mmm-yoso!!! is a food blog. Three friends share the writing responsibilities here. Kirk, who is busy with work right now, Ed(from Yuma) who is busy with retirement right now and Cathy, who is blogging this post for you right now.
I've written a good portion of the posts on this blog about local Markets and Grocers, usually mentioning that most have in store restaurants...and then showing you some of the meals from those restaurants.
This Indian grocery store doesn't have a hot foods area.Located on Miramar road, just West of the 15 between Black Mountain Road and the North entrance to MCAS Miramar, the signage caught our eye.
The "Simply South" advertisement of 'fresh batter made here' is why we began shopping here regularly. This very clean, well stocked, quite large Indian grocery has been here since 2011. There's a good selection of fresh produce, yogurts, pre-packaged naan, a whole aisle of just coffees and teas and malt beverage drink mixes and an open refrigerator of various roti. Rice of all types along the far wall, frozen foods(35 doors) along the entire back wall.Other brands of dough (in addition to the Simply South brand made here) for making fresh Dosa, Idli and Uttapam are also sold in the refrigerated area. Sweets and kitchen/household items are also sold here. There are also aisles of sauces, spices, mixes and snacks, none of which did I take photos...it's almost overwhelming for someone who doesn't know brands. I must say that everything I have purchased here has turned out to be very good...but I've spent a lot of time reading the labels for ingredients.Beverages (Indian beer in the refrigerator), syrups...pretty much a regular grocery store...with the most interesting area in front of the cash registers. Yes, I'm pretty certain the words "Kwality Ice Cream" on the storefront signage caught your eye in that second photo. The Founder of Kwality, a Food Technologist and Flavorist, pretty much began the company while studying at Rutgers University. The photo above, my first taste of 'pistachio nut' had such a complex blend of other flavors (saffron, cardamom and others) all complimenting the nutty pistachio flavor.This Falooda Drink for $6 is probably the most wonderful and decadent flavor blend I've had in a very long time. Falooda noodles, watercress seeds, rose syrup, rose kulfi and malai kulfi. The flavor mix was refreshing and cooling and so very different.
The ice cream here makes shopping so much fun.
Cash & Carry 9252 Miramar Road San Diego 92126 (858)566-4819 Open Mon-Fri 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sat-Sun 9-9 Website
A decent version, not too salty, rice a bit more mushy than I like. If you don't like chunks of preserved fish in your fried rice; this version might do it for you as the salted fish is finely minced.
I was looking for something to have with my meal and the Whole Fried Fish was recommended. I must have had vapor lock since I just went ahead and got it without asking what kind of fish.....tilapia....sigh....
Fried to death and beyond.......dry flesh, but at least it didn't taste too muddy. I've got stories about tilapia and growing up in Hawaii....sometimes called "the mahimahi of the Ala Wai Canal".
Sang Deuan Thai & Lao Kitchen 3904 Convoy St. Suite 112 San Diego, CA 92111
Tim Ky Noodle:
Well, it had been over 6 months since my last visit, and in spite of the heat, I thought I'd get some Bun Suong. Which unfortunately is no longer on the menu, which look a bit abbreviated from what I recalled. So I went with the Won Ton and Dumpling Egg Noodle soup which I recalled was pretty decent compared to other versions in San Diego.
While I don't expect excellence in won tons and dumplings in "Mi shop" versions, these weren't quite as good as I'd previously had. They were still more tender than say Luong Hai Ky or Minh Ky. The real difference between what I'd had before was how bland the broth was; there was a shortage of flavor and richness in this bowl. Just compare it to what I had on my previous visit:
Quite a difference, eh?
It's hard to complain about a bowl of noodle soup that is cheaper than a sandwich (not of the banh mi species), but this was nowhere as good as what I'd had before. Disappointing and kind of sad....I'm hoping this is the exception and not the rule.
Tim Ky Noodle 9330 Mira Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92126
Thanks for stopping to read mmm-yoso!!! Cathy is writing today; Kirk and Ed(from Yuma) are busily researching places and food items.
