mmm-yoso!!! a food blog written by friends Kirk, Ed (from Yuma) and Cathy. Today, Cathy is writing.
Kirk has been posting non-stop most of this year, all the while working a lot of overtime; he (and His Missus) need a vacation. I've got plenty of places to write about and so does Ed (from Yuma), so we will be posting about some new places and foods we have consumed.
In an obscure mall, (anchored by Boot Barn) located South West of Parkway Plaza at Johnson and Arnele, there used to be a family-owned taco shop which had enough walk in business that they never advertised or offered coupons. It was a great place that I never blogged about; a secret. After almost 20 years, that family retired. Around August, another family took over and opened Canela.Located at the corner of the buildings, it could be easily missed. Inside is not too large, with about five barstool height tables and five booths. It is a walk up, order, pay and have a seat type of place. It is a not a taco shop. Yes, there are tacos and burritos on the menu, but look closely (the two thumbnails are of a current menu)..there are sopes, hurraches, mole, soups (including pozole and mole de olla). This is Mexico City cuisine, made to order and of high quality. Eating in, a small order of chips and (house made) salsas are brought out while you wait. The first visit, a few months ago, had me only ordering a plain quesadilla ($4)...I had recently been to a taco shop that served a flour tortilla filled with slices of American cheese and was wary (no, I won't even post about it). This was an excellent simple meal- the tortilla was fresh and the cheese was meltier than usual, in a good way. Returning with The Mister, I was eager to try an enchilada, along with each of the house-made sauces (which were completely different than the red and green sauces that are brought out with the chips-you already know I'm obsessive about sauces)($2.25 each). These cheese filled house made corn tortillas, topped with the mild green and perkier red sauces were excellent. (There is an enchilada combo plate I could have ordered, but they did not want to mix the sauces on the plate. I still don't know which sauce I liked more.) The Mister ordered a tostada bowl ($6.25), thinking it would be mostly salad, but it was mostly beef. A nice, flavorful almost asada beef. It was so good. When we were leaving, there were no other customers and I remarked that I like sauces and was curious about the mole negro. The nice ladies working gave us a sample to try. I could taste the sweetness of cinnamon, raisin and Mexican chocolate along with garlic and oregano. There was also a distinctive nut flavor along with at least three different chiles - pasilla, ancho and smoky chipotle. When we went back last week, the mole negro plate ($9.50) was ordered. There was also mole pipian (green mole that is sort of tangy and with a spicy/heat flavor, opposed to the sweetness of negro) available. The smooth, black mole was served over two chicken breast pieces with rice and refried beans.This blended with the chicken and rice and was lovely just plain on a spoon. The multiple flavors of of the mole were even more pronounced, probably because there was a good amount on the plate. Wanting to try a Mexico City Style quesadilla ($6), which is fried, there were a few choices of filling: mushroom, squash blossom or, as you can see above, huitlacoche. This was the most interesting version of a quesadilla because of the melted stringy Oaxaca cheese mixed with the delightful corn smut all in a perfectly fried fresh made corn and flour shell. The light snack of a fresh made huarache ($6) was shared. This fresh thin and flat fried corn masa shell was topped with refried beans and the same marinated beef as we had with the tostada bowl. That's a good Mexican crema on top of everything; much nicer than sour cream.
A great addition to the East County.
Canela Mexico City Cuisine 795 Arnele Avenue El Cajon 92020 (619) 729-9952 opens at 9 a.m. daily (it is open on Sunday)
The beverages here, jamaica, horchata, atole and (above) champurrado are made from scratch. As I mentioned, quality.
Thanks for stopping by to read mmm-yoso!!!, food blog. Today, Cathy is writing a short post, not about any particular restaurant, but about some particular food items. Ed (from Yuma) has a nice post coming up tomorrow. Kirk is still out of the country and enjoying his international vacationing.
In 2011, Kirk wrote a great post about fried animal skins, quite a few were -ahem- less than common and difficult to find unless traveling internationally. I thought that writing a short post about commonly found chicharron would be nice. Dropping into any Mexican Market, you can probably find a variety of both pork and beef fried skins, some with meat attached (the far left) and some just the skin (second from left). Those are sold by the pound and can simply be eaten while wrapped in a corn tortilla, with or without some hot sauce.
