A fairly large collection for a SoCal winter Wednesday.
Pho DaKao and Grill Closes:
I drove by and noticed the parking lot was totally empty so I drove in. The Eviction Restoration Notice was posted on the door. Man, this place didn't last very long. I think I visited soon after they opened....so they pulled the plug pretty fast.
I'd driven past a couple of times and the place looked closed so I stopped by earlier in the week.
This former Balboa Avenue institution moved to this location back in the summer of 2013. It's too bad that the renovation and creation of chain restaurant hell drove them from their old location and it seems that they barely made it past a year here. Though never a destination for me, I'd eaten at the old location a couple of times and thought it decent.......
So hopefully I'm mistaken? But it sure looks like they've shut down....
4344 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
So here comes the "New" Dumpling Inn and Shanghai Saloon:
While never great shakes, the place really "jumped the shark" in my opinion after the owner got involved with The Dragon's Den and Del Mar Rendezvous, both of which have been sold. So now we get this........ I'm told he has a taste for "fusion", which is great, remember, I'm from the home of Pacific Rim Cuisine, so I love fusion.....but it's a thin line between fusion and "con-fusion".
In the old First Korean Market location.
4625 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
We had some much needed rain over the last two weeks........and we're kind of enjoying the nice sleeping weather, which would be great if I wasn't working so many long hours.
Still, I actually saw a double rainbow while driving to Target on the way home yesterday. Pardon the bad photos.
Seeing a rainbow in San Diego is rare enough....a double rainbow, well I don't ever recall seeing one here.
So I took a photo....then took photos of other folks taking photos of the double rainbow.....like I said, this is like an event.
Or maybe a celebrity? This guy is having his picture taken "with" the rainbow! No selfies here....though I did pass two couple taking selfies with the rainbow.
I keep looking at all these photos of Rome and thinking, well one of these days. There was so much we saw, but it also seemed so hectic. I usually will look at a set of photos and the sights, smells, sounds, tastes, pop out and just like that; I have a post. This one had to really pared down......in the end, I thought this would be a nice description of what a typical vacation day with the Missus is like. It makes a nice C(learing) O(ut the) M(emory) C(ard) post.
As is the norm, we woke quite early on our first full day in Rome. I actually got up at 5am and did a post from our room. The Missus woke a bit later and we were headed out before 7. The Missus had a basic list of places to check out and we'd be walking to them all.
So we headed off from Termini Station down the street.
Pst the Colosseum and the Forum......
Skirting Palatine Hill and the Victor Emmanuel Monument.....
And we ended up at Saint Andrea della Valle, Piazza Navona was just a short walk from there. It was pretty quiet at Piazza at that time.
The Missus was determined to get to the Pantheon when it opened. So we walked on over and found that we were still quite early. So we walked over a block to Santa Maria sopra Minerva.
First thing on my mind was....what's up with the Elephant Obelisk, what does it represent? Well, apparently, this obelisk was one of two brought to Rome by Emperor Diocletian from Egypt sometime during his reign between 284 - 305AD. The obelisks were built during the reign of Pharoah Apries around 570BC. The Elephant was designed by Bernini and sculpted by Ercole Ferrata, completed in 1667. The Missus has a thing about obelisks....I'm really afraid to ask really. I will say, this is my favorite one...though I'm still not sure what it all really means.
The church itself is built over the ruins of a temple to the Egyptian Goddess Isis.
As with many of the various churches in Rome, of which there are over 900, most with a rich history, and tons of relics. Santa Maria sopra Minerva was once the center of the Dominican Order, so it makes sense that Saint Catherine of Siena is buried here....well, not all of her. Her head is interred at the Basilica of San Domenico in Siena.
We returned to the Pantheon, which still wasn't open, and decided to just have a cup of coffee and chill. There seemed to be quite a few "locals" walking their dogs, chatting, and generally giving the place a very relaxed feeling.
And yes, that's a obelisk and fountain the front of the Pantheon. This one was built by Ramesses II and was taken from the Temple of Ra in the ancient city of Heliopolis.
Soon enough, folks started lining up in front of the huge doors......
