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.


... 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, March 29, 2011

TJ Oyster Bar - Bonita

[this pic fails]

Hello TJ Oyster Bar.  The restaurant is located in a small strip mall in Bonita.  Yes, I know... this isn't the best picture of the joint, but this is what I get for forgetting to take one and this is what I captured as we drove away.  Do you see how close the TJ Oyster Bar sign is to the barber shop sign?  Draw an imaginary line between the signs and this tells you what a small restaurant this place is.  It is TINY!  But that doesn't matter.... the food matters, right?  Alright, here we go....

Hubs and I visited TJ Oyster Bar during the 'Summer of Janice' because I have been hearing rave reviews about their dollar fish tacos on Facebook and via word of mouth.  Everyone mentioned that they love coming here so I was interested to see what the hype was.  We walked the restaurant on an early weekday afternoon - there was a line, but it went really quick.  There was one cash register, a 'kitchen' in the front, a countertop that overlooks the kitchen with seating, a countertop eating area facing the outside window, and, I believe, three tables to sit two people each. 

[menu en espanol]

TJ Oyster Bar offers a variety of tacos other than crispy fish, like oyster, shrimp, and even grilled fish tacos. They also serve other specialties like whole fried fish, ‘aguachile in molcajete’ [raw shrimp in lemon juice and hot chile], oysters in a half shell for a $1.40 each, and traditional burritos.  We were here for the tacos!

[countertop eating/viewing]

At the register, I ordered two $0.99 fish tacos, an oyster taco (it is called TJ Oyster Bar.... had to try an oyster taco) [$2.25] and a side of refried beans [$1.50].  Hubby ordered two grilled fish tacos [$1.50 each].   We were lucky enough to grab a table for two since we beat the lunch rush.

[one table behind me & another behind him]

As we waited, we noticed a lot of take out orders being placed as the locals know that a seat here would be impossible during peak hours (lunch and dinner time).

We did not wait a long time because our order was made in a jiffy by the experts in the kitchen and immediately brought to us... fresh and made to order!

The fish tacos come in 'street taco' size.  The fish is battered and fried to a crisp, served with chopped cabbage, tomato and crema in a corn tortilla.  The batter was light, crunchy, and the fish was deliciously fresh tasting.  I could have eaten five of these in one sitting.  Although tortilla was small, the fish took up a good portion of the tortilla. 

The fried oyster taco looked exactly like the fish with the same toppings, but of course, had a way different flavor.  The oyster taste was really good.  It tasted like the sea and it was a nice flavor in my mouth.  The fried oyster reminded me of the 'kaki fry' I like ordering at my favorite Japanese restaurant Ichiro.  $2.25 for one small oyster taco was a bit on the pricey side since you can buy two fish tacos for that amount, but I was very happy that I tried it.  It was yum!

The refried beans were good, but nothing spectacular.  It was a scoop or two of refried beans placed on a Dixie plate with Monterey Jack cheese on top.  I felt like I needed a different flavor other than my tacos and that was the reason why I ordered it.  I will just stick to the tacos next time I visit.

Mike's grilled fish tacos were made with a flaky white fish, probably the same they batter and fry, cilantro, chopped onions, and crema.  The fish was cooked perfectly and were really tender.   They piled on the fish onto one taco!  For $1.50 each, if you want to skip the fried goodness, this certainly is a deal too.

The staff is very friendly.  The hostess/cashier/server (multi-tasker) asked us if we wanted more tacos for our table as she cleaned up our plates.  Wow, pretty cool because it was like, "Eat more and pay later."  We had our taco fix so we kindly declined to enable other guests to sit at our table.

I wrote about TJ Oyster Bar on DiegoOnADime.com as one of five 'Cheap Eats in San Diego' [clicky].  I really recommend this place for a quick and affordable meal.  Here's a tip... go early, they open at 10:00 AM and enjoy!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pizza Fusion - Hillcrest [CLOSED]

Booo.... Pizza Fusion on Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest closed, but I must say.... I wish that it was still open now that I am pregnant.  Ever since we found out that we were having a baby, I had stopped eating foods that contain sodium nitrites, like bacon, sausage, pastrami, and... pepperoni, my favorite ingredient on pizza.

