mmm-yoso!!! is the name of the blog you are reading. Kirk has an even busier day than usual and Ed (from Yuma) is out and about (in Yuma) doing his things, so Cathy is writing today's post.
Caffe Bene has over 1600 locations in a dozen countries around the world. One of those locations is in San Diego, on Convoy Street (it shares the same parking lot with Prime Grill). Opening over a year ago, cc and Kirbie posted about it.Spacious with a simple decor, the 'Global Coffee House' offers a fairly quiet meeting space with free wifi...
coffees, teas, beverages as well as a variety of snack foods, treats and small sandwiches. The Signature drink here, 'multigrain power drink', Misugaru, can be served cold or hot and I like each version and have purchased one or the other on each visit here. It's tasty, not too sweet and quite filling. I think it may also be good for you.
There is a small selection of sandwiches on the menu. The above is a Spicy Chicken Sandwich ($8.95). Served hot on a fresh roll, the chicken breast, fresh spinach and melted cheese were quite fresh and tasty. The 'spicy' sauce was nicely hot, (not Sriracha sweet, just a good punch of heat). The side of potato salad was just enough to compliment the other flavors.
The ham and egg sandwich ($7.95) was not served hot, but was just as pleasant in flavor pairings. Hard boiled eggs, a good amount of ham, spinach, red onion and a mustard based sauce were all complimentary and made a nice little shared meal.
Caffe Bene is known for its Liege waffles and honey bread and we tried a simple order of a waffle with gelato ($5.50). Liege waffles are small, rich, stretchy/chewy and a bit crunchy from embedded pearl sugar in the batter; another variety of waffle. The gelato? Strawberry- a very densely flavored gelato, which would be good on its own but also went very well with pieces of the waffle.
Yes, it is a chain, but this is the only location around and it is quite nice.
Caffè Bene Website 4620 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111 (858) 278-2204 Open daily 9 a.m.-midnight Website
Thank you for stopping to read this blog, mmm-yoso!!! Kirk is still working long days. Ed (from Yuma) is also really busy with appointments and things retired folks do. Cathy only has classes to take, so there is free time for her to write about some meals.
There are two main eat-in areas ( as well as a nice outdoor space). The menu is filled with photos.
We usually try a different hot tea each visit. So far, our favorite has also been the osmanthus, a light colored, fragrant, deep flavored tea ($6.99 for this pot) I want to say the flavor is a fruity black...not that there is fruit added, just the leaves have that background flavor of peaches. The shredded pork plate ($10.25) comes with the large portion of tea flavored pork, rice and the (daily changing) three sides: one hot and two cold this time. The cabbage and green beans had a light pickled flavor and the corn had more of a tea/tannin/brisk taste. All were complimentary to the meat.
The deli plate with pork house noodle (or rice noodle) soup ($9.99) is a good choice which we can share. The soup is quite nice and not salty; good flavors from the ingredients. The 'deli plate' is quite interesting, with tea flavored bites of hard boiled egg, seaweed knot, smoky tofu and a dried preserved vegetable. Tea flavored dumplings ($8.99) are almost always a fallback choice. The tea flavoring the meat is subtle, but there. The presentation is always pretty. You can see the skins were not thin. The taiwanese tea sausage ($5.99) is also an automatic choice. It's served with slices of raw garlic, which are just so perfect with the flavorings in the sausage. The spicy fried chicken appetizer ($5.99) (light/medium spice level) is always perfectly lightly breaded and crispy fried; not greasy.
On a recent visit, we tried a pot of the chrysanthemum/Pu-ehr tea ($5.50) This photo of the filter shows you the mix of chrysanthemum flowers and tea. We really liked the more subtle fermented flavor of this tea. You can see it was darker, and Pu-Ehr is fermented; quite earthy in flavor on its own, but by being 'cut' with the chrysanthemum flowers, it was a flavorful accompaniment to our meal this time. There are three menu pages devoted to 'dessert', which is shaved ice, which you can create or order. We have asked for the menu, stared at it, then always agree we want this same item: grass jelly with sour plum ice ($5.75). I have eight photos of this dessert. No condensed milk or any other toppings. Just a light, pleasant way to end a meal, with some tea, of course.
