Friday, July 30, 2010

Oh Seattle!

Leaving for Seattle on August 4th for a week!
Hope to have lots of food adventures in the great northwest and Canada!
Stay tuned for food, glorious food!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Will you be my MIHO??

I am loving the Taco Truck trend that is happening in San Diego!   It arrived some time ago in places like New York, LA and Seattle but is just starting here.
I got an email about MIHO Gastrotruck and knew I just had to try it as soon as possible.   This became possible for me last week.
The gastrotruck is in Sorrento Valley once a week and I just happen to work there!    A friend was going to be in the area for lunch Thursday last so we decided to meet at the truck.
The hours of their lunches are 11:30 - 1:30 and when an item is sold out, it is sold out.   We pulled up to the truck at about 12:05 and there were about 20 people in line in front of us.
Just as we got to ordering they sold out of the potato croquetas with saffron aioli - DAMN, I was really looking forward to those!
OK well moving on, I ordered a bahn mi with chicken and an argula salad.   Couple of pellegrinos and we were set.    As soon as I sat down to wait for my food, the owner came out of the truck and said they were sold out of the salad.   DOUBLE DAMN!    But he said I could have another thing off of the menu on the house and he was going to refund my money for the salad.   OK this worked.   I ordered a vegetable bahn mi so we could try both of the sammiches.
Not long after the sammiches came out and we went to the car.   Typically we would have sat on the grass and ate but it was cold!    
After looking at the sammiches we figured out that both of them were chicken, no tofu included at all.   OK I was sad but I didn't have the time to go back and get what I ordered.
This said, these sammiches were good, really, really good!    I loved the pickled vegetables and the chicken was very tender and roasted nicely.   I would have preferred more jalapeno but that is just me!
I know it sounds like there were a lot of problems with what I ordered and I guess there were.    I am still going to go back and get some of everything on the menu.   I figure that the truck has only been rolling for two weeks, these guys are used to having an entire restaurant behind them for more stock and are still working the kinks out. 

MIHO Gastrotruck  
Many locations near you!
Cuisine: Mexican, Vietnamese, local, organic.
Dollar Value: Great.
Service: Good - food ran out but the owner compensated!!
Would I return here: You bet I will!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Oh My Dear Rosina!

This is the story of one family and three restaurants.   Well sadly, now two.   The closing recently of When In Rome will leave a hole for those looking for good GREAT Italian food in Encinitas.
I have still had the distinct pleasure of dining at all three with the most recent being at Rosina's in Oceanside.
If you are anywhere in San Diego looking for great Italian cuisine, head north to Rosina's.
Sure it is a bit of a schlep but look at it this way, while you are driving you can just think about all of the wonderful menu choices that will meet you there.   Not to mention Rosina herself.
T and I ate there Friday last with two other friends.   We will all be back - very soon.
We love Italian food, we love Italian food in Little Italy, we love Italian food in Manhattan and this is the best we have had, hands down.
T and I had planned on sharing an appetizer and an entree but when we saw the menu we knew we each had to get an entree of our own.
We started with the Insalata alla Siciliana.     Terrific salad with avocados, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion and ricotta.    Tossed lightly with red wine vinegar and EVOO.    To die for.    This salad was so light and refreshing I could have eaten a big bowl of it with bread and been happy.   Of course there was a basket of great bread served with an olive oil that had sun dried tomato in it.    The only reason I didn't lick the bowl clean right there is that I am not that much of a slob.   Almost, but not quite.
I had for my entree the Arrabiatta with Penne.   I love garlic and I love spicy.    This was wonderful as well.   The pasta was house made and nice and rich and chewy.    Perfect.    I had a hard time keeping T's fork out of my bowl!
T had the Pollo con Carciofi - chicken breast sauteed with artichokes and capers in white wine sauce.   YUM-O is all I can really say.   I love capers and artichokes.    Typically one would get the hearts from a jar in a dish like this.    Not here.   These were fresh and soooooo tender.    Oh, this dish was served with creamy polenta.    I ordered a side of that as soon as I tried T's.     Drizzled with balsamic and out of this world.    Rosina said it was fat free too.     That's right, the fat was free, we only paid for the polenta.    
Then of course, there was espresso - made in one of the most beautiful espresso machines I have ever seen!   I told Rosina that if her machine ever disappeared, she should check my house.   
Rosina told us what the dessert selections were for the evening and T and I had no trouble deciding; Creme Brulee for T, Chocolate Flan for me and a Tira Misu to go.   I know, I know...a dessert each at the restaurant AND one to go.    Yes, you betcha!!!
T is a huge fan of creme brulee.   Rosina told us that a woman comes in to her restaurant every week just for this dessert.    One bite and we knew why.   The caramelized sugar on top was done to a T.    Nice and crisp when broken with a spoon.   The custard was just perfect as well.    Nice and smooth with a sublime flavor.   T was in heaven and I was too when she let me get my spoon in there.     
When Rosina described the chocolate flan, I knew that was the one for me.   This flan is made with marscapone cheese and semi sweet chocolate.   I had never had anything like this and may never again it was so good.    Not too sweet thanks to the semi sweet chocolate and just the right texture.    It went perfectly with my espresso.     

