It's usually pretty quiet around here during the holiday season. But it's surely not around Kearny Mesa and Linda Vista.
Village North Quietly Opens:
I mean really quietly. This place used to be some AYCE sushi place, I think owned by the folks who run Manna....the awning still says "Asian Fusion". The only reason I saw the place was because I went to see what was going on with the now closed Char House.
Anyway, here's the scoop, I've been here once, it's the place's soft opening, the hours are flakey......they told me open at 11am, but I once went at noon and they were closed. The head chef is from Dongbei...a cuisine that's near and dear to my (and the Missus's heart), featuring ingredients we hold dear. Strangely, there's a bunch of Sichuan dishes and a bar and grilled items. I've visited once and a post will be upcoming. You know; I usually like multiple visits, but I thought this one is pretty unique for regional Chinese in San Diego.
Village North Restaurant 4428 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
And Speaking of Char House:
It's becoming something named Tradewinds Tavern. Looks like an Asian themed Gastro-pub. I guess Common Theory has opened up a market for this. Good for us.
And BTW, they are hiring.....just in case you're interested.
I was up in the Hillcrest area for a couple of days of meetings recently. I don't get up here very much these days and most times, when I do, parking is kinda horrible. Not bad in the way of, say the worst parking lots on ECB or Convoy (you all know those ones, right?), but its either meter or pay lot (though I think they validate) and sometimes there's nothing on the street.
Anyway, I saw this place, which used to be Which Wich, named HoM Korean Kitchen. It seemed interesting, so I walked in.
Very nice set-up; basically using the "bones" of the old shop.
Looking at the "menu" it became quite clear that this was a "fast casual" shop; the Chipotle model, or if you prefer, like one-of-a-zillion-until-critical-mass-hits-and-business-normalizes poke shops. Basically, design your own rice bowl concept. 1 protein, starch or salad, and three "sides", in this case "panchan" (heavy on the air quotes).
I've always thought that rice bowls would be a great food truck concept.....kind of had a fantasy to do a Korean inspired rice bowl truck and name it the "Bap-Mobile". Maybe it's because then I'd be "Bap-man", but I digress.
The guy working the front counter was quite nice and even asked me if I wanted some samples.
I simply went with the "Korean Steak" ($9.25).
The portion size for the price was pretty good....though a fountain drink is two bucks for a 12 ounce cup.
The beef was decent; chewy, but not overly so, a few pieces of gristle here and there, but better than I've had in, say a carne asada burrito. Speaking of carne asada; I'd say the flavor steers more toward that then Korean Barbecue. There's some soy sauce notes and this is far from bland, but it's fairly neutral.
The rice was fragrant, but there were quite a few hard pieces.
The panchan, is that in name only. The cucumbers and daikon seem to be quick pickled and really lacks spice, sour tones, and any sign of even slight fermentation. Hey, I thought this place as supposed to be healthy.....isn't fermentation supposed to have many health benefits? But I guess it's more about fast. The mushrooms were decent; well seasoned with some garlic tones.
This was not bad at all. Because the set-up and food screamed out "chain", I did a bit of research and found that there's another location in San Jose, but that's it for now. I also decided to return after my meetings ended the next day.
Same nice guy working. This time I went with the Braised Beef ($8.50) with Toasted Rice ($1.25).
Not a big fan of the toasted rice....it's more like a bland baked fried rice with a lot of hard bits. Not high on the "braised" beef either; it was shredded into mush, and was much too salty and In my opinion needed to be tempered with some sweet-pungent tones. The faux baechu kimchi is just that; basically a bland quick kimchi; the namul was worse. The spinach was my favorite item; like the mushrooms on my previous visit, it had a nice garlicky kick.
So, was it "HoM sweet HoM"? Well, I'm not so much of a "HoM-boy". I wouldn't go out of my way to eat here, but I think it's more Korean than Chipotle is Mexican. The ingredients are good, while some of the execution and seasoning may not be to my taste. Also, I do prefer that the Korean food I eat, well, would kind of remind me Korea. I would encourage you give the place a try though....who knows, you might find that there's "no place like HoM" (last one, I promise).
HoM Korean Kitchen 3825 Fifth Ave San Diego, CA 92103
mmm-yoso!!!, food blog. Kirk is working some heavy overtime hours while Ed(from Yuma) is busy planning a Thanksgiving feast, so Cathy is writing about food and things today.