Anyway, here we were, standing in front of the huge bronze doors of the Pantheon. A little gentleman comes out to open up...and can't budge the doors. He recruits a bunch of us to push open the doors. Which we do. Oh man, talk about a thrill....I helped to push open the doors of the Pantheon! I immediately asked the Missus if She got a photo; "oh, I was so excited for you....I forgot!"
Click on the photo above to enlarge....this is one of the few places that really impressed me more than what I had read.
A few minutes later the place started getting crowded. It was time to leave. Outside, all the locals had disappeared as tourists descended on the Pantheon. I'm glad we had arrived early.
We headed back to Piazza Navona which was starting to pick up.
There are three fountains which grace the square, this is the one on the North, the Fountain of Neptune.
We decided to back track and headed to Campo de Fiori, literally translated to "Field of Flowers". I read that in the Middle Ages, the area was actually a meadow. It now houses a daily flower and vegetable market....kind of touristy. pretty pricey, but still fun.
Right on Campo de Fiori resides a place that is pretty much legendary, Forno Campo de Fiori, a little bakery and shop.
The Pizza Bianca was good, initial crunch, a bit too chewy for my taste, very soft interior.....kind of bland though. The pizzas, were, well, kind of disappointing, hard, greasy....probably because they seemed to have been laying out for a while.
Forno Campo de' Fiori Campo de' Fiori 22 Rome, Italy
Since it was now my turn for the time being, we headed off down Via dei Giubbonari, one of the side street off of Campo de Fiori. A little street lined with shops and cafes. Along the way we passed a little cul de sac, which had....what else, a church.
This little church is Santa Barbara dei Librari - the church for booksellers!
I loved this little three panel wooden painting, called a triptych. I later read that it dates back to the 15th-16th century.
When we hit the cross street of Via dei Chiavari, I found the other place I wanted to try. My good buddy Candice told me that she preferred Antico Forno Marco Roscioli.
About this time I figured out that pizza bianca would make a perfect sandwich....which it did.
I did notice that the pizza bianca here was less oily and had a better crunch.
I thought the marinara pizza was pretty good as well.
Antico Forno Marco Roscioli Via dei Chiavari 34 Rome, Italy
As you notice....these were the days before the Missus really clamped down on carbs. And yet, with this walking, I still lost weight!
Bolstered by carbs and caffiene we headed off to find the Missus's next target....where was that darn Trevi Fountain?
Thanks for dropping by to read the blog, mmm-yoso!!! Kirk and Ed(from Yuma) are both busy picking things up while Cathy is holding down the fort.
There seems to have been an inordinate amount of 'customized pizza' places popping up around Southern California within the past twelve months. I've only posted about one such business but have been to many iterations and here's a post about another using a similar business model. Perhaps you are wondering about the first San Diego location of 85C- it's on the far right of the above photo, right next door to Pieology on Balboa at Genessee.Neat, clean, industrial looking with the current decorating trend of communal tables in the center of the seating area, the drill is the same: order, watch your pies being customized while following them along the line...Watch your personalized dough being placed into a wood fired oven...Choose a beverage or salad and pay, have a seat and your order will be brought out to you. This is a large salad ($7.95) with chicken, Gorgonzola, local organic greens, candied walnuts and dried cranberries. It's very fresh and very good. These are the "herb butter strips" ($2.95)...the fresh dough topped with butter and olive oil and fresh herbs, baked just right-almost crispy yet still chewy. Unfortunately for you reading this (and all of these pop up 'customized' pizza places), The Mister and I are traditionalists and pretty much don't 'customize' and instead order basic items from the menu, in the case of Pieology, it's an order from the "Pizza Lab". Above, the Number 1: Classic cheese pie ($6). Olive oil, Mozzarella and red sauce. Quite nice, with a tasty crust, balance of flavors and simplicity that is difficult to properly achieve.Another day we ordered the Pizza Lab Number 2 item ($7.95): a pepperoni, sausage, meatball, Mozzarella, olive oil and red sauce pie...but (here's the where we went all crazy part) we also asked for mushrooms. This pie was excellent. There is no additional charge; most customized pies are $7.95; know that multiple items are distributed modestly which helps the pie crust bake in three minutes or less.
All in all, three very nice meals here. An interesting concept. We've now been to seven similar concept places and are thinking the $8 price point leads to a good ROI for each business. Other blogging viewpoints of Pieology: Here, here and here.Here too.
