Oh food trucks…how I love thee. Let me count the ways that I love you:
Your food is cooked fresh to order.
You provide me good food without any unnecessary frills.
Most of the time you have me eating with my hands.
You satisfy my hunger and my soul.
Oh food trucks…thank you for completing my eating life in San Diego.
The food truck mania is not just some passing phase people. It is a staple that San Diego has been long behind on and over the last 5 years, that side of the business has significantly grown. One of the oldest food trucks in San Diego who also participated in the Food Network Great Food Truck Race – Devlicious, has been serving our great town for awhile now. Their signature item is the Lobster Grilled Cheese sandwich. So when a coworker and I found them parked just outside our office, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try it for myself:
The lobster grilled cheese comes with a side salad with balsamic vinegar. The sandwich itself: butter poached lobster with melted jack and cheddar cheese and caramelized onions on sourdough.
It is a rich and delicious sandwich. The cheese melted perfectly, nestling in the sweet onions and lobster itself all on two pieces of crispy, fresh bread. I think if it was any other side, it would have been just too much for me to handle, but because it was a salad, it helped bring down the richness. As for the lobster you may be wondering – fresh, soft, sweet, and was not overshadowed in the least. And they gave you a good amount of lobster for the price of $12.
People may think this is “outrageously” expensive, yet a restaurant would have charged you $16-$18, and some places could get away with even charging up to $20 for this exact sandwich portion. Think about it people, how much would it cost you at a restaurant? These trucks have to not only pay for the food supply itself, but even with their bare minimum operations, there are still costs to run a food truck. Have you not seen the show itself? You need to charge every dish to cover your cost of food, overhead (eg. wages, truck maintenance), and still make a profit from every sale.
So come on San Diego! Go out there and support your local food trucks!!! There’s a great website that shows you all the food truck gatherings throughout San Diego called Curbside Bites and their calendar lists out everything. Granted, always check with the truck’s twitter or webpage for any updates on their locations.
Throughout San Diego County (and sometimes beyond)
As far as I’m concerned, NYC is pretty much my home away from home when it comes to woes of my stomach. This city always offers us so much and even after a hard hit to the locals here the past week and still in a tough spot for many.
Despite all the mounting reasons why it would be better for a postponement of a department training, we continued. To make the best I could for my time in the city, I still tried to give my business to the proprietors of the city. This evening, a group of 8 hungry, hungry hippos (yes, it’s a MEGA version of the game) made its way down to East Village for Ssam Bar.
The last time I was at this Momofuku establishment was back in March, but it left a specific memory for myself – we need more people to eat! Last time, it was only my friend KF and myself. We did our fair share of sampling David Chang’s signature dishes, plus staff favorites. This time, we had more than enough mouths to sample even more!
This was a cold, small dish of noodles that was dressed in what seemed like some sort of sesame sauce. The roe added the little salt and the hearts of palm seem to freshen up my bite. It was good, but not stellar.
Wow….the pig ear was fried super crispy and seasoned so well that I thought I was eating chips! If you weren’t told you were eating pig ears, you could easily pass this for fried jerky. Yums!
This pretty much explains itself: kimchi-ed apples with bacon and arugula. This is served with a maple yogurt that cuts the pickled apples. The reason I ordered this dish for the table was because I remember this dish being the big surprise from my first visit. It was unexpected in how much I liked it!
Yes…we had a LOT of the bun appetizers (actually we ordered all of them). Everyone was floored at how good the steamed and bbq buns were. Seems like the consensus at the table was that the bbq buns were the favorite of them all. I personally had a gripe this time about the steam buns – the bread itself was too dry and just made me sad! The buns used for the bbq version were nice and soft and fluffy. Why?!?! As for the lobster roll…it’s nothing special at all. I would suggest skipping this one and go else where if the craving is lobster roll.
I didn’t get to try the quail itself, but my colleagues seem to really like it. One even said, “I wasn’t expecting anything and it is better than I thought it would be.” I did try the spaghetti squash that was coated with what tasted like curry and it was good.
This was the dish that I would say, should be the signature entree of the restaurant. It was just as good as the first time – spicy, tangy, savory, cripsy, chewy, meaty, crunchy. There is no way I was going to split one order with 7 other people, so I insisted on ordering 2 of them! Everyone was loving this dish as well and diving into them.
