Back in May, while leaving Spice House, I noticed a shop located at the end of the cul-de-sac in the business park on the street that borders the west side of Spice House. That weekend I drove by and found the place closed, but after a quick check online, I had found myself another sandwich shop to check out.
So the following Monday I dropped by to grab a sandwich. The place is small, but they seem to be doing a ton of catering. It seems that they deliver as well. There were 6 people working behind the counter, an older fellow, whom I found to be sort of a grump, and a nice, polite young man, who might be his son usually run things. There are several women who work behind the front counter and in the kitchen.
There are soups, salads, and the usual suspects in terms of sandwiches. But I was more interested in the sandwiches listed as "House Favorites", all $8.95 each.
I decided on trying the "Comeback". The sandwich felt heavy in the sack and indeed it was quite large. This was on a French Roll which was sliced then items placed on the roll "open faced".......I could not for the life of me fold it over and made a mess. I ended up tearing off the top half and placing it on the on top so I could eat it. Loved the red pepper and pepperoncini. There was a bit too much going on here and all the proteins just kind of cancelled each other out. But you won't get any complaints about value on this from me.
The Thai Beef sandwich seemed like an interesting idea.
While this was basically just roast beef with sweet chili sauce, I liked the combination of flavors brought on by the onion, jalapeno, and cilantro. If I were to get this again; I'd request a different roll and no cheese, which just didn't seem to harmonize with all the other flavors.
As I was leaving, I took a closer look at some of the signs lining the counter. It seems that there are special sandwiches that are featured for a limited time. So I made it a point to return to try the "Porchizo".
Roasted pork, chorizo, kalamata olive slaw, and chipotle mayo? That's a whole bunch of assertive flavors.....
Which turned out to make one heck of a good sandwich.
The chorizo and chipotle mayo added a nice kick to the sandwich and I enjoyed the flavor of the olive slaw. I had anticipated needing a shower after eating this, but it ended up being satisfying without being stupefying. Too bad it's no longer being offered. I hope they bring it back.
So I decided to order the other special; the "Spaniard". I'm not sure how Sambal figures into this, but I also enjoyed this very messy sandwich. The gouda, arugula, and pickled veggies make this sandwich for me. Smokey, with a mild bitterness, cut by the sambal, to go with the flavors of the salami. Very nice. Loved that the roll held up, though I think they should have cut the sandwich in half.
I like the fact that they open early. I was told 530, so I dropped by just before 6am to grab something to eat since I had meetings scheduled through lunch.
The AVE High Speed Rail took us to Barcelona in a bit over 3 hours from Madrid. Strangely, it seemed a bit longer than that. For some reason, the Shinkansen in Japan felt more comfortable and faster. Regardless, we ended up at Barcelona Sants Station and with no trouble were able to get a T10 mulit-person metro card, which was great because we could both use the card for fares and also saved us a bit.
In one of my Madrid posts, I mentioned how the dogs in that city seemed quite rambunctious. Meanwhile, in Barcelona, the dogs seemed more relaxed. We saw several, like this one, riding the metro with no problem.
As much as I had read, or heard, nothing prepared me for the first time I set eyes on the place. We exited the metro station and headed off in the direction of the apartment we were staying at. I turned around and was just awestruck at the sight of Sagrada Familia. The Missus was busy heading up the street when I told Her, "turn around......turn around." Her eyes got quite large, jaw agape, all She could mutter was "oh my god......" As we just stood and stared for a few moments.
Such is the effect of Sagrada Familia. Love it or hate it, I doubt you'll ever see anything quite like it.
We had a bit of time before checking in and were getting hungry. We had "big" dinner plans so finding something simple and unpretentious like this little shop fit the bill. It was quiet, an older gentleman reading the paper having lunch, another guy having a beer at the bar.
The young man working the front bar was very nice and we took a table in the rear of the place so as not to get in the way. There was a menu "del dia" - menu of the day available, along with various small dishes which we felt was more suitable for us.
