Food & Drink

5 must-have off-menu items in SD

Sara Norris Published On 09/13/2013 Published On 09/13/2013
mirv burger san diego

There are some secrets from the kitchen that you are better off not knowing about -- never watch the hard-hitting documentary Waiting... -- but there are other secrets out there you'd be well-served (!) to uncover, specifically, off-menu dishes and drinks that are not only delicious, but will make you look even cooler than that guy from the documentary who looked just like Ryan Reynolds.

California Burrito Mac and Cheese, Sublime Ale House
San Marcos
Originally created just for Cinco De Mayo, Sublime Ale House combined a classic comfort food and an SD favorite to make the California Burrito Mac and Cheese, full of carne asada, French fries, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, avocado, and sour cream. It didn’t make it to the menu, but those who know what’s up are still asking for it.

Mozzarella Balloon, BiCE
Gaslamp
Chef Mario Cassineri of BiCE has a menu full of seasonal fine Italian dishes to sample, but if you want to order like a badass, ask for the mozzarella balloon filled with basil air, served with prosciutto and Caprese salad. Who knew cheese was inflatable? You did, because you ordered it.

The Gosling Tears Shot, Bang Bang
Gaslamp
The worshipping of Ryan Gosling is not limited to just the ladies room at Bang Bang. True fans are ordering the Gosling Tears shot: Pisco, green Chartreuse, St. Germain, Luxardo Maraschino, lemon, sugar, and a single tear from Ryan.

The Mirv Burger, Maryjane's
Gaslamp
Named after the much-loved former Hard Rock employee who created it, Maryjane’s will make the Mirv Burger on request, but bring your appetite -- this is a double burger between two grilled cheese sandos made with four kinds of queso and piled with lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles.

Sea Urchin Campechana, Spike Africa's
Gaslamp
Even though they serve a wide selection of creatures from under the sea, you won’t find sea urchin on Spike Africa’s regular menu. It's only available when chef Paul Rinaudo can get his hands on the freshest of the fresh (we're talking, like, Bel-Air fresh), so ask about the Sea Urchin Campechana, cooked up with shrimp and mango then topped with local uni.

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1. Maryjane's Coffee Shop 207 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101 (Gaslamp Quarter)

Located in the Hark Rock Hotel, Maryjane's is an eclectic America cafe with a decidedly hard-rock twist -- they've got DJs at brunch and a whole lot more.

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2. Spike Africa's 411 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101 (Gaslamp Quarter)

Spike Africa's is a Gaslamp fish house paying homage to the "President of the Pacific" thanks to its "urbanautical"-themed accents (ropes! 100yr-old wood tables!) and sea-focused menu.

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3. BiCE 425 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101 (Gaslamp Quarter)

BiCE is an innovative Italian resto in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter by chef Mario Cassineri, and's dishing out seasonally inspired Boot-themed fare.

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4. Sublime Ale House 1020 W San Marcos Blvd, San Marcos, CA 92069 (San Marcos)

Proving they're more than just a band from the '90s that got teenage chicks to say they like ska, Sublime Ale House is now gracing San Marcos' Restaurant Row with their heady presence, ready to dish out an extensive menu of "gourmet comfort fare" from a wide-open rustic joint with a covered patio and a square, centrally located bar surrounding a pillar sprouting four massive flatscreens, and 48 taps, or as it's known in Morse code "somebody being a d**k"

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5. Bang Bang 526 Market St, San Diego, CA 92117 (Gaslamp Quarter)

Bang Bang is a sushi palace in San Diego that lets you dine on top of a koi pond, and's got crazy signature rolls like the Bruce Lee, as well as a banana-bacon ice cream sandwich.

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