So here's the deal.....there are times when I think Tommy at Catalina Offshore will actually recommend something as a bit of a challenge. Something I haven't heard of....with some hint....in this case it was "the texture is like pork....but the flavor is mild".
I'd really never heard of Cobia....this version was wild caught.
What Tommy told me was "the texture is like pork....the flavor is mild...so go for it smart guy....."
So what I did was a nice seasoning with Kosher Salt, Spanish Paprika, granulated garlic, fresh ground pepper, and Turkish oregano.
The glaze was Balsamic Vinegar and Agave Syrup.
After seasoning, the fish was coated with potato starch(katakuriko) then pan fried.
At the end, you remove from heat and add the glaze.
If you're going to have one item here, it should be the fish sauce wings. Since I first tried them in 2008, it's been a beloved item. In my article in the Reader, I noted how Jay told me he was going through as much as a thousand pounds of wings in a month.
It's still a wonderful, sweet, salty, and sticky.......
The Jackfruit Salad is another standby.
Over the years, I've noticed that they've somewhat refined their dishes a bit. In this salad, I noticed that the whole, hard peppercorns were gone and on this visit the nuoc mam cham was more savory, heavier on the fish sauce than sweet and watered done, which was a welcomed change. Nice amount of veggies, the somewhat citrusy-pungent-cilantro tones of rau ram, shrimp, and pork.
This made for a very satisfying meal.
It's good to know that the food here was just as good when Jay wasn't on the premises. It's also good to see Que Huong last when so many haven't.
Que Huong Restaurant 4134 University Ave San Diego, CA 92105
Now that things are settling down I can make more trips up to City Heights. And revisit Tan Ky Mi Gia.
Man, this place is looking a bit run down.
Still, the place has outlasted the pool hall next door.
Still, the prices are still good....$5.75 for basic egg noodle soup. However, on this visit I saw Bot Chien posted on the wall. It was breakfast time, so there was no doubt I'd be ordering it.
While not in the class of Kang Lac, this was not bad. The crisp parts were nice, though there were some kind of gummy parts to it. It was also pretty big, I ended up taking a good part of it home...the Missus, who basically never saw an egg dish She didn't like enjoyed it. Loved the dipping sauce as well. Overall decent.
A week later I returned in the morning and decided to try the Won Ton and Dumpling Egg Noodle Soup ($5.75).
The broth is not quite where it used to be.....a bit more salty, less body, cloudy. The egg noodles were perfect. I didn't care for the hard as rock dumplings and won tons. It's not like I'm expecting amazing for under six bucks. But this just didn't do it for me.
So will I be back......yes, I've got see what the state of the duck egg noodle soup is like. Plus, it's hard to complain about meals like these.......and heck, there one Tan Ky Mi Gia left.
Tan Ky Mi Gia 5237 El Cajon Blvd San Diego, CA 92115
We slept in on our last morning....well, if you call sleeping until 730 sleeping in. Our food experiences in Utah seemed a bit disappointing, but we decided to give one last popular restaurant a shot. Since they didn't open until 10am, we decided to walk on over to Temple Square, the headquarters for the LDS.
It was nice and fairly crisp and we were enjoying the day as we passed the convention center.
We passed the Creek Shopping Center, with shops like Tiffany, Nordstrom, and the Apple Store....and closed on Sundays! I'm guessing it has something to do with being right across the street from Temple Square. We were greeted as we entered and asked if we'd be visiting "Music and the Spoken Word", which is the Sunday morning televised broadcast. We were interested, but told the nice folks that we would have to leave fairly quickly. We were told it was no problem since the rehearsal was going on. We were free to leave anytime before the 930 start.
Which is how we got to watch part of the choir's morning rehearsal in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. Quite impressive.
Speaking of impressive, the entire complex is dwarfed by the towering Salt Lake Temple.
The grounds features beautifully manicured gardens, a huge conference center, administrative buildings, several historic houses; the "Lion House" which used to be Brigham Young's residence. It had to be large because Brigham Young had 57 biological children, and the connected "Beehive House".
Temple Square is Utah's most visited tourist attraction, with as many visitors a Utah's 5 National Parks combined!
We saw a lot of folks taking photos....they all seemed overjoyed, almost giddy, at being here.
From the Beehive House, we headed North and got on North Temple Street and headed west. SLC's streets are set-up in a very simple (once you get sued to street with the same name with North/South/East/West) grid system. Our destination was on North Temple and was just under a mile and half walk. Things did seem a bit more "gritty" as we crossed over the I-15. A mere half block later we were at our destination; Red Iguana.
We arrived a few minutes before opening. The exterior looks a bit worn and shabby, but I had read that this is one of the most popular restaurants in the city....Mexican....in Salt Lake City? The place opened and we were told to sit anywhere our hearts desired. Our server; I'm hoping my memory isn't mailing me was named Stephanie. She was super outstanding, so very friendly, accommodating, and gracious.
Within a flash chips (not very good) and some salsa (nice and picante) found its way to our table.
We had come here to try the mole....but was having a difficult time deciding. So Stephanie said not to worry, they put together a sampler for us to try.
