Monday, June 27, 2011

Review - OB Noodle House

Ive been going to the OB Noodle House since they opened a couple years ago, and ive watched it change from the tiny little one room place, into the hipster packed techno blazing sake bar it tends to be, these days. but regardless of who goes there and what the decor is and what music is playing, the food has always bee consistently good. the Pho they do is just right, in my opinion. the broth is deep, the noodles are always cooked right, the meats always are on temp and never chewy, always tender. the prices are right, as well. today allison and i stopped in for a light lunch, i went with the number 4, which has rare and well steaks, tripe, and brisket for 6.45.
allison gave me all her cilantro from her dish because she hates it and i love it, so i got plenty of cilantro. mmm. threw in the basil, lime, and jalapeno, squeezed in my usual load of hoisin, sriracha, and fish sauce, and went to war. absolutely yummy. i typically get the OB special which for 7.25, you get a larger bowl with all the meats they offer, but that was too much for my appetite this morning. allison went with the Veggie and Tofu Honk Kong Chow Fun(7.95)
and this was the first time that i have gotten to try one of the non-pho dishes here. ive never had one. i see people order them all the time, but have never personally tasted them, so i didnt know what to expect. it was really good though. the sauce was tasty, the veggies were all cooked correctly, the tofu was nice, and it was a huge portion. we were both impressed, so i think next time im in i will order something different for a change.

another great thing about this place is the booze. they have lots of awesome shit on tap, plenty for great sake, and always have rocking specials going on. every day of the week between 11am and 5pm you can get a pint of select beer for 1 dollar. today they had a Beach Bum Blonde Ale
which we both agreed was rather good. they usually have some sort of firehouse, or shock top, or something like that one the 1 dollar special, but its always changing. they also have awesome beer towers for fairly cheap. awhile back, we got one of sapporo, we did the math and it holds 7 beers and after we payed it equalled out to about 3 bucks a pint, which is pretty good for sapporo.
so thats my word. ive never had a bad experience here, so i will keep going back. its cheap, its hip, and its always busy. its worth it. check it out!

Late Night Eats - Jack in the Box

i have a relationship with jBo. its a love/hate relationship, but a relationship regardless. we go through our ups and downs just like every relationship does. but i always end up going back to that dirty little slut. i love the food, i just dont love what it does to my body. i always feel like suck a happy person while im eating it, then feel so, so, so very sad when i feel 20 pounds heavier AFTER eating it. but regardless. i love it dearly. i feel JBo is the reigning king of fast food establishments. its the dirk nowitski of burgers, always working hard to please, slightly off-putting, yet gets the job done with class. i maybe hit up jack once a week, usually less, like every other week. my typical order consists of medium curly fries, a jacks spicy chicken sandwich with cheese, and a jumbo jack with cheese. but i was feeling a little off last night. i noticed the return of the Really Big Chicken Sandwich, and i had to go for it.
two fried chicken patties, tomato, bacon, cheese, lettuce, bun. all i needed. hit that bitch with some hot sauce, and we are good to fucking go. delish. love it. i wish this was a staple on the menu, but it comes and goes. also with my order i did something i usually dont do.
i got tacos. two tacos for 99 cents. well. if you can consider them tacos....i particularly dont feel that they are. they are yumtown, nonetheless. greasy/crispy shell with a slice of american cheese, lettuce, and some sort of beef stuff. i dont question it, i just eat it. and love it. but no JBo trip would be complete without the obvious reason they are still in business...
the curly fries. they are perfect. with the buttermilk ranch, you have the winning combination. its heavenly. ive eaten curly fries from every single fast food place, and let me tell you this, friends, no one else does it right. amazing. i love them. like the son i never had. or, the son i will have someday, or something, i dont know. either way. ill be back, jack. soon.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Review - Empirehouse Urban Palate