The Missus was still feeling like Pimientos Padrons so we got that.
Not as salty as other versions, this had a nice "zing" due to the addition of red peppers. Nothing amazing or surprising, but simple and tasty.
At this point, we had a little travelers malfunction. I had done a bit of research on Catalan Charcuturie and was excited when I saw this:
What the Missus and I didn't pay attention to was the top part which said......
Entrepans....."between bread", Freds "cold", so we were caught off guard when sandwiches arrived. What could we do but just laugh at ourselves and be happy we ordered "petit". Simply meat and bread.
Fuet is a dry cured thin sausage that reminds me of pepperoni.
The butifarra is the serious sausage in Catalonia. This was the "blanca" or the white version.
Soft, coarse ground pork, with no paprika, which is why it's called "blanco". Nice and ham like.
The Catalana reminded me of salami.
It was more than enough for lunch and would hold us over until our 830 pm dinner. We finished off with some espresso and headed off to the apartment.
We were located 1 block from Sagrada Familia. In fact, you could see the one of the spires from the window!
After settling in and freshening up, we decided to walk over to Sagrada Familia, just to take a look around.
Even though Antoni Gaudi's grand work is not yet finished; he became involved in the project in 1883 and worked on it until his death in 1926; 43 years, the Church has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was only 25 percent completed at the time of Gaudi's death and work continues to this day.
The church is made up of three facades and will have 18 spires, when and if it is ever finished. Only one of the facades bears Gaudi's direct influence; that is, was almost complete at the time of his death. My least favorite façade is the Passion Façade which was completed by 2005. It is quite plain, but somewhat dark and grim.
I could write another two thousand words on the place, but why not read this or this.
My favorite view from the other side of the pond in Placa de Gaudi. It shows the rich and complex design of the structure as it seems to reach for the sky.
It's also far enough to escape the tour buses and the masses, where you can watch the old-timers playing bocce.
Or just shooting the breeze.
We ended up not doing the interior of Sagrada Familia, perhaps on another trip...you need tickets and all that. We headed back to the apartment for a short nap before dinner. And oh what a dinner it would be......
Morning in Madrid is pretty calm. I guess that happens when most folks end their day at midnight. We were in fact, quite pooped. We awoke, had like three cups of espresso a piece and slowly woke up. The Missus had our day pretty much planned by the time we left.
We of course started at the Missus's favorite location the previous day, Puerto del Sol.
Strangely, I don't have a day time photo of the building which faces the Tio Pepe sign and the statue of Charles III. It was the first Post Office in Madrid and is currently the Governor's Office. Right in front of the building's main doorway is this marker on the ground.
This is "Kilometer Zero", which represents the center of Spain. So I guess this is where we were supposed to start, right? A good part of these walks were distilled by the Missus from Rick Steves Guidebook to Spain. The Missus will often combine all the walks into a single long one. We headed left and up (down?) the street and through Calle de Postas, a street that's been around since medieval times. Some of the building here were quite striking.
Like the display on this Watch Shop named Antigua Relojeria, which has been around since 1880.
This little street leads right into Plaza Mayor.
Pop out of the plaza and you end up at the very popular Mercado de San Miguel. Though not open at this early hour.
We weaved through streets, past buildings until we came to this memorial. This statue marks the spot of an assassination attempt on newlyweds King Alfonso and Princess Victoria by Mateu Morral. The statue memorializes the 15 people killed in the assassination attempt. No the King and Queen were not killed.
Further down the street is Almudena Cathedral. Construction started in 1879 and the cathedral was consecrated in 1993.
That's a 114 years!
Right across from the Cathedral is the Royal Palace of Madrid.
We had thoughts of visiting, but the Missus was on a tight schedule here, so maybe next time. East of the Royal Palace is Plaza de Oriente. We saw Mounted Police getting ready for their shift when we arrived.
It's a very nice green space.....
The street we were walking on is named Calle Arenal.