Pizza Fusion serves 100% certified organic tomato sauce, fresh vegetables, and hormone (preservative, pesticide and nitrite) free meats on their pizza.  Oh, and you don't even know how much I have been craving a slice of pepperoni pizza right now!

Ever since the company that I work for practices being sustainable, I do enjoy and embrace organic eating although I do not eat organic foods all the time.  However, when I do.... it always is a great experience.

My friend, Arlene, and I met in Hillcrest and we walked to Pizza Fusion for an early dinner on a weekday.  The service to seat us was very slow.  We noticed only one server working and seemed like there was one guy in the kitchen.  We were finally showed to our table and we browsed the menu.  Pizza Fusion offers fresh salads and sandwiches in addition to their organic pizzas. 

Arlene ordered the Big Kahuna - a Hawaiian style pizza with bacon, organic pineapple, red onion, mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan cheeses.  I am totally against pineapple on pizza, but I tried a slice of her personal pan pizza [$9] and it was surprisingly tasty.  It was the sweetness of the pineapple with the saltiness of the bacon that I enjoyed.  She ordered her Big Kahuna with a gluten free wheat crust.

I created a personal pizza with organic white crust, pepperoni, roasted portabello mushrooms, and roasted garlic [$10]. With a lot of toppings to choose from, I selected the ingredients that I know I would enjoy.  My pizza came out piping hot and the fragrance from the roasted garlic was absolutely amazing.  The crust was thin, the way I like it.  My first impression of my hot pizza was "only four slices of pepperoni??"  Well, the pepperoni slices were pretty large, so when I cut the pizza in quarters, it was one per slice.  So, not too bad.   My creation was delicious and I gave myself a pretend pat on the back.

[organic pizza heaven]

Mmmm, I have not done research to see if there is another pizza joint in San Diego that serves nitrite free pepperoni, but I would love to have a slice from Pizza Fusion again.  There is one location left in SD in Temecula, but that is quite a drive from where we live. 

See ya, Pizza Fusion - thanks for the organic experience!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

World Famous - Pacific Beach

Ahhhh, World Famous by the surf and sand in Pacific Beach.  It is a favorite breakfast spot for when out-of-town guests visit San Diego.  The restaurant is known for the their fabulous Taco Tuesdays, where you can get crispy battered shrimp tacos for a $1.25 each and on Wednesdays, lobster tacos for $1.50 each.  However, I will always come back for their South Beach Benedict and creamy hot chocolate.

[Philly sis visiting and not knowing she just posed in front of the outside menu]

For this particular visit, Lani, my dear little sis from the land of cheesesteaks and Rocky Balboa, visited her hometown and we visited World Famous for breakfast. There always is a breakfast crowd at World Famous, especially on the weekends.  Our wait was about 45 minutes.  We kept ourselves busy by walking along the boardwalk in Pacific Beach. 

The South Beach Benedict.  See that description? I absolutely love this breakfast entree.  You really can't go wrong with crispy bacon, fresh sliced tomatoes and avocados over a runny poached egg and hollandaise!  So amazingly delicious.  Plus, World Famous uses freshly baked grilled foccacia instead of traditional English muffin. 

The avocados are sliced and placed next to the benedict as opposed to being a part of it.  The perfect bite contains all of the ingredients, egg, tomato, foccacia, bacon and a piece of creamy avocado.  The famous potatoes are really good too.  They are not home fries or oven baked....they appeared to be fried, but just enough to crisp the outside and still be mealy and soft in the inside.  

Here are images of what my family ate:

[sausage & roasted red pepper benedict (forgot the exact name) - hollandaise on the side]

[one fried egg + sliced tomatoes = hubby's healthy sides]

[ham + cheese omelet with fresh fruit, grilled focaccia and sliced avocado]

[mmm, crab cake florentine benedict with fresh fruit]

[World Famous breakfast - sausage patties, WF potatoes, scrambled eggs and....]

[...buttermilk pancakes]
I had a bite of the pancake and it was really fluffy and delicious.  I highly recommend them!  World Famous is always a joy to visit for breakfast/brunch.  Always ask to eat out in the patio for people watching and so you can be close to the ocean breeze and the view.  Oh yeah, please GET the hot chocolate too -- you won't be sorry!
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