It is only a few days before Thanksgiving. I read that 43.9 million people will drive more than 50 miles from home for the holiday (defined as between Wednesday and Sunday this week). In light of that, I think it's a good time for this conclusion post of our Summer of 2016 Road Trip from San Diego to Detroit and back.
Chicagoland is about five hours from Detroit. An easy drive. Kirk wrote about Buona Beef, a Chicago area Italian Beef joint which some people like and other people avoid. A simple sandwich here is sort of like an Arby's roast beef and is tasty on the fresh French roll.
Buona Beef Restaurant 1170 N Arlington Heights Road Itasca, IL 60143 Website Kirk did enjoy his dog from Gene and Jude's back in 2010 and not much has changed (the price has gone up 61¢). It's good.
Gene & Jude's Red Hot Stand 2720 River Rd River Grove, IL 60171 website
As a side note, all restaurants and businesses in the Midwest have a small vestibule area-a double doorway where you can step inside and stomp snow off your boots, shake off/take off your coat or close your umbrella before walking inside a main building. Even Costcos have vestibules. We sat at the counter at this location, because we could.The 'traditional' toppings for this lightly seasoned loose meat burger are mustard, onion and pickle. Ketchup is available, but it's for the fries. The burgers are all served with a small teaspoon as your only cutlery...so you can scoop up any meat that falls out when you lift the soft bun. Maid Rite is a true midwest tradition.
We stopped for fuel and looked for a place to eat in Richfield, Utah.
The signage on Main Street brought us in.
Clean, simple, family run and very good. Light bites and ice cream, unphotographed. This was a great find.
Ideal Dairy 490 S Main Street Richfield, UT 84701 (435) 896-5061
There were unplanned/non-food stops along the way.
A tourist trap. The original Pony Express station, in the middle of a park in a residential neighborhood. The birthplace of President Gerald Ford.
Themed rest areas (this one was windmills-old and new blades). A giant Golden Spike...but this one is in Omaha, Nebraska. It is where President Abraham Lincoln declared the joining of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads *should*occur, but it didn't happen here (Promontory, Utah is the 'official' location). This is where the largest train yard in the USA is, so if you are in North Platte, Nebraska, stop here. If you are driving across the USA this holiday season (or anytime), do enjoy our wonderfully organized highway system as well as the National Park System signage and stop to enjoy the local people and places. Safe travels!
mmm-yoso!!! is the name of this food blog. Kirk is not writing today, neither is Ed(from Yuma). This is just another Cathy posting.
This year has been different. In addition to having a tremendous amount of friends and neighbors die (I stopped counting in mid February, after there had been 23), I tried to keep things more or less normal, writing a post about the first Float Road Test for the 2017 Rose Parade. The Mister and I drove to subsequent monthly road tests (and afterwards, breakfast) and took photos. This post is a summary of what we ate and some of what you will see on television on January 2, 2017 (there's never a parade on Sunday).
Trader Joe's will have another three part float in the 2017 parade, (parade theme is Echoes of Success), titled 'All Aboard! 50 Years of Serving the Best'. The American Armenian Rose Float Association road test in August showcased a magnificent looking float. The road test two months later showed the color outlined (coloring outlines are there to help decorators as well as help if there are any problems with decorations during the actual parade: you'll still see color) fully expanded float, titled "Field of Dreams", depicting the 'Echoes of Success' of the American Armenian diaspora success story.
I'll take some breaks from floats and road tests, interspersing breakfasts enjoyed driving home.
Because we got stuck in traffic (again), we stopped at a place we have been passing for several years. The old fashioned sign (which must look very cool at night) is a friendly welcome to the naugahyde, paneled, not recently updated interior; half of the building is a 'bar' area, open in morning hours. The breakfast menu is served all day. Let me preface this by saying that we took home a lot of leftovers. The 'Chuck Wagon Country Breakfast' ($11.95) was absolutely wonderful in quality and flavors! Three eggs (poached, of course), two (large, flavorful) link sausages, two thick pieces of smoked meaty bacon and a slice of country style ham with a side of thinly sliced, crispy home fries topped with green pepper and onions. There was also a choice of toast or pancakes with this plate. Ever since the summer road trip and meals across the USA with either my brother or nephew, pancakes have become a slight obsession. The ones at Chuck Wagon are notably good; from scratch flavors, slightly sweet, fluffy with a delicate crust . The perfectly prepared, real cube steak chicken fried steak was lightly breaded and fried perfectly ($11.50). The flavors were fresh, the country gravy (again, from scratch: there were flour lumps) and even the crispy hash browns were wonderful. The fresh made from scratch biscuit-flaky layers with the golden, crispy crust- was great.