What really shocked me was how much I enjoyed the version of Mole Amarillo, not quite the traditional version; this one had raisins and habaneros...sweet with heat. We whittled down the sauces to versions we liked....but was stuck on four. Again, making us half and halfs were not a problem. You gotta love the service.
We choose chicken; which was simple simmered bird. The first combo was half Mole Verde and Mole Poblano ($15.99).
The verde was nice and nutty, but was over-shadowed by the rich, sweet, and spicy mole poblano, which tasted closest to versions I've had before.
The second was Mole Negro and Mole Amarillo ($15.99).
The mole negro was fine, though not nearly as good as say......El Tejate. The unconventional mole Amarillo, sweet and spicy stood up well. It was by far our favorite.
The rice and beans (and the tortillas) were pretty routine and not very good.
And while the food fell short of amazing, it was good, easily our best meal during this trip. And the service was wonderful. Our server is a fairly recent transplant and we chatted about SLC's uniqueness, things that caught her off guard when she moved here. The affinity for sandwiches and burgers; how you can look down Main Street on some days and not see a single car..... She made our meal a pleasure.
Red Iguana 736 W North Temple Salt Lake City, UT 84116
We walked back to the Residence Inn and managed a short catnap before leaving for the airport.
Perhaps the food really didn't stand out on this trip. But the views, well they were priceless.
This post really underlines why I like to make multiple visits to places when possible. It's not always practical. But if a place shows promise, I try to visit more than once if possible. Iron Pig is a good example, though sometimes it takes a while.
Back in November, Iron Pig Alehouse opened in PB; you can read Kirbie's post on the place. soon after opening, I visited with a friend of mine.....
And while the service was nice and the beer selection decent; I thought the meal left a lot to be desired.
From the nicely flavored but rubbery skinned smoked wings, to the baby backs with a decent rub, but quite dry and mealy texture, to the mushy brisket. The sauce seemed what my friends would call "competition sauce".....tasting like a doctored up base. Not bad mind you, just quite generic.
And yet, there seemed some potential here; the flavor of the wings were quite good........
So it took me six months to convince my biggest BBQ critic, the Missus ("your rubs is too bitter"...."the ribs you made are too dry"......."that pork butt needs to be smoked a bit longer") to check out Iron Pig. And we're glad we did.
Take a look at this version of the smoked wings ($9.99).
Nice and crisp, smoky, perhaps edging on being too salty, but I'll never complain about anything being too smoky. The wings were also moist and tender....just about perfect for us.
Of course the Missus "needed" a salad....sigh.....but, She made the right choice in ordering the "Man Salad" ($12.99).
Our Server/bartender was awesome.....she actually warned us that the "salad has French fries on it....and some folks take exception to that!" Really? It's ok to have fries in the burrito, but not in a salad? This was a huge salad. The blue cheese, brisket (much better than previously encountered), and arugula worked really well for us.
The only item we both didn't care for were the rib tips. I'm a big rib tip fan....I love maneuvering around the chewy cartilage, through all that rich fatty tissue, and the burnt crust for that perfect bite. This was too mushy, mild, and frankly ruined by all that sauce. You really didn't get the joy of having a nice rib tip. Perhaps I'm in the minority, but crunchy, crusty, fatty, rib tips just do well on their own with sauce on the side.
Overall, we had a nice meal. The service was very friendly....actually, I wish I got the name of our bartender/server. She was awesome. I'm sure we'll be back...especially since most draft beers are half price during Happy Hour. I need to have those wings again.....just to see....which version is the norm.
Iron Pig Alehouse 1520 Garnet Ave San Diego, CA 92109
After a light lunch (and interesting beer) we checked in at the Residence Inn, SLC. This room was even bigger than the Provo location and things looked new. We then had a nice short nap. The staff here was quite friendly and nice. The location is right on 300 South aka West Broadway.
The Greek Orthodox Church is right across the street as is Pioneer Park.
The location was quite convenient. Our dinner destination was just a half mile walk down the street. A couple of things we noticed right away.....there are tons of chain restaurants in SLC. And in spite of all the cars parked; the streets looked empty.
I had made dinner reservations at The Copper Onion. The menu looked perfect for us. Man, in spite of how the streets looked; this placed was packed to the gills. The dining room seemed on the hot and stuffy side, so since the weather was mild we asked if we could get a table on the patio. They only too happy to oblige.
Our server was a really gracious, friendly, and knowledgeable young man named Michael. He made the meal a seamless process except for the time they took our plates and silverware away then brought us our next course...leaving us stranded. But other than that, we enjoyed the service.
We started with the Wagyu Beef Tartar ($11).
Man, look at all that crostini. This didn't quite do it for us. The beef was too chewy, it was under seasoned...I really missed that velvety egg yolk which adds richness without interfering with the refreshing aspect of the beef, which the salsa rosa did. The arugula, fresh, crisp, not overly bitter, dressed simply was the best part of the dish.
The Escarole Salad ($10) looked quite sloppy.
The greens were really nice and crisp, but I wasn't a fan of the balsamic they used which was extremely sour, lacking the rounded balance, and touch of sweetness that we love in a balsamic vinegar.
