Thanks for stopping to read mmm-yoso!!! today. Cathy is writing because the guys are just too busy.
After I got my fill of spicy foods following three weeks in the Midwest, it was time for what I just couldn't get back there (comfort food, San Diego style).Kirk posted in 2005 and again in 2015 about the original location of Chopstix. In 2006, he and I wrote a joint post about the second location and, in general, both locations are efficient with fresh food.The simple Hiya Yakko (cold tofu topped with chopped green onion, grated ginger on top of salad)($4) was just something I never thought I would miss and this really hit the spot. Hiyashi Soba ($9)- cold buckwheat noodle topped with imitation crab, chicken, sprouts, corn, cucumber, egg and seaweed was a perfect flavor mix on this day. The Mister ordered his 'usual'- mabo ramen ($7), which has a deep, sweet-spicy flavor along with the ground pork and tofu. Most of the other soup bases and fillings here are sort of 'plain'.
Chopstix 4633 Convoy San Diego 92101 (858)569-9171 open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily
Ten years ago, I wrote about Niban and then again in 2010 and in 2011. It's a regular spot for us when we don't want to cook at home: fast, fresh, unassuming. After ordering and paying, finding a seat and having water and hot tea (still free) brought out, food soon arrives. The chicken katsu salad ($4.50) was what I wanted. So simple: iceberg lettuce topped with cold noodles, carrot and cucumber slices and cherry tomatoes along with a perfectly breaded and fried chicken thigh. The miso based, Japanese radish/fresh ginger salad dressing is so very good. One of the window specials that day was chicken katsu curry ($7). The Mister wanted his own pieces of chicken along with the flavorful beefy curry sauce made here-it satisfied his cravings.
Niban 7081 Clairmont Mesa Boulevard San Diego 92111 (858)268-0465 Mon-Sat 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Sunday 4:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Then there was my craving for something from underrated, more than ten yearsin the same location,consistentalways good,comfort food for Kirk also, unassuming restaurant located at the South East corner of the 163 at Claremont Mesa.The rock cod with black bean sauce ($16 if not at lunch or late night (after 9 p.m., when it is $8)) is just done right here. Lightly crisp fried fish with red and green peppers, onions and salty black bean sauce along with some red-chili heat is just what I wanted. Then again, so was the simple beef topped egg foo young ($14 at dinner, $7 at lunch or late night). That is a larger than tablespoon spoon on a very large platter. The crispy vegetable filled omelet, so simple to make (in theory) is just wonderfully flavorful, crispy and somehow addictive in flavor here. Most times, we order it just with gravy/vegetable only, because that's all I really want.
Golden City 5375 Kearny Villa (at Claremont Mesa) 92111 (858) 565-6682 open daily 11 a.m.-midnight website
Thank you for stopping to read this blog, mmm-yoso!!! Kirk is still working long days. Ed (from Yuma) is also really busy with appointments and things retired folks do. Cathy only has classes to take, so there is free time for her to write about some meals.
There are two main eat-in areas ( as well as a nice outdoor space). The menu is filled with photos.
We usually try a different hot tea each visit. So far, our favorite has also been the osmanthus, a light colored, fragrant, deep flavored tea ($6.99 for this pot) I want to say the flavor is a fruity black...not that there is fruit added, just the leaves have that background flavor of peaches. The shredded pork plate ($10.25) comes with the large portion of tea flavored pork, rice and the (daily changing) three sides: one hot and two cold this time. The cabbage and green beans had a light pickled flavor and the corn had more of a tea/tannin/brisk taste. All were complimentary to the meat.
The deli plate with pork house noodle (or rice noodle) soup ($9.99) is a good choice which we can share. The soup is quite nice and not salty; good flavors from the ingredients. The 'deli plate' is quite interesting, with tea flavored bites of hard boiled egg, seaweed knot, smoky tofu and a dried preserved vegetable. Tea flavored dumplings ($8.99) are almost always a fallback choice. The tea flavoring the meat is subtle, but there. The presentation is always pretty. You can see the skins were not thin. The taiwanese tea sausage ($5.99) is also an automatic choice. It's served with slices of raw garlic, which are just so perfect with the flavorings in the sausage. The spicy fried chicken appetizer ($5.99) (light/medium spice level) is always perfectly lightly breaded and crispy fried; not greasy.
