Three local restaurants on Food Network’s ‘Comfort Food Tour’


A meatball pie, cinnamon roll and chicken taco from three different San Diego County restaurants will be featured over the next two weekends on Food Network’s new series “Comfort Food Tour.”

Co-hosts and best friends Mark Anderson and Ryan Fey, an L.A.-based pop-up restaurant team, hit the road this past year looking for the most decadent comfort food dishes at regional restaurants around the U.S. Their travels brought them to San Diego County, where they picked favorite dishes that are profiled in three upcoming episodes.

On the “More Cheese, Please” episode airing at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 28, the co-hosts wax rhapsodic over the crust on Mama Jo’s Meatball Pot Pie at Betty’s Pie Whole at Sunshine Gardens Nursery at 155 Quail Garden Drive in Encinitas.

The old-fashioned Western saloon-style shop was opened in 2013 by Elizabeth Harris, founder of Elizabethan Desserts. Its name is derived from her nickname, “Betty,” and the fact that it only sells miniature and full-size whole pies, not slices.

The Mama Joe’s Meatball Pot Pie is named after her mother, who taught Harris to bake when she was a girl in her native Texas. It’s a double-crust pie made with turkey meatballs, house-made tomato sauce and three kinds of cheese: Parmesan, fontina and mozzarella. An individual pie is $8.95. A full-size pie is $30.

Elizabeth “Betty” Harris in her Betty’s Pie Whole Saloon in Encinitas.
(Pam Kragen/San Diego Union-Tribune)

On Aug. 4, two more local restaurants will be featured on back-to-back episodes.

On the “Bacon on Top” episode at 8 p.m. Aug. 4, Anderson and Fey visit Eclipse Chocolate Bar and Bistro at 2145 Fern St. in South Park to sample its legendary Egg and Bacon Cinnaroll.

The $10 brunch/dessert creation is a buttermilk cinnamon roll topped with two slices of maple Muscovado bacon,a fried egg and burnt chile-infused caramel sauce. It’s one of many over-the-top creations developed by chef Will Gustwiler at the 14-year-old restaurant, which is best known for its make-your-own chocolate bars.

The season finale, “A Symphony of Success,” airs at 8:30 p.m. Aug. 4. On that episode the co-hosts visit the original Puesto restaurant at 1026 Wall St. in La Jolla.

The target of their craving is the restaurant’s award-winning Chicken Al Pastor Taco, made with crispy melted cheese, hibiscus and chipotle tinga, avocado and pina habanero pico sauce.

Puesto makes its own blue corn tortillas, cooks its cheese into a crispy crepelike shell that is folded around the chicken and topped with vegetables and a deep-brown salsa that’s got an earthy kick. They’re sold as part of a mix-and-match three-taco plate for $16.