Monday, November 29, 2010


Nessy Burger

From nessy burger

When I was a kid I was enchanted by Nessy, the Loch Ness monster, as well as UFOs, Bigfoot, Ghosts, the paranormal, and Aztec sacrifices.

I am happy, among other reasons, that Nessy Burger, the North San Diego burger eatery that people love, has little maps of Loch Ness and small newspaper clippings about the Loch Ness Monster.

I don't know why.  Maybe it's because it's so esoteric?  Maybe it seems heartfelt, rather than a marketing ploy, for some reason.  Like something personal and meaningful is behind it.

Whatever the reason these people make a kickass cheeseburger, tied in my opinion with Rocky's cheeseburger for best in San Diego.  Why are both the most uncomfortable places to eat at in the city I don't know.  (Rocky's is a tiny bar in PB packed with open-mouthed frat boys and other assorted white people watching golf on their 10 million sports channel flat panel tvs).

From nessy burger

Nessy is a stand on the side of the road, next to a gas station. 

You have to eat at one of the laminated tables (is that the right word?), linoleum?  Laminated?  And usually have to share with someone, or eat it in your car.  I ate mine standing outside the car.

From nessy burger

They use good meat for their burgers, and season it lightly, but perceptibly.  You can taste their cheese, and they have a special thousand island type sauce, and ketchup, and onions, and tomato, all freshly cut, that add up to be one of the best tasting cheeseburgers you will ever have. 

Again, I'm pissed about food blogs and food writing that usually just say:  this meal was excellent, very tasty.

But what can you say?  Their burgers are damn tasty, well cooked, they taste like a burger should, hot off the grill, etc.  Eating them is like experiencing a sudden chill of inspiration, a sublime intensity that stays with you for years, one of those moments you can't shake off lightly, one that keeps you going back to see if you can recapture it and you can.

From nessy burger

They also serve the burger upside-down for some reason, or have every time I've been there, I mean the bun is upside-down, the burger is sitting on the top part and the bottom part is on top.  You get it.

You need to eat them as soon as you can.

The place is usually packed with farm hand/laborer type guys, truck drivers, red faced fat sunburned dudes with Ford F600 trucks hauling their Off Road Vehicles to the desert, and a few tourists who just happened to eat there.

It's a jaunt from San Diego.  It's about 40 mins. up the highway 15 (North) from SD, right at the junction with the 76 (which is what you take to go to Pala Casino or Harrahs so you can inhale second hand smoke and lose all your money to corporations posing as being helpful for the Native Americans).

From nessy burger

Their burger is like $4-5.  Their fries aren't that great, however, but the burger more than makes up for them.

Open 7-7 M-F and 9-5 Sats & Sundays. 

I think they take cash only, though there is a ripoff ATM (charges you "fee" of $2 and your bank charges you $2 too) at the gas station.


Take 15 North, take 76 exit, go left (the Mobil gas station is visible from here as it's the only thing around), you can park in the big parking lot and walk to Nessy and get in line.

Check their website for more info, a menu, opening hours and contact info:



From nessy burger

Sunday, November 7, 2010

dosa truck - sd copper chimney

From dosa truck

[[Update (4/2011) - Copper Chimney has moved inside! Check their website for more info]]

Aw man I know this cool truck dude it has the most authentic Oaxacan Mayan Wrapped Banana Chutney you have JUST got to try it man, the thing is it's sooo underground nobody like you would ever go there, it's only for those in the know.  You know?

I'm tired of these kind of things and posts and food places.  Whenever I read them I go there and there are like 30 hipsters with beards and scarves on milling around sulking about how authentic everything is at the truck and how nobody else in the world gets them or gets how good this food is.  And the food isn't usually out of this world.

From dosa truck

Enter Dosa Truck San Diego aka Copper Chimney San Diego.  OK OK on where you should never go for recommendations because there are only 5 people who post things they say this truck is really good.  It's true it's good.  But why do you have to say how authentically South Indian it is?  Whoever posts this kind of garbage is the reason the Internet cannot be trusted to do anything useful.  You don't have to make yourself feel good about yourself because you say "wow, I have been looking and looking for some real authentic Hyderabad cuisine ever since I read the wikipedia article on Hyderabad cooking..." - it's either some hipster who likes to look for the most random food type they can find or it's a person from Hyderabad who has it in for Punjabi food taking over most people's concept of what Indian food is or who is just angry that Hyderabad gets shafted in the USA because nobody knows what it is.  Or it's one of those vegetarian anarchists who smoke, you know, there is so much to be said about vegetarian anarchists who smoke, maybe another time.

