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!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Ponces Mexican Restaurant - Kensington

I have to say that Ponces is one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in San Diego, other than the little taco shops.  It is a family-owned restaurant and the prices are very reasonable, especially when you visit during the work week for lunch.  When I worked in Kensington back in college, my boss came here just about every day for their lunch specials.  Read about my previous experience here

We ventured out to Kensington on a Saturday afternoon and I was excited to introduce Ponces to my hubby and toddler son.  

I love Mexican restaurants that start out with complimentary chips and salsa.  The tortilla chips tasted really fresh and we were given the red salsa and salsa verde (not pictured).  Our son loved the salsa verde because he kept dipping the chips in it.  I love how he likes to try new foods.  

The last time I was here, I ordered a cup of the albondigas (meatball soup) ($3.15).  I had to order it again because it is so flavorful and delicious.  The broth in the picture above has a lot of oil specks... while it does not look visually appealing, it was certainly yummy.  There were plenty of hearty meatballs in my cup and vegetables (zucchini, carrots).  My son enjoyed the soup too.

We started off with the crispy quesadilla ($4.95), a.k.a. cheese crisp.  Our son got all excited when it was served to us and called it a pizza.  It was a deep fried tortilla topped with cheddar and monterey jack cheeses.  Mmmmm.  Simple goodness.

My new thing at sit-down Mexican restaurants is to not focus on the combination plates - because I seriously eat with my eyes.  Because I am in love with their enchilada sauce, I ordered a single ground beef enchilada ($3.95).  Look at how the enchilada was swimming in their savory sauce with tons of shredded melted cheddar cheese around it.  I dipped the tortilla chips in the sauce.  Oh my.  

The person at the table next to us ordered a ground beef enchilada and it reminded me of a Mexican lasagna and it looks absolutely amazing. I had to try it.  It was really good.  The meat was seasoned perfectly and it truly was like a different type of lasagna.

M ordered two items a la carte, as well... a chicken enchilada ($3.95) and a chicken taco ($3.25).   I did not have a bite of his, but he cleaned off his plate very easily.  Yeah, he hated it.  *sarcasm*

Ponces is a gem.  The servers are super friendly as they make you feel like a part of the family.  Here is the link to their menu to see what other delicious dishes they serve.... but you know why I will be back, for their albondigas and enchiladas!

Ponces Mexican Restaurant
4050 Adams Avenue
San Diego, CA 92116

The Trails Neighborhood Eatery - San Carlos

I had no idea that The Trails Neighborhood Eatery existed until I saw an episode of Food Network's Restaurant Impossible.  Chef Robert Irvine helped the restaurant's owner, Stacey, and re-decorated her cute, little restaurant in San Carlos to boost her business.  He even convinced her to open for dinner, which they are open from Wednesday through Saturday, from 5-9pm.

The hubby and I exactly did that, visited for a really early dinner, at 5pm before a work event in Mission Bay. My best friend visited a short while back and she raved about their cinnamon roll pancakes and even met Stacey herself.  Knowing they served their pancakes even for dinner, we were excited to try a new place.

The Trails is located in a strip mall in San Carlos.  We arrived a little around 5:30pm with only a few patrons already in the restaurant. The decor is simple and clean.  I love the shade of green on the walls and the overall color scheme.  

Both M and I started off with their house salad ($4.00).  It came with baby greens, tomatoes, croutons, and crumbled feta cheese and their house vinaigrette, which is a creamy balsamic.  Yum.  Simple and fresh, like the decor.  It was a nice way to start the meal.

There is something about chicken and waffles ($10.00) that makes me gravitate towards them when I see it on a menu.  I just love the "comforting" thought of crispy, savory fried chicken and a sweet waffle with butter and syrup.  I caved in and ordered it.

My chicken and waffle entree arrived piping hot -- dark meat is my favorite - moist and flavorful chicken - the skin was crispy and perfectly fried.  The waffle was fresh, crispy and had a hint of vanilla in there.  I also received a side of Louisiana hot sauce for my chicken.

This dish was pretty delicious and I appreciated the freshness of the waffle, as opposed to the waffles I had at the Sage Cafe earlier this year.  I am still curious to know other restaurants in San Diego that serve awesome fried chicken and waffles.  If you know any suggestions, send them my way!  I wish there was a Roscoe's down here. *sad face*

M ordered the Cobb Wrap ($9.00) with a side of fruit, as opposed to Yucca chips, mashed potatoes, sweet potato fries or broccoli (he's so good).  The wrap had sliced turkey, lettuce, tomato, bacon, feta cheese with a lemon poppy seed vinaigrette.  My only thing with this is that it's not a really cobb without the egg, avocado and blue cheese.  I would call this a turkey wrap. *smirk*

These cinnamon roll pancakes were so good, that I will come here anytime to have these gems. Gosh, I love savory foods over sweets any day, but this seriously is TO DIE FOR.  The ooey-gooey icing with the hot, fresh cinnamon flavored pancakes were such a wonderful combination.  You really have to experience for yourself.  It was amazing.  

