Kirk and Cathy have better or more important things to do than post at mmm-yoso!!!, so today here's the first post from Ed (from Yuma) about food and adventures on his and Tina's recent trip to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.
On our way up, as usual, we had lunch at Sofia’s in Gila Bend:
Nice decor at the little restaurant:
The chips and salsa are always good:
We enjoy the three taco combination plate with the customer choice of any three tacos. On this visit Tina had two hardshell hamburger tacos (what tacos were for most of us back in the 60s and 70s) and a soft carnitas taco:
And I ordered a simple green chili burrito:
Sofia's is good Mexican food and service, often by Sofia herself.
Sofia's Mexican Food, 530 West Pima, Gila Bend, AZ 85337, 928-683-6382. Open Daily.
In the Past, Tina and I have focused mostly on the museum’s extensive collection of modern works and Spanish colonial art. This time, however, we wanted to explore the Asian section of the museum. They were having a special show for the art of Martin Fan Cheng:
This painting could be from a food blog:
These trout in a stream look photographic as well:
I was amused by a 1976 painting by Lu Yanshao that uses traditional Chinese techniques to picture "Electric Power Station in a Mountain Village":
We loved this contemporary cerulean ceramic bowl:
Completely different is this bodhisattva:
The museum explained that this holy figure is dressed in women's attire since achieving the status of bodhisattva allows one to transcend sexuality.
But my favorite item is in the permanent collection of the Museum, a remarkable piece entitled "Mass (Colder Darker Matter)":
It is like a giant mobile made from pieces of charred wood hung on nearly invisible wires and strings. As you move from place to place, it changes. Interestingly, the burned wood is what’s left of a rural church that ignited when struck by lightning. To me, this installation seems both ominous and numinous.
Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85004-1685 (602) 257-1880
This new pizzeria, featuring rustic 900° wood ovens and house made mozzarella, was our choice for our first dinner in the Phoenix area. The exterior seems pretty ordinary, but it is nice to see a doggie friendly patio in front:
The interior was brightly lit, tastefully simple, and full of customers:
Thursday Night NFL was on the TVs in the bar and numerous animated conversations were all going on simultaneously, so it was LOUD. Sitting outside on the back patio would have made conversation easier, but all the tables there were taken as well.
Of course, they have 36 beer taps and an extensive collection of bottled beers and wines as well. Tina and I had a couple of their lighter beer offerings:
As soon as we tasted our locally sourced Farmers Salad, we understood why the place is so popular:
This was extremely unusual and extremely flavorful. Batonettes of fresh mango and jicama dominated, with wafer thin slices of watermelon radish, a sprinkle of radish sprouts, small strips of red onion, and cilantro leaves all contributing. The cumin lime dressing was a superb match, tempering the sweetness of the mango and giving a nice flavor boost to the usually bland jicama. Amazingly good.
We ordered two different pizzas. I wanted to try the very basic Senza Formaggio vegan pie with mushrooms:
Tina and I wondered if we would like this at all, but it was very tasty. The focus was clearly on the wonderful crispy crunchy crust highlighted with the nicely herbed tomato sweet sauce and olive oil.
Tina was intrigued by the idea of the Spanish pizza with real Spanish chorizo, sliced almonds, Spanish black olives, and a mild harrissa sauce:
Tasting it was a real experience. To the eye, it looks like a pepperoni based pizza, but to the mouth, the flavor panorama was entirely different. The crunchy almonds were good, and the crust was magnificent.
We told our friends who were letting us use their North Scottsdale timeshare about Craft 64, they tried it, and Greg told me it was the best pizza they had ever eaten. Your results may differ, but it is damn good (can I say that?).
Craft 64, 6922 E. Main St., Scottsdale, AZ 85251, (480) 946-0542
Thanks for stopping to read mmm-yoso!!!, a blog about food. Kirk is just too busy to write a post right now and Ed (from Yuma) is finishing up a post which you will enjoy soon, so Cathy will be writing today.
A few people noticed that I barely mentioned one particular booth at the San Diego County Fair this year. Chicken Charlie's has been a staple at the San Diego County Fair for 20 years. When someone asks 'what's the new food at the Fair this year?', Chicken Charlie and whatever his new concoction is is brought up. Always something interesting and fried perfectly, quick service. The stop at the Chicken Charlie's trio of booths makes your trip to the Fair is closer to being complete.
Almost two years ago, Charlie Boghosian opened a storefront in San Diego at the corner of Balboa at Genesee. Kirk wrote a post about it . The Mister and I stopped in a few times and after a while, realized the food there wasn't all 'Fair Food'.
