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mmm-yoso!!! by Kirk K - 6h ago

OK, so no more poke at Zarlitos, huh? I was in National City; so I decided to revisit Poke Etc to see what was up. There's been some adjustment to the menu; but I decided to grab some lunch. I also got Calvin the Haupia mix his Missus likes so much.

I got the Lau Lau Combo.

Which was ok for "mainland Lau Lau"....that would be; too lean, no salted butterfish. But man, I do miss the smokey flavor of luau leaf and I guess I got my fix in this case. It's actually better than some of the other versions I've had on the mainland over the years.

The rice was same as before; on the dry side.

I ordered the Basic Spicy Ahi; but what I got was weird, not spicy, way too much sesame oil, the fish was fairly low quality, kind of mushy.

The following weekend I needed to go into work....so, of course I headed into the opposite direction....you can call it procrastination, denial, passive-aggressive, or what have you. I needed to grab something to eat, so I decided to give Poke Etc another shot. This time I got the Poke Salad, with Ahi Limu.

The quality of the fish was much better than on previous visits. Maybe because it was something like 945 in the morning? The poke wasn't combined with the shoyu real well and the limu was mushy and all stuck together. The "salad" was a typical mixed greens, which is what I kind of expected. At least the fish was better this time around.

Not sure if I'll be back again soon though. I still need to get to It's Raw in OB. My sources tell me it's more "real", not the typical "chi-poke" kind of place....

Poke Etc
916 E 8th St
National City, CA 91950

Hope you have a great weekend!

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After making our way thru La Condesa we crossed super busy Avenida Chapultepec into the land of skyscrapers. I've heard Polanco described as the "Beverly Hills" of Mexico City. This is supposedly where the wealthy live and play. It's also where Pujol is located....hopefully we'll be able to get reservations next time.

We'd only be visiting the district. There were only two items on the Missus's itinerary for this short trip. ne of them was checking out the Museo Nacional de Antropología (National Museum of Anthropology) located in the huge Bosque de Chapultepec, which is the second largest park in Latin America.

There's much to see in the area; from the somewhat maligned Estela de Luz, also known as the "Monument to Corruption" because of alleged corruption which inflated the cost to three times what was estimated.

Instead of heading up Paseo de la Reforma, we instead headed into the park, which is a wonderful green space.

Where the Missus could practice taking photos with Her brand new camera.

We headed up to Monumento a los Niños Héroes.

Where the Missus took a good amount of time with Her camera. Then turning right and walking down Calzada Mahamta Gandhi; yep, Mahatma Gandhi, in CDMX. Apparently Gandhi is very popular in Mexico; in fact one of the largest bookstore chains in Mexico is......you got it Gandhi.

And we got to see more squirrels doing their "tightrope act" along the way.

We got back onto Paseo de la Reforma and soon enough found ourselves at the Monolith of Tlaloc, which marks the street to the entrance of the museum.

This sculpture was found Coatlinchan which has quite a story behind it.

We got past security, bought our tickets....man, at 75 $MXN (under $4/US) this is a major bargain. We got a map at the information booth and the really nice women there marked off the "must see" places for us. The museum has 23 halls and is spread over 20 acres!

Once thru the entrance into the wide open courtyard area, you see a huge towering fountain, named "El Paragas" ("The Umbrella").

I don't want to create another monster 1500 word post; so I'll keep my verbiage to a minimum from here on. Let me just say that we loved the museum; there was so much to see. We found the history of pre-Colombian and modern day Mexico to be so interesting. It's one of our favorite museums and we'll definitely be back. The galleries are set-up wonderfully, things are spaced out well.





And it was interesting to see items from places we had been to before.

There are dramatic entrances to galleries.

This is "El Creador".

The Corazon de Tula.

Rings and a ball used for the Aztec ball game Ullamaliztli.



Kinda scary statue of the Goddess Cōātlīcue.

Xōchipilli, the "Prince of Flowers", god of art, beauty, dance, and flowers. According to Atlas Obscura, the base of the statue has symbols of hallucinogenic plants carved into it.

The Disk of Mictlāntēcutli, the god of the dead. This disk was found at the foot of the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan.

And of course the Aztec Sun Stone.

Whew; at the end we needed a break.

Like I said earlier; there's so much to see. We only visited the ground floor. We'll definitely return.