So, we knew we wanted the pancakes for dessert and saw on their menu that they have them listed as "cinnamon roll pancake a la mode" for $5.  When our server asked us if we wanted dessert, we said we wanted to try the famous pancakes and he responded with, "Sure... with bacon?"  And, we answered with, "Ummm.... no bacon, please."  He brought us that goodness pictured above, but when the bill came... he, in fact, charged us $9.50 for the pancakes, the price of the full breakfast. Oh, well... it is our fault for not clarifying with him, but whatever. The deliciousness of the pancake made up for the miscommunication and/or lack of communication from both ends. Haha. Guess we should have ordered the bacon that comes with it, but we would probably be have to be rolled out of the restaurant.

The Trails Neighborhood Eatery is a must try if you are in the San Carlos area.  They are located in a little strip mall.  We will be back, for sure, for these cinnamon roll pancakes.  YUM.
The Trails Neighborhood Eatery
7389 Jackson Drive
San Diego, CA 92119

Monday, November 18, 2013

Marie Callenders' Holiday Feasts

The holidays are almost here!  Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite holidays of the year.  I look forward to spending time with all our loved ones - our family and friends.  But, yes, of course... it is an absolute given that I love, love, LOVE to eat during the holidays.

If you do not want to deal with the cooking and clean up during the holidays, Marie Callender's offers their "Holiday Feasts" either via take-out of complete delicious holiday meals, starting at $99.99, or you can enjoy a home cooked meal in the restaurant.  Please see more information below....

Marie Callender’s Feasts Provide Everything You Need for the Perfect “Home-Cooked Holiday Meal”

The holiday hustle and bustle is upon us, and Marie Callender’s is ready to take the stress out of the season!  Guests can choose from FIVE delicious Holiday Feasts and more than 30 of Marie Callender’s legendary pies.  Easy online ordering is available at www.mariecallenders.com.

Each Holiday Feast serves six to eight hungry people and features a complete dinner with all of the trimmings and, of course, a Marie Callender’s signature Pumpkin or Apple Pie.  All Feasts are conveniently packed and ready to go. All you need to do is heat, serve and enjoy – it’s that easy!

Marie Callender’s five Holiday Feasts include: 

  • Turkey Breast Feast ($99.99) – An oven roasted turkey breast with all the feast trimmings.
  • Ham Feast ($99.99) – A bone-in spiral cut quarter ham and chipotle-pineapple glaze topping with feast trimmings.
  • Ultimate Whole Turkey Feast ($119.99) – A whole roasted turkey with all the feast trimmings.
  • Ham and Turkey Combo Feast ($139.99) – A roasted turkey breast and Marie Callender’s bone-in, spiral cut quarter ham with chipotle-pineapple glaze topping and all the feast trimmings
  • Ultimate Ham & Turkey Feast ($149.99) – A whole roasted turkey and Marie Callender’s bone-in, spiral cut quarter ham with chipotle-pineapple glaze topping and all the feast trimmings.

Each Holiday Feast from Marie Callender’s comes with the following delicious sides:

  • Apple-Sage Stuffing
  • Fire-Roasted Yams (with Cranberry Streusel Topping)
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Fresh Mashed Potatoes
  • Turkey Gravy
  • Chef’s Vegetables        
  • Fresh Baked Cornbread
  • Whole Pumpkin or Apple Pie
  • Marie’s Special Blend Coffee

Marie Callender's is known for their delicious, freshly baked pies.  Even if you're planning to cook at home, pick up a Marie Callender's pie to finish your feast.  Marie Callender’s offer more than 30 flavors including Banana Cream, Apple, Pumpkin, Mince with Rum Sauce, "No Sugar Added" Apple and Razzleberry and Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Mousse Pie (pictured below - looks SO good).

        If cooking isn’t in your future, Marie Callender’s offers a complete in-restaurant Thanksgiving Dinner.  Start with soup or salad, enjoy turkey or ham with all of the classic holiday sides, and finish the meal with a slice of fresh baked pie.  Adults can dine for $19.99, while children are just $8.99.  Prices and participation may vary by location.
          Additional information is online at http://www.mariecallenders.com/holiday-guide

          Happy eatings and season's greetings!

