This third part of the 2016 foray out of California will not contain places or foods one might typically associate with the Detroit area. (Since this wasn't a vacation, there were time restrictions; I will get to three places in particular on the next trip). All of the restaurants in this post have familiar foods and are places where special meals occurred when I was growing up.
Cafeteria style with waitresses who take your tray, seat you and refill your beverages. (The first small photo is where you can hang your heavy winter coat when you walk in; it is Michigan). There are only two locations left, but beginning in 1957, this was THE place to go, with many locations.
Known for hand-carved, slow roasted beef, which is and has always been my choice (and a comfort food) The hot beef sandwich (top onwhite bread, bottom on pumpernickel) shown with various cafeteria chosen sides and the condiment bar selections of pickles, beets, horseradish and sour cream.Then there is the chopped round steak plate, which my brother chose. Also very good, because...meat (along with mushroom gravy).
There are manyConey Island restaurants in Detroit, with people having a favorite one close to home and another favorite close to work (similar to taco shops in San Diego). Leo's Coney Island is a nearby, local chain. It's been around since 1972. Most coneys also have Greek selections on the menu, like this wonderful avgolemono (chicken/egg/rice/lemon) soup.
But of course the actual 'coney' (on the right- a smokey, natural casing hot dog) topped with beanLESS chili, onions and mustard, along with a 'loose'-(loose hamburger in a hot dog bun, topped with the same) is a typical order.
Long ago, there were Polish restaurants in every neighborhood in Detroit city. Those are now in the suburbs. I went to three differentPolish restaurants this trip and these photos are typical meals.
As soon as you are seated, a basket of breads, crackers and butter are brought to the table. Two slices of each flavor (marble, white and rye) in plastic lunch bags.
Soup is also served at every meal. This one, dill pickle soup, is my favorite. Each restaurant has a 'Polish Plate"which includes everything seen here: kraut, kielbasa, pierogi and Gołąbki (gah WHUMP key)-stuffed cabbage.
Here's a cross section of some pierogi - with mashed potato, cottage cheese and sauerkraut fillings.
Chicken dumpling, chicken noodle and creamy mushroom soup were also consumed at various meals this trip.
Another common food on a 'Polish Plate' is City Chicken, which I wrote about in 2014. I was slightly disappointed in this version, because it was made of chicken (!) instead of the traditional veal and pork...because real chicken is now cheaper, defeating the whole purpose of 'city chicken'.
There are also 'family style' places in the suburbs, similar to Jimmy's, Perry's and other 'diner' type establishments we have out here. comfortable, with comfort food.
Yes, omelets and liver and onions type of comfort food, along with cabbage soup.
Of course, there are the 'Dairy XXX' type places on every street corner. Soft serve, sundaes, flurries, treats.
Interesting factoid- these all open on Memorial Day weekend and close on Labor Day. One of the reasons Michigan public schools don't start until after Labor Day- so that seasonal employees/students can finish up their summer jobs.
mmm-yoso!!! is a food blog. Kirk is crazy busy right now, as is Ed(from Yuma) so Cathy is writing a short post on this overcast day.
After driving home from the midwest (there are more 'chapters' about the three weeks of condiment-free foods consumed), I was craving spices, flavors, heat...food that could be consumed with chopsticks...! The Mister suggested LittleSheep,which has beenblogged here a few times since opening in 2007. Lunch was available, with its own menu!($11.95)
Why yes, we each chose the 'spicy' soup base. The Mister chose the lamb shoulder and I chose the fresh fish filet. The same seasonal vegetables, meatballs and noodles were on the plates. I was happy with the flavors and glad to have tried the fish- it was fresh and different than what we've usually had. My brother was visiting and we decided to bring him to Little Sheep, since he had never had Hot Pot. This was dinner, where you can mark your choices off the paper menu.
Playing it 'safe' by ordering the mild as well as vegetarian soups, we went a bit crazy on add-ins. The 'veggie combo' ($9) does not include mushrooms, so a small order of oyster mushrooms ($2.75) was added to it. Traditional hot pot dumplings ($5) were ordered instead of noodles.
