Noticed when I went to pick up lunch at Beauty Hunan. Ready for more ramen?
8199 Clairemont Mesa Blvd Ste M San Diego, CA 92111
Continuing my "Hut Streak":
So, "Sandy" left a comment on my Noodle Hut post, after I mentioned doing "Two Huts in Three Days". She asked me: What's next - Pizza Hut? Apparently, Cathy read that comment and thought it was a hoot. So, I thought, "ok, why not"? The only problem was.....I don't recall the last time I actually saw a Pizza Hut and let Cathy know. She believes that I just block those places out. So, after doing a Google search, I found a Pizza Hut nearby....doesn't seem to have too many of them left, in Clairemont Town Square. I headed on over......by the time I reached the parking lot, I already had....hmmmm......how to describe it, "buyer's pre-morse"? And upon finding that it looked like a take-out only shop, I decided to turn around and head back to the car.
Yes...you could say that I....."chickened - Hut".
Still, wanting to keep my "hut-streak" going for one more day, I found a place that fulfilled the criteria.
It must have been fate, because I found a parking space in the worst lot on Convoy.
And had some Wings - "Naked"....sauce on the side. Nicely fried.
So there you go. I think three "Hut posts" in a row is enough.
Especially since She's really gotten to enjoy a nice cocktail now and then.
And Her favorite Happy Hour item still are those Deviled Eggs.
$6 during happy hour; the Missus is often tempted to order two. I enjoy the Prosciutto with Truffle Oil the most.
The Rabbit Sausage ($6 - Happy Hour) was nice; but it was the delicious whole grain mustard we really enjoyed.
The wbBLT Sliders ($8 - Happy Hour) are fine; we both enjoy the nice rolls.
The Wild Boar Poutine ($8 - Happy Hour) on the other hand was a disappointment.
Looks like this was placed under a broiler and the fries dried out making it seemed more baked than fried. The cheese was way too gooey and this was pretty salty so we couldn't make out any "wild boar". Also, where's the gravy?
As whole, we really enjoy the good cocktails ($6 - Happy Hour) and good Happy Hour pricing. The rather odd and eye catching artwork is a bonus. The Missus really likes the Lion's Share...to the point that She's willing to head into the Gaslamp.
The Lion's Share 629 Kettner Boulevard San Diego, CA 92101
Hours: Open daily 4 pm - 2 am - Happy hour from 4 - 6pm Daily
Aqui es Texcoco:
It's been way too long since we last visited. But our old favorites are still great here.
From the consommé; full of lamb flavor and nice and comforting with a squeeze of lime.
To the salty, but satisfying Chicharron de Queso.....griddled cheese.
And the Missus's favorite; the Plato Azteca......with huitlacoche(of course) and flor de calabaza (squash blossom) of course.
And of course you gotta get some Borrego....in this case the Mixiote.
Something I didn't take a photo of but was pretty impressed with this time around were the tortillas which were excellent.
Aqui es Texcoco never lets us down.
Aqui Es Texcoco 1043 Broadway Chula Vista, CA 91911
I couldn't help but take a photo of this sweet face.......waiting faithfully for its owner who was probably doing some Christmas shopping....hopefully for the pooch.
Things get quiet around here during the holiday season, but we keep rolling along. Here are a couple of things I noticed in my travels.
I was driving between meetings and dropped by Havana Grill for some take-out and noticed something strange about the Indian Market location.
Sure doesn't look Indian - Middle Eastern to me. Something named "Private Kitchen". A good friend had mentioned a chef from Chengdu was looking for a spot around here. Could this be it? While it seems that the "wave" of Sichuan places has come and gone; we could always use a good Sichuan restaurant!
Over the last couple of years the place has changed several times, so here's hoping for some stability.
5440 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92117
Coastal Crave Closes:
Man, with Kiel's, Hometown Buffet, Rita's, and now Coastal Crave closed; this strip mall seems very deserted.