By this time; we had almost circled back to Puerto del Sol and were in need of a break. Some espresso seemed to be just what the doctor ordered. There's a charcuterie and cheese shop named Ferpal (strangely, we didn't even read about it in the guidebook until later - though RS's recommendations are in our opinion somewhat suspect for our tastes) on the street.
What looks like a coffee counter takes up half the shop....and folks were lining up for their morning (late morning) fix. So we decided to join in. The staff at the counter are rather diner worthy. As in grumpy in a somewhat humorous way. You still get served and everything works fine....for some reason, it just reminds me of a diners here in the states.
While waiting to order our "caffe" I noticed a couple of items on signs. The first was a plate of Lomo Iberico Bellota for a mere 4 Euros, which of course we got.
The Missus actually enjoys the less salty, leaner, more meaty cured pork loin (lomo). This was a nice little brunch item for us. I also noticed something on the menu board behind the counter. Under the heading "Sandwichs". Yes, not "sandwiches", but "sandwichs", the "crema" category were the words "foie gras". For .9 Euros, basically a buck. I had to try this.....
It was a nice little half sandwich, with the crust sliced off, just like mom would make. This was basically a light foie gras mousse. It was quite tasty and filling which we enjoyed it with our "caffe".
Ferpal Calle del Arenal 7 Madrid, Spain
We took a short shopping bread at El Cortes Ingles, the huge multi-floor department store. There's a supermarket in the basement of all El Cortes Ingles as far as I can tell.
The next leg of the walk was up Madrid's version of Broadway; Gran Via.
An interesting study in early 20th century architecture, what makes the street even more interesting is that the buildings were built in groups starting in 1910 and ending in the 1950's. So buildings on blocks were built around the same time.
At the end we took a break at Plaza de Espana and watched these dogs having a great time.
We noticed that the dogs in every city seem to have distinct personalities. In Madrid, they were a rambunctious bunch, having their own mind, pulling their masters along.
Coming full circle we ended up back at Puerta del Sol. We were hungry, it was lunch time. Along the arteries stretching out from the square are tons of eateries. We looked in several of them, a few of which I had on my list and settled on La Oreja de Jaime.
It was quite interesting. There were tons of tourists outside the place, but only Spaniards in this little joint. On occasion someone would walk in, order a Caña...a small beer...polish it off in one large gulp and head on back out. For lunch this was a one man operation; Jaime took orders, cooked, served the drinks, bussed the tables. You name it. There were a couple of older folks eating and having drinks. We simply requested a couple of cañas and ordered from the chalkboard. No crazy equipment here, just a deep fryer, a stove, and a wonderfully seasoned flat top which you can see from the streetside window.
We started with some Padrons.
Thrown in the deep fryer, we quickly found out that Jaime does not go easy on the salt....it was good sea salt. Nice and almost sweet if a bit high on the sodium scale.
You'll notice the name of the place "Oreja"......so what else would you get from here but orejas....ears.
The orejas were only 5€, so we were flabbergasted at the portion size. Get a media (1/2) racione if you go here. These were simply done on the griddle, which, by the flavor, smoky and almost sweet is highly seasoned by who knows how many orders of pig ears. These were crunchy, wonderfully gristle-y, and chewy, with a pretty hefty amount of olive oil, a touch of smoked paprika, and since we love pig ears, quite enjoyable, though the Missus couldn't bring Herself to eat the hairy portions.
The champignons with camarones was also pretty good.
The shrimp was quite tasty, full of that nice shrimp flavor that folks in the states seem afraid of. It was a bit on the oily side, but I'm not complaining.
Man, the prices were quite cheap and we left stuffed. Even more impressive was the couple who walked in after us. Apparently, they come here often as Jaime knew them. The woman, who appeared to be in her 60's polished off an entire order of patatas bravas, as did her husband, they polished off a plate on pardons, another plate of something else I couldn't make out, and then, the husband having fallen by the wayside; the woman devoured a plate of orejas, while enjoying three beers. Not small caña sized glasses, but three bottles of beer...and some olives to boot!