I hope you are having a good week so far!
Tea Station 7315 Clairmont Mesa Boulevard San Diego 92111 (858) 268-8198 website
We each got a different version of hot pot; "PL" got the "House Special Hot Pot", basically stinky tofu.
While the amount of protein in the hot pot isn't substantial; the overall portion size is. In addition, we were asked several times if we wanted our broth topped off. In spite of this being "stinky tofu", this wasn't very pungent, the flavor quite mild overall. But at least it wasn't too salty.
Three sauces are provided, the bean curd based sauce is the best overall.
"YZ" got the Korean Style Hot Pot.
One interesting thing to note.....the heating gel used is pretty potent and very hard to control. "YZ" broth kept bubbling up and she had to hold up a napkin to avoid getting splashed.
I got the Lamb Hot Pot, which, according to Lily should have had suan cai. The stuff in my hot pot tasted like plain napa cabbage, lacking in any fermented flavor and not even close to the suan cai we make at home.
The lamb was very tasty and gamey, the mung bean noodle, which I chose instead of rice wet quite well in this along with the enoki mushrooms and tofu. I'm not a fan of blood cake, but I really like the version served here, nice texture, ever so slightly sweet without a strong metallic flavor. I do wish the broth had a bit more flavor though. Along with one fill up of broth; this was more than I could finish.
So what about Lily? Well, the point of this lunch was to chat and enjoy so I took only one shot of every hot pot. As you can tell, it came out much too blurry. Lily ordered the winner of the bunch the Ma-la Hot Pot, which had a nice spice; not super spicy, but quite flavorful. She gave me a nice taste in one of the bowls provided.
Kind of a bummer that the photo of the best item of the day didn't turn out.
Luckily, John and Candice had some time to grab dinner and with the weather unseasonably cold, hot pot sounded like just the thing.
This was very light and lacking in the nice mild sweetness I enjoy.
Candice ordered the Curry Hot Pot which was decent and John the Sate....which must have been good, because he basically destroyed it. I was having such a great time chatting that I forgot to take a photo of the Ma-la Hop Pot, 'doh, lightning strikes twice. So you'll have to settle for this photo and basically take my word or it that this is pretty much the way to go here.
As an extra bonus, I noticed that this came with some intestine....something I really enjoy. Heck, even the fish balls tasted pretty good here. Wish they had a bit more bean curd skin though.
Well, I'm just going to have to drop by again...probably soon if the weather holds its course. As of this writing, I probably enjoy the hot pot, well at least the hot and spicy version (the rest are on the bland side) here more than QT Pot, though I need to revisit them soon. The folks here are nice and since it's grand opening trying real hard. Candice recognized one of the owners as previously working at Noble Chef. I hope they do well....check them out and let me know what you think!
Boiling Passion 3904 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
For some reason the beef noodle soup at Green China Grill had me thinking about Liang's. Not sure why, very different creatures, but, in spite of the very bad taste of bleach permeating my NRM the last time, I decided it had been a while, so why not?
I was a bit taken a back when I visited. It was 1130 and not a soul in the place. And it also looks like Liang's has not aged well; several of the light fixtures had no bulbs, perhaps to reduce costs, but the wires were hanging out. What I really noticed was the chipped paint everywhere.
The chairs I recalled had been replaced with very cheap banquet chairs. Kind of sad to see the state of the place in about five years of life.
Service was pretty much indifferent, so that part is consistent. I went with the Tendon and Beef Noodle Soup with the LaPian noodles. The bowl arrived hot and steaming.
First off, there were some decent things about this bowl....first and foremost no bleach flavor. Second, the broth was super hot. Third, that piece of tendon was excellent, holding shape but tender bordering on buttery. The broth had decent richness and the flavor of the preserved vegetable came through, but was pretty one dimensional in terms of overall flavor, low anise, lacking in beefiness, and way too much MSG. The beef was cold in the center and tasted a bit like it had been held in the fridge too long. I should have learned my lesson about the noodles and gone with the regular version. The Lapian noodles were hard and pretty much just tore to pieces when grabbing them with chopsticks.
I'm on the fence about this one. It's mediocre, not terrible, though I couldn't finish the broth because of all the MSG. Nothing really incites me to return....so maybe it'll be another 2 or 3 years, or maybe more....I do hope they spruce up the place a bit.