It looks like fixtures and even the inventory is still in place. I don't see an eviction notice nor an ABC notice so am not quite sure what is going on here.
A few months back; Red Card Café replaced Kitchen 4140. I was intrigued at the concept, a Gastropub featuring various street food dishes.
I really like the space; casual, yet very nice...though I haven't set foot in the dining room, preferring the bar area or the outdoor seating.
The theme of the menu is....yep, global dishes from soccer countries. It's kind of out there, all over the place with everything from Cubanos, poutine....aracini to pierogies!
Over the last few months, I managed to visit four times. I like to check out a place a couple of times before doing a post whenever possible and the location of Red Card, in my 'hood made it easy to do multiple visits.
The owner; Caroline is a joy to chat with, and the folks here are pretty friendly.
The tap selection is small but decent, and they feature stuff from Bitter Brothers (right down the street) among others. So I started with a Golden Child.
One of the things I really developed a taste for during our trip to Tunisia was a nicely spiced merguez. Caroline hails from France and the chef is formerly from Sausage and Meat. So what more natural way to start things off than with a sausage, right? I did find out that the merguez was not made inhouse; bummer. I ordered it anyway. At $14, I thought a single sausage and some rather ordinary fries was not going to be a great value....unless that sausage delivered. The flavor of the merguez was a bit on the mild side; quite tame....based on the owner's background, I was expecting the thinner, rather snappy, slightly spicy, very flavorful meguez. I did like the house ketchup.
A few days later, the Missus joined me on a nice sunny evening.
Having just returned from Vancouver, where the Missus discovered an affection for Poutine and combined with Duck Confit, it just sounded like something we should try.
The Duck Poutine ($16) just had too much going on; too sweet, too heavy, you really couldn't taste the duck and the dish came across as being on the greasy side.
We also ordered the Cuban ($12) with Yam Chips ($3 when included with a sandwich).
The Yam Chips looked very dark and seemed a bit greasy, but was really crisp and had a nice salty-sweet potato flavor. The Missus really enjoyed this sorta-Cubano. The bread was nicely toasted; the mustard and pickles really lifted the flavor of the slightly citrusy and decently moist pork, and the slighty nutty-milky flavor went well with the sandwich.
This turned out to be a decent meal.
So I returned a few weeks later. This time I went with the Hot Dog which seemed a bit crazily priced at $12. It was however, quite good.
The hot dog tasted quite "porky", a bit different, loved the nice bacon bits, the wonderful house made mustard, and the sweetness of the caramelized onion. The potato bun went really well with all of this. And instead of being over-wrought and busy; I enjoyed this.
To balance things out; I went with the Kale Caesar ($7).
I enjoyed the fried kale which, along with the croutons added dimensions of crunch to the already crisp and fresh kale. The salad wasn't over-dressed and was very nice overall.
A few weeks later I returned; not being overly hungry, I went with the now rather ubiquitous Char Siu Steamed Buns ($14).
This was pretty mediocre, from the buns which seemed like something that was previously frozen, lacking the light fluffiness of fresh steamed buns. The meat was more like pulled pork than actual char siu. The sauce was a hoisin based glaze that was closer to a pseudo BBQ sauce than something truly Asian. It was also too sweet for my taste.
I finished the meal with a bottle of Three Philosophers for dessert.
Man, it had been a while since I'd had one of these.
In the end, I'm glad that we have Red Card in the neighborhood, heck, like I mentioned in Lynn's post of Red Card, this might be the best place on Morena now. And while I'm not the type to "just be happy to have it" and Red Card's menu, which is kind of all over the place seems to have its pitfalls, I'm glad to have another choice on the Boulevard.
Red Card Café 4140 Morena Blvd San Diego, CA 92117
Here's something for a lazy Labor Day. I hope you all had a nice, relaxing long weekend.
