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Middle eastern

If you had a black hole of a stomach…

What would you want for the ultimate buffet/sampling of your favorite foods?  Here would be my list of delicious dishes and one-off items I would want:

  • Almond Croissant – Tartine Bakery (San Francisco, CA), Payard (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Tofu Stew – Tofu House (San Diego, CA)
  • Chicken Makhani (Butter Chicken) and Began Bertha – Punjabi Tandoor (San Diego, CA)
  • Cannoli – Solunto Bakery (San Diego, CA)
  • Gelato (any flavor) – Papalecco (San Diego, CA)
  • Drunken Noodles and Spicy Fried Rice – Amarin Thai (Mira Mesa: San Diego, CA)
  • Green Curry – Antique Thai (San Diego, CA)
  • Cupcakes – Elizabethian Desserts (Encinitas, CA)
  • Falafel – Mama’s Lebanese Bakery (San Diego, CA) or Armenian Cafe (Carlsbad, CA)
  • Xi Long Bao – Shanghai House (San Francisco, CA)
  • Sushi (sashimi) – Sushi Ota (San Diego, CA)
  • Sushi rolls – Harney Sushi (San Diego, CA), Sushi Okoze (San Francisco, CA)
  • Red Beans n’ Rice – Bud’s Louisiana Cafe (San Diego, CA)
  • Ice cream – Mariposa Ice Cream (San Diego, CA), Bi-Rite Creamery (San Francisco, CA)
  • Sandwich (Hot) – Spicy Pickle, Sandwich Emporium, Earl of Sandwich (San Diego, CA), any shop in Paris
  • Tapas: Sautéed Meatballs al Jerez; Shrimp Croquetas; Brava Sautéed Potatoes; Fabada – Cafe Sevilla (San Diego, CA)
  • Thin Crust Pizza – Bongiornos New York Pizzeria, Cucina Urbana (San Diego, CA), Delfina Pizzeria (San Francisco, CA), John’s Pizzeria (NY, NY)
  • Spicy Eggplant with Ground Pork – Dumpling Inn (San Diego, CA)
  • Smoked Bologna – Earl’s Rib Place (Oklahoma City, OK)
  • Smoked Turkey and Green Beans – County Line Barbecue (Oklahoma City, OK)
  • Cheese Danish – Ingrid’s Kitchen (Oklahoma City, OK)
  • Smoked Ham – Gates BBQ (North Kansas City, MO)
  • Lamb Shank – MoZen Bistro (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Chocolate Budino – Cucina Urbana (San Diego, CA)
  • Pumpkin Custard – Luv-It Frozen Custard (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Harvest Pie – Coco’s Bakery (national chain)
  • Macaron – Lauree (Paris, France), La Maison Du Chocolat (NY,NY and international)
  • Chicken and Lamb over Rice – 53rd & 6th Halal Cart (NY, NY)
  • Tuscan White Bean soup (seasonal) – B&B Ristorante (Venetian: Las Vegas, NV)
  • Chocolate Duo – Opera Patisserie (San Diego, CA)
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie – Norstrom Cafe, Potbelly(multiple locations)
  • Egg Tart – Golden Gate Bakery (San Francisco, CA)
  • Saffron Spaghetti with Lobster; Seared Scallops – 1500 Ocean(San Diego, CA)
  • Gobo Salad – Wa Dining Okan(San Diego, CA)
  • Grilled Chicken Wings; Salmon Rice Ball with Broth – Yakitori Yakyudori (San Diego, CA)
  • Peanut Butter Cookie – Extraordinary Desserts (San Diego, CA)
  • Olive Oil Gelato – L’Arte del Gelato (NY,NY)
  • Belgium Waffles – Any fresh or packaged even in Germany
  • Strozzapreti Bolognese – La Terrazza (Vancouver, BC)
  • Crab cakes and Crab Soup – Jerry’s Place (Prince Fredrick, MD)

Man…I realized that I really like eating when writing this.

So readers – want to share what YOU like to eat and from where? 🙂


Ethnic Food Fair @ Balboa Park

This past Sunday was the annual Ethnic Food Fair in Balboa Park. It is held at the international cottages and it was my first time attending this event. Man…I wish I had attended it in the past, the smells that hit you are absolutely WONDERFUL! I just wished I could sample the whole world, seriously.

How it works is that you pay the cash handler for whatever you want to eat, he or she gives you a ticket, and you exchange the ticket for the delicious food that awaits you. I had a really hard time choosing (really, could YOU just choose ONE thing to eat in this smorgasbord?!). From what I saw, they basically divided the foods to: savory – outside the cottage area, and sweets – inside the cottages.

Let the feasting begin!









Well…after looking at EVERY booth and cottage, and with the help of my little sister and Chef Ma, we decided for sweets:

From the Ireland cottage:

Sample plate – the brownie was my favorite. It was just the right amount of moistness and packed with chocolate! And the small sample I had was more than enough to satisfy.


Scone – I’m not sure what kind it was (and the seller didn’t know either since the baker who made it wasn’t in the cottage at the time) but I think it was currant. It was too dry in my opinion.


From the Scotland cottage:

Whiskey walnut bundt cake – oh my goodness….it was everything I want in a cake: moist, dense but not heavy, and full of walnut flavor (but no alcohol flavor at all, sadly).


And for my savory dish: A falafel sandwich from the House of Israel.

I had my reservations before I made my decision because I’ve had my share of falafels and most being bad ones unfortunately. There has been 2 places where I found the falafels to be truly amazing (Mama’s Lebanese Bakery & Deli, and Aesop’s Table) because it was not made from a mix. You can tell when a falafel’s made from a mix or if it’s premade. Being that this was fair, everything is made and sits, waiting for people to buy them so it becomes stale, greasy, and just not good.

But as I watched the booth, I saw a lot of people buying the sandwich and I watched the cooks assemble them with lightening hands to meet demand. I asked a family who was devouring into their sandwich with great enthusiasm how it tasted. They told me it was “sooo good” and “it’s definitely worth it to try.” Then I finally saw what I needed as the final confirmation: a little old lady in the back of the tent, scooping out the falafel mixture from a HUGE bowl and frying them. If a little lady is making them, heck…it must be worth trying

And oh boy…am I glad I did! The falafel assembly man would take a pita, slather it with hummus, drop about 4 falafels in it, put a scoop of vegetable mixture, then drown it in tahini sauce. It was“sooooooo goooooooood” as the woman I had asked claimed. Had it been fresh out of the fryer, it might have been up to par with the falafel from Mama’s, but alas, it had been sitting for some time yet it was still slightly warm. After polishing off that, I was fully satisfied with my choice.

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Now I will have to attend this event again next year and note to self: come EXTREMELY hungry and come with a group that are just as daring and willing to try EVERYTHING and ANYTHING!

Later that night, my friend invited me over to her house where her family was having a pre-Memorial Day BBQ. She needed someone to help with the Sangria….and being the bff that I am, I came to the rescue!


I love the color…like I said, colors make me feel really happy and warm inside (it wasn’t just the alcohol!). But the best part of this drink was actually the blueberries after their soaking in the wine. DE.LICIO.US!