With the tira misu we got to go, when we were eating it we agreed that Rosina's had nailed this dessert too.   
Incidentally, all of these desserts are made in house.    
Do yourself a favor and get to Rosina's and FAST.    That way, there will be more time to go again sooner.  

3613 Ocean Ranch Boulevard
Oceanside, CA 92056-8602
(760) 721-5000
Cuisine: Italian, just like at home.
Dollar Value: Good.
Service: Great!!
Would I return here: Yes after a nice Sunday bike ride for brunch.   Gotta try it!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Git a little soul in your bowl!

Cross another one off of the "must try and will return to" list!    
We had been wanting to pay a visit to Bonnie Jeans for quite some time.    T wasn't feeling so hot so I knew some honest-to-goodness, patch-you-right-up, just-like-mom-used-to-make soul food was just the ticket!
The cafe is only 3 miles from home and I can see that we are going to be regulars there.   I can't wait for the day that I walk in and am greeted with a "Hi Diane!" just like some of the other guests are!
Like I said, I knew that this was the kind of food T needed to get back on track.   Mashed potatoes are a favorite so I knew I wouldn't go wrong.    Plus, I had been wanting some really, REALLY good fried chicken. 
I ordered a "veggie plate" for T with macaroni & cheese, collards and, mashed potatoes with gravy.   Came with cornbread.     There was enough food on that plate that we split all of them so I could share my food too.
I ordered the 3 piece fried chicken dinner (all white meat) with collards and black eyed peas.    Came with cornbread too.
When I placed the order I was told that all of the fried chicken is made to order so it would take about 20 minutes.    Made to order fried chicken?   Fine by me!!     
I sat down to wait for my food and checked the place out.    Lots of art hanging on the walls, board games to play and gospel music on the radio.    I was loving this.
Pretty soon my food was ready and the bag I was handed smelled wonderful.    You know the smell, fresh fried chicken - nothing like it. 
I had tried to order red velvet cake and german chocolate cake but they were out.    Same with the hot water cornbread.    As far as I was concerned, this was just another reason to come here again!  
I put that bag in my car and drove home with that wonderful smell in my nose the whole way.   When I got home with the food, T was ready and we took the food out, plated it up and sat down to enjoy it.   
I am a fan of fried chicken and this was the best I have ever had.    The breast was HUGE and the meat inside was sooooo moist and wonderful.     I ate that whole thing (well what T didn't take) and the 2 wings that came with it.     
I love southern cooking and am capable of cooking up a mess of collards and black eyed peas too.    The collards that Bonnie Jeans puts out are out of this world.    I told T that I could just have had a big bowl of them with cornbread and have been quite happy.    The pot likker was delicious after my cornbread soaked in it.   The greens had so obviously cooked all day with several ham hocks.     They weren't bitter at all and had the most wonderful flavor.    One of the true comfort foods when done right.     The other sides were good too but those collards really stood out.
The mashed potatoes were very creamy and tasty too and served with brown gravy.   I am typically more of a fan of turkey gravy but I would never send these back!     
The cornbreads were great as well - individual cakes with little pieces of jalapeno in them.     
Just so you know, this food isn't light and it isn't diet.    In truth I would avoid any place that claimed to serve light soul food.     Really, what's the point?
I can't wait to go here again as there are several things on the menu that I must try.     Maybe I will see you there too!