On a recent visit, we tried a pot of the chrysanthemum/Pu-ehr tea ($5.50) This photo of the filter shows you the mix of chrysanthemum flowers and tea. We really liked the more subtle fermented flavor of this tea. You can see it was darker, and Pu-Ehr is fermented; quite earthy in flavor on its own, but by being 'cut' with the chrysanthemum flowers, it was a flavorful accompaniment to our meal this time. There are three menu pages devoted to 'dessert', which is shaved ice, which you can create or order. We have asked for the menu, stared at it, then always agree we want this same item: grass jelly with sour plum ice ($5.75). I have eight photos of this dessert. No condensed milk or any other toppings. Just a light, pleasant way to end a meal, with some tea, of course.
I hope you are having a good week so far!
Tea Station 7315 Clairmont Mesa Boulevard San Diego 92111 (858) 268-8198 website
An acquaintance mentioned a ramen place opening in the East Village named BeShock and told me they were going through a soft opening. I was told the folks opening the place are from Nagoya; which made me a bit curious. So I trucked it down to the corner of 13th and Market street to see what was up.
For some reason, I expected a little neighborhood shop like the nearby Tokyo Deli. So I was surprised to see this large, spacious, very nice restaurant....I guess I "be shocked"?
The soft opening menu was a single page; with items like karaage, salads, and the like on the top....the middle was a collection of rolls, and five types of ramen on the bottom.
I was brought my water and some gratis edamame....
I saw Shio Koji Karaage; Shio Koji and Shoyu Koji are both staples in our household and using Shio Koji in karaage is pretty much an "open secret". So, I ordered the karaage and was surprised at what came out.
So, these were actually coated in masago arare; rice cracker beads. It adds an additional layer of crunch, but also gets soggy fairly quickly. The portion size was quite large. Also going down a bit of a different path; this was white meat chicken; though the marinating process give the chicken a texture like dark meat. Also, I quickly noticed that the flavor is quite mild......amost too mild for me; not enough shoyu-shio koji or any other (ginger-garlic-sweetness) flavor. It's pretty much about the masago arare.
I also ordered the Tonkotsu Ramen and was rather intrigued at what came out.
The broth was different; in fact, it might be the least salty ramen broth I've ever had....it didn't have much porkiness to it and I even thought it could be chicken. I was told that the folks here use a lot of vegetables in making the broth which really makes the flavor different. While it was fatty; I didn't think it was particularly rich, in other words, it lacked some of that "aaaaahh" effect. Everything else was good; the standard issue Nishimoto-JFC noodles were prepped well; the chashu had been torched before being placed in the bowl; it had a very nice porkiness to it. The egg was also by the book. Overall; a bit different...... I might try the Miso Ramen next time.
The folks here were really nice; the manager, who is from Nagoya, also spent time in Hawaii and we had a nice chat.
I returned a few days later. I had seen Chicken Tartar (i.e. tori nanban) on the menu; but when I returned it was gone.
So I went with the "Cajun Karaage" instead.
This wasn't very spicy and the batter was soft and gummy, though it was prepared and served in a more conventional way than shio koji karaage. The flavor just kind of fell short and this was definitely "b-list karaage".
I also went with the Chashu Bowl. Having had a few of these in Japan, I was surprised at how large and how much pork there was.
There's quite a bit of pork hiding under....well, all that pork. The pork was tender without being mushy. The flavor was good....again, not too heavy handed in terms of shoyu - saltiness - sweetness, but the pork flavor actually came through quite well. This time the flavor and the texture worked for the good of the dish. The shoyu tamago was decent; it could have used a bit more flavoring, but I have no complaints.
I really enjoyed talking to the nice young man in charge on this day.
While I thought the flavors somewhat mild and tame for my taste, sometimes people can make the difference. I really enjoyed BeShock, BeCause the folks here were so nice. I'll come back to try things out after their grand opening....which is BTW....today 10/17 at 530pm. They'll have Tori Nanban; though I'm not sure what they're going call it. The ramen style here doesn't seem to be my thing, though I will try the Miso Ramen to see if I prefer that.
The manager is a certified Sake Master and they have a bunch of boutique brews....so when I'm not driving.....
