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Sherman Heights Record Bar Ramps Up Culinary Programming With Cross Border Chefs

Longplay Hifi’s guest chef lineup includes Baja’s Diego Hernandez and local chef Phillip Esteban

Mario A. Cortez

Inspired by Tokyo’s record bars, vinyl listening bar Longplay Hifi started spinning last fall in Sherman Heights and continues to evolve its programming. Although it remains dedicated to showcasing records from collectors and other audiophiles in San Diego and beyond, the Imperial Avenue space is increasingly focused on offering unique food and drink experiences along with its audio sessions.

Serving coffee since its inception, as well as Tijuana-style burritos on weekends, founder Gibrán Huerta has been hosting ticketed pop-ups and special events that all feature a food component, from the Acquired Taste omakase series, now a fixture on the last Sunday of each month, to previews by acclaimed local chefs like Phillip Esteban.

Upcoming sessions include a pairing of natural wine and quesadillas made with Oaxacan heirloom corn tortillas milled by Tijuana chef José “Joe” Figueroa.

“I thought it would be a cool idea for my Saturday p.m. experience to include things like natural wine and quesadillas made with a maiz criollo from Oaxaca that has a shelf life of three days. It’s very simple because it’s wine and cheese, but it’s also very complex because of its process and where (the corn) comes from,” Huerta said.

With the Mexico-U.S. border finally returning to normal operations after nearly two years, Huerta says there will be more cross-border collaborations. Future programming includes pop-ups from revered Ensenada-based chef Diego Hernández and Esteban Lluis of Valle De Guadalupe’s Damiana.

“I’m pretty stoked that the border is reopening because I have a lot of TJ chefs that I want to invite, but obviously it’s been really tough with the border not opening up earlier,” he said. “We have a couple plans, but Joe (Figueroa) and Diego (Hernández) are the first ones that are going on the calendar for 2022.”

On the beverage side of the operation, Longplay HiFi has partnered with local micro roaster Flor & Seed and La Jolla newcomers Paru Tea Bar to supply its drink bar for morning listening sessions. An a.m. ticket includes two complimentary drinks, including hot and cold options.

Huerta also told Eater that he’s currently exploring an opportunity to expand Longplay to National City.

Longplay Studio

2547 Imperial Avenue, San Diego, CA 92102