#foodismyfave

#foodismyfave

Food Adventure Collage.

carnitas snack shack. c-level. world famous. woodstocks. terra american bistro. buddies. corbins. casey's cupcakes. mandarin beijing. nazca grill. eiffel tower restaurant. gordan ramsay burgr. in-n-out. bankers hill bar and grill. los primos. bistro sixty. ruth's chris.

Welcome.

... to a place I like to call my very own. *waving hello*

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!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Jaynes Gastropub - North Park


I heart Jaynes Gastropub.  There is something comforting about this place that makes me want to keep visiting.  The restaurant is cute, quaint and located in one of the best foodie neighborhoods there is, North Park.  I love the fact that I actually see Jayne herself running the restaurant, ensuring that everyone is taken care of.  I love that they promote their specials via their website blog and other social media outlets, like Twitter (@jaynesgastropub - follow them).

With that, I have visited twice with the same favorite buddies of mine, my hubby and our good friend, Q.  This review is LONG overdue.... enjoy!

[first experience]

Q, Mike and I celebrated the New Year by visiting Jaynes for the first time at the end of January 2010.  Jaynes was a suggestion by Q who stated that this was the favorite restaurant of one of our former directors at our organization.  As I reviewed the menu online (of course), the courses were simple and the descriptions made my mouth water.  I love entree descriptions on menus.  I was completely ready to experience something new!  

We were on our way to meet Q in North Park and I did a major faux pas.  I FORGOT MY CAMERA.  I mean, come on -- food blogging is my "second job" and forgetting the camera was like arriving to my current job 30 minutes late wearing a tube top, heels, and a mini skirt.  A total "no-no".  I was so bummed!  Q didn't have a digital camera so Mike suggested that I use my cell phone camera.  *SIGH* And, here we go....

[sorry ol' cell phone pic #1]


Q suggested that we start off sharing the artisan cheese plate that comes with a variety of fresh cheeses, grilled baguette, caperberries, honeycomb, crispy sliced apples, and a tiny tin cup of nuts.  I forgot exactly what cheeses we sampled but I am certain there was white cheddar and a type of bleu cheese.  It was the perfect start to our meal.  There were two caperberries and three of us, so the guys ate one.  I thought that it was some sort of olive, but nope, they actually are caper buds (same capers used in tartar sauce, with smoked salmon, fish dishes, etc) that are pickled. 

[sorry ol' cell phone pic #2]


Mike ordered the fish & steamed clams for his dinner entree.  Because it was over 10 months since we first visited, I forgot the name of the fish that accompanied the clams - *boo*.  I do remember how the fish was cooked perfectly and was super fresh tasting.  The clams in the broth were absolutely delicious and the broth had the right hint of saltiness to mimic "the sea".  Yummers. 

[sorry ol' cell phone pic #3]

 

 Q  ordered the grilled polenta with fresh vegetables with a smoke pepper coulis.  I had a bite of the polenta cake with the coulis and veggies.  It was very good for a vegetarian dish.  The polenta was "mealy" and I can see how the plate can be filling with the absence of meat.

[sorry ol' cell phone pic #4]

 

NOW, my dish... steak frites.  Everyone who knows me knows that I'm all about meat, especially red meat.  There's nothing like a good plate of meat and potatoes, especially with crispy french fries?  Yes, please!  Jaynes' steak frites comes with a Niman Ranch flat iron steak, frites, salsa verde (mixture of green, fresh herbs) and braised greens.  The flat iron steak, aka top blade steak, was juicy and DELICIOUS.  Because top blade steaks come from the shoulder of the cow, it is a very tender cut of meat.  And... it sure was!  The frites were not as crispy as I wanted them to be, but they still were fried potatoes that were good enough to keep my hungry tummy happy.  