I hope they do well.
BeShock Ramen & Sake Bar 1288 Market St San Diego, CA 92101
The flier says - Soft Opening October 20th; Grand Opening October 22nd.
So there you go.
5950 Balboa Ave San Diego, CA 92117
Poke and Pintxos at Poseidon Project:
Like I mentioned in a previous post; I've kind of taken to the Poseidon Project, the little beer bar and bottle shop in my 'hood; Bay Park. It's a nice, neighborhood place, but it's a beer bar and bottle shop and doesn't serve food. Which can be a bit of a problem in this area.
I'll usually drop by on Saturday evenings when the Missus needs to work and have noticed that there's usually one and sometimes two catering folks coming in to serve food.
The usual Saturday stand is by a company named ILNLYF Foods, which you might know from the Little Italy Mercado. And yes, these guys serve poke.
I've yet to find decent poke in San Diego and I really had my doubts about these guys. And the first two times I tried the poke I was underwhelmed. I did enjoy that this isn't the typical San Diego "Chi-poke" set-up; the fast-casual fish with sauce thing. I did find the fish to be on the mushy side and the poke sort of waterlogged; as if they dumped a bunch of frozen fish into the marinade.
However, the guy serving the poke is very nice, friendly, Samoan, who has family and spends a good deal of time in Hawaii.
And wouldn't you know it; the last two times their version of shoyu poke has been pretty good. As you can tell; not too much "suji" (connective tissue) in the fish. It's been marinated....not just sitting around with some sauce thrown on it. I'd like a bit more onions, but the kimchi cucumbers are a decent addition. I was told that because their customer base at the Mercado's said it was too salty; they've had to change to low sodium shoyu....so they told me to visit them at the PIF and other festivals where they "don't hold back".
Tried it again recently and I gotta say; it's a two fer two...though i'm not a big fan of the "fried rice", which was too hard and dry. I'll stick with the white rice....though they did have a decent mac salad a few weeks back.
Also, on occasion there's young lady who makes paella, and later on some Saturday evenings she'll bring in some Pintxos......you know what that is, right?
They'll tell most folks this is "tapas", but the young lady is from Bilbao. In Basque country, they call this Pintxos.
Some Tortilla Espanola, maybe a version of Champinones Al Ajillo, Boquerons, or Crouquettas de Pollo. Nice folks.
I'm not sure what the entire lineup of food purveyors is; so you may want to call ahead on a Friday or Saturday to see if they'll have anything; 619-230-5334.
Over the last couple of weeks; I've noticed a couple of things; the beer cooler doesn't have the variety it used too; they don't always have all 8 pulls going. I really like this place and hope this isn't a bad sign. I've enjoyed meeting some of my more like minded neighbors, the two and even four-legged ones.....so I'm hoping Poseidon hangs on and maybe gets a kitchen, or something.
Poseidon Project 4126 Napier St San Diego, CA 92110
After finishing up lunch at Petite Comite, we had one more stop in mind. This is one even I got rather excited about; Seville Cathedral, the third largest church in Europe.
Getting in was rather quick as the lines weren't very long.
And the place is very impressive.
Huge pillars and high vaulted ceilings.......the sheer immense size is quite amazing. There are 80 side chapels and just too much to see.
And behind this gate lies something that is rather overwhelming.
The Retablo Mayor (Main Altar) is over 60 feet tall and made up of over 40 panels depicting the life of Mary and Christ. And yes, it is gilded with gold; a bounty brought back from the Americas.
Flemish Sculptor Pierre Dancart started working on this in 1482 (he died in 1492), after his death, several generations of craftsmen took over and the work wasn't completed until 1564. Over 80 years!
In case you need to clear out some of the sparkle from gold from your eyes, you can balance things out by checking out the Silver Altar (Alta de Plata).
Like I said; you'll soon be overwhelmed by things...... This is the Chorus.
Seville Cathedral, like many of the churches in Southern Spain is built on the site of a former Mosque. When Ferdinand III of Castile arrived in Seville to retake it from the Moors, a voice beckoned to him while praying and it is said an angel led him into the city and into the main mosque. Here he was able to see thru the layers of a wall that a mural of the Virgin had been painted on it years before. A few days later, Seville fell. And here we have the Altar of the Virgin of Antigua.
