We spent our last two nights in this wonderfully atmospheric town. And while our experience with the cuisine wasn't that great, the town is beautiful.
From what we saw on our walk from the train station......
To the view from our hotel room......
To wandering the side streets......
Walking though the little streets in search of a snack or a meal was fun. everything just seemed to be tourist oriented food; even what was recommended by our hotel as being "really Portuguese".
To be perfectly honest, I kind of knew this. But I wanted the Missus to really enjoy Sintra after all the day-trippers had left, when the town was at its romantic best. Which meant staying in the town. It was a nice little break before our return.
Our dinner the first night was at Tacho Real. It was nice, but really nothing special.
Though walking around Sintra after the tourists are gone was wonderful.
The next morning we awoke and had a hefty breakfast and headed on our way.
Up the hill. Where the avenue became a smaller street......
Which gave way to a gate (where admission is paid), then trails, past an ancient Moorish Castle......
It is one of those places that is vividly unforgettable.
From the colors, to the restored rooms, to the view.
And yet, you never quite get the romantic beauty of it all until you climb up the neighboring hill.
It's quite an easy task....to let your mind wander; imagining the comings and goings, the intrigue, the stories that this structure could tell. Of how Amelia, the last Queen of Portugal, spent her last night before being sent into exile at the Palace.
The views are stunning and there are many trails on the park grounds.
We were glad we visited and stayed. We got to visit the palace and the park grounds before the buses of tour groups arrived.
We spent our last evening in Portugal walking around Sintra, picking out a little Wine Bar/Tapas place off the usual tourist trail.
A couple of glasses of wine, some small bites....it was a nice relaxed way to spend our last night....
It had been quite a while since we headed out of San Diego on a road trip. Things had gotten hectic between vacations and various trips we'd taken. And yet, we really weren't satisfying some of our cravings. One of which was the Cha Ca Thang Long from Song Long. So last weekend we headed out, for the first time this year!
I don't think Song Long has changed much since we first visited a couple of years ago. But it had been long enough that the old menu had been replaced with a newer version and the Cha Ca Thang Long had gone up a buck to $17.95.
It's still more than enough for the two of us.
From the caramelized shallots, to the nicely fired fish to what we call the "gift that keeps on giving", the mam nem, which you keep pouring over your bun and greens, only to have it keep "returning" for the rest of the day! It's just a lovely dish, one of our favorites.
It's also good that they open rather early, since we could hit up places before they got busy on this Sunday.
Song Long Restaurant 9361 Bolsa Ave Suite 108 Westminster, CA 92683
This was nice, not salty, could have used a but more bean paste perhaps, the skin is not the best, but the duck is meaty and it actually tastes better the next day.
It really hit the spot.
The place does put a lot of "jus" over the duck. In case you're wondering what to do with the last few pieces of duck and the sauce. Chop up the skin and what meat....little meat if you've done it right, and make fried rice. I actually made omurice with some of the fried rice I made......I was so hungry and the fragrance just took over, thus I forgot to take photos. Next time perhaps.
So there I was, Dumpling Hut had just opened and I walked in.
A few things became quickly apparent. First, these folks were very nice, unlike another recently opened shop who just seemed to want to do as little as possible for you, the folks here were just plain nice. Second, there's not much English here, something I kind of appreciate. Third, I don't think these folks have any restaurant experience at all. There were four tables of customers when I arrived and two parties came after me. I saw forgotten place settings, bowls, people seated with no menus for like 10 minutes, food sitting around....well when food did come out. My order actually took 40 minutes to arrive. Everyone, including the folks who came after me got served first.....I'm pretty sure the folks who came after me got my Guo Bu Li Baozi, you know, the stuffed buns that "even dogs would not eat". Something that was on that sign I saw back in May. I love all the styles of Tianjin Baozi....except this one particular model.
On the menu as Steamed Pork Buns ($4.99), these, like much of the menu is pretty well priced. I'm pretty sure there was something going on with the steam process on this day as the parts of the bun were hard, as was the filling; two of which had pieces of bone in them. The flavor was pretty bland as well.
