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Posts tagged “chinese

Dede’s Teajuice City

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!

Special Cooked Baby Rib

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!

Cumin Flavored Lamb

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*

Sichuan Eggplant

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!

Deep Fried Fish w/ Dry Red Pepper

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:

DSC_0543

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

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Del Mar’s Gourmet Food Truck Festival

The Del Mar Fairgrounds was the host of the first ever Gourmet Food Truck Festival.  It was a gorgeous day out and perfect for gorging ourselves with amazing food.  Now as  I seat here after some “down” time, I am going through all my pictures and reminiscing about the eat-a-thon with my friend, LA.

We arrived at the fairgrounds with a tentative game plan: hit as many trucks as we could, and share everything we get.  Oh look!  This sign told us where our adventure would begin…

To kick off the eating, we started at Dogzilla:

To wet our appetites, we started with the Yakisoba Dog ($6) – a spicy hot link topped with stir-fried Yakisoba noodles with cabbage, bean sprouts, and green onions, Okonomi sauce, red ginger, finished off with Ao-Nori.  I was excited to try this because it was everything I love, in a bun!  And not just any bun, but a sweet Hawaiian bun.

The sausage gave the meal the spicy kick I prefer my meals to have.  With the lack of Sriracha and only ketchup, the sausage provided that spiciness that made my tongue happy!  The yakisoba was good, slightly sweet and salty, and the sweet bun helped wrapped everything for mobility.  I think this was one of the best starter for this food adventure!

Next…Great Balls on Tires:

Specializing in well…great balls!  Of meat :).  While waiting in line, we talked with two fellow foodies and had a great conversation with them!  As LA said, I make friends where ever I go and you know what?  Food always tastes better with great company! 🙂  Also, during our conversation, LA came up with a perfect phrase that even our new friends found to be quite amusing, and reflected myself perfectly – “food stalker”.  There needs some definition to go with this new phrase….here’s a shot: a food stalker is one who stares at others, known and unknown, solely to drool/obsess/investigate food that is not at one’s own plate.  Who will ask many questions to inquire about the food item being consumed and occasionally proceed to request for some.

Maybe that’s what a food stalker is?  If anyone has a better definition, send it to me!  For now, under this definition, I am a bona fide food stalker extraordinaire!

This bona fide food stalker and her accomplice went for an order of the Ballywood and Buffalo Balls (respectively and $6 per item).  The Ballywood was garam masala chicken balls, topped with coconut madras curry, crispy fired onions, and served with saffron basmati rice with tomato and cilantro chutneys.  The Buffalo Balls were buffalo style chicken ball, mac & cheese, blue cheese dressing, and served with celery and carrot.

The meatballs were amazingly juicy and tender – both of them!  The curry was not spicy (how I like mine), but rather on the sweet side.  However, it was flavor packed and I couldn’t help but lap it all up (my half) along with the somehow decently cooked basmati rice!  The buffalo sauce on the other hand was not spicy, and was sweet with a bit of vinegar tang.  Again, not my usual go-to flavor combo, but the meatball itself was so good, plus when I took a bite with the mac & cheese (with panko bread crumbs at top!!!), it made for a great bite!  Overall – this red, black, and white truck satisfied me and LA.

Next stop – the Tornado Potato:

We went for the “Tornado” with cajun seasoning.  As you can see, it’s a towering spiral of a whole potato on a stick!  LA and I had this at the County Fair this year, but we both wanted a fried potato item so we went with this place!  We both agreed that the potato should be sliced thinner to get that crispiness of a chip on the exterior, while remaining fluffy inside like a fry.  It was still tasty and we both love our potato treat!

Having had so many savory items, plus with the sun baring down on us for sometime now, we both needed a cool off and something sweet.  The answer to our prayers?

Longboard’s Ice Cream:

The recipe of this truck is simple: pick your ice cream flavor on a stick, then your chocolate coating choice (milk or dark) and finally your topping to coat the whole thing.

My choice: coconut ice cream, dipped in dark chocolate and topped with half graham cracker crumbs, and half rainbow sprinkles.  I loved the idea of how this worked and I loved the freshly dipped items, but my only issue was that ice cream bar on the stick was too icy.  It must be from keeping the ice cream frozen in order to dip them, so I can understand yet it did bother me a little.  However, it was still quite enjoyable!  Oh!  And since I forgot to take an individual pic of LA’s pop, she chose: pistachio ice cream, dipped in dark chocolate, and covered with rainbow sprinkles.  According to LA, the pistachio ice cream was only ok and didn’t have enough pistachio flavor to it.

After our pops, we decided to sit and rest for a bit, to let all the food mix in our stomachs and begin to really process it.  That was when the food coma started creeping in!  Oh man…I knew from there, it was only going to go downhill.  However, after sitting, then walking, and watching a race, we dove back into the crowds (which only grew even larger at that point).  I met up with a couple of friends and a colleague, watched what they ate and decided I had to make one more last haul!

