this was the biggest failure of my whole life,” recalls Tiago Carneiro, founder and owner of Nova Kombucha and Novo Brazil Brewing. In this week’s episode of Happy Half Hour, he’s talking about his business’ epic near-crash-and-burn during the pandemic. Which, if you do some quick back-of-the-napkin math, wasn’t all that long ago…
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“People are always like, ‘You’re a chef I’m sure you’re smoking your turkey,’” says Brad Wise, head chef and owner of Trust Restaurant Group. “But I’ve tried it every way and I’m telling you that old bag is the best.” At his restaurants, he jockeys a nightly parade of red oak to smoke and char meats into various forms of yes. But for Thanksgiving t…
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Susan Feniger and Liz Lachman pop. I first encountered their mutual hurricane of wit at the Del Mar Wine + Food Festival. They were setting up their table to cook. It looked like a movie set. Lachman immediately cordoned me, made me one of her own. Both of them struck me as whip-smart, funny, alive.James Beard Award–winning chef Feniger and Emmy-wi…
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They got weird with it, and it worked. Understory is a concept bar in the middle of a Noah’s Ark-looking food hall called Sky Deck in Del Mar, where it is surrounded by nine sit-down restaurants. “Understories” are the natural world of shade-craving trees, soils, and organisms in any forest. And so, this bar—along with its own barrel-aged boozes (t…
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Ain’t easy being a vegan. Harder being a vegan in the Midwest in the ‘90s. Your eating options were the steamed broccoli at the steakhouse (hold the butter), some room-temp air, or learning to cook in self-defense.“That’s why I learned to cook,” says Roy Elam, chef and owner of Donna Jean in Bankers Hill. He’s wearing a death metal t-shirt in our c…
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On this week’s Happy Half Hour podcast…Pablo Becker named his new restaurant Fish Guts. That’s the kind of humor and gall you need to make it in life. It’s gonna make me like you. It helps that he’s using the 90 percent local seafood, the best damn things pulled off the boats a few blocks from his Barrio Logan fish sandwich-and-taco shop. “It’s cra…
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A three-star Michelin chef has opened a burger joint in San Diego. It’s called Tanner’s Prime Burgers.Exclamation point. Another one. Some hyperactive emoji. Pass the fries.The chef is Brandon Rodgers, who cut his teeth in San Diego years ago. He originally moved here to work with Tony DiSalvo, a nationally known chef who was heading up the former …
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“He was wearing two dog tags. The bullet went through the first dog tag, but the second deflected it down into his ankle. The bullet’s still in his ankle.” As Ky Phan shares on this week’s Happy Half Hour podcast, her father’s dog tag with the terrifying hole not only saved his life, but eventually became the ticket to a new life for his young fami…
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Eric Greenspan didn’t do what he did—go through the years of training at the world’s best restaurants, slog and hustle and cut a metric **** ton of onions and carrots, become one of SoCal’s star chefs, make his way onto national TV, open an L.A. restaurant that earned raves from everyone, including Jonathan Gold—to become known, widely, as “the che…
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Ice cream shops don’t usually spawn modest empires—but this one did. Born and raised in Coronado, David Spatafore opened a little scoop place, MooTime Creamery, in 1998. He built it in the same neighborhood where he grew up and met his wife. Now, his food hall, Liberty Public Market—the market that started the trend in San Diego—is the epicenter of…
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His kitchen is under or near a tree. Lots of them. He’s got goggles on because of the smoke. The first time you see Drew Deckman weidling his giant tongs over live fire at Deckman’s en El Mogor, it feels like you’re in some sort of movie. His bed and car and clothes and family must also smell like smoke. “The minute I first drove into Valle de Guad…
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Lynn and Gary McLean both spent years in the military. A very serious, at times tense path. Based for most of their lives in the Bay Area, they’d spend their downtime exploring every corner of Napa and Sonoma, getting to know the winemakers, the people, the culture. It was their place, their solace. So when Gary retired (a lifelong Marine doesn’t s…
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If there’s a formula for snagging a Michelin star, chef Roberto Alcocer doesn’t know what it is. And yet his Oceanside restaurant, Valle (2023 critic's choice for best Mexican), just received its first from the guide.On this episode of the Happy Half Hour podcast, Alcocer sits down with hosts Troy and David to discuss the achievement and the length…
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You know that giant bin at Best Buy that carries all those DVDs? Think of this latest episode of the Happy Half Hour podcast like that bin. There’s a little bit of everything. So, prepare for a lesson on machaca and Vietnam trivia. After finally being removed by Petco Park security, hosts Troy and David are back at the SDM office catching listeners…
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Is it dark in here? Maybe a little. This week on Happy Half Hour, David and I invent the ways we’d like to undo this mortal coil (our deathways include expiring from overexposure to the almighty T-Swift and falling from a helicopter into a pool of sharks). The whole point? To name what we’d eat if it was our last meal on earth. And then point you t…
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Petco Park is known for having some of the best food in baseball. They were even one of the first stadiums in the nation to bring in iconic and emerging local restaurants, craft beers, wine, and cocktails for a more upscale experience (we still love a good, classic hot dog). On this episode of Happy Half Hour, co-hosts Troy and David get the inside…
