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!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Bull's Smokin' BBQ - Linda Vista

When the hubby and I drove out to Point Loma for lunch at Phil's BBQ only to find that it was closed on a holiday, we came here... to Bull's Smokin' BBQ in Linda Vista.  We were both craving really good BBQ this day so after driving into an empty Phil's parking lot on an early Sunday afternoon, I had remembered that Frankie the Bull from Bravo's 'Top Chef' had a BBQ joint in town.  Unfortunately, this restaurant is not Frankie's and according to Yelp, it had closed a couple of years ago.  Ironically, Bull's Smokin' BBQ opened in the same exact location.

[top of the building]

Bull's Smokin' BBQ is located on West Morena near the University of San Diego.  We drove up and we were the first to arrive since there were no cars around at all.  Bull's Smokin' BBQ is a dog-friendly restaurant and the decor inside is western/cowboy themed, including the swinging doors of the 'saloon'.  The music was blasting and sure enough, no one was in the restaurant but us, the server and the cooks in the back.

The menu is full of simple BBQ fare -- smoked chicken, ribs, brisket, pulled pork, mac n' cheese, coleslaw, french fries, baked beans, cornbread etc.  The item I was most interested in was the smoked brisket..... why?  I rarely have brisket and when I do see it on a menu, I will order it in a heart beat.  I hoped it was super delicious as Rudy's brisket in San Antonio, Texas.  The brisket there melted in my mouth.

[order from the counter]

I will be the first to admit that the hubby and I were not creative with our lunch orders.  In fact, we never talked about a 'plan' and we basically selected what we wanted to eat.  Be aware that the pictures below look like the same sandwich, but in fact... were different.  All right, just slightly different.

[hint of tang, sweetness, and a slight bold flavor - pretty good]

I ordered the smoked brisket sandwich with Bull's Fries.  The smoked brisket was carved in slices and served on an authentic Amoroso roll (yummy).  The meat was moist and tender at first.  But as soon as I got to the second half of my sandwich, the brisket toughened just a tad and it was not as enjoyable, even with Bull's Original BBQ sauce on it. It did not melt in my mouth like the brisket at Rudy's.  *sad face*

[duo of brisket sandwich with golden, seasoned fries]

The bread, though, was delicious, as Amoroso rolls are the ones used for cheesesteak sandwiches in Philadelphia. Yum!

[slathered in sauce]

[brisket bite]

The hubby ordered the Bull's Duo Sandwich (smoked pulled pork and smoked brisket) with the Bull's Fries.  I guess we were both craving the same thing.  What we should have done is shared the sandwich and gotten a couple more sides, like coleslaw with almonds, corn bread, baked beans... and oooh, mac n' cheese!

[Bull's Duo]

Truthfully, the pulled pork tasted similar to the smoked brisket.  I mean, it was good... but nothing stood out from it to tell me, "Oh, wow... that's a great sampling of pulled pork."  

[smoked pulled pork sandy]

All in all.... Bull's Smokin' BBQ has great customer service, good sauce, and great bread for sandwiches.  Yeah, I did not mention the meat on purpose.  Like I mentioned before, I wished that we talked about our 'eating plan' and ordered different flavors to make this entry a little more exciting.  *Ho hum*

One funny thing is that on the condiment counter where the server picks up the food from the kitchen, there was a bottle of Phil's BBQ sauce sitting there.  Weird, huh?

Phil's BBQ still remains my favorite BBQ joint in San Diego.  Although, I have not tried that Barbecue House in Ocean Beach yet.....hmmmm.....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Mission - North Park

I have always heard fabulous things about The Mission - how they are one of the BEST breakfast places in town.  Browsing through the yummy items on the online menu, it looked to me that they specialized in savory (and sweet) breakfast entrees and, what they call, 'Chino-Latino' cuisine for lunch.  The Mission also has an small array of Latino breakfast entrees to include chilaquiles and soy chorizo.  The restaurant is open from 7am to 3pm every day.