yea, its an old house that was turned into a couple different shitty restaurants, and everyone is saying that this is the one thats breaking the curse. meh. theres a different between breaking the curse and not going under. i feel that this place is just gonna float on top of the water, barely. i hardly consider that "breaking the curse". allison and i went in today for a nice lunch, and when we go to the front door, the girl who obviously worked there just kinda smiled at us as we walked in the door and didnt really tell us anything about seating ourselves, or she would be right with us, she was too much into the conversation she was having with the two artsy fartsy guys sitting out front. so we sat ourselves outside in the sun and waiting for menus, which came in a few minutes. now the menu is pretty much all over the place, but thats not necasarilly a bad thing, i mean theres plenty of places that can do muliple different kinds of fare and do them right. so it was a little difficult for me to decide what i wanted to try, which ill admit, is my own fault because i can never make up my damn mind. allison opted for the Grilled Cheese, where at 6 bucks you can choose two different kinds of cheese from their list, and can add an additional cheese, or assorted veggies for 1 dollar,  and meats for 3 dollars. she wanted havarti, white cheddar, and gorgonzola. and it came out like this
the bread was nicely toasted and the cheese was good, but i mean come on, its grilled cheese, how bad can it be? and then on the side is a spear of house pickle. and then that big wide open space on the plate is just empty. so im really curious as to why you would plate it like this. with so much room on the plate and one pickle? no dipping sauce, or other various accoutrement? for 7 bucks, sandwich, and piece of pickle. interesting. as for me, i wanted to get a burger, and i decided against all my previous knowledge of "house specialty" burgers, went with the exotic sounding Zenmai Burger (8 bucks)
apparently zenmai is a marinated japanese fern shoot. and they paired it with havarti cheese and lettuce. hm. i was intruiged by the zenmai and also by the supposed "house formed - cast iron grilled" burger. yea....ive had cast iron burgers before, and this, was no cast iron sear. well, maybe there was a sear on it, but i couldnt tell because of the quarter inch thick flavorless patty. by house formed im guessing they mean that they buy a huge 5 pound buld stick of ground beef, and form it into patties. sans salt and pepper, and heaven forbid they put anything else in there either. the zenmai was just whatever, i think it doesnt really belong on a burger. and for 8 bucks, you also get one of those special little house pickle spears that are so expensive to make that they only put one per plate. we also wanted something to split so we just ordered a plate of tater tots, just to smack on.
they were tater tots, not house made or anything, but fried nicely. they came with "worchestshire" ketchup and garlic aioli. nothing to write home about. and at 5.50 for an order, id rather just go buy a bag of tots at the store for way less and bake them at home. now another problem i had was this. alot of people seem to be stoked on the happy attitude and talkative nature of all the girls that work there, but i feel differently. mainly becuase most of the time they were talking to me, it seemed like they thought i was 5 years old. "HEY GUYSSS mmm was it YUMMY????" "ooooh are you all done with that??? okie dokie ill just take this away for yaaaaaa" so on and so forth. it got kinda obnoxious.

final word is, if they dropped the price of everything on the menu by a buck fiddy, everything would be better ten fold. but for what you get, the prices are pretty steep. oh well. we shall see how this place plays out. check it out if you want...

Empirehouse Urban Palate
127 University Ave
San Diego, Ca, 92103

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review - Yakyudori Ramen and Yakitori

i love me some good ramen. and i love me some random animal parts cooked on a skewer over a wood burning grill. so if you were to say, hey travis, lets go get some ramen and yakitori, id be all like, yes. so ive been to yakitori yakyudori in hillcrest before and enjoyed it very much, but i was in the mood for ramen, so i decided to go check out the newer Convoy location that focus' on that. the yelp reviewers all mentioned how busy it was all the time and that it was always packed and they always had to wait for a table. but when i arrived there at 8 oclock on a monday night, it was less that half full.
i walked right in, and after a loud greeting from all the guys working the line i sat right at the bar and started my journey on the menu.

