To feed your body and soul in San Diego and all over the world

Thai

M.I.A

Sorry y’all! I’ve been swamped from travel jobs, to weddings, to diving into the real estate market to officially be a homeowner!

I know there are no excuses other than just pure laziness and some times negligence of the site is the real reason why I don’t have a post. Granted, where I am currently…there is absolutely NOTHING to write home about. I am currently deployed to Nowhere, USA for a job and just miserable.

To give you an idea of the type of place I’m in:
– There is nothing but corn and soybean fields around the town I’m in.
– More than half of the businesses in the town are closed and only an empty building sits.
– Options for food are mainly nationwide chains.
– The few “local” shops have provided to be severely disappointing (even with extremely low expectations), or just too sketchy to eat.

Yeah…it’s a dang, gosh terrible place they dropped me off. =( *sigh*  Here’s a picture of a very pink plate of Pad Thai in the only Thai restaurant in this area (the picture doesn’t do the color justice…the noodles were close to the color of a Sweet n’ Low packet):

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Amarin Thai – Mira Mesa

Again, this is another post where I wondered to myself: why have I not posted about this place?! I visit Amarin Thai in Mira Mesa at LEAST once a month, if not more. This tiny restaurant comes out with banging food. Now is it authentic? I may have to defer that judgment to domeone who would know because I have never had Thai from the homeland. However, if you are in the market for a great meal then continue reading!

The restaurant is a tiny space, tucked in the back corner of a little food court in the business district on Mira Mesa boulevard. There is never more than 2 servers in the front of the house, and 2 people in the back of the house.  And regardless of the day of the week, lunch or dinner, they have a steady stream of business. I’d like to think I help contribute towards the life of the restaurant.

My latest contribution was this last Thursday with my friend LKB. We both went with our usuals that night:

Panang Curry with Chicken and side of brown rice for LKB.

Drunken Noodles with Mock Duck for myself.

Our choice of spice levels that night: 8\10. I would warn to others to air on the side of caution here because when you ask for spicy, they WILL give you spicy! What you can do if you find that it’s not spicy enough, ask for the spices afterwards and they will provide for you a tray of all the different kinds of heat for you to choose from.

Now I suppose the real question is: why do we love Amarin? Let me try and figure how to put it into words…

Consistently great, tasting food. They hit the spice note (not spicy mind you!), so it will never be subjected to the blasphemy of bland food syndrome. When you ask for spicy, they will burn you if you’re not careful. And they have friendly staff that helps serve you a delicious meal at such good prices, you feel like a thief at times. Go for a quick lunch, a casual dinner, or take out, you will find yourself happier…and maybe in search for some milk or ice cream to cool that raging fire within.

Amarin Thai
6755 Mira Mesa Blvd, Ste 109
San Diego, CA 92121


My Thai Food Obsession

Due to my travels in the past couple of months in pretty much all of the mid-west, I had nothing but American cuisine.  It was only then did I realized that I need to have a good dose of Asian and/or ethnic food.  I love seafood, pasta, salads, and sandwiches, but I can only eat so much of it!  Also, I didn’t realize that American cuisine does not include spices and they don’t seem to like spicy foods.

I think because of the sheer lack of ethnic, flavorful, and spicy foods, I had the greatest cravings for Thai food.  Whenever I returned home, all I wanted to eat was: Thai food, tofu, rice noodles, and veggie burgers (or any meat alternatives).  My diet was so off balance that I ate a ridiculous amount of Thai food.

One of the places I gorged at was Thai Pepper Cuisine.  It’s in Serra Mesa, just outside of the neighborhood area.  It’s a small little place that packs a great punch of flavors!

CP and I headed there for dinner one night after work.  We started off with an appetizer:

Chicken Satay with peanut dressing.  I usually don’t order this dish because the chicken gets dried out all too often.  However, this place can cook their chicken! My goodness, it was so tender, moist, and packed with curry flavor!  There was no need to even dip it the peanut sauce, but the sauce was really good too.

We ordered several entrees to try everything:


The Spicy Fried Rice with Scallops was great, but the scallops were overcooked.  It was exactly as I had feared yet I should know better.  However, scallops aside, the fried rice was amazing and spicy!