Museo Nacional de Antropologia
Avenida Paseo de la Reforma y Calzada Gandhi s/n
Chapultepec, Mexico City 11560, Mexico

Of course by the time we finished things up, we were starting to get hungry. The Missus was still up for a walk and I'd heard so much about Mercado Roma; so we walked the over two miles back across La Condesa to Roma. The Missus though; wasn't impressed with the hipsterish set-up and available food. So, I decided to check out another place I had on my "list". Just a ten minute walk away was a place that is only open from Friday to Sunday. The place serves Barbacoa; the Missus (who loves Aqui es Texcoco) was instantly sold.

We were warmly welcomed when we arrived and in spite of the place being pretty busy, they found a table for us. The host/server, Juan was so amazingly warm and friendly.


We looked over the menu and decided on two items. After ordering, Juan noticed the Missus trying out Her camera. He asked Her if She'd like to "see the Barbacoa"....of course the answer was "yes". He quickly called over one of the "chefs" and the Missus got Her photo! Check out the barbacoa and the big smile on the chef's face! You gotta love CDMX!


The folks here are so nice.....

And the Missus loved the salsas.

The Blue Corn Tortillas were excellent, warm, full of corn flavor, pliable, but sturdy enough to handle "the goods".....

First up was the Plato Hidalguense (140 $MX - about $7.25/US).

I'd been wanting to have nopales and thought this would work out well. The Missus and I loved the papalo, something we don't see much of here in San Diego. The powerful peppery-citrusy-tannic flavor might not be for everyone, but it's definitely for us. The Missus absolutely adored the avocado, which looked quite firm and under-ripe; it was however, just perfect, super buttery, and really good.

And of course, the nopales.

Easily the best I've ever had. Look how bright and vibrant these cactus pads are! There was just a nice mild crunch to these; the clean green bean-asparagus like flavor came through so cleanly; and as a bonus the slices of tomatoes were perfectly ripe. Talk about delici-yoso!!!

I'd ordered the Mixiote (155 $MX - about $8/US)….though had I seen the barbacoa before ordering; I'd probably gone for that.

The meat was fairly tender, the seasoning was on the mild side, and the meat itself was mildly gamey. A nice dish. Which led us to believe that Aqui es Texcoco does a pretty darn good job with their mixiote.

It was quite a spread!

With a couple of Ciel this cost us less than twenty bucks without tip! And I did learn the phrase "agrega veinte por ciento por favor"...….which I used liberally during this trip.

Juan was an amazing host; the service excellent and welcoming, the food was delicious, the vibe relaxed and laid back. We can't wait to return.

El Hidalguense
Campeche 155
Roma Sur, 06760 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Hours:
Fri - Sun 7am - 6pm

We decided to take a Uber back to our hotel - Uber is so inexpensive in CDMX, we just used UberX. Our trip cost us 39.90 $MX (with 10% tip) - think two bucks...….sheesh

We decided to take a short break, then head on back out to explore Roma.

Stay tuned!

 

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After a short for Smack 'N to open and a couple misfires on when they were actually opening; I finally made it.


It's a nice; tidy shop.

And the folks are very friendly.

I got a smile seeing cans of Your Lemon Powder, an ingredient I use to balance out flavors in my Kelaguen on the counter.

And the nice, what I assume are photos of the owner's family. Really enjoyed that personal touch.

And, of course I ordered what I typically do when first visiting Guamanian restaurants. As I noted way back 2007; one of my coworkers, and sort of a drinking buddy was from Guam. We had a cookout at our friend's house and his Mom was in town. She made Kelaguen and the rest is history......

Here it's on many of the plates, but if you want it to be all Kelguen, you'll find it on "Fan Fav" ($10.95). The Kelaguen is chopped to a medium texture; is quite lemon-forward if you will; not from the Yours Powder, but quite a bit of lemon juice. It was a bit short in the coconut and chili pepper department. In fact, it wasn't spicy at all. I asked about Boonie Peppers and was given a blank look....so am not sure if they have that. It was moist, fairly tender, and perfectly edible. The finadene is less sour than other versions I've had; a bit more on the salty side, and also not very spicy.

The rice was perfect; just moist enough, and great when you hit it with some finadene.

The cabbage salad was basically coleslaw mix with findene on it.

This was not bad; the portion size; especially all the rice was quite generous.

So, Calvin and Daniel decided they wanted to try this stuff. So, I went back like a day later.

