This is mmm-yoso!!!, a food blog. Kirk needs a break, Ed (from Yuma) is on a break and so Cathy is writing the posts for a few days.
As mentioned in prior posts, The Mister and I choose a different ethnic market each week when it's time to go food shopping. There are severallocations of Seafood City in the county, but the one in Mira Mesa is closest to home. There is a (new) food court inside, but just next door is a storefront location of Chowking, which I've posted about, a couple of times. Chowking is a subsidiary of Jolibee, the largest fast food chain in the Philippines. Straight ahead in this photo is the front door to Chowking; there is another door where you can enter from inside the Seafood City store.The menu is pretty straightforward and contains breakfast and lunch/dinner items as well as snacks and sweets. There's even a small freezer which holds Siopao to take home (Filipino-Chinese buns that can be steamed or heated in the microwave for a few seconds).This is what we ordered for one lunch the other day. That's a coffee milk tea (because I can never decide). I like how the styrofoam packaging is manufactured with steam holes, so the contents, if fried, will remain crispy.The 'Chinese Style Fried Chicken' plate ($4.99) is pretty much my go-to item here, because the fry is always fresh, crispy, not greasy and so very tasty. It's 'Chinese' because of the spices used-and because Chowking is (and initially was only) a fast food Chinese restaurant before it was bought out by the Philippine based company (notice the Chinese lettering on the front of the counter, two photos up). The steamed rice, with egg and vegetable is always fresh.The Garlic Chicken Lauriat ($5.99). A 'Lauriat' is a rice meal, so is essentially the meat (nicely battered and fried dark meat chicken pieces) and rice along with veggie Canton noodles, two small veggie spring rolls and two red bean paste filled sesame balls...not lumpia, not pancit...Chinese food... Remember this hot days we had not too long ago? The mango shaved ice here is only $2.99. Quite large, with lots of ice, mango and condensed milk; it's a refreshing break.
I hope your week has gone well!
Chowking 8955 Mira Mesa Boulevard San Diego 92126 (858) 653-4977
Some Chinese food for you. One place new, the other has been around for a while.
Tasty Noodle House:
So, since the place first opened up at the beginning of September, fellow esteemed food bloggers like Jinxi, Faye, and Kirbie have all rotated through TNH.....and the results have been a bit mixed; especially with regards to the SJB. My good buddy Candice has gone a few times as well. So I thought it time that I rotate through and see what's going on.
So with coworker Calvin in tow, we went for an early lunch. Funny thing, our Server wasn't Chinese and couldn't pronounce any of the dishes, but was really very nice and tried real hard.
I thought the Chao Nian Gao on Kirbie's and Jinxi's post looked pretty good. So I ordered it.
I like this prep because there are subtle indications of the chef's skill in terms of handling the wok and seasoning. The flavor is usually nice and mild so there a nice balance between the slightly bitter vegetable - Jì Cài (薺菜 - Shepherd's Purse) comes through, usually with a touch of sesame oil. The rice cakes were a bit under done and on the hard side, but this wasn't bad at all. I think the version at Chef Zhu is better.
I like the version here because it's not timid, the wine flavor is upfront and strong. Most folks I know don't care for this cold chicken dish. Personally, I enjoy the bracing flavor.
This time around I decided to go with the crab and pork Xiao Long Bao.....
I'm pretty much done with the XLB here. This wasn't very good. The filling was too hard; there was a leakage problem, and the XLB that hadn't leaked had too little soup.
Calvin is a growing boy, so I needed to order something filling and went with the Mei Cai Kou Rou (steamed pork belly with preserved vegetable)....I know; it's a Hakka dish and the menu here leans toward the Hu Cai (Shanghai Cuisine) - Su Cai (Jiangsu Cuisine) style dishes. I thought the Hong Shao Rou I had on my previous visit wasn't cooked properly and was a bit under flavored so I thought we'd give this a try.
This wasn't very good. The pork was fairly hard and strangely dry, the preserved vegetable had no flavor, and the dish was spoiled by too much sesame oil which was basically the only thing you could taste.
Service, as on my previous visits was very nice. I was told that they do a decent chou doufu (stinky tofu) dish and that the Xun Yu ("cold smoked fish") is worth a try as well, so I'll probably return in the near future.
Tasty Noodle House 4646 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
It has been a while since I'd really had a meal at Dede's. I had dropped by about a year and a half ago and had a terrible version of Liang Mian (Cold Noodles). But it had been a good long while since I've really had a meal here. Lunch was with two of my favorite people; Reza and Lily, so we got to try a bunch of different dishes.