Another really great Corona restaurant.
Chuck Wagon Cafe 1070 6th Street Corona, CA 92879 (951)737-7162 open daily 6:30a.m.-10 p.m.
Returning to some float road tests... Rotary International's float, 'Doing Good in the World' is just so cute even without the coloring outlines added! Shriners Hospitals for children, 'Anything is Possible', is adorable! From the artist rendition(see end of post for a link), it looks like the mascot, Fezzy Bear, will be riding on the float in January. Union Bank has again teamed up with the American Heart Association for the float 'Keep the Beat Alive'. Last month, we didn't even bother going on the freeway to get home, took side roads parallel to the 210 and noticed Rod's, a corner coffee shop that's been in Arcadia since 1957. Taking seats at the counter, because all the aqua naugahyde booths were full, we took note of some posted daily specials (even on weekends!)
The 'pork sausage w/ fresh apples- cheese omelet' ($9.95) was most unexpected (and in keeping with my penchant for fresh apples). Yes, breakfast sausages and sautéed fresh apples filled this large eggy-cheesy breakfast omelet! There were some great home fries and toast which accompanied this surprising menu special. These banana walnut crepes which came with two eggs and sausage ($8.95) were filled with a fluffy cream cheese-cottage cheese mix and topped with toasted nuts and nicely ripe banana slices; not crazy sweet at all. These are not delicate flat crepes, but also not thick pancakes...more of a Swedish pancake.
So glad we stopped here! Rod's Grill 41 W Huntington Drive Arcadia, CA 91007 (626) 447-7515 open 6 am-9 pm daily
United Sikh Mission USA has another beautiful float, 'Together We Rise', which I think will be a prize winner not only for its beauty, but also for the message. Western Asset (an investment group) is sponsoring this float, 'Prosperity in the Wild' which won't have any riders, but instead much animation. This rather simple looking float from Farmers Insurance has a 'reflection' of the parade route in the front 'window' (including the rose colored line that is in the center of Colorado Boulevard, a guide for float drivers, who drive 'blind' while speaking to the 'spotter' who each has a small window in front to observe the activities in front of the float). The title of 'We Came, We Saw, We Covered' is a slight clue as to the 'surprise' you will see on January 2. (see the bottom of this post)
If we find ourselves in Corona and notice there is no line waiting for seating, we stop at Silver Dollar. This day, it was convenient to sit at the counter instead of waiting for a table to be available. This is the two egg, two pancake deal (the second egg was brought over later)($5.49, additional .69 to substitute sausage patty for links-worth it!) was particularly good. The 2 bacon, 2 egg (and biscuits with gravy instead of toast) ($8.59) was enjoyed by The Mister. The country gravy and fresh flaky not too large biscuits were just right with the perfect over easy eggs and bacon.
Silver Dollar Pancake House 710 East Sixth Corona, CA 92879 (951) 737-5977 Open Mon-Sat 5 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun 6 a.m.-4 p.m.
Rose Parade preparations. Diners for breakfast. America.
I'm finally catching up on things. A few recent observations.
More Ramen Coming to Kearny Mesa ?:
At least if the ABC notice is correct. Something named Menya Ultra. Some quick slapping on my keyboard yielded a clue.... and a bit more. I'm pretty sure that the folks at Nishiki Ramen can't be happy at the company name. But another Hokkaido ramen chain in San Diego? Well, I think there's room for that.
Paris had been "on the list" for quite a while. The Missus had been wanting to see Paris and one of Her bucket list items was seeing the Eiffel Tower at night. I'd been kind of putting things off. You see, during my younger days, I knew folks who visited Paris and had a terrible time.....somewhat clichéd, but the stories were similar. This dampened my motivation to visit Paris and kind of stuck with me. However, in recent years, folks whom I knew enjoyed their visits....I think things have changed. Plus, this just seemed like a bucket list year for the Missus....perhaps She's thinking I'll be "kicking it" soon?
