The "Pho" portion of the logo looks strangely familiar, but I just can't place it. I'm still hoping for decent pho in the Convoy-Kearny Mesa area......... I'm hoping this will at least be decent.
3904 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
The Original Tofu House opening in Mira Mesa:
I saw this a couple of days ago and drove by yesterday to take a photo.
Quite a few Korean food places opening around Mira Mesa.
I believe this used to be Arby's????
9089 Mira Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92126
Casa Medina has moved?:
I noticed that Casa Medina had closed on the way home the other day. So I dropped by after work today to check it out.
So it looked like the place has closed, until I turned around and saw the sign for Casa Medina along side that of the old Bismallah Restaurant above World Market & Produce.
So unless the market likes to collect signs of defunct restaurants, you can now get your Halal tacos inside of World Market & Produce.
5440 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92117
Was it cold enough for you?
I thought it was pretty chilly this morning and checked my weather app. And did a double, no triple take....
Must be a malfunction, right? This would be the weather in the Bay Park area......and would also be colder than what we experienced in Seattle!
My Christmas dinner:
Both the Missus and I have been working quite a bit. She had to work on Christmas and after grilling a ton of chicken for Her potluck and making Her a separate lunch/dinner, I really didn't feel like doing anymore cooking. So I decided to head over to Sushi Yaro and Sam put together a nice sashimi combo for me between the zillion rolls.
It made for quite a feast. It was also nice seeing Sam; it had been a while. As a bonus, a couple of the "old-time" regulars whom I haven't seen in ages also dropped by, before the place got totally swamped. Sam mentioned that I've known him for about eleven years now! Time does fly.......
Hidden behind the Convoy institution that is Chopstix, this tiny little place is easy to miss. I'm really not the Min Sok Chon, Thang Thang, soju bomb kind of guy, but I got a few recommendations from folks I knew. Though I still had reservations because when I quizzed these folks on the food, the standard answer usually included big portions, and not remembering much because they were...shall we say.....taste deadened and mush minded from overindulging a bit?
It is a pretty small and somewhat cozy kind of place. There are only 5 beers on tap. The main drink of choice for most of the young people who go here are the flavors of soju...."white gummy bear"???
The bartender/server on both of my visits was a very nice and friendly young woman named Nancy...very calm, very chill.
The menu is full of what I call "Kogi-truckish" dishes...you know, bulgogi tacos, bulgogi quesadillas, bulgogi fries, stuff that's already kind of passe'
The dining area is set-up like one of those faux outdoor porch type of restaurants. A acquaintance of mine actually knew the Korean name of that style of set-up....but you know; old age and all that. I just can't seem to remember the term right now.
There's actually one reason I came to Nolbu...the Korean Spicy Wings ($8.99). Almost everyone I spoke to mentioned these wings, though none could not really tell me much about the flavor.
The wings are quite large, the flavor as you can imagine is based on kochujang and almost tastes like my Spicy Misoyaki without as much bean paste. It is indeed a basic sweet chili sauce...sticky, more sweet than spicy, perhaps in need of a bit more complexity. maybe a bit more sour/tart, or savory-garlic tones. The batter was nice at first, perhaps a bit too thick, but still crunchy, but it got really gummy in minutes. Not terrible....but definitely not... Kyochon by any stretch. In fact, this eerily reminded me of the stuff they used to serve at BBQ Chicken, though not nearly as crunchy.
I also decided to try the mandu ("Dumplings" on the menu - $6.99).
These weren't very good in my opinion, too much cabbage filler, the sauce also tasted watered down. The wrapper were decent, but I'd take a pass on these next time.
Overall, not bad and as always I thought a return visit should be done.
One funny thing; when I was waiting for my drink a guy walked in laden with bags....shopping for supplies I'd guess. All the plastic bags were from Zion Market! I guess that's where they do their shopping? I really think stuff like that should be done via the rear entrance.
This time I came with my friends YummyYummy and Candice. We had the spicy wings again, which were a bit better this time...less sickly sweet and the texture held up a bit better.
We also had the haemul pajeon - the seafood pancake ($12.99), a bit small for the price.
But with a pretty generous amount of well.....Zion Seafood probably..... I will say that in terms of texture it was less gummy and a bit lighter than what I'd had at Common Theory, though it was 2/3 the size.