And got two plates.

Starting with what you could consider to be the "mix plate"; "Yona Rules". Yes, $21.95 might seem a tad expensive; until you open it and see this.

The kelaguen was still decent, seems like they've got their consistency down. I especially enjoyed the Bunuelos Uhang; the shrimp and corn fritters; which was still hot and crispy when I got to the office. Nice sweetness from the corn; yes, it could use more shrimp, but this was seasoned nicely and was a winnah! The lumpia was crisp, though kind of greasy. The chicken and ribs were very much like what I've gotten at other Guamanian places; on the try side. The ribs were especially tough and lacked flavor. The chicken, while on the dry side, was decently seasoned, and with a dose of finadene was fine.

I also got BBQ Beef - "chebot", they have two sizes of their basic plates at Smack'N; chebot means "fat", while dikike means....well, you can figure it out "small". Of course with three of us sharing I got the "chebot" ($15.95). It was a lot of beef.

The beef, while of the dry side was fairly tender. It did need a bunch of finadene to help it out as it was on the bland side.

Honestly; while the beef and the chicken weren't great, it's still better than what I've had at L&L. Those ribs....well, it would take me some convincing.

The folks here are quite friendly, the portions quite generous. On both visits, the really nice young man, I believe his name is Christian came out to chat with customers. I could see three older women and a man cooking in the kitchen. It's nice to have a decent change of pace in the area. I'll come back for the kelaguen (and the Bunuelos Uhang), I've got to try the empanadas; though it will take some convincing for me to try those ribs again.

Smack’N Guamanian Grill
9506 Miramar Rd
San Diego, CA 92126
Hours:
Tues - Thurs 11am - 8pm
Fri - Sat    11am - 10pm

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A couple of revisits for a busy Monday

HiroNori Craft Ramen:

I had meetings in the Hillcrest area; which conveniently finished at 1130. Sometimes things just work our right. I had wanted to revisit HiroNori since my first couple of visits in March. I was seated at the counter by one of the cheerful staff and of course I ordered the Shoyu Ramen, which I really enjoyed during a previous visit. I guess I really liked the flavor of barrel aged shoyu used for the tare.

So, how would it fare four months later?

The noodles were every bit as good a on my previous visits, with a meaty chew, the chashu tender and "porky", the ajitama was warm and seasoned well. The menma; bamboo shoots were too cold though. The broth was interesting; still good, the tongue feel was excellent for shoyu ramen; still it didn't have that level of complexity; the lightly sweet-umami I enjoyed previously. It was also a bit too salty this time around.

Don't get me wrong; this is still my second favorite ramen in San Diego. But, having had this before, I expect some consistency and this wasn't quite as good as what I'd had previously.

HiroNori Craft Ramen
3803 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92103 
Open Daily 1130am - 9pm

Sushi Yaro:

Well, I hadn't been to Sushi Yaro since our office moved to the UTC area. First off, Sammy stopped doing lunch service, second, well life had just been too busy.

So, a few weeks back, wondering how the place was doing, I decided to head on over.

And ordered my typical sashimi; which delivered. I especially loved the engawa.

I know, you go into Yaro and see all the really "interesting" rolls.....which is not my thing. But they always have some good fish on hand for old fogies like me.

This hit the spot!

And, as a super bonus, my good friends Candice and Quanito dropped by for some beer as well! Just like old times. I've missed you my friends!

Sushi Yaro
7905 Engineer Road
San Diego, CA 92111

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I'm quite a creature of habit; I get into work at around the same time each day, I do things on specific days, like for instance, just about every Sunday, I head off to Costco to fill up my tank. The Missus finds it quite interesting that I've got all these habits and rituals; but it doesn't affect me when we travel.

Anyway, a couple of weeks back, I passed the rather newish location of West Bean Coffee Roasters. The sign mentioned "breakfast" and I recalled CC's post on the Banker Hill location from a couple of years ago. So, I decided to drop by for a cup of coffee and after reading the menu a breakfast sandwich.

The spot used to be Red Card Café which closed at the end of October back in 2017.

The seating area is spacious and the outdoor seating from the days of RCC is still in place.

I decided on the Breakfast Sandwich #2 on the menu and feeling a bit hungry added on the sausage patty. I did ask to see if they'd make the eggs easy over; but I guess it's just too much to ask a Barista to make runny eggs.