The Liang Cai (cold dishes) was nothing short of terrible.
The cucumber really lacked flavor and the fu qi fei pian was tough and dry, the flavor bitter from chilies that seemed to have been burnt, not scalded. It had no "ma", numbing effect, as in there was a lack of Sichuan Peppercorns, nor was there any depth of flavor from say, a dash of black vinegar....
The Fish with Pickled Peppers was ok.
It wasn't particularly spicy and the broth seemed to have a rather strong poultry flavor. The fish was tender, but also a bit gummy; perhaps from using too much cornstarch during the marinade process.
So how was this years later? There are a lot more onions and the meat is lower grade and a bit tougher now. The flavor of the cumin was good, but I think this needed a bit more salt and I like a bit of garlic in mine as well. Not quite as good as I recalled.
We also got the Fried Intestine with Chilies.
This was actually a decent dish; the intestines were nicely prepped and fried; very crisp. The dish was not oily at all. Sadly, there wasn't enough Sichuan Peppercorn in this as well, making it seem quite incomplete in terms of flavor.
Love the cooler temps in the morning. It means I can grab a nice bowl of noodles for breakfast. I'd been wanting some Sate Beef Egg Noodle "Dry", so I headed over to Minh Ky. It has been a good 7-8 months since my last visit and it never fails to amaze me how this place can pack it in at 815 on a Sunday morning....for noodle soup.
The tables turn over quickly and there were twice as many take-out orders....
My usual here; the Beef sate Egg Noodle Soup "dry" - soup on the side. Still nicely priced at $6.45.
A nice portion size, the beef relatively tender. I always say the sate could use a bit more "oomph", but those places that are a bit more spicy tend to not have that nutty-pungent-onion-y flavor. The egg noodles were a bit past perfect this time around, but nice and hot. The soup on the side was slightly porky - I can say this since it was much less salty than usual. So was the sate as well.
Ed (from Yuma) revisits a restaurant in Yuma today. Kirk and Cathy are happily doing something else.
I feel like it's time for me to start posting about the Chinese/Asian restaurants in town again because things have been changing. In fact, the only local Chinese restaurant that over the years really hasn't changed (well except for higher prices) is a favorite of mine, Yummy Yummy, a Mexicali style Cantonese hole in the wall that is still doing well.
On the other hand, back in 2011 when I first posted about it, Asian Star was a stylish new restaurant with a sophisticated space, SGV type service, and generally good Chinese, Thai, and Japanese food. Since then, however, I heard that they lost their chef and I had two poor meals, so I had not wanted to go back until their latest menu arrived in the mail and piqued my interest. Okay, time to check it out again.
The exterior is unchanged:
The ambience and decor are still pleasant:
I decided to start with lunch specials that all come with your choice of soups. The egg drop is properly eggy:
The hot and sour soup was balanced and flavorful:
The miso soup had little miso flavor, but a lot of little tofu cubes, a few pieces of seaweed, and a nice light broth:
When the Phad Thai lunch special landed in front of me, I was kind of amazed by the weirdly pink tone of the noodles:
Okay, I guess. Mostly sweet and hot. Not a great version of the dish, lacking the complexity and interplay among the various elements of excellent Phad Thai. On the other hand, I was pleased by the sizable amount of tender chicken, shrimps, and fried egg that were hiding under the noodles:
The shrimp and vegetable lunch special looked pretty normal:
There was a nice selection of vegetables, but the mushrooms and carrots seemed undercooked while the shrimp were overcooked and dried out. Not terrible, but overall meh.
Here is a shrimp tempura bento box:
Those two cubes in the middle of the box had a pleasant seafoody flavor and a faux scallop texture. The best part of the lunch.
In the upper right corner was shrimp and vegetable "tempura":
Except for being deep-fried, this has little relationship to real tempura. The vegetables were heavily breaded and a bit greasy. I liked the juiciness of the mushroom and the freshness of the zucchini slice. On the other hand, the thin slices of eggplant and carrot were lost in fried batter. The shrimp had a bit of Panko crunch, but were desiccated and flavorless.
Look at the salad:
The ice cold iceberg lettuce tasted like crunchy cold water. The dressing was mostly pure gloppy goo without much redeeming flavor. For some reason, every time I look at this picture I think about the last time our dog was sick.
Even the rice was disappointing: Odorless, flavorless, and chalky.
The worst component of the meal, the California roll, actually looked promising:
Pick up a piece, add a touch of wasabi, dip one corner into soy sauce, pop into the mouth, chew, and begin to swallow – and then OMG, the overwhelming taste and odor of foul ammonia throughout the mouth and nose. Yuck!
