San Diego

Analog Chef Talks Tater Tots and Twinkie Tiramisu

Feb 11th 2011 12:00PM / by Nanette Wiser

Analog chef Mia Alio's comfort cuisine is both charming and whimsical -- Twinkie tiramisu, anyone? After multiple stints whisking away with San Diego's best chefs, the 33-year-old original SoCal girl landed the head chef position at hip Analog restaurant and nightclub. An avid runner and biker of Ocean Beach, Alio is also a music aficionado, calling Analog's Saturday Super Karaoke night an opportunity for diners to free their inner rock star (with backing by a live band!). Here, Alio discusses nacho-style tater tots, her disdain for truffles and her secret bucket list.

What's the idea behind the menu at Analog?
Honest, retro-style comfort food, the kind you ate growing up and cafeteria favorites made exceptional by cooking with the best ingredients. It's new twists on favorites, such as lobster corn dog minis with yummy lemon tartar sauce and gourmet tater tots done nacho style with chilaquile sauce.

What's fun at Analog right now?
Meatloaf sliders, chicken cordon bleu and all of our salads, especially our chicken salad with dates and curry, or crab salad lettuce cups with mango and tamarind. We're very casual, from the masking tape prices on the bar bottles to the walk-up burger bar. And you can't beat our Twinkie tiramisu. We have happy hour from 4-7 daily and all day Sunday, and really strong drinks.

Where do you get your inspiration?
I get my inspiration from reading (Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc, Michael Symon's Live To Cook), eating out, talking with friends and family about their last great meal eaten and traveling to any city in Italy, L.A. or San Francisco.

What vendors and foodie havens do you count on?
Specialty Produce, Central Meats, Chef's Warehouse, Chino Farms, to name a few.

Where do you go on your night off?
For the food and wine, Pomodoro's, 3rd Corner and my kitchen at home -- it's never expensive and I'm always satisfied. I like live music and local bands, so I enjoy the Harp, Livewire and the Casbah.

What do you cook at home for friends?
Tri-tip, roasted chicken, pasta, cheese and meat boards, barbecue, hamburgers, french fries -- you name it, we make it! I love entertaining and cooking at home.

What's in your fridge that you can't live without?
I've always got ice cream in my freezer.

What's hip, what's not on San Diego's culinary scene?
Gourmet lunch trucks are all the rage, and I'm glad to see anything with truffles fade into obscurity.

If you weren't a chef, what would you be?
A radio or TV host.

What's on your bucket list?
Eat at French Laundry, write a cookbook. Travel to Spain, Italy (again), Japan and Guam. Have a family and a home -- there's soooo much I still wanna do. I'm still young, I'll get there.

Analog Bar
, 801 5th Ave.; 619-233-1183


Quick Guide to Mia Alio's Faves:

Pomodoro Ristorante Italiano , 2833 Avenida de Portugal, Point Loma; 619-523-1301

3rd Corner , 2265 Bacon St., Ocean Beach; 619-233-2700

The Harp, 4935 Newport Ave., Ocean Beach; 619-222-0168

Livewire, 2103 El Cajon Blvd., North Park; 619-291-7450

The Casbah, 2501 Kettner St., Little Italy; 619-232-HELL

Photo Courtesy of Analog



 
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