This was serviceable sandwich; I enjoyed the brioche roll as it wasn't too sweet and almost fluffy. The sausage patty was standard issue; for some reason the cheddar cheese seemed really mild. I really would have enjoyed a nice, runny egg on this.

Not terrible; somewhat corporate in appearance; but I'd rather spend my money here than at one of the chains in the area.

So, today was of course Sunday. And I headed off to fill up my tank.

On the way down South on Morena, headed to start all of my Sunday shopping, I felt in need of some caffeine and perhaps some breakfast. So, I stopped by West Bean again.

I went with the cold brew; which seemed a bit light and non-descript. I certainly prefer the cold brew from Birdrock.

This time I went with "Breakfast Sandwich #1". Without adding any other protein to the sandwich.

I actually enjoyed this.

The Chipotle mayo added a nice bit of "zip", the peppery and slightly bitter arugula did well with the mayo, the mild sweetness of the roll, and the acidity of the tomato. And yes; I'd prefer a runny egg.....but I didn't dwell on that too much.

Pretty good sandwich. Very nice folks. And while this won't become a "ritual"; I'll probably stop by again since I drive past the place every week.

The WestBean Coffee Roasters
4140 Morena Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92117
Hours:
Daily 7am - 2pm
Breakfast served 7am - 1pm

 

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As we were finishing up dinner at Maximo Bistrot; I asked the Missus if She wanted dessert. She said "yes", but not from Maximo. The Missus had something else in mind for "dessert". As we walked out of the restaurant, She told me, "I want tacos for dessert"! Tacos? Well, ok then, I had a place just a few blocks away that was still open in mind. Taqueria Orinoco.

There was already a line forming when we arrived at the taco shop right on busy Avenida Insurgentes.

The line moved fairly quickly and we got up to the counter to order in like 15 minutes or so.

From here, you place your order, are given a number if you are eating in, and if the place is buzzing like on this evening, you wait until a table is ready.

And the place was definitely hopping on this evening.

The tacos here are Monterrey style; that would be Northern....so "trompo" is similar to Al Pastor. We ordered one each of the three on the menu. I think what the Missus enjoyed the most were the salsas; ranging from mild to a really nice and tangy cilantro, to a totally scalding Piquin, which I first ran into during my trip to Paredoncito. The Missus really loved it; but paid the price!

The tres tacos came on a metal tray with griddled onions and really good "smashed" potatoes, basically cooked twice.....my favorite part of the meal.

Our favorite taco was the chicharron, slightly crunchy outside, really fatty, though perhaps a bit on the dry side. The res was dry, chewy, and pretty bland. The trompo, was like Al Pastor, but not nearly as sweet. The tortillas were really good, pliable, but up to the task of enrobing the fillings without breaking. The corn flavor was good and straight-forward.

And while these are considered to be on the expensive side, with water this still came out to just over five bucks US.

As we left there was a line to the end of the block...….

Taqueria Orinoco
Avenida Insurgentes Sur 253, Roma Norte
06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Hours
Sun - Wed  Noon - 1am
Thurs          Noon - 3am
Fri - Sat      Noon - 5am

Needless to say; we were pretty stuffed, and we rolled on back to where we were staying. I slept like a baby, at least until the birds started chirping in the morning. Still, we both fell back asleep after that.

There really wasn't any reason to get up early, the Missus had only one thing on the agenda for the day. We finally rose around 8 and left the hotel soon thereafter.

La Condesa is quite charming. I wish I took more photos. The area is known for murals; like this one across the street from where we were staying.

The neighborhood is quite charming.

And along with "people watching"; there were two things we especially loved checking out.

The squirrels doing the "tightrope walk" on powerlines to get from tree to tree.

And the dogs.....and some of the dog walkers who did a pretty amazing job.

We were really enjoying ourselves...….

Thanks for stopping by!

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*** Warning - this a is a fairly long and wordy post. 

A few weeks before leaving for Budapest, I was already planning our fall/winter trip....the Missus made a request; She wanted something "in between". Waiting those 4-5 months just wasn't going to cut it for Her. So, I went ahead and made plans for two "long weekend" trips.

We'd been trying to make time for CDMX for a couple of years, but could just never find the time. The time was right to finally make that trip. The planning was quick, since it was a mere two months in advance, we weren't able to make reservations for Pujol, but with the help of one of Frankie's favorite Aunties "Alle", who has family in CDMX and usually goes every year, we got some good info.

