5 Questions with Bianca Jaime of So Diego Food Tours
Bianca Jaime of So Diego Food Tours gives us the inside scoop on the southern California food scene.
Bianca Jaime was born and raised in San Diego. Thanks to her Mexican heritage and her passion for travel, she has acquired a love for foods of the world. She loves traveling with people who are familiar with the area she is visiting so she wastes no time getting to know the city, it's food and drink culture, and history. As a self-proclaimed San Diego expert, she loves showing off her beautiful city to her clients at So Diego Tours; more so as a friend, than as a hired guide.
1. What foods is San Diego known for?
San Diego is mainly known for its delicious Mexican food, like the fish taco, but you can get a variety of food here since the city is a melting pot of cultures. Recently, we have been put on the map for our pizza and many of our restaurants have a their twist on Mediterranean, Italian, American and Mexican cuisines using fresh, local produce.
2. What neighborhoods should foodies check out when they come to San Diego?
- The Gaslamp Quarter: This neighborhood has about 100 bars and restaurants, and since there is so much competition, they need to be competitive. From Afghan cuisine, to Mediterranean and fresh Seafood, you can find it all here in the Gaslamp Quarter.
- Mission Hills: You can find some quaint little neighborhood restaurants in this area. They have some great places such as The Wine Vault, Brooklyn Girl, and The Red Door. You will get a sense of local San Diego culture in each one of these stops.
- Little Italy: The name says a lot. You'll find fresh pasta as well as craft cocktail bars, gelato, and American fare. The neighborhood is quaint, and competitive when it comes to cuisine and ambiance.
3. What can people expect on your food tours?
History, fun guides, dinner times, and bites of Mediterranean lamb sliders, an authentic shepherd's pie, craft beer and cocktails, fish taco, New York style pizza with a California twist, and home made cupcakes.
4. Which San Diego chefs should we be watching?
- Joe Magnanelli is the Chef at Cucina Urbana. He creates wonderful Italian dishes that are both unique and delicious at affordable prices. He uses seasonal, locally grown produce to create his delicious flavors that keep the restaurant packed every day of the week.
- Richard Blais is a recent Top Chef winner. He came to San Diego to open Juniper and Ivy, a beautiful new restaurant in San Diego's North Little Italy. watch him and his team in action at the restaurant, which boasts a large open kitchen.
- Jason McLeod is a nationally renowned chef, and Michelin Star winner, who heads the food at San Diego's restaurant group Consortium Holdings, which represents a new era of cuisine and drink to the city. Their innovative tastes on old classics are a big draw for the locals.
5. Tell us a bit of trivia about the San Diego food scene that people might now know.
- Did you know that between the 1930s and 1970s, San Diego was known as the tuna capitol of the world? Starkist and Bumblebee Tuna Companies had major canneries on the coast of the San Diego Bay. Overfishing and international imports were the main reasons for the decline in the tuna industry.
- The Fish Taco (Baja style) was brought to the US by Ralph Rubio in 1983 when he opened his first taco stand; Rubio's. He was just another San Diego State University business major who loved to surf. He and his buddies would go surf down in San Felipe, Mexico on the coast of the Sea of Cortez, and when he asked his favorite taco stand owner to bring his recipe to San Diego, the owner refused to move out of Mexico leaving no option for Ralph other than bring his recipe himself. Now he owns a multi-million dollar chain of fish taco restaurants.
- Did you know that San Diego is the avocado capitol of the U.S.? San Diego farmers produce over 40% of all avocados grown in California.
- San Diego is the world's leader in microbreweries with over 88 in the entire county, and the main type of beer is the hoppy IPA. It's strong, bitter, and smells like a load of hops!