Jaime is quite friendly, always smiling, even though he's a one man show. The prices are quite reasonable and this was a pretty good and simple lunch. No messing about, just good grub.
La Oreja de Jaime Calle de La Cruz 12 Madrid, Spain
It was getting quite hot and I was starting understand the how's and why's of how things are done here. At least I understood the necessity of a siesta......
Thank you for once more stopping to read mmm-yoso!!! Kirk is recovering from his European vacation, Ed (from Yuma) is enjoying his American vacation and Cathy is here in San Diego, sharing part of her Staycation.
We are beginning to have some overcast, warm and humid days now...'bad weather' some call it. Driving down to the Ocean Beach area of the City and parking at the beach makes it all tolerable. North and South views from the public parking lot on Sunset Cliffs near Lifeguard Tower 2 are beautiful and the ocean breeze is brisk and refreshing.Turn around, back to the street and the orange based signage at Newbreak greets you. It's been there since 1993. The seating area can hold around 50, there is free wifi (and plenty of outlets)...but of course, the Cafe is why we stopped here. Fresh baked pastries and bagels and home made breakfasts and lunches. Gourmet coffees and a wall of tea leaves to choose from.Additionally, there is a good selection of gelato available. This day, I decided on soup and a half sandwich ($6.99) Yes, you see full slices of the baked here multigrain bread, but from the smaller end of the loaf, making the small sandwich declared to be a half. The sandwich is the "New-B-Ken-OB": turkey breast, bacon, avocado, Swiss, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise.
Fresh made vegetarian lentil soup in a quite large bowl accompanied my 'half' sandwich. Quite a delightful, fresh meal. That day, there was a chalkboard listing of a Cubano panini ($7.99). You may be able to tell it was double the size of the other sandwich. Ham and chicken breast, pickles and two different house made spreads (one was red pepper based and had a nice spice) properly panini'd served with some thick crunchy potato chips made this another quite large meal.
We also had shared a large pour over French Roast coffee ($2) which was excellent.
Newbreak is a San Diego staple for a number of reasons. There is so much to appreciate in our great County. Thank you for reading!
Newbreak Coffee & Cafe Sunset Cliffs San Diego 92106 Website(619) 226-4471 M-F 6-3, Sat-Sun 6:30-3
mmm-yoso!!! a food blog. Right now, Kirk and His Missus are out and about, researching another group of fascinating posts. Ed (from Yuma) and His Missus are hanging around Yuma, contemplating where to visit so He can write some captivating posts. Cathy and Her Mister are in San Diego, sharing a less intriguing Stay-cation post.
We live so close to the Pacific Ocean and rarely stop to admire it. Some people specifically vacation and stay here, at the Crystal Pier Hotel. Located at the West end of Garnet Avenue at... Mission Boulevard, where the newest location of a San Diego mainstay (since 1979), Board and Brew, is now located. Yes, skateboards -not surfboards- are the main decor here. Notice the backing at the bar stool area; those mosaic 'tiles' are pieces of skateboard decks.The counters and tables appear to be made of recycled wood. We decided to keep it light, ordering a salad and sandwich to share.
The Cobb salad($7.95) was served with freshly grilled (i.e., still warm) chicken breast and topped with bacon, Cheddar cheese, hard boiled egg, tomato and cucumber on top of green leaf lettuce. The house made salad dressings are all quite good; Caesar was our choice this day. This is a very large salad and could have been shared as a meal...very fresh ingredients; quality. However, we were curious about the "Left Coast Pastrami" ($8.50), which was warm/grilled pastrami, Swiss cheese, pepperoncini slices and grilled onions with Dijon mustard on a toasted fresh French baguette. A few different ingredients with an excellent, lean, smoky pastrami made this sandwich unique and surprisingly good.
We are enjoying parts of San Diego taken for granted, before the tourists show up.
