Another institution that has been in San Diego for years, but I never made it to since I don’t have the right group of people to go with. However, when a group of friends whom I met during my previous job at the client wanted to go get lunch. The opportunity came up and I suggested Dede’s Teajuice City!
The restaurant is small, but still a decent size yet it is in one of the many super small strip mall all over Kearny Mesa. At this point, I think I’m just used to it that I don’t even complain about it anymore. Anyway, I was there specifically for some delicious food and I was not going to be denied of it!
Dede’s Special Cooked Baby Ribs were good, but I wish there was more meat! I’m not one to eat off the bone and when I do, I expect there to be meat! Lots and lots of meat!
The Cumin Lamb that my friends told me was delicious. It smelled great! If it really tastes as good as it smelled, then I wish I did eat lamb….*sigh*
The Spicy Sichuan Eggplant a dish that I’m just so familiar with and it does makes me think of home. I can’t ever reject eggplant, mmmm….purple….spicy purple!
The dish that I really wanted to have that day was the Boiled Fish Hot Pot. Basically fried fish fillets with tons of peppers and potatoes. I have an obsession for spicy foods and there is no end to it and this little pot is like gold for me. Spicy, but still flavorful and the fish with its crispy outer layer and moist, tender flesh interior….mmm, perfection!
We had several other dishes to go along side with our main stars, but as they were coming out with one dish after another, we kept eating. The full meal included:
Dan Dan Noodles, which were enjoyed by the whole table. It’s spicy here too and I have no complaints about that! Dan Dan Noodles was one of those dishes that I learned to fall in love with as I grew older, whereas it was a favorite of my Dad’s.
We also had an order of pan fried dumplings (it was pork filled) and scallion pancakes because hey! Why the freak not?! We were all grown adults with adult appetites! LET US FEAST!
…..and somewhere in the middle of feasting, I had to take an aerial shot of our table:
I am quite proud of our ability to consume and I think we could do better next time by ordering more food. I love Dede’s since it’s the food that I’m most familiar with and feel at home with. Definitely returning to Dede’s for more meals!
Dede’s Teajuice City
4647 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111
Then I’ll give you some! 🙂
How would it be possible for me to not have one meal which would include Dim Sum while in Hong Kong? That would just not do! Not to mention my fellow foodies would never let me hear the end of it. Even though I have been Dim Sum-ed out over the years, I knew I had to try my hand at least one Dim Sum parlor during my short time in the city that comes up with the truly spectacular mini dishes.
We had our first Dim Sum lunch with my Mom’s older sister, who took us to a restaurant in a huge shopping mall. Do I remember what the place was called or even where it was near? Sadly I do not, but what do have are my glorious pictures to show you the delicious things we ate.
On the left, we have a vegetarian rice noodle roll. There was an assortment of vegetables in the rice noodles and although I prefer the meat variety, the rice noodle skin was superb. Soft, tender, smooth, and thin…mmmm. On the right are BBQ pork pineapple buns. They’re called pineapple buns because of the cracked sugary topping of the bread (or at least that’s how I’ve always associated it). The sweet and salty pork was perfect – little fat, glazed just enough, and tasted fresh (*gasp!*). Man…I don’t really recall ever having any type of pork bun tasting so delicious. And oh! The plate up at the top left is more of that delicious BBQ pork for the bowls of noodles below.
Going clockwise from the top left: “micro-pulled noodles” (x2) and “thin-pulled noodles”. These noodles were ordered upon Dad’s request for them, but when I tried each type, I wasn’t impressed. Thus, I moved on with my eating!
Top left: chiu-chow fun guo – my Dad’s favorite dim sum dish. I took a bite and found nothing special from the usual.
Next, the ma lai gou but in the rolled version (top right), which is A MILLION TIMES BETTER! We used to have this version of the traditional ma lai gou in San Diego, but for whatever reason (cost according to my Dad) they discontinued it. Even in the LA dim sum places we’ve been to, they don’t make it. Soft, moist, and the sweet custard between the rolled layers add another level of decadence that is not usually there.
