For some reason, the place kept slipping my mind. I'd pass by and tell myself, "oh, yeah, I gotta grab a sandwich there...." And promptly forget about the place.
Finally, I tattooed, Dudley's Deli on my forehead, backwards of course, so everytime I stared in the mirror, Dudley's stared back....well, not really. I wrote myself a post-it note and put it on my computer at work. A couple back to back lunch hour meetings means I'll need to grab an early lunch. Perfect for the early hours (open at 7am) that this place keeps.
The place is simple, a counter to order, a sandwich prep area, a cold case, soda fountain, and a couple of shelves with a few loaves of Dudley's breads.
All the "Premium" Sandwiches are $8.95 and as you can see above fairly hefty. As was the Corned Beef Reuben.
The rye was nice, the sandwich is press toasted making the exterior crisp. Lots of sauerkraut, perhaps a bit too mild for my taste but passable....thousand island(of course), and decent corned beef; I saw Dietz and Watson signs, so figure that's what's being served. This was perhaps, too much of a good thing for me on this day.
After recovering, I paid another visit and had the Italian.
This was my favorite of the three sandwiches I had during my visits. It looked busy, but it was the combination of the sourdough and the pepperoncini, with a very nice mild Garlic-mayo that brought it all together. All the rather strong flavors worked well and I preferred this to Lit'l Pepper's, the "Comeback". The one thing that was unnecessary to me in the sandwich was the ham.....but it didn't interfere with the other items. Also, the tomatoes could have been more ripe; there were on the green side and had no flavor.
While I really enjoyed the Western Wheat Bread used for the TBA, I was not a big fan of this one.
The turkey was nicely shaved, but bland, as was the honey mustard, and there was not enough bacon for my taste. Something acidic, tomatoes perhaps, would have brought something out in the sandwich. As it was this tasted like a nutty swiss cheese and not enough bacon sandwich. Like I said, the bread was the best thing about this one.
Overall, I like having choices and Dudley's gives me another one. I enjoy their breads and am thinking about doing a "Build your own", using that Jalapeno Cheddar Bread. Any ideas?
Dudley’s Deli 9119 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92123 Hours: Mon - Fri 7am - 4pm Saturday 10am - 3pm Closed Sunday
We spent our last two nights in this wonderfully atmospheric town. And while our experience with the cuisine wasn't that great, the town is beautiful.
From what we saw on our walk from the train station......
To the view from our hotel room......
To wandering the side streets......
Walking though the little streets in search of a snack or a meal was fun. everything just seemed to be tourist oriented food; even what was recommended by our hotel as being "really Portuguese".
To be perfectly honest, I kind of knew this. But I wanted the Missus to really enjoy Sintra after all the day-trippers had left, when the town was at its romantic best. Which meant staying in the town. It was a nice little break before our return.
Our dinner the first night was at Tacho Real. It was nice, but really nothing special.
Though walking around Sintra after the tourists are gone was wonderful.
The next morning we awoke and had a hefty breakfast and headed on our way.
Up the hill. Where the avenue became a smaller street......
Which gave way to a gate (where admission is paid), then trails, past an ancient Moorish Castle......
It is one of those places that is vividly unforgettable.
From the colors, to the restored rooms, to the view.
And yet, you never quite get the romantic beauty of it all until you climb up the neighboring hill.
It's quite an easy task....to let your mind wander; imagining the comings and goings, the intrigue, the stories that this structure could tell. Of how Amelia, the last Queen of Portugal, spent her last night before being sent into exile at the Palace.
The views are stunning and there are many trails on the park grounds.
We were glad we visited and stayed. We got to visit the palace and the park grounds before the buses of tour groups arrived.
We spent our last evening in Portugal walking around Sintra, picking out a little Wine Bar/Tapas place off the usual tourist trail.
A couple of glasses of wine, some small bites....it was a nice relaxed way to spend our last night....
It had been quite a while since we headed out of San Diego on a road trip. Things had gotten hectic between vacations and various trips we'd taken. And yet, we really weren't satisfying some of our cravings. One of which was the Cha Ca Thang Long from Song Long. So last weekend we headed out, for the first time this year!