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Fair food is legendary—the logical extreme of American cuisine. The food court is Pinocchio’s island for people whose favorite invention is a deep fryer. We train for this. And this year we partnered with the San Diego County Fair to bring you the ultimate “Fairtastic Food Competition.” All told, three judges—myself, Chris Stone of @sdfoodies, and …
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This week on Happy Half Hour, our food and drink podcast that won a national award and we’ll never shut up about that fact…I try somewhat awkwardly to establish nostalgic bonds with David Kennedy, co-owner of James Coffee Co. James is the younger brother of a longtime friend (Lisa Kennedy, who owns The Corner Mercantile & Eatery in La Jolla). I vag…
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Long before “pivot” became a silver-lining buzzword, Tracy Borkum made a career out of it. For instance, the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla recently spent $105 million and tapped one of the top architects in the country to recast its iconic building into an ocean-facing art compound. And Borkum—a San Diego restaurateur who years ago got her…
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During the first terrifying shutdowns of the pandemic, Pulitzer-nominated photographer Jeffrey Brown and his partner started lowering bread out the window of his third-story studio in downtown San Diego. They used a basket and rock-climbing rope (Brown is serious about rocks and ropes, and once climbed El Capitan). People—very few people, at first—…
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I may not still be on TV if it weren’t for Catherine McCord. Nowadays, she’s one of the foremost cookbook authors in the US, with recipe bibles issued under her brand name Weelicious. She helps parents manage cooking without losing their minds and angrily writing off food as a concept, or just loading a Super Soaker with Goldfish crackers and shoot…
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Look, there are enough excellent brunch restaurants in San Diego that waiting hours for a seat at Morning Glory—Little Italy’s rose-hued bastion of breakfast pork belly and morning booze—feels, admittedly, a little silly. Our out-of-town friends gaze forlornly at happy, well-fed-looking strangers while we assure them that the forthcoming pancakes w…
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During the pandemic, actor Matthew Arkin got a call from his dad, Alan Arkin. “My dad says, ‘Hey, you know you can make aquavit at home?’” Matthew explains, sipping a damn delicious aquavit tonic in the SDM conference room.Matthew’s response was, essentially, “Uh, thanks, dad.”In Scandinavia, aquavit (the word means water of life) is everything. Th…
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Jennifer Carruthers is one hell of a sharp brain on wine. Not surprising. She had a successful career as an engineer before deciding she was far more interested in the structure and story of a good wine. So she spent a decade studying wine as a broker and distributor—eventually making it to the Advanced Sommelier level (an incredibly byzantine, dif…
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In the spirit of spirit month, we’re starting out with a well-deserved bang. Let’s talk about the liquor that comes in hot, and leaves us even hotter – sizzling with a well-paletted spice on the tip of our tongue and a soothing warmth in our bellies. I’m talking about tequila, baby. The tip of the iceberg in the Mexican spirits world. Some of the b…
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Most of you know Troy as our fearless leader and a frequent flier—or as the guy you wish you could text for recommendations on where to take your finicky mother-in-law to dinner in San Diego. (I just asked him for you; he suggests Fort Oak in Mission Hills). His college classmates, on the other hand, knew him as the guy who couldn’t cook. “I knew h…
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Over the last few decades we’ve really started to ask questions about what we’re eating. Does the green label really mean organic—or was it grown on an organic “section” of a farm, gobbling up pesticides in the wind? If I’m buying this tomato in January, and it was grown in Florida sand, picked unripe, and gassed on the train on the way to Californ…
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Listen, I know it can seem like some of us at San Diego Magazine basically eat tacos and taste beer for a living. But it’s in pursuit of the story. Whatever it takes to get to the grist of it all. For you. You deserve this. And if that raises our BAC a tad, we’re there for you. For Stone Brewing’s Laura Ulrich, on the other hand, sampling IPAs is a…
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This cafe is one of the better places in San Diego to eat clean, sure. It’s also parents’ love for their daughter. This damn good salad—loaded with all kinds of greens and seeds and micronutrients in various natural forms—was all for her. Every parent knows the feeling. When your kid is sick or hurt, you will do the wildest things you never thought…
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Oh man. Dear god. Thanks, you all.This year, you downloaded episodes of our podcast 276,977 times. As a San Diego media company just trying to create things of value where you’ll learn something, think about something in a different way—that’s a huge number. I’m sure Joe Rogan sneezes that number, but for us it’s pretty great. A lot of sneezes. Whe…
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The future of seafood might be in San Diego. Not in Point Loma or Oceanside, but in a bioengineering facility in Sorrento Valley. From a single cell, BlueNalu is growing toro—bluefin tuna belly, the prize delicacy of most high-end sushi—in a perfectly hygienic bioreactor that looks like the giant stainless steel structures in the city’s top breweri…
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