I invite you to enjoy reading about the food adventures that I have with friends, family, and colleagues.
I adore food and I cannot just choose one particular food that is my fave.
Food is really is my favorite. Enjoy!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
When Mike and I lived in Rancho Penasquitos, or what San Diego peeps would call it "PQ", we ate at Yenchim Garden frequently because it was right across the street from our condo complex in the Vons shopping center. We ordered take out and received our order in a simple, brown paper bag that was stapled shut with the receipt attached. There's something comforting about that.
We were in the area one weekend afternoon and decided to stop in for the amazing lunch specials for "old time's sake." I say amazing, because you receive a great portion of food for what you pay for. All lunch specials come with a cup of hot & sour soup with the fried noodles, your choice of protein (meat), fried or steamed rice, an egg roll, and a fried wonton - all for about $7-$8 a person.
The wait staff here is very quick, prompt and efficient. Right away the server took our drink order, lunch order, and returned back with the two cups of hot & sour soup, fried crunchy noodles, and a dish of sweet & sour sauce.
Mmm, the hot & sour soup was a tad hot as far as temperature, but after blowing a few spoonfuls until it cooled down, it was just like I remembered it. The tang from the vinegar and the warmth of the broth left our mouths just wanting more. There were slices of bamboo shoots and tofu in the soup, just like the traditional soup would contain. It was dee-lish. It didn't hurt that a few crunchy noodles in the broth enhanced the flavor.
Before I knew it, our dishes arrived. I ordered the Mongolian Beef - my ultimate favorite Chinese food dish. I owe it to a "Reading Rainbow" episode I saw in elementary school when Levar Burton went to Chinatown, watched the chef make the dish, along with Grandma Wong's Chicken Soup, and practices saying "Xie Xie" (thank you). Funny, huh? Anyway, I don't think this picture does justice, but Yenchim's mongolian beef is pretty yum in the tum. Slices of flank steak stir-fried with a quickness with scallions in a savory brown sauce - sign me up! I actually like a lot of scallions in my dish, as long as they are stir-fried.
The vegetable egg roll was nice & fresh too. Dipping into the sweet & sour sauce made it taste even better. The piece of wonton, though, was pre-fried, so it didn't taste fresh and didn't have that crunch. I ate it anyway. The fried rice was pretty good too. I don't prefer a lot of soy in my fried rice, so eating the rice with the beef had the perfect balance of saltiness.
Mike ordered the Yenchim Chicken, which is sliced chicken breast stir-fried with tiny onions in a somewhat spicy sauce. He enjoyed it very much. I had a bite of the chicken, and it was good. I'm not into spicy foods, besides the red salsa from mexican restaurants, but this wasn't that spicy at all. It has a very small kick to it.
We left the restaurant full and satisfied. We didn't even have room for Golden Spoon frozen yogurt or french vanilla ice cream from my favorite ice cream shop, Bucky's.
Yep, Yenchim will always be a good find.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
A few years ago, my former co-worker/friend, Kim, introduced me to Parkhouse Eatery when she selected this cute, quaint location for her farewell lunch. I am VERY thankful to her for introducing us to the Parkhouse because it is truly a place of comfort, flavorful, delicious food.
Parkhouse Eatery is located in North Park/University Heights, very close to Hillcrest and even just a short drive from the College Area. The restaurant is a little house with outdoor patio seating, and indoor seating in the living room and in the bar area. Here are a couple of great, money saving tips to note about the Parkhouse:
- 1/2 off all appetizers from 5-7:00 PM, Monday through Friday
- is a participating restaurant on Restaurant.com, where you can purchase $10 or $25 gift certificates at a discounted price (tip: there's always a coupon code)
They have the most amazing crab cake sandwich (which rivals the other yummy crab cake sandwich at Cafe on Park). However, on this trip... a few co-worker friends and I went for 1/2 off appetizers after work on a Monday evening, and even brought the $25 gift certificate from restaurant.com. *smirk*
The five of us were the first patrons to arrive for dinner at 5:00 PM on the dot. There was no one around, and the "Sorry, We're Closed" sign was still up. The door to the main restaurant was open, so we waltzed in, chatting and looking around for a hostess. Our server popped out from the kitchen and we requested to sit outside since it was a nice, summer evening in San Diego.
All pictures, except of the lobster quesadilla were taken by Tracie, the expert picture taker in the office. Her food pics were SO much better than mine! Thanks, "U"!
Both DV and I started off with the creamy New England clam chowder with a perfectly cooked grilled prawn. It had a little toasted bread through the handle and crispy fried scallions as a garnish on the saucer. The temperature of the soup was great - not too hot, and warm enough for a spoonful in my mouth. It was delicious. There were significant chunks of clam and cooked potatoes (not al dente) in the soup. DV and I gave it a thumbs up!
Steph ordered the field green salad with the lemon-basil vinaigrette. The greens also came with jicama and sliced sweet red bell peppers. She wanted ranch dressing on the side, but since the Parkhouse makes their own dressings, ranch wasn't one of them. She said the salad was just OK.
Then, our load of appetizers came...
We received two orders of their crispy fried calamari with wasabi chili mayo and sriracha painted on the plate. The majority of the appetizer plates had sriracha on the plate for a hint of color. Mmmm.. this was by far our favorite flavor because we ended up ordering another plate! It was THAT good! The calamari steak was cut into strips, breaded, and fried to perfection.
The lobster quesadilla was stuffed with caramelized onions and spicy pepper jack cheese. Yum, it was also served with a cilantro aioli and a smoked paprika cream sauce. The cheese was very strong and salty. The quesadilla had a lot of flavor, but I didn't really taste the lobster. Still, though, a good dish, but I probably will order another appetizer than this next time.
This is the baby back lamb riblets smothered with their homemade barbecue sauce and served over mascarpone mashed potatoes - mmm. This wasn't the favorite of the table, but I enjoyed it very much. The barbecue sauce had an asian kick to it, and it was very good. The meat fell off the little bone and complemented the mashed potatoes very well.
I love this picture of the pan fried pork dumplings (gyoza, I would call it). You can clearly see the sear marks on the dumplings from the pan before it was finished by steaming. The pork dumplings were served with a plum dipping sauce that was sweet and tangy to the taste. The gyoza was crisp on the outside, and mealy in the inside. It was a delicious dumpling from a restaurant not specializing in asian cuisine. However, their partner restaurant is Bistro d'Asia in Coronado.
Served right next to the crispy dumplings was their take on a light fried rice on top of a splash of sweet & sour sauce. I didn't get to taste the rice, but DV said that it was "just like rice pilaf". It did look like a rice pilaf cooked with chicken broth.
The crab cakes at Parkhouse is what I enjoy the most. As stated before, the first time I visited here, I ordered the crab cake sandwich on toasted french white bread, greens, tomatoes, and of course, creamy tartar sauce. The crab cakes are really delicious. They have the perfect consistency of crisp from the pan fry, and from the actual crab. Some may argue that the crab cakes can be mushy, but I enjoyed the texture and flavor. The cakes are served with a spicy roasted corn-tomato relish and sun-dried tomato mayo which complemented them very well.
Our entire meal of appetizers cost us a mere $10 per person because of the $25 restaurant.com gift certificate and the 1/2 off appetizers. We were full, had great, non-work conversation and laughed it up at the outside patio. It was a delicious way to end the evening, and to say bon voyage to DV who left for NYC that Friday.
Crab cake sandwich... I will be back for you.