I'm sure that each altar has such a story......if you'd like to find out a bit more about all the Altars; I've translated this Wikipedia page.
Take a gander at the organ of the Cathedral to the right.
All of this was great; but there was one main reason I wanted to visit this Cathedral.
You see, even though there's still some disagreement about things, a DNA test done in 2006 agrees with the belief that Columbus; at least part of him, resides in this tomb in the Cathedral. You can't miss seeing the four figures; each representing one of the kingdoms of Spain during Columbus's life; Castile, Aragon, Leon, and Navara; holding his tomb aloft.
Regardless, this was a bucket list moment for me. One I tried to savor....the only annoyances being the loud, knucklehead tourists from you know where who kept going under the ropes for a photo-op or reaching over and grabbing the statues......
After a few minutes it was time for the last stop at the Cathedral. Time to take a walk up the Giralda (Bell Tower), which used to be a minaret. It's an easy walk and the view from 330 feet up is spectacular. That's the Plaza de Toros, the Bullring, near the middle of this photo.
Looking in the direction of where we were staying, we could see the Iglesia de San Isidoro, but man those street sure are narrow!
We headed back down and took a short walk thru Patio de Los Naranjos (Courtyard of the Orange Trees).
Before heading back for a well earned nap.....things were pretty quite midafternoon as we passed Plaza de San Francisco.
Needless to say, we were pretty hungry when we awoke. And it would be about a mile walk to our dinner destination; a very popular restaurant named Eslava in the Alameda neighborhood. Eslava, like La Azotea is always mentioned in those "best of" lists you find. We arrived just after the place opened and it was already getting busy. There's a restaurant next door; but the bar, where you get the tapas sized portions is where we wanted to be.
Wine and olives (and lupini beans) to start (of course).....
I started ordering.......
Garbanzos con Menudo, the Missus does love Her "callos".....
Pretty good, comforting, garbanzos a bit too hard, though a nice start.
Would there be any doubt that we'd be having the Foie Gras on Hazelnut Bread.
Nicely rich and creamy, if perhaps a bit too sweet. But man; garbanzos to foie gras in two bites....that's some range there.
Eslava is a regular winner on the tapas food circuit; meet one of their masterpieces; the Slow Cooked Egg on Mushroom (boletus) Soufflé, with a wine sauce.
Good lord almighty.....such a drool and food porn worthy dish. This was delici-yoso...with several exclamation points!!!! The earth flavors of mushroom, light acid and sweetness from the wine reduction, and the richness of that egg yolk.
I thought the Pork Ribs with Honey and Rosemary Sauce was too sweet and the ribs a bit too tough and chewy for our tastes.
Another prize winner, Un Cigarro para Becque - Becque's Cigar.
Served with a rich, but mild aioli, the range of flavors and textures in this was startling; from the brie pastry, crisp with some stretch, to the filling which was darkened using squid ink, and consisted of algae, langostines, and cuttlefish, I'd say this is a must try dish here. It's quite an interesting item.
The Charlota Calabacin; a Zucchini (Charlotte) Terrine was very nice as well.
Nice and comforting.
The Carrillada ibérica estofada (stewed pork cheeks) was another delicious dish.
Tender, with a wonderful flavor.......I don't know if I've ever had a version of this that I didn't like.
The Boquerón blanco frito, fried anchovies were crisp, light, and had good oil.
These are sometimes a crap-shoot, but we were told these were from Malaga and they did indeed taste fresh with no off flavors.
I was getting pretty stuffed.....I don't think I could finish the Albodingas, which the Missus loved.
Man, this was some meal....but here's the kicker. Three glasses of wine each; we finished with Vermut, which the Missus has kind of gotten a taste for, 48 Euros! That's like $54 at that time.
We sat next to a very nice couple from the UK....the husband was "stationed" here in Seville. It was a nice discussion of Seville from a different point of view. The woman was very friendly and quite surprised that we managed to hit three of the top places in Seville in the short time we'd been here.
Eslava Eslava 3 Seville, Spain
While folks don't eat quite as late here as in Madrid, it was pretty well packed as we left.
We took a meandering and circuitous route back to our flat. It was a cool, but not too cold night, and folks were out and about.