We flew from Seattle, with a mere one hour layover at Keflavik Airport. It turned out to be more than enough time to exit our plane (in the freezing rain on the tarmac), get through immigration (Iceland is part of the Schengen Area) amazingly efficient and quick, and then to our gate (sort of a cattle call type situation) in less than 30 minutes. Our flight from Keflavik was to Orly Airport, not Charles de Gaulle. We exited our plane and found the Le Bus Direct stop; paid our Euros and headed off. We were to exit at Rue Jean Rey, near the Tour Eiffel...the Missus was thrilled. When got off the bus at the stop and it looked like an ordinary city stop. The Missus was a bit disappointed, "there's really nothing here...." Until we turned the corner and there it was......
I gotta say; I was ready to be disappointed, but even on an overcast day; the Eiffel Tower is pretty darn impressive.
Having just smaller carry-on, Tom Bihn bags, made the walk to our hotel; the Hotel la Bourdonnais a snap. Located near the Ecole Militaire, this turned out to be a great location for the Missus, who just wanted to stare at that tower.
Our room was small; but comfortable, we could enjoy the street scene below and at night you could even see the Eiffel Tower peeking through the trees. We rested a bit.....took a short nap which we badly needed, then walked around. I, scoping out potential stops like Fromager Marie-Anne Cantin (amazing cheese) and Les Gourmandises d'Eiffel (baguettes). Unfortunately, we had an amazing time and sadly never partook of their products. Next time.....
After spending so much time in airports and on planes we really weren't in the mood for anything heavy, so with my trusty list and my Google Map (God bless pocket wifi...or weefee as they say here) we ended up on charming Rue Saint Dominique. The Missus loved all the little shops in this area. Near Le Fountaine de Mars......
Is Les Cocottes de Christian Constant. I'd read about the place taking no reservations and photos of the dishes looked like just what we'd want after a long flight. The place was quite empty when we arrived.
It was just before 6pm......the sun had already set; but the place was devoid of customers. I asked the nice young man who seated us if we were eating early by French standards. He smiled and said, in what we'd find is a typical French understated manner, "oh, just a bit". The young woman who waited upon us was a total joy....cheerful, ever so pleasant.......English so perfect it made us nervous that we were in the wrong place. She had a great sense of humor and I even tried out my very, very poor French. Though even I knew when to stop; unlike the Korean family who came in a few minutes later. The middle aged gentleman insisted on trying to speak French, even though no one could ever understand him. I gotta give him credit though....
We started with the very rustic and very delicious Country Style Pate.
We both loved this; a nice balance of earthy flavors with nice texture.....there's quite a bit of filler, but it's not wasted. I love dishes like this; it shows that one could really make an great version of a humble pate, one that doesn't use expensive ingredients, but rather sticks to its peasant roots.
The Missus enjoyed the Foie Gras.
After the pate; this was rather nondescript....something like I've had many times. Weird, I know, but it really didn't stand out. Still, it is foie gras, but it really didn't have enough of that earthy, slightly offal flavor that I enjoy. Strange because I'm not a big fan of liver; but I do like a touch of it, minus the metallic flavors in my foie gras. The Missus enjoyed this.
A cocotte is a traditional small cast iron pot. And our favorite item of the night, while nothing braised or stewed came in one. We really enjoyed the Poached Egg with Bacon and Rocket Salad.
There was of course, the very nice poached egg, of which the Missus approved. We also really loved the lardons; the bacon had a slight crunch then a nice silky finish, it was coated in a sweet and slightly salted dressing. The crisp, crunchy, peppery arugula was perfect with the runny egg and bacon. We both loved that the salad was simply dressed, letting the flavors of all the parts speak for themselves.
We also quickly noticed that nothing was particularly salty and the flavors were nicely balanced, something we'd find at almost all the places we ate at.
Of course we had to order the Potatoes Stuffed with Pig's Feet.
Strangely, we thought this dish was all about the potatoes, which was nicely caramelized and had also absorbed the better part of the pork flavor. Actually, we both didn't enjoy the texture of the pork too much; finding it mushy with a greasy feel. And yes; these are basically fancy potato skins, right? As with the other dishes; we loved the greens.