A large order of 'Supreme beef' ($14) was more than enough. The small order of chicken breast ($6) was enough) The Tiger Prawns ($8) were great! The beef skewers ($6) were ordered 'just in case' there wasn't enough food. Ha.
All in all, a great way to satisfy the cravings.
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
My curiosity piqued, a took time out on a weekend morning to visit. It's nice that they open at 930am.
The gentleman working was quite friendly and was fascinated that I asked about a couple of dishes on the menu; specifically Pacaya, the male inflorescence of the Chamaedorea tepejilote a species of palm. We really enjoyed the version we had in Honduras and while versions we've had in San Diego were obviously bottled and not as good, we still enjoyed the texture and slight bitterness.
But I was here for the pupusas and I ordered the Chicharron and the Loroco ($1.99/each). Things started off with some pretty good chips; crunchy, not greasy, with the typical Salvadoran style thin "salsa".
I also ordered some Horchata; which wasn't overly sweet, but also seemed a bit too watered down for my taste.
The pupusas arrived nicely griddled. I thought it was perhaps a bit burnt, but that wasn't the case. I thought the tortilla to be on the thick side for my taste, but it was fairly crisp.
The loroco was the better of the two. The pork in the chicharron was rather greasy and quite salty throwing the overall flavor out of whack. And while the flavor of the Loroco, the green bud of the Fernaldia pandurate was rather mild, I really enjoyed the flavor of the slightly milky queso and the rustic tortilla. I'm thinking the simple queso con frijol (cheese and beans) might be worth trying.
The curtido; the slightly fermented; in this case more like pickled cabbage was fine, it would have been better being slightly more sour and tart, though it had a nice oregano and an almost clove-fennel flavor, along with obviously being pickled with beet juice.
This was decent, if not outstanding, and as I usually do when trying out places, I returned for a follow-up visit.
I had Pacaya on my mind. Unfortunately, it was not to be as the young lady told me, "no pacaya today"! Bummer, so what to do? In need of some healthy collagen, I went with the Sopa de Pata, cow hoof stew ($8.50).
This was an interesting, almost roller-coaster ride for me in a way. When the bowl arrived, I was shocked at how much tendon was being served....it really seemed like an entire lower cow leg. The tendon was wonderfully prepared, gelatinous without being too hard and chewy. The overall soup however, left something to be desired. First off, the soup was very thin and much too light, even bland, in flavor and texture. It truly lacked richness, something that hoof soup should not be. I'm used to some tripe in my sopa de pata, also at least one nice chunk of potato, and corn, all of which was nowhere to be found. There was some sliced cabbage and carrot sticks, like you'd find in the produce section of the local supermarket. Not quite the sopa de pata I know and love.
I'll probably try and return, just to try out the pacaya...if they have it. Other places don't have it on the menu anymore. I think I need to check out El Salvadoreno, it been a while.
Nice folks, cash only, they open at 0930am.
Silvia Pupuseria 916 E 8th St National City, CA 91950
I must be getting old as this seemed to be quite a bit of food for me. The chicken was nice and lightly crisp; the flavor of rice vinegar present....I may ask them to put the tartar sauce on the side next time as it was a bit too much mayo goodness for me. The imo nimono...simmered potato was quite good....a nice meal for ten bucks.
Wa Dining Okan 3860 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
While checking out Okan, I looked over to Koon Thai and wondered how they were doing. So, a few days later I dropped by. Man, they are pretty darn busy for lunch....and the rather jaded attitude of the staff shows! Well, whatever. On this visit, I decided not to order my usual, the Khao Karr Moo and instead went with the Khao Moo Dang Moo Krob ($9.95), a literal pork-fest.
I gotta say; that typical Thai style sauce, fish sauce, palm sugar, was quite good. The BBQ pork was on the dry side and the roast pork....well was very nice, except for the skin which was really hard like plastic. I thought the lup cheong was quite good in the sweet-salty sauce; the egg perhaps overdone.....still that sauce was quite good. It was all about that. More quantity over quality in my book, but not bad at all,. Next time, I'm sticking with my favorite.
