Things have been pretty busy the last year and a half or so. I've noticed that I eat more lunches at my desk than I ever did before. Yes, I know it's spposed to actually hurt productivity. But there are those things called conference calls, web meetings, and the ever looming and shifting deadline.
Most often, I'll run out and pick up something from Nijiya; probably at least once a week. So many of the lunches I have at my desk look like this.
I'm definitely not complaining about this one....it's comfort food.
Nijiya Market 3860 Convoy St Ste 109 San Diego, CA 92111
"MG" is a good family friend; the Missus is one (I didn't know that folks can have as many as seven) of her son's Godmothers. We used to work in the same department and had some really fun potlucks. We're now in different departments, but she will sometimes drop by to make sure I'm getting fed. Like bringing me hamanado and tapa from Tita's for lunch. Good lord......how in the world was I able to finish this before?
For some reason, it seems time, at least in my mind, hasn't been good to Tita's...the grey color, the tough beef...though I still like the hamanado. In spite of it being on the tough side I like the mild sweetness and the salty tones.
Yes, it's pretty much about quantity....the love of abundance. It's enough for at least two meals.
Tita's Kitchenette 2720 East Plaza Boulevard National City, CA 91950
One day she dropped off this:
I recognized it immediately...I asked if it was from Tem's and was told "no, it's from Nanay's". Which left me a bit confused, until I found out that Tem's is now Nanay's and apparently the food is basically the same. I will say I enjoyed the "spicy chicken" much more than the pork version I had when the place was Tem's. The "BBQ" chicken kind of reminds me of food court stuff, but it's not terrible....which the rice was, with quite a bit of hard grains in it.
Nanay's Best BBQ 6715 Mira Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92121
Speaking of bad rice.......
Just because I have to eat at my desk doesn't mean I can't have stuff to post on. So on the way back from a meeting I stopped by Yum Cha Café. I hadn't been here in ages. I got the Hainan Chicken Rice....mostly because I must be a glutton for punishment. I mean, the place used to have passable cheap grub, but if this is any indication, they've really taken a dive. Dry tasteless chicken...the rice was hard and dry....ick.
Yum Cha Cafe 6933 Linda Vista Road San Diego, CA 92111
And then there are the times I get to follow-up on a place I had been wondering about. In this case Artisan Bento. I got the Delux Bento...which clocks in at $13.95! I chose Ginger Pork, Shogayaki...which, being on the more salty side really reminds me of what my mom used to make.
I gotta say that these folks seem to have it down. From the time I ordered to leaving the place, less than 10 minutes!
I still enjoy the ohitashi. The kyuri (cucumber) was really bland. The miso soup seemed much more watered down. I usually cringe at the thought of multi-grain rice. But for some reason, I like the version at Artisan Bento....sheesh...what next? Macramé???
For dessert I chose the strawberry cheesecake which I proceeded to give away. I think I can do the regular bento next time.
Artisan Bento 2505 5th Ave San Diego, CA 92103
One change from my previous post. They now open at 11....so no more walking in at 10 to find out they don't serve food until 11.
So, let me ask you.....do you eat at your desk? If so, what's your go to meal to have there? and what do you think about having to eat there?
On of my go-to items for lunch is chicken karaage. I just never get tired of the stuff. After returning from Japan I decided to do the rounds and do a short comparison of Karaage and Chicken Nanban(vinegar sauce), commonly served with tartar sauce in these parts. I'm leaving out Taisho and Yakyudori since I recently did a comparison between the two places. So here's how they line up in my opinion.
Still, this was crisp, light, though you really had to use that tsuyu to give it some flavor.
Wish they'd pump up the flavor a bit more, but this isn't a bad choice.