Hence, LA and I made our way to Tapa Boy:


I ordered the Pork Longanisa Bowl with garlic fried rice (sinangag), an egg, and a side of papaya relish (atsara) with tomato and cucumber.  Man…when they say garlic rice…boy, oh, boy…did they really mean it!  The rice was packed with garlic and I loved it!  Their longanisa was sweet, which surprised me a little because I was expecting something spicy (are you noticing a trend here?…because I am).  The meat was super tender and yield to a plastic fork with ease, so it was still quite good. Though it didn’t blow my mind away.

To end a long day, though I didn’t have any…a friend bought herself a decked out waffle from Waffles de Liege:

This here is a liege waffle with chocolate drizzle, almonds, and topped with a giant scope of Fosselman’s English toffee nut ice cream.  I only had the ice cream and it was amazing!  My friend “Channy” dove into this with a huge smile on her face.  Judging from her expression, I think she liked it ;).

Well my friends, that was my first ever Gourmet Food Truck Festival!  I can’t wait for the next one, but until then…I am going to start having to find these food trucks around town for lunch!  Bon appetit my fellow food stalkers!

For more information on the food trucks visited:
Dogzilla
Great Balls on Tires
Tornado Potato
Long Boards Ice Cream
Tapa Boy
Waffles de Liege

Dim Sum…you want some?

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.


Best meal of my trip

During my first full day in Hong Kong, my family and I went to visit the graves of Grandpa and my uncle in the mountain sides.  While doing so, the mosquitoes were feasting on my legs during the entire time.  I became their all-you-can-eat buffet from the West.  What didn’t make sense was that they completely bypassed my sister and mom, even though they were both prone for mosquitoes as well.  So within 2 hours, I left with at least 9 huge bites and I mean they were SWELLING.

Not hard to tell that I was quite miserable at that point.  I was hot, sticky, itchy, and hungry.  Some vacation huh?  Thank goodness we had my cousin, who was showing us around, to take us to our lunch spot.  The shop wasn’t classy, nor spacious, but my cousin boasted it being the best spot for a bowl of wonton and fish cake soup noodles.

What can I say about this meal, other than – OH MY F-ING GAWD THIS WAS ONE MOTHER FREAKING AMAZING MEAL I COULD EVER HAD FOR UNDER $25!!!!!  Ok, let me break it down for you:  the lemon tea at top was super refreshing and perfect to cool off a hot traveler.

The first bowl is of wide rice noodles with fish cakes and wonton.  The next bowl is of egg noodles with fish balls and cake.  The fish cake and balls were perfectly tender, but neither mushy nor gummy.  It was the freshest fish cake/ball I have ever tasted!  The wonton – aaaamazing!  And even though I forgot my picture of the chili oil, it was one of the most, intense (like someone took a bottle and cap off some of hell’s fire into it) heat I had ever experienced!

The noodles were handmade, cooked al dente, and just slurp-able!  And oh!  The broth was perfect – clean and only enhanced everything else!

Of all the meals I had during my time away, this was the one that stood out the most.  I know from experience that the most unexpected meals can hit you and leave an indent in you so deep that you cannot ever forget it.  Trust me, this meal will never be forgotten and all other wonton/fish cake/ball noodles will be judged upon this.


Carb Fest in San Francisco

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!

The House

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

Shanghai House

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:

The House
1230 Grant Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

Shanghai House
3641 Balboa St.
San Francisco, CA 94121


Resolution: not to just eat more, but to tell YOU all about it!

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? ;))

Dumpling Inn

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.

Would I order it again?  Yea, I mean it’s still a nice small, yet hearty dish especially on a cold day.  Maybe next time I’ll try it with the spicy soup!

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.

Dumpling Inn
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


One city, one day

I had less than 24 hours in one of my favorite cities in California and I wanted to do it well, but keeping it real and relaxed.

Since I was in Northern California for training up in San Jose, I decided to take the opportunity to spend the weekend up in the bay area.  I checked out the San Jose scene…not much to write home about, but I was going to meet my cousin up in San Francisco.

My cousin had moved up to the bay for school, then got a job and stayed up there.  I love San Francisco with my all and I have been up there a handful of times.  However, the cold weather just is not my thing (as noted in my previous post).  Still, the food up there is to melt for.

Anyways, I had texted my cousin ahead of time to let her know I would be spending the day up there and checked to see if she was free.  She was and thus, I had found myself my partner in crime to just eat and enjoy San Francisco.

By the time I got to her apartment, it was around my now “lunching hour” (as a client had rightfully deemed it “SALT” – Standard Auditor’s Lunch Time).

Whenever I visit San Francisco, I have to make a trip the Tartine. After having their almond croissant the very first time, I have become addicted. Yet, since my first time at Tartine and first time having the said pastry, I have never been able to make it there in time to get one before they run out.  And this time was no different.  I was so sad…but I was still hungry!

