Tasty Tuesday: Soda and Swine serves delectable meatball dishes

by Christine Whitman , Senior Staff Writer

Soda & Swine is a bright, roofless garden by day and an intimate, candle-lit patio nursery by night. No matter what time of day, this North Park eatery always feels like your childhood home — except busier.

Located on Adams Avenue, the rustic atmosphere and antique-style décor of the meatball-centric eatery makes guests feel right at home. The restaurant is open every day from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., and has been serving hungry customers since December 2012.

“I’ve been here a couple of times since I moved to San Diego and every time feels like the first,” public health junior Danielle Ralleca said.

The menu offers a full page of delectable handmade meatball sliders, submarine sandwiches, burgers and skillets. Each entrée is accompanied by another full page of side dishes and fresh pie made in-house.

Patrons can choose a specialty dish or build their own one-of-a-kind creation. No matter what meat, sauce or cheese they choose, it all comes down to selecting a style: slider with one meatball ($3.50), submarine sandwich with two meatballs ($8), skillet-of-three ($8) or with spaghetti ($10).

One option from the eatery’s specialty menu is the bahn mi. The Vietnamese-inspired dish features a smoked pork meatball with pickled veggies, peppers and cilantro, topped with Sriracha aioli and house-made barbeque sauce.

Another option, the Swine, combines smoked pork with chipotle barbeque and pepper jack cheese. It tastes similar to another specialty item, the Hog, made with chorizo, chipotle barbeque and mozzarella cheese.

Customization plays key, so it’s no surprise this restaurant also offers both vegetarian and vegan meatballs.

As a general tip, don’t order any two meatballs with the same sauce. Although each bite is well seasoned, two sandwiches with the same sauce taste almost identical.

Although the restaurant offers an assortment of side dishes, one crowd favorite keeps you coming back.

The Dirty Fries ($9) are thin-sliced fries topped with meatballs, pork belly, mushroom gravy and jalapenos. The extra-large portion of steaming-hot fries is perfect for extra-hungry customers or groups of friends.

A tip with this dish: you can always order a half-order of Dirty Fries ($4.50) to share. The portion is that huge.

At Soda & Swine, diners have the option to dine inside next to strangers at the long, reclaimed patio-style wood tables or move outside to the small, enclosed patio to enjoy the San Diego weather.

At the Adams Avenue location of Soda & Swine, the back nickel-covered hallway leads to more than just the restrooms. There’s the apothecary-inspired bar, Polite Provisions.

“I felt like I was Harry Potter going through the brick wall in ‘Sorcerer’s Stone,’” Ralleca said.

Hence, it’s name. The next-door establishment also offers a variety of flavored soda such as Manhattan Special Espresso or Swamp Pop Praline Cream ($3), which can be made into a float for an extra $1.

Soda & Swine also takes to-go orders, allowing customers to enjoy the food anywhere in San Diego.