Every year, Eater San Diego closes out the year by surveying local food writers about their take on the past year in the San Diego dining scene. For the past five years I’ve been one of the writers asked to be a part of it. It is a year-end tradition I enjoy. The survey started with identifying our favorite (a) newcomers and (b) restaurant standbys of the year: https://sandiego.eater.com/2018/12/26/18156419/san-diegos-2018-restaurant-newcomers-and-standbys
Here are my contributions:
Eater San Diego recently named El Jardín chef Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins Chef of the Year. The award represents both a stepping out of the klieg lights (two seasons on two different Top Chef shows) and a stepping out of the shadows of some of the chefs with whom she’s cooked. El Jardín’s food is at once both designed to take a stance but also true to tradition. Lola 55 blurs the line between high-end and fast casual while Priscilla Curiel’s food at Tuétano Taqueria is passionate, precise, soulful and balanced.
If it weren’t in the far north coastal stretches of San Diego County and I didn’t happen to live in East County I (like a certain local chef who calls it his “happy place) would probably be at Davin and Jessica Waite’s Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub at least once a week. As it is, I’m there enough to feel like I’m cheating on my kitchen and my food writerly duties.