1964 54th Street
San Diego, CA 92105
Cusine: Soul food.
Dollar Value: Good.
Service: Good.
Would I return here: Yes!   Can I go now?!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Solace and great food.

I'd been hearing about Urban Solace for a while but hadn't made the time to dine there until a couple of nights ago.   I am so sorry I waited this long!
T and I had tickets to Lily Tomlin at the Balboa so we decided to sup here prior to the show.   Friends can attest that I was really excited that the Balboa reopened.    I was really excited that T got tickets to see Lily.    Neither one of us had seen her live.    She was great.   I hope I look as good at 70 as she does!
Now on to the dinner as after all this is a blog about food!
When we eat out, we share everything.    This way, we get to try lots of different items on a menu.   I wish we had 4 more people with us for this dinner as there were several other things I wanted to try.   
We started with the goat cheese and butternut squash dip and an arugla/endive/radicchio salad.   I could have left the restaurant happy after these two dishes.    The dip was warm pureed squash with goat cheese mixed in.   Sprinkled with pine nuts and served with toasted baguettes and cornmeal crisps.    The salad was one of the best I have ever had.    I love it when unexpected things are put in a salad - grapefruit wedges and grilled avocado slices.    The salad was huge and could have easily been a wonderful lunch.
For our entree we shared the portobello burger with sweet potato fries.    Not your everyday portobello burger, this one had goat cheese and arugula on it.   A messy delicious sandwich that I would gladly eat again.
I also ordered a side of the mac and cheese, vegetarian.   This is typically served with duck.    No, ducks don't get to eat it with you, they are *gulp* in it!     It was served in a Kerr jar.    Blue cheese is one of the main cheeses in it and this makes it wonderfully decadent.    Crispy bread crumbs with roasted cherry tomatoes top it off.    Get me a spoon and get out of my way.
Our server asked if we wanted dessert.    She must be new.   Oh wait, we were new!    Of course we wanted dessert!    She named off all of the items and we decided pretty quickly.    Warm pear bread pudding and a salted caramel pot de creme.    
I am a HUGE fan of bread pudding if it is done well.    This was one of the best I have ever had.   I think the bread was a brioche and it was clear that it had been a loaf not soon before.    I really dislike a bread pudding that is mush.     T typically isn't a fan of the bread pudding (I ain't hatin' just statin'!) and I could hardly get my spoon in over hers for this one!
I have to say though that the pot de creme was sublime.   Served in the same Kerr jar as the mac and cheese.  There were flecks of salt in the creme and every once in a while I would get one.   The salty along with the sweet was out of this world.    It had a chocolate cap on it that was semi sweet and dark and on top of that was unsweetened fresh whipped creme.    I feel safe in saying that this is the dessert I want with me on that desert island after the ship wreck.   Incredible.
3823 30th Street
San Diego, Ca 92104 
Cusine: New American Comfort Food.
Dollar Value: Good.
Service: Very attentive
Would I return here: Yes!   As soon as I possibly can!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes!

