July 18 2013 07:30 PM

Mine is a Midwestern Appetite now

Cafe au lait, Almost Grilled Cheese sandwich and dark-chocolate-chip cookie at Con Pane
Marie Tran-McCaslin

By the time you read this, I will be settling into my new hometown of Omaha, Neb. After 14 years in San Diego as a student and then a chemist, I'm pursuing something new: medical school. 

I've left San Diego with a heavy heart, knowing that it'll be awhile before I can take beautiful beaches and a perpetual mild climate for granted again. In the two years I've written The Wandering Appetite, some of you may have gathered that I am not a writer by trade. David Rolland and the CityBeat team took a chance on publishing an enthusiastic amateur's ramblings about food, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity to write about my favorite topic.

I'm going to miss San Diego. I'm going to miss places like Cucina Urbana, where I had many wonderful dinners with friends. Bakeries like Con Pane, Panchita's and Charlie's Best Bread. San Diego's amazing coffee roasters. Tacos from TJ Oyster Bar and happy-hour tapas at Romesco. Elegant and inexpensive three-course meals at Wine Vault and Bistro. Neopolitan-style pizza from Pizzeria Bruno. Pot stickers and stir-fried eggplant at Dumpling Inn. Filipino dishes like sisig from Titaís Kitchenette and Pinoy spaghetti from Manila Sunset. Vietnamese egg rolls from A Chau. Breakfast at Café Chloe. I'm going to miss living in North Park, where the beer was plentiful at Toronado and where I was only a couple of blocks from Carnitas Snack Shack. I will also miss crossing the border and having fantastic food at Tortas WashMobile and Mariscos Ruben.

I've noticed that conversations about food in San Diego tend to focus on what it's not. I'd rather leave remembering what it is. In Omaha, I'm looking for farmers markets that might remind me of the ones in Hillcrest and Little Italy. Coffee places that make me think of the terrific brew and great people at Roast Coach, Zumbar and Café Moto. Chinese food that will tide me over until I get back to Southern California for visits. Thai food that might be as nuanced as what I have at Sab-E-Lee. Guisados like the ones at Super Cocina.

There's no beach in Omaha. The craft beer is from Colorado, which is great, but different. I'm really unsure of what I'm going to do during the winter, when going outside becomes a chore. All I know is that I'm going to keep eating and exploring until I find all of the tasty spots. That's how I came to know San Diego, and I truly believe the heart of any place is in its food.

I look forward to watching San Diego's food scene continue to grow and evolve from afar. I know the CityBeat team will keep all of us up to date. If you have a moment, do let me know via Twitter or my blog how things are. After all, I have to keep a must-try list going for future visits.

Until next time, San Diego. Eat well.

Write to marietm@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com. Marie blogs at meanderingeats.com and you can follow her on Twitter at @MeanderingEats.


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