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The Tower

The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

Sydney’s Suggestions: SoCal All-Stars

Sydney Chan
This Manhattan food truck is home to one of the best street eats on the planet — a combo platter with some crispy fries from The Halal Guys. The perfect midnight meal, it’s satisfying, fresh, and insanely flavorful. It’s what food-cravings are made of. Although this is a photo from their original location on W. 53rd in NYC, The Halal Guys has seriously expanded their franchise, including a couple locations in Irvine, CA.

It’s finally here. The moment none of us have been waiting for — the last edition of Syd’s Suggestions. Over these past two years, together, we’ve discovered the best food in just about every category, right here, in sunny San Diego. Tacos, croissants, boba, you name it, we’ve covered it. So when I was tasked to think of the theme for this last edition, I was stumped. Until, that is, I realized that I, alongside the majority of the Class of 2024, won’t be living in Southern California full-time in a few months — and then it hit me. SoCal All-Stars. The best of the best in the best region of the U.S. For the last time, grab your appetite — let’s dig in.

1. Porto’s — 7640 Beach Blvd, Buena Park

Porto’s has been my absolute favorite spot for forever. There’s seriously nothing better. If you’ve never had their potato balls (a potato croquette with a beef filling), the guava and cheese strudel (perfect for a quick and delicious breakfast), or my absolute favorite, the pork tamale (the softest masa with filled with an insanely flavorful center), then run, don’t walk (well, actually, drive), and get some. Trust me, you’re going to be wondering what you’ve been doing all your life without these. 

Some other regulars are the mango mousse bomb, dulce de leche and chocolate hazelnut besitos, and the fresh peach tart when it’s in season. This legendary bakery was founded in 1960 and now has six locations in the greater LA/OC area with the closest one to San Diego in Buena Park (listed above). To avoid waiting in line for an hour plus, order online and pick up. The next time you go to Disneyland or are in LA for a day trip, make a stop at Porto’s. You won’t regret it. 


2. The Halal Guys — 2883 Park Ave, Tustin

I had my first experience at The Halal Guys in NYC after a late-night visit to the Empire State Building when I was probably around six — and about eleven years later, this midtown Manhattan food truck is still one of my absolute favorite street eats. My mom used to grab me an order on her way to JFK every time she went to NYC to chill, and while nothing beats their original location under the Hilton on W. 53rd, they’ve expanded their franchise to close to 100 stand-alone restaurants worldwide, including a couple locations in Irvine. Their combo platter is my go to, with an order of the best fries ever, and their white sauce binds everything together like a dream. And don’t skip out on their hot sauce — but beware. It’s actually pretty hot. 


3. Marugame Udon4353 La Jolla Village Dr suite H28, San Diego

If you’ve already been a fan of Marugame Udon, you’re in luck. This hugely popular Japanese eatery finally opened its doors in UTC just over a month ago, and their freshly made noodles are sure worth the wait. Don’t let the long line outside scare you away; due to its cafeteria serving style, the line moves pretty fast, even on the weekends. The Tonkotsu udon is my sister’s favorite while Curry Nikutama (udon with curry sauce and soy sweet beef) is my top pick. I love the runny soft boil egg that comes with the dish, and I always pick up a couple of freshly fried shrimp tempura on the side. The calamansi lemonade is also a must try. It tastes a bit like yuzu, which makes it super fragrant and refreshing. I swing by to grab one anytime I’m at the mall, when there isn’t a significant wait. 


And some favorites from previously featured SoCal classics…

4. Better Buzz Coffee — 909 Prospect St, San Diego

  • Honey Latte
  • OG Acai Bowl / Acai Smoothie
  • Better Breakfast sandwich (substitute pretzel bun for ciabatta)
  • Best Drink Ever


5. Bobboi Natural Gelato — 8008 Girard Avenue, La Jolla

  • Blood Orange
  • Mediterraneo
  • Dragon Lemon
  • Baccio


6. Mr. Frostie — 1470 Garnet Ave, San Diego

  • Twist cone
  • And that’s all she wrote (best soft serve ever)


And that just about sums up the last edition of Syd’s Suggestions. Writing for this column each and every print issue these past two years has been everything I could’ve hoped for; thank you. Stay hungry, and I’ll see you soon.

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About the Contributor
Sydney Chan
Sydney Chan, Editor-in-Chief

Sydney Chan is an Editor-in-Chief for The Tower dedicated to discovering unique stories and bringing them to life through her pieces. She especially loves writing op-eds, covering the latest sports news, and publishing food reviews through her column, "Sydney's Suggestions." From dining at a great sushi restaurant, to watching her beloved Chicago Cubs play, to competing in Speech and Debate tournaments and Model UN conferences, to blasting 2Pac and SZA in the car, she's passionate about experiencing life to the fullest and aspires to lead The Tower with a similar aura, alongside the support of the publication's amazing team. Sydney is looking forward to another great year with The Tower and can't wait to share more beautiful pieces with the community.

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