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!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Blue Water Seafood Market and Grill - Mission Hills

We finally made it to Blue Water Seafood Market and Grill!  A while ago, Blue Water was featured on the Food Network (Diners, Drive Ins and Drives).  Back then, I learned that the guys who own the place are fishermen who catch fresh seafood, sell them in-house, and have them freshly prepared for their guests.  I am disappointed for not visiting sooner!  

Blue Water is located just down the street from El Indio Mexican Restaurant.  I did not notice how close they were in proximity until M and I visited recently on a weekday evening.  

Their "process" is pretty cool.  First, you choose what type of seafood you would like... from tilapia, salmon, mahi mahi, scallops, snapper, swordfish, etc.  Next, you choose the sauce they grill your seafood in (lemon butter, lemon garlic-butter, teriyaki, blackened, chipotle, bourbon butter bronzed (with brown sugar). The last step is to choose between a sandwich, salad, plate (with rice and salad) or tacos (made with El Indio's tortillas).  

M selected the mahi-mahi sandwich ($9.25) with the tartar sauce on the side.  The fish fillet is at least a six ounce portion on a soft boleo roll, lettuce, tomatoes and red onions.  The fish was grilled perfectly -- tender and flavorful.  It was a pretty darn good sandwich.  

In addition to the grilled seafood process, they also have soups, chilled seafood dishes, and specialty dishes, like beer battered fish tacos, a tuna melt, cioppino and my favorite.... fish n' chips!  I am a complete SUCKER for fish n' chips.  I love 'em.  I tend to gravitate towards them when I see them on the menu, but this intrigued me even more because there was a choice between the traditional fried fish and grilled fish.  

I chose the grilled fish n' chips (default fish - tilapia, chose the garlic lemon butter, $9.25).  The tilapia portion was huge!  I received two large fillets over a basket of fresh, crispy waffle fries, creamy tartar sauce and crunchy cole slaw.  I loved every bite.  This entree was so delicious that I am craving to go back real soon.  

M and I have fell in love with this place.  We will absolutely return and try other fresh fish selections.

3667 India Street
San Diego, CA 92103

Saturday, February 22, 2014

[Happy Hour] Valentino's Lounge and Grill - Otay Ranch

Who would have thought that a sushi bar would be named Valentino's Lounge?  When this restaurant first opened, I really thought what I would think everyone would have thought... Italian food!  Nope, Valentino's is a lounge, grill and sushi bar that offers good happy hour specials.  

Valentino's offers their Happy Hour menu seven days a week!

My BFFs and I met for some much needed girlfriend time for happy hour around 5:30pm on a weekday evening.  The restaurant was not busy when we got there... but wow, it got really packed as the night progressed.  We sat in the patio and to enjoy the fresh evening air.

S told us that we had to order the garlic soy edamame ($4.00), which is not on the happy hour menu. Each edamame pod was soaked in soy sauce and had sweet garlic chunks throughout.  These were lovely and a great way to tease my palate before we dug into some of the happy hour goodies.

These were my favorite of all of them -- the jalapeño poppers ($5.00).  Oh, yeah... deep fried rolls, stuffed with cream cheese, snow crab, spicy tuna, fresh jalapeños, with a drizzle of spicy aioli and toasted sesame seeds.  I know, these fun rolls are not authentic, but they sure were delicious!

This looks like the spicy tuna roll ($6.00) but I am confused with the big ol' shrimp tempura sticking out of it.  This one was pretty good.  It has crunchy tempura flakes on top.  

Baked New Zealand Green Lip Mussels (4 pieces, $6.00) had snow crab, dynamite sauce (spicy mayo) and topped with kabayaki (eel) sauce.  I love mussels in any type of form, so these were really yummy to me.  The dynamite sauce was probably made with Kewpie mayo (Japanese), so there was a little sweetness there.

The Kobe Beef Sliders (three sliders, $6.00) were just okay.  You can see that the slider bread sizes were really inconsistent and look at the third one on the plate... it was all smooshed when they arrived on our table!  Each slider came with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and balsamic onions.  

I know, it's ridiculous to get all picky with the knife cuts of the vegetables, but come on... my iceberg lettuce on my slider was just sad and the tomato slice was sliced on a awkward bias.  As far as flavor, the patties were pretty well done so I missed the rich, Kobe flavor of the meat.  Sorry, I tried to like these.  At least we got some french fries on the side, which I pretty much munched on myself.

The Asian Wings ($6.00) were deep fried and then tossed with a spicy sesame sauce and topped with toasted sesame seeds.  I loved these!   