From dosa truck

What is it about Indian restaurants in the USA?  There must be a book somewhere that every person who opens an Indian restaurant reads and in it it must say something like:  "Americans only like food without spice or flavor.  Americans only eat food they know so only offer Chicken Tikka and Chicken Tikka Masala.  Americans will only eat Indian food if the entree is $13.95 or higher."

Everytime I go to Fillipi's in Little Italy I see tourists from either Japan or Europe with a guidebook that probably says "for authentic Italian food go to Filippi's in Little Italy."  Is it the same for Indian restaurants?

In Dubai there's a district called Karama that has like 6000 Indian restaurants, though maybe "sub-continent" is a better term because each restaurant has a different focus for their food, most anyway.  I know that the UAE has a lot of Indian/Western Asian folks in it, I used to live there, and accordingly they have an incredible number of incredible Indian/SC restaurants, the best in the world I'd risk to say, but...the USA also has some people of Indian/subcontinent persuasion/extraction and some people who've been out of the country for enough time to develop a decidedly non-vanilla palate but why are there never any decent Indian restaurants?

From dosa truck

I've looked!  NYC, LA, the Bay Area and now my new home San Diego, there are none.  NONE!

Why does Emirates airlines Indian lentil breakfast beat the pants out of anything I've had here in the States?  It's airplane food!  But it does, sadly, by far.

From dosa truck

Why complain?  In the hopes that someone tells me:  NO!  What are you crazy, haven't you ever eaten at XYZ restaurant??  Or in the hopes that someone says:  you are right, I know Indian food, I will open a restaurant tomorrow!

This is a very long introduction to the Dosa Truck.  An experience of good/great proportion and a welcome sight in SD.

Allen runs it.  He told me he's from South India, and serves Southern Indian food.

From dosa truck

The first time I went there I asked him for a spicy dosa and told him to make it extra spicy.  His eyes widened and he asked are you sure?  I told him please.  I grew up in Dubai.  He told me "No problem, when you eat this you will close your eyes and when you open them you'll see the Taj Mahal."

I'm not going to say the spicy dosa was out of this world but it was pretty delicious and very spicy (though far from some of the London/Dubai spice levels I've had even without asking to make it extra spicy).

From dosa truck

The spicy dosa is quite good, it has a chili pepper and onion filling and tastes just like that, chili paste and onion wrapped up in a semi-crunchy crepe like dosa (rice flour crepe basically) and served with a selection of dipping sauces and gravy.  The sauces range from spicy chili based ones to sweet coconut ones and all will make you go "what spice is that! it's strange and good!"

From dosa truck

Get a spicy dosa!

From dosa truck

I've also had the Masala Dosa, with the intention of comparing several around SD but I'm super lazy.  I'm not usually a fan of the masala dosa, though it looks really cool, a long hard dosa crepe rolled like an architecture student's portfolio bag and filled in the center with a very slightly spiced (almost imperceptible yet still delicious) potato mixture.  The potatoes are not mashed completely but are a bit and fluffed, though the bits of whole potatoes are cooked so well they melt in your mouth.  This is also served with the sauces and gravy.  Tear some off, dip, eat, do what you like, nobody really cares.

Masala Dosa!

From dosa truck

The Dosa truck is open sporadically and you should call Allen to make sure he's there (619 997 6946).  It's a truck on the side of the road with some grassy areas where you can sit and eat.

From dosa truck

It's got a haphazard way of running things, you go up, hope to be noticed, order, hang out somewhere, think that you've been forgotten, then get served, eat, clean up, then pay (or not!).

Allen has a unique payment system as well - if you are a student who doesn't have a lot of cash, he says to eat for free now and pay him when you get a job later in life.  A good system!

From dosa truck

It's a unique truck too.  He has a changing menu, usually a couple of biryanis (chicken and rice dish) and several Chinese dishes with Indian twists (one Indian American girl was commenting on eating it outside the truck:  "this is just like Chinese food from Mumbai")

The crowd is a mix of Indian patrons and random food people/med students who are still clinging on to coolness while in residency.

From dosa truck

When I was there two different Indian people approached me, surprised, and asked if I really liked Indian food (in a nice way, I guess they haven't talked to many non-Indians who dig it?).

I love Indian food.  I love good food.

Keralan, Goan, Hyderabadi, Sri Lankan, Northern, Mugul, Pashtun, Gujarati, Chinese, Sikh, whatever.

From dosa truck

Go get some from Allen.  If you don't have money pay him later.

Here's his website and his contact information:

"Truck This Week Near AM/PM Black Mtn /Kearny Villa/ Caroll centre Inter-section.
Monday Dinner5pm/9pm 
Fridays   5pm/900pm! 
Saturdays    1pm/9 00pm! 
Sundays 1pm to 4pm.
Please come very Hungry.  
Other Weekdays Closed for caterings.
 Call Allen 619 997 6946"

From dosa truck