I don't think Song Long has changed much since we first visited a couple of years ago. But it had been long enough that the old menu had been replaced with a newer version and the Cha Ca Thang Long had gone up a buck to $17.95.
It's still more than enough for the two of us.
From the caramelized shallots, to the nicely fired fish to what we call the "gift that keeps on giving", the mam nem, which you keep pouring over your bun and greens, only to have it keep "returning" for the rest of the day! It's just a lovely dish, one of our favorites.
It's also good that they open rather early, since we could hit up places before they got busy on this Sunday.
Song Long Restaurant 9361 Bolsa Ave Suite 108 Westminster, CA 92683
This was nice, not salty, could have used a but more bean paste perhaps, the skin is not the best, but the duck is meaty and it actually tastes better the next day.
It really hit the spot.
The place does put a lot of "jus" over the duck. In case you're wondering what to do with the last few pieces of duck and the sauce. Chop up the skin and what meat....little meat if you've done it right, and make fried rice. I actually made omurice with some of the fried rice I made......I was so hungry and the fragrance just took over, thus I forgot to take photos. Next time perhaps.
So there I was, Dumpling Hut had just opened and I walked in.
A few things became quickly apparent. First, these folks were very nice, unlike another recently opened shop who just seemed to want to do as little as possible for you, the folks here were just plain nice. Second, there's not much English here, something I kind of appreciate. Third, I don't think these folks have any restaurant experience at all. There were four tables of customers when I arrived and two parties came after me. I saw forgotten place settings, bowls, people seated with no menus for like 10 minutes, food sitting around....well when food did come out. My order actually took 40 minutes to arrive. Everyone, including the folks who came after me got served first.....I'm pretty sure the folks who came after me got my Guo Bu Li Baozi, you know, the stuffed buns that "even dogs would not eat". Something that was on that sign I saw back in May. I love all the styles of Tianjin Baozi....except this one particular model.
On the menu as Steamed Pork Buns ($4.99), these, like much of the menu is pretty well priced. I'm pretty sure there was something going on with the steam process on this day as the parts of the bun were hard, as was the filling; two of which had pieces of bone in them. The flavor was pretty bland as well.
I also ordered the Pork and Celery Dumplings ($6.99).
I could tell that this place has potential; the wrappers were nicely made, though on the thick side had that tender, yet mildly toothsome texture, that I love in jiaozi. However, were some problems; the filling was on the bland side, I know, jiaozi is fairly mild in flavor, but these are bland. The filling is too hard. I'm not expecting them to stir the filling with chopsticks for two hours like the Missus's Fifth Aunt did in Qingdao, but I expected better. Also, notice the scum on top of the jiaozi; one of the dumplings had a leak and the scum had coated some of the jiaozi. Poor quality control, as was the pool of water on the plate, these weren't drained well enough. Still, these were better than MyungIn which made them significantly better than Dumpling Inn.
As for the service glitches? Well, I gave them a pass. It was only their second day of business.
Still, some of my friends were excited; especially those who had gone to high school and college in China...there was Jianbing Guozi on the menu. And yet, those that I saw coming out didn't look inspiring. Which is why I discouraged Xiāngjiāo from ordering it when she, Candice, and myself had lunch here two days later. On my first visit; I had run into a good friend's dad. On this visit, I ran into Faye! You can read her post about Dumpling Hut here. Nice seeing you Faye, though I didn't recognize you at first!
Again with the glitches, not enough chopsticks, no napkins, where's our bowls, one menu for the whole table.
We started with the Northern version of Sheng Jian Bao (Pan Fried Bun - $5.99)
This does look like the Northern version of SJB, much like what my MIL makes. It does have a bit of "soup" in it, if a bit too tough, but the steaming wasn't up to par as the unfried part of the bao was not springy and soft as it should be.
The Liang Cai we ordered; PigEar (Seasoned Pork Ear - $6.99), was fine if nothing remarkable.
Even though I know the owners are from Northern China and not the Shanghai area, we still needed to order the Xiao Long Bao ($6.99).
Dough too thick and without enough pull. The filling had some soup, but was much too sweet. No shredded ginger.
Like before, the best part of the meal was the jiaozi, this time the Pork, Egg, and Shrimp ($7.99) version.
This was better than the last time in terms of being drained and such. I still think the flavoring is a bit too mild. I know, I'm kinda psycho about this, but I think regular readers understand why.