The final dish that we ordered were the Panko Fried Scallops ($7.00).  These were simple, sweet and fried to a crisp.

S enjoyed one of their famous tamarindo martinis ($11.00) -- I forgot to take a picture of it.  She loved it so much that she had two of them.  My BFFs and I had a great time here, just updating each other on life, our families, and our kids.  Great place to meet friends for a cocktail or beer and to enjoy HH dishes!

Valentino's Lounge
1730 East Palomar Road
Chula Vista, CA 91913

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Game Day Sports Bar and Grill [Sycuan Casino] - El Cajon

The hubs, M, and I like to frequent the Indian casinos from time to time.  During this past NFL season, we visited Sycuan Casino's Game Day Sports Bar and Grill for a 'meet up' with our fantasy football league, and we visited a couple times on our own to grub and watch the games.

Out of the local Indian casinos in town, Sycuan Casino's sports bar, to me, is the best one to watch sports, especially the NFL football games, with a large flatscreen TV everywhere you look (there's even one in the restroom near the sink).  Also, they serve pretty decent food!  Really.  Here are some of the items we have ordered during our NFL football game visits:

Yessss... we received complimentary chips and salsa.  I am not sure if they always offer free chips and salsa, and not only during the NFL off season, but hey, we certainly enjoyed it!

The Patty Melt ($12.00) -- buttery, toasted sourdough, grilled onions, thousand island dressing, with melted Swiss and American cheese.  For a side dish, we have a choice of skin-on fries, garlic-parmesan fries or sweet potato tater tots (oooh).  I opted for the garlic-parmesan fries.  The bread was a bit greasy and was a pretty limp over my semi-overcooked burger.  Then, it fell apart.  I just wished the bread was grilled a little bit longer to hold my burger patty nicely.  Despite the failed construction of the patty melt, the flavors were good.  I loved the garlic-parmesan fries.  They were crispy and salty.  Yumm.

M ordered The "Chicken" Sandwich ($10.00) -- a simple charbroiled chicken breast, jack cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.  He ordered the sweet potato tots, which were pretty good.  I am not into chicken sandwiches so I passed on having a bite, haha.  The sandwich didn't come with a sauce, either.  No thanks. *smirk*  M seemed to like it, so yay!

THESE.  These Cheese Fries ($8.00) could probably give you a heart attack.  They are so good and very, VERY addicting.  They start off with their regular french fries and then they are topped off with their creamy cheese sauce (not nacho cheese, more like a bechamel type cheese sauce), applewood smoked bacon, scallions, shredded cheese, and a cool dollop of sour cream.  These fries are put in a shallow bowl and get this, they put cheese sauce on the bottom of the bowl before they fill it with fries.  It was a lovely surprise, haha.  

Raw carrots are not my favorite, but you know, I LOVE them with Buffalo Wings ($12.00 for dozen) - and only with buffalo wings. Surprisingly, their chicken wings here are really, really delicious.  Each wing and drummette were a pretty good size.  M and I split these and they were the perfect portion for the both of us. There are different wing flavors to choose from:  Habanero Pineapple, Game Day Hot Sauce (what we chose), Whiskey BBQ Sauce, and Korean BBQ Sauce.  The Game Day Hot Sauce was the traditional wing sauce we all know and love.   

Here are a few pluses here at the Game Day Sports Bar and Grill....
  • Fountain drinks are complimentary when you dine here -- all day, every day.  Other casinos, like Viejas and Barona, although they have complimentary beverages at the casino (including beverage service when you gamble), when you visit one of their restaurants, they do not offer your beverage for free.
  • 10% off your bill with a Sycuan Players Card
  • No tax
  • Click here for the menu (PDF).  
They have a full bar and beers on tap, like what you would expect a bar and grill would have.  So... if you're looking for a good sports bar and if you are willing to drive out to Sycuan, keep this one in mind.  And get the cheese fries, oh, and the wings.  That's all you need! 

5485 Casino Way
El Cajon, CA 92109
(800) 2-SYCUAN

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Terra American Bistro - La Mesa

I love Terra American Bistro. If I could, I would eat here everyday. It is a farm-to-table restaurant that uses fresh ingredients and most importantly... they serve absolutely delicious food.  I have never had a bad meal here. And, hey, they also have a tractor outside their restaurant. Yeah! 

A few of my friends visited Terra for dinner on a cold winter evening  for some great food, laughs and conversation.  Here are the dishes we ordered:

J ordered the mac n' cheese ($8.95) and the wedge salad (no picture - $9.00). The penne mac n' cheese had three kinds of cheese: brie, jack, and yummy asiago and buttery breadcrumbs. The pasta was cooked perfectly. The three cheeses complimented each other well. Delicious!

