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.
As I continue my sandwich revisits since my TMJ has calmed down.
I'd been meaning to return since my first couple of visits over a year ago. I thought the food had promise and the concept was interesting.
The place looks basically the same; the prices have edged up a notch, though are still quite reasonable.
I went with the "Midnight Calorie Bomb" the Cubano/Medianoche ($6.75).
I previously thought this a decent sandwich. It has now risen to "good". I thought the weak link previously was the pulled pork, which was very dry and ice cold in my sandwich. That has been remedied. The pork was warm, nicely seasoned, perhaps on the edge of being too salty, and was adequately moist. The ham added even more of a sodium kick and the swiss cheese provided a nice milky level of flavor. The bread was quite nice, pressed, crisp, and yeasty. And while the sandwich doesn't look very big, it's quite filling and more than enough for me.
Man, if this place was in the Gaslamp and open when the clubs got out....they'd do a killing.....
Nice to see the place is doing well.
Embargo Grill 3960 W Point Loma Blvd San Diego, CA 92110 Hours: Mon-Thurs11am - 9pm Fri-Sat 11am - 10pm Sunday 11am - 9pm
Yeah, I know, Cathy and I have done a number of posts on Bristol Farms. I'd mentioned the Tri-Tip Sandwich in a previous post. Several key things have to be in place for me to get the sandwich. There are a couple of folks, often from the deli area that I know make a good sandwich. One of the guys really takes his time, but whenever he makes my sandwich, it comes out like this:
Also, I check out the tri-tip, or the turkey to make sure it doesn't look old and tired. For the turkey sandwich; I go dark meat all the way. After having this through the years, I know how I like mine; toasted roll, horseradish sauce (on one side) in place of the BBQ sauce, grilled mushroom and onions, regular onions, tomato and lettuce. When it comes out well.....it's quite a sandwich.
Of course, one of the main reasons I was a Bristol Farms was to pick stuff up for a "light" dinner on the porch.
Bristol Farms 8510 Genessee Ave San Diego, CA 92122
I'm not sure if you noticed; between August of last year and January there was a dearth of sandwich posts. The main culprit was a very bad case of TMJ, there was a nice bit of nerve pain and now there's sometimes interesting crunching noises when I open my jaw too wide....pretty sure some arthritis has set in, but whatever, I can finally have a Banh Mi again.
So since things have settled down, I've been doing a bit of catching up.......
Best Donuts Bakery & Deli:
As I mentioned in my previous post on the place, my favorite stop for some breakfast if I'm running early (like 530 am). Perhaps I just visit often enough, but there seems to always be some rearrangement of the equipment or some new signs on each visit.
Being a creature of habit; it was the A la Mexicana - Eggs, salsa, onion, tomato, cheese, jalapenos, and a smear of beans. Nice way to start the day.
Best Donuts Bakery & Deli 4714 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92117
I'm not sure if it's because I haven't had this in a while; but this was even better than I recalled....and it was my favorite sandwich here! The brioche didn't seem a greasy; the tomato flavors came through a bit more sharply; love the sweetness of the wild Mexican Shrimp. It is without a doubt one of my favorite sandwiches...period. Man, these guys sure have come far since the booth at the San Diego Public Market days. Good for them!
SuperNatural Sandwiches 7094 Miramar Rd San Diego, CA 92121
Sweet & Savory Gourmet:
I think they place makes a decent tri-tip and it's priced nicely.
So....I have a category for Banh Mi and one for Cheesesteaks, so why not both in a post, especially since they're revisits, right?
So here goes.......
One of the good things about having to work on weekends....well, if there actually is a good reason for working on weekends is that I don't have to get in as early as on weekdays. I'm usually in by about 6am during the week, but heck, I'm working for love during the weekend so I'm going to sleep in a bit. And my choices are a bit better at 830 am than they are at 540am.
I love a good Banh Mi Trung for breakfast, so I stopped by for a nice egg banh mi.