The above is the counter at Northgate Gonzalez, a family owned and run Mexican grocery chain which I haven't posted about yet. Sometimes, in this same Mexican Markets, there is a steam tray area with stews and there is usually a choice of rojo (red) or verde (green) chicharron stews called guisados, which can be served taco style. Because the fried skins have been stewing, they are softened and not crispy, but still flavorful. The above are from Krist Liquor and Market. You can always order fresh made chicharrones by the 1/2 pound at Carnitas Uruapan.Long ago, I had mentioned fried chicken skin, dilis and bulaklak sold by the pound at Kababayan Market, which is now located in Spring Valley (I'll have a post about the new location soon).Fried chicken skins are my weakness and backup snack for just about every situation. I have also mentioned purchasing fried chicken skins at Chic-Boy in National City, because I know where to find fried skins when the craving strikes. Then there was the day we were at TJ Oyster Bar and I noticed the 'Starters' section of the menu while waiting in line at the newest location (again, I have a post forthcoming)...the second item, 'Chicharron Fish'.Hoping it would be a plate of these (above) fried fish tails, I was disappointed to see...this gigantic plate of more or less fish nuggets. But, oh what wonderful, meaty, lightly breaded nicely fried nuggets these were. The dipping sauce- umami- a deep, fishy, tart, lime-vinegar mix which went perfectly with the sliced raw onions. Not really skins, but fried and tasty.
I hope your long weekend is going well. It's not over!
Thanks for stopping to see which food ethnicity mmm-yoso!!! is writing about today. Our blog posts are a sort of ongoing diary of where and what we eat. Cathy is writing; Kirk is enjoying nice weather and Ed (from Yuma) is busy with other things (in Yuma).
When The Mister and I first moved to San Diego, we lived near this small nondescript strip mall, in the middle of a neighborhood. There was a great little market on the far end, 'Green Grocer', where we regularly shopped. After moving out, we still came back to shop at Green Grocer and noticed Maritza's moved in (around 1987). This was the same time that small taco shop (run by their in-laws) had opened across the street from (presently under reconstruction) K Sandwiches. Maritza and her husband still own and run this wonderful little shop.Nondescript was the word I used. There's a Liquor Store on the other end of this strip and some other shops in between.Walk up, order and pay and have a seat. Marita brings the food out to you.When you walk up to order look at the wall to your right, not just straight ahead. There are specials listed. The above 'Flying Saucer'($6.75) is a good choice when you just aren't sure. The shredded stewed beef, on top of refried beans on top of a crispy fried flour tortilla and topped with the generic lettuce, tomato, cheese, guacamole and sour cream is a good way to eat what you want...with drops of the wonderful multi flavored, spicy/medium heat house made salsa.The enchiladas are a similarly easy to try option...again the unique house made enchilada sauce is really good. I just wanted to take a photo of the sauce. These are cheese enchiladas ($3.25), my Friday standard order.Look at the order counter in the second photo, there's a paper taped to the beverage dispenser, in the center.
Sopes ($2.75)...hand made circles of fried dough (crispy on the exterior and soft and kind of fluffy on the interior) (so tasty of sweet corn) topped with refried beans and, in this case, carne asada. Standard toppings of lettuce, tomato, guacamole and cheese round this out. An order of one is very filling.
The carne asada here is the best of anywhere. Maritza's husband makes it himself, mixing the spices and marinating and it is just perfection.Here's a cross section of a carne asada burrito ($5.55). It is really, really flavorful steak. Scrolling back up to the second photo again, taped on the wall straight behind where you order is a sign: "Wednesdays Special Carnitas".
Again, Maritza's husband makes the carnitas and it's available until sold out. A great carnitas...fried pork, shredded and served with corn tortillas...and everything you see above, including the house made green salsa, seen on the far right in the above photo (and mentioned in my post about sauces and salsas and divorce.) The plate is $9.95 and a burrito is $4.95.
Maritza's is a local little shop and a treasure.