Liang’s Kitchen 4681 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
Once again, mmm-yoso!!! is here with another post. Kirk is having more technical difficulties today than he had yesterday; Ed (from Yuma) is enjoying being retired and isn't glued to his computer; Cathy is in front of her computer sharing a meal she enjoyed in the recent past.
A few weeks ago The Mister and I were in Mira Mesa, planning on going to that location of Seafood City and planning to eat before shopping, as we usually do, similar to the food court of the South Bay Seafood City location. But the parking lot was pretty full and we pulled up on the far West end and noticed this storefront. You know we had to stop and check it out. I vaguely recalled posts by cc, Kirbie and Mary from earlier this year...thinking this was a 'dessert only' place. But there are menus on the door and on the wall as you walk to the back to order. The Mister noticed a 'Ramen' page and I noticed 'Appetizers'. We walked in.The eclectic decor is interesting in that there are so many choices of 'eating areas' and levels of comfort. I'm glad I could take these photos, because almost all the tables filled up within about 15 minutes.Duck ramen with tonkatsu broth ($9.99) with the basic toppings (soft boiled egg, seaweed, scallions, sesame seeds and bean sprouts). This was very good in flavor and size (enough to share). The broth was rich, porky and not very salty. The noodles had a 'bite' and were not mushy. The duck leg was standard. The vegetarian pot stickers ($3.99) were also standard. Fresh fried and crispy with a good amount of filling. Quite large for pot stickers.
The Kani-Cheese Croquette ($2.99) is basically potatoes mashed with cream cheese, formed into a patty and rolled in bread crumbs then deep fried. Topping is kewpie and teriyaki. Again, freshly made but pretty standard. Nice sides to munch on while waiting for my turn with the ramen bowl.
Looking at the menu, I remembered the desserts I had seen online.Shubuya honey toast...presented with a theme. We decided on "London".Based on the photos from other bloggers and the menu, there was a small disaster during the assembly, but all the ingredients are there. The (very) large piece of honey toast was hollowed out and cubed, the cubes toasted and most placed back inside the outer large cube of (also) toasted bread. Ice cream, bananas, caramel sauce, toffee and a side of custard sauce. A really nice, and fun dessert.
T-Pop Desserts and More 8945 Mira Mesa Boulevard San Diego 92126 (858) 566-6494 Website open Sun-Th 11-10, Fir-Sat 11-11
Hello and welcome to the food blog, mmm-yoso!!! Kirk and Ed (from Yuma) have both been extremely busy and Cathy is not yet at the point of extremely busy, so she is writing today's post.
As I had mentioned, The Mister has been having unusual cravings lately, primarily in wanting certain spices, heat levels or flavors...not a particular food. He had been mentioning 'Hot Pot but not the same as Little Sheep, that was very peppery' and since we needed to get some groceries after this lunch (it's located inside the 99Ranch complex), E & Drink seemed the perfect place to stop. Usually, we discuss our menu choices and decide what to share. This was the first time in almost forever when we didn't. He opened the menu, saw what he wanted and closed the menu, saying 'ready'. I noticed this placard on the table... and assumed The Mister was ordering hot pot and so the bottom combination of a Hot Pot plus an item listed as 'Lunch Special' seemed an option. Unusual 'appetizers' were brought out with our respective utensils. Turns out that The Mister had ordered the 'Lamb with pickled cabbage' hot pot, which arrived bubbling and ended up with much flavor. The Mister had asked for noodle on the side (instead of rice) and that was a change up and, I think a better choice. This was a hot pot of flavors we had never tried before and it was excellent. A meaty bubbling broth, the vegetables and hot pot fillers (pickled cabbage, meat ball, tofu, corn, kamaboko, fish cake, tempura, egg, napa cabbage, carrot, radish, vermicelli) were really good, still crisp and the lamb was tender and had a good flavor that we both enjoyed. Sometimes we order 'add ins' from the menu and, as you can see, the pot is full and it was very flavorful without needing anything added in.
