I'd been wanting to try, ahem, BFD, since Dennis posted on the place nearly a year and a half ago. Recently, I finally had a couple of chances to check them out.
I like the concept, good bread, everything made in house, a nice wide open dining area.
The nice woman working the cash register is a favorite of mine....she is friendly and welcoming. And strangely, has remembered my name from my first visit.
The sandwiches here are not cheap; most are priced north of $9.50, but you have to understand.....this ain't Subway...you'll find no "formed meat products" here. The amount of meat on the sandwich is generous. In fact, I better watch it, if I eat too many of the b.g.p. ($10.50) which is much more than a roast beef sandwich, my TMJ might return.
The roast beef was mildly rare, just enough to keep it moist. I loved the cracked pepper which, in addition to the red onions added a nice pungency to the sandwich. The sourdough held out well...I ate half of this at the shop and the other half for dinner. Crisp and fresh lettuce, tomato and pepperocini added that acid-pickled touch, a chipotle mayo which perhaps was a bit too much, not in the spicy way, but in that it nullified the flavor of the smoked gouda, which I thought was too mild. I know most folks like a lot of meat; but I thought this was a bit too much protein....I'm more of a proportion/balance kind of guy. Still, there's nothing here to really complain about - this turned out to be two meals for me.
My other sandwiches were ordered to go and eaten at my desk.
The "Loin of Fire" ($10.25), was good. I enjoyed the roasted poblano, pickled onion, cilantro, garlic aioli combo. The pork was a bit too dry, even with everything else in the sandwich. I found that I enjoyed the Torpedo Roll more than the sourdough. It held up real well and the texture was quite nice.
The other sandwich I tried was the "Turkey Day" ($9.50). One of my guilty pleasures is a nice open face turkey sandwich. This didn't quite do it for me.
I really enjoyed the bread. The stuffing was a bit dry as was the turkey (which is predictable), I think a bit more gravy would have done the trick. I found that there was too much cranberry relish, making the sandwich too sweet for me; though if you like that flavor you'll love this. It was not until later that I saw the "o.f.t." which was a hot sandwich featuring turkey, gravy, and mashed potato....now that seem like something I'd like.
Which gives me reason to return. Yes the prices are on the high side, though you get better quality and even quantity....and after all don't you pay more for ramen than you pay for pho?
Big Front Door 4135 Park Blvd San Diego, CA 92103 Open Daily 11am - 8pm
We arrived back in Valletta nice and early. I had quite a bit planned for our last full day.
Unfortunately, the apartment we really enjoyed staying in wasn't available for this night, so we were staying in the Osborne Hotel which was on the opposite side of the peninsula.
We dropped our bags off and started on our way.
The first item was to get some espresso for the Missus and something for me to eat.
We saw this little shop along the way.
The little place was full...of locals......having coffee, reading the paper, talking about...well, I dunno. We entered and they quickly made some room for us.
While the Missus was having Her espresso; with a Diet Kinnie chaser, I saw something. Along the counter, there seemed to be makings for sandwiches. A couple of guys came in to pick up sandwiches while we were having our drinks. I couldn't help it. I just had to find out what this big seller was.....tuna sandwiches. I was raised on tuna sandwiches, but truly believe there's only one brand of canned tuna that shall pass these lips. Us old timers from Hawaii have some major brand loyalty. I had my doubts, I really wasn't thrilled with the version I had earlier in Valletta. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. And this was a major win.
It didn't look very inspiring. But man, this was good. The bread....what's with the bread in Malta (I'd learn soon)? It was crusty, but not too hard, nor chewy. The tuna wasn't the greatest, but it was the sum of the parts which made this fantastic. In perfect proportion; ripe, tasty,tomatoes rubbed on the bread, briny olives, I tasted mint (!), which tasted so good, boiled eggs, lots of black pepper, red onion for that touch of pungent flavor.
I wish I knew the name of this place. We returned for some espresso on the way out of Malta...but duh, I forgot to get the name of the place!