The bottom plate is what I call: genius. Delicious genius to be exact. Cubed, pan-fried radish cakes, stir fried with onion, pepper, celery, and TONS of garlic. Add a dash of hot chili oil and we had a terrible time of stopping ourselves from gorging senselessly at this dish. By far, it was the most flavorful and unique dish we had that day. And hands down, my favorite at that table.
This was the Szechuan spicy wonton. Do not let the red color deceive you! This was hardly spicy, heck! It was actually SWEET! Much to my great disappointment. I was expecting to be taken to that endorphin-filled rush that one gets from eating foods so spicy that you’re sweating after one bite. Nope…instead, I got a really delicious and well crafted wonton that had a slightly sweet sauce with it. Sigh…
Ok…did this meal help change my mind on Dim Sum? Yes and no…because I know that I could never find something of this level in the states. I have friends and family who go wide and far for good Dim Sum, but they all have told me the same thing over and over again: nothing can compare to Dim Sum in Hong Kong. The true masters of the art of Dim Sum resides in Hong Kong. Whether it be in a fancy, sit-down, air-conditioned restaurant, to a side street vendor. The good stuff is overseas and I am glad I partake in this food journey to something I knew, yet knew nothing about.
My first time in New York was a complete culture shock and I just didn’t have enough time to do everything a tourist does in the city, PLUS touring all the eateries. However, my second trip to the city was just one of two things to do: go to work and eat. Guess what I liked doing more?
I must say though, one down side for a foodie in such a huge city with so many options for meals and snacks, is the hard question: what should I eat?!
So again…I will let my pictures do all the talking :):
Momofuku: má pêche
15 west 56th street
new york, ny 10019
377 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013
357 6th Ave
New York, NY 10079
Rice To Riches
37 Spring Street
New York, NY 10012
88 10th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
International locations and limited locations within US
Wafels & Dinges Truck (and Mini too)
Various locations in Manhattan (dependent on day and time)
Tasty Dumpling Inc
54 Mulberry St # E
New York, NY 10013
It was a whirl wind of a week of training and food! My favorites this time?…
- Locanda Verde – this restaurant really surprised me by the quality of food and the simple, yet dazzling flavors. This restaurant will be a must visit here on out whenever I find myself in the City!
- Rice to Riches – I now understand all the rave about this place…it’s freaking delicious (and I used to make rice pudding by the quarts).
- Morimoto – the toro tartare of course…the congee that came with the braised pork was soaked with pork goodness, amazing.
- Tasty Dumplings – um…duh, dumpling filling were great, but needed more to the ratio of wrapper. Also, their dumpling wrapping was too thick in my opinion.
I will be back New York! I love you and the whole city’s talent for creating some of the best morsels!
To continue and wrap up the last segment of the Valentine’s Day weekend with CP, on the morning of the end of our weekend in Vegas, I had planned for us to go to my new favorite restaurant in Vegas: MoZen Bistro.
The restaurant is tucked in the elegant Mandarin Oriental Hotel and getting there was a little bit a discovery. However, since I have been to the restaurant it was not so hard to get to the second time around :). CP on the other hand thought it was quite hilarious on: 1. how hard it was to get to the restaurant (unlike other restaurants in Vegas) and 2. the door men and women were wearing full coats and top hats. Anyways…on to the food!
It was Sunday early afternoon when we arrived at the restaurant at 11:30am, which is actually my standard lunch hour anyway, so it was perfect! I had read about their brunch menu and wasn’t sure what to expect exactly:
“Chef Rawat has prepared internationally inspired dishes that include a variety of limitless passed items as well as your selection of a main course and a full dessert and cheese buffet to finish.”
So I was wondering what I would really get…turns out: it was a buffet style for appetizers, first course(s), main course is menu ordered, and buffet style again for dessert. It was definitely unique and once I saw the layout, I was excited! I wish I had taken a picture of the layout, but I can recall it by memory.