Still a favorite of mine. I recently had the pleasure of dining here with with Kirbie and her Hubby, it had been too darn long. I think we spent most of the time catching up....so I know I got no photos. And after all, I do have quite the collection, of posts on the place. In fact, the last time we travelled to Japan, it was to be about mostly Ramen and Yakitori for the Missus. And in spite of trying half a dozen places.....well....Taisho would have been a solid number 3. That says a lot. My only recent complaint about the place.......well, they've taken chicken karaage off the menu!
Not much new here......then having tried the quail, which was quite good.
On the other end of the spectrum. My last visit to Sakura left something to be desired. The Ebi Kakiage Udon was good as always....but the older woman who works here was just plain rude.
She's always been a bit perfunctory; but this time very short and rather rude, to all the customers. Everyone has a bad day; but when you're in the service industry, you need to minimize those. We'll see what happens the next time.....I think it'll be a while...I visit.
Izakaya Sakura 3904 Convoy St #121 San Diego, CA 92111
Our time in Seoul, and Korea, for that matter was coming to an end. The Missus and I discussed the possibilities for a last meal and we decided to give KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) another shot. This time at a place that was more highly recommended. I had a place on my list....which one of my coworkers called a "Hof"??? A Hof? Like "Hofbrau"? Well, she wasn't sure.....the term "hof" is used for various places that serve beer/drinks with food and to my relief had nothing to do with "The Hoff". So it was off to the "hof".
The shop was located in the Gyeongbokgung area, west of the Palace. The Gwanghwamun Gate of Gyeongbokgung looked especially striking on this clear evening.
Finding Mirak Chicken wasn't too difficult; especially with pocket wifi, called an "egg" in Korea, and a photo of the exterior.
Mirak Chicken's popularity is in part due to being shown on a very popular Korean Food Show named Tasty Road, which is how we found out about the place after having two people mention Mirak and the show to me.
The interior has a dark and kind of pub-like feel.
As is typical with these places, there's the all-you-can eat popcorn....which I found a bit odd. You obviously need a beverage of choice; we went with some Hite, which seemed a bit sweeter, but very light, and not as bitter as the versions here in the states. Perhaps it was being on holiday....... After ordering, some shredded cabbage dressed with a somewhat fruity mayo and the standard condiment of KFC, the water kimchi arrived.
Mirak is known for their Garlic Chicken, which of course had to order.
The chicken came with a ton of glazed whole garlic cloves, which of course I loved, but made me socially unpresentable for most of the evening. As with other glazed/sweet/spicy chicken of this type, the glaze was very sticky and way too sweet for me. They really had the batter and the cooking process down as the crust was thin and light, and the chicken very moist. It was just hard to get over the sweetness, for which I was thankful for the radish.
Hedging our bets, we also ordered the regular fried chicken which was quite good.
Crisp, light, and moist. But again, for some reason we both found the seasoning to be on the very mild side. They sure had the cooking process down though.
We were glad to have been able to try a couple of Korean Fried Chicken places.
Mirak Chicken (미락치킨) 17-1 Jahamun-ro Seoul, South Korea
After dinner, we decided to take a walk around the area. We hadn't been around this part of Seoul so this made for an interesting walk. We came across a shopping arcade and decided to do some exploring.
There were quite a few food stalls......
One stall was especially popular.
It made tteokbokki, not my favorite food item in the world, but this looked different. Bright red, stir fried in oil, so I had to try some.....
The was quite good....nice chew, a slight crunch, a good amount of spice, not very greasy.....I really liked it. It changed my opinion of tteokbokki.
After returning home, I tried to find out the name of this place and learned that it is Tongin Market, which was originally set-up by the Japanese in 1941 during the occupation. I also learned that one of the most popular stalls in the market makes Gireum tteokbokki, basically a fried in oil version.......lines rarely lie, right?
Walking back was a pleasure.....we really enjoy Seoul at night.
Before heading back to the apartment, we decided to head on over to the Cheonggyecheon Stream area. A few nights earlier we'd come across the Seoul Lantern Festival. I'm guessing this night must be something special, because folks were really enjoying the sights.