Meanwhile, things were falling apart. The place had filled up and it was chaos. Folks ended grabbing their own menus, plates, chopsticks.....a table kept looking for soy sauce and was so desperate that I gave them ours. And we were waiting for our Guotie (potstickers)....there were tables who came in after us getting guotie, so were those ours? The place was totally in the weeds; Xiāngjiāo wanted to go ahead and help them....there was a serious disconnect between the kitchen and the dining area, food was coming out and just sitting....no one seemed to have assignments. They guy who took our order suddenly disappeared. I later saw him helping in the kitchen, which didn't do us any good. Candice had to leave, so we sent her a photo of the guotie when it finally arrived.
Wrappers too thick, gummy, not crisp enough, filling too bland. Honestly, I'm not expecting Qingdao Guotie, but these weren't very good.
And this would usually be enough. But I mentioned Jianbing Guozi to YZ. Now, coming from the same generation as the Missus, though in a different city (Shanghai versus Beijing), like my wife, she has a special place in her heart from Jianbing. She just had to try it. So there I was, back at Dumpling Hut. Sadly, they were out of the Jianbing that YZ recalls, the version with youtiao, instead we settled for the more modern version we saw in Beijing (I call it Xiāngjiāo's version since this is what she was used to when she spent 6 months in Beijing). The one with the cracker in it.
It was as the Missus would call it; "dead", limp, lacking in flavor, and obviously made ahead of time as it amazingly arrived in less than 5 minutes. Even the smear of bean paste seemed tasteless. So sorry YZ; all those memories down the tube.
They were also out of other items we wanted to try GuoBa Soup, Chicken Gizzards, Spicy Pork Stomach, Pig Ear, Braised Beef Shank, so we settled on Braised Pork Knuckle ($4.99), which lacked any significant connective tissue.
This was way too bland in flavor.
Regrettably, so was the Niu Rou Mian (Beef Noodle Soup $6.99).
While I appreciated the noodles, which I was told is made inhouse and had a nice al dente texture; the beef was cold and very salty, so it had obviously been made separately from the broth since the soup, to quote the Missus, "tasted like someone had waved a beef bone above it". Sad.
Like before, the jiaozi, this time Pork and Napa was the best item.
Though like my first visit, though not as water logged, it wasn't drained well. This time I took a photo. Boiled dumplings, or specifically shuǐjiǎo...literally "water dumplings" really depend on basic steps being carried out and simple flavoring and texture carry the day.......of ocurse I do like the Qingdao Black vinegar with pounded garlic.
I really like the folks here. I hope they make the adjustments necessary in terms of service and procedures to get things running efficiently. I'm not totally sold on the food, though I'll probably return in a few months to try the lamb jiaozi....hopefully they won't be out of them.
Dumpling Hut 8046 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92111
Now that we're back from vacation, we've fallen back into the old routine....though we're still finding it hard to get motivated about something as simple as dinner. We've been back to Thai Papaya a couple of times, and while the Missus has found Her favorite, the Som Tom Khai Kem - papaya salad with salted egg, we still managed to try other items on the menu. some hold overs from (the original) Sab E Lee, some not.
Here's a rundown....
The oldies but goodies. Tod Mun Pla:
I think they've changed versions as this was much better than what we've had in the past. More kaffir lime leaf and bit better in the texture department.
So now for some of the other dishes. Do you remember the wonderfully sour Super Star Pork Rib Soup from my previous post? Well, one evening I ordered the Super Star Chicken Feet Soup ($8), which I think is even better.
The Missus's love of chicken feet has been well documented. Me? Well, I'm not much of a fan since I think the return on investment (time) is quite low. In this case however, I'll have to fall in line with the Missus. There were ten lovely chicken feet in this bracingly sour and spicy (a "6" kind of got to us), yet refreshing soup. Nice gooey bits with chewy skin....nothing like sucking on that toe and getting all that flavor.
Because of how lip burning spicy everything was on the previous visit; I did a take-out order with the usual suspects and included the Tom Thua ($7), the green bean salad and to save our lips went for a heat level 4. I noticed that Maylee wasn't around this time and everything was strangely bland and the heat level was like a "2".
