The Missus was craving Jokbal Bossam and it had been a while since we've had it here, so the timing seemed perfect. I do wish they'd choose something other than napa cabbage, but other than that, this was porky goodness. In spite of the name, it's dishes like the jokbal bossam, heukyumso jungol, kimchi dolsot bi bim bap, and on good days the seolleongtang that works for us here.
The panchan on this day was good. I think folks have gotten used to the "quick kimchi" style panchan, and this sometimes is a bit too fermented or salty for its own good.
Grandma's Tofu & BBQ 4425 Convoy St. San Diego, CA 92111
Not much to say about this than I need a nap after eating this.
Homestyle Hawaiian Island Style Food 7524 Mesa College Drive San Diego, CA 92111
Santouka, that chain that originated in the coldest city in Japan, Asahikawa, has long been my go-to ramen spot. As with many places I eat at, there's one item I usually order. Here it's the shio ramen - toroniku style.
After going to all the major ramen shops in San Diego back in February 2013, Santouka still was my favorite. the rich, stick to your ribs broth, the nice firm noodles, and the pork which, when "on" has a wonderful, almost smooth texture with a nice pork flavor.
I know, it's really hot out....but on this, a cooler day, it hit the spot.
I guess it's strange that I go to a "food court" when I want my Tonkatsu fix.
But for under nine bucks, this tonkatsu is a favorite of mine in San Diego.......
Crisp, usually moist, love that mashed potato salad.
Kayaba 4240 Kearny Mesa Rd Ste 119 - In the Mitsuwa Marketplace San Diego, CA 92111
The High Dive:
So, the Missus has become a big fan of the Tap Hunter app. I guess She's now an offical Beer Geek. Anyway, there are places that are real good at keeping Tap Hunter up to date and places that are kind of blase'.....Common Theory, I'm looking at you. For all its short-comings, mainly food-related, The High Dive seems to do a good job keeping things updated. Recently, when the Missus was busy with work, She noticed that one of our favorite beers, La Fin du Monde was on tap. I was ordered to head on down and report back post-haste.
And of course, when I arrived, it was there, poised and ready. There's some flavors with "La Fin" that we enjoy, a mild fruit, with flavors that seem like clove and other spices, which make it fine match with spicy food for us. The flavors seem to go really well with anything I make with ghost peppers, strange as that may seem.
This draft version seemed a bit lighter without the spice notes. Maybe for the first time, I preferred the bottle to the tap....weird.
I Buffalo Wings were adequate and by the book. Nothing to make them stand out, but no complaints.
I thought it was a bit too heavy in the sour end and the wings were fried way past well done, but that would be nitpicking.
High Dive Bar and Grill 1801 Morena Blvd San Diego, CA 92110
Getting my "loco fix" at Island Style Cafe:
It was time for my bi-annual locomoco fix......well, strangely, it would be the first "loco" I had this year. I've got some catching up to do! Anyway, I went with the Kaloko Loco at Island Style Cafe. A rather unconventional Loco Moco; usually I'm not a fan of fried rice for my loco and this one even has a crepe, but it all seems to work out for me.
Like my good FOY CAB says, there's an interesting, yet complimentary interplay of sweet with savory going on that I enjoy. The eggs were overcooked for "over-easy" on this visit and I've kind of gotten used to jasmine rice so the calrose got my attention....I gotta head back home for an attitude adjustment soon! I think the burger here is still too tough and lean, but that's nit-picking as this is still my favorite loco moco in San Diego.
Island Style Cafe 5950 Santo Road San Diego, CA 92124
I enjoy the bright colors of the restaurant, simple furnishings, a bar area, looking a bit smaller from the interior than I thought. As bright as the colors of the restaurant was, the young lady who served me shone even brighter. I believe her name was Karen. She was just perfect for a place like this; friendly, casual, and laid-back, but still professional. As the name indicates, the food here is Guamanian/Chamorro influenced, but also with some updated items like the "Guam Bomb", Guahan's version of Fries topped with barbecue chicken, melted cheese, and spicy mayo and Poke Tacos.
