It seems like Tijuana-style hot dogs, double-meat marvels wherein the frank is wrapped in bacon before being grilled, are hot snacks this summer. I've seen them on at least four menus and tried two versions on, um, the very same day. I sampled a bite of a friend's at The Linkery (3794 30th St., North Park), a high-quality, delicious, house-made sausage of bison and pork wrapped with house-made bacon. Many hours later, we had Lucha Libre taco shop's (1810 West Washington St., Middletown) rendition of a danger dog, smothered in three condiments and grilled onions—only $1.50 and pretty darn tasty at 2 a.m.
Speaking of meat, I stopped in to a new butcher shop called Homegrown Meats and found seriously local grass-fed beef—as close as Mendenhall Ranch near Palomar Mountain—from cuts of steak to short ribs and homemade sausages. There are plans to add wild pigs, lamb and goat to the roster, all-natural and all hormone-free. Organic produce from the ranch, from heirloom tomatoes to wild blackberries, will also be sold. www.homegrownmeats.com
If you think you know rolled tacos and flan and where to get the definitive versions of each, refrain from crowning a winner until you've tasted both at Aqui es Texcoco in Chula Vista. This super-friendly, family-owned spot has the best rolled tacos I've ever eaten—ultra-crisp tortilla shells filled with lamb barbacoa that's been slow-cooked in agave leaves until the meat is fragrant and tender. Save some room for the just-sweet-enough flan, with its smooth, creamy texture that's undeniably perfect. 1043 Broadway, Chula Vista. 619-427-4045. www.aquiestexcoco.com.
Getting older is no big thing, especially when each year is ushered in with a burger at The Lodge at Torrey Pines. I usually go for a beer-and-burger lunch on the patio but was happy to find that you can order the burger at dinner, too. It's made from gourmet ingredients—a homemade bun, Niman Ranch meat—but the experience of eating this burger is gloriously messy, down-home joy, attributed to the three B's: butter-basted bun. The french fries that come with it are fantastic, too. 11480 North Torrey Pines Road. 858-453-4420. www.lodgetorreypines.com.
Needing some sandwiches for a picnic the other day, I headed up to my go-to Vietnamese sandwich shop, Bale Sandwiches in Linda Vista, forgetting that they've recently moved. A man from the clothing shop next door must have seen me outside looking forlorn and hungry. To my good fortune, he came out and pointed me toward Bale's new spot in a small supermarket just up the road. The sandwiches, filled with barbecued meats, ham or paté and pickled vegetables are just about the most delicious things you can eat for $3. 6959 Linda Vista Road.Got food news? Write to email@example.com