We decided to fly out of Tijuana Airport using CBX. There were direct flights to Mexico City and business class was about half the price as flying out of San Diego or LAX. Alle, who took care of Frankie, dropped us off at the CBX facility. For some reason I wasn't able to buy the CBX tickets online in advance; though I did complete our FMM forms ahead of time, which did save us a few minutes. Purchasing the round-trip Cross Border Express tickets only took ten minutes. The rest of it....well, it took us nearly 90 minutes to get through Immigration! Crazy. Still, we'd budgeted more than enough time and easily made our flight. We had airport transfer set-up so we basically exited the plane, walked right out to the terminal, to our waiting car, and straight into Mexico City traffic. Yeeesh…..  Our guesthouse was but 8 miles from the airport, but it took 45 minutes to get there!

Alle had recommended that we stay in La Condesa, which turned out to be the perfect place after a busy day of checking out the city. The tree lined streets, restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, and relaxed vibe, along with the really warm and friendly folks made our stay wonderful. The location was excellent; close to where the Missus wanted to visit on our first day, and since we do walk a bit; an easy enough walk to the Centro Historical.....also, when we got tired; Uber in CDMX is super cheap, safe, reliable, and all the drivers we had were very friendly.

We stayed at the Casa Condesa Amatlan 84, a very discreet, comfortable, location. The service was wonderful.

We arrived at the hotel, freshened up a bit. Casa Condesa was really good about making sure you always had drinking water and the folks working there we so very helpful and friendly.

We headed out just to walk around the area. We were a bit out of sorts at first since the streets aren't quite in a grid, there are diagonals, parallel street with different names, roundabouts, and all kinds of stuff. The streetlights are often hard to see; there aren't cross signals at many intersections; so you kind of have to check the lights in the middle of the intersection; and just kinda go with the flow.

In need of a break; it was also a bit humid and warm, we found a little café named Chiquitito Café on Alfonso Reyes and decided to take a break for a couple of cold brews. Which ran us 45 Pesos; think about $2.35 US!

It was a bit on the weak side; but the guys working here ere very friendly and actually spoke English to us, and the coffee was nice and chilled. And it was a nice little break.

It was also fun watching the guy selling cell phone cases come on over and two of the guys working in the coffee shop come on out to shop!

In fact, one of the guys actually bought a case! Go figure.

While we weren't particularly impressed with the cold brew; this was a nice introduction to the friendliness of the folks in CDMX and how wonderfully social they are.

Chiquitito Café
Alfonso Reyes 232
06100 Cuauhtémoc, CDMX, Mexico

I had managed to make dinner reservations at the highly regarded Maximo Bistrot Local, considered to be one of the top restaurants in CDMX and Latin America. We had intended to walk; after all it was only a mile-and-a-quarter away, a nice easy walk, but as we were halfway down Vicente Suarez, the lightning and thunder started, then it came down in buckets. It was an amazing, and from what I got to understand from the locals, very typical summer thunder storm. Our umbrellas were not up to the task, so we sought cover and I requested an Uber which promptly cancelled when it was five minutes away. I then called the restaurant who promised to hold our table until 730; our reservations were for 7pm, and it was nearly 650 by now. Our next Uber arrived a few minutes later and we were on our way; only to get to basically a standstill about a quarter mile away from the restaurant. We'd basically gone less than a mile in 20 minutes! By now the storm had passed and the skies were clear. We thanked our driver and walked the last quarter mile. Getting to Maximo right at 730pm! Crazy....

Anyway, we were seated outside; things were really nice and pleasant after the deluge. It was time for dinner...but first, a well earned cocktail!

I went with the Mescalina de Fresca y Chile de Arbol.

This was pretty mild in the Mezcal department; but the combination of salty-heat, and orange made this quite refreshing.

The Missus got the Julep 16.

Which was also on the mild side.

While we were looking over the menus, a party of two gentlemen left. One of them, by the name of Jorge came on over, and very nicely made some recommendations! Apparently, he's a regular. He'd tell us what not to order ("this is not very good.....but don't tell the chef, ok?") and what his favorites on the menu were. We'd have folks engaging us this way during our entire trip. It just made things so much more fun!

I'll try to include prices as I remember them. To figure out the conversion to US $ at this moment in time; divide by twenty - i.e. $1.04/US = 20$ MXN.