I also wanted to try the Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings ($8.99).
A bit light in flavor, these wings swere pretty straight-forward...basically naked, without a coating, but not bad....I'd have these again, as these were nicely fried.
The same five beers on tap; my favorite being the Stone Arbalest since I do enjoy tripels, quads, and Belgian strongs. this one was pretty good, light citrus-woody flavor with a mildly boozy-hoppy finish.
While waiting for my friends to meet me, the same young man walked in ladened with plastic bags....again from Zion Market.
Anyway, in terms of food, this place serves up a more Asian flavor than Common Theory. I was surprised that the food wasn't as salty as, say Min Sok Chon. They do have a decent bottle collection, but only five draft beers and the temps on my second visit seemed a bit off. As much as I like the folks working here, there's really no working knowledge of the beer they're serving...it's more of soju service. As in the version of an umbrella drink - soju served up in a half watermelon.
That said; I might drop in again for some wings and a beer.....if I feel like eating groceries from Zion....
Nolbu Mini Gastropub 4633 Convoy St. Suite 102 San Diego, CA 92111
The Missus was craving Jokbal Bossam and it had been a while since we've had it here, so the timing seemed perfect. I do wish they'd choose something other than napa cabbage, but other than that, this was porky goodness. In spite of the name, it's dishes like the jokbal bossam, heukyumso jungol, kimchi dolsot bi bim bap, and on good days the seolleongtang that works for us here.
The panchan on this day was good. I think folks have gotten used to the "quick kimchi" style panchan, and this sometimes is a bit too fermented or salty for its own good.
Grandma's Tofu & BBQ 4425 Convoy St. San Diego, CA 92111
Not much to say about this than I need a nap after eating this.
Homestyle Hawaiian Island Style Food 7524 Mesa College Drive San Diego, CA 92111
Santouka, that chain that originated in the coldest city in Japan, Asahikawa, has long been my go-to ramen spot. As with many places I eat at, there's one item I usually order. Here it's the shio ramen - toroniku style.
After going to all the major ramen shops in San Diego back in February 2013, Santouka still was my favorite. the rich, stick to your ribs broth, the nice firm noodles, and the pork which, when "on" has a wonderful, almost smooth texture with a nice pork flavor.
I know, it's really hot out....but on this, a cooler day, it hit the spot.
mmm-yoso!!! Food blog. Kirk and Ed(from Yuma) are busily researching subjects for posts. Cathy is posting results of her research.
A few weeks ago, driving to U Mart for some weekly groceries, we noticed a change in the exterior signage.
The Mister and I had been here (the building was the original San Diego location of Zion supermarket) several times since UMart had opened in December and noticed construction going on inside each time. We were told there was a new owner of the building who wanted the name change.There are now cash registers facing each doorway and the 'hallway' of other stores has been widened. As Kirk mentioned in February, Happy Family reopened.
The menu has been simplified further, with ten total offerings.
The Mapo Tofu ($7.99) is always a favorite. It comes with the red pepper paste soup as well as the pickled sides and the black bean paste.
There were a few ounces of ground pork, some wood ear fungus and a lot of very good tofu in this dish. The flavors were not Americanized at all -the way we like it- with a few numbing peppercorns used in the sauce.
The pepper paste soup was made with onions and zucchini and the broth seemed to have a saltiness to it (no condiments were needed with this meal other than what was served).
We also shared an order of fried dumpling ($5.99). These gunmandu were made fresh here (not frozen) and fried to a very crispy (yet still chewy level). The dumpling skins were a bit thick in a good way; there was no leakage of the filling.
The filling, mostly chives with some ground pork: so fresh and the chive greens still crispy. The right amount to balance the fried dumpling dough. These were the nicest version we've ever had. A great way to start our shopping trip.
Happy Family inside Hana Mart 4611 Mercury Street San Diego 92111 (858)279-8713 Open 10-8 Tues-Sunday
mmm-yoso!!! is a food blog written by three friends: Kirk, who is not on this continent, Ed(from Yuma), who is not in this state and Cathy, who is right here right now.