O.M.G…this dish was MY highlight of the evening. During my first visit, KF and I saw people ordering the octopus and it looked soooo good. That’s why this time, I was determined to get it!! Gee willikers batman! That is a darn good plate of octopus!! I mean…it was cooked perfectly that this was one of two times I’ve ever had octopus in my life when it was NOT chewy (like rubber). One thing I did have an issue with this was that it was overly salted. Other than that, give. me. MOAR!!!!
After two visits during different times of the year, I found Ssam Bar to be addicting and consistent (more or less….fix that dry bun issue!). The staff is attentive but not overly bearing and even took the time to talk to one of our colleagues because she wanted to modify an overly strong drink. Would I be back? Heck. YES.
Ssam Bar | momofuku
207 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10003
Ok, so I don’t normally track up to the San Marcos area for food. Or at all since it is never “on my way” to anything! However, my coworker introduced me to a place up in San Marcos about three weeks ago and my world has been forever changed. (And the realization dawned on me that San Marcos is actually NOT that far away from our office in Rancho Bernardo!)
CB started talking about getting Philly cheesesteaks one day and that got me really hungry. Then he proceeded to tell me the name of the restaurant – Philly Frank’s. Of course, the moment he gave me the name of the restaurant, I went hunting for the place online to see if it was worth my saliva (because I was drooling already at the thought of it). Upon browsing through Yelp’s comments, reviews, and the pictures, I was completely sold!
Since I don’t eat beef, the only “Philly cheesesteak” that I’m familiar with is of the chicken variety. There were good reviews for Philly Frank’s chicken variety and hence, there was an immediate need to make a lunch trip up. Fortunately, for us, the managers were all gone for training during the week and so, it was time to schedule a “long” lunch!
There were four of us who made the trip that one fateful afternoon – CB (the culprit), PY, XP, and myself. Between the four of us, we ordered the following: Cheese Steak, The Works (with peppers, mushrooms, and onions) – Beef (3), and The Work (with everything) – Chicken, two orders of seasoned fries and an order of the onion rings.
Needless to say, we had a LOT of food for the four of us that afternoon. We thought that we could tackle it without any problems-no that is actually a lie. Once we saw everything in front of us, we knew it would be a challenge that we had willingly accepted!
Unfortunately, I forgot to take an aerial shot of the table, but trust me, put all those sandwiches together and our sides and you’ll get the idea. And by the end, I ended up eating more than 80% of the fries, some of the onion rings, and half of my sandwich. There were definitely some food coma issues for the four of us upon our return to the office. Was it all worth it? HECK YES!!!!
It was so worthwhile, that CB and I made another trip last week with three other coworkers – MW, MB and RC. They too understood why we would risk falling asleep during work hours for this sandwich! Results were just the same as the first time – lots of food, happy eaters, and very tired workers.
Though the sad ending for our second trip, my leftover half of the sandwich was accidently left at the office fridge. It was over the weekend, but there were no notices that the fridge was going to be cleaned out, which is done every now and then. I come back to work on Monday morning, and was going to put my side salad I brought from home to eat with the sandwich, only to find my sandwich was GONE. Seriously, I don’t get people who take other people’s food! Sadly, that meant that I didn’t have the protein I needed for lunch that day and was starving soon after lunch.
This just means that I need to make another trip up to Philly Frank’s so I can have my other half of the sandwich!
151 South Rancho Santa Fe Road
San Marcos, CA 92069
Seemingly appropriate given the holidays are in full swing right now! It has been the first time in the last three years, that I have truly felt the holidays. The past three years had been so ridiculously hectic due to my old job, that I rarely got into that holiday spirit. I have to be honest, I think my spirit was plainly exhausted and maybe even a little jaded. The work before was not only mentally draining, but physically and most of all – emotionally draining, that when it was time to take some “time off”, all I wanted was to sleep.
This year however, it is totally a different story! I can FEEL the holidays growing in my bones and I am LOVING IT!! 🙂
Anyways, the reason why I missed last Sunday’s post was because I was celebrating with friends and family all weekend long. “For what?” You may ask. Well, it was for my birthday! Another year older, maybe another year wiser? Who knows, but I looked back and thought to myself, “Man…what a f***ing year!”
To celebrate with my family, we had a very nice dinner at The Red Door in Mission Hills.
The restaurant is small and cozy. The decor very much a wine country setup and the main dining room has a full wine rack wall. Dim lighting really sets the mood for an intimate evening. I can imagine that during the mornings and afternoons, it is bright and cheery and perfect for a nice, cozy get together.
Now that is enough about the restaurant, let’s get to the real matter of things: the food!