I also ordered the Pork and Celery Dumplings ($6.99).
I could tell that this place has potential; the wrappers were nicely made, though on the thick side had that tender, yet mildly toothsome texture, that I love in jiaozi. However, were some problems; the filling was on the bland side, I know, jiaozi is fairly mild in flavor, but these are bland. The filling is too hard. I'm not expecting them to stir the filling with chopsticks for two hours like the Missus's Fifth Aunt did in Qingdao, but I expected better. Also, notice the scum on top of the jiaozi; one of the dumplings had a leak and the scum had coated some of the jiaozi. Poor quality control, as was the pool of water on the plate, these weren't drained well enough. Still, these were better than MyungIn which made them significantly better than Dumpling Inn.
As for the service glitches? Well, I gave them a pass. It was only their second day of business.
Still, some of my friends were excited; especially those who had gone to high school and college in China...there was Jianbing Guozi on the menu. And yet, those that I saw coming out didn't look inspiring. Which is why I discouraged Xiāngjiāo from ordering it when she, Candice, and myself had lunch here two days later. On my first visit; I had run into a good friend's dad. On this visit, I ran into Faye! You can read her post about Dumpling Hut here. Nice seeing you Faye, though I didn't recognize you at first!
Again with the glitches, not enough chopsticks, no napkins, where's our bowls, one menu for the whole table.
We started with the Northern version of Sheng Jian Bao (Pan Fried Bun - $5.99)
This does look like the Northern version of SJB, much like what my MIL makes. It does have a bit of "soup" in it, if a bit too tough, but the steaming wasn't up to par as the unfried part of the bao was not springy and soft as it should be.
The Liang Cai we ordered; PigEar (Seasoned Pork Ear - $6.99), was fine if nothing remarkable.
Even though I know the owners are from Northern China and not the Shanghai area, we still needed to order the Xiao Long Bao ($6.99).
Dough too thick and without enough pull. The filling had some soup, but was much too sweet. No shredded ginger.
Like before, the best part of the meal was the jiaozi, this time the Pork, Egg, and Shrimp ($7.99) version.
This was better than the last time in terms of being drained and such. I still think the flavoring is a bit too mild. I know, I'm kinda psycho about this, but I think regular readers understand why.
Meanwhile, things were falling apart. The place had filled up and it was chaos. Folks ended grabbing their own menus, plates, chopsticks.....a table kept looking for soy sauce and was so desperate that I gave them ours. And we were waiting for our Guotie (potstickers)....there were tables who came in after us getting guotie, so were those ours? The place was totally in the weeds; Xiāngjiāo wanted to go ahead and help them....there was a serious disconnect between the kitchen and the dining area, food was coming out and just sitting....no one seemed to have assignments. They guy who took our order suddenly disappeared. I later saw him helping in the kitchen, which didn't do us any good. Candice had to leave, so we sent her a photo of the guotie when it finally arrived.
Wrappers too thick, gummy, not crisp enough, filling too bland. Honestly, I'm not expecting Qingdao Guotie, but these weren't very good.
And this would usually be enough. But I mentioned Jianbing Guozi to YZ. Now, coming from the same generation as the Missus, though in a different city (Shanghai versus Beijing), like my wife, she has a special place in her heart from Jianbing. She just had to try it. So there I was, back at Dumpling Hut. Sadly, they were out of the Jianbing that YZ recalls, the version with youtiao, instead we settled for the more modern version we saw in Beijing (I call it Xiāngjiāo's version since this is what she was used to when she spent 6 months in Beijing). The one with the cracker in it.
It was as the Missus would call it; "dead", limp, lacking in flavor, and obviously made ahead of time as it amazingly arrived in less than 5 minutes. Even the smear of bean paste seemed tasteless. So sorry YZ; all those memories down the tube.
