mmm-yoso!!! is the name of the food blog you are reading. For almost 12 years, Kirk has been posting. Ed (from Yuma) and Cathy have been assist posters. Today, it's a Cathy post.
Typing in 'Pho Pasteur Anh Hong' into the 'site search' box at the top left yields about 50 results. It's another regular stop for us, but I haven't posted about it in almost a year. It seems we are usually seated at this table and I have this view of the far corner back wall. Again, this was another brief lunch meeting for The Mister and I and we chose some items to share. The Banh Xeo is always made quite nicely here; crispy turmeric spiced pancake filled with lightly sautéed bean sprouts, fresh shrimp and pork. (It's served with a plate of lettuce leaves and mint, which I failed to photograph). A small but very full bowl of crab egg drop soup was ordered this day, both because of the chilly day and also because...crab. The wide fried rice noodles under this Chinese stir fry of vegetables with chicken was a nice choice.
Both Vietnamese and Chinese dishes are on the menu, which has over 200 items on eight pages is fun to explore.
Anh Hong Pho Pasteur 7612 Linda Vista road San Diego 92111 (858) 569-7515
mmm-yoso!!! is being written by Cathy today. Kirk and Ed (from Yuma) are otherwise engaged and not ready to write about their recent food adventures.
If you type in "Sab E Lee" in the 'Search' box at the top left corner of this page, you will get about 435 results. All of us here at mmm-yoso have been there, especially when it opened. We all enjoy the food. Kirk's most recent post was two years ago and he thought it was good grub, but not as outstanding as when it first opened. The Mister and I have become complacent and accustomed to Sab E Lee being a place to go for Issan style food and I've not even photographed some meals here. The food of Isaan is very hot and flavored with pungent herbs and seasonings, with some of Thailand's spiciest salads. The intense flavors of Isaan food is one way of managing an insecure food supply – very hot, flavorful dishes encourage diners to diffuse the flavors with a lot of sticky rice.
The small restaurant expanded out a bit last year, adding five tables and is centered with his beautiful sculpture.
The Mister and I had a small break in our day and met here for a quick meal, choosing the standard papaya salad ($7.95). Made with shredded green papaya, tomatoes, small dried shrimp, green beans and topped with a mix of fish sauce, lime juice and chili (level 2). This is always so refreshing and wonderful. Larb ($8.95), char broiled ground meat or tofu or mushrooms (pork in this case) mixed with roughly ground toasted rice and fresh herbs (notably mint) and flavored with a fermented fish sauce, lime and chili is a great type of meat salad, served at room temperature with either rice or raw vegetables. It is always a favorite and my choice on especially hot days.
All in all, a very nice meal.
Sab E Lee 6925 Linda Vista Road San Diego, 92111 (858) 650-6868 Tues-Fri open 11-3:30 and 5-9:30 Saturday/Sunday 11-9:30, closed on Monday. Cash only
mmm-yoso!!! is a food blog. Kirk, Ed(from Yuma) and Cathy try to write a post daily about food consumed and events surrounding said consumption. Today Cathy is writing; Kirk is having internet connectivity problems.
The other day, The Mister and I had some rare free time and decided to take a bit of time to sit down and enjoy some treats as well as each other.
Intermezzo opened here in about 2006 and had been a quick stop for a sandwich but never a post.
The menu of choices is extensive and we just ordered what we saw available. The cafe, kitty corner from a Barnes and Noble bookstore in the small, bustling mall has a variety of seating areas inside and out. The self serve coffees are all very good. We decided to share an Americano coffee along with very tasty and fresh dessert items: a lemon bar and raisin scone.
Soon, we both had to be back at work, but were happy for a break in the day.
Intermezzo Espresso Cafe 7610 Hazard Center Drive San Diego 92108 (619)296-JAVA open Mon-Fri 7:30-4 Saturday 7:30-2, closed on Sunday
The chashu while well flavored and moist, was just too much of a good thing and I left quite full. Still, the noodles were again perfect, just the right amount of pull with a bit of pull, nice and slippery, and a good vehicle for the collagen in the broth, which was, like my previous visit, a solid tonkotsu.
