Hello and welcome to the food blog, mmm-yoso!!! Kirk and Ed (from Yuma) have both been extremely busy and Cathy is not yet at the point of extremely busy, so she is writing today's post.
As I had mentioned, The Mister has been having unusual cravings lately, primarily in wanting certain spices, heat levels or flavors...not a particular food. He had been mentioning 'Hot Pot but not the same as Little Sheep, that was very peppery' and since we needed to get some groceries after this lunch (it's located inside the 99Ranch complex), E & Drink seemed the perfect place to stop. Usually, we discuss our menu choices and decide what to share. This was the first time in almost forever when we didn't. He opened the menu, saw what he wanted and closed the menu, saying 'ready'. I noticed this placard on the table... and assumed The Mister was ordering hot pot and so the bottom combination of a Hot Pot plus an item listed as 'Lunch Special' seemed an option. Unusual 'appetizers' were brought out with our respective utensils. Turns out that The Mister had ordered the 'Lamb with pickled cabbage' hot pot, which arrived bubbling and ended up with much flavor. The Mister had asked for noodle on the side (instead of rice) and that was a change up and, I think a better choice. This was a hot pot of flavors we had never tried before and it was excellent. A meaty bubbling broth, the vegetables and hot pot fillers (pickled cabbage, meat ball, tofu, corn, kamaboko, fish cake, tempura, egg, napa cabbage, carrot, radish, vermicelli) were really good, still crisp and the lamb was tender and had a good flavor that we both enjoyed. Sometimes we order 'add ins' from the menu and, as you can see, the pot is full and it was very flavorful without needing anything added in.
I mentioned that we did not discuss our meal choices, merely ordering by number from the menu...Coincidentally, I ordered a meat with preserved vegetable also. "Pork with preserved vegetable" the menu stated... it was preserved rather than pickled (which is indeed a type of preserving) vegetable (an addictive saute of something from the cabbage family, but a dark green and it was not salty nor vinegared) with sides of chilled fried eggplant, broccoli and a wonderful pickled radish. As you might see, the serving of pork is very much pork belly. It was perfect. The fatty goodness and charred edges went so well with the vegetables and rice. Definitely ordering this again.
There are an array of drinks, desserts, appetizers and snacks available here. I hope your week has started out well.
E and Drink 7330 Clairmont Mesa Blvd, A110 San Diego 92111 (858) 560-9888 open 10:30- midnight daily.
Hello again from mmm-yoso!!! a food blog. Kirk and Ed(from Yuma) are a bit busy today and Cathy is writing a quick post.
After posting about El Cajon Bistro and Bakery in 2013, it became a regular spot to drop in for a quick snack before grocery shopping at either Kaelins (which has been upgraded in a great way), or Valley Foods when we didn't want to eat at the hot food area in either of those stores. (ecb is equidistant from each of those grocers).The name has slightly changed, removing the 'Bakery' portion and dinner is now offered here. This location is in the same parking lot as Saray and Sultan Bakalava, which are also regular stops for snacks. The ordering area is the same, as is the dining area with an emphasis on juices and fresh fruit along with the still tremendous coffee offerings.This day we decided to have breakfast and The Mister ordered his favorite item- the berry pancakes with bacon and over easy eggs ($8). The fresh berries baked into the house made pancake batter is just a perfect flavor combination and always satisfying.The chalkboard at my eye level on the counter had me curious. I asked what the difference was between this and the 'regular' eggs benedict was and the answer was 'green Hollandaise sauce'. For some reason, I have been asking for the 'green' sauced items at quite a few places this year (tomatillo, suizas, culichi, chimichurri and pesto easily come to mind) now this was a choice. Had to! Well, this was just wonderful! The eggs were poached hard and the sauce was great, with that bit of difference than plain Hollandaise as well as a good amount of fresh veggies making this an excellent breakfast treat.