I decided to go with the Guahan Special ($12.75), which features a meat of your choice, kelaguen, empanada, rice (I chose red rice of course), and one side.....potato salad for me. It was a good bit of food.....
Karen instantly endeared me to her by bringing out a nice bowl of that wonderfully salty-sour-tangy condiment called Finadene. I've made the claim that I could eat cardboard with finadene. I really liked the version here, it had a nice zip....I could probably do shoe leather with this one! She also asked if I wanted boonie peppers, the answer was of course an immediate "yes"!
The plate was pretty large and the variety was enough to keep me interested.
So, it's off to the races....the kelaguen, probably my favorite Chamorro dish as I've as I've mentioned before. This version was a bit bland without the finadene and the chilies.
Everytime I write about kelaguen, I harken back to the amazing version my friend;s mom made back in Hawaii or Santos's version, so I'll spare you this time around. This just needed a better flavor base, though the finadene saved it.
Loved the texture of the red rice, though it was very mild in flavor until......yeah, you've got it, I hit it with finadene.
The empanada was nice and crisp. The chicken filling was very moist and tasty....sort of pulled chicken if you will. A bit mushy in texture, but nice flavors.
The biggest and most pleasant surprise were the barbecue spareribs.
While these weren't the "pull the bone out cleanly" ribs, it was sufficiently tender. Nice fat, decent texture, the flavor was a nice salt and a touch of sour. Of course the finadene just made them that much better.
If I lived close by, I'd eat here every so often. I loved the service, there's a half dozen beers on tap....something which could probably be doubled with no problem. Karen told me her favorite dish is the marinated then fried ribs, which I'll definitely be back for. There's the Jahwaiian music that always keeps me happy. Life is good......
Guahan Grill 4259 Oceanside Blvd Suite 104 Oceanside, CA 92056 Hours: Tues - Thurs 11am - 9pm Fri - Sat 11am - 10pm Sunday 11am - 9pm
I recently saw the storefront for Kona Kakes in Linda Vista....I had wondered where they had gone to. What really got my attention was the new addition to the name....the "& Plates" part. So Kona Kakes was now serving plate lunches? This I had to check out.
So a few days later I stopped by......to check out the plates.
I've had the cakes from Kona Kakes a couple of times and it was quite good. So I really couldn't wait to check out the "plates" which I guess are served between 11am and 4pm Monday thru Saturday.
You know...every place makes "sliders" now and a riff on nachos. I decided to try something basic and perhaps not as easy as it sounds; the Teriyaki Beef Plate ($8). Plates some with two "sides" which can include rice, green salad, quinoa salad (??), and mac salad. Hard to guess what I chose, huh?
First the basics. The rice was perfect, though I'm not a big fan of the mac salad here....too loose and too sweet. The beef was quite tough; literally the two dollar steak. It really lacked flavor and was also cold, like it had been sitting in a pan somewhere and maybe put in the microwave for a (too) short time. It lacked color, which made it look less appetizing. The sauce totally reminded me of the teriyaki we used to make; when we couldn't get mirin....which was a good part of my childhood. It was too salty. Frankly, I don't care if you microwave your meat, but marinate it well, some color would be good, too. I've moved on from using thick cut low quality beef, you can still get decent thin cut beef which you can marinate appropriately and still have osmething tender. It wasn't horrible; just mediocre.
Still, I decided to try them one more time. This time I went with the Kalua Pork Plate, which was really cheap at $7.
For this price, I figured Oven Kalua Pork, which it was, I also kinda assumed Kalua Pork and Cabbage, which it also was, though I wish they made that clear on the menu....the "local" in me I guess. The flavor of the liquid smoke was decent, a mild "nose" and not an over-powering flavor, though it could have used more salt, and frankly more fat. The cabbage was still fairly crisp as well. The pork was on the dry side and this had the real feeling of something from a chafing dish. The onions were basically raw......which is great if it were sweet onions...which is one of my favorite things with a sprinkle of alaea, the mildly sweet sea salt tinged pink from red volcanic soil. Here it was basically pungent brown onions....too much for the plate raw. I did like the quinoa salad, though it was a bit under-dressed for my taste, it still was refreshing.