I was very excited to hear that our director was taking his full-time team out to breakfast for 'Administrative Professionals Day'.  We met at 7:30 am at the North Park location (there are two additional locations in Mission Beach and in Downtown).  We all arrived in the early morning, ready to tackle the work day and of course, fill our tummies with a hearty breakfast.

The Yelpers absolutely loved the Mission French Toast so it was pretty much an obvious choice for me.  Also, because I am avoiding foods that contain nitrates like bacon and sausage during my pregnancy, I could not indulge in those items.  *sad face*  I should be avoiding sweets too, but this was a special treat for me!

The french toast was absolutely sinful and delicious.  An order of the Mission French Toast consists of three, thick slices of their freshly baked cinnamon bread grilled to buttery perfection sprinkled with confectioner's sugar.  The plate is decorated with swirls of a berry puree to swirl your perfect bite into.  The french toast paired with the maple syrup.... is like heaven.

The french toast came with a side of their famous crispy rosemary potatoes, eggs, or your choice of chicken apple sausage or bacon.  I ordered the potatoes and scrambled eggs.  I am not that fond of rosemary, but the taste of the herb on the potatoes was not too overpowering at all.  The presence of it actually went really well with the flavor of the potatoes.  My scrambled eggs were cooked perfectly - they were fluffy and not overdone.

Here are food shots of other plates that were enjoyed at The Mission:

[breakfast quesadilla with black beans]

[chicken apple sausage, scrambled egg whites, black beans, flour tortillas, avocado slices]

[side of scrambled eggs + bacon along with french toast]

I loved our food adventure at The Mission.  We had great conversation, good laughs, and fabulous food.  Dan mentioned that the Mission Beach location is the better than the North Park location simply because we are near the ocean.  Definitely a place where we will recommend to our out-of-town guests!

I am curious about the soy chorizo and the roast beef hash.... next time, for sure.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Five Guys - Point Loma

[big sack o' potatoes]

The first time I have heard of Five Guys was during an NBC news special with President Barack Obama, 'Inside the Obama White House: Brian Williams Reports'.  The special aired in June 2009.  President Obama ordered a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, jalapeno peppers, and mustard.  He also ordered burgers for his staff, including one for Brian Williams.

After Five Guys beat In-N-Out Burger in Zagat's Best Burger in their Fast Food Survey of 2010, I just had to see for myself.

The hubby and I visited the Liberty Station location for lunch one Saturday afternoon after softball.  There were a lot of workers, hustling and bustling in the kitchen.  The restaurant is fairly big with a lot of seating inside and outside.  There were large sacks of Idahoan potatoes stacked inside and I noticed they also have complimentary peanuts in a big bucket as an appetizer for their guests. 

The menu is pretty simple:  hamburger, cheeseburger, bacon hamburger, bacon cheeseburger, little burgers (one patty - of the same kind just listed - as opposed to two patties), all-beef kosher hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwich, and french fries (Cajun or regular).

I ordered a cheeseburger all the way, which means:  double beef patties, mayo, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup and mustard.  I wanted to try the burger in its popular form.  In my opinion, ordering 'all the way' burgers sounded like a popular choice for first timers. Please note that you can customize your burger order based on the available toppings. I also ordered small french fries to complete my lunch order.

My lunch order was ready in less than five minutes.  It arrived in a little paper bag had a bit of french fry grease seeping through.

When I took the contents out of the bag, the cheeseburger was wrapped in foil and the piping hot fries were loaded into a small paper cup..

It looked like the burger was put together in thirty seconds, wrapped, and thrown into the bag with a quickness.  The presentation was not the greatest, but yes, I acknowledge that we were at a fast food restaurant so I'll let that one pass *WINK*.  The taste of the burger is what I was more curious about. 

I cut the double patty burger in half and took a bite.  It had an OK flavor overall.  The presence of all the toppings definitely masked the individual flavor of the beef, even though there were two beef patties.  The burger was difficult for me to eat. It was definitely messy and gloppy where every bite I took, a bunch of toppings spilled out onto the foil. 