Similar to its sister location (La Mesa Bistro and Bakery), the lines are out the door on weekends, unless you get here early.
ecb 109 Jamacha El Cajon 92019 (619)590-0278Website Open 7 a.m. daily (closes 4 p.m. Sun-Mon, 8 pm other days)
We left Miyajima before the hoards of tourists arrived and took the tram to Hiroshima Station. We were staying at the Hotel Granvia in the station. We dropped off our bags and got back on the tram for the Peace Memorial Park.
It is a sober reminder of the destructive potential of mankind.....
As we wandered the grounds of the park, we could hear the sounds of children singing. This lead us to the Children's Peace Monument, which commemorates the young victims of the bomb. Growing up in Hawaii, I had heard the story of Sadaki Sasaki and the story of "A Thousand Cranes" many times. Her life, death, and story was the impetus for the creation of this monument.
We watched as various "classes" came up to pay their respects and drop off their folded cranes; accompanied by a speach and a song.
It was quite touching......
We can debate justification and all that stuff all day and all night long......but the collateral damage was without a doubt horrible.
There's quite a lot to be seen here. You could easily spend the whole day in the park. The chest in the Centograph stores the name of every known victim of the bomb. As each Hibakusha passes on, their name is added to the list. On the opposite side of the pond resides the Flame of Peace which was lite from the eternal flame in the Reikado on Mt Misen.
We decided to walk our way back to Hiroshima Station, winding our way through shopping arcades, stopping to browse and window shop along the way.
In the back and across the street from Parco Shopping Center is a four story structure which holds Okonomi-mura, basically "okonomiyaki village". There are no less than 27 okonomiyaki stands in this building. I was told that each vendor has a different riff on Hiroshima okonomiyaki and all the stands use a special sauce made especially for businesses in the "village".
The big questions was....which one to choose? While a handful of stands were fairly busy, most were empty at this time of the day. We started on the top floor and startedworking our way down.....
Eahc one seemed to have a theme as well..... I liked the "classic rock and roll" theme of the stand called Kazu-chan, after the owner who is a big rock and roll fan. I loved the photo of the Ventures on the wall and all the old Japanese rock and roll album covers.
And so the lunch process began.... I ordered the pork and shrimp; the Missus natto.....
Hiroshima style okomiyaki is notes for the use of noodles...... it's quite a pile of food.
It did kind of bother me that parts of my okonomiyaki were pre-made...some of the crepe like portions were already prepped. The Missus's natto version was made form scratch though.
Nice of moist and fresh shrimp though and the base protion was made fresh.....
I thought the Missus natto version was much better, but both were surprisingly lighter than versions I've had in the states which weem much more doughy. They do like their scallions on these....and all those noodles, man, what a carb bomb. We would later have Osaka style okonomiyaki which were just plain amazing....perhaps we should have worked a bit harder to find a place....but hey, who can refuse four stories of okonomiyaki? You gotta try it....at least once.
If you have visited here before, you know mmm-yoso is KirkK's foodblog, mostly featuring his wonderful reports on dining in San Diego and worldwide. Cathy helps keep the blog going and has an encyclopedic knowledge of San Diego eateries, particularly those that the rest of us might miss. Some days, Ed (from Yuma) will post about eating on his travels and especially about dining in Yuma. Today is one of those days; you have been warned.
The most exciting new addition to the Yuma dining scene is The Farmhouse Bistro:
Its location – set back from the street with limited signage and lighting – makes this a tough location and many eateries have occupied this site for brief periods since I moved to town, including Mi Playita, TJ's Marisquero, Viejo Loco, Small Fries, Rusty Spoon, and most recently Spanky's Chophouse. But long time Yumans know the location as "where Hensley's Beef, Beans, and Beer used to be," a steakhouse that thrived here for 20 years, 1979-1999.
The interior is small and simple. Of course, there are a couple flatscreen TVs and a bar area that can't yet sell alcohol:
But most of the dining area is filled with about 10 tables of various sizes, and the rustic painted walls are reminiscent of a rural farmhouse (and when packed at lunch, the room almost sounds like the mess hall at a ranch):
While the decor is nothing to speak of, the menu looked interesting right from the start.
