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,


Photo by Michael Gardiner

Italian food is simple food, and that’s by no means an insult. Italian fare is all about good ingredients prepared with skill and caring. It’s just as much about balance and patience as it is about time and elegance. more

Aug 21, 2017 12:27 PM The World Fare


Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

I’m a sucker for a place that does one thing and does it well. It generally means the owners have the passion, courage of their convictions and the work ethic to craft special things. more

Aug 14, 2017 10:51 AM The World Fare


Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

I never wanted to meet an alligator in a dark alley, much less eat one. I’ve never really wanted to eat any predator, for that matter. Humans generally don’t. more

Aug 9, 2017 10:23 AM Food Issue


Photo by Michael Gardiner

Part fresh fish market and part restaurant, Point Loma Seafoods grew out of the sport-fishing trade in 1963 when the Christianson family began selling fish purchased from sport anglers. more

Aug 7, 2017 1:41 PM The World Fare


Photo by Michael Gardiner

It would be easy to write off Chef Coral Fodor Strong’s Garden Kitchen (4204 Rolando Blvd.) as yet another restaurant trying to jump on the “farm-to-table” bandwagon. It isn’t. more

Jul 31, 2017 12:38 PM The World Fare 6 Comments


Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

Much of Tras/Horizonte’s food will be familiar to Kokopelli fans. The Kraken was Kokopelli’s signature dish and its combination of mesquite-grilled octopus and a “pesto” of chiles poblano and cilantro remains exciting. more

Jul 23, 2017 7:33 AM The World Fare

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Photo by Michael Gardiner

Masala Street is the brainchild of Hermant Oberoi (former Executive Chef at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai) and his son Saransh Oberoi (formerly of the two-Michelin-starred Campton Place in San Francisco, a Cal-Indian trailblazer). more

Jul 17, 2017 3:28 PM The World Fare

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Photo by Michael Gardiner

Carne asada tortas (Mexican sandwiches) are usually available, but why have that when there are tortas of beef short rib braised with guajillo chiles for the asking? more

Jun 30, 2017 5:39 PM The World Fare


Photo by Nancy E. Gardiner

Part of the problem is there’s no consensus on the parameters of what constitutes “cultural appropriation.” Despite the quasi-legal sounding terms used by the critics of Kooks, it’s clear there’s very little intellectual property protection for recip more

Jun 27, 2017 6:39 PM Features 1 Comments


Photo by Michael Gardiner

Barely more than a generation ago even some who called themselves “gourmets” (once-upon-a-time a politically correct synonym for “foodies”) were less than certain of how Tuscan cuisine differed from Sicilian. more

Jun 26, 2017 3:06 PM The World Fare


Photo by Michael Gardiner

San Diego has grown a vibrant, diverse array of restaurants offering Chinese regional cuisines. One of the latest is Beauty Hunan (8199 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Suite S1). more

Jun 16, 2017 4:51 PM The World Fare


Photo by Michael Gardiner

There may be more expensive burgers, but there is likely to be no place in town that demonstrates the proper architecture of a burger better than The Balboa Bar & Grill (1863 Fifth Avenue), more

Jun 12, 2017 3:30 PM The World Fare


Photo by Michael Gardiner

The origins of today’s fish taco likely lie in the Port of Ensenada where Japanese fishing boats tied up and Mexican food vendors tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to sell to those fishermen. more

Jun 5, 2017 4:14 PM The World Fare


Photo by Michael Gardiner

I was excited when I got word that a place describing itself as a “Chinese tapas bar” would be opening in Point Loma. I love tapas, I love dim sum and I loved the idea of the intersection of the two. more

May 26, 2017 3:20 PM The World Fare


Photo by Michael Gardiner

A place for everything and everything in its place.” It’s an aphorism that reflects a different time and place and a peculiarly compartmentalized view of the world. more

May 22, 2017 3:36 PM The World Fare


Photo by Michael Gardiner

There may be a number of similarities between San Diego and Andalusia, where tapas began, but excellent tapas bars around every corner simply is not one of them. more

May 12, 2017 5:07 PM The World Fare

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Photo by Michael Gardiner

Increasingly, it seems, top restaurants in Los Angeles and London, New York and New Dehli, San Sebastian and São Paulo look the same, feel the same and have even begun to taste the same. more

May 8, 2017 4:38 PM The World Fare


Photo Michael Gardiner

Just about anything taken to its logical extreme falls apart. The torta ahogadas (“drowned tortas”) of Guadalajara are an example of that. more

May 1, 2017 3:19 PM The World Fare


Photo by Michael Gardiner

I’m a sucker for a place that does one thing and does it well. It’s a testament to a virtue, increasingly lost of late, that competence matters and in having the courage of one’s convictions. more

Apr 24, 2017 3:32 PM The World Fare


Photo by Michael Gardiner

About a month ago I wrote in this space that San Diego tacos suck and “the problem isn’t them, it’s us.” We’re getting the tacos we deserve, the ones we’ve asked for. It didn’t take long for me to be informed of the error of my ways. more

Apr 17, 2017 3:40 PM The World Fare