Board and Brew 4516 Mission Blvd San Diego 92109 (858)270-2739(BREW) website open 10-9, daily
Like I've mentioned many times before, I have special place in my heart for those 60's and 70's diner type items I grew up eating. I recently got my yearly itch....so I decided to just go ahead and scratch it. Last year, my visits to Troy's Family Restaurant just didn't do it for me. So this time, I headed in the opposite direction to the Spice House Café.
This place has been around for over 50 years. And I even did a post on breakfast here back in 2005. 2005......seems so long ago. Sadly, I didn't see the Portuguese Sausage Breakfast on the menu anymore.
Anyway, this place is no frills, it doesn't try to be anything its not......just simple burgers, sandwiches, breakfast......
So it just seemed right to get one of my diner favorites something I get a craving for every so often, the Club House Sandwich ($8.95). Man, this thing was huge.
Man, look at all that processed turkey. Actually it wasn't an overly processed mystery meat product. And who doesn't love bacon and a decent smear of mayo.
The bulk steak fries were ok......when fried well, it's passable, and on this day it was.
And of course, who can forget that other diner favorite...the bottle that refuses to give up the ketchup? Tried the "jerk, the shake, the knife strategy, all to no avail. Finally, I just held it upside down and let gravity do its (slow) work.
This was way too much for me. I ended up having half of it for dinner.
Even though I took care of my club sandwich craving for another year, I thought one visit wouldn't be enough for a post. So I decided to return.
Not sure what to get; I went to the top of the sandwich listing and got the "Super Bird Melt". Good lord, this was just a bit too much for me.
This was just a bit too greasy for me, rom the griddled and greasy onions, the griddled sour dough, and the drippy cheese. All things I enjoy, but in this case it was just too much.
The fries this time were barely lukewarm therefore dry and cardboard like.
In terms of price point and quality, you get what you pay for here....maybe even more. In terms of quantity, well, I couldn't finish either sandwich. On my visits I thought the servers here represent Spice House quite well, they are polite, sometimes friendly, efficient, with little wasted motion, and no pretense. Sometimes that's just what you want.....
Spice House Cafe 9035 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92123 Hours: Mon - Fri 630am - 230pm Sat - Sun 700am - 230pm
I'd been wanting to try, ahem, BFD, since Dennis posted on the place nearly a year and a half ago. Recently, I finally had a couple of chances to check them out.
I like the concept, good bread, everything made in house, a nice wide open dining area.
The nice woman working the cash register is a favorite of mine....she is friendly and welcoming. And strangely, has remembered my name from my first visit.
The sandwiches here are not cheap; most are priced north of $9.50, but you have to understand.....this ain't Subway...you'll find no "formed meat products" here. The amount of meat on the sandwich is generous. In fact, I better watch it, if I eat too many of the b.g.p. ($10.50) which is much more than a roast beef sandwich, my TMJ might return.
The roast beef was mildly rare, just enough to keep it moist. I loved the cracked pepper which, in addition to the red onions added a nice pungency to the sandwich. The sourdough held out well...I ate half of this at the shop and the other half for dinner. Crisp and fresh lettuce, tomato and pepperocini added that acid-pickled touch, a chipotle mayo which perhaps was a bit too much, not in the spicy way, but in that it nullified the flavor of the smoked gouda, which I thought was too mild. I know most folks like a lot of meat; but I thought this was a bit too much protein....I'm more of a proportion/balance kind of guy. Still, there's nothing here to really complain about - this turned out to be two meals for me.
My other sandwiches were ordered to go and eaten at my desk.
The "Loin of Fire" ($10.25), was good. I enjoyed the roasted poblano, pickled onion, cilantro, garlic aioli combo. The pork was a bit too dry, even with everything else in the sandwich. I found that I enjoyed the Torpedo Roll more than the sourdough. It held up real well and the texture was quite nice.
The other sandwich I tried was the "Turkey Day" ($9.50). One of my guilty pleasures is a nice open face turkey sandwich. This didn't quite do it for me.