The folks here are very nice and friendly, but it seems that the plates are here to supplement the "kakes", and I wish it was more than that. Maybe I'm being too harsh because I grew up eating this stuff, but frankly, I think this isn't as good as L&L, and I'm not a big fan of the paint-by-numbers Hawaiian Barbecue. I really think they can do better and hope they do, especially since they have a potential goldmine by catering to Ballast Point next door, which has a beer pairing. I'm wondering, do they have a beer pairing for their cakes, which are really good?
Kona Kakes & Plates 5401 Linda Vista Road Suite 402 San Diego, CA 92110 Lunch Served 1100am - 4pm Monday - Saturday
Here's one that I heard about a while back, but just didn't have a chance to visit until recently.
The location can be a bit challenging; off of Mission Gorge Road, head east on Mission Gorge Place in sort of a business park area. Once you go down Mission Gorge Place a bit you can't miss the sign....unless it's not out. Then it just looks like one of hundreds of business strewn around the area.
The interior is interesting, though kind of cold, looking more like an Hawaiian themed bar serving food, than an actual restaurant. Here's where I noticed some interesting things. A decent beer selection, but nothing on tap.
The really nice gal told me to sit anywhere I wanted. Menus are simple take-out type pamphlets. Here's the next observation, I couldn't find anything fried on the menu, which might not be a bad thing, so I'm thinking this place doesn't have a fryer. Lot's of fusion-hip type of things like sliders, guava BBQ wings, "street" tacos, and nachos, along with tuna melts, BLTs, and smattering of plate lunch type items under "entrees".
I went straight for the artery and ordered the Loco Moco ($9.49), to add to my loco moco collection.
Though it doesn't look it, this was a good amount of food.
Let's start with the eggs, which were over-cooked....I do love my runny yolk. I fully understand how folks can be with runny yolks, but places who serve eggs that way will usually ask me how I want my eggs. Which is over easy, with a little char on the edges.
The burger looked real good, but noticing how it had been grilled, I could tell it was going to be pretty tough, which it was. The flavor was decent though.
I thought the gravy was kind of odd. First, it was runny and thin, almost like a bisque. Second, a flavoring, like French onion soup mix over-powered the whole thing and there was a bit of a metallic-sour finish to it.
The one saving grace and a big one at that was the mac salad. It was very simple, but mac salad should be simple. It wasn't over-dressed, the macaroni was cooked to perfection, there was just enough other flavors to keep me interested, and most importantly, it was seasoned well and nicely chilled. This might be my favorite mac salad in San Diego.
So the mac salad and the really nice young lady was enough to get me to return. I looked over the menu when I got home. There was another interesting item on the menu; Huli Huli Chicken. Huli-huli means to "turn-turn". Ernest Morgado, head of Pacific Poultry is credited with creating the "king of fundraisers", at least when I was growing up. You can read more about it in Mr Morgado's obit here. Let me just say, I loved this stuff when I was growing up.....so I was interested in what Chris' Ono Grinds Huli Huli Chicken ($9.49) was like:
Most Huli Huli Chicken recipes I've seen use a good amount of ketchup. Funny thing is; I don't recall it tasting strongly of it.
The sauce on this version was more like a barbecue, not as in "Hawaiian BBQ", but BBQ sauce. It was more of a sticky glaze than a nicely charred huli huli chicken grilled over Kiawe. That doesn't mean it wasn't good. This was pretty decent, perhaps a bit too fruity and sweet, but other than the piece of bone, in the supposedly boneless pile that nearly cracked my teeth, this was decent. The chicken was decently moist and fairly tender. Not bad.
The best thing was, the mac salad was the same as before.
I may not been chasing down this place like I did fund raisers back in the old days, but I think Chris's Ono Grinds has some potential and will probably return one of these days. Mainly because I used to make Guava BBQ Chicken (Hawaiian style BBQ) and he has chicken wings with Guava BBQ sauce.