Koon Thai Kitchen 3860 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
Today Kirk and Cathy are busy. Ed (from Yuma) not so much, so he's posting.
Sakura. About a dozen years ago, when Kirk and I first ate at Sakura together, I had no idea that this Izakaya would be the restaurant most posted about at mmm-yoso!!! Of course I also had no idea that Kirk was going to be starting a food blog and that I would ever do a post for it. Long time ago.
Gleefully surprised to find an empty space in the lot, I parked, walked over to Sakura, tried the door, and learned that it doesn't open until 11:30. That explained the parking space. But I was content to sit down at an outside table, enjoy the pleasant weather, and wait.
When they turned on the sign and opened the doors, I knew what I wanted, tempura soba and iced green tea. The tea showed up first:
That's bright green.
Then the tempura soba:
This is an old favorite of mine. I love the textures – the crunch of the tempura, the juicy chew of the shrimp, and the gentle coolness of the buckwheat noodles in the broth. Contrasts of temperatures and flavors.
I also enjoyed the basic cabbage salad:
and the pickles and rice ball:
In some odd way, the simplicity of the lunch just seemed right.
Prime, in contrast with my lunch, would be a much more elaborate meal in a new Korean restaurant where Kirk, Cathy, and I had never eaten before. It was great for me to get together with Kirk and Cathy since I don't get to see them very much being stuck out in the desert. But we had a great time and a dang good meal. Cathy has already posted about it, so I’ll try not to repeat a lot.
Dipping sauces showed up first:
The little one in the middle was slightly sweet and was intended for the brisket slices which were not marinated. The largest bowl was my favorite sauce as it had some tartness that helped cut the richness of the beef. Also the crunch of onions added texture, and the sauce seemed to go with everything.
I was happy in general with the pan chan. The kimchi was complex and deeply flavorful, not too sharp or sour:
The shiitake mushrooms were simple and focused:
We all liked the little shrimp in a sweet chili sauce. Pleasant textures too:
The bean sprouts were unusual with horseradish or wasabi seasoning and went well with all of the beef:
To me the cucumber slices were well prepared with more crunch and bright flavors than standard cucumber pan chan:
For my tastes, the only shortcoming to the pan chan was the lack of anything dried – dried radish and dried tofu being particular favorites.
We also got this vegetable and soybean paste soup that we ate very little of:
And a nice fluffy custardy egg dish with mild seafood flavor:
But Prime is all about the meats, and what an array we got with Combo C:
It's interesting comparing Cathy's picture of the meats with mine because we sat more or less across from each other and our photos have a different perspective. This picture, for example, emphasizes the size and thickness of the ribeye steak.
All this top-quality meat was tasty. Prime even uses ribeye steak for their bul gogi. The ribeye steak itself and the brisket were totally enjoyable. But my favorites were the two furthest away in the picture. The boneless ribs were full of tendon and cartilage and had deep flavor and a pleasant chewy mouthfeel. The marinated galbi was supremely rich and butter tender. Overall it was a first-rate Korean beef barbecue.
When I first saw that plate of beef hit the table, I thought there was no way we would finish it. However:
One final note – our server was friendly and helpful throughout. She explained the dipping sauces, put the meats on the grill, took them off, cut them up, and otherwise facilitated, which was great because we three could concentrate on our conversations and our eating. I sure had a great time.
Man, they just opened in April! Cathy sent me a text about this and I went to check out their Facebook Page:
"Char House September 14 at 9:03pm To our valued guests, Char House is now CLOSED. Thank you for your support and we hope to continue serving you at our other location in Hillcrest: Pho Fifth Ave. 3807 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103."
I drove by yesterday.....
Geeez.....the Grand Opening sign is still up.....
7765 Balboa Ave San Diego, CA 92111
Yum Cha Café Closes:
Cathy also mentioned this to me as well. Notice the trash bins in front of the door. The place caused a bit of buzz and opened to lines. But slowly got worse and worse and based on what I had during my last visit, they really did seem like they were circling the drain.