Pieology 5575 Balboa Avenue Suite 310 San Diego 92111 (858) 565-0600 (there two other San Diego locations) Website
Today Kirk and Cathy can concentrate on their real work (or just kick back and relax) because Ed (from Yuma) has a post about a restaurant up in Paso Robles.
Tina and I had wonderful memories of a lunch at Thomas Hill Organics back in 2009, so we wanted to be sure to go there with Steve and Helen. Again we entered through the larger and fancier alley entrance to the restaurant:
This side of the restaurant has the larger indoor dining room, the Park Street side has a long skinny room with the bar and small tables, but whenever possible, we like to eat in the central covered courtyard in the middle of the restaurant:
Remembering a wonderful watermelon gazpacho from our previous visit, Tina and I decided to share the avocado-corgette cold soup with coconut milk and chili oil ($8):
What can I say? The cool smooth green avocado blended with the summer fresh squash seemed like the essence of a late spring harvest – rich, vegetal, tangy and complex. The chili oil added a touch of spicy hotness to balance the cool green creamy depth of the soup.
For Helen, the soup was her main dish, though she did share some of Steve's skirt steak sandwich:
All of the sandwiches came with extremely fresh field greens tossed with a light basil vinaigrette and a few grains of quinoa:
Along with the soup, Tina opted for the local grass fed beef hamburger ($17):
Her burger was topped with Cambozola cheese, caramelized onions, and abundant applewood smoked bacon, all accented by nut romesco and roasted garlic aoli. It was really wonderful:
I had the pork belly banh mi:
I love banh mis, but this seemed a little over the top for my tastes. While the pickled carrots, avocado, and chopped cilantro were good, the two thick slices of pork belly seemed excessive and were a bit chewy. Call me old school, but I also missed the light crunchiness of a good Vietnamese baguette:
Tina and I had always wondered about dinner at Thomas Hill, so we decided to have our last dinner in Paso at Thomas Hill Organics. The menu seemed wide-ranging, we liked that many produce and protein sources were identified on the menu, and it is hard to beat the ambience of that courtyard.
Our dinner began with ahi tataki style ($16), a plate that looked like a beautiful little tuna topped volcano erupting ginger/scallion relish :
This was very nicely done. The excellent fresh ahi was lightly seared, and the ponzu sauce was perfectly flavored and did not overpower the other ingredients. Speaking of other ingredients, when Tina and I removed and divided the tuna, the rest of the appetizer was visible:
There was a large clump of wakame (seaweed salad), slices of avocado, wedges of pickled apricot, rounds of beautiful purple radish and cucumber, sunflower sprouts, and that ginger and scallion relish. For Tina and I, these flavors worked well together.
The next course was an unusual ceviche ($15) with local yellowtail and Oregon baby shrimp accompanied by chunks of Rocking Chair Farms nectarines and white peaches with purple radishes, cilantro, shaved shallots served on tostadas made from plantain and drizzled with coriander/honey coconut milk:
In most ways, this was an ambitious and very tasty ceviche presentation. It was not too tangy/sour to accompany our wine (more on that soon), and we loved the combination of stone fruit and seafood – though I would have liked even more of the seasonal fruits:
For us, the only things that didn’t work in the dish were the discs of plantain. They were more chewy than crunchy, and while they stood up to the ceviche toppings, the flavor/texture profile just didn't appeal and we actually left most of one round on the otherwise cleaned plate.
Because we were starting with two seafood courses, we began with glasses of Lone Madrone 2011 Points West White ($13), a very tasty Rhône style blend of 4 grapes, the rich and creamy roussane being the most prominent. We had tasted that very same wine the previous afternoon at the winery and had enjoyed it very much. It did not disappoint with dinner, and of course, the stemware was excellent and the pours very fair.