We walked through this nice wide open square with two Roman columns on it. This is La Alameda and has a history going back to 1547.
And while picking up a few items from the neighborhood grocery, ran into this little fellow.
He was, in his own way, quite adorable.....but only had eyes for his "master"....and he was also quite proud. In that sort of; "ok, I'll let you pet me kind of way". I named him the "Smug Pug". We even saw him the next day......making his way through the crowds....not having time for anyone.... As we watched him, I started humming, of all things, the Overture to the Barber of Seville....which, for some reason made me think of this. Funny how the mind works.....
We wandered along and ended up at this spaceship looking monstrosity....
This is called the Metropol Parasol, also known as Plaza de la Encarnacion (Incarnación's mushrooms). Which looked quite out of place among the historic structures in Seville.
Yes, Seville was full of surprises. You'd be walking down a relatively sedate street, the bell tower of a church standing quietly in the night.
You'd turn the corner....and oh my goodness, there would be a crowd of folks; young and old, socializing and enjoying the evening.
Perhaps that's the joy of Seville. There's a surprise around every corner.
Kirk and Cathy are doing something else today, so Ed (from Yuma) is posting.
Yuma is blessed with numerous Mexican restaurants, but seafood places are not common. Of course, there is Juanita's and usually one or two other seafood trucks, but Mariscos Mar Azul has been the premier local seafood house ever since it opened. But now with La Resaca, Yuma has two excellent options:
Located somewhat off the main drag on 3rd Avenue, where the Mad Greek used to be, La Resaca has a large main dining area with many modern booths:
a bar area with more tables:
and even a small stage for music some evenings:
When you sit down, you are soon served whole crunchy tostito rounds, a few saltines, flavorful and spicy salsa, and a bunch of lime wedges:
On my first visit, I decided to start with tacos:
They were served with a mayo based basic crema and a chipotle flavored one:
The shrimp taco was excellent, the flavorful fresh shrimp nicely breaded and perfectly cooked:
Similarly, the fish taco was about the freshness of the flavorful breaded fish rather than crunchiness:
And the mantarraya was also nicely prepared, full flavored but not too salty, fishy but not funky:
Food this good I wanted to share, so the next evening Tina and I showed up for dinner.
As appetizers, we picked tostadas. One was ceviche:
the other octopus:
The octopus was sliced well and had just the right amount of chew and mollusk flavor. We were especially impressed by the ceviche. The fish and vegetables tasted very fresh and the whole tostada had a very pleasant flavor and multiple textures.
That evening we also tried a couple of cooked seafood entrées. Tina chose the albañil, shrimp grilled with bacon, poblano and jalapeno peppers, and onions, served on corn tortillas:
The shrimp were well-prepared (not over-cooked) and the bacon and grilled vegetables really added to their flavor. Tina loved the abundant avocado, The rice was okay and the salad had no dressing – though I suspect we could have asked for some.
I had the pescado Veracruz:
I liked the fish preparation. There were four or five little filets of tilapia, lightly breaded and nicely grilled, covered with a very mellow Veracruz sauce, much like a ranchero sauce with onions, celery, green olives, peppers, and a lot of carrot slices. Good food.
On my next visit, I had to try a seafood cocktele; after all, La Resaca specializes in cruda (raw). They come in three sizes with your choice of mariscos – shrimp, octopus, oyster, scallop, and/or snail. I ordered a medium "campechana," a combination:
That is a nice looking cocktele:
The cooked shrimp were pristine and juicy. The scallops clean and fresh tasting. The octopus was fine. And the snail pieces (you can see one hiding under the scallop in that picture) added some chew if little flavor to the contents of the sundae glass.
I was especially impressed by the quality of the cocktele water. Smooth flavors of the sea, with a little lime tang, balanced by a touch of ketchup sweetness. My only complaint would be the lack of an oyster in the cocktele.
So when I got together for lunch with Greg, I made sure to order a half-dozen oysters:
They were very fresh and pristine, mildly flavored but distinctively oyster. Next time I will try some of the 10 bottles of salsa on the table to see which goes best.