I do believe appetizers are suppose to wet your appetite for the main course, but the first course was my absolute favorite part of the meal. The cornbread muffins are made to order, so the waiter will warn you it takes about 15 minutes for the prep. Trust me – it’s worth it. The cornbread is light, fluffy even, with a touch of creaminess from the white cheddar. The muffins also come with a honey-rosemary butter which just helps the muffin to melt more in your mouth.
Then comes the Shrimp Creole in a white wine and cream sauce, spiced with the flavors of the “Big Easy”. Though the portion size is small, the flavors are HUGE!!! A thick tomato sauce filled with smokey, spicy, tang goodness. I used the fried polenta to mop up more of the sauce, then when there was no more polenta, the cornbread went so well with it. Man…this place knows how to start off a good meal.
The entrees on the other hand…was not memorable. The scallops were nothing extraordinary. The Schnitzel was not quite what I knew Schnitzel to be (more like fried pork chops to me). CP’s burger though looked juicy enough. My sister’s vegetable plate was as advertised and she liked it. And the roulade was dry…=\.
I feel like the appetizers set my expectations higher than it should have been because the delivery was there in the beginning! Yet, Red Door’s entrees barely raised above an “inside voice” level. The appetizers would be like an opera singer – belting out beautiful notes. Perhaps the encore would help save a poorly performing middle?
Well…how should I start off? The brownie was probably the winner of the two. It was a DENSE chocolate brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, drenched in fudge. Definitely quite delicious. I had a bite and loved it. The cobbler on the other hand…it was nothing specially about it. I’ve had much better cobblers and given that my ice cream was FROZEN solid turned me completely off. One of two, 50/50, those aren’t bad odds at all. I’ll take that any day!
Red Door is definitely worth a revisit, with different orders. I would stick with my appetizer choices, but I would try something else on the menu for my entree. Would I recommend this restaurant? Yes – I would just stay away from the chicken and scallops…you can get much better elsewhere.
The Red Door Restaurant & Wine Bar
741 West Washington St
San Diego, CA 92103
After a LONG week of eating in Atlanta, we were all pretty worn down. We were all just very tired and I don’t think we fully digested the first week’s food from our stomachs. Hence, week 2 was much “lighter”…though the highlight of week 2 was on Monday when we visited:
South City Kitchen
After this basket…I strongly believe ALL restaurants should only serve (especially to me) one of the 3 options for a “bread basket”:
- Cornbread and/or biscuits
- Popovers (see Island Prime post)
- In-house made herb bread
And all these options must be FRESHLY MADE and served WARM! Delighted Palate has spoken!
In the words of my colleagues, “The smoke flavor is intense! I don’t know how they got this much smoke flavor into this…I still have the smokey flavor in my mouth after eating!” In other words, this was one kicka** pork chop.
Though this was not my entree, I had wish I had a second stomach so that I could have ordered this as my second entree!!! This was one of the most flavorful, juiciest, piece of fried chicken I had ever tasted. The chicken, which you can see is primarily breast meat, was so tender and juicy that it boggled all of our minds! I’ll never look at a fried chicken the same ever again (sadly :(…).
Ok, there is no doubt that South City Kitchen knows how to smoke their food. This shrimp and grits was heightened by the tomato gravy to ridiculous levels. The gravy was smooth, tangy, spicy, and smoky. I don’t know how they did it and the only think I could think of was one of two possibilities:
- They intense, smoked the tomatoes before pureeing them for the gravy, or
- They add liquid smoke into the gravy
One way or another, I want this gravy slathered all over everything I eat now! The pieces of tasso ham added saltiness perfectly to each bite, and the shrimps were cooked just right. The grits? Well my friends, they made one smooooth vehicle for all the awesomeness that I had just ranted about.
Let’s just say if there was one overall theme to each dessert at SCK – they are sinfully rich and packed with flavors as advertised.
We all walked out of that restaurant with painfully full tummies, and despite the groans and insistence that we will NEVER eat like that again, we were all very, very happy customers.
As for the rest of the week? We revisited Fat Matt’s, then the next two days, we decided that we all needed a break from the eat-a-thon and truly attempted to eat “moderately” again. Thus, I am sad to report – SCK was the true encore of our ATL exploration.
I would just like to thank Atlanta for bringing out the fatties in us, and making us all a little softer, a little rounder, and a lot more of a nightmare for physical check-up at the doctor’s.
Delighted Palate & Crew
(See Week 1’s post here)
South City Kitchen
1144 Crescent Ave, Atlanta, Ga 30309
1675 Cumberland Pkwy, Smyrna, Ga 30080