They were also out of other items we wanted to try GuoBa Soup, Chicken Gizzards, Spicy Pork Stomach, Pig Ear, Braised Beef Shank, so we settled on Braised Pork Knuckle ($4.99), which lacked any significant connective tissue.
This was way too bland in flavor.
Regrettably, so was the Niu Rou Mian (Beef Noodle Soup $6.99).
While I appreciated the noodles, which I was told is made inhouse and had a nice al dente texture; the beef was cold and very salty, so it had obviously been made separately from the broth since the soup, to quote the Missus, "tasted like someone had waved a beef bone above it". Sad.
Like before, the jiaozi, this time Pork and Napa was the best item.
Though like my first visit, though not as water logged, it wasn't drained well. This time I took a photo. Boiled dumplings, or specifically shuǐjiǎo...literally "water dumplings" really depend on basic steps being carried out and simple flavoring and texture carry the day.......of ocurse I do like the Qingdao Black vinegar with pounded garlic.
I really like the folks here. I hope they make the adjustments necessary in terms of service and procedures to get things running efficiently. I'm not totally sold on the food, though I'll probably return in a few months to try the lamb jiaozi....hopefully they won't be out of them.
Dumpling Hut 8046 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92111
Now that we're back from vacation, we've fallen back into the old routine....though we're still finding it hard to get motivated about something as simple as dinner. We've been back to Thai Papaya a couple of times, and while the Missus has found Her favorite, the Som Tom Khai Kem - papaya salad with salted egg, we still managed to try other items on the menu. some hold overs from (the original) Sab E Lee, some not.
Here's a rundown....
The oldies but goodies. Tod Mun Pla:
I think they've changed versions as this was much better than what we've had in the past. More kaffir lime leaf and bit better in the texture department.
So now for some of the other dishes. Do you remember the wonderfully sour Super Star Pork Rib Soup from my previous post? Well, one evening I ordered the Super Star Chicken Feet Soup ($8), which I think is even better.
The Missus's love of chicken feet has been well documented. Me? Well, I'm not much of a fan since I think the return on investment (time) is quite low. In this case however, I'll have to fall in line with the Missus. There were ten lovely chicken feet in this bracingly sour and spicy (a "6" kind of got to us), yet refreshing soup. Nice gooey bits with chewy skin....nothing like sucking on that toe and getting all that flavor.
Because of how lip burning spicy everything was on the previous visit; I did a take-out order with the usual suspects and included the Tom Thua ($7), the green bean salad and to save our lips went for a heat level 4. I noticed that Maylee wasn't around this time and everything was strangely bland and the heat level was like a "2".
Also the long beans hadn't been bruised in the pok pok and were really tough.
A week or so ago, I was bushed and decided to pick up some take-out on the way home. Along with the "rotation", I decided to try out the Tom Tang ($7). We really enjoyed the versions we had of this cucumber salad in Laos, which tend to be more pungent.
We upped the heat level to 7 and it was still pretty mild. The cucumbers seemed a bit rubbery and not crisp. This was pretty weak in flavor overall as well.
So I'm not quite sure about Thai Papaya. There are dishes we really like; the Mok Nor Sai, some of the soups; the Missus is hooked on the Papaya Salad with Salted Egg. But consistency in getting that heat level seems to be off a bit; so it's kind of like chili pepper roulette. I'm fairly certain that the days of me getting things at level 10 here or "big spicy" at Hunan Chilli King are over. But I still like a nice amount of spice. I'm wondering what I'll get the next time I order from Thai Papaya?
Thai Papaya by Sab E Lee 2405 Ulric St San Diego, CA 92111
Back in May, while leaving Spice House, I noticed a shop located at the end of the cul-de-sac in the business park on the street that borders the west side of Spice House. That weekend I drove by and found the place closed, but after a quick check online, I had found myself another sandwich shop to check out.
So the following Monday I dropped by to grab a sandwich. The place is small, but they seem to be doing a ton of catering. It seems that they deliver as well. There were 6 people working behind the counter, an older fellow, whom I found to be sort of a grump, and a nice, polite young man, who might be his son usually run things. There are several women who work behind the front counter and in the kitchen.