So here's where it gets kind of odd....we noticed that about 80 percent of the customers in the place were Korean. So I basically asked our Server, "why all the Korean customers?" She just cracked up and in a slight whisper told me; "it's the next wave......three years ago; it was so many Japanese....now...it's the Koreans!" I figured the place must be on some Korean food show or something. So while doing my search; I came to find out that Anthony Bourdain ate here on one of his shows....now how the heck did I miss that?
Regardless; we loved the service, the food was just what we needed after a long trip over, and the prices were not too bad. I know, not the traditional bistro meal....we'd kind of avoid that in Paris and save it for Burgundy. Not haute cuisine, but just what we wanted.
Les Cocottes de Christian Constant 135 rue Saint-Dominique Paris, 75007
After dinner we strolled around Rue Cler, then Champ de Mars.....the Missus was soaking it all in; we were indeed in Paris.
That's the Monument des Droits de l'Homme, a human rights monument finished in 1989, but it looks much older. It is said to have been designed to resemble an Egyptian Temple, but with many Masonic features.
And then of course; there was this, which needs no introduction.
Cross another one off the Missus's bucket list.......
Which quickly answered the question with a question of why we came here......"Why not Paris?"
There was a small grocery right next to our hotel. While walking through the place, I noticed a rather odd looking beer and decided to buy a can.
Man, this was pretty bad....."Rum Flavoured Beer", what was I thinking? Man, this was really sweet and artificial tasting! Luckily, this was probably the one bad move I made during our time in Paris.
We both crashed early. Tomorrow was going to be a shopping day for the Missus and I needed to rest up my credit card for the beating it would take!
So, my haircut guy has been on the move again; I've detailed some of his moves over the years at the end of this post. So, last March he moved over to Rolando, then back to Mission Valley....then in September, back to Rolando. Well, on the bright side, I tracked him down and having to get my haircut allows me to spend a bit of time exploring a neighborhood I might not usually check out.
Fairly close to the barber (he's actually on ECB) is a place someone mentioned to me in passing (along with Bourre, which is in the same strip mall) is Café Royale....the name which actually reminds me of a cognac-coffee drink I've had. But this place is supposedly Somali - Mediterranean.
The place looks rather fast-casual; where you order at the counter. The menu kind of threw me off; I'm used to seeing pasta in East African Restaurants; it's the Italian influence. But this place had everything from the expected goat and suqaar, to the unexpected Philly Cheesesteaks (?!?), jalapeno poppers, quesadillas, burritos, and tiramisu. Though the meat is Zabihah Halal. Usually, I'd avoid a place like this; but for some reason there was an odd attraction. Plus, I was told there was a second Café Royale in, of all places, Minneapolis, go figure.
The guy working the counter was quite nice....perhaps it was my fresh clean-cut look...probably not. I wanted the lamb shanks, but was told it wasn't ready yet; so I decided on the "Goat Feast Royale". Man, this was a load of food for $10.99.....
I love how places like this and say, Safari Grill make their rice. It's so fluffy and full of flavor. And that green hot sauce doesn't mess around either. I found the goat to be on the tough side, though the flavor; coriander came through, along with the sprinkle of sumac made sure this wasn't bland. A bit too much gnawing on tough bits though.
Still the price was very good and I wanted to try that lamb shank. So after my next haircut I dropped by and ordered the Lamb Shanks Royale ($14.99). I got it to go and noticed how heavy the plastic sack was. Something else I didn't notice....the menu said "shanks" not shank. Good lord, look how much food this is.
I can't imagine any one person finishing all of this. The Missus was in shock over the portion size. It was just too much food....almost three meals total. The Missus, like I enjoys the rice; nice and fluffy with good flavor...She also enjoys that green hot sauce a lot as well.
The lamb shanks were pretty meaty and cooked pretty well; not falling apart, but nice and fork tender. Decent salt, but fairly mild in that gamey lamb flavor we enjoy. Again, look at the size of this plate.
So, you obviously won't go hungry here and the portions reminded me of going to a friend's house where "Mom" wanted to make sure you left with a full belly. It was nice trying something a bit different. The guys working here are fairly polite and friendly, though I'm not sure what I'll order if I return.