 i wanted ramen and yakitori, so i decided to go with two orders of skewers and a bowl of ramen. i ordered the Karamiso Ramen (8.50) with the additions of Par Boiled Egg (1.50) and BBQ Pork Belly (2.50), and boy did it come out quick. i was able to watch the guy make it too, so i know it wasnt just ladled in from a pot.
this was just spot on. the spice was medium id say, the broth was hot when it hit the table, the pork was sooooo tender and slightly smokey, the noodles were perfectly cooked with just a little bit of a bite to them, al dente if you will. the egg was perfect, boiled enough to be cooked, yet left back enough so as to not overcook in the broth. the fresh corn in the broth was a really great addition, it gave pops of freshness and earthiness to the bowl. i hit my broth with a decent amount of sesame chili oil after i ate half of it because i wanted to spice it up. also what i loved was that there was no shortage of pork
huge slices, hardly any fat on them. perfect. shortly after, my skewers arrived, first was the Chicken Hatsu (3.00)
this is just great, offal meats at its finest. these chicken hearts and so good. they are so tender, with some bite to them, yet not chewy, not fatty, smokey, seasoned well, man...hit them with a little Togarashi and a little bit of soy and it takes it over the edge. after that was one of the special on the board the was Gizzard Skin (3.50)
now when i dove into these, i initially felt they were chewy and weird, but after i ate a few, i realized how good they really were. the texture was definately odd, but the flavor more than makes up for it. they are fairly fatty, but not grisly, and tasted more like chicken than anything ive ever eaten. it was the epitome of chicken. plus, like i said earlier, togarashi and soy sauce on anything takes it to the Umpteenth level. i finished my medium sized Sapporo and headed out, to the sound of the same guys that greet you, thanking you and wishing you a grand evening. it was perfect. i sat in my car for a few minutes rethinking about it and wondering if there was anything i would have changed. but came up empty handed. this porridge was juuuuust right.

Yakyudori Ramen and Yakitori
4898 Convoy St.
San Diego, 92111

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Random Work Stuffs - Tuesday, June 14th

ah family meal. one of my favorite parts of the day. not to say the cooking isnt the best, but i love eating even more than i love cooking. so when we have a lunch everyday at work, and its being cooked by one of the people i work with, or sometimes myself, its most likely going to be enjoyable, because we are all professionals and we know what we are doing. different days of the week determine what kind of family we will be having. one of the plus sides of working sundays is that we tend to do brunch type ordeals. someone usually stops on their way in and gets donuts, we make eggs and potatoes and just sorta relax for a few minutes before we get to prepping after a busy saturday. its nice. i went in this past sunday planning a making family meal, and i did. it wasnt anything special really, eggs, home fries, steak, cheese, chili aioli, the usual deal.

banged out some quick home fried potatoes with some peppers and onions, then cleaned up some tenderloin chains, scrambled some eggs, threw it all in a hotel pan, covered it with cheese.
melted the cheese, and piled on some chili aioli and some green onion-cilantro. yum. nothing special, nothing suprising and new, but i enjoyed it, and hopefully everyone else did. now remember i mentioned that someone usually brings in donuts? no one did on this peticular day. but while i was cooking brunch ted asked me how far out i was because he was timing something up. hmm..ok. little did i know
tell me thats not the right way to start a sunday afternoon?

anyway. last week someone donated some tips to the kitchen and john decided instead of splitting it to everyone so we could all get like 6 bucks or something insignificant, he would buy us lunch the next day from world famous Phil's BBQ. ive never had phils BBQ so i was pretty excited when i came out of the kitchen to see this
fresh buns, bbq sauce, potato salad, cole slaw, and the pulled pork that i have heard oh so much about. man. i am still burping up smoke flavor. not to say it was the worst thing ive ever eaten, but i honestly cant believe that Phils BBQ is actually open, let alone POPULAR?! it literally tasted like an ash tray. the buns were dry. the cole slaw was bland and not exciting at all. and the potato salad was just that, potatoes. no seasoning, no flavor, nothing. oh, a little bit of celery seed, but thats about it. it was a pretty big let down i gotta say. ive never desired to try and fight the crowds to go try Phils, and now i know that even if there is no line out front, i still wont even try to go in there. tough break. it was great of john to pick it up and bring it in, but 100 double cheeseburgers woulda done a whole lot better hahaha. if per chance youre reading this, john, thanks, really. anyway, carry on and keep eating!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Site Updates

