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,


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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


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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


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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


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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

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Photo by Michael Gardiner

Tasty Pot describes itself as offering “Taiwanese-style hot pot” with the soups served in individual bowls instead of a communal pot and coming pre-loaded with various combinations of ingredients already simmering in the broth. more

Apr 7, 2017 5:30 PM The World Fare


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Lebanese food is another one of those cuisines people tend to lump together with “Middle Eastern” food. Incorrect as that may be, it’s not without reason. more

Apr 3, 2017 4:01 PM The World Fare


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Brazilian food, like many New World cuisines, is defined by the crashing together of disparate cultures. In Brazil’s case, the clash happened among the indigenous Indian cultures, colonial Portuguese and African slaves (as well as subsequent waves of more

Mar 27, 2017 3:06 PM The World Fare


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It’s a judgment tossed our direction by La La Landers and other unjustifiably snobby sorts: “San Diego food sucks...except for the Mexican food, which is pretty good.” more

Mar 20, 2017 3:45 PM The World Fare 11 Comments

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Photo by Michael Gardiner

The menu at Isabel is short: birria, birria and birria. Order the full bowl or half bowl, birria tacos, quesadillas, a quesataco (of birria), consomé (of birria) or tortilla sandwiches of, wait for it, birria. more

Mar 13, 2017 3:47 PM The World Fare


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Where Mammoth’s masters have proclaimed their ambitions but struggled on the execution, Skadi Chef Ian Algerøen has worked quietly for the better part of two decades to give Mammoth a high-end restaurant worthy of a celebrity ski town. more

Mar 3, 2017 5:37 PM The World Fare

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Photo by Michael Gardiner

There’s a perception that all Middle Eastern food is the same: it’s all hummus and shawarma, falafel and dolma. Like the slogan, this perception may be built on a grain of truth, but it ignores substantial differences between distinct Middle Eastern more

Feb 27, 2017 2:22 PM The World Fare


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It once seemed cool to like Russian cuisine in a sort of ironic, vaguely countercultural sort of way. It may now be mandatory to like Russian cuisine in a sort of fascistic, vaguely homoerotic sort of way. Sad. more

Feb 20, 2017 3:00 PM The World Fare 1 Comments


Photo by Michael Gardiner

Sushi is often treated as either high art or commoditized fast food. Aficionados celebrate the uber-expensive omakase tasting menus of places like Urasawa in Beverly Hills even as a businesswoman grabs uber-cheap supermarket sushi on her way home fro more

Feb 13, 2017 2:43 PM The World Fare


Photo by Michael Gardiner

The Mercado is a food market and a quasi-permanent junk/treasure shop. Much of it’s housed in a large, semi-enclosed structure with vendor stalls and roll-up gates. more

Feb 3, 2017 3:38 PM The World Fare


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Every neighborhood has a cursed corner: The place that’s seen more restaurants come and go in a decade than the number of years any actually stayed. more

Jan 27, 2017 3:19 PM The World Fare


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Bahn Thai’s known for its noodle dishes. The broccoli in the chicken pad see ew was colorful and crisp, and both the chicken and noodles themselves were nicely cooked. more

The World Fare 3 Comments


Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

The restaurant business is notoriously fickle. Today’s empire can quickly become tomorrow’s smoking pile of rubble. And you may not even get a t-shirt to show for it (though you might just get a large tax deduction). Brian Malarkey knows this. more

Jan 9, 2017 1:40 PM The World Fare


Photo by Michael A. Gardiner

Perhaps the best dishes at La Querencia are the carpaccios. In addition to beef, Guerrero offers scallop, salmon, squash and beet versions. more

Dec 30, 2016 3:00 PM The World Fare