About two weeks later, I found out my haircut guy was working relatively close by and having read about the crowds in the comments on my post....I was curious. I got there at 1045...and no kidding; there were over 30 people waiting in line.
I'm usually not one to wait in line; but I was curious if this new popularity would change anything about the ramen at Ultra. So I put my name on the list....and waited about 30 minutes to get in.
I went with the Ajitama Ramen with an extra egg.
While the noodles were still perfect for my taste and the boiled egg was much better.....lukewarm instead of cold and not as "cooked". There were several things I noticed. The broth had less of a fragrance and indeed, while being fairly mild and nuanced before, was much less rich....more fatty, but lacking in the real noodle coating capacity. It was still good....just not quite as good as my previous two visits.
I'll wait a few months before going back. It'll be interesting to see how things progress. I think it's still the best straight up tonkotsu in San Diego.
Menya Ultra Ramen 8199 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92111
Pho T Cali is basically within walking distance from my office.....but of course my previous experiences kind of keep me away....but I just had to see......had it really hit the "ten dollar pho" category?
Upon arriving and having the menu handed to me....I saw...yes indeed, the dac biet was now $9.95.
So for ten bucks I got this.
The broth had almost no color and had a strong onion taste. It looked like dishwater. While the texture of the tripe was good, it had a strange aftertaste; the tendon was decent though. The portion of noodles was quite large and adequately prepared.
The serving of sprouts and such was paltry to say the least.
I think this is why I saw folks (I was the only Asian in the place) dumping in loads of Hoisin and Sriracha into their pho.
On a rather amusing note; a few days later I received an email from "AlanH" regarding Pho T Cali....I'm hoping you won't mind me using a few excerpts Alan? Some of the, ahem, "highlites" of his email were....
"A -small- Pho "Chin" is now $8.95 (I almost walked out at that point, but was too hungry for Pho)"
"They have totally dumbed and stripped down the menu, which should have been my first warning sign...They have gone to the all photo model with a bit of basic text with prices. "
"The "herbal accessory plate" was its usual mediocre affair, but the basil was even more paltry and under-developed than usual (if the basil was human it would have needed a wheelchair)."
"As they do not serve / have Ngo Gai, I asked for a small portion / bowl of cilantro...THEY WERE OUT OF F'ING CILANTRO!!!!!" " Is there a cilantro shortage I was not aware of?"
"I just paid $11.00 (with tip) for a mediocre -at best- bowl of Pho. Is this Manhattan? No, this is not Manhattan......Manhattan would have had cilantro....."
All I can say Alan is...."I feel (or ate...or something like that) your pain".
Pho T Cali 7351 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92111
This has me wondering....in a very twisted way; if I were to think the Pho at Pho Mignon is still worse than this.
Our trip to Japan had pretty much come to an end....there was still one more stop though. Much like what we on our previous visit, we left for Tokyo Station rather early, stowed our luggage, and went straight for ramen street. The last time it was Rokurinsha....this time the decision was a bit harder....the Missus wanted to share some Tonkotsu ramen so we settles on Oreshiki Jun.
We got our ticket at the vending machine, entered and was seated quickly.......it seemed like all the customers in the shop were Salarymen.
I went with the Deluxe Tonkotsu Ramen which featured a nice, albeit a bit salty portion of mentaiko.
The egg was perfect as were the noodles. I wasn't a big fan of the tonkotsu here as it was a lot milder in flavor....even for a tonkotsu broth than I prefer. It also lacked that nice tongue coating quality I enjoy in that style of broth in addition to being served a bit too cold for my taste. The chashu here is a bit leaner and more chewy than other versions, but makes up for that with a nice porkiness. I really enjoyed the "rayu" (chili oil), which in this case seemed to have some bean paste in it....a wonderful, spicy, savory, package of flavor.