M and A both ordered the Fall Harvest Salad ($9.00) and split the mac' n cheese. I did not have a taste of their salad. It had baby kale, mixed greens, sliced apples, cotija cheese, red onion tossed with a maple balsamic. Mmm. 

CK ordered the special of the night... a succulent New York Strip ($23.00) with roasted broccoli rabe / cauliflower and a side of fresh mixed salad. I am not sure if she had a choice of a starch or salad. I also don't know what cheese is on top. Oopsies. Looked good, though!

Oh YES. Here is what I ordered and I am still craving it. Voila, my Bistro Burger ($15.00).  Caramelized onions, melted gorgonzola and truffle aioli. Oh goodness me, HEAVEN. The burger didn't really need the iceberg lettuce nor the tomato but still, I ate the burger with all the components. I'm not into the bleu cheeses (only with buffalo wings, haha) but surprisingly, the gorgonzola did not overpower the flavor of the meat at all. 

Who wants regular fries when you can have garlic fries? I don't believe there was an extra charge for garlic fries, only for their truffle fries ($2.00 more). They were garlicky, crispy and the chipotle ketchup (small kick, not spicy) was amazing. 

We all split the pumpkin creme brulee ($7.00) for dessert, just to give our palates just enough sweet after our savory dishes. It had a little persimmon chutney and fresh whipped cream on the side.  There was a nice flavor of pumpkin with every bite of the custard, but not like pumpkin pie. It was really yummy. 

I will always come back to Terra for their Bistro Burger and their amazing bowls they serve during lunch (try their grilled skirt steak - read about it here). This restaurant is definitely one of my favorites! 

Terra American Bistro
7091 El Cajon Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92115

Thursday, February 06, 2014

[Product Review] The Better Chip

Let's get the introductions out of the way. The Better Chip, readers. Readers, The Better Chip. Hi. 

The Better Chip is a healthier tortilla chip that's gluten free, has no genetically modified ingredients, 100% all natural... veggies and whole grain corn masa. That's it. I know, I know... you know how people say that healthy snacks equals "no flavor, no thank you" but you know what... these are really yummy!

Chips and dip are my absolute *favorite* snack. Hands down.  Put out a bowl of  french onion dip and crunchy chips... watch out, here I come. It's my 'go-to' for any sporting event, bbq, family potluck, etc. It's a must have in my book. 

Without knowing my love for chips n' dip, The Better Chip sent me samples of five of their signature flavors: Spinach and Kale, Jalapeños, Red Peppers, Sweet Onion and Corn. 

Despite the flavor, they all had the same thick consistency. They are perfect for dipping -- chips that will not break when you dip into a thick, creamy dip, salsa, hummus... any delicious dip! 

The Better Chip #1: Corn. Simple goodness. Salty, tasted exactly like what it is, corn. Perfect pairing with the chunky salsa. 

The Better Chip #2: Sweet Onion. Yum. One of my favorite flavors. Anything that is made with sweet onion calls my name. I tried these with a french onion dip - oh, so good. Nice, subtle onion-y, sweet flavor. I could have eaten these all day.  

The Better Chip #3: Red Pepper. These were super duper flavorful.  Spicy, bold red pepper flavor. Like a hyped up Dorito, but ten times better!  

The Better Chip #4: Jalapeño. You can see the bits of jalapeño in each chip. Each chip packed a spicy punch and I enjoyed it with the creamy dip because it "cooled" it down.  M thought these were like biting into an actual jalapeño and these were his least favorite, but I really liked it.

The Better Chip #5: Spinach and Kale. Kale is the popular green nowadays -- throwing it into your Vitamix or blender for beta carotene and calcium in your shakes with subtle flavor as opposed to spinach. Although I do like eating both greens, this chip flavor was just okay. It did remind me of eating wheatgrass in a crunchy chip form, haha.

The Sweet Onion and Red Pepper flavors were my favorite. The regular Corn flavor is perfect with your favorite salsa or even a cold spinach dip.  The Better Chip can be found in the deli section of the grocery store, as opposed to the snack aisle (smart, eh?).

If you want to see a great video of how they are made, click here

On the side note, a good friend of mine worked on a sustainable farm last summer and she has taught me so much about organic foods, nutrition, gardening/harvesting, and farm fresh products. The Better Chips make me feel good about what I am actually eating -- and hey, they are delicious!

Thank you, The Better Chip!

**Disclaimer:  The Better Chip provided me with samples of chips.  I was not compensated for writing this post.  All opinions written on this blog post are my very own.  

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