OK, the cell phone situation:  My phone was an ancient flip phone - a non-smartphone (I recently just got a smartphone). So, although the pics came out after trying to point and shoot in the plain darkness (it even didn't have a light to guide me), I guess they didn't come out "that" bad.  Still, though... they are sorry ol' cell phone pics to me!  *smirk*

[second experience]

[pretty roses on the table on the outside patio]

It was a lovely July afternoon where Q, Mike and I returned to Jaynes with one goal in mind.  BURGER QUEST CANDIDATE.  Because I have not been reviewing the burgers on my quest list on my blog (I've been rating in secret), I will simply post pretty pictures of the Jaynes burger and review the other meals.



We started off with the white bean puree + crostini that was accompanied by succulent house grilled peppers.




The white bean puree reminded me of hummus because of the creamy consistency and the presence of a good olive oil.  It did have a similar taste to hummus.  Mmm, the puree simply melted in my mouth.


The grilled peppers looked pretty in the dish - sweet red, orange, and yellow peppers were happily grilled and waiting for us to devour with the crunchy crostini and white bean puree.


I made the perfect bite and took a picture before munching on it.  Both of the flavors went well together.  I enjoyed the crunch of every bite of the warm crostini.  


I took this picture to capture the name of the burger, but it just so happens that you can also see the menu items of what Mike and Q ordered.


If I was not rating the burger this evening, I would have definitely gotten this lovely plate of food.  Q ordered the sea bass fish and chips.  Hot and crispy.  I watched Q as he took his fork into the flaky fish and it "crunched."  It was like music to my ears.  I did not have a taste of his fish, but I did have a sugar snap pea that I believe, was sauteed in olive oil and garlic.  Can I say that I can eat a whole bowl of these, like while I am watching a movie at home??  They were cooked enough to have the subtle flavor of garlic in every pea and kept the fresh taste and crunch.  I absolutely loved these.  Guests can order the sauteed peas as a side.  Next time I go, they will most definitely be on "my side".


The hubby ordered the pecan crusted albacore tuna that came with saffron scented Israel cous cous and a red pepper coulis.  It was a perfect dish for a warm summer evening.  It was a beautiful presentation too.  I enjoyed the texture of seared tuna, especially with the pecans to add more contrast.  The red pepper coulis was sweet and delicious.


Ta-da... the Jayne burger.   Niman Ranch ground beef, Vermont white cheddar, pickled onions, and garlic aioli. 

 [closer view of the burger]

Another great meal at Jaynes.  Because I subscribe to their blog, I have been tempted by their fried chicken, gourmet hot dogs, schnitzel with mac n' cheese, and the full, yes, FULL English breakfast that they now offer on Sundays.  Unfortunately, I have yet to try all of these goodies, but I absolutely will in the near future.

Hope all is well, Jayne & Jon -- thanks for everything!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bangkok Poco - College Area


*SNIFF* ...that's how I felt when the Basil Thai Diner left and something called "Bangkok Poco" arose in its place.  I never got to say goodbye to their uber-delicious pad see ew.  Geez, I wrote "uber"... who writes that?  *sigh* The delicious pad see ew of Basil Thai made me write it.  Oh, well...

Despite how sad I was (not really), I have been to Bangkok Poco three times now and I have to say... I'm finding the 'good' dishes the more often I go.  The first time I visited with my BFFs (Don/Sam & Shells) was when the questioning occurred:

1.  "How long have you guys been here?"  ...a few weeks.
2.  "What kind of salad dressing is that?" ....
3.  "What does Bangkok Poco really mean?" ...kidding, I didn't ask this.

When we visited, they ran out of salmon for the panang salmon dish (we ordered shrimp instead) and our server couldn't tell me what dressing was on the salad (and didn't care enough to ask).  Maybe we got off the wrong foot, B.P.

And so, I gave it another try.... *long pause* and another try.

[second experience]

I went with my long-time friend, Pam, who I went to junior high and high school with.  We often get together at least once every couple months to catch up on work, our personal lives, and "tsismis (gossip)" about everything. 

Bangkok Poco has lunch specials which range from $5.00 (tofu & vegetarian) to $7.00 (shrimp, beef).  The process is the same as most Thai restaurants.... you pick your protein and they create your curry, noodle, or rice dish.  Every lunch entree comes with a cup of soup, entree, mixed green salad with the mystery dressing, and a Thai egg roll.  Pretty good deal, in my opinion.  But, is the food worth it?