I actually preferred what the Missus ordered.
A nice little rice bowl with raw egg, chashu, and bean sprouts, along with an extra order of bean sprouts, chashu, and negi....along with an extra boiled egg. All worked together quite nicely!
So, perhaps not the best last meal in Japan.....still, we had many memorable experiences again. I'm sure it's just a matter of time before we return.
Oreshiki Jun (Tokyo Station) 1-9-1 Marunochi, Chiyoda, Tokyo
One thing was quite apparent. The Missus really enjoys Tokyo Station City. To the point that She got Her "hair done" twice at this kind of "fast" hair salon named Fass. You basically go in and order your stuff on an iPad. Of course we couldn't really understand anything the first time around....so this really nice, adorable woman came out and the Missus had Her bangs cut. Well, with some time on our hands, the Missus decided She wanted a trim.
We walked in and it was the same woman....who got a kick out of seeing us. Apparently, they don't get too many foreign customers. This time the Missus wanted a trim and some styling, which she did with gusto. At the end, she couldn't stop giggling, telling us "kawaii....kawaii" (cute). I think she had more fun than we did.
The Missus wanted Yakitori for our last meal in Kyoto and I had a place in mind.
But first, some shopping.
Teramachi Dori, one of the major shopping streets, was strangely quiet on this evening.
The Missus managed to do some damage at this location of Lupicia.
After which we took a nice leisurely stroll up to the Juingu-Marutamachi Station. On street level above the station was a rather discreet, but popular place named Torito. I was interested in the place because of the rather polarizing reviews, some folks declared it yakitori for tourists, yet other said it was amazing....the strange thing about that yakitori for tourists thing is....well, you'll see by what we ordered.
It was out last evening in Kyoto, a place that makes us feel quite comfortable...we just feel relaxed and at home here and our trip to Japan was coming to an end.
The Missus decided to get a Hiball, I had a Suntory Draft.
We noticed that we noticed quickly was that the guy doing all the grilling seemed quite young....also, there were English menus.
But what was on those menus wasn't quite your tourist yakitori items....though the tourists we saw come in ordered stuff like breast and chicken rice bowls, we went full speed ahead and started with some very smokey chicken gizzards.
Which was fine....though a bit too dry for me.
The Nankotsu was very, very good....perfectly grilled, nice and crunchy, but really pleasant to eat.
And followed with Tori no Tataki, seared, basically rare chicken.
This was dark meat, very clean, but definite chicken flavor. A bit too chewy for my taste, I should have gotten the white meat, which I think is much more tender raw. Tourist food, huh?
The Missus absolutely loved the "Kimo" (chicken liver) and declared it the best She's ever eaten.
The Kawa-su, chicken skin salad was a nice refreshing change of pace.
Up next was more Chicken Skin....but not "just" chicken skin, but we chose "Chicken Buttock Skin".
Very interesting texture....a bit more chewy, but man, the flavor was so amazingly distinct......
Next up was our Tsukune....this is what I basically judge my yakitori places on. First thing we noticed was that the tsukune was made to order. That is, when the order is placed, the chef forms it by hand. Now watching this guy was amazing as he juggled both the grill and the deep fryer, never missing a beat. As you can easily see; this was the tsukune I've ever had.
From the light and crisp exterior, to the creamy interior....I'm wondering how much chicken fat is in this....a quick dip in the egg; more richness and flavor. This by far is the best I've had.
The Wing Tips were okay, though a bit too hard and chewy for us.
One thing we were noticing was the perfect amount of salt was being used.
I absolutely loved the Hatsu...the chicken hearts, which weren't grilled too heavily.....just the right amount of smoke and salt.
There's a part of the menu which features local, Kyoto bred chicken (the tsukune is on that part of the menu) and we tried the chicken thigh with quail egg.