I should have just tried a different protein but I was hopeful that scallops would hold up in the Green Curry.  It did not sadly, but the curry was rich and flavorful.  Once again, I asked for this to be SPICY and boy it was!  Curries seem to have this spell binding effect on diners because you just get sucked in.  You want more and more, but you need a vehicle to enjoy it and you can’t stop eating even when you’re full.  The scallops were put aside and I thoroughly enjoyed the curry with bamboo, bell peppers, eggplant, and basil.

CP will always get his drunken noodles with chicken and this time was no exception.  The noodles here was a little more wet then I’m used to, but it was still good.  I had a bite and let CP gobble the rest up since I had my other 2 dishes.  CP gave this version 2 thumbs up.

So what’s the lesson I learned?  No matter how much like to diversify my cuisine, at the end of the day, I can’t deny myself from eating flavors I grew up with.  Also, I just can’t consume all that much animal protein (land or sea) and I shouldn’t try to force so much of it.  CP and I both loved the place, but I will definitely not going to get the scallops next time.  I’ll stick with either tofu or chicken, yums…

Thai Pepper Cuisine
3361 Sandrock Road
San Diego, CA 92123


Antique Thai Cuisine – Proving Strip Mall Gems Do Exist!

These last couple of years have been packed with traveling either for work or for leisure, domestically and overseas.  It was during these trips that I have come to realize that I have truly become a spoiled San Diegan.

What I mean is that I really do consider the weather to be “cold” at around 65-70 degrees.  Now, when I look back at the weather we’ve been having just this past winter, most of the rest of the US of A would say that 65 degrees was their warm weather.

I have lived in the East coast long enough to remember what it feels like to have 4 full season occurring when they should.  Where there were true extremes in weather during the summer and winter (which I was reminded of when I made a trip to Maryland in late Fall last year – caught the tail end of a hurricane.  Forgot it is possible for rain to pour on you 48+ hours straight).

After living in San Diego the last 14 years of my life, going to school and college here, I guess I can consider myself somewhat of a native.  I can admit without shame that I have become soft, sissy who is severely adverse to the cold.  Oddly enough, our heater and A/C have been out of commission for the last 10-12 years (can’t remember when it exactly gave up on us) and should probably fix.  One day perhaps…until then, I have found ways to keep myself warm during the “cold” San Diego winters and nights.  From sweaters, wool jackets, fleece blankets, beanies, to one of my favorite…

CURRY!!!!!

Oh how I love curry!  My favorite is the Green Curry with (preferably) mock duck.  To those not familiar with mock duck, it is a gluten-based vegetarian meat alternative that’s high in protein due to the wheat gluten.  I grew up on mock duck and just plainly lots and LOTS of wheat gluten items in my Chinese dishes.  So this is right at home for me.

Back to curry!  I like my curries to be SPICY, as I am a gluten for spicy foods.  On a scale of 1 to 10 on spiciness, I can handle a 10, but I generally like to keep it between 6-8 (depending on the restaurant).  I think my love of spicy foods is because the spices open up all my taste buds, so the flavors of the dish are intensified.

And what better dish to have millions of your little taste buds up and at’ ‘em?  Curry!!  I was curious to what generally goes into green curry that is made from scratch and I found that it typically has around 15 ingredients to just make the sauce! This is why you must have every single, last taste bud ready to receive them all!

The curry that I am now thinking of as I write this post is from Antique Thai Cuisine in Loma Portal, right off Rosecrans St.  It sits discreetly in a strip mall with Henry’s Marketplace and TJ Maxx.  I would have never found it had I not been researching for dinner spots near the Sports Arena.

The restaurant was nice and clean, the service has been good (little slow but very friendly staff), and the food is superb and very affordable.

On my first visit with CP, we had an order of their Spring Rolls:

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These were ok, the skin was too think to my liking.  The filling was just lettuce, carrots, vermicelli, and a minuscule amount of pork.  It felt store bought to me so nothing to write home about.  Ordered it once and it will be more than enough.

Our entrees on the other hand saved the dinner!