Our next course was called Jewel of the Spring Salad ($15):
In that picture, you can see what they called a Fabergé farm egg, attractive and hard-boiled. The greens in the salad were wild arugula and pea leaves and tendrils. The orange carrot ribbons, dark pink macerated red onions, asiago cheese shavings, and abundant sweet pea pods added body, color, and variety to this lightly dressed and unusual salad, dense with the taste of spring:
From the moment we had been seated in the courtyard in the middle of the building that evening, we noticed a chef attending to the woodfired pizza oven:
So our last course just had to be one of their woodfired pizzas. Called the Verde Green pizza on the menu, it was topped with mozzarella cheese, black truffle salami, pistachio nuts, roasted zucchini, basil leaves and a light sprinkling of Romano cheese ($17):
It was excellent, the crust light and crunchy and the toppings tasty but not overpowering. We shared a glass of Enfold 2010 Jazzy Zinfandel ($13), which went well with the pizza.
We had a good time at Thomas Hill Organics, the service, ambience, and food were all first rate. Much of the food was local and organic. The wine list was well focused on local wineries. If we had any complaint, it was that we ordered too much food, so had to take about half of the pizza back to our room with us. Oh, hold on here, why am I complaining about a midnight snack?
mmm-yoso!!!, the food blog, is an almost daily posting by a few friends (Kirk, Ed(from Yuma) and Cathy) who share their food-centric experiences with you. Today, Kirk is busy, as is Ed(from Yuma) and Cathy has a bit of time on her hands, so she's writing.
I've noticed a plethora (more than six) of businesses around the County featuring 'design your own pizza and we'll bake it for you very quickly' and have concluded that there must be an amazing ROI (return of investment) on this particular type of operation, possibly based on the business model of Little Caesars. One day, The Mister and I decided to see what this was all about and stopped at the nearest location to home. Social Life is a franchise and the only other location is inside the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.
This is the view from the parking lot- you can see El Cajon Boulevard to the left in the back of this photo.
When you walk in, you're asked if you've ever been here before and if not, a quick explanation of how it all works is given. There's the menu of suggested ingredient topping mixes and then at the far right, a 'crafted by you' option, all pies are basically the same price (unless you choose premium toppings).
You can see the dough being made and portioned (that shiny object to the right is the machine that flattens the dough to the perfect thickness)
You can see the San Felice "00" Pizza Flour bags- it's a blend of American, European and Italian wheat and I do notice an excellent flavor, chew and light crunch in the crust here.
Some of the toppings available...
You watch as your pie is assembled.
Then it's placed into the wood fired oven for about three minutes.
You can pay and have a seat. Or stare and take a photo. Not a long wait.
They use flavorful San Marzano tomatoes...
Here's a view from the cash register. Pay attention to those orange pots to the left. That's (imported from Italy) oregano to the right, in the packages.
Above, #5-Carne. San Marzano crushed tomatoes, mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage and salami. ($7.50). The imported dried oregano, brushed off of branches was scattered over the pie before it went into the oven. The crust is remarkable in that it is very much in the Naples/Neopolitan style (BTDT)-it's light, crunchy and still chewy (not too thin and cracker-like)-see the overhanging shape of the slice? The meat mix combined with the crushed tomatoes is wonderful.
The Mozzarella Salad($7.50), mini mozzarella balls on top of freshly tossed greens, tomatoes, basil and oregano with olive oil and placed on top of a freshly baked olive oil and oregano topped crust. This was very refreshing and a way to get a salad with a lot of fresh lightly crisp bread.
The Gorgonzola Salad ($4) is also refreshing. Mixed greens mixed with olive oil and then with gorgonzola, dried cranberries and caramelized walnuts. Quite a large serving and very good.
In those orange glazed pots (seen in the forefront of the tenth photo) are home made Italian meatballs and marinara sauce (2 meatballs with sauce for $3.50). These are quite large and very flavorful, made with a finely ground meat mix (beef, pork and veal I think). The marinara sauce is lightly seasoned (and not the same as the crushed tomatoes on the pizza).
The #6-Pesto Pizza. Pesto (pine nut and basil) sauce topped with fresh mozzarella, spinach, mushrooms and fresh tomatoes (they were out of sun dried tomatoes on this visit). This was excellent also. It's difficult for me to say which sauce I liked better. The crust is just wonderful- thin and just on the edge of being crackery, but it's not...and it is so flavorful.
There are several televisions in the eating area and a great beer and wine selection.
The self serve area (including to go boxes) is quite organized.