In addition, there are almost daily 'specials', mentioned on Facebook...crazy prices on regular items and sometimes a not on the menu board item. The specials have a limit of four and I've found myself walking in just to find out with the special is (because, believe it or not, I am not always on Facebook daily) and staying to try an item. Most of the specials are between $5 and $10.
What is on that regular menu? Most of these items...
Chicken and waffles, two pieces, $6.49 (regular price). I must say that Charlie knows how to fry chicken properly. It's never greasy, always crisp and filled with flavor. The waffles are an added bonus.
The shrimp filled pineapple/Maui Chicken ($9.95, special price, about every two weeks, is $6).
Also about every two weeks, the chicken or shrimp salad is $5. This is a great meal, plus a savings off the regular prices of $6.95 and $7.95.
There are times when we just want a different or additional side dish (if we share a special) and the onion rings ($2.95) and fried zucchini ($3.95) just hits the spot.
One day there was a 5 fried shrimp and 5 wings basket with fries (but I substituted the cucumber tomato salad, which I really like)($8). You can see the large shrimp, which are lightly dusted with seasoned flour and fried.
There was a $12 special not long ago. It was three pieces of fried chicken, five shrimp and three meaty ribs, along with a side of fries (and you can see I substituted cole slaw). So very good and enough to share. This was a 3-4-5, for $6. Three shrimp, four riblets and five onion rings. The ribs here are fried then covered in a very nice sauce. Always meaty. This wasn't a special, just a half rotisserie chicken with one side ($7.95) which is also prepared so well. Charlie knows his chicken.
The only special we did not like was mashed potatoes, topped with chili and bacon, topped with two fried chicken pieces and all of it covered in a cheese sauce, topped with green onion. It was $6. Each item, individually, was good. The combination was insipid. Too much going on, unnecessarily. The lobster slipper tail basket ($11.95) has never been on special. There were at least ten (I think 12) lightly battered and fried slipper lobster tails-meaty with a thin shell- served with melted butter (and the included side, this time we chose fried zucchini). Really good, again, shared. A couple of weekends ago, the special was...a fried Twinkie topped with chocolate and bacon...$1. Ever so lightly batter dipped, it was like biting through a delicate potato chip to get to the warmed Twinkie filling. Chocolate and bacon on top-bonus!
Chicken Charlie's FryBQ 5407 Balboa Ave San Diego, CA 92111 (858) 279-1111 Sunday-Thursday 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10:30-10:30 website
Well, here you are, looking at a food blog named mmm-yoso!!! Three of us write about food and happenings in and around San Diego, parts of California, other states across the USA as well as various countries around the globe. Kirk needs a rest (and maybe a vacation), Ed (from Yuma) is resting (after returning from a mini-vacation), so Cathy is writing today about a place in East County.
The Mister and I went driving early in the morning, while it was still chilly and overcast, looking for someplace to stop for breakfast. As is our habit, there was no planning and we merely drive and the passenger yells out 'turn here!'. This fine day got us to Campo Road and we noticed this new (to us) aqua colored signage.
Driving around the building, we realized it used to be a bank. The Drive Up Menu looked fairly interesting, so we went inside. With some research, I found out that Butler's opened in May. The interior is decorated for Halloween. In addition to the wall menu, there are more items written on that black glass area. There is also a small pastry shelving area and a refrigerated item area. You can see the interior is quite large. That's the bank safe there on the right (with the zig zag 'caution' tape across the front). I must admit that since the advent of Direct Deposit and ATMs, I don't recall the interior of my Credit Union, but guess it's probably as spacious.
We only ordered a large 'bold' coffee (beans from local company, Cafe Moto ) to share, because I had been awake since about 3 a.m. that morning and had finished an entire press pot already. The sandwiches are made to order. I chose a spinach, egg and cheese ($3.95) (choice of cheese: Provolone, American or Pepper Jack. Of course I chose Provolone). Toasted, buttered English muffin topped with the egg fluffily lightly scrambled with fresh chopped spinach and topped with melty Provolone. This was very good. The Mister chose the ham, egg and cheese sandwich ($4.25) (same cheese as I chose). You can see the ham is not from a deli package, it is an off the bone slice - a nice sized portion, not salty. The Provolone was also melted, the English muffin toasted and the egg scrambled to a fluffy lightness.
All in all, great quality and another local business found.
Butler's Coffee House 9631 Campo Road, Spring Valley 91977 (619)433-8913 Open Mon-Sat 6 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday 6 a.m.-3 p.m.