We both started off with a cup of soup that had warm broth, cabbage, carrots, and a hint of ginger.  It reminded me of two things:  "nilaga (a Filipino beef soup sans the beef)" and "cabbage water" from the 1971 film 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory'.  To quote Charlie Bucket in his squeaky little voice, "I'm sick of cabbage water... it's not enough!"

For the most part, it reminded me of nilaga and I enjoyed it.  The only thing it was missing was a little 'patis' (fish sauce).  I don't even know what the soup is called.


Pam ordered the chicken pad thai - level 5 spicy, I believe.  They put a weird pile of chopped peanuts on the corner of the plate as garnish.  I tasted a bite of Pam's pad thai.  Mmm... I was impressed.  It was really good and I thought it was better than Basil Thai's.  I enjoyed the bean sprout crunch, the texture of the noodles, and the overall flavor -- including the spice!

Pam also ordered a side of some Thai hot spice on the side, which they happily gave to her in a little dish - it was this complimentary condiment.  But, I was put off that our server came by after 10 minutes and told her that they needed to take the spice away to give to another customer. Huh?


I was determined to see if the chicken pad see ew here could be as good as Basil Thai.  This noodle dish came with a lot of vegetables, like bok choy, broccoli (not Chinese broccoli), cabbage, and carrots.  They also sprinkled some sort of Thai spice on top, which just like the garnish of peanuts on Pam's plate, I did not understand why.  The flavors were just "okay".... I mean, good, but not amazing.  The flavor of the broccoli didn't taste fresh so I left those on the side and didn't bother to eat the big chunks of raw carrots.

The egg roll was hot off the fryer and had a delicious flavor.  The mystery salad dressing is a pineapple dressing which goes very well with the mixed greens.  Overall experience with the food and service... eh.

[third time's a charm]

After trying Pam's pad thai, I thought I'd give it ONE more chance.  A couple of weeks ago, I went with my great friend, Ar, I ordered the shrimp pad thai with no spice.... DELICIOUS.   The shrimp was perfectly cooked and most important, deveined correctly and thoroughly (yep, I inspect every single of them).  I finally found my favorite dish here.

Plus, they didn't put that weird pile of peanuts on the plate.

They learned.  :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Melt - Chula Vista


When I think of crepes, I think about my cousin, Grace, who loves crepes as much as she loves her family and Kurt Warner.  The next time that her family visits us in San Diego, we will definitely take them here... that is, to Melt - a gelato and crepe cafe.  Oh, unless my sis, Lani, is in town.  She makes really yummy crepes too!

Every time Mike and I visit the Otay Ranch Town Center, the sweet smells of "crepe making" are trying to lure us in, but we almost never do give in.  However, one summer evening after having dinner at Sushiya, I was craving something sweet.  Nestle Toll House cookies?  Nah.  Starbucks?  Nope.  Hmm... crepes?  Yeahhhh, let's take a look.


Melt is located right outside the entrance of Macy's inside the mall.  I've been here only once and ordered a white chocolate mocha. Delicious, but not as fun as a sweet crepe.  In addition to coffee and crepes, they also have a wide variety of gelato.  Melt makes savory crepes too, like turkey & cheese, spinach & mushroom, and I kid you not, I saw a bulgogi (Korean beef) crepe on the menu.

Mike ordered gelato for himself and I ordered the best combination that a crepe can ever have (in my opinion, of course).

nutella + chocolate + cinnamon sugar + whipped cream = HEAVEN

 [hello, i am delicious.]

The only negative thing about this crepe was that they put in a big ol' styrofoam to-go box.  Other than that, this crepe was so good that there were no words but "mmmmm...." that came out of my mouth for the minutes that I spent eating the darn yummy thing.  Yes, it was that delicious.  The actual crepe was very light.  It was made-to-order so the crepe was still warm.  When each warm bite was paired with the cold whipped cream... oh, it was even better. 

Great.  Now I'm craving one.
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