hey all who read this, just wanted to give you a heads up on some added features. i just added the tagging system so that you can look at the side bar and see if theres any posts you want to read concerning a specific kind of food or what not. also i change settings on commenting. you no longer need to be any sort of special account or anything to comment on any posts. you can comment annonamously. which may be a bad idea. but whatever. enjoy!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Review - Surfrider Pizza Cafe

when people ask me about pizza, i tell them Newport Pizza is the bizzness. but that doesnt mean i wont try other places, especially if they are in Ocean Beach. so i never went to this place when it used to be Casanovas, mainly because anytime i went by there, it was closed. so it closed down and reopened as Surfrider Pizza Cafe. offereing pizza by the slice, whole pies, sandwiches, baked goods, and of course, smiles. a few of my comrades have praised this place so it was only a certain amount of time that i could put off going in. so memorial day i rolled over there with Adam The Giant and i wanted to take advantage of their lunch special, which is two slices of any pie and a 16oz fountain drink for 6 bucks. its a pretty damn good deal honestly, so i figured i couldnt be let down. walking in you are greeted with a fatties wet dream
all baked in house, or so im told. so upon perusal of all the pies in the case i decided upon a slice of the Signature "Surfrider Pizza"(right), and a slice of the Roasted Chicken Barbeque(left).
the surfrider consists of roasted garlic, white sauce, gorgonzola, tomatoes and basil. then the BBQ Chicken consists of roasted chicken, gorgonzola, bbq sauce, red onion, and cilantro. so heres the thing, i like my thin crust pizza to be crispy. thats how thin crust should be, if you dont want it crispy, dont get THIN crust. this thin crust wasnt very crispy. it was decent, but it was fairly chewy. so i feel like they tend to overwork their dough. the other thing that bothered me was the sparsity of the toppings. the bbq chicken had maybe 6 or 7 small pieces of chicken on it? and all the toppings were small. so if youre gonna not put alot of topping on something, at least make them bigger toppings. which they werent. over all it wasnt bad pizza, but im very critical when it comes to such things, due to the fact that pizza is very near to my heart and as a pizza cook for almost 3 years back home in the bay, id like to feel like i know a thing or two. now something about Adam The Giant is that he is going one year without eating pizza. so as he goes into Surfrider alot, he has established a relationship with its employees and because of that, they always make him a custom "wrap" everytime. he always requests that whoever makes it, make whatever they want to eat. on this occasion, they made him this.

gorgonzola, chicken, basil pesto, and avocado i believe. now it sounds decent, but damn. picking it up and having pesto oil basically tattoo your entire forearm was definatly a downside. it was just ok. after all that i decided to try the baked goods.
i got a Carrot Cake Cookie, and a Rasberry Cupcake. MEH. yea. i said it. meh. just, meh. they were ok. not the best cookie cupcake combo ive ever had. the cupcake was fairly dry and didnt seem to rise much. it was pretty dense. and the cookie was just ok. so, whatever. overall, it wasnt bad, but im highly critical, so take it how you will. i still prefer Newport Pizza until someone conquers them. but honestly for 6 bucks for two big slices and a soda with free refills, its a good deal, if youre in the area and dont feel like walking to newport.

Surfrider Pizza Cafe
2163 Abbott Street
San Diego, CA, 92107

Random Work Stuffs - Monday, June 6th

just a couple cool updates and pictures of whats been going on around the market kitchen lately.
Grant made some kick ass looking White Cheddar-Parmasean Crisps. they go on a artichoke and burrata cheese salad. and as far as produce goes,
 heirloom tomatoes are full steam ahead
and stone fruit is revving up as well. plums, hurry up. i want you. not to say white nectarines and peaches arent delish, but plums are my fav. also the past month has brought some really stellar fish through our doors
 these amazingly fresh cardinal snapper had a gorgeous color to them
and this fucker was just a giant. SON thats a big fish!!