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My cousin and I split an order of the Spicy Turkey sandwich.  Fresh country bread filled with LOADS of broccoli rabe pesto, holding down the peppered turkey breast and provolone, all press grilled to a crunchy excellence. The bread was delicious, but what really took me for a loop was the broccoli rabe.  It was somewhat bitter and I had to keep my mind open about it as I am not a fan of bitter tasting foods.  Generally, I think the provolone and olive oil helped mellow out the broccoli rabe and I did enjoy the sandwich!

I want to give a fair warning: if you have sensitive teeth and/or gums, probably best to stick with the pastries.  The sandwiches are crunchy and toothsome.  It takes a fair amount of work to bite and chew these sandwiches!

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As I had mentioned earlier, I come to Tartine for their almond (or frangipane) croissant but have a hard time actually getting it!  Must work harder to come at a decent hour (aka right when it opens)!  Since there were no more almond croissants, I settled for a plain croissant.  It was a wonderfully flakey, not overly buttery croissant.  Perfecto!

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My cousin got the “Morning Bun” which was a giant, cinnamon sugar, caramelized breakfast pastry decadence.  Soft and sweet, it was pretty darn amazing.  At first I thought it would be like either a cinnamon roll or a sugar donut.  No!  It was nothing like that and I can’t even begin to describe it.  Why not just share one again with me? 🙂

After our lunch (with breakfast) meal at Tartine, we waddled ourselves down the block towards the park.  However, we HAD to make a stop at Bi-Rite Creamery despite the fact that neither one of us had even finished our food and were carrying doggy bags.  The motivation was that neither of us had ever tried the famous house-made ice cream and we both needed something chilled and creamy to wash everything down.

Unfortunately, I did not take a picture (WHY?! I can’t remember!) but I do remember what I got: honey lavender and balsamic strawberry.  Of the 2, the balsamic strawberry won the best flavor hands down.

My cousin got the apricot sorbet and the brown butter pecan (?…can’t remember, sorry).  I tried both and was surprised at how much I liked the sorbet.  It was fresh and not overly sweet, but what got me was that I liked the tasted of it and I am not a fan of apricots.  Go Bi-Rite!

With our filled stomachs, we rested it off at the park in the Mission and people watched.  We are both golden retriever lovers so we were more dog watching and looking out for those golden cuties!  The being gals, we did our fair amount of shopping in Union

Finally we had walked around long enough to not feel as full.  That meant it was time for dinner!

Once again, I think it was just the haziness of the day of over eating and the fact that my brain was fried from work, I really cannot for the life of me remember the name of the restaurant we went to dinner.  It was a place that I had asked my cousin to literally take me to eat where ever she wanted and loved the most while living in the city.

We ended up in a tiny little Chinese restaurant that was about 5 minutes (driving) away from her apartment.  The restaurant specialized in Shanghaize style cooking, which was what she and I grew up with.  Well…I grew up with both Shanghai (Dad’s side of the family) and Cantonese (Mom’s side of the family) style cooking, so I love both!

Big family style dinners happened a lot when we were younger, but the family has since dispersed a little and the generations are getting older.  As such, we ordered dishes that brought us back to those days…

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The spread.  Honestly, I wish we could have ordered more, but we were both not exactly STARVING.  Yet, how could I go to SF and only have one meal?!

So we had an order of the Xiao Long Bao.  The skin was a little thick and could have been softer, but the soup remained intact within.  Thus, a great flavorful explosion occurred in my mouth when I bit into these babies!

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The Shanghai blood in us requires us to always have a noodle (or 2) dish!

The Shanghai Style Chow Mein was what I used to live off of!  I would eat an entire, extra large order of this because I was a stupid child who would eat nothing else but noodles.  Of course, I have significantly expanded my food selections since then.  The noodles were good, yet the noodles were not as firm as I like them to be.  However, there was a good amount of vegetables in it so definitely a thumbs up.

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Next up was a simple soup noodle with pork and pickled vegetables.

This ended up being my favorite out of the 3 things we ordered.  It was light, flavorful, and the noodles were cooked just right.   Also, I have come to decide that the Chinese pickles food much better than Americans.  It’s not as sour!  Or maybe I was just imagining it?…

I ended up wanting this whole bowl to myself, but I always remember to share especially when all have agreed to it from the beginning. 🙂

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Leaving feeling warm, full, and happy, I need to get the name of the place from my cousin or at least the address.  What I do remember was that it was either on California St or Geary Blvd, and near Divisadero St.  So if anyone recognizes the food or even the table settings, let me know!!

That was my day in San Francisco.  Given that I had less than 24 hours in the city, I think I did it fairly well!  Til next time bay area!

Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero Street
San Francisco, CA 9411

Bi-Rite Creamery
3692 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110