Starting from the left and moving to the right as it wraps around restaurant: a fresh sushi station with pre-cut rolls made in small batches (2-4 rolls at a time) and cut to order sashimi. Next to that, was the salad and antipasto station with a wide selections of cold cuts, grilled vegetables, salads, and cheese. Following that was a table of fresh fruit from melons, pineapples, mix of berries. Last but not least, was a table spread of cold breakfast items such as pastries, cereals, yogurt, and such. Finally, the dessert station was actually off to another side of the restaurant that wasn’t as apparent since it was tucked away in a corner. However, you can never hide desserts from me!
With so many choices, I had to be really discerning. For my first plate…
Almond Croissant, Spicy Tuna Roll, and Seaweed Salad. I know, I know…Why did you get an almond croissant with sushi!? Ok, look…I LOVE almond croissants and I could NOT resist when I walked by. I had to get one, but rest assure…I did not mix the 2 together while chewing :).
The tuna was so fresh, nice and spicy to the way I like it and the sushi rice was perfect. The salad was a nice crisp, refreshing palate cleanser for me and I moved on to the croissant. My, my, my…so fabulous! The pastry was flaky and crunched each time I bit into it. Inside was the ever delicious almond paste to add to the decadence of this pastry.
I also got myself a plate of yellowtail and salmon sashimi. My only complaint with the fish was that I could tell it was fresh, but it was TOO cold. Sashimi should be chilled, but this was TOO cold and it made me a little sad because I really liked it and the temperature just ruined it for me. Still…I enjoyed this little plate of fish goodness.
OH! By the way, part of the brunch experience of MoZen includes random little “additions” to the meal that comes as little taster dishes. They were all different and I’ll just let the pictures do the talking!
There was also steamed mussels and fresh oysters. Insane right?! And this was just additional dishes that acted like bread and butter that would be passed at other restaurants. MoZen really knows how to make their diners feel like they’re a million bucks without necessarily spending a million bucks! Love, LOVE it!
I could not leave without trying a few more items:
This was a mini cinnamon bun lollipop with edible gold leaf! In the background is a mini mason jar with plain yogurt and fresh berries. I did not particularly like either of the two taste-wise, but I do like the presentation.
Moving onto CP and my main entrees:
Not a surprise right? Especially if you know me or have been reading my rants – the Pan seared scallops with tapioca pudding, fried buttermilk chicken liver, bacon & poultry jus. I was very hesitant on the chicken liver because I have had chicken liver in this rice dish my mom used to make for us during the winter, and I did not like it. However, once again by battering and deep frying will always make everything taste 10x better! I really loved the liver surprisingly. The scallops were seasoned just right (unlike the over salted ones I had the following day at Mister A’s), but it was over cooked. If only I could take the seasoning of these scallops, with the scallops from Mister A’s, I then would have the PERFECT scallop! Still the dish was really enjoyable with the tapioca pudding, which made the dish fun to eat even more.
CP went with the following:
The Tekka Don – Marinated big eye tuna on a bed of warm Japanese rice with nori, served with miso soup. Basically, the marinated tuna was like poke-style marinade, but sashimi sliced. CP had a dried out, sore throat so this was perfect for him. He lapped up both bowls and loved every bite of it. I smiled as I watched him go at the food, reminding me of how his enthusiasm for food has grown so much in the last 3+ years we’ve known each other.
However, the one food group that I have still yet to fully bring CP over is…DESSERTS!
I tried 4 of the multiple options which also included cheesecakes, mini cupcakes, etc. My favorite: the INTENSE coffee infused creme brulee!
All in all, this restaurant has done me well again! I’ve been here for dinner and now brunch and both times were amazing. Thank you to the cooking and waiting staff for an great afternoon and delicious food!
3752 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89158
The best way to sum up my weekend up in San Francisco would be: “Carb overload” and “House”. I can probably guess that the first phrase shouldn’t need too much explanation, but the second one would need some background.
