I set out on a bit of a mission the last couple of weeks. A couple of months ago, I was asked what I thought the best "Cubano type" sandwich in the area was. I quickly said Embargo Grill. Then then quickly thought that I'd hadn't been to other places in the area in quite a while. So I decided to head off in a quest of sorts and managed to hit up four places before I'd seen enough pork, ham, cheese, and pickles for a while.
And while Embargo Grill still came in on top; here's the places in order.....favorite to least.
I think the Medianoche at Embargo Grill has gotten better over time.
The pork here, sort of a "pulled pork", was nice and moist and wasn't too salty this time around. That porky flavor combined with the slightly milky cheese and just the right amount of pickles did it for me. The bread was nicely crisp, toasted well, and the bread was nice and light, not too chewy. The one component I really couldn't make out was the ham.
The Yuca Frita was nicely fried. When done the way I like it; the smaller pieces have a light, airiness to them, while the larger pieces, are denser. The mojo was better than on previous visits.
Embargo Grill 3960 W Point Loma Blvd San Diego, CA 92110
At first I thought this would be much too bready and not toasted enough, though it was done adequately. Here the flavor of the ham comes through quite well; teaming with the mustard and pickles. The plantain chips were cold this time around and not very crisp. The sandwich was a bit on the dry side but this is a very solid #2 pick for me.
Havana Grill 5450 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92117
My goodness; stepping in here is like talking a walk back in time. Plus, this was the only true "restaurant" of the places I visited.
The Cubano here was fairly mediocre.
The bread to filling ratio stood a bit too far on the "bread side" for my taste. The pork was rather dry and tasteless; though the nicely melted cheese shone through quite nicely, but it all came through as rather bland. Luckily, I ordered the Yuca Frita....I ended up pouring a good bit of the mojo on my sandwich. For some reason, like Tropical Star below; this was just too much for me to finish.
The Yuca Frita was decent; loved the smaller pieces which were crisp and creamy. The larger slices got cold pretty quickly and became quite hard. I do like the mojo here; while it could perhaps use more citrus; it is very garlicky and it looks like there's bacon or ham in it.
If you've ever walked to the back or the side banquet room at Andre's, you'll realize just how large the place is. The small façade belies that. This place is in my 'hood, I really should get here more often.
Andre's Cuban Restaurant 1235 Morena Blvd San Diego, CA 92110
I had noticed that over the last couple of years; TS had expanded, then retracted back to what it once was. A charming little Latin Grocery that served rather inexpensive Latin American food. I thought it right that I should have the Cubano here.
This was totally by the book; slice of pork, check, thin slices of ham...check....cheese on both sides, check...pickles, yes indeed. It was indeed pressed; though the bread had seen better days. Overall, quite filling....partially because of all the fries; nice and hot, but lacking salt...but I only finished half.
I don't recall seeing Diet Inka Cola before........even in Peru!
So not quite stellar, especially when compared to the others....but it was the most inexpensive. Plus, I like the older gentleman behind the counter. I always bus my own table and he seems to appreciate that.
A few months back I noticed that Corner Sandwich & Café was gone and being replaced by Bale. I then plumb forgot about it, until I recently passed the shopping center again and took a glance. It appears the place opens rather early so I dropped by for a Banh Mi.
The place looks somewhat cleaned-up, in a somewhat typical VN restaurant kind of way. Instead of hordes of men having coffees and smoking cigarettes in the place, there's now what looks like two outside tables and things seem a bit more quiet. Only 8-9 guys, wonder where the Vietnamese Coffee/Beer/Cards social club moved on to?
I simply ordered a Banh Mi Dac Biet to go ($4.50). It felt kind of hefty and it was......
I've been mostly going to those places that pretty much make their own banh mi these days, so the bread seemed a bit of a shock. It was fairly hard, mostly crust, and the bread hadn't held up well. At least it wasn't as mealy as I recalled the bread being at their other location in Mira Mesa. Man, those were some thick slices of meat! There was also a huge smear of pate on this; which pretty much dominated the entire sandwich. Also, the pickled carrots and daikon here are thicker cut, which I don't mind at all. This seemed really rustic and was quite filling.