Today's posting of mmm-yoso!!! is written by Cathy. The guys are busy doing other things.
It's that time of year again; birthday week for The Mister and myself - a week apart; eight days of eating out. Our standard modus operandi is that He gets to choose meals for the first three days, we jointly choose meals the middle two days then I get to choose restaurants the last three days. Putting the posts together, I noticed patterns in our choices this year.
The turmeric coated stir fried fish lightly floured and coated in turmeric and hot pepper flakes, fried until the coating is crisp and topped with stir fried onion, Chinese celery and bell pepper. The numbing shows up at the end while the flavors of the fish and vegetables all come through at first. To accompany the plate of turmeric yumminess, I chose the oyster mushroom with shrimp noodles, which is tasty on its own but neutral enough to have as the 'side' (instead of rice). The bottom of the pot holds a buttery garlic surprise of chopped shrimp and some dried shrimp. It's rare to find any XLB in San Diego, so we chose these soup filled dumplings which were made to order and came out midway through the meal. None were broken and the skins were not chewy at all; quite tender yet not thin. The pork filling was very delicate, had a light crunch (water chestnut) and, of course, pork flavor.
Szechuan Chef 4344 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111 (858) 279-8881
When it was one of 'my' days to choose a celebratory meal, it was back to Bolsa. Immediately I knew what I wanted. The turmeric fish-Vietnamese style! (cha ca thang long)The fish is coated in flour, turmeric and egg then pan fried with dill and green onion. It's served sizzling on a cast iron platter. Wrapping the fish with some mint in the lettuce and dipping it in the fish sauce is just a perfect grouping of flavors. Not numbing, just tasty. We also ordered a Banh Xeo (which has turmeric in the pancake batter) and is filled with bean sprouts, shrimp and pork as well as some mung beans.
The Mister wanted the pork and shrimp Spring rolls, made to order. Fresh!
Bolsa 9225 Mira Mesa Blvd Ste 118 San Diego, CA 92126 (858)693-3663 Open daily 8:30 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
There were a couple more 'overlapping' meal choices this year. The Mister and I have similar-yet different- food cravings. Stay tuned!
Thanks for stopping to read mmm-yoso!!! today. Cathy is writing because the guys are just too busy.
After I got my fill of spicy foods following three weeks in the Midwest, it was time for what I just couldn't get back there (comfort food, San Diego style).Kirk posted in 2005 and again in 2015 about the original location of Chopstix. In 2006, he and I wrote a joint post about the second location and, in general, both locations are efficient with fresh food.The simple Hiya Yakko (cold tofu topped with chopped green onion, grated ginger on top of salad)($4) was just something I never thought I would miss and this really hit the spot. Hiyashi Soba ($9)- cold buckwheat noodle topped with imitation crab, chicken, sprouts, corn, cucumber, egg and seaweed was a perfect flavor mix on this day. The Mister ordered his 'usual'- mabo ramen ($7), which has a deep, sweet-spicy flavor along with the ground pork and tofu. Most of the other soup bases and fillings here are sort of 'plain'.
Chopstix 4633 Convoy San Diego 92101 (858)569-9171 open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily
Ten years ago, I wrote about Niban and then again in 2010 and in 2011. It's a regular spot for us when we don't want to cook at home: fast, fresh, unassuming. After ordering and paying, finding a seat and having water and hot tea (still free) brought out, food soon arrives. The chicken katsu salad ($4.50) was what I wanted. So simple: iceberg lettuce topped with cold noodles, carrot and cucumber slices and cherry tomatoes along with a perfectly breaded and fried chicken thigh. The miso based, Japanese radish/fresh ginger salad dressing is so very good. One of the window specials that day was chicken katsu curry ($7). The Mister wanted his own pieces of chicken along with the flavorful beefy curry sauce made here-it satisfied his cravings.
Niban 7081 Clairmont Mesa Boulevard San Diego 92111 (858)268-0465 Mon-Sat 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Sunday 4:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Then there was my craving for something from underrated, more than ten yearsin the same location,consistentalways good,comfort food for Kirk also, unassuming restaurant located at the South East corner of the 163 at Claremont Mesa.The rock cod with black bean sauce ($16 if not at lunch or late night (after 9 p.m., when it is $8)) is just done right here. Lightly crisp fried fish with red and green peppers, onions and salty black bean sauce along with some red-chili heat is just what I wanted. Then again, so was the simple beef topped egg foo young ($14 at dinner, $7 at lunch or late night). That is a larger than tablespoon spoon on a very large platter. The crispy vegetable filled omelet, so simple to make (in theory) is just wonderfully flavorful, crispy and somehow addictive in flavor here. Most times, we order it just with gravy/vegetable only, because that's all I really want.