CP ordered the Drunken Noodles with chicken:

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I loved the noodles here!  The wide, flat rice noodles had beautiful coloring to them and rested with lots of crispy vegetables including – cabbage, bean sprouts, bell peppers, Thai basil and topped with cilantro.  I had to stop myself from consuming too much of CP’s dish because there was still my own dish to be had…

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I ordered the Green Curry with mock duck.  Just thinking about it now makes me hungry!  The curry was heavenly…velvety, coconuty, with a touch of sweetness and a great spicy kick!  The curry came with bamboo, green bean, bell peppers, and Thai basil. It also comes with a big bowl of rice that can be shared between 2 diners.  Safe to say…I am willing to share, but I did finish 99% this curry on my own. 🙂

The entrees were about $8-10 and the appetizer was only $4.99.  So for less than $25, two people walked out of the restaurant full and completely satisfied, ready to rock on at the Sports Arena!

I also looked at their lunch specials and they are ridiculously low priced!  Only wish I could make it out here for lunch.

All in all…I find that even if the rest of my body’s frozen to the touch, if my belly’s filled with delicious, spicy curry, I will be sufficiently kept warm…even if it’s all in my head.

Antique Thai Cuisine
3373 Rosecrans Street
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 222-0689


Thai Cafe buffet

My family and I decided to try the only Thai Buffet that I have ever seen anywhere. Thai Cafe in Clairemont has been there for many years, yet I’ve never set foot in it much less try it. So finally today, with a coupon for 75 cent Thai tea/coffee, we gave this place a try.

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522645200_ab173f86a9.jpgWe tried both their Thai tea and coffee. The Thai tea was pretty good, not too sweet nor too watered down. The Thai coffee was decent, but it lacked some of flavors of a true Thai coffee. The best one that I’ve had is still a Thai restaurant in Rowland Heights.

Now as far as the food goes, one must remember that this was a buffet. And we all know how buffet food tends to lose what potential it might have had if it had been fresh due to it sitting on the steam table for some time. That was why I insisted that if we were to try this place out, we go during the weekday lunch rush. This way, the turnover rate is quite high. I was able to sample several items as it came straight out of the kitchen. Here were my plates…

522653061_27e45c5fe0.jpg My 1st plate had: (I don’t remember the actual names) spicy beans, tofu with a peanut sauce, fried spicy squid, and spicy noodle. The tofu and spicy noodle was hands down, the best tasting items, followed closely by the squid. The noodles had just the right amount of spice and the noodles weren’t sticky and cooked al dente. The tofu was good due to the sauce. I love peanut ANYTHING. Had it been fresh, it probably would’ve been even better. And during the course of the meal, I saw a new tray of spicy noodles being brought out, which I quickly went to retrieve some!

522645540_4170d8cd82.jpgHere was my 2nd plate: red curry, krab salad, some mushrooms, and more of the tofu. The red curry was very tasty. I didn’t get any of the chicken because I find that thai restaurants tend to over cook chicken til they are bone dry, but I did get the eggplant, which was delicious.

522653383_6814105e1f.jpgHere’s a plate of fresh pad thai that everyone shared. Even tho it was fresh, it lacked any flavor and just not worth eating, but my dad finished it off. According to him, it was one of the best…I guess we really do have different tastebuds.

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They had fresh spring rolls (as well as fried). On the buffet line, they were out so we asked one of the waiters if there was going to be anymore, the waiter went and asked the cook in the kitchen. Who then came out and told us that he’ll make us some right now and asked us how many we wanted! Wow, now that’s customer service! Well, as promised, the cook made the rolls and BROUGHT it to our table! It was so nice of them to do that. And the spring roll?…It was really good! The rice wrap was so fresh, and inside contained: cucumber, rice noodle, minced chicken, carrots, and cilantro. Yummy!

So my overall impression of Thai Cafe?….I would definitely come back, but only during their rush hours. When fresh, the food is fairly good. And at $6.99 for lunch, plus 75 cent drinks (w/ coupon from SDreader) it’s a steal! Give it a try!

Thai Cafe
4722 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, Ca 858-270-8303