You may have peeked at the menu and notice a "cannoli pizza" ($6) as a dessert. We had to. The crust was lightly baked just through, is crispy and is not browned. Topped with a sweet Ricotta blend (I think Ricotta and condensed milk) and then mini chocolate chips are added, topped with chocolate sauce, powdered sugar and those wonderful, favorite snacks of mine, maraschino cherries. It is sweet: one slice is enough. Know that it is still good later in the day and the next morning...
Social Life Neapolitan Pizza El Cajon Blvd 92115 (619) 265-2700 Website
Have you ever had a dish that was less than satisfying which caused you to crave that very same dish at the place that did it better? I guess it's kind of cause and effect, right? Dish 'x' from restaurant 'x', made me crave the same or similar item at location 'y'...... I hadn't noticed how much I actually did this until last week.......
I've done so many posts on Sakura, that I really don't bother posting about the place anymore. I've even posted on the Ebi Kakiage here several times....are you ready for another? Well, I noticed after having the version at Ouan, I was craving Sakura's.
Crisp, light, yet substantial, the cold udon version during this summer in February weather, this never fails to hit the spot. It's a good deal at $8.50.
Izakaya Sakura 3904 Convoy St #121 San Diego, CA 92111
And while I thought the Kakiage at ouan was passable, the "Neopolitan style" pizza at isa.bella really fell short, which had me craving......
Back in June of last year, I noticed that the old and kind of worn Bollweevil was being put out to pasture. Taking its place was something called isa.bella - artisan pizza & craft beer garden, yes...all lower case. I kind of hesitated in visiting mainly because even though I've enjoyed watching new places pop-up arpund the neighborhood, I really haven't had much luck when I've checked these places out. Honestly, I'm not expecting North Park caliber places, but would like a nice standby that serves better than average food.....
A couple of weeks ago, JohnL agreed to join me for a couple of beers, we wanted to stay around the neighborhood and thought that it was time to check out isa.bella.
I liked what they've done to the patio area and decided to sit outside. Candice sent me a text saying she'd be able to join us....nice!
I was seated at one of hte tables outside, I've got to say, as much as I liked the colors and such; the tables were pretty high for me and when John and Candice arrived, we realized just how large the tables was. Still, this will be a nice place to have a beer and relax when spring and summer arrive.
I looked over the beer selection, which was decent, nothing like the High Dive of course, but with 15 on tap, it was fine with me. I think having a couple of bottles might be great as well.
I went simple with an Hoegaarden to start while I just kind of got into relaxation mode.
Soon enough Candice, then JohnL arrived and we started looking over the menu in earnest.
In the end we decided on two apps and two pizzas.
Things started off with the meatball trio ($7):
The meatballs were served with a "trio" of sauces; a white, almost bechamel type of sauce that was kind of gritty, a decent think red sauce, and pesto. The flavor of the meatballs were decent, though these were on the hard and tough side.
Seeing the Garlic Wings on the menu ($7), I just had to check them out.
Though the menu calls these spicy, I found them more sweet than anything else. Decently crunchy, sticky and messy, with a mild garlic flavor, this was the best thing we had all evening.
The pizzas started with the Eggplant Parmesan ($13.50).
Now, considering that I was told that isa.bella served Neopolitan style pizza, something along the lines of Pizzeria Bruno came to mind. This didn't quite make it up there, especially in the crust department for me as it was hard and cracker like. This was also on the bland side as the eggplant needed a lot more help. The cheese was not strong enough to carry the dish and there didn't seem to be enough marinara sauce on this as well.
The Margherita ($12.50) fared better.
I'm still not fond of the crust, but the acid of the roma tomatoes combined with basil is a wonderful thing. The pizza was still a bit short on sauce for my taste.
Overall, the prices weren't bad, I wasn't very fond of the pizzas, but the staff was nice, and I felt comfortable here, so I figured I'd drop by for just a beer and something simple one evening.
I got the Leffe Brown, I like browns which balance out the sweet and bitter, and this did the trick.
The Parmesan Fries were nice, hot and crisp, perhaps a bit too salty, but nothing to complain about at a Happy Hour price of $3.
I'm guessing this place will be just that for me; a place to drop in for a beer and something small to eat every once in a while. I like the staff, they're friendly, but not overly so, and I can have a beer and decompress..... though I may stop by for lunch someday.
isa.bella artisan pizzeria & craft beer garden 4011 Avati Dr San Diego, CA 92117 Hours: Tues - Thurs 11am - 9pm Fri - Sat 11am - 10pm Sunday 11am - 9pm
Here's a far ranging edition of Saturday Stuffs for you.