Before heading out to San Francisco, I naturally did my research to find myself some new places to eat because after going to San Francisco so many times, I realized that I had barely scratched the surface. I had two days there and I was promising myself that I would try at least ONE new place each day. The Saturday morning and afternoon was mine to use, as I was meeting up with CP and his dad that evening for dinner. CP already expressed his desire to go back to Delfina Pizzeria in the Mission. I was fine with that, but I always have an itch to try new places whenever I go out traveling.
Thus, I found myself wandering the city in morning after a light and quick complimentary breakfast at the hotel. (I needed my intake of fruits for the day!) Taking the BART all the way to the Embarcadero, I walked to the Ferry Building where the hustle and bustle of the Saturday Farmer’s Market was in full swing. My goodness…I had never seen such a busy Farmer’s Market and I really wished I had a fridge at that point. There was so many goodies to buy, but alas…my stomach says nay and I had nowhere to put it L. After my walk around the market, I walked up the Embarcadero and up to North Beach.
The walk was not as long as I thought it would be, but I was getting parched and growing hungrier. I had found a little hole in the wall place I read up online and was wondering if I would ever find it. Finally, my GPS on my iPhone told me I was getting close and ran straight into it!
To be honest, I would have never thought to look into this restaurant had I not previously done my research. It was off to the side from the main street and was very unassuming , small, and in a neighborhood that is primarily Italian, I would never thought to go here for Asian Fusion.
The interior was small, but they efficiently use every space possible. I loved the clean interior with its simple decorations. I felt very much at home when I stepped in. When I saw how big the place was, I immediately understood why online reviewers highly recommended in getting a reservation here as it got crowded real fast for dinner.
I had just arrived possibly a minute before they opened up shop at 11:30am. The waitress had to ask the back kitchen if they were open (aka ready for customers) and once she got the ok, I was seated by the window table. Naturally as you can see from my picture, getting seated was NOT an issue. I think this place would do better lunches during the weekdays and all around great dinner services. However, I had the restaurant all to myself on this Saturday afternoon.
The waitress came with the menu and I already knew what I wanted to try: The house made wasabi noodles. You had the choice of grilled pork or salmon. I wasn’t feeling like seafood that day, so I opted for the pork, along with a nice tall glass of lychee black tea.
When the plate came out, I was so excited! It smelled so good and I was literally drooling in anticipation. Here’s a nice up close shot of the beauty:
Starting from the bottom up: a nice sizable portion of wasabi noodles was the foundation, followed by a pile of julienned cucumber that nestled the grilled pork, and to top it all off was The House’s kimchi.
The noodles were cooked al dente and had nice pull and chew to it. However, I couldn’t quite get the “wasabi” in it which may be more subtle than in your face so the dark soy sauce covered the flavor. Nevertheless, the noodles were absolutely delicious. The cucumber I believe was to cool off the effects of spiciness, but since he dish wasn’t spicy (to my standards) it gave the dish a nice refreshing crunch. Now the pork was something left to be desired. It was just grilled pork, with no marinade, and was the saddest part of the whole thing. My advice to the cooks at The House: MARINADE YOUR PORK!!!! You have such great flavors going on here and then when you get to the pork, it’s pure disappointment. Truth be told, I had to stop myself and realize that all the other components were there to make up for it. The kimchi on top was not quite the traditional kimchi, with the spices and vinegar content toned down, and in addition to the napa cabbage, there was also red cabbage which gave the dish a nice “POP” in color.
Speaking of “color”, let’s just say my meal had a little “colorful” side to it as well. During my meal, a man in a long, gray coat was walking up the sidewalk by the restaurant. He stopped briefly by the window and then turned to me, made some random hand gestures and faces. Then he reaches into his jacket to pull out a “skin” mag to show me. I just turned away and the waitress only had a little apologetic smile and shrugs her shoulders. I’m guessing that they’ve seen their share of crazies walking about in front of their restaurant.
Overall, I would definitely order this dish again but I think maybe next time I’ll try it with the salmon. The House is now on my rotation list for San Francisco!