The theme this year was an "Illuminated Tour of Seoul", which was very cool. We saw lanterns of many of the sights we'd seen during the previous days.
Under the bridge folks were gathered, putting together lanterns to be released in the stream.
People were having a great time. It was a nice way to end our stay in Seoul.
As we walked back to the apartment along the alleyway parallel to the main street. Apparently, the huge building we were staying at was built over the Pimatgol, parallel to the main street of Jongno. Because the lower class residents were required to bow down to the nobles everytime they came across them, this parallel alley; the "alley to avoid horses", was created. There's a couple of very nice stories to be found here.
And while there are quite a few anecdotes I haven't told about Seoul; like the Missus complaining about not seeing a branch of Cocohodo, when there was one on the other side of the building. Just like Japan, it seems like there was a story around every corner.
We dozed of easily on this evening. We'd be rising early, then heading off to the airport, via Seoul Station. Next stop; Sapporo!
Some photos that have been languishing around for a while....it's time to C(lear) O(ut the) M(emory) C(ard).
Brunch at Tiger! Tiger!:
We'd kind of avoided brunch here as the menu seemed uninspiring. After returning from our last trip, we'd been working hard, so decided to just relax and see how the brunch was here. We were pleasantly surprised. Especially by the wood fired potatoes with the guajillo aioli.
Tiger! Tiger! 3025 El Cajon Blvd San Diego, CA 92104
"YZ" had completed a big project, so we decided to go out and grab lunch. We hadn't been to Chef Chin in a while. It was an ok lunch. The best item by far was the Xun Yu, the Jellyfish Head with Chicken the worst.
Chef Chin 4433 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
Carnitas' Snack Shack:
It had been over a year since we last visited and the Missus wanted a snack.....and this is Carnitas' Snack Shack, right? We shared the pulled pork hash, which was delish....the fries were much too salty though.
Carnitas' Snack Shack 2632 University Avenue San Diego, CA 92104
Aaaah, there you go....my memory card is a bit lighter now!
A recent weekend morning found me in Mission Valley. It's kind of interesting, when we first moved to San Diego, our condo was in MV, but these days, other than the Missus enjoying a shopping day, we almost try to avoid Mission Valley!
Funny thing, the service is totally like any pho shop on University....as in, "what you want"........
Haven't not been here in 10 years, I took the #49, regular, which was $7.69. Basically the proteins minus the rare steak, which I didn't think was going to be too good. What was really interesting was the plate of herbs and sprouts, which has got to be, the most stingy plate I've seen to date.
It was so amazingly stingy....I enjoy bean sprouts in my pho and have requested more on occasion, but this seemed a bit absurd. So, while waiting, I decided to count the bean sprouts.....which barely filled the palm of my hand. There were exactly 27 bean sprouts on that plate. Perhaps I could have requested more.....but really, should I have to beg for my sprouts?
So, lets get to the pho. The broth had nice hints of anise, but was lacking in richness and had way too much msg, the tendon and all the other proteins, including a decent amount of tripe was good. The noodles were a bit over cooked and mushy, but overall, it was hard to over come the amount of msg.
The service is typically perfunctory.....
Such is the state of pho in Mission Valley.
Pho Cali 1400 Camino De La Reina San Diego, CA 92108
So, I did Mike's BBQ, where I mentioned the beer offerings were much better than Coastal Crave's, which meant I had to return. I try to do a bit of due diligence when possible. This time, I avoided any of the dishes I had before and went with a simple burger.
But first, I can still say; there's not much craft beer here....they count Shock Top as a craft beer....
The Coastal Crave Burger?
Well, this was interesting. The burger was made to a nice medium, but the exterior was almost burnt and quite tough. Really sad, because this could have been a decent burger. Instead, it came across as being a bit bitter. The brioche style bun was good, the fried onion rings ditto....so close.