Golden City 5375 Kearny Villa (at Claremont Mesa) 92111 (858) 565-6682 open daily 11 a.m.-midnight website
Thank you for stopping to read this blog, mmm-yoso!!! Kirk is still working long days. Ed (from Yuma) is also really busy with appointments and things retired folks do. Cathy only has classes to take, so there is free time for her to write about some meals.
There are two main eat-in areas ( as well as a nice outdoor space). The menu is filled with photos.
We usually try a different hot tea each visit. So far, our favorite has also been the osmanthus, a light colored, fragrant, deep flavored tea ($6.99 for this pot) I want to say the flavor is a fruity black...not that there is fruit added, just the leaves have that background flavor of peaches. The shredded pork plate ($10.25) comes with the large portion of tea flavored pork, rice and the (daily changing) three sides: one hot and two cold this time. The cabbage and green beans had a light pickled flavor and the corn had more of a tea/tannin/brisk taste. All were complimentary to the meat.
The deli plate with pork house noodle (or rice noodle) soup ($9.99) is a good choice which we can share. The soup is quite nice and not salty; good flavors from the ingredients. The 'deli plate' is quite interesting, with tea flavored bites of hard boiled egg, seaweed knot, smoky tofu and a dried preserved vegetable. Tea flavored dumplings ($8.99) are almost always a fallback choice. The tea flavoring the meat is subtle, but there. The presentation is always pretty. You can see the skins were not thin. The taiwanese tea sausage ($5.99) is also an automatic choice. It's served with slices of raw garlic, which are just so perfect with the flavorings in the sausage. The spicy fried chicken appetizer ($5.99) (light/medium spice level) is always perfectly lightly breaded and crispy fried; not greasy.
On a recent visit, we tried a pot of the chrysanthemum/Pu-ehr tea ($5.50) This photo of the filter shows you the mix of chrysanthemum flowers and tea. We really liked the more subtle fermented flavor of this tea. You can see it was darker, and Pu-Ehr is fermented; quite earthy in flavor on its own, but by being 'cut' with the chrysanthemum flowers, it was a flavorful accompaniment to our meal this time. There are three menu pages devoted to 'dessert', which is shaved ice, which you can create or order. We have asked for the menu, stared at it, then always agree we want this same item: grass jelly with sour plum ice ($5.75). I have eight photos of this dessert. No condensed milk or any other toppings. Just a light, pleasant way to end a meal, with some tea, of course.
I hope you are having a good week so far!
Tea Station 7315 Clairmont Mesa Boulevard San Diego 92111 (858) 268-8198 website
An acquaintance mentioned a ramen place opening in the East Village named BeShock and told me they were going through a soft opening. I was told the folks opening the place are from Nagoya; which made me a bit curious. So I trucked it down to the corner of 13th and Market street to see what was up.
For some reason, I expected a little neighborhood shop like the nearby Tokyo Deli. So I was surprised to see this large, spacious, very nice restaurant....I guess I "be shocked"?
The soft opening menu was a single page; with items like karaage, salads, and the like on the top....the middle was a collection of rolls, and five types of ramen on the bottom.
I was brought my water and some gratis edamame....
I saw Shio Koji Karaage; Shio Koji and Shoyu Koji are both staples in our household and using Shio Koji in karaage is pretty much an "open secret". So, I ordered the karaage and was surprised at what came out.
So, these were actually coated in masago arare; rice cracker beads. It adds an additional layer of crunch, but also gets soggy fairly quickly. The portion size was quite large. Also going down a bit of a different path; this was white meat chicken; though the marinating process give the chicken a texture like dark meat. Also, I quickly noticed that the flavor is quite mild......amost too mild for me; not enough shoyu-shio koji or any other (ginger-garlic-sweetness) flavor. It's pretty much about the masago arare.
I also ordered the Tonkotsu Ramen and was rather intrigued at what came out.
The broth was different; in fact, it might be the least salty ramen broth I've ever had....it didn't have much porkiness to it and I even thought it could be chicken. I was told that the folks here use a lot of vegetables in making the broth which really makes the flavor different. While it was fatty; I didn't think it was particularly rich, in other words, it lacked some of that "aaaaahh" effect. Everything else was good; the standard issue Nishimoto-JFC noodles were prepped well; the chashu had been torched before being placed in the bowl; it had a very nice porkiness to it. The egg was also by the book. Overall; a bit different...... I might try the Miso Ramen next time.