Even though the feel of the place (and some of the menu) is rather "Mainland - local themed", don't want to use the "H" word, it looks like they are trying to make good food here. This is not another shibai Hawaiian BBQ money grab. That and the nice folks here are enough for another visit.
Chris' Ono Grinds Island Grill 4651 Mission Gorge Place San Diego, CA 92120 Hours: Mon - Sat 11am - 9pm
I'd heard about this place a while ago, but took my sweet old time getting there. The little shop is located on Pearl, right past La Jolla Boulevard. I've never been a big fan of getting there and the parking situation, but I gotta say, on the days I visited this little corner it was pretty quiet.
Though the other side of the shop fronts the busier side, I like this area by the one parking stall.
The interior is quite larger than what this little storefront would make you think.
The breeze really goes through the dining area.....so it's probably great during the late spring/summer, but kind of chilly on the days I visited.
On my first visit, the yong lady manning the counter seemed like perhaps the owner's daughter? She was very nice, even though there were probably a thousand other things she could have been doing. I ordered the loco moco and much like much of Honolulu, Ohama Cafe offers brown rice and even coconut rice for an upcharge. You know me........unless the Missus is breathing down my neck, it white rice all the way. By the way, you won't forget that this is La Jolla, as this is what you get for $8.50.
Still, we're all trying to exercise some portion control nowadays, right? As a loco moco, this wasn't bad, the egg was nice and runny, with some crisp edges, the gravy a little short on flavor, and a bit of "powderyness" to it, and was just barely ok. The rice was cooked well, but I really didn't take to the burger. It was crumbly and it tastes like they add something to the meat made it taste like onion soup mix.
Perhaps I should call this a "petite loco".......but I guess "small crazy" sounds kind of strange, as if loco moco didn't sound weird enough already. The woman who came out of the kitchen was very nice, telling me hello and dropping off some brownie samples.
So I thought that I should return. This time around I ordered the "mix and match" with Kalua Pork and Teri Chicken.
This time the rice was on the dry and hard side. It was by-the-book oven kalua pork, something I make a couple of times a year. The pork was on the dry side and could have had more flavor. The chicken was decent, not too dry, but on the bland side. The drizzle of over-reduced, again by-the-book teriyaki sauce could have been a spitting image of Kealani's.
The mac salad was plain, but nice made, he macaroni was done perfectly, and the seasoning and he amount of mayo was good as well.
I really like the folks here, they are really a nice group. But it takes a bit more than a shade better than L&L level food with petite portions and La Jolla pricing/parking to get me to return. Though the breakfast menu (Sat/Sun) looks decent, so maybe.......
Ohana Cafe 456 Pearl St San Diego, CA 92037 Hours: Mon - Fri 11am - 8pm Sat - Sun 9am - 8pm
For this post, I decided to put my biased choices to the side and actually try another plate lunch here. After all, it is plate lunch week. Good thing it's not loco moco week....I might not survive that one!
Island Style Cafe had renovated since my last visit; nice booths giving the place a warmer feel.
I ordered the Korean Mix ($10.95), a combo with the Kalbi and Korean Chicken. I quickly noticed that the portion sizes seemed to have gotten a bit larger than I recalled.
Having not ordered a plate lunch here in ages, I'd forgotten about the mac salad. They put tuna in this; not my favorite version, but at least it was nicely chilled.
The kalbi is sliced very thin, which made it quite crisp, and perhaps a bit too charred. Still the flavor wasn't bad and the crisp char makes you forgot about how tough this can be.
The flavor for the Korean Chicken, which is pretty close to Dak-Galbi, is nice.
The chicken was cooked perfectly, personally, I'd prefer something with a bit more of an interesting texture to it. There's a component of many version of Dak Galbi that creates a bit of a mushy texture, which was also the case here. Still, this was not bad.
Personally, I think the food is getting better, as is the decor. Still, this won't make me forget about ordering the Kaloko Moco next time..........which, according to my arteries is quickly approaching.
According to the signs, the menus have been revamped a bit, so if you haven't checked them out in a while, you may want to see if there's anything you'd find interesting.