There are soups, salads, and the usual suspects in terms of sandwiches. But I was more interested in the sandwiches listed as "House Favorites", all $8.95 each.
I decided on trying the "Comeback". The sandwich felt heavy in the sack and indeed it was quite large. This was on a French Roll which was sliced then items placed on the roll "open faced".......I could not for the life of me fold it over and made a mess. I ended up tearing off the top half and placing it on the on top so I could eat it. Loved the red pepper and pepperoncini. There was a bit too much going on here and all the proteins just kind of cancelled each other out. But you won't get any complaints about value on this from me.
The Thai Beef sandwich seemed like an interesting idea.
While this was basically just roast beef with sweet chili sauce, I liked the combination of flavors brought on by the onion, jalapeno, and cilantro. If I were to get this again; I'd request a different roll and no cheese, which just didn't seem to harmonize with all the other flavors.
As I was leaving, I took a closer look at some of the signs lining the counter. It seems that there are special sandwiches that are featured for a limited time. So I made it a point to return to try the "Porchizo".
Roasted pork, chorizo, kalamata olive slaw, and chipotle mayo? That's a whole bunch of assertive flavors.....
Which turned out to make one heck of a good sandwich.
The chorizo and chipotle mayo added a nice kick to the sandwich and I enjoyed the flavor of the olive slaw. I had anticipated needing a shower after eating this, but it ended up being satisfying without being stupefying. Too bad it's no longer being offered. I hope they bring it back.
So I decided to order the other special; the "Spaniard". I'm not sure how Sambal figures into this, but I also enjoyed this very messy sandwich. The gouda, arugula, and pickled veggies make this sandwich for me. Smokey, with a mild bitterness, cut by the sambal, to go with the flavors of the salami. Very nice. Loved that the roll held up, though I think they should have cut the sandwich in half.
I like the fact that they open early. I was told 530, so I dropped by just before 6am to grab something to eat since I had meetings scheduled through lunch.
After a nice lunch, we were off. The Missus wanted to explore Barri Gòtic and the sun started peeking out as we crossed Via Laietana.
We decided to enjoy the day and bought some water and headed back to Barcelona Cathedral. We had a seat and just watched Barcelona pass us by.
One quick note. In Barcelona, we noticed some distinct differences in pronunciation from Madrid. For instance, they call their fair city "bar-theh-LO-nah". I think some of the differences other than Catalan versus Spanish language thing is explained here.
After a brief respite we were back wandering the back streets of Barri Gotic.
This is where the city of Barcelona was established. We would find all sorts of hidden treasures in the winding back streets of this neighborhood. Everything from Roman ruins to charming plaças (squares) with a ton of history and numerous little shops mixed in. We just got lost in the maze of little streets and really didn't mind at all.
In Roman times, what is now Plaça Sant Jaume was the center of the Roman city of "Barcino". These days it is still an important square. On one side stands the Palau de la Generalitat - the Presidential Palace.
On the other side City Hall.
Since this was once the center of the Roman city, you know there must have be some Roman ruins somewhere. Right down a small side street (Carrer del Paradis). At #10 you'll be at the highest spot in the neighborhood, at the top of Mount Taber! Walking through the doorstep and you'll be quite surprised by the ruins of a Roman Temple. Not huge, just a few remaining columns, once forgotten then rediscovered in the 19th century.
Turning back down a little street you can't help but notice the Carrer del Bisbe Bridge which used to connect the the government building with the presidential palace.
Also along this area is the old Jewish Quarter where over four thousand Jews were forced to live down a tiny alleyway named El Call.
Also in the area is a peaceful little square named Plaça Sant Felip Neri. The little square houses the school of Sant Felip Neri and the church that bears the same name. Gaudi used to attend services at this church.
This pretty little square still shows the scars of the bombs that landed here in 1938 as the Germans at Franco's behest used Barcelona (and also Guernica) as a practice range for their air force. 42 people, mostly children were killed.