A few weeks later, I was in the area at around 830am. I was a bit hungry, but instead of heading to one of my usual suspects, I drove a bit further up Mira Mesa Boulevard and ordered a Banh Mi Op La from Bale. Fewer guys hanging out in the front on this morning; probably because it was a Sunday.
This must be the most pickled vegetables I'd ever had in a banh mi! Good lord......also loved the jalapeno which was nice and spicy. The eggs were a bit past the point of what I prefer in my easy over egg banh mi, but it was still good. The sandwich was warm, almost hot to the touch when I was given it, so I thought the best move would be to have it here. The bread was nice; crusty/flakey exterior, the interior hadn't been turned to mush; it wasn't overly toasted, yet so nice and warm. This is comfort food.
Once the gentleman working the front saw that I was going to have my sandwich here; he brought me a glass of ice water; nice touch. The sandwiches here are a bit more filling than what I'm used to, but it's good to have another option in the area. There's a number of various items; like Banh Beo and various noodle dishes on the menu, so maybe I'll try one of those next time....or maybe I should just have the Banh Mi Op La.
Bale Sandwich & Deli 9005 Mira Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92126
The Missus loves waffle cut fries; I'm not such a big fan....so here She can get the "Stoner Fries with waffle cut fries"....basically waffle cut fries topped with cheesesteak fillings; beef, in this case provolone, peppers, onions, and mushrooms.
There's a reason they call it Stoner Fries...sheesh. She can never finish this, so we always tell them to drop off a box when they bring the food. The Missus will use the leftovers to make a hash the next day with eggs and some kale from the yard.
Of course I got the Blairsteak.....and got it with waffle cut fries for the Missus.
For years the Missus has told me how gross cheesesteaks were....but this one has made Her change Her tune. I think it's the combination of the soft Amoroso that has a bit of a gritty finish, combined with the milky provolone, the earthy mushrooms and the sautéed onions. I think She wouldn't even need any beef in this....but of course, I'd miss it. She now shares half the sandwich with me. This ain't cheap at about $16 with the upcharge for the waffle cut fries....but it's a nice treat every so often.
Nutty Chocolate flavors, mild sweetness, and a good smokiness that gets you at the end.
The Missus's favorite here is the Monkey Gose Bananas with Tart and Black Cherry.
We've come to enjoy Monkey Paw as a guilty pleasure. Love the divey feel, friendly staff, and the temperature of the beer is always good. The neighborhood might be kind of terminally "in transition", but it kind of helps with the vibe, which we prefer to Hamilton's which was just way too "hipster" and quite unfriendly the three times we've tried the place.
I decided to drop by and grab a bite. The shop is fairly small, with a few tables off to one side and stacks of pastry receptacles lining the path to the counter.
Even though most of the containers were empty, that these were for grabbing take-out items like spring rolls, croissants, and various salad dishes. There was also a decent selection of VN coffee, boba, and smoothies as well. There was a stack of banh mi and baguettes in a basket to the side.
I gotta say, the folks working here were really friendly, though the turnaround for orders were a bit slow. The great thing I found out was that they bake their own bread here! Nice! Competition for Cali Baguette Express?
I decided to try the Dac Biet, the "special".
Priced a bit more expensive than other Banh Mi shops at $4.49, I was immediately aware that the sandwich was a bit more "hefty". Returning to the office, I noticed that there was a bit more meat in this. First things first, the bread here is more crusty than flakey and is on the chewy side. It also doesn't keep very long, getting almost rubbery after a short time....I'd find out that for myself when I bought a baguette during another visit. Paris Bakery currently makes my favorite bread for Banh Mi and even to have with cheese in San Diego.
And while I've always said that it's about proportion rather than fillings when it comes to Banh Mi, I really liked how this was put together; the amount of pate was perfect and the meats' especially the cha lua, which can be rather rubbery when sliced too thick was excellent. I thought the carrots and daikon weren't pickled enough to cut the richness of the meat and pate, though the jalapeno was nice and sneakily spicy. Typical stringy cilantro.