University Heights has got to be one of my most favorite places in town.   All of the character of Hillcrest yet a lot less of the parking hassles.   :)     Hillcrest is also not able to brag that they were once home to an ostrich farm!
That said, I won't ever pass up an opportunity to dine here.
T and I had gone to the Farm House cafe on two prior occasions and none of the visits thus far have disappointed!    
This has got to be one of the smallest places I have ever dined in yet it doesn't feel crowded and certainly not rushed either.    This visit was a rare Sunday brunch.   Rare as we are usually on the road on some form of two wheeled transportation!    We had just returned from our annual pilgrimage to mecca (aka Vegas) and so we were just lazing around not doing anything but eat well.
We got here at about 10:00 and didn't have to wait for a table - NICE!   
I was hankering for a good latte and theirs was great.   Made me smile on a Sunday AM.   
We knew even before we arrived that we would share a small order of the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.   When you visit here, be sure to do yourself a favor and get an order - you won't be sorry.   Half dollar sized pancakes with ricotta in the batter and a lemon sauce as topping.   Yum-O.    Who says that breakfast doesn't deserve dessert?   Not me!
T ordered the Oeufs Sur La Plat - eggs baked over sauteed potatoes in a cast iron skillet with a wonderfully light tomato sauce on top.   
I had the Oeufs Brouilles Aux Champignons - eggs scrambled with truffle duxelles over sour cream polenta.   This must have been made by angels.    I am a big fan of the polenta but not if it is heavy and lumpy.   This was the creamiest I have ever had.   The eggs with truffles was wonderful as well.    Not to salty but just enough...oh...I can still taste how good it was!
As I mentioned already, we finished with the pancakes and we glad we did so.
Have not yet ventured to this place for dinner but I sense that this is not far off...
Good thing that we decided to go looking at antiques after this feast since that meant a bit of walking!

2121 Adams Avenue
San Diego CA 
Cusine: casual country french.  Nice emphasis on casual.  
Dollar Value: Good.
Service: Very, very friendly
Would I return here: Yes!   Already have.  

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Damn fine burger!

After watching a show on KPBS on Sunday, all we could thing of was Burger Lounge.   Had to have it.    Fast.
Not our first trip to this party and won't be our last either.
This time we visited the location in Kensington.    We decided last night that this one is second only to Little Italy.    The one in Coronado is to small and hot.   Haven't lounged in La Jolla - yet.
Me and T and Ts sister Juanita went there for a delicious dinner.     T and Juanita had Baby Lounge Burgers.    T had the vegetarian and Juanita had the beef with NO ONIONS.    Sorry, I didn't mean to yell but Juanita gets really, really mad when there are onions on anything.    I went full throttle, burger, fries and salad.   We all shared the salad and fries but still.    After all this food, me and T had a vanilla milk shake too.   YUM.  
Anyone who knows me knows I don't eat beef very often but when I do, it is a lounge burger.    That is how good these things are.    The beef is always done perfectly, the onions I like raw and the bun...oh the bun.    That bun could be a blog entry on it's own.    A pillow of perfection that cradles the beautiful burger in comfort until it is shoved down my gullet.
The fries are great too (same with the onion rings though I didn't have them on this trip) as is the salad.   Tonight we opted for the Cesar but the garden vegetable won't make you sad either.   I like that there are taro strips on the salad instead of croutons.    Nice and crunchy and different.
Some people might think that $8.00 is a bit pricey for a hamburger.    I don't happen to believe this.    This is not a Carls Junior or McDonalds burger.     This is a real, big, fill you up all organic burger.  These cows were coddled while they lived and you can tell that by the way they taste.    The restaurant is green.    Won't find any styrofoam here!
Now about that vanilla milkshake.    
Must have about 1/2 gallon of ice cream in it.    Comes to the table in a malt shop glass with whipped cream on top.    Stainless cup with the rest of the milkshake that won't fit in the glass comes too.    Spoon and straw.  Last night it was almost to thick for the straw.   Almost.  

4116 Adams Avenue
San Diego, CA 92116
Cusine: burgers, fries, onion rings, salads and drinks.  
Dollar Value: Very good.
Service: Very, very friendly
Would I return here: Yes!   Already have.