Also the long beans hadn't been bruised in the pok pok and were really tough.
A week or so ago, I was bushed and decided to pick up some take-out on the way home. Along with the "rotation", I decided to try out the Tom Tang ($7). We really enjoyed the versions we had of this cucumber salad in Laos, which tend to be more pungent.
We upped the heat level to 7 and it was still pretty mild. The cucumbers seemed a bit rubbery and not crisp. This was pretty weak in flavor overall as well.
So I'm not quite sure about Thai Papaya. There are dishes we really like; the Mok Nor Sai, some of the soups; the Missus is hooked on the Papaya Salad with Salted Egg. But consistency in getting that heat level seems to be off a bit; so it's kind of like chili pepper roulette. I'm fairly certain that the days of me getting things at level 10 here or "big spicy" at Hunan Chilli King are over. But I still like a nice amount of spice. I'm wondering what I'll get the next time I order from Thai Papaya?
Thai Papaya by Sab E Lee 2405 Ulric St San Diego, CA 92111
Back in May, while leaving Spice House, I noticed a shop located at the end of the cul-de-sac in the business park on the street that borders the west side of Spice House. That weekend I drove by and found the place closed, but after a quick check online, I had found myself another sandwich shop to check out.
So the following Monday I dropped by to grab a sandwich. The place is small, but they seem to be doing a ton of catering. It seems that they deliver as well. There were 6 people working behind the counter, an older fellow, whom I found to be sort of a grump, and a nice, polite young man, who might be his son usually run things. There are several women who work behind the front counter and in the kitchen.
There are soups, salads, and the usual suspects in terms of sandwiches. But I was more interested in the sandwiches listed as "House Favorites", all $8.95 each.
I decided on trying the "Comeback". The sandwich felt heavy in the sack and indeed it was quite large. This was on a French Roll which was sliced then items placed on the roll "open faced".......I could not for the life of me fold it over and made a mess. I ended up tearing off the top half and placing it on the on top so I could eat it. Loved the red pepper and pepperoncini. There was a bit too much going on here and all the proteins just kind of cancelled each other out. But you won't get any complaints about value on this from me.
The Thai Beef sandwich seemed like an interesting idea.
While this was basically just roast beef with sweet chili sauce, I liked the combination of flavors brought on by the onion, jalapeno, and cilantro. If I were to get this again; I'd request a different roll and no cheese, which just didn't seem to harmonize with all the other flavors.
As I was leaving, I took a closer look at some of the signs lining the counter. It seems that there are special sandwiches that are featured for a limited time. So I made it a point to return to try the "Porchizo".
Roasted pork, chorizo, kalamata olive slaw, and chipotle mayo? That's a whole bunch of assertive flavors.....
Which turned out to make one heck of a good sandwich.
The chorizo and chipotle mayo added a nice kick to the sandwich and I enjoyed the flavor of the olive slaw. I had anticipated needing a shower after eating this, but it ended up being satisfying without being stupefying. Too bad it's no longer being offered. I hope they bring it back.
So I decided to order the other special; the "Spaniard". I'm not sure how Sambal figures into this, but I also enjoyed this very messy sandwich. The gouda, arugula, and pickled veggies make this sandwich for me. Smokey, with a mild bitterness, cut by the sambal, to go with the flavors of the salami. Very nice. Loved that the roll held up, though I think they should have cut the sandwich in half.
I like the fact that they open early. I was told 530, so I dropped by just before 6am to grab something to eat since I had meetings scheduled through lunch.
After a nice lunch, we were off. The Missus wanted to explore Barri Gòtic and the sun started peeking out as we crossed Via Laietana.
We decided to enjoy the day and bought some water and headed back to Barcelona Cathedral. We had a seat and just watched Barcelona pass us by.
One quick note. In Barcelona, we noticed some distinct differences in pronunciation from Madrid. For instance, they call their fair city "bar-theh-LO-nah". I think some of the differences other than Catalan versus Spanish language thing is explained here.
After a brief respite we were back wandering the back streets of Barri Gotic.
This is where the city of Barcelona was established. We would find all sorts of hidden treasures in the winding back streets of this neighborhood. Everything from Roman ruins to charming plaças (squares) with a ton of history and numerous little shops mixed in. We just got lost in the maze of little streets and really didn't mind at all.