Pretty good sandwich overall, so a couple of days later I decided to return. Calvin was interested and decided to join me.
I love eggs in my Banh Mi and the menu said they make Banh Mi Op La ($3.49), typically fried eggs, but here they told me it was easy over. And when I opened the sandwich, you could tell by the mess it was!
Egg yolk oozed all over my paperwork, but that's ok. Initially, I thought they hadn't sliced the sandwich, but then I noticed it had been sliced 2/3 way through. I realize a lot of people are freaked out over runny egg yolk, but this was pretty good, if a bit messy. As a bonus, there was a nice thin slice of ham and a good smear of pate as well. As I ate this rather quickly, the bread held up pretty well.
Calvin ordered the Xiu Mai, the meatball, which, after many bad versions, I'm leery of, but he told it was better than average.
Having to work on a recent Sunday and wondering if three time's a charm , I decided to head over and get the Banh Mi Cha Lua ($3.99).
Nicely set-up sandwich, though the bread was a bit chewy and perhaps because it was Sunday seemed to be a bit on the stale side. Pickles were still a bit too mild for me, but like how thin they slice the cha lua and the amount of pate on the sandwich. The cilantro (I know folks tell me I'm kind of weird about that) had more leaves than stems this time around.
Overall, my three visits were satisfying. It's good to have another decent banh mi option in the area that makes their own bread. While I prefer the bread at Cali Express, I prefer the egg banh mi here. Also to note; if you order egg on a banh mi as an extra, it'll be fried well done, but you can tell them you want the egg easy over they'll do it for you. Be forewarned, it'll be quite messy. I think I'll check out the beef jerky papaya salad and perhaps some of the other dishes in the near future.
Banh Mi Bakery & Cafe 9353 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. Suite H1 San Diego, CA 92123
Back in February, I was just driving around and exploring one sunny weekend day when I noticed this place.
I'm pretty sure this place was fairly new......I recall it being pretty much a revolving door of eating places in the last couple of years. I am, of course, a garlic lover, so I just had to try the place out. I will say they really went with the "shack" theme here.
Nice and tight selection of craft beers and an even more interesting selection of craft sodas......looks lie Diet Coke is persona non grata here.
I was greeted by a bright smiling face when I entered; the folks here seemed very cheerful and helpful. The drill is order at the register; pay and have a seat. I really can't say the view was great, though there was a nice breeze blowing through the place and I counted two ambulances and one fire truck rushing through the neighborhood during my meal.
You know; this place IS named the Garlic Shack, so I had to try the Garlic Fires, right? It wasn't quite what I picture as garlic fries.
The fries were really nice and crisp, very hot....I really didn't care for the garlic seasoning which seemed like a bunch of granulated garlic dumped on the fries, which made the flavor somewhat bitter to my palate. That spicy ketchup was quite nice though....not super spicy, the tangy-sweet with a slight kick.
I ordered the "Spicy Porkaholic".
It was quite a hefty sandwich....which was appropriately wrapped in butcher paper. It should have had a "contents under pressure" label since it basically bursts at the seams. The bread didn't hold up for very long, the pork had a very strong paprika flavor and really didn't have a smoked flavor, at least to me. The bean sprouts were an interesting choice, which added some texture, along with the lettuce. The menu said grilled onion, but I didn't detect any of that.
There was no way that I could finish all of this....though it did seem more about portion over quality. I did enjoy the South Bay Seltzer; which wasn't overly carbonated and quite refreshing after all of this rich and hefty food.
And so things stood pat....but of course I really wouldn't have felt comfortable doing a post without another visit. Which I did a few months later.
Different folks, but the same very friendly and helpful service.
This time around I decided to stick with just a sandwich and went with the Korean Beefaholic. Which of course was quite hefty.
This was, as before, quite a messy sandwich as the bread didn't hold up for long. The generous portion of meat was kind of mushy in texture and a bit too sweet for me.....the milky flavor of the cheese just seemed to clash with the other flavors as well. The romaine lettuce saves the sandwich, but I think this needs a bit of pungency (onions) and acid (tomatoes) as this was pretty mundane in terms of flavor....but that's just me.