          **All images provided by Marie Callender's.

          Friday, October 25, 2013

          [Happy World Pasta Day] Buca di Beppo - San Diego

          In honor of World Pasta Day (October 25), I was invited to Buca di Beppo to experience their homestyle Italian dishes.  I have been to "Buca" (what I call it for short) a few times in the past, mostly for work parties. It has been a while since the both of us have been to Buca so it turned out to be a nice little date night for the hubs and I. 

          We had a reservation at the Buca location in downtown.  Upon arrival we were greeted very warmly from the hosts before taking us to our table.  Our host took us through the kitchen, as part of the route to the eclectic dining room.  They even have a dining table that faces the kitchen - which I have never dined at. 

          They seated us at the Frank Sinatra booth. This was the shrine of him to the left of the booth. 

          I forgot how fun the restaurant is decorated -- with many old pictures and trinkets. There is so much to see. On the ceiling was a very cool wine bottle collection. 

          To start, M ordered an Italian beer on draft, called Peroni based on a recommendation from our excellent server, Zo.  Oops, I forgot to take a picture of it and he started drinking it.  

          For salads, entrees and pastas, Buca has two sizes -- small (serves 2-3) and large (serves 4-6). Everything here is served 'family style' and they have HUGE portions, even for the small sizes. 

          We received Italian bread with the traditional olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The bread was soft and chewy. The olive oil was fruity in flavor. The combination of oil and vinegar was perfect with every bite of the bread. 

          We love a good Caesar salad, especially M. I knew we had to get one since I already knew for a fact that they have a a really good one here. We ordered the small Caesar salad ($12.99). The table side presentation was new to us -- which Zo told us that it is a new thing there, only a couple months old. 

          He mixed in their homemade Caesar dressing, garlic croutons and Parmesan cheese....
          *stir, stir, stir....*

          Ta-da!  Seriously, this small salad can easily serve four people... 

          Instead of the mozzarella garlic bread (which we went back and forth on), we ordered the Artichoke Florentine Dip ($13.49). Oh, this was so good.  I loved that the dip did not have chopped spinach. It contained green, fresh spinach leaves. Yummm... 

          The dip was served hot. It had fresh spinach, artichokes, chopped roma tomatoes -- all swimming in a creamy mozzarella and provolone sauce. The Parmesan crostini were buttery, crunchy and just perfect for dipping. I enjoyed every bite. 

          Our main course arrived --Prosciutto Stuffed Chicken (small - $23.99).  Think of a 'chicken parmigiana meets chicken cordon bleu.' So, a small serving comes with three, yes, three breasts stuffed with proscuitto and mozzarella, topped with marinara sauce and served on pesto cream sauce. 

          Elvin, the manager, cut through the chicken breast to show us the stuffed goodness...

          Oh, yeahhhh. Seriously, the chicken breast was super moist. The outside of the breast was crunchy, the proscuitto was salty, the cheese and pesto cream were creamy-- so many layers of flavors and textures! Hands down, the best dish here.  We chose this dish because of the picture on the menu, haha. 

          Elvin told us that this is one of most popular dishes and that the prep staff pounds out and stuffs the breasts by hand every morning. 

          We made the right decision and ordered the side order of the spaghetti marinara ($7.99) as opposed to their 'small' serving. It easily satisfied the both of us and it complimented the chicken perfectly. We even had some leftover. Simple deliciousness. The pasta was cooked al dente and the sauce tasted like fresh tomatoes, garlic and oregano. 

          CANNOLI!!!  The dessert menu was on our table the whole time and there was a picture of these babies on there. I kept eyeing them -- I think M was too.  
          Chocolate Chip Cannoli ($9.95) is what we ordered. Mmm, the shells were crispy and the cannoli cream was not too sweet, however, the entire dessert was sweetened nicely by the chocolate chips in the cream - even though you cannot see them in the picture.  It was a wonderful way to end our meal. 

          Wow. Talk about food coma!  Buca di Beppo really does serve delicious homestyle Italian food.  We will definitely be back!  M and I left with happy tummies and with an overall excellent customer service experience. 

          Special thanks to the Buca di Beppo staff, especially Elvin and Zo, and to BRAINtrust.

          605 6th Avenue
          San Diego, CA 92101

          Disclaimer: The meal was complimentary.  All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own and I was not paid to write this review.  

          Wednesday, October 23, 2013

          [Vacation] Gordon Ramsey's BurGR - Las Vegas, Nevada

          Continuing our summer 2013 Las Vegas trip... um, yeahhhh, this post is WAY overdue. 

          Our good friends, J and J, were also in the Vegas for a couple days. They stayed at the cool Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, which is where I picked our dinner meet to be -- Gordon Ramsay's BurGR

          I love Gordon Ramsay, mainly because Masterchef is one of my favorite food competition shows, next to Top Chef. He is passionate about food, outspoken, can be perceived as mean, but I enjoy watching him. 