That day Greg selected the house special tostada:
You can see why the folks at La Resaca choose this tostada for the first page of their menu. It is a combination of their basic cold mariscos along with avocado slices, onion slices, and a dice of vegetables . As tasty as it is attractive.
My first version of this post ended right about here, but Greg called me soon after I was finished (so I thought) and we decided to go back to La Resaca the next day. We tried three more dishes.
The first was fried calamari:
This was pretty standard stuff, might even have come from a Sysco truck. Strips of squid steak, decent texture but little flavor. The breading substantial and crunchy. Served with the chipotle crema and a first-rate cocktail sauce. Not bad at all.
Aguachile – the original red version – came next:
The cool lime and chile broth was just right for my tastes, tangy but not sour, picante but not fuego. There was plenty of avocado, sliced red onion, and seeded cucumber, but the real star of the show was, of course, the wonderful raw camarones:
Their fresh clean taste matched their impeccable white color.
Last to show up was caldo de siete mares (seven seas soup):
The best version I've had in the United States, for sure. And well presented. A good seven seas soup needs to have claws, legs or tentacles projecting out from the bowl. The seafood and tomato flavored broth contained sliced red onion, sliced poblanos and jalapenos, chunks of carrot, and chopped cilantro. Along with those veggies and that crab (what kind of crab is that?), the soup contained shrimp, mussels, clams, tilapia, octopus, and sea snails, and yes, that adds up to seven seafoods. It was good enough to remind Greg and I of our first bowls of siete mares over 25 years ago in a restaurant overlooking the Pacific right by Bufadora park near Ensenada.
As you can tell, I am delighted that La Resaca decided to locate in Yuma. With other locations in Calexico and El Centro, the restaurant has the experience to know how to do things right. The menu is large and interesting, everything I've eaten has been tasty, and the service and decor are good as well.
La Resaca, 1725 S 3rd Ave, Yuma AZ 85364, (928) 276-3280
mmm-yoso!!!, a blog about food and the various ways to get to the food. Kirk is working late today and Ed (from Yuma) has had some long days, even in retirement. Cathy is writing this post.
Yes, it is October and the 2016 San Diego County Fair culminated on July 4 with fireworks. Two other posts were written- before the opening of the Fair and one while it was open. Today's post is a compilation of some displays, events and foods which weren't written about, (plus a note about the theme of the 2017 San Diego County Fair at the end of this post).
1,609,481 people attended the 2016 San Diego County Fair, which was open 26 days this year. There were 4,187 different attractions and exhibits. Concerts, festivals, entertainment, contests and shopping were available each day within walking distance. There were special dinners, one Farm to Table and some special Sunday 'Tea Time' events. There were also some 'over 21' festivals: Toast of the Coast Wine Competition (which had 929 guests at two tasting sessions), the San Diego International Beer Festival (had over 8,500 guests over three days) and Distilled: Spirit and Cocktail Festival (1,033 gusts in one day). When you walk through the Main entrance, to the right always is the building highlighting the Fair Theme. Since this year was a combination of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland with steampunk influences...well there was a lot to see and do inside this building.
During the Fair, livestock were judged and the winners were auctioned on July 3 (so they could be removed from the Fair site before fireworks on July 4). The non-ribbon winners are also sold at this time and overall, $432,031 was raised for scholarships for 4H and FFA students, who were both happy and sad to see their work appreciated and their animals leave on this day.
There were so many food items I did not mention.
The 'Grilled Cheese A-Fair' booth is a sometimes choice for us. This year we tried a 'breakfast' - ham, eggs and cheese on a waffle, served with 'syrup'. It was very nice and gave us ideas for some special breakfasts at home.
Each day we visit the Fair, there is usually one meal of fried something and this day it was clam strips with zucchini. Properly made and not greasy.
Then there was the day when we just had to try the "French Toast Bacon Bombs" from the 'Bacon A-Fair' booth. Cinnamon bread dough filled with cream cheese, wrapped in bacon then fried...topped with whipped cream, just because. These were good and four were quite enough for the two of us. We always stop at Roxy's, a booth run by a local restaurant (almost always ordering an artichoke or falafel sandwich) and this year a new selection- an eggplant sandwich-was offered. Thick slices of fresh eggplant, lightly crunch (cornmeal?) breaded and fried, topped with Parmesan cheese and a nice red sauce all served on the toasted fresh whole grain rolls with a salad. This was great.