On my first visit, my friend and former colleague, Dawn, wanted the lamb burger ($12), so I went conventional and had the basic burger ($14). Hers looked like this:
She said the flavor of the ground meat had a distinct lamb flavor, and she loved the brie cheese topping. My farmhouse burger looked similar and different:
I was happy. I loved the char from the grill, the medium rare doneness of the patty, and the beefy taste of the meat. The restaurant tries to source all of their meats and produce locally – if possible. Maybe that’s part of why it tasted so good.
We were both delighted by the french fries (and surprised as the menu had not mentioned that they came with the burgers). While not crispy crunchy, they were full of real potato flavor – clearly none of them had ever seen the interior of a freezer. People with more perceptive tastebuds may have detected the touch of truffle oil on the potatoes, but I was just happy to get real honest french fries.
On my next visit, I had to try the pork belly tacos ($12) –who could pass up Korean style pork belly tacos? There were 4 well filled tacos:
This close-up gives you a better idea of what is going on:
The thick chunks of pork belly were simply prepared; I could detect no Korean marinade or seasoning, but I was delighted by the smoky char of some pieces. The coleslaw with red and regular cabbage was lightly dressed and definitely not sweet or goopy. As far as I could tell, the only "Korean" seasoning was the ground red chili powder sprinkled over the slaw.
Nonetheless, I had no complaints. The flavor of the pork belly was excellent, and the preparation of the tacos emphasized the chewy, porky, chargrilled flavor of the meat. I would have this again.
Currently The Farmhouse has no liquor license, which is a bad thing for the restaurant I am sure, but it can be a good thing for customers because diners can bring bottles of wine (and maybe beer?) with them to enjoy – and pay no restaurant markup on the beverage. I'm not sure when they will get a liquor license, but let me suggest that my wino friends come try the bistro now when you can save money.
For those not interested in alcoholic beverages, The Farmhouse offers your standard choices plus this amazing beverage ($3):
What you are looking at is a glass of kale lemonade (no I'm not making that up). It is complex and refreshing and probably even healthy for you. Welcome to 2015.
Since two lunches had been a success, Tina and I decided to come by for dinner. We started our meal (after the kale lemonades) with the most unusual sounding item on the menu, fried pickle ($7):
The restaurant brines a range of vegetables – this night included green beans, zucchini slices, small cauliflower florets, sweet potato chunks, and onion strips – dips them in tempura batter, fries them, and serves them with their house sauce, a spicy teriyaki mayo.
Eating the fried pickles was a treat for the palate. Sour, salty, and crunchy/greasy all at once. These were definitely addictive, if a bit repetitive, and we ate every piece.
The main courses continued to challenge our taste buds and our expectations. Tina chose the diver scallops ($26), which were perfectly cooked – charred at each end and rare in the middle. But look at how they were served:
What a treat for the eye. The scallops were perched atop a mound of beet risotto. The little white puffs are goat cheese quenelles, and the mound is surrounded by a buerre blanc sauce.
And what a treat for the mouth. The riced red beets with rice balanced the scallops nicely and contrasted with the goat cheese much like the old school borscht/sour cream combination. Tina (with a little of my help) happily ate everything on her plate.
I chose the duck breast ($28):
The breast, topped with garlic lemon purée, was served on a bed of lemon risotto, accompanied by three superb giant fresh local asparagus spears. I love asparagus and it doesn't get any better than those three spears. Moist crunchy tender flavorful.
The duck breast was cooked a perfect medium rare:
I enjoyed how the chef used the garlic and lemon flavors to contrast the richness of the duck breast. Certainly the best duck I have ever had in Yuma. The risotto was perfectly prepared, the rice being both creamy and al dente. If I had any quibble, it would be that the lemon risotto flavors were monochromatic. While the risotto was a perfect match to the duck breast, it was less interesting by itself.