Without question, the worst California roll I have ever tasted.
In the worst bento box I have ever been served.
Your results might differ – for your sake, I hope so. But I have no plans to return.
I do not enjoy badmouthing local eateries. However, . . .
The recent shifting of the weather (a bit, it's still waaaay too hot for October) meant a shift in our eating as well. We've posted on these places many, many times, so I thought I'd C(lear) O(ut the) M(emory) C(ard).
Aqui es Texcoco:
A lovely Mixiote and a milky, salty(in a good way), Quesataco with huitlacoche, which added a nice earthy flavor to the crunchy, oozy-gooey, texture.
Thanks for stopping by to read mmm-yoso!!!, a food blog. The technical difficulties Kirk has been experiencing have increased exponentially. Ed (from Yuma) is enjoying his lack of technological complications (in Yuma). Cathy has had some posts accumulating because her technology level consists of downloading photos almost immediately after a meal. She's posting.
Long story short, in November there was an incident involving the necessity for The Mister to begin using a variety of prescription pharmaceuticals, the side effects of which are His having periodic cravings for certain foods; a majority of them spicy. After *much* trial and error, He whittled his favorites down (His favorite being Mr. Spicy). Szechuan Chef (Kirk was here in 2013; didn't like it) is in the Top Ten, primarily for one dish.Can't place it? Right next door to Myung In Dumplings, which Kirk wrote about earlier this year. The line at Myung In is sometimes out the door... The other anchor in this parking lot is Boba Time.The eating area is pretty spacious and always clean.Near the kitchen is an area of cold dishes. We have ordered, by pointing, not knowing how they will taste or what all of the ingredients might be. All have been pleasantly fresh and none have been too spicy-hot.We have turned into those typical touristy 'white people' and have ordered by pointing at photos on the menu. The above photo has been the most accurate one.The House Special Shrimp ($12.99) with a side of rice ($1) The shrimp are plump, juicy, nicely cooked. There is a bit of heat flavor and the slices of cucumber are a nice interlude.However it is not as spicy as you would think, considering all of these peppers...The won ton in chili sauce ($5.99) was nice. The chili sauce was fresh tasting and packed a back-of-the- tongue heat. The won tons were thin, quite filled with pork and tasted good without the sauce and nicer with it. This was different from Kirk's experience (linked above) where the word 'insipid' was used.Choosing to order a scallion pancake ($2.50) was a good idea on my part. Dipping it in the sauce helped me to taste the sauce in a more 'plain' way and enjoy the freshly made pancake a bit more. The twice cooked rockfish ($10.99) is always ordered (it's the 'craving' one that The Mister must have), because of the good fry methods used as well as the strong turmeric and light chili flavors. The cooked, chopped thin Chinese celery as well as onion and a few red bell pepper slices add more texture and flavor.The shrimp wonton tofu ($8.99) was a more of any typical Chinese restaurant meal. No heat, plump shrimp, soft tofu and the ever present peas and carrots. It didn't give me any sort of MSG reaction, so that is good. Nothing special; nothing bad.The Braised Fish Garlic Bowl ($10.99) is also a typical flavor mix, has nice spice of garlic without Szechuan heat and is quite large; all fish in that bowl along with roast garlic and scallion.
Anything here is large enough to be shared. We always end up taking home leftovers, as have more than 90% of the tables every time we've stopped in for lunch.
Szechuan Chef Cuisine 4344 Convoy Street, Suite F San Diego 92111 (858) 279-8881
No hours posted, but it's open by 11:30 every morning; maybe sooner.
I hope your week is going well, without interruptions by technology.
We here at mmm-yoso!!! are all enjoying this remarkably beautiful weekend. Kirk is relaxing after a solid week of craziness, Ed (from Yuma) is enjoying all that Yuma has to offer and Cathy is writing this short post, so that you have something different and perhaps interesting to read when you stop by to visit.
Apparently, there are a couple of all you can eat Korean BBQ places around San Diego County named "Manna". That's not what this post is about. The Chula Vista Manna Restaurant is not only a place to get a great breakfast, but also a place to get Chinese fast food, burgers and sandwiches.
About the third paragraph on my Vanessa's Deli post, I mentioned that we went to Vanessa's the first time because there was a line of people waiting to get into Manna. Both of those restaurants in this small strip mall, anchored by a Liquor Store and Laundromat (with a gas station in the middle of the parking lot) are constantly busy.Possibly because of the prices, but also because of the unique food selection and proximity to the above mentioned Laundromat.The owner, an older Chinese gentleman, supervises in the kitchen but comes out in front greeting people regularly throughout each hour; you'll see him at least once on each visit. He is very nice.