A couple of new places and a few new menu items have entered my life within the past couple of weeks and I thought I'd share, before writing a complete post...you know, in case you might want to try something new over this three day weekend.
The signage isn't up yet. The name really is "Donut Panic" and it's a small shop in the mall anchored by Souplantation on Mission Gorge at Vandever (near the 'other' Kaiser) run by a daughter and her father. The 'regular' daily donuts are always fresh and good, BUT on Saturday and Sunday around 9 a.m. and on Wednesday after 6 p.m.--- Vegan Donuts come out of the kitchen. You read that right- no eggs or dairy go into these-the magic ingredient is potato- and each is topped with wonderful, imaginative, fancy flavors and sold at reasonable prices ($1.50 each). Above is a cross section of one with orange almond icing. The texture is light, crispy. The photo of four (clockwise, from bottom left) has the flavors of earl grey tea, vanilla (yes, I know it's pink), chocolate espresso almond and the maple "bacon". (The 'bacon' is unsweetened coconut dipped in soy sauce and flavored with liquid smoke has the right texture and flavor). There are other fancy flavors offered: saffron cardamom, green tea and quite a few others. There are also some filled offerings ($2 each).
I found out about this place from good friend and fellow blogger, cc (there's a link to her first post at the bottom of that link). On Friday, there are fresh vegan cupcakes..a post will be up soon.
Donut Panic 6171 Mission Gorge Road San Diego, CA 92120 (619) 280-1894
The only English on the sign (that isn't a menu item) is "Old Street Food", so I'm assuming that's the name, since I don't read Korean. Located in the center of Zion Supermarket, by the Fruits and Vegetables. Open on Monday, when Gala Chicken, the other shop in that center area is closed, we had to stop, look and order.
You order, then the once fried items are taken to the back stove and fried again.
This solid packed box with squid legs, octopus, purple sweet potato and pumpkin was $6 and still fresh and crispy when we got home. We could have eaten at the counter here, but were full...because
We saw this when we walked into the Zion complex and had to stop.
There are five flavors, three sizes.
Here's a photo of a small ($3.75) green tea shaved ice (excellent flavor of green tea) topped with sweet beans, mochi, sweetened condensed milk and some peanut powder. We saw a large bowl being brought out to a couple and it was HUGE!
Paris Baguette (inside Zion Marketplace) 7655 Clairmont Mesa Blvd. San Diego 92111 (858)650-0404 website
I hope everyone is having a nice and safe three day weekend. Have a good Memorial Day weekend.
I've been fighting this head cold for the last couple of days.......my head aches, I keep coughing, I sound like Barry White; though a phlegmy, very unromantic version..... Soup seems like the most obvious remedy, but man, it's been pretty warm. For some reason, I wanted something with a bit of spice, so........
I've been back a couple of time since my last post and it seems like gone to a change of ownership a couple of times too???? Or is it that they just can't hang on to a chef?
Still, it had been a while, maybe two years or so since I last stepped through those doors and laid my arms on those sticky table covers.
Having a cold hasn't dampened my appetite, though the coughing fits have.
I started with a nice variety of Liang Cai - cold dishes:
the pig ears were the best item; you don't have to worry too much about the flavoring; it's about prepping and cutting it at the right thickness. This was nice a crunchy. The flavoring for the cucumbers was kind of weak and listless and the Fu Qui Fei Pian was cut too thickly, lacking Sichuan peppercorn, and was really weak in the flavor department.
I just wanted something to wake up my tastebuds and went with one of my "comfort dishes" - Sichuan Liang Mian - Sichuan Cold Noodles.
First the good, nice heat, the texture of the noodles was decent. Now, the not so good; the sauce was really thin and runny, lacking in the "good stuff", (i.e. sesame paste, black vinegar). There was a ton of peanuts though...... Just mediocre overall.
Spicy City Chinese Restaurant 4690 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
I was just trying to get my sinuses cleared up and though some Bibim Naengmyun might do the job, so it was off to Buga.
I gotta say, even though the panchan isn't even close to what it was during Buga's heyday, it was still much better than it was during our last visit.
The Missus, as is Her habit, ordered the Yukwe Bi Bim Bap, which now comes with rice on the side. Do you notice another change?