There was a more distinct chicken flavor in this; something that's missing here in the States for the most part. Loved the little piece of cartilage left on the meat, it added a nice textural contrast, as did the quail egg, though I could have done without that. The Missus though, loves Her quail eggs.
The Chicken wings were just ok.....especially after having all the previous dishes.
The skin on these was a bit too rubbery for us.
The Missus loved Her "finishing" dish (Shime), going with the rich and velvety chicken bone broth with meatballs.
She still talks about how rich and lovely this soup was.
I went with my standard; a nice, nutty, smokey, yaki onigiri.
A perfect end to a wonderful meal for us.
As we were finishing dinner, the Missus declared this Her new favorite yakitori shop. So I'm guessing we'll be back whenever we're in Kyoto.
The shop is rather discrete. From what I understand....you know, I'm basically about the food...Torito is a species of bird. So the best thing is to find the carving of a bird outside the door of the restaurant.
Torito 9-5 Higashi Marutamachi Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
As I mentioned earlier....Kyoto has a way of making us feel comfortable....in spite of all the tradition and sometimes, well, interesting stuffs.....
Strange thing happened this past weekend....well, along with not having to go into the office to catch up on things, I had both of my planned dinner with friends cancelled....this up and down weather thing seems to be taking a toll on folks here. So, that first evening, I just headed out on Clairemont Mesa thinking I'd figure something out by the time I got to Convoy....and if not, well, I was hoping I'd be able to find a seat at Taisho. Right before passing over the 805, I glanced to my left and saw the Open Sign flashing in the window of Okan Diner. Then I remembered reading in the Eater that Okan Diner was doing a soft opening on this weekend. So I thought, "why not"?
The space looks about the same as when I visited during Izakaya Kanpai's short run. Looks like they've put up some portable dividers and other touches.
The menu, in current state are pretty standard appetizers; agedashi tofu and the like, Udon and Soba in both traditional and perhaps a bit strange and fusion versions...would "Mom" (Okan means Mom) make Vongole Udon...or even "Pho Udon"? And kamameshi; "iron pot rice". Many items are not yet available, but there was still quite a bit to choose from in those three categories.
I started with a favorite; Shishito Peppers ($5).
These were deep fried and as such a bit on the "oily" side. Very good quality though and every once in a while you'd get that one spicy pepper...aaah shishito roulette. The soy based dressing was good, not too salty, good vinegar, and the katsubushi added a good savory touch. Pretty much by the book and done well.
For some reason; I decided on the Kamo Udon ($15), in retrospect, I probably should have gone with Kakiage/Kitsune/Nabeyaki...something more traditional.
As you can tell by the portion size (I remember seeing these bowls in Kanpai), this wasn't very much. The duck was over cooked by my standards and had gotten tough in the broth. The noodles were excellent, nice pull and chew, though that 325 yen bowl at Mugimaru Yaesu Minamiguchi had noodles even better than these. The broth was on the weak side by my taste....though you can tell by my Kitsune Udon that I enjoy a more assertive flavor. This was just too watery for me, the dashijiru too weak.
Of course it was still during the soft opening period, so I intended on revisiting once they had the grand opening.
Then my next dinner got cancelled and I just decided to go back to Okan Diner.
This time I decided to try the Kamameshi and the Kakuni version ($17.50) of the iron kettle rice dish looked like it would fit the bill.
In terms of rice, this looked like more than I could handle. But surprisingly, I managed to finish all of it. The drill is simple; you mix the nicely flavored rice.......I was told it was cooked in a bone broth adding a layer of richness. I shredded up the pork, which, while a bit tougher than I prefer, was still moist and the seasoning was right on for Buta Kakuni in the soy sauce-sugar-mirin kind of way. You add the poached egg and mix in making a lovely gooey, but delicious mess. Scoop into bowl and enjoy. Next time, I'll go easier on the ginger as it tended to over power the flavors.