Island Style Cafe 5950 Santo Road San Diego, CA 92124
Talk about a long time between visits. With Kealani's it's been almost seven years! So I made it a point to truck on up (when was the last time you heard that?) to Encinitas to check out Kealani's.
It seems that the place hasn't changed much in the last seven years.
Since the place seemed stuck in time, I decided to order two of the items I did last time. They call the mix plate Mt Ka'ala here. For you trivia fans; if I recall Mount Ka'ala is the highest spot on Oahu, part of the Waianae Range. I guess just saying "mix plate" is too boring. So my two protein combo ($8.50) consisted of the teri chicken and sweet sour spareribs.
Even though it doesn't quite look like it, there's more than enough food here. There's another scoop of rice and a good portion of pork under the two pieces of chicken.
I recall thinking the sweet and sour spareribs, even though it looks like pork butt, and is more sweet-salty, than sour to be not bad. The flavor is heading more toward rafute than sweet-sour spareribs, which isn't a bad thing. Unfortunately, this was super dry....I mean really dry.
I know they serve up what we call "dipped chicken" here. The trick is to not make it seem like precooked chicken that is reheated and dipped in sauce.
This didn't. The flavor was decent, not too sweet or salty, but like the pork, it was quite dry and tough. That teriyaki sauce on the side had been reduced too far and had a bit of bitterness to it.
Personally, I'd still take Kealani's over most of the L&L's.....probably over all of the L&Ls on the mainland.
I thought I'd get back to my roots this week and do just "local kine grindz". One of the main reasons for starting the blog back in 2005 was to list all the places you could get local "stuffs" and food. Of course, soon enough L&L tried to take over the world, often with a very low quality product, and the intent seemed more of a money grab then anything else. Gladly, time has weeded out many of these places. I recall Eddie Flores Jr, the founder of L&L once stated in a interview that:
“In five to 10 years, we won’t call it plate lunch but Hawaiian barbecue,” he says. “Only old-timers will remember the plate lunch.”
Not so fast charlie......
Sadly, the last time I did a plate lunch week was almost 6 years ago! And all of those places have closed! Of course, Mo's has moved and become Homestyle Hawaiian. Still, six years since my last plate lunch week? I think much of it is due to, well, age. I just can't put it away like I used to, nor do I really want to eat that much food anyway.
The real impetus for this week occurred when I did drop by Homestyle Hawaiian and saw this sign on the register:
I recall slinking away with my Chicken Katsu plate in hand thinking, "my coconut wireless sure don't work like it used to!"
I even did some catering with Mo and he didn't say anything to me? What's up with that?
Anyway, I jotted down the address and I finally had some time to get down there this past weekend.
I guess this used to be a hot dog joint? When I arrived the place was already busy. Mo was happy to see me and told me it's been crazy busy since opening. He's training an all new staff....though he's got some pros with him. His two daughter's were there to help out. I remember when they were in diapers! I've been doing this blogging thing for too long now. Anyway, Mo mentioned that they've been selling out of everything daily and he's trying to get a handle on things....
The place was chaotic, but I got my order in and things settled down soon enough. Mo's little one had no problem with taking my order, a combination Korean Chicken and a Chicken Katsu with Gravy (aka chicken cutlet in local terms).
I saw Mo make my plate so I knew it was going to be what I was used to getting at the other location.
As I closed my plate, taking a good half of it home for dinner, Mo asked me what I thought. I told him from what I understand of the demographic in this location, "if you can keep up, you'll do great!" Hopefully he'll be able to do that.
Homestyle Hawaiian 1558 E H St Chula Vista, CA 91913 Hours: Monday 11am - 330pm Tues - Fri 11am - 7pm Saturday 11am - 330pm
A handy hint. Mo is a slow starter and takes a bit of time to warm up. I'd recommend getting there at about 1130, especially since he's training all new staff.
It seemed like the coqui frogs had a curfew of around 3am as I drifted in and out of sleep until then. Still, I got up at around 530 and we packed up and checked out of the Dolphin Bay Hotel. We had enjoyed our previous day in Hilo and we weren't quite done yet.