Compare it with the photo here and tell me if you notice a difference? Yep, no more raw egg...I'm wondering if the DOH came down on them or what?
My Naengmyun was flavored well.......
Decent spice, savory, sweet, sour....but those darned noodles were way under prepared.....I'm used to the nice stretchy starch noodles, but man, this was like trying to eat rubber-bands....nicely flavored rubber-bands....but still.
Anyway, the Missus enjoyed Her dish, me, well, I've had better here. But I left with my sinuses a bit less congested, for a short while.
Buga Korean Restaurant 5580 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. San Diego, CA 92117
Speaking of Barry White....well, we were speaking of Barry White weren't we?
After all, it's always a good time for a little Barry White, right?
I've been curious about this place for years and even more so after Cathy posted on it back in 2008. The name though, has always given me pause; as FOY Howie once said, "so, Natural Chicken, eh.....would that be versus, Unnatural Chicken?"
Still, when I recently passed by on my visit to Gaglione Brothers, the place was doing good business with the folks who know good cheap eats; postal workers and cops.
So when I had a chance to drop by a couple of days later I did. This time a large table was filled with city workers having lunch....always a good sign.
The place is dated, simple, and looks like it has seen better days.....but I do like the large brick rotisserie mounted in the front of the restaurant. It must get pretty hot in here when that thing is running....
If you look at the name, you might be surprised when you went to the counter and saw bulgogi on the menu. The place is Korean owned and on this day a really nice woman was manning the front counter.
The sign said "Best Teriyaki Chicken in San Diego" and while it isn't $4.49 anymore, it's still a great deal at $6.19. I ordered it and the woman asked what kind of dressing, when I told her she just turned to the window and simply said "Ranch!" My next surprise happened when I turned to take a seat....well, by the time my butt hit the bench, my food was ready! The chicken as Cathy described is skinless rotisserie, moist and tender, the teriyaki sauce is a "tweener", not overly sweet like the bentos from Nijiya or Mitsuwa, nor too salty. If you prefer it either way, this might be considered bland, but I thought it decently balanced. The rice was good, no complaints there. The "salad" was chopped iceberg with watered down ranch, but what did I expect at this price point?
The food here is priced right and my blue collar roots appreciates places serving honest food at decent prices. If I were still driving a truck or working in frozen foods, or heck, still doing short order work, I'd be here quite often......
"Lookin' out on the morning rain I used to feel uninspired And when I knew I had to face another day Lord, it made me feel so tired
Before the day I ate you, life was so unkind But your flavor was the key to my peace of mind
'Cause you make me feel, you make me feel......"
Well maybe not.....but you know what I mean, right?
Natural Style Chicken 3944 W Point Loma Blvd San Diego, CA 92110 Hours: Open Daily 11am - 9pm
It had been a while since I last visited, so I thought I'd drop in and grab a bite. Nothing really called to me and I wasn't super hungry, but then a tray of lechon kawale came out of the kitchen, so I went for that.
It was hot, the exterior hot and crisp, but there was something strange about this.....the meat was on the spongy side and very bland....actually the texture of the meat wasn't very pleasant. I just can't quite put my finger on it.
Pinoy Fiesta 550 E 8th St National City, CA 91950
Grandma's Tofu & BBQ:
I know, I just did a post on the Heokyumso Jeongol - the black goat stew a couple of months back. But the recent rain and colder weather had us craving this again. Instead of going on and on about the dish, I'll let you in to a little secret....our "goat strategy" if you will. As good as the Heokyumso Jeongol is, it's even better when spiced up a bit....so when the panchan comes, we quickly, but sneakily dump all the baechu kimchi and the sauce from the cucumber instantly into the broth....it makes it that much better! The nice ladies then bring us refills...we eat the kimchi, but make sure to dump the sauce into the stew....and so forth. We usually take home about 2/3 of this.....and we hit Zion on the way home for sesame leaf or wild spinach, then I'll get some tofu from Nijiya on my way home from work the next day....we always have Korean bean paste and gochujang and this ends up being two more meals.
Which is why we'll usually get something like the Kimchi Dolsot Bi Bim Bap with our meal.
Sshhh, don't tell anybody......
Grandma's Tofu & BBQ 4425 Convoy St. San Diego, CA 92111
Though the Bot Chien really wasn't worth the effort......