I really enjoyed the bread. The stuffing was a bit dry as was the turkey (which is predictable), I think a bit more gravy would have done the trick. I found that there was too much cranberry relish, making the sandwich too sweet for me; though if you like that flavor you'll love this. It was not until later that I saw the "o.f.t." which was a hot sandwich featuring turkey, gravy, and mashed potato....now that seem like something I'd like.
Which gives me reason to return. Yes the prices are on the high side, though you get better quality and even quantity....and after all don't you pay more for ramen than you pay for pho?
Big Front Door 4135 Park Blvd San Diego, CA 92103 Open Daily 11am - 8pm
We arrived back in Valletta nice and early. I had quite a bit planned for our last full day.
Unfortunately, the apartment we really enjoyed staying in wasn't available for this night, so we were staying in the Osborne Hotel which was on the opposite side of the peninsula.
We dropped our bags off and started on our way.
The first item was to get some espresso for the Missus and something for me to eat.
We saw this little shop along the way.
The little place was full...of locals......having coffee, reading the paper, talking about...well, I dunno. We entered and they quickly made some room for us.
While the Missus was having Her espresso; with a Diet Kinnie chaser, I saw something. Along the counter, there seemed to be makings for sandwiches. A couple of guys came in to pick up sandwiches while we were having our drinks. I couldn't help it. I just had to find out what this big seller was.....tuna sandwiches. I was raised on tuna sandwiches, but truly believe there's only one brand of canned tuna that shall pass these lips. Us old timers from Hawaii have some major brand loyalty. I had my doubts, I really wasn't thrilled with the version I had earlier in Valletta. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. And this was a major win.
It didn't look very inspiring. But man, this was good. The bread....what's with the bread in Malta (I'd learn soon)? It was crusty, but not too hard, nor chewy. The tuna wasn't the greatest, but it was the sum of the parts which made this fantastic. In perfect proportion; ripe, tasty,tomatoes rubbed on the bread, briny olives, I tasted mint (!), which tasted so good, boiled eggs, lots of black pepper, red onion for that touch of pungent flavor.
I wish I knew the name of this place. We returned for some espresso on the way out of Malta...but duh, I forgot to get the name of the place!
We caught the bus, and with some cryptic instructions got off in Paola. We walked to Tarxien, it was hard to know where Paola ended and Tarxien began....it seems that the borders of these small villages just blend into one another.
We arrived at our destination. There was a graveyard and church next door.
For some reason, the Missus was taken with the tranquil environment and decided just to lie down on one of the benches and listen to music.
Discovered by some farmers plowing a field a field in 1914. This complex of temples, dating back to 3150 B.C. this site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980.
The excavations have indicated that the site was used extensively for rituals.
It was a fascinating visit. The island of Malta has long been inhabited, some estimate all the way back to 5200 BC.
Leaving the site, I got the Missus who was just having a great old time listening to music, staring at the tree and the statue of the Virgin Mary.
It was time to head back to Paolo and our destination.
But first, we got distracted by this little shop on a side street that was doing some nice business. Cars kept stopping, folks running out; sometimes holding up traffic, to go in and grab...well, who knows what.
This is the spinach-olive, with a touch of ricotta version.
Frankly, I preferred what I had before to this. Though it was quite hearty and stuffed.
And so, we searched for our destination. Which we found with this discreet sign.
When I knew we were going to Malta; one of the first things I did was make reservation for Hal Saflieni Hypogeum. Discovered by workers digging for a cistern in 1902, the story of its revelation is quite amazing. Due to the damage done by carbon dioxide exhaled by visitors, only 60 visitors are allowed a day (it's actually closed right now while a new environmental management system is put in place).
Of course, photos aren't allowed; but you can see some here. Let me just say, at least for us, it was an amazing experience.
Making it back to Valletta, the Missus wanted Her Quinoa Salad from Piadina Caffe. So we headed over. This time I had the prosciutto with provolone, which was light and refreshing.
