February 28, 2010

The Linkery (San Diego) - 5th Anniversary

Similar to every business area the food world also has always buzz words and fashionable trends. Some of them stay only for a short period of time, some of them are here to persist for a long time, like Farm-to-Table, local, seasonal, sustainable. Without doubt over the last few years more and more restaurants in San Diego and elsewhere try to focus more on local, seasonal and if possible sustainable ingredients but if you really look in more detail on most menus it is also clear that many restaurants follow this philosophy only in a very limited way. Therefore it is even more remarkable how consistent the Linkery decided from the very beginning to be very thoughtful about the sourcing of pretty much everything they use in their restaurant.

On a recent visit you could find on the top of the menu that your organic potatoes came from Cal Organics, Bakersfield, the free-range organic chicken from Fulton Valley co-op, Petaluma, the greens & produce from La Milpa Organica, Escondido etc. etc. This list is always a good reminder how resource intensive it is to serve any dish in a restaurant and how much more supportive we should be for restaurants who really care about these issues.

Original location

The Linkery was started five years ago in February 2005 by Jay Porter who has a background in computer science and worked as a consultant for consumer electronics companies before he decided without any experience in the restaurant business to have a deeper impact on the community by opening a restaurant. The Linkery originally started at the corner of 30th and Upas St. in a much smaller place (which is now occupied by Sea Rocket Bistro). From the very beginning we were interested in his approach of food/restaurants and started visiting the Linkery and had many great nights there. We were quite sad when he decided to move from the more intimate original location to his current larger place but which made of course much sense from a business point of view to bring it to the next level and have more possibilities.

Current location

The Linkery has now a much larger room with a nice bar area and large moveable windows which are especially nice during warmer days since it makes half of the restaurant feel like sitting on an airy patio. During the colder months we prefer to sit in the back of the restaurant which is much more quiet with a few booths and a nice view of the open kitchen.

One of the new possibilities which opened up by the move to a larger location was to go beyond just being a restaurant and start offering hand cured meats in the smaller side room – North Park Meats Co.

Over the last five years the Linkery has acted as one of the important seeds for the now very active restaurant/pub scene on 30th. It was also an integral part of the ever growing brewing landscape in San Diego by offering many ever changing local beers over the years. When the Linkery celebrated their 5th anniversary on February 25th it was no question for us that we would celebrate it with a dinner there.

The Linkery has the nice options of beer flights (5 oz pours of four beers). This time we had from cask – Levitation (specially brewed for the 5th anniversary from Stone with 5 hop varieties), Hop Porter (Green Flash) and from draft – Super Freak (Green Flash), Decadence 09 (AleSmith – for both of us the best beer of the evening) and Old Guardian 05 (Stone).

Grilled flatbread with house cured Blue Butt bacon, caramelized red onions, queso fresco, Portobello mushrooms and roasted garlic sauce. The flatbread is very thin and had a nice sweetness from the onions which was balanced by the slight sourness of the queso fresco. And as we all know – everything tastes better with bacon ! And it helps that the house cured bacon at Linkery is one of the best you will get in San Diego.

Choucroute plate with Cincinnati link (duroc pork, sage, thyme, mace, PORK BELLY!!!), house made sauerkraut, house cured pork, Winchester Gouda, and house baked beer bread. We were surprised how much you could taste the pork belly in the sausage. Most sauerkraut you find in the US tastes horrible to us and is way too sour (no offense meant…). The Linkery is one of the few exceptions with a very mild distinguished flavor as it should be and by far the best sauerkraut we have had in San Diego so far (seconded by Cafe Chloe).

Kentucky-fried local pastured quail, baby collard greens, Kennebec potato mash, Green Flash Superfreak gravy. Wonderful potato mash and collard greens. The coating of the quail was too thick so that it was hard to get a good taste of the quail meat.

Taza chocolate cake, German-style
Good cake but not one of their best desserts we had. We would really like to see some old “classics” from their first location back on their menu like Oaxacan chocolate ice cream and the chocolate lava cake. On a side note, we still don’t understand why this type of cake is named “German” chocolate cake as you would not find it in Germany as a "classical" cake.

French press of Zirikana coffee from Rwanda (roasted by Intelligentsia Coffee)
This coffee had a very interesting cherry-like flavor with some notes of tropical fruit.

This dinner was a good representation of “typical” dishes at the Linkery – their eponymous links, food prepared in a simple way to let the highest quality ingredients talk, large variety of local beers.

We are looking forward to many more years to come at the Linkery. Congratulations again, Jay !

The Linkery
3794 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 255-8778


Anonymous said...

Hey, what a cool blog! Thanks for write-up, the cool pictures, and, most of all, for being part of our crazy restaurant for the last 5 years.

If I remember correctly, the reason it is called "German Chocolate Cake" is that it came from (in the mid-1900s) a recipe which used a baking chocolate called German's Chocolate. (Much like Mariscos German is probably not like seafood you'd get in Germany.) The recipe came from Texas, so I suppose it should really be called Texas Chocolate Cake, but it isn't.

Thanks again.


Alice Q. Foodie said...

Honkman! What a great blog! What took you so long?? ;) Jay is right - German chocolate cake is not German at all, it's named after a person. German's sweet chocolate is what was used to make it. They sell it in blocks in the baking aisle of the grocery store.

Sounds like a great meal, we don't get over there often enough!


Alice ! Thanks so much. We always enjoy reading your blog very much and when we discussed how to start/design our blog your blog was inspirational in many ways.

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