Happy Eatings!

Fun Stuff - Chino Farms

its no secret to any of you, that i work at (world famous) Market Restaurant + Bar in Del Mar. i cook there. i like it alot. i learn so much every day and work with people who are proud of what they do and want to be the best. in order to be the best, you must serve the best food possible. so we are lucky that not only are we situated right down the road from the ACTUALLY World Famous Chino Farms, but that our restaurant and my chef have worked up quite a nice relationship with them. we order vegetables from the everynight, via fax, and pick them up at their vegetable stand the following morning.

 only a few restaurants in town are lucky enough to do so. the public is welcome to come shop at the stand 6 days a week, but we get the pick of the litter. with that said, i must explain that basically ANYTHING you purchase from Chino, is delicious. the grow the freshest, in season vegetables, and quite often fruits.

 Chino Farms has famously worked with Alice Waters of Chez Pannise, and basically the entire slow food movement, and has received her praise and business for 40 plus years.
whether its beans, peas, peppers or strawberries, you can tell that alot of hard work and care goes into each and every crop that graces their heavenly soil.
i can personally say that im very excited that melons are just around the corner. the yellow watermelon is to DIE for. so if youve got a couple extra hours and a couple extra dollars, skip trader joes and make a nice little field trip up to rancho santa fe and grab your self some fresh picked veggies. you wont be disappointed.

Chino Farms
6123 Calzada del Bosque
Rancho Santa Fe, Ca, 92067

Review - Lucky Seafood

oh banh mi. how i love thee. lets me count the ways. well, actually im not gonna count the ways...theres too many and i dont think my bandwidth would allow it. that shit would be 404'd so quick. but anyway, i love banh mi. it is honestly, probably my favorite food. i dont think ive ever been able to actually decide on a favorite food, but i have now. after eating all around SD trying to find the best banh mi, and not actually making a decisions until ive tried places more than once, i think im ready to call out Lucky Seafood as my favorite. im not saying its the BEST, im just saying its MY favorite.

for those of you uninformed as to what banh mi IS, banh mi is a vietnamese sandwich that is composed on a toasted french baguette, filled with (typically) pickled carrots and daikon, cucumbers, cilantro, jalapeno, pate, mayonaise, and various meats. the meats most often used are steamed or grilled pork, pork belly, head cheese, ham, vietnamese sausage, and chicken. ok, now that we know what it is, time for the review.

Lucky Seafood is in a strip mall up on mira mesa and black mountain road, its an awesome little asian supermarket as it is. its got lots of sweet ass shit. sauces, treats, drinks, lots of yum. but inside they have a deli area that has lots of awesome food, sweet and sour this, steamed that, bun this, roll that. all of which im sure is good because it smells and looks awesome, but ive only sampled the banh mi fare here.
they have only 4 or 5 options of sandwich, but if you buy two bbq bahn mi, you get a third sandwich free. so today i got two of those plus a steamed meatball sando, also a dr pepper. grand total of 7.48! they are big sandwiches too, stuffed to the brim. the beauty is that these are actually toasted, not microwaved like lots of other joints. they put a decent amount of yummy pate on their sandwiches which is heaven. my companion jeff rolled with me today and has never had a vietnamese sando before, and needless to say, he was pretty sketched out by the idea. but i told him dude, bbq pork? all you need in life.
as you can see, stuffed to the brim. pate was on point. pork was flavorful and not chewy. texture was great. it was just a melt in your mouth meal. i was so stoked. then finally, jeff was ready for a couple bites. he said, ill try a bite or two. but that turned into this
fucking macking on it SO HARD. he was shocked. he said it was delicious. he said i was right. i know, jefferey, i know. so yes, my friends. mosey on over to lucky seafood and inside you will find heaven in a baguette! get on it!

Lucky Seafood
9326 Mira Mesa Blvd
San Diego, Ca, 92126