We caught the bus, and with some cryptic instructions got off in Paola. We walked to Tarxien, it was hard to know where Paola ended and Tarxien began....it seems that the borders of these small villages just blend into one another.
We arrived at our destination. There was a graveyard and church next door.
For some reason, the Missus was taken with the tranquil environment and decided just to lie down on one of the benches and listen to music.
Discovered by some farmers plowing a field a field in 1914. This complex of temples, dating back to 3150 B.C. this site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980.
The excavations have indicated that the site was used extensively for rituals.
It was a fascinating visit. The island of Malta has long been inhabited, some estimate all the way back to 5200 BC.
Leaving the site, I got the Missus who was just having a great old time listening to music, staring at the tree and the statue of the Virgin Mary.
It was time to head back to Paolo and our destination.
But first, we got distracted by this little shop on a side street that was doing some nice business. Cars kept stopping, folks running out; sometimes holding up traffic, to go in and grab...well, who knows what.
This is the spinach-olive, with a touch of ricotta version.
Frankly, I preferred what I had before to this. Though it was quite hearty and stuffed.
And so, we searched for our destination. Which we found with this discreet sign.
When I knew we were going to Malta; one of the first things I did was make reservation for Hal Saflieni Hypogeum. Discovered by workers digging for a cistern in 1902, the story of its revelation is quite amazing. Due to the damage done by carbon dioxide exhaled by visitors, only 60 visitors are allowed a day (it's actually closed right now while a new environmental management system is put in place).
Of course, photos aren't allowed; but you can see some here. Let me just say, at least for us, it was an amazing experience.
Making it back to Valletta, the Missus wanted Her Quinoa Salad from Piadina Caffe. So we headed over. This time I had the prosciutto with provolone, which was light and refreshing.
And I got a chance to read the local paper.
After a light snack it was finally time when we could check in. Along the way to the hotel we saw this doorway.
Which is how we ended up in the lair of Joe Frendo.
Who is Joe Frendo? I'm still not sure. I looked down those stairs and saw some bottled water, which is just what we needed and wanted at that moment.
We had somehow ended up in the shop of a Maltese bread maker. Huge wood burning oven going.....I was told; "go take a look....the best bread in Malta is here."
I looked at the bread which looked familiar. So I asked, and my question was answered with, "yes, Il-Horza, that is our bread."
And so we thought, "why not order a pizza?"
Having ordered our dinner, we got back to the hotel; checked in, and freshened up.
Walking past the Grandmaster's Palace, we noticed a demonstration happening. It was for women's rights. We saw a gentleman walk out to talk to folks. I asked who this was and was told, "well....it's the Prime Minister of course." The Prime Minister!
It was soon time to pick up dinner, so we retuned to Joe Frendo's Bakery. Walking down the stars we saw Joe's family having dinner at a table in an adjacent area and Joe at work on our pizza.
We loved this place. So the Missus asked Joe Frendo as simple question; "when did you start making bread" which turned into an 45 minute monologue of Joe Frendo's life....punctuated with many a "mey-lah". Which I still don't understand. It was an amazingly funny slice of life. Along with the pizza, we decided to get a bottle of wine, but requested that they open the bottle. At which time Joe walked over to a table, pulled out the corkscrew which was being used to level the table out and opened our bottle. Only in Malta!
We got the "Maltese Pizza"("mey-lah")and Joe Frendo gave us a couple of really good rolls.
The pizza...the crust was quite nice....had artichoke hearts, olives, and a nice tangy tomato sauce.
Which is what we had....watching the roof tops of Valletta.
As dusk approached. And eventually, I awoke right before the sun rose.
Like most places, Malta had been much more than what we had expected......
The main reason we decided on an over-night detour in Marsaxlokk was to check out the Sunday Market, known simply as the Marsaxlokk Market. The market was originally a Sunday fish market, but as tourists have found it over the years, it has expanded quite a bit.
