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Michael A. Gardiner

Michael Gardiner is a food writer and licensed California attorney living in San Diego. In addition to San Diego CityBeat he is the monthly food columnist for L’Chaim San Diego Magazine and the primary writer for the San Diego Food & Travel Blog, www.sdfoodtravel.com.

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Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

Maestoso highlights its pastas. The tagliatelle with pork cheek is pasta perfection with modern presentation. more

The World Fare

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Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

It’s not difficult to see why phở might fit the bill as a foodie gateway drug. Starting with the deep, rich broth—full of umami and soft spices—and filled with beef and linguine-sized rice noodles. more

The World Fare

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Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

I thought I knew from Philly cheesesteaks and recalled fondly of our local offerings over the years. That is, until I went to Calozzi’s Cheesesteaks (1146 Garnet Ave. Suite A) in Pacific Beach. more

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Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

Chinese hot pot in San Diego used to mean a trip to Little Sheep Mongolian. Today we have multiple Taiwanese places, a Chonqing spot, ones with personal pots and many with communal pots. more

The World Fare

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Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

I’ve tried hipster takes on tacos, and I love pickles and kimchi. Even kombucha and kale are cool. But I’d never thought of Vietnamese food as hipster. more

The World Fare

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Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

Upon taking a table at Taste of Denmark (142 University Ave.) in Hillcrest each diner receives a plate of food featuring small slices of bread, pickled red cabbage and two spreads, all gratis. more

The World Fare

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Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

I’ve come to believe the real reason I didn’t love wings might have been because I hadn’t yet tasted the Korean fried chicken wings at Cross Street (4403 Convoy St.) in Kearny Mesa’s Convoy District. more

The World Fare

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Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

There is no such thing as a taco without a tortilla. With all due apologies to Donald J. Trump, a taco salad may be a salad, but it definitely isn’t a taco. more

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Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

K Sandwiches is best known for its banh mi sandwiches. Banh mi are among the most prominent culinary relics from France’s colonial hold on Vietnam. more

The World Fare

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Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

It’s In-N-Out versus Shake Shack versus Burger Lounge. more

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Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

That garlic dip is Fattoush’s best meze, a class of Middle Eastern small dishes analogous to Spanish tapas. more

The World Fare

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Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

It’s easy to fall into the trap of ordering the same thing every time we’re at a particular kind of restaurant. A friend of mine calls it “ordering right.” I call it boring. more

The World Fare

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Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

Some of the best proteins at Gyu-Kaku are the simplest: little or no marination and little preparation beyond some knife-work (traditional for yakiniku). more

The World Fare

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Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

The idea that chefs crave “cheffie” food when they’re off work is largely a myth. In reality, off-the-clock chefs tend to want comfort food. That is, simple food done well. more

The World Fare

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Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

The best dish at Hachi is the Tan Tan, a ramen take on dan dan noodles, a fiery Sichuan classic. more

The World Fare

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Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

It was in the midst of the Great Recession that Tracy Borkum closed fine dining fixture Laurel Restaurant in Bankers Hill in favor of Cucina Urbana (505 Laurel St.), a concept more in tune with the times. more

The World Fare

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Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

For Barrio Dogg (2113 Logan Ave.) in Barrio Logan, though, the TJ dog—like the lowriders that are a regular staple in the neighborhood—can be art. more

The World Fare

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Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

A $6.5 million renovation comes with some expectations. Big ones. To be good, even very good, just isn’t going to be enough; only excellence will do. more

The World Fare

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Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

Many in the restaurant industry seem nonplussed about the impact of legalization on their businesses. Matt Gordon, the owner and chef of Urban Solace, said he’s not “terribly worried there will be a big impact on our industry, at least yet.” more

Features

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Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

After one bite of the Cuban sandwich at Havana 1920 (548 Fifth Ave.) in the Gaslamp District, I knew it was the best I’d tasted this side of Tampa more

The World Fare