And I got a chance to read the local paper.
After a light snack it was finally time when we could check in. Along the way to the hotel we saw this doorway.
Which is how we ended up in the lair of Joe Frendo.
Who is Joe Frendo? I'm still not sure. I looked down those stairs and saw some bottled water, which is just what we needed and wanted at that moment.
We had somehow ended up in the shop of a Maltese bread maker. Huge wood burning oven going.....I was told; "go take a look....the best bread in Malta is here."
I looked at the bread which looked familiar. So I asked, and my question was answered with, "yes, Il-Horza, that is our bread."
And so we thought, "why not order a pizza?"
Having ordered our dinner, we got back to the hotel; checked in, and freshened up.
Walking past the Grandmaster's Palace, we noticed a demonstration happening. It was for women's rights. We saw a gentleman walk out to talk to folks. I asked who this was and was told, "well....it's the Prime Minister of course." The Prime Minister!
It was soon time to pick up dinner, so we retuned to Joe Frendo's Bakery. Walking down the stars we saw Joe's family having dinner at a table in an adjacent area and Joe at work on our pizza.
We loved this place. So the Missus asked Joe Frendo as simple question; "when did you start making bread" which turned into an 45 minute monologue of Joe Frendo's life....punctuated with many a "mey-lah". Which I still don't understand. It was an amazingly funny slice of life. Along with the pizza, we decided to get a bottle of wine, but requested that they open the bottle. At which time Joe walked over to a table, pulled out the corkscrew which was being used to level the table out and opened our bottle. Only in Malta!
We got the "Maltese Pizza"("mey-lah")and Joe Frendo gave us a couple of really good rolls.
The pizza...the crust was quite nice....had artichoke hearts, olives, and a nice tangy tomato sauce.
Which is what we had....watching the roof tops of Valletta.As dusk approached I took this photo.
And waking right before the sun rose, I took another.
Like most places, Malta had been much more than what we had expected......
Thanks for stopping to look at mmm-yoso!!!, a food blog, today. Cathy is writing again because the guys (Kirk and Ed(from Yuma)) are not having anything to do with blogging at this point in time.
A few months ago, The Mister and I were in National City and did another random stop when we saw a very bright, interesting bit of signage. According to the owners (all family), El Mango Manila has been open here since 2011. The menu is fairly extensive. Breakfasts here include molletes (my favorite) and there are tortas, sandwiches, green and fruit salads, juices, smoothies, licuados (milk based) and raspados (ices) and a variety of 'Crazy' menu items ('crazy' means cups of fresh corn topped with cheese, tostilocos, churrolocos, Takilocos and fruitilocos as well as a few other items).Recall that I said we were here a few months ago... Our order consisted of a medium Vampire juice (beets, carrots, celery and apple), small fruit salad of what was in season (strawberries, bananas, watermelon, green apple) topped with cottage cheese and granola with a side of honey and a mixed meat torta. The total bill was $12.
The torta was served on very fresh toasted bread, spread with a spicy lime mayonnaise and had ham and turkey and a melted Mexican cheese as well as lettuce, tomato, pickles and avocado.
This was a very tasty and fresh meal for us.
I do enjoy finding new places as well as stopping at fruiterias. Hope you are having a good weekend.
El Mango Manila 2303 Highland Avenue National City, CA 91950 (619)336-0507
We awoke bright and early after a wonderful first day in Valletta. Now of course, after our morning walk, the question arose.....we're here, now what? I had made a few plans, but nothing for this day. So we decided to go ahead and catch the bus to Mdina, called "the Slient City" a walled city with a history going back to 4000 B.C. and first fortified by the Phoenicians as far back as 700 - 1000 B.C.. That's Malta, they talk about things based on centuries.
The bus bays are located right outside the City Gate of Valletta. The city of Floriana basically starts right where Valletta ends.