Going down the short alleyway back to Carrer del Bisbe we noticed this sculpture. During our visits to the Prado Museum in Madrid, we managed to view Goya's famous work; The Third of May 1808 which depicted the execution of Spanish citizens who opposed Napoleon's occupation of Spain during the Dos de Mayo Uprising. This monument memorializes those who were executed when Barcelona rose against the occupation. Inscribed on the monument is "por dios por la patria y por el rey" - for God, for their Country and King.....
By this time, the clouds were returning. The Missus thought it was time to head back to our apartment....by foot of course. For those who have visited Barcelona, think of it as walking to Sagrada Familia from Barcelona Cathedral.
It was actually a pretty nice walk as we chose streets at random making our way back to Avinguda Diagonal. We'd do a similar walk one more time the following day.
We took a break at a non-descript coffee shop where the Missus saw "Horchata" on the menu and was excited. No, this is not the rice and cinnamon drink we're used to here in San Diego. Rather, Spanish Horchata is made from tiger nuts, a tuber which has a nutty flavor. I stuck with an expresso.
Close to Avinguda Diagonal, which actually splits Barcelona in half diagonally on Passeig de Sant Joan we saw this beautiful church.
It wasn't marked on our map, which we had gotten from a booth since the only person that met us at the apartment was the building manager, so we were on our own when finding maps, directions and such. looking at the board in front of the church we learned this is Església de les Saleses - Church of the Salesians. It is the work of architect Joan Martorell i Montells who was one of Gaudi's teachers and introduced him to Eusebi Güell (remember Park Güell ?).
We made our way back to the apartment. We showered, freshened up, and decided to stay in the neighborhood for dinner. Not in the mood for a typical restaurant we headed to an interesting shop named Típic i Català. Located a couple of blocks down and one street over on Carrer de Sicilia, this little shop sold wine, cheese, craft beer (!), and other food products from Catalan.
The shop also serves up charcurterie. local cheeses, matched with wine, along with other chalkboard items.
It's more of a wine shop with some tables, then a tapas/wine bar.
This sounded great so we ordered the cheese and wine and the charcuterie and wine....which did take a while, but the gentleman working on this day, who is Belgian, it is his wife who is from Catalan, was very nice.
He really didn't explain much, but perhaps we should have asked more questions. Overall, this was fine but nothing special. Still, he was very nice and it was a good, light meal.
Tipic i Catala Carrer de Sicilia 290 Barcelona, Spain
Taking a walk around the area, we came across this shop.
We decided a bit of Jamon would be a nice snack.
The woman working here was really, really friendly and nice. We didn't see any bellota pata negra, so got their highest grade jamon.
The flavor was nice, perhaps a bit too salty. It was just cut way to thick for us, taking away from the texture.
Charcutería Simón Carrer de València 392 Barcelona, Spain
At the end of the evening we resumed the usual routine, I was relaxing in the living room, going through photos. While the Missus had started planning for the next day. We had reservations for the Picasso Museum, but after that; well it was all to the Missus....
As the Missus predicted after dinner at Disfrutar, I needed to get my rest because we did quite a bit of walking on this day. The Missus wanted our first stop to be Park Guell. Most of the instructions I'd read on getting to Park Guell was to either take a taxi, bus and taxi, or metro and taxi. But you know the Missus, there would be no shortcuts, we'd be walking up that hill to Park Guell. The morning was nice and cool, so the 30 minute walk didn't seem too bad; even the hill.
An interesting thing we quickly noticed were that many street corners in Barcelona are chamfered, these 45 degree cuts at the corners make the space seem larger as the streets widen at intersections. We loved the feel; though it would never fly in the states since the crosswalks are moved off the corners. I can just imagine folks here grumbling about having to walk the extra 10 feet.
Park Guell will undoubtedly elicit a response. Like it or not, you never forget the place. From your first look at the "Main Entrance", actually the exit on this day......
The park is something to see....whimsical, fanciful, .....whatever the colorful (hey there's another one) adjective you'd like to associate with the place, it is without a doubt unforgettable.