For dessert, we had wanted to try the grilled peach, but of course, peaches aren’t in season (even in Yuma) so we opted for the banana crema ($9):
The small mason jar is a nice farmly touch. The banana crema itself was the bottom half of the desert. A layer of crunchy banana flavored cookie crumbs separated it from the raspberry/banana flavored crema at the top. The desert was certainly rich and unusual. It was also nice to see cheese courses on the dessert menu.
For me, The Farmhouse has exceeded expectations. The menu is certainly the most varied and interesting in town. The kitchen can turn out a wide range of dishes skillfully. Farm-to-table ingredients – witness that incredible asparagus – should be a perfect fit for Yuma, at least in the winter. In addition, the place is well staffed, and the service on each visit has been professional and personable. Of course, The Farmhouse is in a tough location, and the menu with lunches or salads between $9 and $14 and entrées from $25 up may intimidate some folks, but the restaurant has been busy and I hope that Yuma will support creative quality cuisine.
The Farmhouse Bistro, 2855 S. 4th Ave., Yuma AZ 85364, (928) 276-9735; open11- 2, and 5-11 Tuesday through Saturday, Sunday brunch 9-1. Closed Mondays.
I think I've mentioned that things have been pretty busy recently. After our trip to Seattle, I took only Christmas Day, New Year's, and one Sunday off. This means, either eat out (I even worked almost a full day when we did the 30th Street stumble), or make simple things at home....because, well, I'm kinda fried on certain days. Which means that if I do cook, I just want it to be a simple prep and go......
On the Sunday I took off, I was a smoking/grilling fool. I actually bought a six-and-a-half pound turkey breast, brined it and smoked it.
It took a good long time and I thought it was going to be dry as heck, but man, it turned out really well with just doing an overnight brine in water, kosher salt, brown sugar, and some of my rib rub. I used my standard poultry rub on it, mopped it with apple juice, finished with a combo apple juice and agave syrup.
We actually finished the whole darn thing in a week!
I also smoked some sausages I bought, tomatoes (yummy), potatoes, chicken liver for Da' Boyz.....you name it, I just made sure to use every single bit of those coals up.
Strangely, the Missus's favorite thing was to mix cubed smoked turkey with avocado, extra virgin olive oil, Maldon smoked and sea salt, black pepper, some cayenne and smoked paprika. She could just eat the stuff by itself or on a salad. I tried it one night.....you can tell it's mine since the Missus doesn't eat bread at home.....or even out these days.
I used the turkey in dishes that actually looked like breakfast........like this pseudo hash using the smoked potatoes, Kale and Chard form our yard...and eggs of course.
Sometimes it seems that doing these hash-scramble type dishes for dinner really works out well.
Having everything on hand makes things easy and I'm pretty fast at prep. To the right is a smoked merguez, smoked tomato, smoked potatoes, and onion scramble.
One thing I have missed, is not being to stop by Catalina Offshore. But finally, this Saturday, the Missus requested some fish....so I went to Catalina before heading off to work.
Oh, do you notice the Missus's current favorite veg? Right now, She's wanting Romanesco at least once a week. Coated with sea salt and olive oil and grilled with a drizzle of lemon juice. Stir fried....whatever. It's all about this broccoli that costs a mint. Well, at least we're eating our vegetables, right?
I was a bit sad when Tan Ky on Mira Mesa closed down. The place wasn't amazing, but they did serve some pretty solid dishes. So of course when I saw Tim Ky Noodle was taking its place, I made sure to check them out. And you know how that goes.......I try to check places out a couple of times whenever possible.
They've done a decent job of freshening up the place. New lighting, wood paneling....though you can still recognize it as Tan Ky.
The menu is typical of these type of shops, a million and one combinations of Hu Tieu or Mi noodle soups, fried rice, all the usual suspects.
I had been craving Beef Sate Egg Noodle - dry and my lousy visit to Luong Hai Ky did nothing to diminish things. So of course I had to try it here, right?