Some days, I just want a simple meal-sandwich or salad, maybe a coffee. Ending up at Panera, Subway or Starbucks makes for a dull post. I've taken photos of every food item consumed for almost a decade, those don't necessarily show up on the blog but this time, simple foods from a locally owned place are worth sharing.Just a few weeks ago, while driving along 163 South, we noticed this signage over what had been a Starbucks, turned briefly into Pizza Studio (another one of those 'customizable' pizza places) (which, after six months, had a 'Closed for Remodeling' sign on the window). (I did write a post about Pizza Studio, but it was very negative and proven by the sudden closure so it was deleted). Lil' Farmers Cafe is in the same parking lot as Mitsuwa Marketplace,Chopstix Too and (soon to be open) Nishiki.The ubiquitous, hipster, reclaimed wood wall was already there......as was the walk along refrigerated glassed in area.The simple menu (nothing is priced over $5.99 except for the 'to go' organic beverage packs which serve 12) is pretty much all customizable.You can choose your bread and toppings for a sandwich......as well as salad ingredients if you want something added or not included in the menu selections.The beverage selection is interesting (as is the pricing variance between 12, 16 and 20 ounces) and I really like the organic coffee. The concept of a Bacon and Bean salad ($5.49) is interesting. For the first order, I wanted my personalization to be the lettuce choice and the salad dressing (Oil and vinegar, which was mixed thoroughly and in a perfect proportion). Lettuce, bacon, garbanzo and kidney beans, fresh tomatoes and Parmesan. This was very large, very fresh and just right (I am always afraid when the lettuce is already mixed in with dressing, but the technique used here is correct, with no excess 'pooling' at the bottom of the bowl). The Mister ordered a Farmer Panini ($5.49) Roast beef, cream cheese, tomato, onion and (our addition) sprouts. Panini'd and on sourdough, this was a really good sandwich. We ended up speaking with the manager, a very nice lady, who told us the owner is a former San Diego Socker. We've seen him in the restaurant the times we have visited; he is keeping an eye on things and looking for feedback and ways to improve the menu.Another visit had me craving a simple salad. Farmer Greens ($4.49), a nice mix of arugula, spinach, red pepper and roasted tomatoes (I chose sesame dressing) is very good (roasted tomatoes would be a great salad add-on in the future; such great flavor) and hit the spot. The Mister had another menu item in mind, the pesto-chicken flatbread ($5.99). The flatbread (a whole grain dough; very nice) is first warmed, then the items placed on top, then it's all placed back into the small oven for about one minute to melt the cheese and warm the chicken and the flatbread gets a bit crispier. Pesto, chicken, Mozzarella and shaved Parmesan are the only ingredients and truly is all that are needed needed. Again, the flavors are just right.You may or may not have noticed a small area at the bottom of the small menu. Ice cream. 99¢ a scoop ice cream. Only chocolate, strawberry and vanilla flavors (which can be made into a shake). Excellent, extra creamy, 'old fashioned' (to my tastebuds) ice cream. It reminds me of the 10¢ squared/not round scoops of wonderful ice cream from Thrifty's. The bottom of the menu 'flatbread' choice is a sweet version ($4.99). Again, the bread is first warmed, then spread with Nutella and sliced banana, folded over itself, warmed a bit more (the bread is almost toasty) and topped with caramel and chocolate sauce. This was good, if not a bit too sweet (I think a dollop of fatty whipped cream might cut the sweetness, but really have no complaints).
Each visit we've shared a cup of the organic coffee, which is very good. There are no claims made about other organic items here; the freshness on each visit has been remarkable. It's nice to have a local place to enjoy a good, simple meal.
Lil' Farmers Cafe 4240 Kearny Mesa Road San Diego 92111 (between Ross and Trex, just across from the In-n-Out) (858) 430-6554Website Open Mon-Fri 8-6, Sat 10-6
Man, it wasn't the heat, but the humidity that was pretty bad for a while there, eh? I'm from Hawaii and it still drove me crazy. And I just saw that we're in for a bit more the next couple of days.
One of my favorite dishes during our recent trip to Spain was Salmorejo, a thick puree/soup made up of tomatoes and thickened by bread. It's the bread that makes this look almost like a thick carrot soup.
