Hold the presses!

Remember all the bitching I’ve done about the state of culinary offerings in San Diego? All that crying, all the moaning, all the groaning – you can keep most of it. However, my desire for decent food of any kind was assuaged somewhat when I visited the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego yesterday. My bold and broad generalizations have come back to bite me, yes, thankfully to a boring Saturday afternoon with my daughter, Hero.

After doing a little shopping in Whole Foods (the better of the two stores in the San Diego area – the one in La Jolla sucks), I decided to take a drive down University Avenue. Allow me to describe Hillcrest, first, before I proceed. It is primarily gay. Hence, it has good food. It’s like a small bite of Portland in the vain grossness of San Diego. Restaurants of all cultures abound. Wine tasting rooms are within walking distance of neighborhoods. Y’know – it’s a cool spot. It’s nothing like where I live in North County San Diego. Imagine the whitest suburbs of any big city packed with chains of all kinds (aside from pockets of environmentalist liberals and surfers) – yeah, that’s me. See why I’m continuously irritated?

TasteProceeding down University something caught my eye: a sign that said, Taste. Upon further inspection as I crawled along the boulevard, I saw the words “cheese shop.” I made a quick turn back around the block and sped to a spot. A cheese shop? A genuine, honest-to-goodness cheese shop? Balderdash!

Indeed, San Diego had been avenged. Not only was this a good cheese shop, but the owners knew what they were talking about! My first question, always, to cheese mongers is this: Do you have any Portuguese cheeses? They do not pass the test if they say yes, mind you, because the second question is: Can you show me the cheeses and tell me about them? Taste passed on all counts and showed me the two cow’s milk cheeses they had on hand and allowed me to sample them (Hero had a bit, as well. I let her pick the one we purchased). In addition, our host, Mary Palmer, informed me of upcoming tastings they’d be having, alerting me to one specifically centered on Iberian cheeses and wines. My experience from walking in to exiting was perfect and it made me feel a little better about San Diego, even though I have to drive about thirty or so miles to get there. It’s worth it to me to not have to deal with the no-brains at Henry’s.

And, yes, Venissimo, you’re next on my agenda.