6933 Linda Vista Road San Diego, CA 92111
Since we've been on 99 Ranch Market watch here at mmm-yoso...... The sign has been up for a couple of weeks.
A bit further down; where Paseo de Cristobal Colon becomes Paseo de las Delicias is the Torre del Oro (the Gold Tower).
Built in 1220, the tower was once part of the city walls and also used to guard the river. According to accounts, a large chain connected the Torre del Oro to a tower on the other side of the river in Triana. It was also used as a prison for a period after the Reconquista.
It has a long and rather interesting history. It was originally built as a Navigator's College and then sold to the Duke of Montpensier who made it his palace. In 1893 it was donated to the city and is currently the residence of the President of the Regional Government of Andalusia.
That fountain and monument above is the Glorieta de los Marineros, dedicated to Juan Sebastián Elcano, who after Magellan's death, completed the first circumnavigation of the Earth.
Plaza de Espana is located in Maria Luisa Park, a very nice green area, full of fountains and gardens. Of course the main attraction for most; the Missus and I included is the Plaza de Espana, built for the 1929 World's Fair. Walking down the short tree lined street to the grand curved building makes quite an impression.
It is quite a bit to take in......
The curved façade makes it look quite grand and very harmonic to the eye.
The two towers at the end are connected by a gallery and the center structure provides a nice view as well.
And the acoustics near the main stairs are pretty good.
Our favorite part of the plaza was the former Spanish Pavilion where the façade of the main structure is lined with 58 benches. Each bench features wonderful tile work. Each one depicts a historic scene from the history of each province of Spain.
It was fun walking past the benches; the provinces are ordered alphabetically, and see all of the places we'd visited during our trips to Spain - Barcelona, Granada, Sevilla, Vizcaya.... And take in some of the interesting details that'd we'd recognize; like the coat of arms for Madrid; the Bear and The Madrono Tree.
Soon it was time to leave and head off to lunch. We headed north a short ways and down a rather small street to Petit Comite, a place that I'd read quite a bit about.
The folks here are very friendly, the atmosphere somewhat cozy, the menu full of interesting, sometimes "fusion" raciones and tapas. Of all the places we ate at in Seville, this one felt the most like a true restaurant.
The Missus started with a glass of wine; I had a beer. And with the help of our friendly Server, put together what he considered a "nice" meal....'not too much, not too little" with a few signature dishes. Oh, did I mention his English was impeccable......which made me somewhat worried, but heck, we found that just about every place we visited in Seville, there was someone, at least one person who spoke English.......and it seemed most of the young folks did speak some English. It kind of made me embarrassed that I really don't know another language.
First up; the Duck Risotto with Pumpkin and Foie Gras (8,2€ - $9).
I've mention my leeriness of typical restaurant par cooked risotto before, but this was mentioned as a house specialty. It came out in minutes and the texture was rather uneven, sometimes too hard and chewy, though the pumpkin did help to add additional creaminess to the dish. We also thought the kitchen was a bit heavy-handed in the sodium department which really affected the flavors.
The Broken Egg with Foie Gras (6,9€ - $7.75) was better.
At first I thought the egg was over-cooked, but it was decently runny. Again, the flavors seemed a bit uneven to us...the egg had too much salt and the foie gras mousse was really sweet.
Thinking that we had ordered too much food, we almost didn't order the Octopus with Truffle Parmentier, but our Server told us it was one of the restaurant's signature dishes, so we got a media racione (5,5€ - $6.25)
I'm glad we got this as this was by far our favorite dish of the meal. Nice combination of flavors and textures; the truffled potatoes were delicious, the octopus flavorful and just slightly toothsome. The egg added an even richer texture to the dish, almost, but not sending it over-the-top.
We finished with the Angus Pastry with foie gras (6,5€ - $7.25)
Yes, it's a burger....sort of...the puff pastry is a whimsical play on the bun...there's a fairly decent sized piece of foie gras under that puff pastry. Loved the texture of the bun....and of course the foie. Found the burger to be pretty good, but underseasoned as were the vegetables.