Finding your bus is easy. Go ahead and get tickets at the booth, ask the very nice lady for the bus going to Valletta, and walk to the bay, in this case #9, where the buses to Rabat go.
While waiting you can take in the Triton Fountain and the various statues like "Christ the King" (to the right) which was designed Maltese sculptor Antonio Sciortino.
Since only residents, emergency, and government vehicles are allowed within the wall of Mdina, you'll get off a short walk away, in the city of Rabat, which is right outside the walls of Mdina.
We saw quite a few tour buses out side the city walls. So, on this day, the "Silent City" wasn't so silent.
Because of the location, high on a hill, Mdina had a strategic significance. When under the rule of the Roman Empire, Mdina was where the Governor built his palace. The Normans conquered Malta in 1091 and further fortified the city with a large moat and thicker walls.
One of the main reasons we visited Mdina was to see St Paul's Cathedral. We were told that it was the equal of St John's Co-Cathedral and also had some historic significance. Supposedly, the Cathedral is built on the spot where Governor (now Saint) Publius met the Apostle Paul who was shipwrecked on Malta. The original cathedral was of Norman design and was destroyed in an earthquake in 1693. The current structure was designed by Lorenzo Gafa and finished in 1702.
Like St John's Co-Cathedral, one of the more interesting features were the tombs laid in the floor. Most of these were of various clergymen.
The Missus noticed something interesting about the tombstones; the Galero and Tassels. We both had no idea what it represented.
We queried one of the very friendly attendants on the significance of the hat and tassels. We were told these represented clergy; the tassels represented their rank and accomplishments within the church. A single tassel would be a priest, two tassels represented a rector, six tassels on each side is a bishop. interesting, huh?
When did find quiet backstreets, less than 300 people live within the walls of Mdina, the place did take on a mysterious air.
Most street were busy, though not extremely so. Another one of our favorite places was the Carmelite Church and Priory. The monks of this priory follow a strict rule of separation from the external world. In other words, it's a cloistered order. We were told that the monks still live in the buildings and above the priory. It's an interesting view into a different world and definitely worth your time if you're in Mdina. During the French occupation, all the silver was removed from the church. In September of 1798, the French returned to finish off the job. The story goes that a young boy climbed to the top of the belfry to sound the alarm and Maltese Rebels locked the doors of the church, starting the Maltese Revolt.
By now, more tourists had arrived. So we did a quick walk and took some photos of Malta from the city ramparts.
I believe we found the only cloud over Malta on this day!
It was getting hot and crowded, so we decided to depart. But not without first taking a short walk around Rabat. We found the streets interesting....everyday life happens here. We had a cup of coffee at one of the shops and when we saw what looked like the trimmings of a recent festival...we followed.
And ended up at St Paul's Church and Grotto.
The church is built on the site where St Paul stayed and preached when shipwrecked on Malta.
From here we walked back to the bus stop and headed back to Valletta. It was pretty warm and we wanted something light to eat. On one of the sloping side streets I located one of the places I had read about named Piadina Caffe. A Piadina is an Italian flatbread. Considering Matla's location relative to Italy, I thought this would be a nice little stop.
This tiny shop specialized in Piadinas (of course), foccacia's, salads, and coffee.
It would turn out to be a favorite of the Missus who just really wanted a salad as an alternative to all the rather heavy food we'd been eating on this trip.
She got a quinoa salad....strange I thought, but well priced. She loved it....I guess She had been missing salad.
I had the Prosciutto, mozzarella, and rocket (gotta love the British influence) piadina (4 Euros), which was surprisingly good.
I love the ratio of ingredients on this one...the salty and savory prosciutto, milky mozzarella, the peppery bite of the arugula. The flatbread had been pressed and was crisp. This was just what I wanted and needed...something not too heavy, but satisfying.
The Missus enjoyed this so much.....we ended up returning later on our trip.
Piadina Caffe 24 Triq Santa Lucija Valletta, Malta
Bolstered by caffeine......we were ready to do a bit more exploring.