A Letter to North Park


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Same sign, different vibe.

Dear North Park,

Hello. It’s me, Nina. You may not remember me – I don’t really think I gave you the time of day in my OLP days – but I remember you. And my, how you and your posse of shops have changed since high school.

Let me start with your cute girl gift shop, Pigment. Uhm, Girl. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE. It’s as if you took every gift brand I follow on Instagram and (very gracefully) threw it all into a re-purposed, impeccably lit warehouse for me to relish in all of its IG-worthy beauty. Snake plants and fur rugs and succulents and candles and stationery galore… *drool*. Had my mom not reminded me of our mission to get food that evening we met, I would have gladly stuck around to hang and chat and craft at the plant lab all night. I’ll be back to visit soon, though. Let’s hang out, yeah? #BFFs

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Pigment: a cute girl’s paradise.
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Sorry for the creepy shot from the outside, Pigment. #cutegirlwannabe

Pigment, 3801 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104

And then there’s your cool, chic, fresh babe of a gastropub, Encontro. Heyyyy, Encontro… nice buns… er, pork bun sliders, that is. I like how you dress your arugula, too – simply, with a dash of white balsamic dressing and a pleasant mélange of fresh grapefruit, corn, avocado, finished with some nicely-shaved Parmesan cheese. You got a cool vibe to you… and yet, you still leave me thinking there’s more out there for me (read: I need dessert slash possibly a larger portion of food)…

Pulled pork sliders and arugula salad with salmon. Encontro, you were nice. But could there be more out there for me…

Encontro North Park, 3001 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92104

… Which leads me to my meeting with the next duo of oddballs in the posse, StreetCar and Milkbar. Yo, you two are crazy. Let me start with StreetCar.

StreetCar, you remind me of that class clown in school who used to be all over the place, and then grew up to be a hipster with a handlebar mustache who is still crazy, but knows how to hide his hyper a little better. What’s up with the doughnuts and coffee and fried chicken and waffles? I mean, I don’t hate it, but… how am I supposed to walk away without buying everything on the menu? Oh what’s that? A 45-minute wait for food? I get it… I’ll just take a doughnut and coffee and that decaf tea you fished out from the dark, dusty corner of that bottom cabinet. Yes, that’ll do. Hmm, that raspberry square doughnut was good, but you’re definitely gonna have to hook me up with that Chet’s Combo next time I visit (which will hopefully be when there isn’t a 45-minute wait for food).

So much going on at StreetCar, but I don’t hate it. Still waiting for the day I get to sink my teeth into that cornbread waffle, though…
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The best part of this donut is that it’s a square. I love squares.

StreetCar Merchants of Fried Chicken, Doughnuts and Coffee, 4002 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

In the meantime, I’m gonna say hi to your homie, Milkbar.

Yooo… Milkbar. I’m feelin’ your vibe. Not sure why there are clocks all over the ceiling, but I dig it. And can I get that Tupac poster with a punny, Milkified version of “Hail Mary” for my wall? Maybe? Anyway. Let’s talk about your milk selection… what the… why is everything flavored? Cereal-flavored milk? You know, you look a LOT like my friend  from New York, Milk Ba– hey, wait a minute… are you two related? Hmm.

Well, your Frosted Flakes milk’s alright. Though I think maybe I should go with your milkshakes next time I visit.

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Question, though: what’s actually the right time?
These posters are so deliciously punny, I love it. I’ll take one of the Tupac, please.
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Flavored milk. I want to make all of these into soft-serve ice creams.

The Milk Bar, 2940 Lincoln Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

So, North Park, I guess what I’m really trying to say is: I’m sorry I took you for granted in high school. You were just the neighborhood near my nerdy brother school (sup, Saints Boys – sorry I’m not sorry I just called you all nerds #loveyouguys), and I never realized how awesome you are and what great company you keep. But I think you’re probably chill, and would like to get to know you better again. Let’s be friends?

Yours Faithfully,



1 thought on “A Letter to North Park”

  1. “Here comes the pitch…looks like a change-up…Oh my what a swing! That ball is headed straight for the fences! Looks like Nina has hit another one right outta the park!”

    Nice article. Makes me want to visit Phillip so he can give me tour!


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