Whenever I am up in San Francisco, I try to meet up with my cousin who lives and works up there. I turn to her whenever I am in the area and need my Chinese food fix! Funny thing is, although she lives in San Francisco, she actually rarely eats Chinese food. It’s just strange how when you’ve grown up eating Chinese food so much that when you are an adult and are able to make your own meal decisions, it becomes rarer for you to choose to eat the food you grew up with. At least that’s how it is for my cousin and I, but we will both get our cravings every now and then.
My cousin gave me 2 options on where we could go get our Chinese food fix: either to a restaurant she had taken me to before, or trying a new one. Now can anybody guess which one I chose? J
My cousin had found this place also online and was concerned that there may be a long line since the restaurant was really small (do you notice a trend to places I eat?…) and that it was a Sunday, which is the typical day when Chinese families go out and have dim sum. We kept our hopes high and when we drove by the restaurant, it was not crowded at all. Score!!
We got to our seats and were presented the menu and a hot pot of tea…so far good. There were 2 other tables with families eating and everything on their tables looked delicious! My cousin and I were both so torn because we wanted EVERYTHING on the menu! Our family had trained us both to be eaters and to never turn down food. Yet, we both knew that would be impossible to order everything that we wanted. Don’t get me wrong; between the 2 of us, we can do a lot of damage at a dinner table as evidenced by our eventual spread:
Oh this glorious spread was the BEST (Asian) meal I’ve had since…a very long time? Let me guide you through our smorgasbord (starting from the far left):
Green Scallion Pancakes: these little babies were pan fried to perfection. Nice, crispy outside with the soft, chewy interior. This is the only time when I can say I really, REALLY enjoy scallions. I absolutely hate scallions as I have bad food associations from my childhood, but presented in this form, I will gobble it right up!
Xiao Long Bao: ok, hands down. I don’t care what I’ve said before on my site, but these…THESE little white, carb based, explosions of flavors were out of this world. I had to stop myself from jumping up and down and running all around when I bit into one. The skins of the bao was thin, not too doughy, but held together real nicely while it was steamed and as I cautiously picked them up with my chopsticks and spoon. Perfect vehicle in holding the magic within, while giving away with the softest bite…I want to find the person who made these and take him/her home with me. The inside was well balanced with just the right amount of pork and soup. I slurped shamelessly with each first bite and happily reached for more.
As I have grown older, I found myself loving these little buns more and more. I don’t quite know why I never really appreciated them when I was younger, but then again I was a misguided child. So many years…v_v
Soup noodles with pickled vegetables and pork: I must thank my cousin for getting me into this dish. It’s a great, light noodle dish to balance out any meals. When you have a table full of heavily flavored dishes and fried items, this soup noodle acts a great palate cleanser. The flavors are simple, clean, and by no means flavorless. The noodles were soft, but not mushy and worked perfectly with the crispy bean sprouts and pickled muster greens.
Shanghai style noodles: going from clean flavors, back to the heavy and in your face flavors. The noodles were the big, thick ones that are more suitable for stir fried dishes, which was a little too soft in my opinion. However, the massive amount of napa cabbage helped balance it out. The strips of pork were tender and were NOT bland thank goodness. The dish was really delicious, but it is definitely one of those dishes that stick to the ribs. This was a nice throwback to my childhood.
Back before I ate everything under the sun, I was a meats and potatoes gal. No, really…no joke! I would not touch any seafood, anything green (unless they were the green gummi bears or jolly ranchers), and I limited my animal proteins to only chicken and pork. Everything else, you can forget it! I would rather starve (as a form of protest) then eat anything that fell into one of those 3 categories. So back when I visited my uncles’ restaurant (one of which was this cousin’s dad), I would always order a giant plate of the Shanghai style noodles without the cabbage (or at least pick them out slowly). I literally grew up on this dish and now when I think back on it, it wasn’t uncommon to polish off one of these plates by myself along with couple small bowls of other forms of noodles.