U Mart? What's U Mart?:
I had been wondering what was happening with the old Zion Marketplace site. I don't recall seeing some of the old food court shops in the new Zion and thought perhaps they were hold-outs? So imagine my surprise when I drove past that location and saw this:
No, there weren't any businesses in the empty shell of a location, but what was U Mart? After calling around a bit, the best info I could find was that the folks behind First Korean Market will be running this place. Not sure why "U Mart" for a Korean Market....but I guess "K Mart" is already taken, right?
4611 Mercury St San Diego, CA 92111 Between Engineer Rd and Dagget St
Where Voltero's is popping up:
Not sure if you folks have noticed, but that strip mall on Balboa where Einstein Bagels used to be is going to become a Chipotle and a Five Guys. I was wondering what happened to Voltero's? I did a post on the cheeseseals there, during my cheesesteak round-up that started in 2010. Voltero's is pretty much your generic neighborhood pizza joint, nothing amazing, but they had a pretty loyal following, and if I recall were owned by local folks.
So I was fairly pleased to see this sign when I ate at Szechuan Chef.
4344 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
It's now Blue Korea House:
Did you even notice?
Haven't been here in over a decade, as I didn't care for the food. An acquaintance of mine used to call this "Baegin-gyp", 'nuff said.
Anyone eat here since the change?
4620 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
What I wear for three weeks of travel:
"David" emailed me about my comment on only taking about 6-7 kilos in a carry-on for over three weeks of travel. He asked how much did I really pack....well, other than what I wore, that was it. If we didn't have a couple of more formal dinners, I'd have lost the two dress shirts. I was actually going to take a jacket, but didn't in the end. I use Eagle Creek packing cubes and a packing folder. I went for it and actually used a $30 Campmor Essential Carry-On, which weighs about half a pound. The packing folder gave the rather floppy bag structure and I had no problems with the bag, nor laundry either. What about wrinkles? A spritz from a spray bottle, a good shake, and a steamy bathroom does wonders...irons are perfectly fine as well of course. I did end up buying a "hoodie" from H&M, which are everywhere in Europe for about 10 Euros.
I'm now sold on One Bag Travel....until I have to go home or visit relatives...you know, the "gifts" thing, right?
The Missus favorite new "pet" - Xiang Chun Ya:
One of the dishes the missed most by the Missus is eggs with shoots from the Xiang Chun Ya, the Chinese Toon tree. This was one of Her favorites growing up and was one of the first things She wanted to eat when we visited QingDao.
We finally got a plant this year....thank "SL"! Sadly, SH left the tree in her hot car that day and it looked dead. But, after transplanting and some TLC, shoots are coming out which has the Missus going nuts.....you see, it's the tender shoots of this plant which are used for scrambled eggs:
The Missus has told me that She's going to pick these shoots already and buy some eggs...I said, "based on the size of these, it better be quail eggs....."
I also told Da Boyz that they aren't Her favorites anymore....they've been replaced by a tree!
Seriously, it's about time we actually used the space in the backyard to grow some stuff.
I went for a Lamb Gyro and found that Gyro N Kabob Cafe had closed. It's to be replaced by a Thai Restaurant called Chaba.
Like I've said before, we can always use a new Thai restaurant, but really don't need yet another Ameri-Thai restaurant in the area......so we'll see. Though some of the folks I work with loved the "Thai Burrito" from Dusit....yuck....
8010 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92111
Bollweevil in Bay Park being replaced by isa.bella artisan pizzeria & beer garden:
Yep, it's all lower case....how hip and modern!
I'll readily admit to thinking that this is a Bay Park money grab.
So I asked a friend of mine who is really on top of the brewpub scene. The response was "just jumping on the craft beer and brewpub train". I'm hoping I'm wrong....so we'll see.
Welcome back to mmm-yoso!!!, the food blog. Kirk is vacationing, according to solid plans. ed (from Yuma) is relaxing, according to fluid plans. Cathy is blogging, according to general plans of achieving a post for you to enjoy.