The folks here were really nice; the manager, who is from Nagoya, also spent time in Hawaii and we had a nice chat.
I returned a few days later. I had seen Chicken Tartar (i.e. tori nanban) on the menu; but when I returned it was gone.
So I went with the "Cajun Karaage" instead.
This wasn't very spicy and the batter was soft and gummy, though it was prepared and served in a more conventional way than shio koji karaage. The flavor just kind of fell short and this was definitely "b-list karaage".
I also went with the Chashu Bowl. Having had a few of these in Japan, I was surprised at how large and how much pork there was.
There's quite a bit of pork hiding under....well, all that pork. The pork was tender without being mushy. The flavor was good....again, not too heavy handed in terms of shoyu - saltiness - sweetness, but the pork flavor actually came through quite well. This time the flavor and the texture worked for the good of the dish. The shoyu tamago was decent; it could have used a bit more flavoring, but I have no complaints.
I really enjoyed talking to the nice young man in charge on this day.
While I thought the flavors somewhat mild and tame for my taste, sometimes people can make the difference. I really enjoyed BeShock, BeCause the folks here were so nice. I'll come back to try things out after their grand opening....which is BTW....today 10/17 at 530pm. They'll have Tori Nanban; though I'm not sure what they're going call it. The ramen style here doesn't seem to be my thing, though I will try the Miso Ramen to see if I prefer that.
The manager is a certified Sake Master and they have a bunch of boutique brews....so when I'm not driving.....
I hope they do well.
BeShock Ramen & Sake Bar 1288 Market St San Diego, CA 92101
The flier says - Soft Opening October 20th; Grand Opening October 22nd.
So there you go.
5950 Balboa Ave San Diego, CA 92117
Poke and Pintxos at Poseidon Project:
Like I mentioned in a previous post; I've kind of taken to the Poseidon Project, the little beer bar and bottle shop in my 'hood; Bay Park. It's a nice, neighborhood place, but it's a beer bar and bottle shop and doesn't serve food. Which can be a bit of a problem in this area.
I'll usually drop by on Saturday evenings when the Missus needs to work and have noticed that there's usually one and sometimes two catering folks coming in to serve food.
The usual Saturday stand is by a company named ILNLYF Foods, which you might know from the Little Italy Mercado. And yes, these guys serve poke.
I've yet to find decent poke in San Diego and I really had my doubts about these guys. And the first two times I tried the poke I was underwhelmed. I did enjoy that this isn't the typical San Diego "Chi-poke" set-up; the fast-casual fish with sauce thing. I did find the fish to be on the mushy side and the poke sort of waterlogged; as if they dumped a bunch of frozen fish into the marinade.
However, the guy serving the poke is very nice, friendly, Samoan, who has family and spends a good deal of time in Hawaii.
And wouldn't you know it; the last two times their version of shoyu poke has been pretty good. As you can tell; not too much "suji" (connective tissue) in the fish. It's been marinated....not just sitting around with some sauce thrown on it. I'd like a bit more onions, but the kimchi cucumbers are a decent addition. I was told that because their customer base at the Mercado's said it was too salty; they've had to change to low sodium shoyu....so they told me to visit them at the PIF and other festivals where they "don't hold back".
Tried it again recently and I gotta say; it's a two fer two...though i'm not a big fan of the "fried rice", which was too hard and dry. I'll stick with the white rice....though they did have a decent mac salad a few weeks back.
Also, on occasion there's young lady who makes paella, and later on some Saturday evenings she'll bring in some Pintxos......you know what that is, right?
They'll tell most folks this is "tapas", but the young lady is from Bilbao. In Basque country, they call this Pintxos.
Some Tortilla Espanola, maybe a version of Champinones Al Ajillo, Boquerons, or Crouquettas de Pollo. Nice folks.
I'm not sure what the entire lineup of food purveyors is; so you may want to call ahead on a Friday or Saturday to see if they'll have anything; 619-230-5334.
Over the last couple of weeks; I've noticed a couple of things; the beer cooler doesn't have the variety it used too; they don't always have all 8 pulls going. I really like this place and hope this isn't a bad sign. I've enjoyed meeting some of my more like minded neighbors, the two and even four-legged ones.....so I'm hoping Poseidon hangs on and maybe gets a kitchen, or something.
Poseidon Project 4126 Napier St San Diego, CA 92110