From the Grand Stairway with the Dragon Fountain; the Dragon is one of the symbols of Barcelona, though this one looks more like an iguana to me. Which leads to the Hall of Columns and the back story of the park. You see, Antoni Gaudi, backed by Eusebi Güell, the park's namesake who purchased the land, designed this to be an upscale housing development. The area with the pillars was to be a market to cater to the 60 planned mansions.
The plan was not a success since folks didn't want to move all the way to this "remote" (at the time) location.
It is said that Gaudi took much of his inspiration from nature. Walking through the "Portico of the Washerwoman" really emphasized that for me. The columns are not uniform, but somehow create an irregular harmony that is pleasing to the eye.
Visiting here early in the morning is recommended. Much like Fushimi Inari in Kyoto, you'll have a better experience and time to contemplate, and appreciate this unique park.
There is an entrance fee for this area called the "Monumental Zone", but it is well worth it.
The highlight is without a doubt the Terrace and the view of Barcelona. On a overcast morning like this with rain in the forecast, there was a Tim Burtonesque - Walt Disneyfied - Dr Seussificated, fairytale feel to the whole place. You may be inspired to flights of fancy, like Mr Selfie-Stick in the photo on the right. The Missus worked hard to get a discreet shot of the guy, who was obviously "inspired" by the sheer comfort of the multi-colored, ergonomically designed bench which wraps around the terrace. After all, what else could move a seemingly normal adult to act like this?
Only Park Guell.......
Groups of visitors had started arriving, so we knew it was time to leave. We exited, walked down the hill, and headed west. Somehow we got onto Passeig de Gracia in the Gracia neighborhood and headed down the street, which was a small street that became a multi-laned deal. It was pretty much by accident that we came to Avinguda Diagonal, which we became more familiar with later, running straight into Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera, a study in Modernisme, designed by who else? Well Gaudi of course.
I'm not sure if you noticed something about the name Gaudi. Doesn't it sound a lot like "gaudy"? And I don't think it would be much of a stretch to think of his works as being somewhat gaudy. I was told that Gaudi's name was indeed used as the source for that word. But after returning home I did a bit of research and found it's an urban legend as the word was used before Gaudi was even born. It would make a heck of a good story though, huh?
Where Passeig de Gracia ends, Barcelona's Old Town begins; at Placa de Cataluñya.
Of course beyond the wide open space and the fountains, we found the "Pigeon Lady" the most fascinating feature......
Las Ramblas, one of the most popular streets, actually a series of streets starts right off Placa de Cataluñya. The center of the street is a pedestrian only zone with cars that pass on either side.
It is without a doubt the most tourist dense area we saw in Barcelona....full of all the folks who make money off tourists, souvenir hawkers, street performers, and pick pockets. It was a bit too crowded and full of tourists for us. The buildings crowding each side didn't help. It was not our favorite part of Barcelona. While we found Puerta del Sol in Madrid lively, though crowded, Las Ramblas just seemed packed and lacking in atmosphere....in a Waikiki kind of way. We did return later when the weather was better, but still felt the same way.
Still, I wanted to check out La Boqueria Market, which turned out to be quite a nice collection of (rather pricey) food stands as well as functioning as a food hall.
Catering to tourists and locals alike.
After a nice walk around the market we headed back out. We'd had enough of Las Ramblas for now and decided to duck out. We took a side street and ended up at Placa Reial, then moving onward into the Barri Gòtic, the Gothic Quarter, ending up at Barcelona Cathedral.
And past Barri Gòtic, the area known as El Born, with atmospheric narrow streets, buildings with laundry hanging off lines on pulleys from windows. You'd enter a small street and end up in a quaint square or an alleyway full of bars and restaurants.
I realize that this is currently one of the hippest, up-and-coming areas within Barcelona, and tourists flock here in droves to visit the Picasso Museum (which we would do the next day), but the place still seemed to have the feel of a local, residential neighborhood. Which really charmed us.