          This restaurant appeared in one of the challenges this season on MasterChef.  Yum, who doesn't love a good burger -- so M, my hubs, and I wanted to check it out. 

          We met J and J at the YOLO bar (haha) for a drink while we waited for our table. They got a text from the BurGR hostesses when our table was ready.  

          This is the cover of the menu.  This, I do not get, nor do I understand - haha.  Oh, Chef Ramsey....

          Above is a list of the burgers offered at BurGR.  The prices in orange are for those who have a Harrahs Total Rewards card.  You can view their complete menu here.  I used mine for our party so we got the discounted prices!  Yeah!

          Our server brought us a fancy iPad for browsing the cocktail menu. M ordered the Jalapeño 'Rita ($12.00) because not only does he love a good margarita on the rocks, he loves spicy food.

          The Jalapeno 'Rita tasted exactly like a classic margarita, but with a hint of the jalapeño pepper to hit the tongue at the end.  

          We started off with two appetizers to share.  The Beer Battered Maui Onion Rings ($8.00) were thick, crunchy and sweet. They were served with a chipotle ketchup and a cheddar ranch dip. Mmm, cheese. 

          The Jalapeño Poppers ($11.00) were served in these super cute shot glasses with the same creamy cheddar ranch dip. Out of the six they served us, our server told us that one of them was a "fiery" surprise. We ate them one at a time -- waiting for our mouths to burst into flame, but after the first five, nope. Our server watched as M decided to take the last one; which, of course, we all thought was the spiciest one... but, NADA.  We all had a good laugh because whoever ate the "one", ate it like it was nothing.  

          J ordered her simple, but classic American Burger ($12.00) -- with their signature bun, american cheese, crisp butter lettuce, pickles, onions and tomatoes. 

          M's theme for the night was definitely spicy between the jalapeño margarita and the poppers. He ordered the Damnation Chicken Burger ($13.00) as his 'no beef' alternative.  It had a fiery hot mayo, Maytag blue cheese and a carrot + celery slaw -- definitely a play on a buffalo wing, my hubby's favorite food in the entire world. 

          My Farm Burger ($14.00).  What got my attention... duck breast bacon, English sharp cheddar and a fried egg. 

          It was delicious, however... it was rich, on rich, on RICH.  Did I mention that this was very rich?  There was nothing to cut through all the savoriness -- like cole slaw, pickled veggies, or even tomato slices.  Still, it was really flavorful from the seasoned beef patty and rich egg.

          Of course, we had to have their truffle parmesan fries ($10.00) served with chipotle ketchup and truffle aioli.  Yum, these were good, but I liked the sweet potato fries ($8.00) better.  I loved the sweet potato fries with the dusted powdered sugar.  

          I thought it was interesting that only the cocktail menu and the dessert menu were on the iPad -- not the food menu?  We were given the iPad again to review their dessert menu.  They have these pudding shakes that is their specialty dessert item.   We decided to order the #4 Oreo ($8.00). 

          Also, Gordon Ramsey is known for his sticky toffee pudding so I knew I had to try one of his Sticky Toffee Pudding Push Up Pops ($6.00 for two), .  In one of this past season's MasterChef's episodes, he made the sticky toffee for a wedding reception.  It looked so good.

          I tried to get all fancy and take a picture of both of the dessert images on the iPad and it just came out blurry. FAIL.

          I had asked our server to split the shake into four, she said, no (of course, it was a silly question)... but duh, since we were two couples, I should have asked them to split it into two -- I have seen it done via the pictures on Yelp.  Ooopsies.  The Oreo pudding shake is basically a traditional Oreo milk shake at the bottom and then topped off with creme brulee pudding and an Oreo cookie. Personally, I thought it was just okay.  The pudding was really thick and it was pretty impossible to sip it through the straw.  There was nothing "brulee'd", just the custard, basically.  Everyone was over it after a single taste, so I ended up with a few more sips/bites and I was pretty much done too.  

          They usually prop up the two pops to make a nice presentation, but the server said she had to make it "to-go" because they ran out of the stands in the kitchen.  Maybe it was a hint for us to leave, just kidding.  Anyway, don't ask me why I did not even hold it the right way and take a picture of it.  Here it is, upside down on the table, haha.  Way to go, me.

          The sticky toffee pudding pop was delicious!  Think of a thick, caramel-y, toffee cake with cold salted peanut ice cream (what? MMM).  M and I loved it. 

          I was happy that we went here.  We will be back!  They also have these "Devil Dawgs" I would like to try and believe it or not, "Honey-Pig Bao Buns" (pork belly *drool*).  

          3667 Las Vegas Boulevard South
          Las Vegas, NV 89109
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