When the Missus asks to go to breakfast on the weekend; She doesn't mean pancakes and eggs. No, She wants something from, say Zarlitos or Fernandez Catering. It's nice to have access to a bit of variety around these parts. Here are a couple of places I've posted on many times before.
It took a while to talk the Missus into having breakfast with me at Hinotez. But memories of "Japanese Breakfast" in Japan finally made Her give in. I've already gone into what a simple breakfast of natto, egg, and rice means to me. And while Hinotez no longer serves the simple "Basic Breakfast"......you now have to get a bunch of proteins and the natto, egg, and tororo are add-ons, kind of a bummer, this is the only place you'll get something close to Japanese breakfast in San Diego. And only on Saturday and Sunday.
This ends up being a bit too much food and just like in Miyajima, we just head back to bed afterwards. Also, we've learned to request "half-rice" with this as well.
Anyway, it basically is all about the natto and rice thing....though I got beef and chicken karaage. The beef was tender and there were no complaints. The karaage was fine; crisp and nicely flavored.....but in a real amateur move, they had cut one of the pieces in half to check doneness.
A big favorite of the Missus, she loves the Plato Azteca here....and always gets an order of beans to go. Go figure.
I'd never had the Sopes, so I thought I'd give it a try. It was very good; the combination of lamb and beans just went together well. The rustic thick corn base was also texturally pleasant.
The light milky-tanginess of the cheese helped cut through the richness....though I gotta say this is pretty heavy stuff. I was stuffed after one and a half.
Even the Café Olla didn't help.
The Missus got a Quesataco with Flor de Calabaza, which was very crunchy - creamy, but a bit too salty for me, which basically muted all the other flavors. And of course the Plato Azteca, which I've posted on a good number of times Like always it's huitlacoche and flor de calabaza. She also loves the leftovers as there's no way She can finish all of this.
Aqui Es Texcoco 1043 Broadway Chula Vista, CA 91911
And then the best part.......because we're able to do this on weekends I don't have to go into work.....it's time to roll back into bed!
We'd always had a visit to Arashiyama on the books and on our last full day in Kyoto, we decided to head out early in the day. We ended up taking the rather fun Keifuku Tram Line to Arashiyama Station.
It was a slightly hazy, but beautiful day....the air so clean. We walked out of the station and headed down what looked like Arashiyama's main street. And walked over to the Togetsu-kyo Bridge.
We headed north alongside the picturesque Oi River and took a right along a rather random street.
It wasn't very crowded, so we just took in the sights a bit.
We headed out front, looking for the Bamboo Forest. I walked up to a traffic officer and asked for directions to the Bamboo Grove. In the typical Japanese way....he insisted on walking us most of the way there.
It was very pretty....but for some reason, I expected it to be a bit more grand.
I guess having grown up around various bamboo forests......
The place does take some really nice photos though.
Heading back down to the street, we found another entrance to Tenryū-ji. This is the garden area and is quite beautiful.
By now, we'd had enough for the morning and headed back to downtown Kyoto. We walked around a bit and decided to have lunch at a place I had specifically marked down. We'd really enjoyed Ippudo in Osaka and there just happened to be a location in downtown Kyoto.
Call us boring, but we'd enjoyed ourselves so much on our previous visit to the Osaka location that we basically got the same thing. The Shormaru Special, what I call a classic tonkotsu with chashu and egg. And of course, the Missus got Hakata Chikara Meshi, chashu rice and an onsen tamago.
The broth was nice and rich, but not oily nor too fatty. The flavor is rather delicate. The chashu was tender and nicely flavored, the noodles just perfectly al dente for my taste.
I gave the Missus my tamago....now that's love. And when She cut into it....well, we had a perfect "egg porn shot".
Our meal was the perfect foil for the cool autumn chill.
Feeling nice and warm, we headed on out to do some shopping. We found an underground passageway to Takashimaya Department Store.
Of course this lead right to B1 and the food floor.
We were wandering around the third floor of Takashimaya Department Store and I noticed this.....