There's still a sleepiness to Hilo Town and many places are closed on Sundays. Still, I couldn't help but stop by Kawamoto Store, which holds typical Okazuya hours, opening at 6am and closing around noon....and they were open on Sunday to boot! Places like Kawamoto's holds a special place in my heart.....I basically grew up eating the most common and traditional Okazuya fare.
You basically say how many "bento" you like and then choose your items. All the classics were present and accounted for, shoyu chicken, maki sushi, "cone sushi" (what we call inari sushi back home), stuff like that. We put together a small bento to snack on later.......
There's something about places like this that are timeless......
Kawamoto Store 784 Kilauea Ave Hilo, HI 96720 Hours: Tues-Sat 600am - 1230pm Sun 600am - 1200pm
We then headed off to our breakfast destination; Kuhio Grille.
Located to the side of Prince Kuhio Plaza, this place has been around since the 90's and is probably most well known for the 1pound laulau, which I don't remember being that great, but that was a while ago. Since it was about 615 in the morning, no laulau for us, we were here for breakfast.
Not much going on this early in the morning, just us and a couple of tables of older folks......who else gets up so early on a Sunday, right?
This was just passable, the egg was nice and runny, but the fish was rather dry, and the miso soup was on the weak side.
Not wanting to fall back into a food coma; I went with the Loco Bowl ($6.99):
This was not bad, the egg was done right, though I could have done with a bit more crisp edges. The rice was decent, perhaps slightly on the dry side. The gravy was average, mainly salty. About that burger....well, it had that nice, old school char, seems like this griddle has some seasoning to it. The flavor was decent, the texture was very old school.......something I appreciated. The Missus had a taste and agreed.
Kuhio Grille 111 E Puainako St Hilo, HI 96720 Hours: Sat-Thurs 600am - 10pm Fri 600am - 11pm
After breakfast we headed over to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. We've been here many times and we love coming here. We actually had a late honeymoon at Volcano House all those years ago. There's basically one place we head to, which I'll get into later. A portion of Crater Rim Drive was closed because of fumes, so the Missus was a bit disappointed.
But the steam vents were going strong.
Halema'uma'u Crater, which is located in the larger Kilauea Crater wasn't nearly this active the last time we visited. No wonder there were all the sulfur dioxide gas warnings!
We saw several offerings to Pele as we walked around the crater..
It was quite a sight.....
There are many things to see here, the Thurston Lava Tube, great hiking trails (when they are open). The Iliahi (Sandalwood) Trail is one we've enjoyed several times. Or you can just drive down Chain of Craters Road and marvel at all the old lava flows. Each one is different.
With all due respect ot the wonders of Volcanoes National Park, the Missus and I have one tradition whenever we visit. And even the passing rain showers didn't stop us. We always drive to the end of Chain of Craters Road, park, it used to be that you'd park just a couple of yards from the flow, but now you walk about a half mile or so. I always take a photo of the Missus at the point where the lava is covering the road.
When we look back at the older photos, we've noticed that the flow has moved and even though things might seem the same when the picture is taken; looking at the photos all lined up reveals that nature never stays still. For us, this is a nice timeline of sorts....the Missus on the lava flow, moving, maybe at an imperceptible speed, but nevertheless, still slowly moving.
Mission accomplished, we headed back up the road and the back way to Kona. After a short "bento break" of course.
In the past, it always seemed that the Missus enjoyed Kona more. But like that lava slowly creeping forward, it seems that Hilo had won Her over after all these years. We'll spend more time in Hilo next time.
I know that my timing tends to suck......I have a tendency to do these posts right after the New Year. It's really not on purpose...really. What happens is that I try to close out the previous year and always seem to have some of these "one-off" type photos, so I basically have stuff for a "COMC" (Clearing Out the Memory Card) type of post. So anyway, here's some "stuffs" from the last quarter, of last year.