Things started out with an Eggplant dip, smokey, perhaps a bit too salty, with an amazing bread. Perhaps among the best I've had; the crust so crusty and crunchy, the interior soft and fluffly, with just the perfect "chew".

We started with the Pacific Scallops (290 $MXN); which were served on a tostada.

We loved the herbs on this; the scallops weren't as sweet as I expected though it was texturally perfect. The sauce was apparently made with Chicatanas, flying ants, which seemed to add a bit of earthiness to the dish according to my tastebuds. The crunch of the tostada completed the dish.

Next up, the Octopus Ceviche (230 $MXN).

The octopus was  amazingly tender; I'm thinking sous vide? The liquid provided had a combination of lime and tomato and was a bit too acidic for us....and you're talking to folks who love Peruvian Cebiche! The liquid kind of over-powered all the flavors and the wonderfully smooth avocado cream was overwhelmed. The blue corn tostadas had a wonderful corn flavor and texture to them.

Things started getting from decent to great when the next item arrived. We'd ordered the Porcini Mushroom Soup (175 $ MXN). I made Porcini Mushroom Soup at least two dozen times this winter so I wanted to see how this compared to what I make.

While a bit milder in overall mushroom flavor; you couldn't beat the velvet texture of this soup, which was amazing. I also loved (and learned) the toasted breadcrumbs which added a wonderful crunchy-nutty contrast to the dish. It's something I'm going to incorporate into my soup when I start making it during the fall! Very nice.

Undoubtedly, the best dish of the night, and one of the top three of the trip, was the Roasted Quail stuffed with Veal and Foie Gras (450 $MXN).

This was definitely an OH-EM-GEE dish. The quail was perhaps the most tender and moist I've ever had. Even the usual rubbery legs were so very soft and juicy. Paired with a moist, rich, and decadent veal and foie gras pate, this was simply heaven. Mild rich sweet-liveriness just went so well with the mildly gamey quail. And that texture...….

Jorge had recommended the quail and also the Flat Iron Steak (450 $MXN), something that I'd usually not order.

The beef was fork tender, cooked a perfectly medium rare, and had that wonderful, complex, mild gamey-pasture flavor to it. The "mole de olla" sauce had a pleasant, complex, mild sweetness to it. And the spinach and cheese sauce was so delicious as well.

The pacing was a bit off; the service professional, but a bit stiff and the least friendly of all of our meals in CDMX.

We enjoyed sitting outside. After the storm passed it became a beautiful night.

I'm not sure we'd dine here again....but man; perhaps that quail will call us back?

Maximo Bistrot Local
Tonalá 133, Roma
06700 Cuauhtemoc, CDMX, Mexico

Funny thing, when I asked he Missus about dessert, She said "no, there's something else I want....."

Stay Tuned!

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mmm-yoso!!! by Kirk K - 1w ago

A few months back, I headed on over to Bann, only to find out they had closed (they've moved to the new H Mart on Balboa). I took a quick glance across Black Mountain Road and noticed the "Afghan Cuisine" sign. The name of the place; Baba Kabob.

It had been ages since I'd had Afghan food; so I decided to pick up some lunch to take back to the office.

The restaurant is set-up in the "fast-casual" style. You order at the counter, etc, etc.

It was clean; fairly quiet for 1130, and a very nice young man was manning the counter.

The menu is simple and to the point; though you can do things like make your entrée "protein style" and they'll add a couple of sunny side up eggs to your kebab.....tempting, but I figured it would just be too much food for lunch.

I ordered a Chapli Kebab ($9.99); something I hadn't had in ages.

The beef patty was thin and nicely griddled; I enjoyed the onions, but some of it was tough and stringy. The seasoning was a bit milder than I expected and this was a bit on the dry side. On the other hand; as usual, I loved the tangy, slightly spicy green chatni; which I would probably eat on cardboard and enjoy.

The portion of rice was huge, but on the dry side, not very fragrant, and fairly bland....I guess I'd been wishing for something along the lines of Kabuli Pulao; but this was fairly plain. As was the routine green salad.

It was not terrible by any means, the service was nice and the food cooked to order, but I wasn't motivated to revisit right away.

A few weeks later; I heard that Smack'N Guamanian Grill had opened. So that following Monday, after checking out their website for hours I headed over. They were however closed (not to worry; if you follow my Flickr account you know we eventually made it), I needed a place to grab lunch. The easy choice again was Baba Kabob.