The best item of the night was the Wagyu Roasted Bone Marrow ($18).
Man, that marrow was awesome....simply prepared, rich, smoky, with a touch of salt which was provided on the side. The Missus made sure to have every single little morsel.
Luckily, we made sure to keep the salt provided for the bone marrow. We needed it for the Griddled Duck ($23).
Funny thing; several items seemed in need of salt...which led the missus to say, "hey, this is SALT Lake City, right?" The duck, with a light sprinkle of salt tasted fine. It was cooked a nice medium rare. It was cut a bit too thick. also, the plating seemed a bit dated and ponderous. That red stuff you see on the butternut squash puree is actually duck blood......I don't think the duck rested long enough after prep. Loved the upland cress, peppery and refreshing. The Portobello was totally under-seasoned and the gills hadn't been cleaned, so it left a huge black blotch in the orange-blood tinged, plate.
The Missus did love Her order of Beets ($4), though.
The service here was excellent. The food however, seemed a bit uneven to us; in terms of flavor, presentation, and finesse. Still, I'm glad we tried the place.
The Copper Onion 111 E Broadway Salt Lake City, UT 84111
After dinner, the Missus decided we needed to burn off that bone marrow so we walked all the way to Trolley Square, then back to the Residence Inn.
We passed the modern looking public library and the City and County Building along the way back.
Man, so this was Saturday night, huh? We finally passed a couple of groups of people as we walked up South Main Street. As we got close to the hotel, we stopped by Squatters Craft Beer, which was packed in spite of the empty streets (strange, I know) and picked up a couple of bottles to try as a nightcap.
The Squatters Bumper Crop Honey Ale was fine, nice head, hints of citrus and honey (of course). The Wasatch Evolution Amber Ale is pretty blah.....
Still, the weather was nice...we kept the windows open all night and the Missus sure slept well!
Tomorrow, we'd have one last chance for a good meal in SLC before heading to the airport. Would we find it?
Things have been pretty busy the last year and a half or so. I've noticed that I eat more lunches at my desk than I ever did before. Yes, I know it's spposed to actually hurt productivity. But there are those things called conference calls, web meetings, and the ever looming and shifting deadline.
Most often, I'll run out and pick up something from Nijiya; probably at least once a week. So many of the lunches I have at my desk look like this.
I'm definitely not complaining about this one....it's comfort food.
Nijiya Market 3860 Convoy St Ste 109 San Diego, CA 92111
"MG" is a good family friend; the Missus is one (I didn't know that folks can have as many as seven) of her son's Godmothers. We used to work in the same department and had some really fun potlucks. We're now in different departments, but she will sometimes drop by to make sure I'm getting fed. Like bringing me hamanado and tapa from Tita's for lunch. Good lord......how in the world was I able to finish this before?
For some reason, it seems time, at least in my mind, hasn't been good to Tita's...the grey color, the tough beef...though I still like the hamanado. In spite of it being on the tough side I like the mild sweetness and the salty tones.
Yes, it's pretty much about quantity....the love of abundance. It's enough for at least two meals.
Tita's Kitchenette 2720 East Plaza Boulevard National City, CA 91950
One day she dropped off this:
I recognized it immediately...I asked if it was from Tem's and was told "no, it's from Nanay's". Which left me a bit confused, until I found out that Tem's is now Nanay's and apparently the food is basically the same. I will say I enjoyed the "spicy chicken" much more than the pork version I had when the place was Tem's. The "BBQ" chicken kind of reminds me of food court stuff, but it's not terrible....which the rice was, with quite a bit of hard grains in it.
Nanay's Best BBQ 6715 Mira Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92121
Speaking of bad rice.......
Just because I have to eat at my desk doesn't mean I can't have stuff to post on. So on the way back from a meeting I stopped by Yum Cha Café. I hadn't been here in ages. I got the Hainan Chicken Rice....mostly because I must be a glutton for punishment. I mean, the place used to have passable cheap grub, but if this is any indication, they've really taken a dive. Dry tasteless chicken...the rice was hard and dry....ick.
Yum Cha Cafe 6933 Linda Vista Road San Diego, CA 92111
And then there are the times I get to follow-up on a place I had been wondering about. In this case Artisan Bento. I got the Delux Bento...which clocks in at $13.95! I chose Ginger Pork, Shogayaki...which, being on the more salty side really reminds me of what my mom used to make.
I gotta say that these folks seem to have it down. From the time I ordered to leaving the place, less than 10 minutes!
I still enjoy the ohitashi. The kyuri (cucumber) was really bland. The miso soup seemed much more watered down. I usually cringe at the thought of multi-grain rice. But for some reason, I like the version at Artisan Bento....sheesh...what next? Macramé???
For dessert I chose the strawberry cheesecake which I proceeded to give away. I think I can do the regular bento next time.
Artisan Bento 2505 5th Ave San Diego, CA 92103
One change from my previous post. They now open at 11....so no more walking in at 10 to find out they don't serve food until 11.
So, let me ask you.....do you eat at your desk? If so, what's your go to meal to have there? and what do you think about having to eat there?