We actually hit the place up when it first opened so there weren't as many tourists.
There's literally everything under the sun for sale here.
And there were quite a few folks hitting the place early to stock up on stuff.
Beyond all of this, the place is still a fish market at heart.
When the crowds started arriving, we decided to check out the side streets.
I've already posted on lunch, so I'll skip on over to the Missus getting some dessert.
And kind of just hung out watching the crowds like this little guy......
After which the time arrived for our afternoon nap.
After awakening, we decided to check some of the other side streets and found a little mini-mart. This is where I found Fizzee....I enjoyed this sugar free, almond drink, which was indeed quite "fizzy". It was quite refreshing. The Missus? Well, She still preferred Her Diet Kinnie.
There was something very "chill" about Marsaxlokk. The little fishing village made Valletta seem like a bustling city. The top sight in this fishing village is without a doubt the bay which is a natural harbor. Three quarters of Malta's fishing fleet is located in this harbor, which was also where the Turkish fleet was station during the great siege of 1565.
In spite of the rather unsightly power plant located across the harbor, it is still quite stunning.
After taking a nice stroll, we took a short nap. When we awoke, in late afternoon, all of the day-trippers were gone, and it was like we had the place to ourselves.
A nice light breeze blowing, the clouds rolling in, we seemed light-years away from the hustle and bustle of Rome.
Looking closely, you might notice something quite interesting about the brightly colored "Luzzi", the traditional Maltese Fishing Boats.
It's in the eyes......
These boats in design and color is said to date back to the Phoenicians and the "eyes of Osiris" are painted on them to watch over and protect the fishermen while at sea.
One thing you quickly notice about Marsaxlokk are the lack of resorts, hotels, and that sort of thing crowding up the boardwalk. Rather, there are many traditional buildings, which add character to the locale.
Looking for a place to eat, we came upon this rather colorful place. Half restaurant, half gift t shop, named T'anna Mari. The menu was fascinating so we stopped by to eat....twice!
We loved the menu, which featured traditional Maltese dishes; stuff I'd never heard of, ingredients that we love. It was a great change of pace from the multitude of seafood places on the waterfront.
Unfortunately, time passes quickly, and changes come just as fast. T'anna Mari is under new ownership and is now a Sicilian Restaurant.
So I'll do the rest mostly in photos with a few names of dishes and such.
This was called L-Platt Malti and featured a collection of traditional Maltese appetizers.
Bigilla - the traditional mashed beans.
Ful - Broadbeans with Garlic.
Tonn Immellah - Brined Tuna.
Zalzett Malti (Maltese Garlic Sausage) and Ġbejna (Goat Cheeses)
Il Fortizza - Stewed Horse.
Qarabaghli mimli - Stuffed Marrows, that would be stuffed squash.
We loved the meal and went back for lunch the next day. Unfortunately, it was like eating at a totally different restaurant. The food was over salted, fishy, dry......
Fenek Moqli - Rabbit in garlic and wine
Aljotta - Fish Soup
Qarnit bit-tewm - Octopus in garlic and herbs.
When getting ready to write this; I discovered that the place had been sold. That's too bad......the menu was interesting and it seemed like they were really trying to make a go of it. We did appreciate how the menu broadened our horizons with regards to Maltese food. I hope the nice husband and wife team that ran this place are doing well.
Then other news came trickling in....the kitchen was going to be run by the original chef of Common Theory. 'Nuff said. So I held off on coming for a bit, but finally decided to give it a go a couple of weeks back.
It was a Sunday and the bar was full and the really nice patio area was half full....and there was one poor guy running the bar and the dining area, a really nice guy named Danny.....I felt for him.
The beer selection was a bit limited, but had 2-3 items I was ok with. I went with a Port Brewing Shark Attack Red Ale, then turned it down when my food arrived.
