Out hotel had kindly made reservation for dinner at 8pm. This meant we had some time to kill. We were given directions to our dinner destination and just headed off. First we found our dinner destination, then we decided to explore a bit.
Apparently there's a university nearby as there seemed to be some kind of street market going on and tons of students socializing and having a nice time.
There were also all kinds of knick-knacks and "stuffs" for sale, including some "interesting" items. I used the photo on the right in an earlier post, but thought it interesting enough to post it again.
I'm wondering if the "brownie magico" helped to explain why the sausage place and the waffle shop was so busy?
It was getting close to our reservation time so we headed back. The place I chose for dinner is called Bocanariz....yes, basically, "Mouth - Nose". One of Chile's most well known exports is its wine. In spite of not being oenophiles, I thought it would be a crime not to taste a few. We were lucky enough to be rather close to Bocanariz, which has a list of over 400 Chilean wines. Our nice gentleman who provided directions told me that Wine Spectator had given the "Best Wine List" award to this lovely little wine bar.
The place was almost full when we arrived, good thing I had requested reservations a couple of weeks in advance. We were greeted with smiles and were seated in the bustling bar area.
Our Sommelier was a young lady named "Amanda" who was just amazing. We decided to go with several rounds of "tastings" and Amanda provided information regarding terroir, comparative wines, tasting notes, and some really interesting anecdotes about each wine. We were blown away, both by this young lady's knowledge, but also her efficiency, and fantastic service. She worked all the tables in the bar area and spent a good amount of time with us.
Instead of going into crazy details about everything we had; I'm just going to give you the tasting notes from the menu.
I think the "Wild Wines" were my least favorite as they really lacked depth and character.
The Missus really enjoyed the Garcia-Schwaderer Grenache, which is well regarded. I'd gotten a taste for nice blends and the Tipaume Red Blend had a nice balance.
Both the Missus and I agreed that the Kalfu Sauvignon Blanc was our favorite wine of the evening. It had just enough fruit, acid, and body to make it interesting with the usual musty fragrance in the background. when we mentioned this to Amanda she laughed and said; "yes, it's very low in the usual wet cat pee fragrance in many Sauvignon Blancs." Wet cat pee? That was a new one for me.
Still rather full from lunch we just had bread and a decent cheese plate for dinner. Fairly non-descript, but fine. It did seem some of the portion sizes we saw were quite large and I think we made the right decision to basically go with this strategy.
It was great fun tasting the diversity in wine this way. I'm glad we did this. The 50ml pours were just right; allowing us to try a nice variety.
We finished up with a small pour of the Kalfu Sauvignon Blanc before calling it a night.
There are times when everything seems to fall in place and we receive a memorable experience. Being able to sample a wide range of wine and having someone wonderful like Amanda to guide us definitely made a difference. If we're ever back in Santiago proper, we'll be sure to return here.
Bocanariz José Victorino Lastarria 276 Santiago, Chile
Finishing up, we headed right back to our room. We'd have to wake early, our shuttle to the airport would be picking us up at 5am.
Our flight left Lima at 835am in the morning, and arrived in Santiago Chile at 135pm. would you believe that there's a 2 hour time change between Peru and Chile? Peru is actually in the same time zone as Easter Island, go figure. Since we had so little time in Santiago and really didn't want to deal with transportation glitches, we had our hotel, a wonderful place, named the Lastarria Boutique Hotel arrange for shuttle service. The location of the hotel is wonderful, close to everything, but still a peaceful oasis, with a wonderful, friendly, and accommodating staff. We got to the hotel at around 3; dropped everything off, and headed out. The gentleman at the front desk was very helpful and when we asked about the location of the Mercado Central, he gave us directions. One interesting thing; no less than four people during our stay emphasized how "safe" the area was. Folks seemed generally interested in making sure we knew the area was safe. We followed the sprawling Parque Forestal down to the Mercado. We loved the wonderful green space....it was a beautiful day, families were out and about....
With children of the two and four legged variety having a great time.
There were several museums, monuments, and memorials along the way including the Museum of Contemporary Art and this one, the Iquique Heroes Monument.
Which is right in front of the Mercado Central.
Things seemed so relaxed here; as folks would stop by and chat with the mounted police officers and take time to pet their horses.
In terms of seafood for sale; things were winding down in the market.....the restaurants however, were going strong. Restaurants occupy the entire center of the market.
Hawkers try and tempt you into the restaurants; it seemed so very touristy, like we've seen in cities all over the globe.
We opted to walk the perimeter, until we saw a place full of local families having a great time. Time....well, we had a limited amount of that, so we wanted something simple and local and Marisqueria Yiyi seemed to have it in spades.