Maritza's Mexican Food 3582 Mount Acadia Boulevard (between Mount Burnham Drive and Mount Abbey Drive) San Diego 92111 (858)279-8866 open 11:30-8:30 Mon-Fri Closed Saturday and Sunday
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.
mmm-yoso!!! is a food blog. We thank you for stopping by to read. On this lovely Friday of a very busy October weekend, Kirk is working a lot of stressful overtime, while Ed (from Yuma) is gearing up for a busy weekend of research for future postings and Cathy is relaxing in front of the computer and writing this post.
For the past few decades, I've been more than interested in condiments. Numerous varieties of ethnic cooking are common here and so many ingredients are available.
Living in San Diego County, the varieties of sauces and salsas used in and on and with Mexican food are numerous.Walk into any generic grocer and the choices are overwhelming...
Walk into a Mexican Market and the choices increase exponentially.
Step into any taco shop and the fresh made vats of salsas and condiments are unique in flavor and selection.Have a seat at primarily mariscos (seafood) restaurant and the hot sauce selection on each table leads to some interesting flavor points if you become curious about what makes each differ from the other.Depending on what you order, at certain establishments, the 'proper' salsa/sauce (made in the restaurant) will be brought out to the table. One of our favorite Mexican places, Maritza's (it's in Clairmont; I'll have a post ready soon) makes a special chopped green salsa, served only with carnitas, which are prepared and served only on Wednesdays. It's multi flavored with a medium heat, a little salty and compliments the chunky seared pork absolutely perfectly.Then there is mole: complex flavored, multi ingredient sauces with flavors unique to various regions of Mexico. The above breakfast (over eggs) mole is from Vanessa's Deli and has a distinct sweetness.These three moles served over chicken enchiladas from Rana's (again, I have a post forthcoming) are each wildly unique: the red mole is poblano chili based and, like the other two, is made with more than 20 ingredients, the white mole has pecans in its base while the green mole uses fresh herbs, tomatillos and sunflower seeds. Each is wonderful on its own and when I can't decide..well the 'Tricolor' plate is my choice.The enchilada suizas at Ponce's is my usual choice. Suiza means 'Swiss' and the sauce is cream based, thick and with a mild green salsa mixed in for this version.Similarly, the Karina's sauce is green and creamy, but more of a culiché sauce: cream, poblano chilis and garlic dominate the flavors.Sometimes, I crave a rich flavored, chili pepper and tomato based red enchilada sauce on top of cheese filled corn tortillas. The above is from my neighborhood taco shop; each taco shop makes a unique version.
Then, there are this days when I can't decide and everything sounds good. The wonderful Mexican people have a solution on their menus - Divorciados!
Huevos divorciados (divorced eggs) is a Mexican breakfast made with two fried eggs, separated in the above version by refried beans and potatoes (I've sometimes had chilaquiles as the separation food item). One egg is covered in salsa roja (red sauce) and the other egg covered in salsa verde (green sauce), giving each egg a distinct flavor. (The above Divorciados Plate is a breakfast item at El Portal ). Dropping in at Carnitas Uruapan, there is a white board of daily specials and lately 'Carne Divorciados' has been an available special.
The top plate has the red sauce covering chicharron (fried pork rinds) and the green sauce covering pork pieces.
The second plate has the green sauce covering chicharron and the red sauce covering beef rib meat (they were out of cooked pork at the time of our order). You can see how different the sauces are from the same kitchen on different days.
Finding new flavors makes me happy, finding divorciados means I don't have to make many decisions on some days...
I believe I first read about Salud on Mary's Food Blog, then some friends told me they really like the place. They described it as sort of hipster tacos put together by the San Diego Taco Company. I had wanted to check out Border X Brewing Company, so decided to make it a two-fer. Unnfortunately, Border X was closed...but at least Salud was open. Man, I hadn't been in this part of Barrio Logan since this location was Porkyland over 9 years ago!
The interior is nice and bright with high ceilings making the dining area seem wide open and airy. The folks here are very friendly. You order at the counter then have a seat with a number....
The menu is simple, with tacos, bowls, quesadillas, and such.
Loved this mural.....
Also enjoyed the salsa bar....nice variety, well made salsas, though in the end I choose the traditional Chile de Arbol Salsa.
I order three tacos, $2.50 each....so $7.50 for three tacos. I gotta say, they were pretty sloppy.