It is served cold, like gazpacho, but is much richer and thicker. It was one of my favorite items in Spain. It's usually topped with finely chopped Serrano ham and coarsely chopped boiled egg. I really didn't feel staying the kitchen and boiling some eggs so I went with some finely chopped prosciutto ends; which you can buy at Bristol Farms. They sell it cheap. It's hard and waxy, but does well as salad topping when chopped finely. I added some cucumber and red onion and a few small, thin slices of Serrano peppers from the yard.
Here's a photo of my favorite version from Madrid (I'll get to the post one of these days):
It was much more refined than what I made. I based this on a recipe from the late Penelope Casas' fine cookbook; 1,000 Spanish Recipes. It's an easy recipe. And a refreshing dish....of course, the more ripe the tomatoes, the better the flavor.
1 1/2 (approx) Cups Country Bread (I used a leftover baguette) crust removed, cubed
1 1/2 pounds very ripe Roma tomatoes, peeled and seeded
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup Arbequina extra virgin olive oil or something that you enjoy
1 tsp white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Finely chopped Serrano Ham Hard Boiled Eggs Coarsely Chopped
1 - Soak the bread in water for about 3-4 minutes, then squeeze dry
2 - Place tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, and half the bread in a blender/food processor.
3 - Start the blender and add in the olive oil until smooth
4 - Slowly add in the rest of the bread until the desired texture is reached
5 - Season with salt and pepper to taste
6 - Refrigerate at least an hour - I've found that this does taste better the next day.
To serve, ladle into a shallow bowl, top with ham and eggs, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
I was driving back from the dry cleaners two weeks back and I saw this shop on Linda Vista Road.
In the same strip mall as Ballast Point Home Brew Mart, Kona Kakes, and J&T. I was fascinated by the "Breads, Wines, and West Coast Goodness" sign. Unfortunately, the hours were really limited, 7am to 3pm Monday to Friday.
I had some times between meetings the following Tuesday so I dropped by. It's a nice shop, wines, what looked like 12 beer pulls....my buddy Candice had told me these guys sold bread at the Little Italy Mercato.
I like the shop; there's a kitchen in the rear, where I think they produce the bakery goods. A cold case which was mostly empty; some shelves or various food products.
I soon found out a bit about the place. The idea is to sell and create food items from the Pacific Time Zone; thus the name. The limited hours? They are still hiring and training employees and will expand the hours.
And then there are the cheeses....
Not a huge selection, but I did appreciate the aged goat cheeses and the washed rind Teleme I did buy. We've been keeping a variety of cheese on hand at home since we've returned from France. It was nice to have another source.
The cheese monger is always on hand for a nice chat....since we tend to ripe washed rind cheese and I really love aged sheep cheese like Ewephoria.
This is a Sunday Sandwiches post, so I'll stick to those for now. A quick read of the menu, Diestal Turkey ranch, Fra'Mani Salumi, and something becomes quickly apparent; this ain't no Boar's Head or Dietz and Watson shop. And the prices, reflect that, which is not a problem for me, the sandwiches are fairly filling and rich for me; but if you're a big eater.....
The first thing I ordered was the Turkey Deluxe ($9):
It was suggested that I get this "hot" which was a great recommendation. The bread became crusty, yet still stood up well. I found this to be much too salty for my taste and would have appreciated a bit of mild sweetness and perhaps something with some acid to cut the sodium. Great texture though.
I returned and asked for a recommendation and was told to try the Spicy Italian ($9).
This was my favorite of the three sandwiches I had. I loved the crustiness of the toasted baguette. The proteins really balanced out well and unlike the turkey sandwich this one wasn't too salty, bolstered by the pickled peppers and the vinaigrette. The spicy capicolla was really good.....I'm a guy who loves proportion and this did just fine by me.
Again returning from meetings and having even more conference calls and meetings through lunch I dropped by and got the Veggie Delight ($7), which I requested on a baguette.
This was a nice, light sandwich. The roasted red peppers, goat cheese, and sprouts do it for me....I think I'll ask for some garlic aioli on this next time.
As you can tell. This is more of a artisan product versus a "super stuffed" sandwich. If you're about quantity, this might not be your thing. It does fill the bill for a nice light lunch for me. I'm hoping they expand products and hours soon. I've enjoyed the bread here so I'll probably be buying some when they extend their hours. I'm quite happy to have a shop like this fairly close to where we live.