I guess there are some things that one never grows out of no matter how much you change over the years. For me, my love of noodles will never be stamped out of me and this weekend just goes to show me that. I am definitely a more conscious eater, but I realized that if I don’t enjoy what I eat, what’s the point of eating then?!
Houses of awesome noodles:
1230 Grant Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
3641 Balboa St.
San Francisco, CA 94121
When I looked in my photos folder today, I realized how backlogged I am on posting. This realization hit me earlier this year when I had looked at the date of my last post, which was already over a year!! Actually, once I started analyzing my posting patterns, I saw that essentially my postings became less frequent when I started my current job. Then at some point in my sea of work, I just stopped posting all together and a year had gone by. Yet, during that year, I never stopped taking pictures where ever I went. Thus, I was (and still am) up to my EARS in backlogged pictures and I knew I had to start writing again.
Upon having this epiphany, I decided to make a resolution to start posting again and keep it up! However, given the fact that when I had this epiphany, it was almost half way through the year so I couldn’t make it my New Years resolution. What’s a gal to do? Well if you are as entrenched into the business world as I am, you make (*drum roll*) a NEW FISCAL YEAR RESOLUTION!! Problem solved. I surprised even myself :).
Here was my resolution: I will post at least ONE entry, once a week, regardless whether or not it is food related. I will not let myself waiver! And so, ladies and gents, here is this week’s post! (Since I don’t always have a great story to tell everyone with every meal I have, I decided to tell you why I have been writing more! Devious aren’t I? ;))
A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine was moving to Boston for med school and was going around, getting together at least one last time before she left. We had gone with another friend of ours to Dumpling Inn on Convoy for lunch. The small restaurant is always packed and that day was no exception. However, it is one of my favorite places to go for Chinese fair and back in the day, my mom, sister, and I used to come here at least twice a month. We so rarely come now just because of busy schedules, but we still love it!
That day, all I really wanted was Xiao long bao and since I had never tried Dumpling Inn’s before, I decided to give it a shot.
Each order comes with 10 little dumplings for $6.50 (I believe) and you can order a side of Szechuan hot sauce or spicy soup for a $1 more. I decided to get the hot sauce since I love to slather hot sauce/chili oil on everything I eat. The dumplings were fine. The wrappers were not too thick, nor too thin. I could have used a little more soup in them, but the flavors were all there and delicious.
Also, a word of advice if you have never been here before: either get here EARLY to beat the lunch/dinner crowds, or prepare to wait for a table in the teeny, tiny restaurant.
4619 Convoy St, Ste F
San Diego, CA 92111
Opera Patisserie Cafe
On another day, I met up with CP for lunch at my favorite cafe: Opera Patisserie. Don’t let the name fool you. This place does turn out great savory food and not just pastries and desserts. The cafe has weekly specials that are featured and are not on the regular menu. That day, they had the Duck confit panini and I was suddenly in the mood for duck.
The special comes with a side salad with their dijon vinaigrette and a drink for $9.50. The panini was made a really good ciabatta bread, with pesto slathered on both sides, and stuff with generous chunks of duck meat. The whole thing was held together by the melted provolone.
There are other great items on their menu, but I was sad to find they had taken down my favorite salad: the Chevre Salad with bacon. It was simple mixed greens salad with cherry tomatoes, crispy bacon bits, and a toast with a giant slab of goat cheese. Oh man…it was my favorite salad of all time and yet, they had to take it down. *Sigh* Maybe one day they’ll bring it back or I will demand of them to make it for me!
I love Opera cafe, but I do wish it was open for dinner since there are times that I want to pick up dinner from here after work. They are only open Monday through Saturday, and for breakfast and lunch only. However, given their new location here in Sorrento Valley, it makes the most business sense for them to operate the hours and days that they do. The business side of me would have done the same. The foodie in me wishes they were open more often. Oh well, I will just have to find more reasons to lunch here then!
Opera Patisserie Cafe
9254 Scranton Rd. Suite 101
San Diego, CA 92121