The fried tortilla for the birria (this version is pork) was superb, light, crusty, really nice. This was basically a mes. The birria was pretty bland, really lacking any chile flavor, richness, or anything else notable. It's not even close to say; what Fernandez and even milder than Tacos Revolucion's version. Too bad, that tortilla was excellent.
The obviously hand made tortilla used for the Taco de Al Pastor was also excellent.
The al pastor was nice and crisp, but the flavor was really lacking......there was also a slight bitterness to the meat as well. Not my favorite thing.
I really enjoyed the Taco de Barrio, which didn't look like much, but was quite good.
Loved the combinations of textures, the creamy, almost too salty, but delicious frijoles, the tender stewed beef, the pieces of nopales, the nice smooth crema, and a really good hand made flour tortilla. Very nice topped off with that salsa that added the heat and the acid to harmonize all the flavors. Very nice!
The next weekend, I had to head down to National City for something, so decided to drop by Salud again to try some other tacos. I again got three.
A much nicer presentation this time. As with the previous visit, the tortillas were all excellent.
The carnitas was also pretty mild in flavor, though the texture was good, I'd want something a bit more "pork forward". The avocado crema was quite nice.
I enjoyed everything but the flavor of the fish; which was on the muddy side on the fish taco.
The nice crunchy batter, the cabbage and pico de gallo, and of course the tortilla worked well together, though it won't make me forget about my favorite versions of fish tacos in San Diego.
And of course, another Taco de Barrio, which was just as satisfying as my previous one. Really satisfying, if a tad on the salty side.
To me, not a place to go out of the way for. Though I'd gladly drop in if/when I ever make it to Border X Brewing or if for some reason I'm back in the neighborhood.
You've heard those arguments, right? You stop in a bar for a beer and two knuckleheads gentlemen at the bar are doing the "who is better" thing......Ryan or Koufax, Montana or Elway, Kikaida or Kamen Rider? Kikaida or Kamen Rider??? Believe it or not....two guys at my favorite watering hole "back home" almost came to blows over that one! So there I was, listening to these two guys go at each other over Al Pastor....interesting! It became a lot less interesting after I found out that they were comparing JV's and Lalo's. No offense, but there's a lot better to be had here. Still, it made for some fine entertainment and it had been a while since I'd been to either place, 8 years since JV's and a whopping 9 1/2 years since Lalo's. So why not? I started with.....
JV's Mexican Food:
I'd say this place is timeless. As in the sign has kind of faded and the prices have gone up, but the place looks basically the same as I recalled.
I've always had friendly service here and on this visit it was the same. What was different was that they have "street tacos".
Three Al Pastor Tacos go for a wallet friendly $4.50.
As before, the Al Pastor lacks that trompo crusted texture and is less sweet than I prefer....actually, it's a bit on the bland side. The tortillas are typical, not terrible, but nothing special. The salsas are decent and this all works together adequately. It's not terrible, JV's will never be the first that comes to mind, when it comes to Al Pastor.....but it's decent rather cheap easts.
JV's Mexican Food 1112 Morena Blvd San Diego, CA 92110
I think the guy here was having a bit of a bad day....he couldn't wait to get rid of me....
The same $4.50 got me this - two small Al Pastor tacos.
Liked the guacamole, the tortillas weren't very good. The al pastor lacked color and the texture was on the mushy side and quite bland. The salsas here are pretty good, the picante is truly spicy. Yet I can't help thinking that time hasn't been real friendly to Lalo's.
Lalo’s Tacos Etc 1266 University Ave San Diego, CA 92103
In the end, I really can't recommend either location for Al Pastor; though perhaps JV's might be a ahead.
So what about that Kikaida versus Kamen Rider argument? I guess in this case it would be Rainbowman. So how's that for a nostalgic walk back to "small kid time"?
Thanks for stopping by to read mmm-yoso!!! Kirk is still on vacation, as is Ed (from Yuma). Cathy is busy with people who want to be on vacation while writing a post a day...about another few meals enjoyed.
I really try to cover different foods and parts of the County each day when I keep the blog going while Kirk is on vacation and realize I skipped the South County area entirely this time. Bad me.
Here's a post showing a few visits to one of our favorite places in Chula Vista.Look to the far left..the blue and red signage on the building frontage pushed back a bit. "Manna Restaurant" Pancake House-Chinese Fast Food. THAT's why we pulled into this parking lot.