Izakaya Sakura 3904 Convoy St Ste 121 San Diego, CA 92111
3 - Ramen Yamadaya:
In spite of not being particularly happy with the ramen here recently, I gave the "Chicken Tartar", a version of Tori Nanban a go. I liked having the tartar sauce on the side as it was really mayo heavy, so a little went a long way. The chicken seemed to be fried a bit too "hard", but that turned out to be a good thing as is stayed crunchy for the whole meal. Love the vinegar tones with a touch of tartar sauce. As I noted in my post back in 2012, there a nice hint of ginger in this which I enjoy as well.
Ramen Yamadaya 4706 Clairement Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92117
4 - RakiRaki:
All the posters said "best Japanese Fried Chicken in San Diego".
Of course, I say, most "self promoted hype machine in San Diego". It seems like this place sometimes just throws stuff up on the walls to see what sticks. The flavor, with a hint of curry is indeed unique, but the pieces were huge......very ponderous with chopsticks. It was kind of dry and a lot off the batter had flaked off during the cooking process. The portion size was quite generous, but the Tsukemen is preferred........though let's say that might be the best in San Diego by default.
RakiRaki Ramen and Tsukemen 4646 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
I really have to say, I never ever thought this would happen. But over the last year or so, the Missus has come to enjoy a nice cold one. Like my good friend Candice, She's partial to sours....though a nice clean witte is always welcomed with a nice meal. And while I'm still kind of a "Bud Light - bucket ice" kind of guy when "back home". I've come to really respect and enjoy beer in San Diego (and Belgium of course).
Still, I never thought my best beer buddy would ever be the Missus!
It's not strange for us to try a couple of different beer with various foods out side when the weather is warmer.
The Missus has the beer She loves; Monk's Cafe, Duchess, La Fun du Monde, White Rascal, Rueuze (The Bruery), Anderson Valley Brewing's Gose.
We've also been checking out beers we really enjoyed in Belgium; Hop-ruiter was especially memorable, as was the Karmeliet Tripel I had in Antwerp. Unfortunately, it seems that something is really lost when these bottles have to travel all the way here.
My taste varies depending on the day and how I feel.
I do enjoy the Nut Brown from Rip Current and Alesmith. I do like Indra Kunindra and Sculpin (with Blue Cheese!). I too enjoy La Fin du Monde and Blanche de Chambly....if I'm just having beer with no food, I love my dubbels and tripels.....
There seems to be something for every mood and preference......
One thing I did notice about beer.........I often approach it like a restaurant. In spite of what folks will tell me, it's an open book....I'll give it a shot, with an open mind...sometimes more than once. Also, like food, I understand the Missus's taste and mood on specific days...... she'll defer the ordering of beer to me. When tasting a beer, I automatically know if She'll like it or not.... I guess it's called being married for so long.
I don't always take photos of what we're having at home, but I think it's a bit more realistic than saving bottles....which I'm sure would drive the Missus crazy.
We've had more than our share of beer we don't care for. But much like how we approach restaurants and food; it's the journey that makes it worthwhile. And once in a while you find a winner. And all is good in the world.
I hope 2014 was a great year for you all. And we send our best wishes for a great 2015 as well.
I worked a bit early on NYE, then headed off to complete was has become a tradition for me. On every New Year's Eve since 2005, I go to the various Japanese markets to check out the Osechi offerings.
Things have changed over the years, it's more of a pre-order kind of thing nowadays and there aren't too many extravagant items for sale on NYE anymore.
In fact, Marukai had almost nothing.
Mitsuwa had some interesting items, but nothing too interesting.
What I really did enjoy about my visit to Mitsuwa was a young couple, the girl, Japanese, the young man, blue-eyed, blond haired. The young lady went down the shelves explaining the significance of each of the osechi ryori items....stuff that I didn't even know! I just stood there and watched, quite taken with the moment.... At the end, she turned to me and gave me a smile and a wave. Nice job!
As usual, Nijiya had the biggest and best selection.......
It has been quite a year for us; Belgium, the Czech Republic, Japan, Seattle....... I have a feeling the this year will be just as interesting.
We'd like to thank you for reading, commenting, and just being part of our little food blog!