I guess I'm still chasing what I had at Kang Lac Bakery in Westminster. Instead of being crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, this had a hard exterior with a cardboard like texture and flavor. They probably bought it at Lucky Seafood next door.
The Missus strangely had a Banh Xeo which She enjoyed.......the pork in this version is braised which makes it more tender than others.....still, it's far from my favorite.
We came back a couple of nights later and I had the Egg Noodle Soup with Roast Duck.......
The duck can be hit and miss....on this visit it was super tough, definitely a miss, but the hot and salty soup really did the trick.
Tan Ky Mi Gia 9330 Mira Mesa Blvd #A San Diego, CA 92126
Aka in back of China Max and a few doors down from Spicy City.
I read this in Eater San Diego and was passing by during lunch so I took a quick swing past the shop.
My sources and the menu does indicate Yunnan....even though Jin's Karaoke is right next door...I'm thinking that must be a coincidence?
The prices seem kind of steep, though they have lunch specials.
They also have a 10% off grand opening special.....might not be for long, the "sign" is in marker.....
They weren't open yet on this day, so I'll just drop by later. A funny thought crossed my mind, if this was anywhere else but Convoy, a shop with the name Jin's Pot would have a total different connotation.
Jin's Pot 4690 Convoy St. Suite B109 San Diego, CA 92111
Happy Family reopens in UMart:
Well, I've been kind of keeping tabs one what's going on in the gigantic space inside UMart. There are a couple of non-food shops in the old Zion Market food court area. Happy Family, whom Cathy posted on has made a return, joining Big Joy Bakery.
Things have been moving kind of slowly here, I hope business and businesses pick-up.
Happy Family (Inside UMart) 4611 Mercury Street San Diego, CA 92111
mmm-yoso!!! is a food blog. This post is being written during one of the food-iest weeks of the year by Cathy. This is because the foodier guys, Kirk and Ed (from Yuma) are busy planning their magnificent Thanksgiving Day feasts.
You can see the signage advertising $2 off any combo all day as well as the Fall Special of $6.95 Tofu Soup, which we decided to share on this chilly day. We decided on a spice level of 2 (out of 5), since we knew the spicy here is very spicy.
The organic, non-GMO tofu in soup is handed to you on the tray, bubbling furiously. It comes with the raw egg, and various banchan (sides) of fried tofu, seaweed and marinated bean sprout as well as some mild kimchi. The 'Rice Lady' followed us until we found a table and had started scraping the rice out of a hot stone pot, presenting the rice in the dish you see above...
as well as the hot stone pot, with the remaining rice stuck to the sides, which she filled with warm tea- another side dish. The rice is a bit more 'toasted' in this hot pot and scraping it off and eating it with the tea is yet another great flavor combination (if you like Japanese Genmaicha-brown rice tea- you'll get that flavor from this bowl with the bit of burnt scrapings).
Here's a photo of the 'Rice Lady' leaving our table, heading to another table to deliver their hot pot of rice.
The tofu soup here is particularly good, filled with bok choy, onion and thin sliced pieces of beef (as well as the cooked egg which is not in this photo). The tofu is a perfect texture and the spice level was just enough that you can still taste the ingredients.
CDD Tofu & Grill 7655 Clairmont Mesa Blvd San Diego 92111 Inside Zion Marketplace. Here is a link to Kirbie's visit to CDD(includes a copy of the menu), and this is a link including Jinxie's visit to CDD.
After our shared lunch, we went shopping inside Zion. You'll notice we were here on 11/11---that special day is
Pepero Day!!! Celebrated in Korea in a way similar to Valentine's Day here...exchanging Pepero cookie snacks to show affection for friends and loved ones is how to celebrate. (Pepero Day originally had the purpose of exchanging Peperos with the hopes of becoming taller and thinner...as if).
The flavors above were our purchases (although other flavors, box sizes and individual foot long Peperos as well as a collectible tin were being sold)..the green one is chocolate coated and rolled in almond, the red is chocolate dipped and rolled in peanut and the yellow (my favorite) is "nude"- a plain biscuit, filled with chocolate (or as the label states: "chocolate is contained tightly in the stick biscuit").