There was a place in the area, basically right across the street from the Picasso Museum...well more like across the street and down the alley; just look for the "Udon" sign; really.....
The name of the place is Bar del Pla located right off Moncata in the opposite direction of the Picasso Museum.
I love the atmosphere......though getting a "real" table pretty much takes a reservation, the phone is ringing off the hook for bookings. The seating in the bar area does just fine and is first come, first served. We loved the "flying pig" hanging over the bar.
I started with a beer, the Missus a "tinto" and we proceeded to order. One of Catalonia's signature food items is "pan con tomate", tomato bread. So we had to order it here. This was delicious, the best version we had during the entire trip. The bread was decent, though not outstanding, but the tomato tasted like the essence of summer sunshine.
How something so simple, can be so satisfying when done right is amazing.....
The Missus wasn't sure about me ordering the "Smoked Sardines Coca" (8.3 €).
She needn't have worried. This was a nice combination of flavors. A "coca" refers to a Catalan style flatbread and this crisp piece of bread was topped with some very moist and tasty lightly smoked sardines, pine nuts (which they love here), mango, and red peppers. It was such a nice combination of flavors and textures.
The Tripe Stew was passable, well prepared and tender, though we'd have better later on.
The dish named "Mr Pork Trotters" was divine, though listed under "Granny's Cuisine" on the menu, I'm fairly certain the wonderful flavor and even texture was due to sous vide.
The texture was so evenly tender; on the edge of falling apart, but still able to keep form. The rich flavor so prevalent...more pine nuts! Personally, I love all that connective tissue, but this was so velvety, so smooth, so nice for a place with a simple "tapas" sign outside.
Having had two beers, I needed to end the meal with an espresso. After all, we still had a whole lot of walking to do.
Bar del Pla Carrer de Montcada 2 Barcelona, Spain
I'll leave with this sign......of Gaudi's "Dragon" being defeated by a piranha. It always makes me smile.
mmm-yoso!!! is a food blog. Kirk and Ed(fromYuma) and Cathy are the usual bloggers. Things pretty much work out that when one doesn't feel like (or can't) blog, one of the others has something they can post. Today, Cathy is writing.
A few weeks ago, The Mister and I were headed to the Vallarta Market in Escondido, planning to eat lunch beforehand either in the store (link is about a different location of Vallarta; but the food court inside all stores have the same food selections) or at the Farmer Boys, which shares the same parking lot...However, seeing this signage at J&M's (also sharing the same parking lot)...well...had to stop. The week after we had been here, this small ad appeared in the Union-Tribune. It looks like a June-only promotion. When looking at the regular menu, chili is not listed anywhere.The interior decor is newer, neat and clean, there is a separate closed room for meetings and wonderful friendly waitresses.
Some of you may remember there used to be a Spires Restaurant (a small Southern California chain of Traditional American Diners, since 1965) in Escondido which burned down in 2012. J&M's opened here in 2013 with the same owner and many of the same employees.
The regular menu is straightforward and has two 'added value' menus at the back for both breakfast and lunch (these special menus are served anytime).Therefore, breakfast it was. The #3 ($6.99). One and a half slices of French toast with two eggs and bacon. This was great, just enough and everything fresh, tasty and quality (and perfectly poached eggs).From the 'regular' menu, the appetizer of onion rings ($4.99). One size only. 20 fresh breaded and perfectly fried whole slices of onion. For the first time ever, The Mister and I did not fight over who got the last one; we were full from sharing this giant serving. THE chili bowl ($5.69). If you know, or care much about chili...this is great. No beans, tomato, peppers (just a hint of the typical mild/red bell pepper flavor and possibly Anaheim chilis), onion, spices of cumin and garlic with a bit of chili powder heat. This would be perfect on a cold day.
We will be going back soon, in case the Chili Extravaganza really is over at the end of the month.
J&M's 1215 E Valley Pkwy Escondido, CA 92027 (between Harding and Ash) (760)745-3710website open 6-11 daily