Then I noticed a pattern.
One day, I wanted a sweet and the 'apple fries' signage at the 'Mexican Funnel Cake' booth caught my eye. These were a tart (maybe green) apple, sliced into 'french fry' shapes, lightly dusted with flour, fried, then rolled lightly in a fine sugar with just a touch of cinnamon and served with whipped cream- just delightful!
Another day, I was looking at the menu board at the 'Chuck Wagon' booth and noticed at the very bottom right 'deep fried cinnamon apple rings', so that was all we ordered (bad photo, since the Chuck Wagon area is covered with red tarp, but nice to eat here because it is always nice to be out of direct sunlight). These apples still had a skin on (red) and more batter, were dipped in a cinnamon sugar and also served with whipped cream. Completely different with the same basic components and good, really good. There was another day when I wanted apples again. The "Apple Tower' booth on the midway had a short line. Red and green apple slices, warm caramel, nuts and whipped cream...so good and such a different way to have apples at the Fair.
I think this Fair was a bit more fun because of all the characters walking around the Fairgrounds, greeting people, posing with them for photos, or just taking a break, like the rest of us.
I held off with this summary, not wanting to overwhelm you immediately after nor during the summer.
Yesterday the 22nd Agricultural District announced the theme of the 2017 San Diego County Fair.
Just a few weeks after Cathy's most recent post on Van Hoa, the place changed ownership and Pho and Banh Cuon Ha Long was born. Banh Cuon? I've yet to have a good version in San Diego, so I was intrigued. And then our good "FOY" (Friend of Yoso) "YummyYummy" told me it was the same owners as Suong Hong and my excitement was tempered.
The place looks basically the same....a bit run down, sticky tables and all.
And the Banh Cuon Dac Biet ($7)? Well, you've read it before; banh cuon a bit too thick, lacking pull; the nuoc mam cham a bit too thin for my taste, the nem chua not quite sour or flavorful enough.
Not my cup of tea. But if you expect Song Huong, you'll be satisfied.
Still, the young lady was very nice......the guys hanging out front gave the place "that atmosphere", and I recalled the Bun Bo Hue at Song Huong being, well, not terrible. So I ordered it ($7.50) on my next visit.
This was an interesting bowl....from the ngo ngai topping the bowl, to the meatballs in the soup (I think it was there to replace MIA cha lua). The vegetables, though fresh really fell short; almost all shredded cabbage and bean sprouts.
The broth was scalding hot; a good start, mildly spicy, not very complex in terms of lemongrass and pungent flavors.
And the most annoying, the noodles seemed to be cut in half and thirds, making them very short......very slippery and short.....
A pleasant surprise was the two pieces of pork hock in this bowl. It was fun gnawing on the skin, connective tissue, and the toothsome, but not too tough meat. The pork was also nicely flavored, though the other pieces of meat fell short, and no tendon!
Like my other experience with BBH at this family's restaurants, not terrible, ok "pho shop Bun Bo Hue", but nothing amazing.
A week later I was in the area and being quite hungry, decided to drop by for a late breakfast (according to the sign, they now open a 6am!). I was going to try the pho, but chose the Com Tam Dac Biet instead. This was actually not bad; except the broken rice was too dry and hard for my taste.
The Bi with the flavor of the roasted rice coming through was good, though a bit dry. The Cha was on the cold side, dry, and more chewy than I care for. The pork chop had a very nice flavor; edging more on the salty than sweet, but other than that little nugget with the fat on the end, was also on the chewy side. The broth accompanying the meal was nice and rich, though it had a bit too much MSG for me.
Based on my meals, I'd definitely say YMMV here. Though if they're really open at 6am....heck, I'll need to try breakfast, right?
Pho & Banh Cuon Ha Long Restaurant 4016 54th St San Diego, CA 92105
After having a great time with Cathy and Ed from Yuma at Prime Grill (click on the links to read or reread their posts), I decided to check out some of their non-Korean Barbecue dishes. Plus, it was pretty darn hot during this time, making for the perfect set-up for my meals.
The parking lot here can be a real horror show, but at 11 am on a Monday or Tuesday, things are pretty quiet.