The egg was nicely fried, the baquette, light, crisp, and warm, a touch of Maggi brought it all together with the pickled vegetables. I should have felt great, right? Well, not really, since when picking up my banh mi, I noticed the sign posted to the right.......
Spam Banh Mi??? Spam? Banh Mi? And an egg? Why didn't I see the sign before I ordered? I wasn't going to miss another chance at a Spam Banh Mi.......
Another week went by and another weekend of work. I went and got my Spam and Egg Banh Mi and brought it back to the office to eat.
In all honesty, the previous banh mi trung was better. The Spam wasn't browned enough, leaving it without a nice crisp texture. This was Spam Lite, heresy I say..... I mean, really, if you're going to blow your day's worth of nitrites and sodium on a canned meat product, you might as well go all the way. Also, something was not right with the bread on this day......you can just tell by the color, it was cold and doughy...definitely not the banh mi that I've come to expect from Cali Express.
Oh well.... While it looks like having to put in those weekend hours may be coming to an end, there's still a few more ahead for me. So maybe I'll give this another shot. Though Spam Lite......maybe not.
Cali Baguette Express 4425 Convoy Street San Diego, CA 92111
I'd been hankering for a cheesesteak for several weeks. So on the weekend after Christmas, I talked the Missus into grabbing a bite and a beer at Monkey Paw. I'd really enjoyed the cheesesteaks on my previous visits. It's also a favorite of my buddy Candice, who spent part of her childhood in Philly...
So, what I get here is the Blairsteak. For some reason, the combination of sauteed onions and bell peppers, with the milky, melted cheese on a nice Amoroso makes this a favorite of mine.
I'm not the biggest fan of waffle cut fries and these weren't prepped well. Limp and dry, lacking any sort of crispness.
One of the reasons that I'd never brought the Missus here is because bread is on the Missus's do not eat list. And other than the cheesesteaks, I haven't found anything else particularly good. On my previous visit, I tried the chicken wings, which I didn't care for.....so this time, I went with the frenched pork shank item they call "Monkey Bones",
I'd had this before and thought it was decent......I went with the sauces on the side, which was a nice move as none of them were really interesting. The pork lollipops were dry and the interior cold. So now I've got to think of something else on the menu to get the Missus down here for my next cheesesteak fix. Though the Missus did say She enjoyed the "vibe", so maybe.....
Well, no, I'm not making it a "habit" (pun intended) of eating here. The main reason for visiting the new location at that little corner of chain restaurantland....that would be Balboa and Genesee, was that FOY - Friend of Yoso, "SomTommy" mentioned that Habit Burger had a tri-tip sandwich on its menu in the comments of my Sweet and Savory Gourmet post. Sheesh, I hadn't even noticed! And being that the chain originated in .....Santa Barbara county, I thought it only right that I check it out.
Not much to say about the interior....if you've been in one, you've pretty much seen the whole spectrum of design and colors.
And yes, there was a Tri-Tip Sandwich on the menu. Which is what I got. It was nice and hot and served on a could have toasted a bit more french roll....lot's of bread on this one.
I'm not sure what to say about this......much like what I said in my previous post about the burgers, I've had worse and I've had better. The tri-tip was fine, on the tough side, straight forward flavors. The portion reminded me of their burger, thin and skimpy. The grilled onions weren't griddled enough. Not terrible, but pretty much....blah.....business as usual. This ain't nearly as good as Sweet and Savory about a half mile away. Though I prefer the French Roll to the ice cold ciabatta they serve.
I also got some onion rings, which were by the book.
Crisp and hot, these are about as good as thise gets. I prefer them to the fries.
Overall, I'll pass on the tri-tip, maybe it's time I try a burger again.....so I guess I'll stop by again soon since the prices are quite reasonable. Though I doubt that I'll be making a "habit" out of it.
The Habit Burger Grill 4175 Genesee Ave San Diego, CA 92111