First thing I noticed was...this place was into that "big bowl" facade thing. The portion was noticably smaller than what Tan Ky delivered. On the good side, the egg noodles were done adequately....I like mine with a bit of crunch still in them, but not raw with a powdery edge. There wasn't enough sate in this as things were too mild and the beef "fair to middlin". The broth that accompanied the dish was much too light and plain bland. I'll probably not order this again.
The young man who served me was very nice and friendly. I asked him what he thought the specialty of the house was. He said it was the Bun Suong, which was surprising. If I recall, it was a noodle soup that looked a lot like Bun Rieu.
The folks here were very nice, so I came back to try the Bun Suong, which ain't cheap at $8.45.
This was pretty good. They used the thin bun for this; the type that would be appropriate for Bun Rieu. There were 8 shrimp "meatballs" that weren't too squeaky and still had some shrimp flavor. The annatto oil did make it look like bun rieu a bit, though the broth was milder. Liked that fact it wasn't loaded with MSG and the broth had a decent flavor which kind of reminded me more of chicken than pork.
This was not bad. I'll have it again.
It would only be a matter of time before I tried the Won Ton and Dumpling Egg Noodle soup ($6.49).
This was the best bowl I had here. It's been so long sonce I've had a decent Won Ton/Dumpling egg noodle soup that I'd become jaded....so perhaps that amplified my enjoyment? There were only 2 won ton and 2 dumplings in this, the dumplings were definitely superior to the won tons. But I gotta say, instead of the usual hard as rock fillings, these were adequately tender.
The broth had a nice flavor to it and even some decent richness as you can tell by the dots of fat floating around. I do wish the soup were a bit hotter.
This was a nice bowl.
I might have pushed my luck a bit when I returned and had the Duck Leg Egg Noodle Soup ($7.49). I actually wanted the roast duck version, but they were all out. The broth reminded me a bit of a watered down Thai style duck noodle, with dark soy sauce giving it a deep, dark color and the shiitake mushrooms in the soup.
There were faint hints of flavor....the mere wisp of star anise, but just not enough oomph for me. The duck, though tender, had a bit of a stale, refrigerator flavor to it. No complaints about the temp of the broth on this one as I had to figure out how to break down that duck leg floating in scalding broth.
I'd like to try the roast duck version next time, but otherwise will stick with the dumpling egg noodle soup. Plus, it looks like they have chicken wings on the menu as well.
I like the folks who work here....even the kind of serious server, who, while not too friendly, is nice enough. So of course I'll be back.
Tim Ky Noodle 9330 Mira Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92126
The most exclusive? Well, so says the Huffington Post and Los Angeles Magazine and a whole host of others. Last year, I had a chance to check them out. I really hesitated at first, because exclusivity kind of bothers me. There's something about having to be someone "special" to enter an establishment that grates at my blue collar, Hawaii background....
And yet, I've always been in search of delicious food......
I was torn. In the end, my friend "C", Yummy Yummy, and Quanito ended up having dinner at Totoraku. The place where you have to know the chef, or have the recommendation of a customer. There's the magic business card with the secret number to call for reservations.
The story of the place is the thing of legend...... Kaz Oyama was working at Hide Sushi when a customer talked him into a partnership and opening a restaurant of his own. Unfortunately, Kaz lost all that money....he did open Teriyaki House Pico, which soon shuttered. This eventually led to Totoraku. And I've got to give it major props when it comes to a success story.
So let me say this about the whole experience. "Chef Kaz" is a joy, friendly, schmoozing...he loves his quality French Reds, so you probably should bring a bottle, since they don't have a liquor license. So, the $200 price of dinner doesn't include that. With that in mind, the place is a relative bargain.
You will knock on that door and someone will open it......just slightly, like some yakiniku speakeasy. You have to have reservations, otherwise it's goodbye.