Booths and tables, two televisions, part of the menu photographed and displayed behind the cash register (those three photos of teriyaki plates at the bottom right side are *not* the same), this local owned diner type restaurant has been in operation at this location since 2009. On weekends, only breakfast is served.After much trial and error, we have found the chicken fried steak ($8.99) with eggs, toast and home fries is our breakfast preference. The crispy coating is just right and stands up to the home made peppery sausage gravy.The pancakes here are made from their own mix of ingredients and are fluffy, a bit crispy on the edges and always so good. Above, the special on the window not photographed ($3.99) of two pancakes, two eggs and two sausage. Just right flavors, really nice sausage and more than enough food for a breakfast.
Here is the menu, just click to enlarge. The Chinese Fast Food Menu is the third one above.
There is a 'Combo A' ($4.99) and a 'Combo B' ($5.99) on the menu. Each has fried rice, chowmein and a choice of two items (of 13 choices). The 'Combo B' includes two (vegetable) egg rolls. Above, the two items chosen are the garlic chicken wings and Kung Pao Chicken. Amazingly good. Not salty, fried correctly, sauces made here and not from a bottle or a can.This is the teriyaki chicken plate ($6.99). The teriyaki sauce is not sweet, salty or sticky. It's really quite good. You can see the portion size is excellent. From the 'American' part of the menu. The bacon cheeseburger ($5.99) ($6.99 with fries or slaw) is pretty standard. The toasted bun and thick bacon are nice and the burger is flavorful. It's a good choice for someone who is not adventurous.The Top Sirloin plate ($9.99) is also pretty standard; I have come to prefer the chicken fried steak over this. The hash browns are a crispy excellence though and I must say the eggs are always perfectly prepared.
All in all, a nice, local choice. I was happy to have told cc and her family about this West Chula Vista gem that I'd been keeping my little secret. They've been here, twice now.
Manna Restaurant 600 F Street (at Broadway), Suite C Chula Vista 91910 (619) 425-9270 Mon-Sat 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Sun 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
I'd been wondering what was going with Dumpling Hut since they opened in June. During those visits, the quality control seemed lacking as was the service which was totally out of synch....all the "little things" seemed to have been missed. And while the folks here seemed really nice, they looked like they were totally out of their depth. I did make myself a promise to return to try the lamb jiaozi....so sooner was better than later, right?
Wow, this was really strange......while the place was quite busy during my previous visits; this time around the place was totally empty....during my entire meal! The state of Chinese cuisine in San Diego is quite interesting.....the old guard are loyal to the places that have been around a long time, even though the product is mediocre....but they have a problem with change. Other folks don't mind mediocre technique and products, so long the portion size is large. But it seems that everyone draws the line, and rightly so, at waiting 40 minutes plus for jiaozi, wrong orders, having to hunt down your own utensils and napkins (which I had to do on this visit though I was the only customer - my napkins were soiled by vinegar), and other problems, which is what I saw and experienced on my previous visits....though perhaps this visit was an exception and they do a booming business on other days (this was a Thursday 1115 am).
Anyway, my lamb jiaozi. As before, the jiaozi wrappers were decent.....
The attitudes, like before was very cordial and nice....though the execution of small things...like having napkins was lacking. It seems like there are no systems in place here. Too bad....... I'd hoped that they'd improve.
Dumpling Hut 8046 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92111
I should really know better....after all of my visits over the years. I won't bother you with too many details, but will leave you with a simple rule....
Kwai Fei Chicken makes for a nice lunch.
Adding Macao Roast Pork shows lack of self control.......
And can lead to meat sweats and problems staying awake for afternoon meetings......
Bad move on my part....
Golden City Restaurant 5375 Kearny Villa Rd. San Diego, CA 92123
I was taking a weekend morning drive along ECB, checking things out when I noticed that Nhat Vy was gone and replaced with "Asian Noodle House"....talk about a generic name......
It was just past 8am and I was contemplating checking the place out when the car in front of the shop left....giving me a perfect parking spot. This must have been some kind of "sign" right? So I pulled a U-turn and parked.
The place looks totally Spartan and generic....
The older gentleman working here was very friendly. I was handed the menu and had that "deja vu" feeling. I knew I'd seen this menu somewhere before....... Yeah, strange, kind of weird. And then it came to me; it looked just like the menu from the now defunct Hao Vi. So of course the first thing I did when I got home take a look at my Hao Vi post. Take a look and tell me what you think.