The menu seemed a bit pricey, but it's hard to make that determination when you haven't tried anything, so I went full steam ahead. And of course, being from Hawaii, I love my poke, so I thought it would be a good place to start ($9.50). I think for most, this would be ok. Me, well, I'm not a big fan of saku fish....that boned, skinned, pre-cut, vacuum packed, and frozen stuff has a texture I don't enjoy.
I would have appreciated a bit more shoyu and less sesame oil. And I thought the "wasabi pesto" needed more wasabi.
I went with the Garlic Parmesan Wings, which was basically simply fried wings with a dollop of a garlic-cheese paste on them.
Man, that was a not so great first visit. Still, I decided to visit again. This time I saw the sign for $1 off draft beer during "Happy Hour" - 4-6pm. It's nothing like, say, Iron Pig's half price happy hour. It was also kind of a bummer when I was told that Sculpin and the Shark Attack Red were excluded from happy hour pricing.....it's only a dollar, but really......
This time around I asked for a recommendation with regards to one of my dishes. Queried about my tolerance for "heat", the Habanero Calamari ($8.50) was recommended.
And this was probably the best item I had at Coastal Crave; tender, nice spice, cooled by a decent aioli. It was on the greasy side....but this is pub grub, right?
I also decided to try the Bone Marrow ($15).
This seemed a bit over-priced and the marrow looked really black. It wasn't too bad, but in spite of the color, there were quite a bit of red, under done parts. This actually made the Wagyu Bone Marrow at Copper Onion seem amazing.
Pretty uneven, almost like the place is over-reaching a bit. I'm glad that it seems the neighborhood folks are coming out and supporting the place, but I wish the food was a bit better and the beer selection more interesting....though I saw most people drinking Bud Light, Corona, and Shock Top......
As you can tell. I was ready to call it quits....but for some reason, I decided on one more try. I saw a nice looking sandwich go out on my previous visit, so I thought I'd order it; the Duck Melt ($13).
I really enjoyed the melted Havarti cheese, slightly milky, creamy, it really added to the sandwich. I thought the duck confit needed a bit more flavor, and the whole thing was super rich. I wish the pickles were a bit more assertive; it would have been just enough acid to cut the richness. The habanero aioli actually detracted from the overall flavor and seemed out of place. Also, the bread had been griddled a bit too long and some of the areas were bitter. The fries were nice and for some reason....maybe the acid component, the ketchup tasted really good.
The folks here seem very nice, though the service can be a bit slow.
I'm glad that places like this are opening in the neighborhood. Like I said about Luce's, I'm not the kind of guy who is just "happy to have xxxx in the neighborhood". And while the menu seems "interesting" (extra " " on this) with stuff like "Gator Cakes" on it. I'm just going to have a burger next time. I'll probably be better off. I hope.....
Coastal Crave 3065 Clairemont Dr San Diego, CA 92117
While Leilani's might be a bit more spiffed up from what I recall; it's still that tiny shop....truly a café. I'd attempted visiting one time before, but the place seems to be doing a nice amount of business. However, on this rainy weekend morning. One in which I sorely missed a loco, there was room for me....and my Hilo Loco:
For some reason; I think the Hilo Loco is better than I recalled. Perhaps time has made the heart grow fonder....but having time between these will make sure my heart doesn't stop mid-beat.
The rice was nice (how's that for a rhyme), nice pieces of Portuguese Sausage give it enough spice and mild heart, making it even more hearty. The gravy is by the book; no complaints here. The hamburger patty is still a bit overworked, too lean, and tough for me.
The eggs....well, while I'd have loved some crisp edges....I'm not going to complain when oozy yolk is staring me in the face.
Leilani has carved out a nice little niche for herself. She even has a shop next door to this cozy little cafe. It's good to know that the Hilo Loco....well...is still a Hilo Loco.