Manna was very crowded that first time with people waiting to get in the door. Vanessa's Deli and Water Store had two empty tables. That's how it started. We now come to this parking lot and pick either Manna or Vanessa's for a meal. Here is a link to a recent post about Manna from fellow blogger, cc. (My post about Manna is forthcoming.)Asking if we had to order and pay first, we found out there is table service (and a quite large menu with many photos; more items than shown in the menu in above photo).After our orders were taken, I noticed both an ice cream area and a small freezer filled with ice cream Novelties in front of it (to the left in the above photo) and (straight ahead in the photo) at the wall was the Water Store area.Soon, two salsas and a small Vampiro ($4.49) were brought out. Beet, carrot, celery, apple, orange and lime, freshly juiced, filtered and poured into the cup: no ice. That's how it's done right.The #3 Combo ($10.99). This three item plate included a chile relleño, lomo enchilada and chicken sope along with rice, beans and tortillas. This was all very good. The sauces, salsa and guacamole stood out with their brisk fresh flavors. The lomo torta ($5.25) was served on a very freshly toasted, large torta roll, with a layer of beans, beef tenderloin (very flavorful); fresh avocado, along with lettuce and tomato made this a wonderful sandwich.
Vanessa's serves breakfast all day and we've taken advantage of that.Huevos Enmola ($6.99) (eggs in mole sauce). So wonderful and a different breakfast. Two over easy eggs on top of two corn tortillas, covered in a (slightly sweet) fresh and smooth mole, accompanied by beans and potatoes.Vanes Pan France (French toast topped with strawberries and cream)($6.75) Of course, strawberries and cream are a standard item in any fruiteria...but topping French toast- so special!
Oh, that's not burned toast; squaw bread is used here (another idea I can't believe I hadn't thought of). It's heartier and still, there is a good crust formed on the edges and the inside is still light and fluffy. Healthy decadence!Being a fruiteria, you know at least one order here has had to be a small pico de gallo ($6.25). Mango, orange, cucumber, jicama, watermelon, papaya, pineapple, topped with squeezed lime, chili powder and salt (homemade Tajin) brings all the flavors together.
Fresh, quality, satisfying. So glad we accidentally found it. Hope your weekend will be good!
Vanessa's Deli and Water Store 600 F Street (at Broadway), Suites E and F Chula Vista 91910 (619) 585-8102 Mon-Sat 7:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sun 7:30-7:30
This past weekend, I found that I had completed most of my "honey-do" list quite early. I decided to head down to CV for some tacos. I dropped by my favorite loncheras, but found that all of them were quite crowded. Driving on Broadway, I noticed a familiar name:
You might recall my post on the Mariscos Tijuana Jr truck last year. I wondered if this was the same folks? This is the old location of Don Rafa, which has since moved. So I parked and walked on in. I was greeted by a very cheerful young man and a young lady. I was asked if I'd be eating in or taking out....they also apologized for not having any English menus. Really nice folks.
I told them not to worry, I'd do fine with the menus. I asked them if this was the same Tijuana Jr that had the lonchera....he smiled and said "yes.......we sold the truck and opened this place because we want more families..." He pointed outside to the Bounce House with kids having a great time. "You see......we like that noise!"
In a moment some chips (routine) and salsas made its way to my table.
I placed my order and the young man asked me if I wanted some "soup". "You mean consommé?" "Yes..." "Of course!" The soup was on the mild side, but super scalding hot.
I'd ordered tres tacos. A Pescado (fish) - the version at the TJ Jr truck was good, so I wanted to see how it was in current state. A "marlin" smoked fish, and a Gobernador.
When the tacos arrived; the first thing I noticed was that the tortillas seemed different since my previous visit. These were much more fragrant and more hardy.
The fish taco was every bit as good as what I had at the truck. Shiny, crisp, lacquer batter....with even more fish than before. It was good with the lighter, almost thousand island dressing like salsa.
The tacos de marlin was interesting. I tasted the fish alone and it was really salty and fishy. Strangely, when I ate the taco, it just fit in nicely. Somehow the sodium had been balanced out and the fishiness had been over ruled by the pic de gallo, cabbage, and salsa.