Five Guys gives you a LOT of french fries, even if you order the smallest size.  They filled the cup with fries as if they were holding the cup over the paper bag.  There was an excess of fries at the bottom of the bag.  To some, this would be a special surprise.  The fries were freshly cut with the skins on and they were hot, crispy, and really good.

Because the hubby did not eat with me, my double cheeseburger and fries were too much food for me and I ended up not finishing half of my burger and almost more than half of my fries. Overall, my Five Guys adventure was just okay and I told myself that I will one day give them another chance.  My stomach definitely wasn't in the mood for Five Guys that day.  

Try it and you be the judge.... I am curious to see what you all think!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Ponce's Mexican Restaurant - Kensington

When I used to work in Kensington for a real estate company back in the late 1990's, my broker used to rave about Ponce's Mexican Restaurant.  Next to DiMille's Italian, Ponce's was his go-to spot for lunch.  So, yeah.... basically it took me about 11 years to actually visit the restaurant that has been there since 1969.

When a former student leader and friend, Edward, visited us from Pittsburgh, PA, we decided to have a weekday lunch at Ponce's.  We were excited to catch up with Ed.  We were the first to arrive for lunch as the tables were empty.  Rosa [found her pic on the website] greeted us and immediately showed us to our table.  She was very friendly as if she was welcoming us in her home for lunch. 

We started off with complimentary bowls of fresh tortilla chips and red & green salsa.  We ordered a couple sides of guacamole [$5.50] to start to pair up with the chips. 

The guacamole was very creamy and was garnished with a little cotija cheese.  It was really good and had a nice, fresh avocado flavor.   

[Edward's action shot of him 'dipping']

It was a cold winter day, so to warm me up, I ordered a cup of their albondigas (meatball) soup [$2.95].  My friend, Jennifer, got me interested in albondigas soup years ago after I ordered my first one at Marietta's in La Mesa.  It felt like a meatball soup day. 

My cup of albondigas soup arrived steaming hot.  You can tell a little bit from the picture that it was steaming.  The broth was perfect, not too overwhelming with the taste of spice and the flavors were very subtle.  I loved every sip, slurp, bite, etc. of this soup.  The meatballs were juicy and flavorful.  Next time I come here, I'm ordering a bowl just for little ol' me.  It was absolutely delicious.  I prefer this albondigas over Marietta's and Miguel's, which I find both a bit spicy for my taste.

I took advantage of their great lunch specials [no more than $7.95] and ordered Lunch Special #3.... chicken enchilada topped with sour cream, rice and beans [$6.95].  The number #3 is the only plate that came with both rice and beans since the other lunch specials came with two items, as opposed to my one chicken enchilada.

Holy guacamole.  My plate was fairly large in portion and I was happy.  Ohhhh, the chicken enchilada was covered in their mild enchilada sauce and melted cheddar cheese, which I absolutely LOVED.  It was so yummy.  The rice was fluffy and the beans were cooked to the way I like it.... creamy.  I love creamy beans from Mexican restaurants.  Writing about this makes me want to get up and go to Ponce's, which I just may do after I talk about dessert.....

We ordered bunuelos with vanilla ice cream [$4.95] to share to satisfy our sweet craving after a very savory lunch.  Bunuelos is a fried tortilla dusted with cinnamon and sugar.  They drizzled sticky honey on top to add more sweetness.  The bunuelos itself appeared to be pre-fried, so it was not crispy as much as I wanted it to be.  I ate the vanilla ice cream instead, which is my favorite simple ice cream flavor. 

My tummy was full and happy after our lunch with Edward, who is doing very well in law school over yonder.  I was excited to hear about his food experience at Primanti Brothers because those sandwiches look like a deliciously sinful treat that I will one day enjoy if I make it to Pittsburgh.

Another new restaurant was on the books and I immediately tweeted about Ponce's the minute we stepped out of the restaurant.  Thanks, Ponce's, for delivering the best albondigas soup in town and a pretty darn good enchilada sauce.
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