Pacific Time 5277 Linda Vista Rd San Diego, CA 92110
How do you top dinner at Azurmendi? Well, you don't really. You just get up the next morning and get breakfast.......
Then walk around town killing time until you check out at noon and catch your bus to San Sebastian at 2pm.
The Missus decided that we should go to Casco Viejo, the Old Town. We decided to walk along the riverside...... Of course, we first had to pass "Fred".
The morning looked overcast and in fact it drizzled off and on until midmorning.
It seems that all dogs walk off leash here....they are very well behaved. Here's a really friendly one!
Most just mind their own business......
The walk from the Guggenheim to the Arenal Bridge, which crosses over the Nervion River takes about 20-25 minutes or so.
This was a quiet Sunday morning......
That's the Teatro Arriaga in the foreground, which greets you as you cross over the river.
We soon found ourselves at Plaza Nueva. This being Sunday, vendors were setting up for the weekly market of used books, stamps, coins, and other miscellanea.
There's something for everyone it seems. If you loved birds, there's a stand for that.....
What, you don't like birds? Not to worry. The very next booth sells slingshots.....
If you're in the Old Town, all streets lead to Santiago Cathedral. It is said that a church was originally built on this site back in the 14th century. There were additions made to the church at different periods and you can see the variations in styles. The church was declared a cathedral rather recently; in 1949.
It's actually fairly difficult taking a photo of the cathedral since the surrounding buildings are rather close. This being Sunday, and rather early in the morning the cathedral is closed to visitors.
As you can figure out by the name; the Cathedral Stands on the Northern route of Camino de Santiago, the Way of St James.
We noticed a little café that was doing some pretty good business and decided to stop for a "caffe" (espresso).
As we sat and relaxed, I noticed the place getting a bit more busy. After paying and leaving, we noticed much more activity in the little alleyways and small arteries in Old Town. Of course! It was Sunday, folks were on their way to church......
We headed out back across the bridge; past the Renfe Train Station....by now I had pretty much finished taking photos. We were just walking. We found ourselves back in downtown....and I knew where we were! Wouldn't you know it, I finally had directions figured out in Bilbao just in time for us to leave!
Oh well. We hadn't seen everything. And there were many more places that I had on my list to eat at. When travelling we always treat a place like we'll return someday....we see the things that are high on our list and don't stress the rest. So maybe.......
Anyway, we returned to our room, packed up a bit, and decided to take a short nap before checking out.
You might recall that I mentioned how uninspired and unmotivated I was when trying to decide what to eat after returning from our trip in an earlier post. I mentioned aimlessly driving up and down Clairemont Mesa Boulevard with no objective in mind....yes, here I was...the Missus was working and I was just going up and down, back and forth....wasting gas.
We had an Original Tommy's down the street from us in Rowland Heights. When the late night munchies would hit; maybe once every couple of months, we'd go grab a chili burger. The Missus used to love the chili but it gave Her heartburn....I was fine. For some reason, I don't recall the chili being as bland and gluey as this. In fact everything seemed to have the same texture except for the tomatoes. I asked for extra onions and even that didn't help. It was like eating mush....... The best thing about the burger was the generic bun.
I'm certain that something has changed here....that or this location does something different from the locations in LA. When did the food here get so bland? Perhaps I should have gotten the Caliente Burger.
On the good side; this was like hitting rock bottom.......the only way to go was up.
Original Tommy's 7415 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. San Diego, CA 92111
I had just finished what could perhaps be the best single bite I'd ever had. So how would the rest of our dinner at Azurmendi line up?
We were given several different bread courses during our meal. Our favorite was by far were the "steamed rolls"; yeasty, puffy, light as air. The olive oil was delicious, very grassy-peppery. Though the thing that the Missus loved the most was the stylish cruet. She would hunt for these in various shops, finally finding them in San Sebastian, only to shy away at the 60 Euro price tag. I think she'll be getting it next time.
The dish we unanimously enjoyed the least was the Oyster, Tartar, and Gelee. The seaweed tempura was very nice, but for some reason the raw oyster tasted a bit off and it was a bunch of mushy-gummy textures, with too much brine flavors going on.
The Spider Crab and Sea Urchin was a beautifully composed dish.