Perhaps if you weren't raised on teri beef sandwiches or W&M Burgers, this might seem really good. For me; not so much. Still, I enjoyed the variety of sodas, the folks who worked here are so very nice. You might want to give it a try yourself to see if it's a good fit.
Cathy has posted on Arely Bakery several times over the years; the most recent being about a year and a half ago. A few months back I noticed that the tiny shop had expanded, taking over the shop next door.....I'm trying to recall what it was....beauty supplies perhaps?
In need of an early lunch, I decided to drop by and grab a sandwich before a series of conference calls that would take up a good chunk of the day.
You can see the expanded dining room next door as you enter.
The baguette, baked on the premises, was decent, it could have been a bit more crusty and was, in typical San Diego style, a bit more chewy than I prefer. The Black Forest Ham was decent; but the real star of the sandwich was the brie, rind and all, which made this sandwich quite good, earthy tones, very mild pungency (nothing even close to real French Brie, which I believe is still illegal in the US), and very nice in this sandwich. In terms of proportion, I would have enjoyed a bit more tomato and less lettuce.
With the work scenario a couple of weeks later, I decided to call and pick-up the Prosciutto Panini ($8.60), which was wonderfully toasted.
Man, the toasting job on this baby was just about perfect. Didn't care for the prosciutto they used however, as it was extremely salty and paired with a very mild mozzarella it was the dominating flavor through out my eating experience as everything else; the basil and the tomato were just nullified. Too bad, because in terms of texture, this was really good.
Thinking that I had to try a panini again, I went with the Caprese Panini ($8.50).
Bad call on my part as went too far in the other direction with this one. While the tomatoes tasted quite good, the whole thing was a rather bland mess. The bread wasn't as well pressed this time; I'm thinking the cheese didn't hold up real well. In fact, when I separated the two halves there was a giant glob of melted mozzarella.
Last week I decided to drop by one more time. This time ordering the Le Lyonnais ($7.95).
And while I'd prefer lardon/bacon to salami on this, I really enjoyed the sandwich. Nice smear of fairly tasty egg salad, nice crisp greens, acid from the tomatoes and pickles. Very nice overall. I'm still of the same opinion of the bread and even think that a light toasting might make everything that much more enjoyable.
The two young ladies who have run the counter on the days I visited were very nice and friendly; especially with some of the rather "cranky" older customers. One of these days I'll stop by for breakfast, or even perhaps lunch. For now, it's nice to have another sandwich option fairly close by.
Arely French Bakery Cafe 4961 Clairemont Drive, Suite A San Diego, CA 92117
Memory is a funny thing, I can never remember where I park my car, but food? Well sometimes it can be a bit strange. When I read about the NoCal based chain Ike's Place opening in San Diego, the first thing I though was, "didn't Kirbie do a post on this place?" And she had. BTW, Happy 7th Blogaversary Kirbie! And a Happy 10th (sheesh has it been that long?) to "CC".
Anyway, I'd been going back and forth between my office and Hillcrest quite a bit lately, so at the end of February, I decided to check out the brand new Ike's Place.
If memory serves me; wasn't this a location of La Salsa?
It was before 11, an over a week before their grand opening but they were doing some good business. The sandwiches here start at about 8 bucks, but most are $9.99, with a few breaking the $11 barrier; and that's without "add-ons", like avocado; stretching all the way to beer batter zucchini and onion rings. The folks working here are very friendly and helpful since there are so many options on the posted (and some unposted) menu.
I needed to get back to the office so I ordered the "Matt Cain" ($9.99). A version of this sandwich with onion rings on it won ESPN's Fanwich Competition for the Best Sports Sandwich. I'd heard quite a bit about Dutch Crunch Bread, San Francisco's version of Dutch Tiger Bread, named because of the mottling on the exterior of it from a paste based on rice flour.
Getting back to the office I opened up my sandwich, Good lord, it was quite a mess.