The young man working here was an absolute joy...so friendly, kind, gracious, and quite mellow. Looking at the menu we ordered a dish....looking at the next table we also ordered "what he's having!"
Soon enough, some very nice bread made its way to our table, along with the classic Chilean condiment, Pebre, full of tomato, cilantro, and garlic flavors that folks from San Diego would simply call it, well, "salsa". It was nice, but quite mild, which reminded me of an acquaintance who spent time in Chile, and told me; "in spite of the name, there's not very many spicy dishes in Chile."
Sitting right outside the main dining area, we could see the women hard at work in the kitchen.
Meanwhile, the place had started to fill up.
Meanwhile our Ceviche arrived.
The last thing I want to do is to get into any contentious, nationalistic argument. But having had more than my share of Peruvian Cebiche, I found this to be quite surprising. The fish, which looked almost minced reminding me of Japanese bone scrapings were fully "cooked" in citrus. And yet, the marinating liquid seemed quite low in acid. Also, it was lemon here, not lime, adding a totally different flavor profile to things. We actually squeezed at least half a lemon trying to bring the flavor up to our tastes.
The seafood broth that accompanied this was outstanding; clear, yet full of savory, but not overly "fishy" flavors.
The "I'll have what he's having" dish was the classic Chilean Paila Marina.
Man, the shellfish and crab in this were amazingly fresh, bright, and cooked to perfection. The fish in the "stew" were a bit beyond our preferred doneness. The broth needed the help of some salt and again, to adjust for our taste, a good amount of citrus as it was very light.
I don't remember the price of our meal; but I do recall being amazed at how inexpensive it was. I was also impressed with the friendly and gracious service....I mean, everyone else in the place looked local and yet we were treated like regular customers! When we paid, I left a tip.....the young man, looking quite distressed, made sure to go over the check with me, worried that I didn't understand the currency. We really loved the people here.
Marisqueria Yiyi Mercado Central Santiago, Chile
We took a nice leisurely walk back to the hotel.....after all, it was a "dog day Sunday" right?
Parque Forestal was alive with activities; and yet things seemed so relaxed.
If you wanted the children's entertainment; there it was......
If you wanted a nice nap in the grass; well, you could get that too.
Our hotel has an afternoon tea/coffee. I'm thinking there weren't too many folks staying here, slow season and all. So we decided to have nice respite and some coffee. Like I said before, it was like our little, private oasis.
As we had our coffee, we had a chance to chat with the young man who served us. We mentioned how relaxed, laid back, and friendly we found Santiago. He laughed and told us, "it's because today is Sunday....there's no commute, no one is in a rush....there is no competition for space. You should be here on Monday!" I dunno....it might all be relative.
We returned to our room; relaxed and ready for a short nap before "dinner".....which would be a tour through the various wines of Chile.
It's great that Taisho is doing so well. I found out that Taisho was an experiment in more refined, upscale yakitori for the owner (who also owns Yakyudori and Hinotez). They've done so well, that from what I heard Yakitori Hino is going to be fairly similar when they open.
Yakitori Taisho 5185 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. San Diego, CA 92117
Some Kale Pache and Garlic Paste from Harvest Market:
Recently, they expanded their offerings a bit and put in a dessert counter, have samples during the weekend, and lo' and behold, they had Kale Pache! Which I had to try.
This very rich version is lamb feet, head, and a whole lot of lamb tongues. The Missus was kinda grossed out at the lamb tongues, but I peeled back the membrane and She loved the rich and flavorful meat. The broth is super fatty though, and it needed a good bit of salt. I'll probably have it again....
The okra stew was not very good though; overcooked, very mushy, and lacking in flavor.
Beef Flap is back on the menu in the household. I grilled up a bunch along with other veggies and meat to last the Missus most of the week. This time I did the Cumin and Sichuan Peppercorn thing. The next day, I picked up some garlic paste and flat bread on the way home. We had cucumbers from the garden, some Roma tomatoes, and Vidalia onion. And I mixed some Labneh with mint and a touch of lemon juice. I also had some thinly sliced Berkshire Pork basted with garlic olive oil. Talk about a quick and satisfying dinner.
Harvest International Market 4220 Balboa Ave San Diego, CA 92117
I've found that the bottle prices at the Poseidon Project are even cheaper than most markets and liquor stores. Here's a few items I've had over the last couple of weeks.
Not too impressed with the NG Native Ale; pretty boring, not quite a brown.
This was an odd one:
Really just tasted like a standard San Diego IPA....really foamy. Don't know what the "Shojo" part is about.
The Missus just loved the Tusk & Grain Coconut Stout.