The young lady working on this evening was a joy; I believe her name is Kristin, or something like that. So maybe, maybe, since it's up the street......though they've got to step up their beers....
Coastal Crave 3065 Clairemont Dr San Diego, CA 92117
We're sort of creatures of habit....the Missus has Her favorites and it's pretty much up to me to do the exploring and find new places these days.
Not sure why; but here are two places on our rotation that we hadn't visited this year. I think we've been busy and having two international trips fairly close together kind of messed up our schedules a bit. But anyway, we're finally getting back to some normalcy around here, which means revisiting our favorites. We've posted on these places a ton of times; so I guess this is a "most photo Friday?"
A favorite of ours since they first opened, I think the Missus had Her fill of Yakitori on our last trip to Japan and needed a break. Then of course, right when She was starting to crave it again we headed off to Spain. As it stands, we returned on a Monday night and I was back at work at 6am the next morning so it took a while for me to get back in the groove.
But, if the crowd right after they opened on a Tuesday evening is any indication, they are doing just fine.
If you want some additional info, you can read any number, of posts I've done on Taisho; even a comparison of Taisho versus Yakyudori. The thing is; as Yakyudori descends, Taisho seems to have gotten even better...except on Thursdays, when Taka-san is off.
Yakitori Taisho 5185 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. San Diego, CA 92117
Another one of those places that I've posted on a number of times. The truth of the matter is; we were going once a week and the Missus finally got burnt out. we were still hitting up Toronado, but the Missus needed to give TT a rest. And we're glad we did....a fresh seasonal menu and fresh beer options....and instead of a large order of pate, they now offer a nice charcuterie plate. This is the half portion. That house made pancetta was really good.
Wood fired potatoes......
One great thing is that when you order the sausage sandwich without the roll, is that they'll automatically make it into a salad for you! This is the linguica.
A big plus is the beer server here; I believe her name is Dez; who is always so awesome to us!
Tiger! Tiger! 3025 El Cajon Blvd San Diego, CA 92104
It's almost spring, so time to start clearing out that memory card. Here's threesome from several months back. As with these posts, it mostly photos.
For some reason the Missus actually wanted to go on my typical Saturday "rounds" on this morning....I think it was because She was hungry. We had eaten at Zen Peninsula the week before and I guess She was wondering how a place like China Max would line up.
Short answer? It doesn't.......
Chicken feet looked good, very tender, but lacking in flavor.
The sauce/soup for the tripe was good, but it hadn't imparted flavor to the tripe.
The wrappers for the shrimp and spinach dumplings were too thick and this really lacked flavor.
Even my old standby here, the pan fried shrimp and chive dumplings weren't spared. Greasy and portions of the wrappers were splitting and burnt, making this bitter.
We've always thought that the gailan at China Max was done pretty well....this time it was over cooked.
I admit that it's pretty slim pickins' with regards to Dim Sum in SD......
The Smoked Wings is one of the two items the Missus comes for; they can sometimes be too salty, or not fried right, but on this visit, things were right.
For some reason the Missus likes the Rib Tips here......I'm not a fan of the sauces at Iron Pig, so we get them without sauce. Now a good rib tip...crunchy cartilage, fatty tissue, man, it can be a thing of beauty. This was very close; it had been smoked perfectly, was moist and tender. The only (big) minus? It needed a more aggressive rub. This was nicely porky, but lacked seasoning.
Nice smoke ring though.......
Iron Pig Alehouse 1520 Garnet Ave San Diego, CA 92109
Yes, time hasn't been very kind to the place; the lamination on the menus are peeling off and the tables have attained a robust amount of stickiness, but I still drop by every so often, mainly for breakfast, to see what's going on. A simple bowl of Wonton and Dumpling Egg Noodle soup for me on this day. It's gone up 50 cents since my visit last year.
For some reason the charsiu really struck me as not being as good as in the past.....not sure why that's what stuck in my head.......
Tan Ky Mi Gia 5237 El Cajon Blvd San Diego, CA 92115