Cafe Royale 6511 University Ave San Diego, CA 92115
Good lord; with temps hitting the mid-90's last week, it was hard believing it's actually November! It was in the high-30's when we left Iceland....we even felt that the temps in the mid-50's in Seattle was quite warm. So when we got back home and this heatwave hit....sheesh.
Hot weather like this kind of kills our appetite. We wanted something with a lot of flavor, but not too heavy, and La Miche came to mind. Hard to believe that it has almost been two years since we last visited, but the owner Nabih still remembered us.
Like before, we tend to stick with the mezze here.
We started with the Baba Gannoush.
The version here is a bit too sour for our taste, which really dampens the usual smoky flavor of eggplant.
The Muhamarah, though, is still a winna!
This red pepper and walnut spread; thickened with bread has such a nice texture and wonderfully complex sweet-nutty-garlic-sour flavors. It is heaven on a warm pita.
The slightly ripe and funky-cheesy-salty Shaankleesh was also perfect....a wonderful mash-up of flavors based on nice and ripe Shanklish is also wonderful on bread.
The Missus also enjoys the chewy, spicy, and salty Soujouk. The acid from the tomato sauce helps cut the salt.
There's quite a combination of spices going on here. By this time we were quite full so we took most of this home. The next day, the Missus made the leftovers with egg, which is a classic combination to this dry and spicy sausage.
I'm not sure what took us so long to return to La Miche. Perhaps it's location; kind of hidden from view. We really enjoyed our meal on a day where we hit record high temps. We won't take so long to return in the future.
La Miche Kabobgee 9350 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92123
Well, here's the abridged version. One of my projects....a really huge project, was delayed. All trips had been put on hold. As soon as I got official word of the dates being pushed back, I pinged the Missus and went to work, first requesting time off, then doing the logistics. It came together in an instant. You see, a few months earlier, one of the folks I occasionally work with mentioned the Icelandair free stopover program. Basically, you fly out of one of the airlines hub and you get up to a 7 night stopover in Iceland at no extra charge (there's even a "Stopover Buddy" program that's offered on occasion). I started quickly checking prices and found that Business Class from SEA to ORY was really affordable and we could easily fit in a 3 night stopover on the way back.
This meant we'd have 1 night in Seattle on our way to and from Paris.
We've been here so many times, way back to pre-blogging days, and I used to visit regularly while living in HNL....in fact, before I met the Missus, I was considering a move here.
But that's ancient history now and here we were....staring at this!
I had just been mentioning what a clear night it was when we came upon Fernando Botero's"Adam". (Click the link - It's a great article). So perhaps the night was a bit too clear for us?
We had a perfect night of rest and since breakfast was included in our room rate, we ended up having a satisfying breakfast at the Renaissance.
Pretty standard stuff. What made this for us was the awesome service. Friendly, efficient, just really perfect. Before we left one of the Servers brought us more coffee....in take out cups....a "little something for the morning". The Missus whispered to me, "increase your tip". Now that's a new one! I know it doesn't cost the Servers anything to do these little things, but they make all the difference to us; the customers.
So while we hadn't stayed at the Renaissance in ages, I think this is where we'll be when we return.
Renaissance Seattle Hotel 515 Madison St Seattle, WA 98104
Plus, check out time isn't until noon, so we took another nice little walk.
It had drizzled in the morning, but things had cleared up......but not everyone was enjoying their walk.....
Though by the time we headed down the Waterfront Steps, things were under control.
We headed up Post Alley to another "landmark", the Seattle Gum Wall, which is kinda neat or pretty gross, depending on your point of view.
Still, there's always something interesting to see or experience at Pike Place.
Our flight wasn't until almost 5 pm; as I mentioned earlier check-out time at the Renaissance is at noon, I'm sure I could have requested a late check-out, but we decided to just catch the Link out to Sea-Tac. Icelandair flies out of the 'S' terminal at Sea-Tac, which is our least favorite, but since we were flying Business we got to use the "Club at SEA".......even though there wasn't anything special in terms of food or drink, the comfort and low stress vibe is a welcome change from the usual cattle call.
Flying Business Class on Icelandair was a mixed bag. The seating is like domestic first, which means nothing lies flat....the movie selection is dated.....however, the service is fantastic, and in all honesty, the food was not bad.