In Roman times, what is now Plaça Sant Jaume was the center of the Roman city of "Barcino". These days it is still an important square. On one side stands the Palau de la Generalitat - the Presidential Palace.
On the other side City Hall.
Since this was once the center of the Roman city, you know there must have be some Roman ruins somewhere. Right down a small side street (Carrer del Paradis). At #10 you'll be at the highest spot in the neighborhood, at the top of Mount Taber! Walking through the doorstep and you'll be quite surprised by the ruins of a Roman Temple. Not huge, just a few remaining columns, once forgotten then rediscovered in the 19th century.
Turning back down a little street you can't help but notice the Carrer del Bisbe Bridge which used to connect the the government building with the presidential palace.
Also along this area is the old Jewish Quarter where over four thousand Jews were forced to live down a tiny alleyway named El Call.
Also in the area is a peaceful little square named Plaça Sant Felip Neri. The little square houses the school of Sant Felip Neri and the church that bears the same name. Gaudi used to attend services at this church.
This pretty little square still shows the scars of the bombs that landed here in 1938 as the Germans at Franco's behest used Barcelona (and also Guernica) as a practice range for their air force. 42 people, mostly children were killed.
Going down the short alleyway back to Carrer del Bisbe we noticed this sculpture. During our visits to the Prado Museum in Madrid, we managed to view Goya's famous work; The Third of May 1808 which depicted the execution of Spanish citizens who opposed Napoleon's occupation of Spain during the Dos de Mayo Uprising. This monument memorializes those who were executed when Barcelona rose against the occupation. Inscribed on the monument is "por dios por la patria y por el rey" - for God, for their Country and King.....
By this time, the clouds were returning. The Missus thought it was time to head back to our apartment....by foot of course. For those who have visited Barcelona, think of it as walking to Sagrada Familia from Barcelona Cathedral.
It was actually a pretty nice walk as we chose streets at random making our way back to Avinguda Diagonal. We'd do a similar walk one more time the following day.
We took a break at a non-descript coffee shop where the Missus saw "Horchata" on the menu and was excited. No, this is not the rice and cinnamon drink we're used to here in San Diego. Rather, Spanish Horchata is made from tiger nuts, a tuber which has a nutty flavor. I stuck with an expresso.
Close to Avinguda Diagonal, which actually splits Barcelona in half diagonally on Passeig de Sant Joan we saw this beautiful church.
It wasn't marked on our map, which we had gotten from a booth since the only person that met us at the apartment was the building manager, so we were on our own when finding maps, directions and such. looking at the board in front of the church we learned this is Església de les Saleses - Church of the Salesians. It is the work of architect Joan Martorell i Montells who was one of Gaudi's teachers and introduced him to Eusebi Güell (remember Park Güell ?).
We made our way back to the apartment. We showered, freshened up, and decided to stay in the neighborhood for dinner. Not in the mood for a typical restaurant we headed to an interesting shop named Típic i Català. Located a couple of blocks down and one street over on Carrer de Sicilia, this little shop sold wine, cheese, craft beer (!), and other food products from Catalan.
The shop also serves up charcurterie. local cheeses, matched with wine, along with other chalkboard items.
It's more of a wine shop with some tables, then a tapas/wine bar.
This sounded great so we ordered the cheese and wine and the charcuterie and wine....which did take a while, but the gentleman working on this day, who is Belgian, it is his wife who is from Catalan, was very nice.
He really didn't explain much, but perhaps we should have asked more questions. Overall, this was fine but nothing special. Still, he was very nice and it was a good, light meal.
Tipic i Catala Carrer de Sicilia 290 Barcelona, Spain
Taking a walk around the area, we came across this shop.
We decided a bit of Jamon would be a nice snack.
The woman working here was really, really friendly and nice. We didn't see any bellota pata negra, so got their highest grade jamon.
The flavor was nice, perhaps a bit too salty. It was just cut way to thick for us, taking away from the texture.
Charcutería Simón Carrer de València 392 Barcelona, Spain
At the end of the evening we resumed the usual routine, I was relaxing in the living room, going through photos. While the Missus had started planning for the next day. We had reservations for the Picasso Museum, but after that; well it was all to the Missus....