Carmen's Mexican Food:
A couple of folks have mentioned Carmen's to me and I tell them that I had eaten at Carmen's back when they were located in Linda Vista, across from what is now K Sandwich. I really wasn't impressed with the food, which seemed more Am-Mex, then Mexican. Eventually that whole area was razed and Carmen's was gone. I did feel a twinge of sadness, because even if I didn't care for the place, a lot of folks did. Then a couple of years ago, Babylon Cafe closed down, and Carmen's reopened in that location.
I was still not really motivated to eat there, but more than one person mentioned how good their Carne Asada Fries were. After my post on Yesenia's, I actually received two recommendations for Carmen's. So after a short CAF recovery period, I decided to drop by for lunch.
The crew here was friendly and all the customers seemed to be regulars, talking about kids, vacations to Disney, Disney cruises, relatives, not seeing "so and so" for a while....you know, that kind of stuff. I actually kind of felt like an outsider, but this gave me an understanding of how the place has cultivated a customer base over the years.
Everything was cooked to order so it took a couple of minutes before my Carne Asada Fries were ready.
This really wasn't my cup of tea. First, thought I love my dinner fries, I'm not fond of them in my CAF. Since there's always some guac-crema-salsa action going on, I prefer a higher ration of crispness. Second the guacamole was kind of pasty with no flavor. Third, the carne asada was a lot more tender then it appeared, but was rather tasteless. I'm sure they make their own salsa here, but for some reason it reminded me of Pace Picante. Nothing against Pace, but several decades ago I had a coworker whose second favorite hobby was....how shall I say it...partaking of the "cash crop". We'd go over for beers and would instantly know when he was enjoying himself....he'd be having this concoction of melted Philadelphia Cream Cheese mixed with Pace Picante and chips. Ick......
The rather substantial pool of oil at the bottom of the plate could either be an added treat or not...depending on your point of view.
Still, like I've said many times...there's a big difference between "favorite" and "best" and I understand that. There are many reasons why folks hold a place close to their hearts and the food may not be the main reason(hey, I'm just as guilty). Based on the rapport between the two guys working on this day and the regulars, I'm thinking this is one of those places.
Carmen's Mexican Food 4937 Diane Ave San Diego, CA 92117
Harry D'z BBQ:
During one of the early days of the Morena's Farmer's Market.....having not been back in a while, I'm wondering if it still running? I passed a couple of weeks ago and na-da?? Anyway, it was getting close to evening and I hadn't had lunch and this little stand looked interesting.
Actually, there should be some kind of law against sticking pork in front of a starving man's face.....
So I decided on the pulled pork sandwich, which was a reasonable $6.50.
The pork was quite moist, but I had a hard time believing it was really smoked based on the mild flavor. The sauce was too sticky sweet and what seemed molasses heavy for me......
The Caliente Burger at Tommy's:
I'm not sure what it is about San Diego's Tommy's, but it just doesn't seem to be the same as the Tommy's back in LA...even the one in our old neighborhood. But there I was, standing in line at Sprouts and the two customers in front of me were going on and on about this "new" burger at Tommy's that was "oh so good, but so spicy". Now what kind of bonehead would actually go visit Tommy's after overhearing two women talking about something "oh so good"??? Hello, I'm bonehead, nice to meet you......
The young lady at the counter was really friendly and told me that they top the chili burger with pickled cascabel chilies and chipotle cheddar. She was very nice and even gave me a little tray with some extra chilies in them. Funny, these reminded me of the bottled Del Monte Chilies I used to eat when I was a kid.
The burger was actually better then I had during my last visit, maybe five or so years ago now. The chilies weren't really that hot. I've kind of noticed that the chili at this location is heading into two divergent directions....as it becomes more and more like refried bean glue in texture, the flavor becomes more watered down. Right now it just seems like heartburn fuel.....though I've only had heartburn once in my life(a funny story) and it wasn't from Tommy's
Serves me right to eavesdropping on folks in the grocery line......
Original Tommy's 7415 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. San Diego, CA 92111
So there you go....man, that's more then enough calories and saturated fat...sheesh.
I think I'll go and quietly have my plate lunch in the corner now.