March 25 2013 05:22 PM

Try a little of everything on a menu of comfort food and sweet drinks at new North Park spot

appetite (1)
The chorizo meatball, the quinoa meatball and the crispy polenta
Photo by Marie Tran-McCaslin

I'm one of those people who can't decide what they want for dinner. Soda & Swine (2943 Adams Ave. in North Park) is very kind to the indecisive, with small dishes and a flexible menu that facilitates mixing and matching. It's been generating quite a bit of buzz with a bar paired with an eatery next door. Soda & Swine is the eatery, while Polite Provisions is the bar. You can order from S&S's menu at Polite Provisions, but you can't order PP's drinks at Soda & Swine. Got it?

I'll leave the Polite Provisions drink coverage to Kelly Davis' "Cocktail Tales" and focus on Soda & Swine's food. The menu's centered on meatballs with plenty of sides and a great soda selection ranging from Coca Cola with cane sugar to Reeds Spiced Apple Brew. The meatball "entrées" come as a slider (one meatball), a sub sandwich (two meatballs), à la carte or atop spaghetti (three meatballs). If you're like me, you might want to mix and match the meatballs, which include pork, beef, chicken and quinoa bases. The spaghetti and meatballs and the sub sandwich require the meatballs be the same, so I went for the sliders. Pasta lovers, take note: You can order three meatballs à la carte with a side of spaghetti for the same price ($10), which is a way to have your indecision and pasta, too.

The sliders were simple—a toasted French roll and a lightly sauced meatball in the middle. The chorizo meatball was nicely spicy, with chipotle, while the qui- noa meatball was light and served with feta and pesto; it was a great size for a snack or small meal. The chicken meatball, however, was my favorite. Strips of tender chicken topped with a mushroom cream and provolone, it's great on its own, but even better with bread. There's a beef meatball with marinara and mozzarella, for those who like a classic meatball, and a pork meatball that also comes with chipotle. Even friendlier to the indecisive is the option to build your own.

What I loved best about Soda & Swine's menu was the plethora of small-plate sides for $3 to $5. Trying multiple sides at that price and size make for a minimal impact on your wallet and waistline. The Brussels sprouts were nicely caramelized with a sprinkling of bacon, and the fries were perfectly crisp with a malt aioli. Yet, I noticed a pattern of under-salting with the sides. The Brussels sprouts and polenta were saved by bacon and arrabbiata sauce, but the mac 'n' cheese was pretty bland. Al dente macaroni and perfectly molten cheddar didn't help when there's little seasoning and the cheddar is flavorless. I buried my disappointment in the chocolate coconut soft-serve, which went surprisingly well with the classic apple pie.

Soda & Swine's an eatery that caters to the indecisive and celebrates classic dishes. Enjoy them in a homey setting with communal tables and antique décor or head next door for the same good eats with an amped-up drink menu. 

Write to and Marie blogs at and you can follow her on Twitter at @MeanderingEats.


  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28