The Local Eatery & Drinking Hole represents the quintessential San Diego laid back beachfront bar… right in the middle of downtown. Owned and operated by Mina Desiderio, The Local may lull you into the notion that you are steps away from the sand and surf, complete with your fish tacos and Mexican beers. Do not be fooled. “Most people don’t realize that we aren’t just a bar,” says Mina, “We put our heart and soul into our food.”
Food isn’t their only passion. True to its namesake, The Local also celebrates premium local craft beer. Sean McNeil, Bar Manager, has assembled a fine list of locally made beers from Green Flash and Alpine, to Airdale and Ballast Point. Paired together, the food and beer create a culinary experience that screams of “heart and soul.”
Probably one of their signature dishes is the Lobster Tacos. A generous portion of lightly seasoned and breaded lobster tail covered in pico de gallo, shredded cabbage, cheddar and jalapeno lime sauce on a flour tortilla. The spice and citrus flavors of the white sauce is the first thing to hit your palate followed by the cool crunch of the cabbage. The texture of the cabbage contrasts nicely with the warm lobster meat, seasoned perfectly. This dish begs for something cool to refresh, but can still compliment the many flavors present here. How about Lost Abbey’s Devotion Ale? One sip of this beer and you know you made the right choice. Pouring a deep golden copper, you get the smell of Belgian candi sugar and spicy hops as you raise the glass. Flavors of peach and malt dominate, helping to bring you back to earth after the big bold flavors of the lobster taco. The spicy hops flavors pair perfectly with the hint of jalapeno in the taco sauce. Truly a perfect pairing if they’re ever was such a thing.
Another signature item on the menu would have to be the Coconut Calamari. Created by Mina herself, the calamari is light and flaky, not oily to the touch or taste, and possess a hint of coconut sweetness. The calamari strips are large compared to most and the meat is very tender, not chewy. Served with honey mustard and cocktail sauce, you get sensation of dining in the Caribbean with every bite. Moist and flavorful, the coconut provides a smooth hint of exotic sweetness. This dish paired well with Alpine’s Mandarin Nectar. Served right off the tap, this beer has a deep sweet orange aroma that melds well with the residual sweetness from the coconut. The flavors of sweet orange and coriander dominate, but don’t go overboard. Mandarin Nectar is a honey beer and the honey is definitely a positive when paired with the calamari. You finish craving more of each.
Food paired with the right beer can be a divine experience, but what about food made with the right beer? Just as exceptional. Great craft beer lends itself well to cooking as the flavors of sweet malt, bitter hops, and over a thousand different esters and phenols are ideal kitchen tools. Take something as simple as cheese. The Local has turned this kitchen staple into a decadent treat worthy of praise. Made with Stone Brewing’s Smoked Porter, gouda and cheddar are melded with some heart and soul creating a smoky, smooth cheese dip that compliments any savory dish with its mouth-coating flavors. Served a number of different ways, with soft pretzels, on a cheese steak, for breakfast on a Steak & Cheese Benedict, you can’t go wrong with the flavors here. Most any beers go with cheese, as beer and cheese are a natural pairing in every way, so I decided to go with Coronado Brewing’s Winter Brew. This medium-bodied beer is full of sweet malts and winter spicing. Earthy overtones also come forward as the spice and hops mingle. A clean taste of vanilla, fruit and sweet sugars work well with the earthiness of the beer cheese. Also a high level of carbonation helps to cleanse the palate after the mouth coating cheese. Beer paired with beer, what could be better!
With all of this great food, one would think that if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. Then again, it’s that kind of thinking that keeps you in a box, afraid to try new dishes. The Local has been working on a new menu and be adding some crafty new additions to the table soon. How about a tender Filet Tip Sandwich made with only the best cuts of filet mignon, caramelized onions, fresh roasted jalapenos, passilla peppers, sauces from local producer Sauce Goddess, shredded jack cheese, all served on a warm ciabatta roll. This is just one of many new creations coming soon. Can’t wait that long, the crew at The Local are always experimenting with new and exciting culinary creations. Daily specials are put out on their Grub List that can only be had if you sign up and are in the know.
Great beer and great food go hand in hand just like the heart and soul that it takes to make it all happen. Such a culinary combination wrapped in the truly San Diego locale makes The Local is a can’t miss for anyone who is looking for that local gem. Cheers!
The Local is located at 1065 Fourth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101