It was nice of some of you to notice that out 10th year "blogga-versary" came and went back in May. I guess we'd celebrate....but it seems that we're never home and I kinda stopped all that stuff a few years back. I did notice however that we were coming up to post #3000 soon. Considering that I started this little blog with no objective in mind....it was the suggestion of Reid from Ono Kine Grindz (we miss you man). His blog really hit home for an expat Kama'aina....the things I missed, the food mainly. So I just started typing...and we haven't stopped since.
With that milestone in sight, I decided to finish something I started back at the end of 2012....yes, 2012. I call it the "Big List". It's a listing of all the restaurants (I might have missed a few) that we've done posts on going back to the beginning. I completed it a few weeks ago. It's an interesting list and you can find it under pages on our sidebar. I've also included photos that were sitting around in folders that for some reason I forgot to delete, or have posted only to my Flickr account. For me, it's the listing of places that have closed (at the bottom) that brings back a nostalgic feeling..... Thanks to the folks who have already noticed it and commented. Please check it out and let me know what you think. I'll try to create pages for our travels as well.
I can't go further without thanking Cathy and Ed from Yuma. Without their help, this blog would not exist. It is as much their blog as mine. Much has changed over the years; social media and instant delivery (and gratification) has taken over....we just keep chugging along. Just think, we started in 2005; the first iPhone was released in 2007, Twitter was launched in 2006, remember MySpace?
Anyway, I decided to celebrate and went to Sushi Yaro and had some sashimi.
This is after all, still a food blog.
I'm not sure if anyone has been with us since the beginning, but a really warm mahalo to you if you've been here all these years.
And just to go off on one of my usual digressions, Sammy and Frankie have been along for the ride the entire way. And this gets me thinking about when they first became part of the family.
As always....thanks so much for visiting, reading, and commenting....all these years!
Man, it's hitting the low 90's here, even near the shore in San Diego. Nothing heavy for us....we just wanted a nice salad. My current favorite is the "Man Salad" from Iron Pig Alehouse. I'm not overly fond of the Barbecue here and the sauce is not really to my liking either. But put some of that normally dry and mealy brisket in a salad, with pickled onions, goat cheese, French fries (!), smoked Portobello mushrooms (something I've been doing for a couple of years, it's great), and arugula....suddenly you have my current favorite salad. It is indeed a "Man Salad" ($12.99).
What's nice is that the vinaigrette doesn't over-power any of the components of the salad and that it's not "over-dressed". It has that great sour-smoky-bitter-mild sweetness-saltiness that is both satisfying and refreshing at the same time.
Also, happy hour (3-6 pm Mon - Fri) with half off select beers is not bad either....though you won't be getting any discount on sours and Belgians.....though ordering a Staffe Hendrick Quad it was pretty over-the-top and perhaps not the wisest thing to do n a hot day like today. In our opinion there's two thing to get here...the salad and the smoked wings....though the wings have been much too salty on our last couple of visits.
Iron Pig Alehouse 1520 Garnet Ave San Diego, CA 92109
So with the temps hitting the 90's....what have you been eating?
It was overcast when we arrived in Bruges.....and the place was crawling with tourists. I was scouring my photos to find one, but as is the norm we try to take photos without too many folks in them.
We arrived by train and walked up to the B&B we were staying at. Located on a quite side street whose name reminded me of a certain item I used to partake of during my (much) younger days. The B&B, named B Guest had but 2 rooms and was located so close, but not in the middle of everything. Upon arriving Caroline explained a lot to us, especially the part about needing reservations for dinner. On this evening it was a bit too late, but she was nice enough to get us reservations at a very popular, up and coming spot the next night.
We then headed out to find some lunch.....
A few blocks away from the Markt Square, things seemed a bit quieter and I saw a place that was on my list. We'd been having some hearty, but also quite hefty meals in Belgium; so this little Belgian/Spanish Tapas restaurant named Quatre Mains seemed just the thing for us. I wasn't sure we'd be able to get a table, but we arrived early and was given one of the two tables that weren't reserved next to the bar.
This was actually the perfect place for lunch on this day. The menu had a nice variety of classic and not so classic tapas. The Missus enjoyed a glass of wine.
