I’m adjusting to urban life by breaking this big city into little places. An urban friend once told me that neighborhoods in cities functioned a lot like small towns. I think this is a little bit true.
I also have continued to explore the familiar, and that means breweries make the list. People who drink nice beer tend to be nice, even before they drink the nice beer.
This technique took me to the Knotty Brewery, 844 Market Street. This homey brewery has their own line of solid beers (and an array of high quality guest taps) and a basic but tasty brewpub menu. I sipped the Super Fresh Pale Ale with some BBQ chicken flatbread and enjoyed the company of my friendly bar mistress. Best of all, hanging out here gave me a chance to slow down and notice this excellent East Village neighborhood.
Positioned diagonally from Knotty Brewing is Rovino the Foodery, 969 Market Street. The Iron Chef got sucked in by the Stanley Tucci Searching for Italy food porn series so he’s trying his hand at Italian fare which does not make me sad, except that I currently do not have access to his kitchen experiments. I have a kitchenette in my new temporary tiny house so I shopped for fresh wild mushroom ravioli and meatballs as big as my head. At Rovino’s, one side has Italian groceries and gelato, the other side has a bar and café, and there is a deli in the middle where you can buy lasagna or meatballs as big as your head.
The bar has seating for about 10 and seems to be mostly populated with animated, good natured locals. This is a good place to go after you buy your groceries to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. Gianni, the bartender who reminds me of a fast-talking Odd Number, is my new favorite bartender. Happy hour wine prices are $5/ glass, which in San Diego is the equivalent of giving you the wine for free. In future episodes, we’ll be trying the pizza here.
Next stop (you all think while I’m on special assignment that I’m just kicking back and now you can see I am working my caboose off scouting for you people), Half Door Brewing Company, 903 Island Ave. I’ve made 3 visits to the Half Door so far and I’ve yet to try a beer that wasn’t great. This is a fairly admirable feat on my part because the first beer I tried here was the Necessary Evil, a barrel aged blackberry/raspberry sour that comes in at less than 5%. Just saying that this beer paired with their spinach-strawberry and California fixins salad has its own special brick in the freaking food pyramid in my book. So, it did take my persistent journalistic inquiry to lead me to taste the clearly popular Roark Red. I admit that in college I was convinced that Killian’s Irish Red was God’s gift to college students, so I’m a sucker for a red. Necessary Evil is lucky I pledged my lifelong devotion after one sip because it could have easily been Roark Red that swept me off my feet. I’ve also tried the Amber Lager and Irish Dry Stout, and in a town that gobsmacks you with hops, these are nice, clean beers that are tasty are on their own, and a helluva lot tastier with their food. One of my favorite San Diego moments so far is sipping the Amber with one of the best cheeseburgers I’ve had in a longtime, with a view of the Padres Stadium. I could hear the crowd and a big screen on the patio gave me a better view of home plate than I would have had otherwise, and I didn’t have to get my own refill!
Stay tuned for more Podunkian adventures in the neighborhoods of San Diego. You know I’m good for it.