Leilani's Cafe 5109 Cass St San Diego, CA 92109 Open Daily 7am-3pm
This past weekend, I found that I had completed most of my "honey-do" list quite early. I decided to head down to CV for some tacos. I dropped by my favorite loncheras, but found that all of them were quite crowded. Driving on Broadway, I noticed a familiar name:
You might recall my post on the Mariscos Tijuana Jr truck last year. I wondered if this was the same folks? This is the old location of Don Rafa, which has since moved. So I parked and walked on in. I was greeted by a very cheerful young man and a young lady. I was asked if I'd be eating in or taking out....they also apologized for not having any English menus. Really nice folks.
I told them not to worry, I'd do fine with the menus. I asked them if this was the same Tijuana Jr that had the lonchera....he smiled and said "yes.......we sold the truck and opened this place because we want more families..." He pointed outside to the Bounce House with kids having a great time. "You see......we like that noise!"
In a moment some chips (routine) and salsas made its way to my table.
I placed my order and the young man asked me if I wanted some "soup". "You mean consommé?" "Yes..." "Of course!" The soup was on the mild side, but super scalding hot.
I'd ordered tres tacos. A Pescado (fish) - the version at the TJ Jr truck was good, so I wanted to see how it was in current state. A "marlin" smoked fish, and a Gobernador.
When the tacos arrived; the first thing I noticed was that the tortillas seemed different since my previous visit. These were much more fragrant and more hardy.
The fish taco was every bit as good as what I had at the truck. Shiny, crisp, lacquer batter....with even more fish than before. It was good with the lighter, almost thousand island dressing like salsa.
The tacos de marlin was interesting. I tasted the fish alone and it was really salty and fishy. Strangely, when I ate the taco, it just fit in nicely. Somehow the sodium had been balanced out and the fishiness had been over ruled by the pic de gallo, cabbage, and salsa.
The gobernador was better than what I had at the truck, though it's still not among my favorites. Though the tortilla held up nicely and the shrimp were cooked well; it just didn't have enough flavor or onions for me. Still, it's not bad at all.
As I got up to pay my check, and older woman came on over to me and asked me, "Please have some dessert....it's free......flan, cheesecake?" She was so sweet. Though I declined saying that I had more than enough to eat. This is a great indication of the folks here....really friendly and helpful. Now I have an option when all my favorite mariscos trucks are too busy.....or even when they're not.
Tijuana JR Tacos y Cockteles 631 Broadway Chula Vista, CA 91910
Thanks for continuing to drop by to read mmm-yoso!!! Today, Kirk and Ed(from Yuma) are taking breaks and Cathy is writing.
Over the past six months, whenever we'd stop at Carnitas Uruapan (which is far more often than I've posted), The Mister and I watched the progressing construction of this new La Mesa Gastropub, which opened about two weeks ago. The location of Craft Kitchen La Mesa used to be a 7-11. (Look into the distance of the above photo, you can see the new 7-11 location, directly on the other side of Spring Street).Stepping into the front door, the menu board and ordering area are in front of you. There are also menus on the counter and some chairs if you need to peruse. The menu is short.
Order, pay, find a seat...Perhaps decide on a beer or wine to accompany your meal... Then again, there are tasters ($2 each) when you can't decide. Julian Hard Cider and Karl Strauss Mosaic were our choices this day. Other difficult choices were deciding what we wanted to try on this visit (while planning what we want to try on future visits...did you notice there is breakfast...daily breakfast, not just a weekend Brunch...). So, the "Greens " flat bread ($10) was our mutual choice. Fresh made chewy (with a bit of bottom crunch) flatbread topped with Mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, fresh chopped garlic and basil...the flavors all melded wonderfully and went well with each beverage choice. This quite large (despite the photo) "Strawberry Fields" salad ($11) with added chicken ($2) was also a mutually decided choice, primarily because of the cheese -Burrata- and our general tendency toward trying to have a 'balanced' meal. Spring mix greens, whole almonds and a very nice strawberry vinaigrette combined with the Burrata and good portion of warm/just cooked marinated chicken (the flavors of the chicken were good enough not to need any seasoning additions) made this salad an excellent meal...well, half the salad plus half the flatbread was a great meal.