We really loved the service here, but found the food to be a bit uneven and though Petit Comite was far from mediocre, it paled in comparison to all our other meals in Seville. Perhaps it was just an off day?
Petit Comite Dos de Mayo #30 Seville, Spain
All of that rather rich food for lunch left me ready for "siesta time". But the Missus wanted to visit one last place before heading off to slumber land. So we headed under that arch and off to our next stop which was surprisingly close.
After a fairly busy couple of days on Easter Island, we decided to take a little break during our first day in Lima. We had a wonderful lunch at El Veridico de Fidel, managed to check into a pretty nice upgraded room.....freshened up, then took a nice nap. It was starting to get dark when we awoke.
So, it was time for dinner! We headed out, taking our time......
We passed this fountain looking thing on Tarata Street. It's called the Monument Paseo de la Solidaridad.
We ambled our way to our dinner destination. Right before walking to Maido the night before heading to Santiago, we stopped by a restaurant to make reservations for our first night back in Miraflores at Restaurant Panchita Sazón Criolla, part of the Gaston Acurio empire. Pachita celebrates Perivian Criollo (think Creole) cuisine; the multi-national influenced dishes that equates to comfort food to many in Peru. The Missus headed to Panchita with a bit of apprehension after our so-so meal at Gaston Acurio's celebrated cebicheria La Mar. Still, I was looking forward to some anticuchos. The Hostess had remembered us from the evening we dropped by and made reservations.
We were lead to our table, passing trays of skewered meat....various parts of different creatures.
The woodfired oven looked ready for action.
The customers were a mix of Peruvians and tourists. The service was decent....some bumps in the road but good overall.
I started with a Cusquena Dorada Golden Lager, slightly sweet, mild malts, very nondescript.
Of course the Missus got a Pisco Sour, requesting it not too sweet. This was good, but nowhere near as good as what we had at Maido.
We were asked about bread and had initially thought about skipping it. But decided on getting it after all. If I recall 7 S/ (about $2) per person. This wasn't very good...very much like typical heat and eat stuff.
The Missus was fascinated by the various braised dishes and is a fan of Seco, the traditional beer-cilantro sauce. so She ordered the El Ossobuco Entero (88 S/ - $26), which featured "seco gravy".
We actually had to send this back initially because it was below room temperature. When heated properly, this was quite nice. Rich, a complex, mild herbaceous-sweet-savoriness, and the Missus loved those beans. The ossobuco was very tender and mild in flavor. This is total comfort food. The rice was meh......
I first ordered the Sweetbread Anticuchos (36 S/$10.50).
The sweetbread were lovely, very creamy interior, smoky, rich. Very nice. The Missus loves the potatoes in Peru and this was no exception....and of course, She could never get enough Choclo, the crunchy, large kernel corn, of Peru which She plowed through in a matter of seconds. Starchy instead of sweet crunchy, Choclo differs from Hominy in that it is not dried and treated with lye.
Still, I needed my Anticuchos de Corazon (39 S/ $11.50), beef heart, one of my favorite Peruvian dishes.
This might be the best anticuchos I've had. It had obviously been grilled, but not to the point of getting too firm and chewy. The texture was very nice; firm to the bite, but also quite tender. The marinade was nice, as it wasn't too salty. The Missus wiped out the Choclo again; though I got the potatoes this time. I'm not sure what it is about potatoes in Peru; but they always seem to taste better than what we have here in the states.
While we were eating, this older couple sat at a table nearby. The Missus told me, "they look familiar.....you know, that painting?" Good lord, She was right; give the guy a pitchfork and they'd fit perfectly in a Grant Wood painting!
We really enjoyed our meal at Panchita and the Missus has the place on Her list for a return visit if/when we're back in Lima.
Restaurant Panchita Sazón Criolla Calle 2 de Mayo, Miraflores, Peru
We rolled back to the Courtyard bellies full. The night was getting a bit chilly. We'd had a great day. It was Friday, so the main streets of Miraflores were full of people and cars. But the area around the hotel were much less hectic. We'd have a nice night of sleep.