Archive for the 'San Diego' Category

Mary’s Donuts – San Diego (Santee)

Mary's Donuts - Santee

Dentists and doughnuts don’t usually go together, but the two collided on a recent Saturday morning thanks to Grandma. When she needed a lift to a dental appointment in Santee to fix a pesky chip, The Astronomer and I happily obliged, knowing that a visit to Mary’s Donuts afterward was definitely in the cards.

Mary's Donuts - Santee

Mary’s 24-hour doughnut operation has been around since 1985. This spot came recommended to me by my aunt Nancy; she and my uncle have been heading here for post-temple sugar highs for years. Recently, fellow blogger Ila confirmed its worthiness.

Mary's Donuts - Santee

Even though I initiated the visit to Mary’s, both The Astronomer and Grandma were game! Everyone loves doughnuts.

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Donut Bar – San Diego

Donut Bar - San Diego

Donut Bar, San Diego’s first and only gourmet doughnut shop, has been on my to-eat list since it debuted this past March. However, pulling myself out of bed on a Saturday morning early enough to grab these highly coveted wares has thus far proved to be impossible.

Recently though, the shop added Sunday hours, which fortunately suits The Astronomer, me, and our dedication to nine hours of snoozin’ much better.

Donut Bar - San Diego

Owned and operated by Santiago Campa and Wendy Bartels in downtown San Diego, Donut Bar is open on weekdays from 7 AM until sold out, and on weekends from 8 AM until sold out. The Bar’s first floor is dedicated to doughnuts, while the second floor lounge is for lingering and waffles.

Donut Bar - San Diego

The shop’s ever-changing offerings are posted out front daily, as well as on Instagram (if you swing that way).

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Coop’s West Texas Barbecue – San Diego (Lemon Grove)

Coop's West Texas Barbecue - Lemon Grove

Growing up in the sleepy suburb of Lemon Grove, I would have never thought in a million years that any restaurant located here was capable of attracting a crowd, especially not one of discerning foodie types. My hometown, which is best known for its giant lemon boasting “The Best Climate on Earth,” was a fine place to be a kid, but about as far from a dining destination as one could imagine.

Coop’s West Texas Barbecue popped up in a strip mall two paces from Grandma’s house sometime last October. My family used to order delivery from the Little Caesars directly behind it and rent videos from the space next door that is currently some sort of religious facility. It’s funny to have a personal history with a strip mall.

Coop's West Texas Barbecue - Lemon Grove

The Astronomer and I drove past Coop’s a dozen times before finally gathering up the troops to try the place. Truth be told, it was favorable Yelp reviews that finally convinced us that the ‘cue here was worthy of exploration. Joining us for lunch were my mom, cousins Phil, Jimmy, Danny, Jackie, and Michael, as well as Michael’s girlfriend.

There was a small line formed at the counter when we arrived, and nearly every table was occupied. Fortunately, two tables opened up just as we were ready to sit. We jammed them together to fit all nine of us.

Coop's West Texas Barbecue - Lemon Grove

Coop, the restaurant’s chef and proprietor, hails from Midland, and everything here is prepared in true Texas fashion. All of the meats are smoked low and slow in the indoor brick pit-smoker or in the outdoor steel aqua smokers. Mesquite and red oak are used to fuel the fire and to imbue the proteins with that certain something.

Coop serves his meat sauce-less to allow the rubs and natural flavors to shine brightly. Two house-made sauces are available table side for diners to use as they please. Both are molasses and ketchup based—the one in the brown bottle is mild, while the one in the red bottle has a spicy kick.

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Bonnie Jean’s Soul Food Cafe – San Diego

Bonnie Jean's Soul Food Cafe - San Diego

I had a serious craving for fried chicken while visiting my family in San Diego last month. Following back-to-back weeks of eating deep-fried poultry on the regular [See: Ad Hoc, The Fremont Diner, and the Ludo Truck], my stomach was going through withdrawals and jonesing for another hit. A quick Internet search for “San Diego’s best fried chicken” pointed me to Bonnie Jean’s Soul Food Cafe, a no-frills establishment specializing in homey Southern fare.

The Astronomer and I paid Bonnie Jean a visit on a gray Sunday afternoon. We were joined by fellow fried chicken lovers, Cousins Jimmy, Tannia, and Phil, as well as my mama.

Bonnie Jean's Soul Food Cafe - San Diego

In addition to barbecued ribs and fried chicken, Bonnie Jean’s also served a couple of soul food dishes that I’d never before encountered at a restaurant, namely chitterlings and slow-cooked oxtails. Since my mind had long ago settled on fried chicken, a return visit to sample more of the diverse menu is definitely in order.

Bonnie Jean's Soul Food Cafe - San Diego

Cousin Jimmy sipped on several glasses of tooth-achingly sweet grape Kool Aid ($2.25) throughout the meal. The rest of us happily drank water.

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