I ordered the Dolsot Bi Bim Bap and soon enough the panchan arrived. The baechu kimchi; the napa cabbage kimchi was a surprise as it had a bit of a fermented flavor; not just the sour quick pickled versions I've had recently at most places. It was pretty good. The other item I hadn't seen in a while was the gaji namul; the steamed eggplant panchan. In spite of the rather grey look, it had some decent garlicky tones.
When my bi bim bap arrived.....which looked pretty textbook, I was disappointed that it didn't have an egg yolk on it.....which was hiding under the shredded nori.
This was pretty much by the book; though the mushroom, fernbrake, and blanched spinach with sesame oil was very nice. The bulgogi was on the bland side. What really made this good was the rice; which was prepared perfectly as was the stone bowl. A beautiful, nutty crust quickly developed and after mixing kept on going for a good part of the meal. The Cho Gochujang here was very thick, mostly gochujang, with very mild sweet and sour tones. Not a bad lunch...plus, if I recall, this is a buck cheaper during lunch.
About a week later, temps hit the mid-nineties in the Convoy area. I decided to drop by for lunch and try the Bi Bim Naengmyun; the spicy cold noodle dish that I crave when temps rise.
Only four panchan this time around. I'm guessing it's based on what is ordered. The regular kimchi wasn't as good on this visit; though still better than most. The baek (white) kimchi would have made the Missus happy as it had distinct fermented tones.
On the menu it says Ham Heung Bi Bim Naengmyun, naming the city in North Korea that made this dish famous.
Man, this was a lot of buckwheat noodles. The Server was very friendly and quite funny. She asked me if I wanted my noodles cut and when I said "I wouldn't even be able to eat the noodles if they weren't", she relayed a pretty funny story about her father, who was from Pyongyang, who refused to let her eat her noodles cut. Until one day when she tried to eat entire noodles and started choking. Her dad grabbed the noodles and actually pulled it all the way from her stomach! I don't know if it's true, but it was a heck of a story.
A bit too little sauce for the amount of noodles and that chojang wasn't especially spicy. But a slushy bowl of mul-naengmyun broth was also provided.
Sunday morning in Miraflores is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of the night before. It is rather sedate, calm....there's not much going on streetwise.
At this point in our lives; the Missus and I are far removed from "the party". You know; Mom sued to say "nothing good happens after midnight. At a certain point in your life you figure out that "nothing good happens after 10 pm." That's kind of where we're at in life. Though when it comes to Madrid and Spain as a whole; the clock is thrown out the window.
Still, it wasn't that early for us as we left our hotel; 830 am is kind of a late start when we're travelling.
Still, the streets are pretty quiet on a Sunday morning.
We headed off to our breakfast destination. We had some great discussions with our wonderful driver, Benjamin during our trip to see the Nazca Lines. One of the questions I asked was about a typical breakfast in Lima.....I was told that we must get a Sanguche de Chicharron, a pork sandwich for Sunday breakfast, it's a Lima tradition. I'd heard about the iconic pork sandwich; I knew about La Lucha which is quite well known, but Benjamin told me that Dona Paulina is where he takes his family for Sanguches de Chicharron. Which we happened to see the previous evening when we had dinner at Punto Azul.
The place looks like a typical neighborhood Coffee Shop.....
One that sells pork and lomo saltado sandwiches......anyone want a tamal for breakfast?
In spite of the street being fairly empty; Dona Paulina was doing some good business on this morning.
The Missus got an espresso; I an Americano......
And we decided to split an Sanguches de Chicharron....JR....as in a smaller sized sandwich. I'm glad we did.
The sandwich is served using what they call a "French Roll" here. It is yeasty and relatively light. The sandwich is served with a nice salsa criolla which I sometimes make at home. The acid and pungency from the onions helps to cut all the richness of the pork.
There were three different slices of pork in the sandwich; one had a bit of skin and fat which added a nice richness; there's one rather meaty cut, looks like shoulder which, while adding bulk was on the dry side. The fat and moisture from the other slices and the salsa ciolla evened things out.
Of course the Missus loved the slices of camote; sweet potato in the sandwich.
Dona Paulina Calle Alcanfores 715 Lima, Peru
It was a good thing that we shared this sandwich as we planned to have an early lunch.