I mentioned that we did not discuss our meal choices, merely ordering by number from the menu...Coincidentally, I ordered a meat with preserved vegetable also. "Pork with preserved vegetable" the menu stated... it was preserved rather than pickled (which is indeed a type of preserving) vegetable (an addictive saute of something from the cabbage family, but a dark green and it was not salty nor vinegared) with sides of chilled fried eggplant, broccoli and a wonderful pickled radish. As you might see, the serving of pork is very much pork belly. It was perfect. The fatty goodness and charred edges went so well with the vegetables and rice. Definitely ordering this again.
There are an array of drinks, desserts, appetizers and snacks available here. I hope your week has started out well.
E and Drink 7330 Clairmont Mesa Blvd, A110 San Diego 92111 (858) 560-9888 open 10:30- midnight daily.
Just a few months ago, "YummyYummy" mentioned that a new "Chinese Restaurant" was going into the former B H Chung location. When I asked around, no one knew much....though the term "Fast Food" was bandied about, much to my disappointment. Finally, the sign went up, the place was given a name....Yu's Garden, whose location in Irvine Kirbie posted on back in 2009. Looking at her post, I could see that the term "fast foodish" didn't appear to be to far from the truth. A couple of weeks ago, the menu went up, and Yu's Garden, San Diego quietly opened.
After checking around a bit, I kind of knew what to expect. We've got some young folks I know who love the place. Of course these kids aren't too far removed from college and still talk about how much they love Nongshim (though the Missus likes it too) instant noodles, which kind of puts things into perspective.
Over the course of the last couple of weeks, I managed to visit twice; once with my good friend Candice, who had met me for an awful lunch at Yes! Pingo. I was hoping that this would be an improvement. One good thing about Yu's is that they open early, remember, this is possibly the worst parking lot in San Diego, at 10am Monday thru Thursdays, 8am Friday to Sunday....although according to the sign, they must have some special calendar with two Sundays on it......having two Sundays a week, wouldn't that be grand?
The use of the plastic sheet sleeve also makes me wonder what on earth they need to protect this piece of 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper from? It's pretty far from the tables in a remote corner. One can only wonder?
As for the interior....well, much like the Irvine location, this place is ready with the quick steam and cold table stuff. Much of which looks rather greasy. So on my visits, I stuck to ordering from the menu. The hot and cold foods were really close together, which didn't quite look up to food handling standards.
This place also wins the award for making a new business look like it's been around for years. There are already stains on the walls, if you take a good look at the steam table, you can quickly see that the plywood paneling looks like it's been hacked, or at least badly cut, perhaps with a steak knife as the edges of the wood are jagged and not flush to the floor. The panel on the left is of a different make as it doesn't really match the rest. also, it has been mounted onto the steam table with a plain untreated piece of plywood that looks totally different. Which makes me think that it's only a matter of time before the tables get that nice "San Gabriel stickiness" to them.
In addition to the ton of prepared items, the menu is huge with a 139 items (I counted) on it, not counting specials. The prices are also inexpensive, with $8.99 being the priciest dish.
I know you've been wanting me to get to the point, so here's what was eaten.......
Sauteed Intestine w/Sour Vegetable ($7.99). I just can't help ordering this......
In terms of cooking technique, this was done well. If you don't enjoy the offal flavor of intestine, you might like this. If you don't enjoy your pickled mustard greens to have any flavor this might be enjoyable. If you love dishes that have way too much sesame oil on them, you will positively adore this. Still, I have no qualms with how this was cooked.
I had a synaptic short circuit and ordered the Pan Fried Pork and Napa Dumplings ($5.99). I should know better.....I mean, I have been indoctrinated...you don't pan fry jiaozi....in guotie, the dough is worked differently. If it's on the menu doing double duty, you should probably not get it......
You know that pretty yellow bag on stuff they sell at Costco with the cute panda on the front? Personally, I'd take that over this....cardboard like wrappers and mushy tasteless filling.
What would a meal here be without Chou Doufu (stinky tofu - $5.99).
You know what the Missus says, right? If I can eat it; it's not any good. This was pretty mild and bland. Nothing even close to, say Dynasty Plaza or even Shau Mei, and thankfully not even remotely close to the stuff I had in Hangzhou which I could barely swallow. I took the leftovers of this home....the Missus thought the version of smacked cucumbers was good, but of course said that the tofu was terribly bland and the sauce lacked any depth and that touch of sweetness She enjoys.