Everybody has to eat. If you are at home and don't want to cook, you go out to a favorite neighborhood place. If you are at work, there's going to be a place that is close. People don't like to drive very far when they go out, unless maybe for a special occasion. People who work in the "scientist" area of town -near Sorrento Valley and UCSD- where not many lunch options are available, *do* have a great, healthy, tasty option but it isn't easy to find...
This is what you are ultimately looking for.
Raised bed gardens, in the middle of an Office Park (the Nautilus Life Science Campus area). These fresh vegetables and herbs will be part of your meal, picked that morning.
Straight ahead is the front door to Green Acre.
This is what you see from the parking lot. See the umbrellas to the right?
There are plenty of marked parking spaces, if you'd like to come here for breakfast or lunch and don't work here. It's only open Monday-Friday...like the office park. (I'd be here every weekend if it was open.)
When you walk in, there's a chalkboard listing the daily specials.
There's an area to eat inside, also.
When you are waiting in line to order and pay, the wall advertising other restaurants related to Green Acre- those run by San Diego's Top Chef Season 3 Cheftestant Brian Malarkey, is your only clue that this place is related to those "fabric themed" (Searsucker, Gabardine, Burlap, Gingham and Herringbone) restaurants around town, which are heavily promoted and very popular.
The menu board is hanging above the cash register area, where you order, pay and get a number. Then you take your beverage, find a seat and soon enough, your food is brought to you.
One of the things I really like about Green Acre is that just about everything is recycled and recycle-able. The paper straws are more than just cute. When you return your tray, the trash area is marked for food mulch, paper and plastic recycling and 'other'.
The food is brought out on jelly roll pans lined with brown butcher/craft paper. This is Dennis' Grass fed beef burger, topped with leek, slow roasted tomato and Marin County Brie served on a fresh pretzel bun($12) it comes with the fresh-fresh salad, topped with a herb infused dressing...oh, and the pickle is definitely not from a jar. The Russett fries ($3) are served with a 'tomato jam' that tasted more like a marinara than catsup...The fries are quite nice.
caninecologne was not going to let this long drive North go to waste and ordered two full meal items. She took home more than half of each. This is the "Drunken Mary" panini-a chicken salad made with smoked almonds and brandied cherries ($7). I had a taste and it was really good. The side salad, again very fresh-fresh was very good.
This is caninecologne's other main course meal- the 'Corn Cobb' ($9). A very nice, very large, very fresh Cobb salad, made with chicken, avocado, bacon, cheese (she asked for a substitute of the standard Bleu cheese) and topped with a corn vinaigrette. This was very good.
My salad- the 'Nice!'-(a play on Nicoise) ($10) Lightly seared albacore, a perfect soft boiled farm egg, and instead of beans, fresh peas and instead of potato, freshly fried potato skins on top: whatever is fresh and in season... The lettuces, tomato, vinaigrette were memorable as to their freshness.
I had to bring The Mister here, so one weekday in April, we drove out here (it's easy, take the 5 to Genessee, go West two lights to John Jay Hopkins, turn (you can only turn North) and the first street is General Atomics Drive- the first building on the right -go behind it through the parking lot). I decided to try one of the items from the "Brick Oven Bar"- a 'Purist' half pizza($6). Again, it comes with the salad, all on the brown paper lined jelly roll pan. A simple, perfectly baked mozzarella/basil/tomato pizza. This combination is *so* good, I didn't want to stop eating it and am glad I only ordered a half...just to appear polite.
The Mister ordered the Nice! salad, based on my incessant obsession with my previous experience (this version had a few small potatoes in it, so no potato skin toppers;potatoes were able to be harvested) and also ordered a Daily Soup ($4), which this day was a wonderful vegetarian spring root vegetable chowder. This hit the spot with the slightly chilly overcast outdoor seating spot we chose. It was a nice blend of root veggies and kale, not too spicy and not a thick broth, but a very flavorful one.
We've tried other menu items here. The breakfasts are pretty basic (omelettes, wraps and paninis as well as yogurt and fruit cups) and extremely fresh. The menu is small and changes based on what is available. Green Acre serves very fresh, very high quality food without any hype. I really like it here.
Green Acre 3535 General Atomics Court San Diego 92121 (858)587-6601 M-F 8am-6pm Website