Though at 13.4% ABV, a couple of sips was all she wrote for Her on this one. In case you didn't know. T&G is Saint Archer's "artisan" line of beers brewed in Bourbon Barrels. They don't mess around; everything I've from T&G is at least 12% ABV.... yikes!
Poseidon Project 4126 Napier St San Diego, CA 92110
When I started to do some research on Seville, I came to the conclusion that we'd eat really well here. And we weren't let down. God bless Basque Country, but man, Seville held it's own in the food department.
After a fairly hectic day, we relaxed until the sun was on it's way down and headed back out to Barrio Santa Cruz, the city's former Jewish Quarter. We decided to pick up on where we left off earlier in the day. Of course we got lost within the winding, meandering streets and alleyways. Many buildings in this neighborhood have been built closely together, creating narrow alleyways called "Kissing Lanes". In some of these, two people can barely pass each other!
We came out upon a pretty little square named Plaza de Dona Elvira.
The lighting on the square was so bright and clean that it seemed like daylight! Orange trees added a nice touch to the pretty tile benches.
Down a twisting street we ended up at a large plaza and eventually at the largest Gothic Cathedral in the World, Seville Cathedral which looked stunning at night.
From the cathedral, we somehow made it to Plaza Nueva and then Calle Zaragoza. There we found one of the three locations of La Azotea. They weren't open yet (it was "only" 815) and the Missus felt strange waiting outside so we explored a bit. When we returned there were already two parties waiting in front of the place! Luckily, these folks wanted tables. After reading about La Azotea on wonderful food blogs like Seville Tapas and Spanish Sabores, I figured out that if you want tapas here, you need to sit at the bar. Otherwise it's raciones.
You get a nice menu, there's seafood listed by the end of the bar; wines, vermouth, cavas, and "Jerez" (Spanish sherry). The bartender was a very nice, efficient, quiet young man named Pablo. He was awesome.
I saw Navajas on the seafood menu and I just had to order it; a media racione (half portion - 8€). Good lord, this was so delici-yoso!!!
This was the most tender, sweetest, clean tasting razor clams I've ever had. The Missus loves Her beans baby beans even more. Loved the olive oil, which, typical of Spanish olive oil was wonderfully peppery and grassy.
Foie Gras? Of course. This is the Foie Gras Casero (5,75€).
Nice, almost buttery in texture, but the marmalade was a bit too sweet for my taste.
The huevo a baja temperature (6,5€) was also a symphony of textures.
Lovely oozy egg, nice flavors and textures from the bread crumb base with earthy flavors from mushrooms. I guess 60 degree egg is a standard thing these days; something we first had as a tapa in San Sebastian.
The Foie Gras ala Plancha (5,75€) was outstanding.
Seared perfectly, still molten and quivering inside.....my goodness, there are few things I love more. This makes me want to get back on a plane! The baked apples added a nice, slightly tart sweetness that just balanced things out perfectly.
The Carrillada Iberica (Braised Pork Cheek - 5€) was fork tender, the red wine sauce was by the book.
Rich, but not over the top, this was a perfect portion size. The goat cheese gratin added a nice acid-milkiness to the dish. Porky goodness.
The only dish we didn't enjoy was the Alcachofas - Artichokes (3,5€).
The confit artichokes were really bland and I didn't care for the texture. The iberico cream sauce seemed a bit disjointed clashing with the sweet caramelized onions.
I guess She was expecting a fortified sherry and wasn't ready for the super dry taste. I didn't mind this at all, but I don't think the Missus will be ordering this again.
Three glasses of wine each, plus the Tio Pepe and all the tapas. The damage? Less than 60 Euros! To us, a bargain. In fact, the Missus loved La Azotea so much, we returned during our last evening in Seville. I'd get another shot at that Foie Gras and Pablo greeted us with a smile. By far our favorite place to grab a bite in Seville.
La Azotea - Zaragoza Calle Zaragoza 5c Sevilla, Spain Open Daily: 130pm - 430pm, 830pm - Midnight
It had been a fantastic meal, and we savored our walk back to our accommodations.
You can't really see it, but the Plaza del Salvador was packed with what looked like hundreds of college students having drinks...on a week night! It looked like things were just starting up. We, on the other hand were bushed and quickly headed back.
I took a quick look out the window of the stairway up to our apartment.
And even here there was something dramatic to be seen!
I mentioned this place in a post back in May. During the Fourth of July weekend, I noticed the place had opened. And while I cringe a bit at those places that misspell "poke", I decided since this place was close enough to work, I should check them out.