I had to have the Beef Stew Noodle Soup. Which really didn't look like much when it hit the table. In terms of presentation it looked rather plain....no pickled vegetable....
Overall, based on price, $5.99, I'd say this wasn't bad. I wish it was a bit richer, but the beef and anise flavor was there, though things were a bit heavy-handed in terms of MSG. The noodles were routine, which I expected for the price, but at least the beef was tender and flavorful. Plus this was steaming hot.
The best dish I've had at Yu's so far would be the Chicken w/Basil, aka three cup chicken. ($6.99).
Even though this looks like gloppy Chinese "faux-food", I really enjoyed it. The chicken was fried before the stir fry, keeping the skin (yes...skin on, joy of joys) crisp. Sweet, edging on too salty, I really enjoyed this. Candice summed things up when she asked me what time the place closed.......thoughts of having this after a couple of beers at O'Brien's did sound like a good thing. It was a nice parting shot to the meal......which motivated me to return a couple of days later.
I thought I'd try one of the most expensive items on the menu, the Sauteed Lamb with Scallion ($8.99).
This was a fair to middlin' dish. Nice char from the wok, the lamb was very mild in flavor, the dish was a bit too salty overall. For some reason, having the ends of the scallions, roots and all lind of bugged me, not sure why, but it just seemed wrong.
The Eggplant in Garlic Sauce ($6.99) was just a few notches down from being good. The eggplant was nice; crisp on the exterior, but molten and creamy inside.
It just lacked the amount of flavor I'd enjoy on a dish like this. Plus that pool of oil on the bottom of the bowl was a good half inch deep. I also found a piece of chicken mixed in with my eggplant....a bonus????
A note about the starch......get the rice. The free porridge is an absolutely pasty, badly prepared, mess devoid of any flavor at all.
Overall, Yu's wasn't bad, you get what you pay for......I will say, with a bit of humor that the place is the best Chinese food in this strip mall taking into consideration the places I call the the "Bland Brothers". It's great student food....so those Nongshim lover's did have a point. No pretense here, no gimmicks, or catchy name.
The young ladies serving us were polite and pleasant, though still obviously learning the ropes.
So will I return? Honestly, the person working the wok here shows more skill than the folks at say....Dumpling Inn and things aren't gringo-ized. It does have MSG, it can be salty, it can also be bland, it can be greasy, it will be interesting to see how some of the other dishes are.....
As the year started winding down, I've found myself thinking that I needed to circle back at some of those places that, well, really didn't impress me too much over the years, just to see.
This short and sweet post on Liang's is probably a good start since I hadn't been here in a while. Even though it was perfect soup weather, the place seems a bit slower than when I first visited.
I started with the Stewed Bean Curd Skin.
Not the prettiest dish in the world, this really looked like offal, and for some reason the decorative bit of tomato and cilantro leaf really didn't do much for the presentation. The flavor, though mild, had just enough soy sauce flavor to push this up to decent. The yba was kind of hard in some of the thicker pieces, but this wasn't bad at all.
I went with the Beef Tendon Noodle Soup with handmade noodles. The broth was very slightly beefy, better than on previous visits, which really doesn't say much. But what this terrible was that there was a pervading taste bleach. I tried to explain to the Server who nodded, walked away and never returned. Then I tried to explain to the young lady who brought me my check, but no go...... I just cut my losses. I don't think they rinsed this off after sanitizing, or something of the sort.
Anyway, the tendon was plus/minus, some tough pieces, some pretty good. The pieces of beef were dry. I like the pickeld mustard greens and the noodles, though still too gummy and over-worked for my taste, were actually an improvement over previous visits.
I left and went and had some ramen........
Liang’s Kitchen 4681 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
For some reason the name of this place just didn't motivate me to visit. After reading posts by Kirbie and Jinxi, I did feel a bit more motivated. I really hadn't had decent Taiwanese food in San Diego, so I recruited my buddy Candice, to see if Yes! Pingo would fill the bill.
I liked the menu which was full of standard Taiwanese "snack" items, many of which were familiar to me having spent five years living in the SGV.
So where to start? Well, I thought the classic oyster pancake (omelete) would be a decent choice.