The gobernador was better than what I had at the truck, though it's still not among my favorites. Though the tortilla held up nicely and the shrimp were cooked well; it just didn't have enough flavor or onions for me. Still, it's not bad at all.
As I got up to pay my check, and older woman came on over to me and asked me, "Please have some dessert....it's free......flan, cheesecake?" She was so sweet. Though I declined saying that I had more than enough to eat. This is a great indication of the folks here....really friendly and helpful. Now I have an option when all my favorite mariscos trucks are too busy.....or even when they're not.
Tijuana JR Tacos y Cockteles 631 Broadway Chula Vista, CA 91910
We slept in on our last morning....well, if you call sleeping until 730 sleeping in. Our food experiences in Utah seemed a bit disappointing, but we decided to give one last popular restaurant a shot. Since they didn't open until 10am, we decided to walk on over to Temple Square, the headquarters for the LDS.
It was nice and fairly crisp and we were enjoying the day as we passed the convention center.
We passed the Creek Shopping Center, with shops like Tiffany, Nordstrom, and the Apple Store....and closed on Sundays! I'm guessing it has something to do with being right across the street from Temple Square. We were greeted as we entered and asked if we'd be visiting "Music and the Spoken Word", which is the Sunday morning televised broadcast. We were interested, but told the nice folks that we would have to leave fairly quickly. We were told it was no problem since the rehearsal was going on. We were free to leave anytime before the 930 start.
Which is how we got to watch part of the choir's morning rehearsal in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. Quite impressive.
Speaking of impressive, the entire complex is dwarfed by the towering Salt Lake Temple.
The grounds features beautifully manicured gardens, a huge conference center, administrative buildings, several historic houses; the "Lion House" which used to be Brigham Young's residence. It had to be large because Brigham Young had 57 biological children, and the connected "Beehive House".
Temple Square is Utah's most visited tourist attraction, with as many visitors a Utah's 5 National Parks combined!
We saw a lot of folks taking photos....they all seemed overjoyed, almost giddy, at being here.
From the Beehive House, we headed North and got on North Temple Street and headed west. SLC's streets are set-up in a very simple (once you get sued to street with the same name with North/South/East/West) grid system. Our destination was on North Temple and was just under a mile and half walk. Things did seem a bit more "gritty" as we crossed over the I-15. A mere half block later we were at our destination; Red Iguana.
We arrived a few minutes before opening. The exterior looks a bit worn and shabby, but I had read that this is one of the most popular restaurants in the city....Mexican....in Salt Lake City? The place opened and we were told to sit anywhere our hearts desired. Our server; I'm hoping my memory isn't mailing me was named Stephanie. She was super outstanding, so very friendly, accommodating, and gracious.
Within a flash chips (not very good) and some salsa (nice and picante) found its way to our table.
We had come here to try the mole....but was having a difficult time deciding. So Stephanie said not to worry, they put together a sampler for us to try.
What really shocked me was how much I enjoyed the version of Mole Amarillo, not quite the traditional version; this one had raisins and habaneros...sweet with heat. We whittled down the sauces to versions we liked....but was stuck on four. Again, making us half and halfs were not a problem. You gotta love the service.
We choose chicken; which was simple simmered bird. The first combo was half Mole Verde and Mole Poblano ($15.99).
The verde was nice and nutty, but was over-shadowed by the rich, sweet, and spicy mole poblano, which tasted closest to versions I've had before.
The second was Mole Negro and Mole Amarillo ($15.99).
The mole negro was fine, though not nearly as good as say......El Tejate. The unconventional mole Amarillo, sweet and spicy stood up well. It was by far our favorite.
The rice and beans (and the tortillas) were pretty routine and not very good.
And while the food fell short of amazing, it was good, easily our best meal during this trip. And the service was wonderful. Our server is a fairly recent transplant and we chatted about SLC's uniqueness, things that caught her off guard when she moved here. The affinity for sandwiches and burgers; how you can look down Main Street on some days and not see a single car..... She made our meal a pleasure.
Red Iguana 736 W North Temple Salt Lake City, UT 84116
We walked back to the Residence Inn and managed a short catnap before leaving for the airport.
Perhaps the food really didn't stand out on this trip. But the views, well they were priceless.