If I had any doubt in my mind; that was erased when the Hu Tieu Nam Vang ("kho" - dry - $6.50) arrived.....
It was the soup that sold me...instead of a leg bone, it was a couple of ribs. The soup was just like Hao Vi's porky, with a slight sweetness from the MSG.
The Hu Tieu was a bit overcooked and mushy, though it was nicely seasoned....the rest was routine, shrimp tough, ditto the pork, though that chicken was nice. The portion size a on the smaller size, but perfect for breakfast. I think the version at Ly Heng while being on the salty side is better and cheaper.
I did decide to return the next morning since the Missus was sleeping. This time I got the Beef Sate Egg Noodle "dry" ($6.50).
Again the noodles were on the overcooked side. This was pretty spicy though. The sate sauce was quite strong, it obviously wasn't diluted down, but it had a powdery texture to it. The beef was nice and tender. It was fine, but it won't make me forget the version at Minh Ky.
In regards to Hao Vi; the nice woman working here seemed not to understand when I asked. That's ok, I'll find out one of these days. Really nice folks here..... I'll drop by again in a couple of months. I like that they open at 8am; it does give me another option for breakfast in the area.
Asian Noodle House 4595 El Cajon Boulevard San Diego, CA 92115
I won't deny being pretty excited when I found out that a restaurant named Tasty Noodle House was taking the place of Yu's Garden. Could it be? THE Tasty Noodle House, home of my favorite Tianjin Baozi! I drove past on Monday and saw the Grand Opening sign was up, but the place wasn't open.
As luck would have it, the next day Lily, whom I hadn't seen in a while asked me if I had some time for lunch. So I mentioned checking this place out to see if they had opened yet.....it would be great to have someone fluent in Mandarin. Lucky us, they were open...their first day of business as a matter of fact. After this....my luck basically ran out.
Turns out that this isn't "that" Tasty Noodle House. Instead the menu here was basically Shanghai style dishes with a strange smattering of Sichuan. Well, in truth we could use a good Su Cai or Shanghai style place and the tea was nice....loose leaf, served in a coffee press.
I saw a favorite dish of mine; Wined (aka Drunken) Chicken on the menu. Unfortunately, the dish wasn't available. Since we still weren't quite sure what the exact compass of the cuisine here was, we went with the pig ear and tripe "ma-la" (numbing hot).
This was nice and crisp, a bit too much sesame oil, but ok. This wasn't what I would consider Sichuan..... it was "ma" as in there was a slight tingle and very little "la" (spicy). This kind of reminded me of how (Beijing) Spicy (less) City was when we moved to San Diego in 2001.....a regional (non-Sichuan) representation of Sichuan food.
Of course we had to try the Pork Xiao Long Bao.
I can forgive the two XLB leaking malfunctions - you can see on the paper liner the "leakers", after all this was opening day. The wrapper was on the thick side, which would be ok if they had enough of a "pull", but these were too hard. There was not enough soup, though I thought the flavor was pretty much by the book for XLB. Not too sweet and the filling was tender enough.
The pork in the Hong Shao Rou (red braised pork - $10.99) was a bit under cooked, though I do love my bean curd skin.
And as you can tell by the lack of the red lacquer color, the flavor was a bit too mild for my taste. It wasn't bad; it just wasn't Hong Shao Rou as I like it.
Still, the folks here were very, very nice. As you can see, the portion sizes were good......though as is the norm with regards to Chinese food here in San Diego, it's more about quantity than quality.
I also did learn one thing, the XLB and Sheng Jian Bao take at least 20 minutes here.
Being that I wanted to try the place one more time before doing a post, I returned. As soon as I entered the door I ordered the SJB.
And the Drunken Chicken ($6.99) of course. This time they had it. The portion size was quite large and it was much more meat than bones.
The wine flavor was quite strong, which, while not everyone's cup of tea, I like. The chicken was meaty, though a tad over-cooked and while it was on the salty side I kind of liked it. For me, it was the best item I had here.
About a good 20 minutes later; out came the SJB.
Something must have gone awry during the cooking of these as the dough was gummy and rubbery. There was also too much oil brushed on these making adding a layer of greasiness. To add insult to injury, these were also somewhat burnt and the bottoms bitter. The filling was too mild in flavor as well. Look at the poor deflated looking baozi at the ends....
You know, for now, since they just opened, and the folks look like they're trying hard I'll give them a pass. I'll return in a couple of months and see how things are doing then.
Tasty Noodle House 4646 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111