This time around; there was an older gentleman working....he did everything....very efficiently.

This time around I ordered two items; one for me and one to share with the folks back in the office.

I decided to go with the Chicken Kabob ($9.99).

And I was quite pleasantly surprised. The white meat chicken was indeed on the drier side, but the marinade had done a good job of giving it a really pleasant salty-acidity. It was also nicely seasoned and even had a mild smokiness to boot.

The rice this time around was perfectly cooked, with just enough chew to it, fragrant, and it had decent buttery-salty-savory tones. The amount of rice was again very generous.

Curious, I also ordered the "house special", the Gandana Bolani ($9.99). I was pleased to watch the gentleman roll out the dough and basically make it to order.

And while I think that it could have been perhaps a bit more crisp; the flatbread did have a slight crispness, was nicely seasoned, with a pleasant pull, and not greasy in the least. This almost reminded me of a more pungent, slightly spicy Cong You Bing (葱油饼), the Chinese Scallion "Pancake".

I had one piece and shared with the rest of the folks; who seemed to enjoy it.

Not bad at all.

So, while not perfect, what I've had from Baba Kabob has been decent at the least. The food on my second visit was much better than what I had on my first. Service was very friendly during both visit. So, I guess while Baba Kabob may not be my first choice of places in the area, it's probably a good "plan B".

Baba Kabob
9474 Black Mountain Rd.
San Diego, CA 92126
Hours:
Mon - Thurs 11am - 9pm
Fri - Sat   11am - 10pm
Sunday      11am - 8pm

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Even though we'd been back "home" from our last trip for just a few weeks....that "bug", that desire....the wanderlust hit us. We decided to take a trip over the weekend to a place we'd had on our "list" for a while. And enjoyed it more than we'd thought we would.

From the history and sights....

From the rather Bohemian neighborhoods to the grand wide streets....

And the history......


The colors.....

It was all amazing.

As was just taking a step back.....and looking at what was happening around you.


And of course the food.....

From the upscale.....



To the "classic".....

To the everyday.....


There was nothing that we thought of as mediocre....a very amazing thing; at least for us.

To say we ate well is an understatement.

And yet, even beyond the food, the one thing that stays with us is the warmth and kindness of the people.....

I realize that I'm soooooo way behind on our travel posts, while trying to keep up here at home. I do appreciate your visits!

Thanks for stopping by!

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mmm-yoso!!! is a food-centric blog.  Today's short post is written by Cathy.

There was a need to stop at Trader Joe's and The Mister and I knew about this location for several reasons, having seen the signage on the corner multiple times over the years.  We had to get to the parking lot and saw a few other interesting businesses, including Fresh Brothers, so we stopped for a quick lunch. 

 This small chain, with 20 stores in Southern California (this is the only one in San Diego) started in 2008 (San Diego store opened in October 2016). Modern design with indoor and outdoor seating.  A fairly basic menu- pizzas, salad, wings, knots and sliders.  Bread in different forms. 
We ordered 'basics' for this first time meal.  The antipasto salad ($11) sounded good.  This is very large.  The bowl is deep, the toppings are layered within.  Critterio brand salami, smoked ham, mozzarella bits, green and black olives, grape tomatoes, pepperoni, red onion, Romaine lettuce.  The fresh made House Italian dressing was a great surprise- it was not too vinegary and was really fresh tasting.  
An order of three knots ($4) seemed like it would be complimentary to the salad.  Oh my, they were.  A handmade dough twisted into knot shapes, fresh baked and tossed with butter, Parmesan and chunks of garlic.  The dough was crisp on the exterior with softly layered interior.  Slightly sweet, these are addictive. The side of pizza sauce wasn't needed, but tasting it after eating half of a knot was a pleasant change.  Fresh tomatoes with a light addition of herbs (oregano was predominant; not really garlic at all). 
We decided to share a personal size cheese pizza ($7).  This was just right, sauce and cheese to the edge, a light, crispy but not too thin crust and a lot of melted, gooey mozzarella.

A nice little lunch.  Now that we've studied the menu, we will return.  (You can get any salad with a one topping personal pizza for $12.  That and some baked wings sounds like a nice meal.)

Fresh Brothers 5950 Village Way Ste 103 San Diego, CA 92130   website

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