And our cozy little corner was perfect. We had a nice view of the dining area which started to fill up a few minutes after we arrived.
We could also watch folks outside on the street. People watching is one of our favorite pastimes on trips. Soon enough it started drizzling.....
We ordered a small variety of items.
We started with the Smoked Eel and Red Onion.
The nicely smoked Eel with pungent red onions, crisp toast, slightly bitter cress, and crème fraiche was quite nice.
The beef tatare was excellent.
Tender, refreshing, very "clean" tasting.
The only item we didn't care for were the Shrimp Croquettes.
The filling was basically a curry béchamel which was a bit too gluey and much too salty for us. It just wasn't our thing.
The foie gras on the other hand was definitely "our thing". Mild in flavor, but very light.
We finished off with the Beef Cheeks; which was more like a stew, as the beef had broken down.
Regardless, the flavor was intensely beefy with a touch of sweetness...almost like a cross of carrillada (Spanish style braised beef/pork cheeks) and carbonnade flamande.
The service, like most places in Belgium was quite laid back and gracious. It was just the perfect meal on this day.
Quatre Mains Philipstockstraat 8 Bruges, Belgium
After lunch, it was time for a walk......and some chocolate shopping......
There is literally a chocolate shop on every block......and we bought from quite a few of them...for gifts of course.
Knowing the Missus...there was much more walking to do.
There seems to be a little revolution going on in LA and the OC.....poke, something I've eaten....well, being born and raised in Hawaii, basically all of my life has really gained a foot hold. Places like Poke District, North Shore Poke Company, Pokinometry, and of course Costco and Whole Foods, plus erstwhile food bloggers like Elmomonster, means that it's getting full coverage in the OC. It was only a matter of time until a shop specializing in poke opened here.......so, I wasn't surprised to read about one opening in Eater...though I'm not sure Hillcrest is the best location for it. Still, I was intrigued, so I headed up to Hillcrest to try out Poke Go.
Upon entering and seeing the owner; well, I cracked up. It was the guy who used to own Convoy Sushi and Fish Market, Moby Dick Fish Market & Grill, Ocean Harvest Seafood, etc....etc.... He does love creating new restaurants. The "concept" as he calls it, is quite simple, poke "bowls", called "platters" here, Korean influenced rice based dishes, as a quick stop is the objective. Select your fish, Ahi or Salmon (have you ever seen me eat salmon poke?), Rice (White or Brown) or Salad, and then your "spice" (aka da' sauce or seasoning), finally a "side" completes your "platter".
Of course, I went with the "Shoyu Hawaiian" style Ahi on White Rice with Mac (here called Tartar Macaroni) Salad. The menu price for this is $8.99, but during the grand opening period it's $7.99. So here's what I got.....
The first thought that entered my mind when I opened the cardboard carton was "wea's da fish"? This looked like a glorified seaweed salad with a few cubes of fish in it. There seemed to be maybe two ounces of fish in this thing. For the price, I didn't expect anything near, say what I make at home, or even what I make for the Missus. But it was decent, if not great quality fish. What I managed to pull out of the seaweed salad was on the bland side, nowhere near what anything in the islands is like. The sesame oil flavor permeated everything.
The "Tartar Macaroni" was terribly dry and not dressed enough as well.
I did return and to try the version with Kimchi sauce....."extra spicy" they said.
I will say that there was much more fish in this one. Plus, I really enjoyed (gasp) the brown rice; nice and nutty and it went well with the furikake. The fish was on the dry side and fairly bland as before; not too much "suji" (connective tissue), but still kind of chewy. It wasn't very spicy at all. There was kimchi at the bottom of the fish.....which looked like a lot; but one bite in and it was quite apparent that this was perhaps just a bit more than what I had previously.
I will say that the portion of "Kanikama" (surimi) was quite large, but I'd have appreciated a bit more effort in flavoring. I got full on that alone.
So here's what I think. If you don't mind getting full on rice, salad, and seaweed salad, with a few ounces of fish...then this will work for you. I'd gladly take it in place of a fastfood lunch. While this stuff would never fly back home. I've definitively had worse here in San Diego.
As to whether it's Poke "no" or Poke Go....well, you'll have to make up your mind yourself.