My preference is for a bit more egg and a bit less flour/starch, which made this gummy. The usual ketchup based sauce could have used some flavor as this was kind of bland and runny. The oysters were decent, though rather sparse.
I like a good Ba-wan, pretty much a glutinous meatball, called Taiwanese Meatball on the menu.
This had a couple of large chunks of pork, tasteless and tough. This also lacked flavor and was rather disappointing. I never thought I'd be wishing for something from the now defunct 168 Restaurant.
Looking to improve our luck; I went with another Taiwanese standard that almost never fails. The fried pork chop.
Loved the texture, crisp and light. But whomever seasoned this must have dead tastebuds because this was extremely salty....unpleasantly salty.
One of my favorite Taiwanese dishes is Three Cup Chicken......
Loved the color, but this was also way too salty...almost bitter in flavor. I was wondering who was in the kitchen?
We met our final dish with trepidation.....Niu Rou Mian, beef noodle soup.
The best thing about the broth was that it was hot......other than that...well where to start. The noodles were overcooked, the beef tough, dry, and cold in the center. The worst was the soup, which was insipid, tasting like a beef bone was merely waved over it. This needed more of everything....
At the end of the meal I asked Candice what she thought the best dish was. Her response? The pickled vegetables that came with the pork chop! I also asked an acquaintance of mine who is from Taiwan about the place. He laughed and told me the owner is a well intentioned recent University Grad with no restaurant experience and that the kitchen doesn't have much either. It just seemed that the dishes here were really skewed on our visit; either very bland or way too salty. It wouldn't be too bad if one or two of the dishes were this way, but all five were. I know other folks really like the place, so perhaps it was a bad day. I really don't know what to say.....
Welcome back to mmm-yoso!!! This food blog is a compendium of road trips, vacations, food store shopping, events, meals, snacks, events and general food-centric posts. Kirk usually posts here, but is catching up from his recent vacation. Ed (from Yuma) is also recovering from his recent San Diego vacation. Cathy is writing today, about another meal during her staycation in the County.
I discovered Tea Houses and Boba places several years ago when one day a friend took me to one and realized that snacks were served in addition to beverages. It was so fascinating as well as tasty. Since then, I've writtentwo individual posts about visits here. It's simple, good and a nice place to share a snack or meal with friends. (I'm the White girl on this blog and there were no Tea or Boba places when I was at the Unversity of Michigan...heck, there was no Zingerman's when I was there).
The exterior and expanded interior have remained the same; neat and clean. Once you order, a basket of utensils, bowls and napkins are brought to the table.
The teas and all beverages are made to order here, (which is why you can get a beverage with half, quarter or no sweetness added-something you can't always ask for from other boba shops because they use pre-mixed syrup bases) and this pot of Kuan-Yin (monkey picked) tea ($5) actually was brought to our table last, perfectly brewed. We usually ask for a bit more water to be added after we finish the first serving; the tea leaves are just about as strong on the second pour. (A brief explanation of 'monkey picked' meaning premium tea is here.)
One order of Taiwan sausage ($5.50)...my 2013 obsession (see this post ). Served with slices of raw garlic, the combination of the sweet in the sausage with the slight bitter of garlic is amazing.
Inside the menu was a "monthly special" card -the 'fried shrimp roll' ($3.99) was really a version of Vietnamese Tau Hu Ky (beancurd wrapped shrimp paste), which I order with bun at Vietnamese restaurants. You can see this is a large serving and that there were pieces of whole shrimp as well as paste inside the delicately fried tofu skin. This was excellent.
We were handed a "Daily Specials" ($6.50) card with the regular menu and the day we were here, the special was chicken curry (quite a bit of chicken, onion, carrots, potatoes and green pepper in a not spicy but a sweet, medium-hot Japanese curry). The football shaped mound of rice divides the curry from the three daily side dishes (which change). This day it was green beans with slices of dry tofu, delicate (rice) noodles with beef pieces and pickled vegetables with pork pieces. A tasty variety that complimented the semi-spice of the curry.
Another nice visit with good food and a really good pot of tea.
Tea Station 7315 Clairmont Mesa Boulevard San Diego 92111 (858) 268-8198 Website