The bread had not stood up well during the 15 minute trip back to the office, it had become soggy. Also, I expected the outer crust to be a bit more crisp, but it was kind of soft. Based on the color, perhaps it had not been baked properly? Also, there was just too much "Godfather Sauce", which had too much mayo in ratio to the horseradish and Dijon mustard. This was just a bit too much for me.
I did decide to revisit Ike's Place; to see if eating in and asking that they go easy on the sauce would make for a more enjoyable sandwich.
I wasn't in such a rush this time around and noticed the interesting lay-out. The outside dining area is bright and spacious. The inside dining area looks kind of odd, almost like it was part of the kitchen area once. The path to the kitchen area is simply blocked by a low-boy sandwich refrigerator prep unit.
I will say that this time around, the sandwich I ordered named the Robin Williams ($9.99) was excellent.
The bread was crisp on the exterior, nice and fluffy interior. I was worried about the amount of Dirty Sauce on the sandwich, but it was perfect. Loved the combination of melted pepperjack cheese and mushrooms.
The chicken in the sandwich is chopped which just made the texture perfect. Nice chicken flavor as well. Along with the nice crunch the lettuce brought, I thought this was perfect in terms of proportion and texture, making this a lovely sandwich.
There was one other sandwich (well of possible dozen) that caught my attention on my visit to Ike's Place; the Anchor Man ($9.99), I mean doesn't a fried chicken sandwich sound great? Well, I think based on a couple factors, this was less than great.
First off, I made a mistake by forgetting to tell them to go easy on the sauce and like my first sandwich, all that Dirty Sauce (a garlic aioli) just overwhelmed everything else in the sandwich.
Second, I took a bite and only got veggies. I took another bite and only got veggies. Not a problem per se; if this was a "veggie" sandwich. So I took a look at the other half of my sandwich.
Notice something about the fried chicken? I opened up the half I was eating and saw that the fried chicken took up about two thirds of the width of the bread. Man, look at that mess....
I tried just the chicken alone and was far from impressed as it didn't seemed "fried" in the conventional manner. It seemed more baked.
The answer was in the "Beer Battered Onion Rings" I ordered.
See how dry it looks? Also notice the burnt spots? The batter was gummy and these were dry....so I took a look up front and didn't notice a fryer. The only "cooking" was done with conveyor type pizza ovens. So instead of frying, it seems that these onion rings were cooked via electric/gas/infrared depending on the brand of pizza oven. You might be ok with this but it isn't my cup of tea with regards to onion rings.
So, will I return to Ike's Place? Yes, I might, though I'd be more inclined to visit BFD. In concept, the sandwiches are somewhat interesting, albeit a bit over-hyped; in case you'd like to see summary of 50 of the best sandwiches on the menu you can click here. I'll be a bit more careful with what I order and have to remember to tell them to go easy on the sauce....too much of a good thing and all that. Service was friendly, though my sandwiches did take a while on my visits; you might chalk that up to being new and all that.
Ike’s Place 1010 University Ave, Suite 101 San Diego, CA 92103
The main reason for visiting Granada was The Alhambra of course. This grand Moorish Palace resides on top of a hill overlooking Granada. I had bought tickets well in advance and printed them out in the bookstore the night before. This enabled us to take the "short cut", up Cuesta de Gomerez, which was basically right outside our apartment door.
Right up the street was Puerta de las Granadas and it was a nice short walk to the "Justice Gate", the original entrance to the Alhambra. Because we'd printed out our tickets beforehand, we could use this gate to access the palace. Our designated time for Palacios Nazares was 9am, so we had some time to check out the Alcazaba, a large looming fortress and tower, the oldest part of the Alhambra.
In Arabic, Qa'lat al-Hamra' ("Alhambra") means "red castle" and in the morning light, this structure, which dates back to the 13th century did indeed look like a "red castle". If you wind your way though the passages and walkways, then climb up to the tower, you'll be rewarded with a stunning view, which also highlights the strategic location of the Alcazaba. The view is wonderful and is well worth the climb up the tower........hopefully, it will be a rather clear day and the view will be like this.
You need to get in line for the Palacios Nazaries, the Moorish Royal Palace complex. There are so many features of the palace; like the Courtyard of the Myrtles; basically the central courtyard.