Every so often I get the craving for some Tonkatsu. And my go-to, based on price and execution is Kayaba. And so I headed to Mitsuwa Marketplace and waited my turn in line for my Tonkatsu ($8.50). What I got was rather surprising.
Notice how dark the cutlet is? Man, this was totally fried to death....and maybe beyond. The panko breading was hard as rock....it had separated from the meat during the cooking process. There were actually gaps between the breading and the protein, which by the way, was dry as heck.
Bad technique and poor quality control, what a bummer. I've usually had decent meals at Kayaba and I'm hoping this is just an off day. At least the potato salad was as good as ever....but I didn't pay like nine bucks for a scoop of potato salad.
It's been a bust couple of weeks...running around means getting more than my share of sandwiches. This doesn't mean that you give up variety though as these three examples show.
Cali Baguette Express (Convoy):
It had been quite a while since I'd been to Cali Baguette Express. Instead of my usual Banh Mi Trung (egg banh mi), I ordered the Nem Nuong.
It was nice light, good proportion of ingredients. The best thing about the sandwich was the bread....it had just come out of the oven. Nothing like light, crisp, flaky, yeasty, warm, goodness....
Cali Baguette Express 4425 Convoy Street San Diego, CA 92111
I recently had the chance to take a friend and colleague to lunch. She's from the Midwest so I always like to have her try something new. The last time it was Izakaya Sakura...this time, I thought SuperNatural Sandwiches would be a nice stop.....
And it was. We got my favorite, The Siren.
The place seems to have hit stride; the shrimp was plump and moist, it seems that they've ramped up the heat as this was quite spicy. The brioche, lobster style roll was nice; buttery, but not too greasy. The aioli had that nice hit of richness.
SuperNatural Sandwiches 7094 Miramar Rd San Diego, CA 92121
Just a couple of things for a beautiful San Diego Saturday....
It seems that the recent hot weather really helped our peppers.
For some reason; like last year the peppers aren't as "hot". Don't get me wrong, the ghost peppers were still pretty darn hot....but it wasn't anything like our first years. I thing there's some cross pollination going on with our Padron Peppers.
Speaking of Padron Peppers. A couple of times a week we get a pretty good haul....
Like everyone else in SoCal, we've been reducing our water usage....so far so good...drip hoses and such....it seems the okra don't really mind.....
And it seem we have cut our water consumption by 30% or so.... Our front lawn is taking a beating though....
Some stuff from the beer vault:
I won't bore you on descriptions and such....but here's a few more beer photos.
I wonder if I'm the only one who thinks that Stone is kinda just resting on their laurels?
As Tony Montana said....."Say Hello to My Little Friend".....
A few weeks back, I went into the back yard to check things out before heading off to bed. I noticed this hard working little fellow....building what seemed to be the world's most ambitious web. Since then, I'd check every night to see if the spider was out there spinning his web. If I saw a work in progress, I'd grab a beer from the fridge and just sit and watch.....
Sort of like the "fish tank effect" I guess..... Impressive work ethic.... I'll enjoy it for as long as he's around.
The Missus's favorite cheese:
I've never really posted on it before...it's been something we've kind of enjoyed inhouse. But we do love our cheese. We usually have a variety on hand, 5-6 for a light nice spring-summer-fall meal. Anyway, the current favorite of the Missus who enjoys a fairly ripe cheese is the Harbison by Jasper Hill Farm.
The flavor is pretty ripe. And it's quite unique in terms of cheeses we've had in that's it is wrapped in strips of spruce.
Bread is a must and it's quite good with a nice "sour".......
It's been a while since I've posted on Sushi Tadokoro. If anything, what I've been eating here is better than ever. Anyway, I thought a minimum of verbiage would work here....a nice C(learing) O(ut) the M(emory) C(ard) post for a beautiful Friday. After all, at Sushi Tadokoro, I believe photos are enough....though I'll have some interesting stories in a future post.
Had the atama (head) later in miso soup....sorry...I was just having a great time and forgot to take a photo of that.
San Diego Uni
I could go into minute detail about all of this....but I think the photos speak for themselves. Yet another wonderful meal at Tadokoro.
Sushi Tadokoro 2244 San Diego Ave San Diego, CA 92110