Oh my....it was Din Tai Fung!
And there was no line.....
The Missus and I looked at each other......why not, right? We still had a bit of room in our bellies, so we went for a second, rather light lunch.
I was wondering just how good this was going to be. We got the pork and crab version of the Xiao Long Bao. When it arrived, it looked like the XLB on the left had leaked, but it had not. As for the wrappers....well just look at the classic "XLB hang". The wrapper were very nice, for some reason they seemed a bit thicker than the wrapper at DTF here in the states. I really couldn't complain about the amount of soup, nor the flavor (a bit too sweet for me), or the texture. This was pretty good. Much better than anything we have here in San Diego.
The Missus has got to have Her veggies, so we got some greens. Nice and simple, very mildly seasoned.
Din Tai Fung (Third Floor of Takashimaya Department Store) 52 Shincho, Shijo Kawaramachi-dori Nishi-iru Simogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8001
I guess that's fun part of trips...you make basic plans, but leave time to wander and explore. You never know what you'll run into.
We've been doing this little blog for almost 12 years now. And while we've done almost 3500 posts over the years, we've been living in San Diego for almost seventeen. There are many places that we've tried out that we hadn't had reason to return to for various reasons. Last year, after looking back at my Karihan post, I decided to do the rounds on places that had been struck from our eating lists "BB" (before blogging) or even places where I need to drop by for convenience....yes, I do have a regular job with long hours. So I'm going to start a series on "Revisits to Places I've Never Done Posts On".
Starting with, well, the place where the Missus made me an "offer I couldn't refuse". Jokes aside, for some reason the Missus wanted some rather old school Italian food one evening. So I suggested two places in the neighborhood, super old school Old Trieste or Baci. The Missus said, "why don't we go back to The Godfather", we haven't been there in a while. Well, that part was true....like in over thirteen or fourteen years....I'd say that would qualify as "a while".
So cue up the music.....
The décor is quite old school and many of the staff look like they've been here for years. Our Server was the nicest, most gracious guy, and his demeanor really matched the formal, but not stuffy atmosphere.
The Missus had a glass of red; a Pinot Noir..... I heard a voice screaming "you need a martini".....so I had one. A pretty stiff one too......
From what I recalled about my previous dealing with The Godfather; portions were large, I remember not enjoying the proteins too much....and the large plate of fried zucchini you get to start dinner.
Simply seasoned....the good pieces, well after the initial "crunch" would almost melt away....other pieces were a bit dry.
The Missus ordered the Meatballs to start.
A bit too much filler for me and I prefer my sauce a bit more tangy. This in itself was fairly heavy and filling. The Missus really enjoyed this.
Soup or salad (of course) with your dinner here. We both got the minestrone, which was very tasty.
Hearty and rather thick, this hit the spot on a rather cold evening. Again, a straight forward dish, but quite comforting.
By this time the Missus and I were pretty full......and then the main courses arrived!
The Missus got the Ravioli Portabello ($19.95).
I thought the sauce was a bit on the sweet side and was too thick, like a béchamel. The pasta was fine and that mushroom filling quite delicious. We both noticed that up to this point, some of the items needed a bit more salt. In fact, I noticed more than one customer salting their food. Perhaps that's the way it's supposed to be here?
I thoroughly enjoyed my Penne Puttanesca ($17.95).
The pasta was al dente, just enough anchovies and basil to keep me interested, it could used more tomato in my opinion, but even with capers and olives, this wasn't too salty. It was way too much food and I barely put a dent into it. On the good side; the pasta held up well and I had dinner the following night.
In the end, I think we found our secret to the Godfather and no, it's not "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli", nor is it going to get me a gift of a bulletproof vest wrapped fish. It's keep it simple, minimize the proteins. It ain't cheap, but he portion sizes are pretty large. Not a place we can go to often.....but perhaps more than once every 13-14 years from now on.
Nice service, large portions, very old school.
The Godfather Restaurant 7878 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92111