The Mocárabe (Stalactite Work) is amazing as is the symmetry. This is the ceiling of the Grand Hall of the Ambassadors, the wooden ceiling is made up of 8,017 wood inlays and is room itself is a perfect cube.
You could spend hours here just admiring the tile work and visiting places like the Courtyard of the Lions.
And while a sort of fatigue set in; I started looking for random and whimsical features to balance out the perfection of the place, I never got tired of the view. Near the middle top of the photo is the Church of San Nicolás, at the bottom is the Paseo de los Tristes (Walk of the Dead Ones), once the funeral procession route in the city.
We exited the palace and passed through some quaint gardens and then a series of towers. This is the "Torre de los Picos" (Tower of the Points).
After exiting, we headed down Bib Ramblas and ended up where we started.
We then headed to Mercado Agustin, but other than buying some really olive oil were quite underwhelmed....I mean, the jamon here was cut by machine! By this time, we needed a bit of a break. Down the small street next to the market we found this place.
We had intended on just getting some espresso here, but were feeling a bit puckish as well. So the Missus decided we should go ahead and have a Bocadillo as well, which sounded just fine to me. So She had me order a jamon and an anchovy (!) bocadillo. One of the things we really enjoyed about this little shop were the bottles of roasted garlic infused olive oil.....which folks just poured like crazy on their bread.
That Jamon Bocadillo must have been pretty good....because I never even had a shot at it!
The Anchovy version was too fishy-oily-salty for the Missus, but I kinda liked it with the garlic olive oil.
It was nice and briny, man that infused olive oil was good. We quickly learned that it was okay to pour like a gallon of that stuff on your bread. There were some interesting photos in this shop; when I exited the restroom, the older woman sitting at one of the tables pointed to the photo of what looked like the Emperor of Japan on the wall and said something to me in Spanish. Sorry to say I didn't understand.
We really enjoyed this little shop and would return on our way to the train station as we left Granada. Folks here seemed more friendly (and folks in Spain were pretty friendly as a whole) than anywhere else in Spain.
Kirk and Cathy are busy doing important things today. So Ed (from Yuma) is filling in with a post about a new place in Yuma.
Longtime Yumans still identify the space at 2855 S 4th Ave as the location of Hensley's Steakhouse (a.k.a. Hensley's Beef, Beans and Beer). They assure me that the Hensley family owned and operated that successful restaurant for 20 years.
But for the entire time that I have lived in Yuma, this spot's been cursed. It has hosted Mi Playita, TJ’s Marisquero, Viejo Loco, Small Fries, Rusty Spoon, Spanky's Chophouse, The Farmhouse, and probably some others I can't remember. Now it has been reborn as Crouse’s Flat Top Grill:
Inside, the decor is clean and minimalist. There are tables of various sizes and not a lot of decoration on the walls:
There is also a small bar area:
The minimalist ambience with hard flat surfaces means that it gets loud when the tables are full. And because of the food, these days it has been getting loud alot.
For example, just look at this pulled pork dinner:
The bread grilled up crunchy, the beans decent, the battered fries nicely crisp, and the pile of pulled pork magnificent:
The meat tasted every bit as good as it looks in that picture– charred, smoky, rich, with a nice meaty chew.
In fact, it was a pulled pork sandwich on my first visit to Flat Top Grill that convinced me that the kitchen could put out stuff that was seriously wow:
There's a whole lot of good on that plate. The pulled pork, of course, was amazing. The tangy sweet barbecue sauce staying in the background where it belonged. The fresh coleslaw added crunch. The whole thing was so big, that I turned it into two open faced sandwiches just to get it into my mouth, and I still ended up taking leftovers home (our dog was delighted).
Even the mac salad – the sandwiches come with your choice of side – was outstanding. Abundant diced sweet/sour pickles, shredded cabbage, and small cubes of cheese gave the salad a complexity of textures and tastes. Very enjoyable.
Speaking of sides, for two dollars extra you can get maybe the best onion rings in town:
These homemade rings are the standard by which all other onion rings should be judged. The breading was outstanding – the exterior had a crispness that gave way to a firm chew. Inside, the onion slices themselves were sweet and flavorful. The only shortcoming, a lack of equally incredible dipping sauce.
