Spike Africas

spike africa's on 4th and Broadway

Spike Africa’s on 4th and Broadway downtown San Diego

Mark and I love discovering fine dining establishments with good Happy Hours.  So a couple of months ago when we were downtown, we decided to take a walk near the north end of the Gaslamp.  We had been to the Yard House many times, and thought we might stop there for hors d’oeuvres and a pint of beer.  But then we spotted this interesting building right across the street from the Yard House and since we had “been there, done that,” we walked over and into Spike Africas.

Spike Africa's oysters on half shell

Oysters on the half shell with all lemon and spicy cocktail sauce

After perusing the menu and seeing that they had oysters for a dollar as part of their happy hour menu, we sat ourselves down and ordered half a dozen, along with a dish that has really risen to the top of our favorite food list: roasted brussels sprouts.

The oysters arrived and they were so awesome, we ordered six more.  Then the brussels came and we could not believe how good they were.  These lowly veggies had been elevated to amazingness in flavor and texture with a toss-in of golden raisins, bacon bits and olive oil.

Spike Africa's roasted brussels sprouts golden raisins bacon

Roasted brussels sprouts with golden raisins and bacon bits

We reprised the oysters and brussels sprouts about a month later, after a day at the San Diego Zoo.  They seemed to taste even better that second time.

Our visit coincided with a video shoot in the next room of the chef.  When he was finished with his “fifteen minutes” he strolled past our table, so we engaged him in conversation since we are video producers ourselves.  He was so enthusiastic about his “baby,” the menu, he sat down and chatted with us for a few minutes.  He even brought us a plate with some of the pistachio crusted brie, fig jam and grilled baguette that had been used on the shoot.

Other happy hour items which we plan to go back and try are the clam chowder, fish ceviche, smoked seafood hush pups, jumbo shrimp cocktail and tombo tuna poke.

I like to cover the best places to eat, so I knew right then and there I would include Spike Africa’s in my blog.  And so, I turned to the back of the menu to check out the story of Spike Africa’s.

Spike Africa's entrance to restaurant

Statues of Spike Africa and buddy at entrance of restaurant

Spike Africa is thought to be one of the last great “tall ship” schooner captains of the West Coast.  He sailed the waters from Alaska to Tahiti for much of the 20th century.  He was a schooner captain, expert rigger, international boat racer, writer, actor, inventor and master of macramé (think “Monkey Fist”). To see Spike’s more length biography, see “Spike’s Story” at Spike Africa’s website.  Better yet, check out the menu, in person, at the restaurant named after a true-life “most interesting man in the world.”

Patty Mooney is a Video Producer and Vice President at San Diego’s premiere video production company, Crystal Pyramid Productions.