The writer from LA Mag called the place a "kaiseki" style restaurant, which is to me is not quite true "light meals to ward of the pangs of an empty stomach" says Yoshihiru Murata, but not really.....I tend to consider the modern definition which incorporates fresh seasonal preparations and ingredients. Looking at it this way, other than the opening foray, which really looked like a major Hassun course, Totoraku is yakiniku.
This was a kind of hit and miss....some of the items were ice cold which killed the flavor. The shrimp with caviar was quite good.
The beef carpaccio was nice, except for the few pieces that were a bit too metallic for my taste.
I didn't care for the beef tataki, much too tough, not seared enough, and kind of bland for my taste.
However, the yukkwe may possibly be the best version I've ever had. The very clean flavor and texture was nicely cut by the Asian pear......it was tender, with richness from the egg yolk. This could easily be the best item of the night.
At this point the Konro was brought out and the parade of protein started.
I will say, sone of it was quite good........outside and inside rib eye, some of it not to my liking....the gyutan, beef tongue was much too thick. But overall, it was a nice yakiniku selection.
I really enjoyed the "Korean rice soup"........nice sesame oil flavor, hearty, it had that "aaah" effect.
For me the bookend dishes were what made the meal. Other than that, it was a nice yakiniku dinner.
What was kind of disturbing was the phone conversation we all overheard.
Apparently, a "regular" and most folks here were regulars, had a reservation for 12. According to what we heard, he wanted to add 4 four. So Kaz is talking to this guy, who I guess is quite "important"......after all, you literally survive on regulars, right? The solution? Kaz was cancelling a reservation for four, who "were first time here and from out of town." So let's think about this.......that would be us if we weren't already here. Someone had worked and finagled to arrange a meal here and you were going to cancel them for some flaky customer who wanted 16 instead of twelve? Oh well, it's Hollywood after all, right? There are those who are entitled and those who are not. What really struck me was this....we had reservations for 4....we were from out of town....it could have easily been us. The four of us looked at each with the "wow, that kind of stinks" look. And yet, I understand.......this facade of exclusiveness, it indeed cuts both ways.
I'm glad to have had the experience. It's just not the kind of place for me.......
Thanks for stopping to read mmm-yoso!!! Kirk and Ed(fromYuma) and Cathy are the primary bloggers here, trying to stay on the subject of food. Today's post is pretty direct.
Again, it was December when The Mister's tastebuds kind of went all wacky and he started bugging me about craving the Little Sheep 'spicy Hot Pot mix', which we had at home, but I didn't feel like finding all the other ingredients needed. So weheaded West, to Clairmont Boulevard at Diane Street.Kirk posted about Little Sheep twice when it first opened in San Diego and I wrote a post a few years later when The Mister and I met Ed (from Yuma) and Tina here, yet I know all of us have been here quite a few more times, just without photographing the meals.Although a chain, there is only one San Diego location. Each table (as well as each seat at the bar area) has induction cooktops built in.Being seated, menus as well as an ordering sheet were brought out. I noticed you could order a low sodium broth, and chose it for both the spicy and original; the herbs and other flavorings for the original are so different from the 'spicy' and we didn't notice any lack of sodium...Each add in has a different flavor when cooked in a different broth. The veggie combo platter ($8.95) is pretty much always an order, because there is so much variety and we never can decide which vegetables we want...although next time we will also order mushrooms; I felt that was what was missing, if I were to be nitpicky.This visit, we knew we wanted the large order of lamb wonton ($5.95) instead of any sort of noodle.For the protein portion, the beef and lamb ($10.95) was today's choice.
Of course, we also had hot tea (no charge) and had a wonderful time cooking and enjoying yet another meal here. As mentioned, swishing and cooking each ingredient in the different broths yields a different set of flavors to enjoy. Hot Pot in general is a great way to satisfy everyone's cravings.
I hope your week is going well.
Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot and Grill 4718 Clairmont Mesa Blvd, San Diego 92117 (858)274-2040 Opens 11:30 a.m. daily. Closed between 3 and 5:30 p.m. M-F. Closes at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 9 p.m. other days. Website