The cheeseburger with extra crispy fries was another tasty lunch:
This day, the battered french fries had an nicely seasoned crackly crisp exterior wrapped around a pillow soft interior. The half pound burger was obviously hand formed and coarsely ground on the premises – great texture. The pickles were sweet/sour, slightly spicy, and nicely crunchy. A good burger that would have been great if it had not been slightly overcooked, so there was no moist pink center to the patty.
The chicken Club was another good sandwich:
The chicken was nicely grilled and seasoned, the bacon chewy and flavorful. If only the avocado slices had been riper and creamier the sandwich would have approached perfection.
Speaking of perfection, it's hard to imagine a better red chile cheeseburger than this open faced example:
The picture does not do justice. In my years, I have eaten dozens of versions of this truck stop/diner standard. Back in the day, my parents’ eatery served a good version, topped with my dad’s recipe chili. The Crouse’s is in a different league entirely. Even with beans, the red chile is deeply flavored and rich. Everything oh my god good.
One more example of the really tasty food at Flat Top Grill, the tri-tip sandwich:
The potato salad is fine if not spectacular and the split ciabatta roll was pretty ordinary. On the other hand, the tri-tip, grilled over oak, Santa Maria style, was rich, tender, and smoky. And look at all that meat. Three slices were plenty for the sandwich, so I took two of them home (happy dog again). Also notice that there is no mayo, mustard, ketchup, cheese, or sauce on the bread. The tri-tip is rich and fatty enough that the sandwich – just roll, lettuce leaf, and meat – needed nothing else. Wow again! – or as the dog would say, Bow Wow!
With the opening of Flat Top Grill, I think the Crouse family has finally killed the curse.
SuperNatural Sandwiches 7094 Miramar Rd San Diego, CA 92121
Another favorite that I hadn't been to in a while. They've now got a lunch special, a sandwich with fries and a drink.....don't quite remember the price as I was enjoying talking to the owner.
Crisp pork gyro.....just like Greece! Well seasoned, crisp, enrobed in a nice warm pita. The owner also gave me a little cup of a nice sauce which went well with the fries. I need to come here more often....it's cheaper than a flight to Athens.
Zgara Greek Grill 1730 Garnet Ave San Diego, CA 92109
Best Donuts Bakery & Deli:
Heading to work early (530 am) with no time for lunch on my schedule. The solution? A stop at Best Donuts for the A la Mexicana.
Warm and fluffy bolillo, eggs, a smear of beans, gooey melted cheese, salsa, jalapenos (to wake me up), and tomato. What's not to like? I'm sure there are little shops like this everywhere....it's just a matter of finding them.
Best Donuts Bakery & Deli 4714 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92117
The nice folks here have put up their "Grand Opening" sign so I thought I'd drop by. There seems to have been a few changes to the menu from my previous visits, but the place looks like it's doing well. Nice change of pace for the area and heck, Faye seems to like the place. Not having much time, I took my El Cubano to go.
The sandwich seems to have a bit less meat than before, but in terms of proportion things went well together. The pork still has flavor and isn't "the other white meat", the Swiss cheese adds a nice milky flavor......and those pickles, well they add the acid and tartness to the sandwich. I do enjoy the plantain chips, which are sliced very thin, thus making it crisp. I need to head back to Embargo Grill for the Medianoche and compare.
Havana Grill 5450 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92117
Cali Baguette Express - Convoy:
Banh Mi Trung is probably one of my favorite breakfast items....though perhaps I'd take a good noodle soup or natto gohan with egg ahead of it. Cali Express is an easy choice, they bake their own bread (though I think Paris makes a better baguette) and who can deny the wonderfulness of a fried egg sandwich with Maggi on it?
And don't forget about the sneaky jalapeno....now that'll wake you up, right? Again, it's about ratios and proportion to me......the pickled veggies, the fried egg, the light and airy bread, cilantro....you get the point, right?
Cali Baguette Express 4425 Convoy Street San Diego, CA 92111