I'd been wanting a taste of Txangurro, the region's Spider Crab. Here it was sweet, with nice texture, but the Missus wasn't impressed as She declared the crab She grew up eating in Qingdao was much sweeter. The sea urchin is actually infused in a tomato "jus" and it works rather well, adding a nice briney flavor (think of it as the celery in a Bloody Mary). The two items did not go well combined as the crab flavor was totally cancelled out.
So this next item was simply called "Tomato and Eel"....three words....
Take a look at this dish! The pieces of smoked eel were just fantastic; they melted in your mouth with a very clean smoke flavor coming through. The "tomato" was quite a bite! I'm glad I ate it after the eel as it basically exploded, a huge burst of sour and tart flavor.
This one is called "Roasted Lobster Out of the Shell on Oil Herbs and Sweet Chives".
Let me just say; every single piece of seafood here was cooked to perfection. The lobster was just perfect....perfect. It was so perfect that it really didn't need all the pureed herb spheres...or anything else for that matter.
"Stewed Wheat with Farmhouse Milk Emulsion and Oxtail".......figure out what this would look like?
Basically wheat berries in a beef reduction, the milk emulsion tasted like a farmer's cheese, not sold on how it went with the dish. The most interesting thing was the little "bites" of oxtail wrapped in a layer of crisp bread.....sort of Azurmendi's Beef Wellington. The wheat berries seemed to play havoc with the Missus's stomach a bit. A bit too salty overall.
"Pigeon, artichokes, and fried egg".
Really nice, great textures, the flavors went really well together. Now think about this......this was basically the second egg we'd had during this meal so far......along with all the other dishes.
"Hake, Red Pepper Infusion, Idiazabal Bon Bons".
Oh my; that fish, the red pepper sauce, the sauce....even the milky Idiazabal cheese......all working together.
We were given a nice intermezzo to help us recover......
Along with some almond scented "fragrance".......which sounds cheesy, but aromatherapy, what fun!
Such drama on the table!
It was all to refresh and set-up the Foie Gras dish......
This was such a beautiful piece of seared foie gras....not a mousse, but actual foie. It was also quite large considering what we had already put away........this would have been enough for the both of us as part of a 3-4 course meal! I could tell that fatigue was setting in for the Missus.
I hoped that She would recover for the (4) dessert courses. The first being the Apple, Caramel, and Yogurt.
At this point, I knew the Missus wouldn't make it, so I called it. After two bottles of wine and all those courses....we'd had a fantastic experience and it was time.
This was also when Chef Eneko Atxa started coming around to each table.
He seemed such a rather soft spoken, humble, and amazingly youthful looking guy. When the Missus thanked him for all the hard work that went into our meal, he replied; "oh no......it is not work....it is a passion...from here" while touching his heart. I mentioned how much I enjoyed this:
And he went into detail, with times and temps of how it is made..........
Waiting for our cab back to Bilbao, I had a few moments to contemplate our meal at Azurmendi. Disfrutar gave me insight into molecular gastronomy with soul and how fantastically well service can be, skillfully paced, without being stuffy. Etxanobe displayed how a chef driven restaurant can use various traditional flavors and modern techniques together. It also displayed how a Chef's personality and presence can drive an experience. At Azurmendi, I got to understand, how a mission, combined with technique that does not disregard the heart and soul of the product would mean the "sky's the limit". While our meal here was by no means totally suited to our tastes, there were some items that we didn't enjoy, the "highs" were much higher than everywhere else. I believe that Azurmendi takes risks......not everything works for us....but those items that do...oh my, the reward.
I would easily say; this has been the best eating experience I've ever had. And that's what came into play when deciding between the 1-2 Michelin star places and a 3 star place....the experience. Azurmendi will give you that.....
Azurmendi Gastronomico Corredor del Txorierri Salida 25 Larrabetzu, Spain
Our cab driver was a rather serious looking chap. But as we entered the city he asked me, "how do you like?" I told him; "Euskadi is great and Bilbao is wonderful......" Which brought a big smile to his face. And I wasn't lying......
As we left Azurmendi, I was handed something........
It's the tasting menu for our meal. I took this photo right before starting this post. I still haven't opened it yet. Maybe someday I will........