Much like San Diego Poke Company; there's that fast-casual assembly line set-up. They feature three bowl "sizes" (small - $7.99, regular - $8.99, large $10.99) and a wrap ($8.99) Basically a 5 step process clearly outlined on signs behind the counter. Choose your base (here you can even get chips), step 2, add-ons (i.e. avocado, onion, surimi - sorry no Flamin' Cheetos here), protein, then sauce, step 5 are toppings, which I found to be a bit confusing with considering step 2, until I saw the difference in portioning. Looks like they are keeping things simple for the assembly line Keeping with "my rules" for checking out these poke places, I had to go with the tuna.....but man; that was the brightest cherry red (courtesy of carbon monoxide), saku (which you can even order from Amazon) fish staring me in the face.
Part of the dining area is set-up with a very industrial style tables and stools.
Even though the tuna turned me off rules be rules, right? To hedge my bet, I got some Hamachi, and some scallops with my bowl, with the "original sauce", which was a slightly sweet soy, with sesame oil and a bit of acid.
In all honesty, the best part of the bowl was the edamame, avocado, and the sauce, which wasn't too cloying and didn't mess up any of the flavors. The Hamachi, while slightly mushy wasn't too bad; the scallops had no flavor and I really missed the briny sweetness of scallops. Everything else was fine; the rice, the almost namasu style cucumbers. I could have used a bit more onion, but that's ok.
In terms of portion size; I'd say that this regular bowl was in line with San Diego Poke Company; though there might have been a tad more seafood in this.
And while I do have an issue with the sign; especially the "Poki (or Poke)" portion and I think they've taken the "salad bowl" portion out of context. They should be made to read Rachel Laudan's fantastic The Food of Paradise especially if they think they're providing information.
Still, the folks here were quite nice; even the older gentleman, who I believe is probably the owner or some reasonable facsimile who tried with all his heart to get me to put seaweed salad on my bowl. So I made it a point to return, the next day as a matter of fact.
This time, I went with the Tuna, Albacore, and Hamachi, with the "Hot" sauce, which wasn't very hot in my opinion. I did like the fact that they don't over-sauce anything. I decided on half and half; rice and salad.
The tuna was better this time around, but not by much.......way too much "sugi". The albacore looked a bit dry and was. The Hamachi was again the best of the three items. No off flavors though.
I liked the standard issue salad mix, though I wish these places would work on dressing the salad a bit if they're serving that. The rice was really bad this time around; dry and hard.
Ok, well, another one down. I'm getting a bit tired of all this saku fish. You know, I thought about asking how they named this place....but after consideration I decided not to since; if you'd compare this place to some of my favorites back home; it wouldn't even be one-third. So why bother? I actually prefer it to San Diego Poke Company, but that's not really saying much.
Poki One N Half 8055 Armour St San Diego, CA 92111
Funny thing; I had a chat with Tommy from Catalina Offshore about all these poke places recently. He's decided not to do business with them, basically because it seems to be a "reverse arms race to see who can get away with serving the cheapest product possible." He also asked me if I was "insulted at the low quality and how they're defiling such a great food item that I have ties to." I told him that right now, I'd just be happy if they spelled "poke" correctly.
Anyway, I still think you might want to check this place out. The prices aren't bad and the folks are nice. And hey, if you live in North Park, you'll have a location near you soon.
One of the guys I know loves this place and keeps telling me I need to check them out. I've told him that I'd been to the Little Italy location a couple of times and have basically found them to be more style than substance. But on a recent weekend morning I found my self in the area and thought "why not"?
Being right around the corner from Tacos Perla and right next to Modern Times Flavordome I'd passed the place enough times. Same drill as the Little Italy location, order at the counter, grab a seat at the table. I do like the lay-out; though I tend to think of ramen as being something for milder, cooler weather; all this outdoor type seating seems to be taking quite a different tangent. Still, really nice counter folks, the guy who brought me my drink was also great.
I simply went with the "Belly of the Beast". At $12, I think it's a dollar cheaper now......
The broth was just above lukewarm, not my favorite temperature for ramen broth. I'm sure the "no-spoon" thing has something to do with that.....though I understand that you can get spoons these days...by request. It was lacking in richness, and not much in terms of flavor other than being much more salty than I recalled. No deep umami, or subtle, nuanced saltiness, it was basically very dull. I left most of it.
There were even less noodles than before; pretty much standard issue, but prepped well; but too crumbly, lacking a nice pull.
If there's anything that set Underbelly apart from other ramen shops (other than the no spoons and hipster-ish-ness), it was the proteins. As before, I found the oxtail dumplings to be on the mushy side; but for some reason, it seems like there's a bit of kimchi in them now, which helped the flavor. As before, I could note no hoisin flavor on the short rib and though I liked the fat on the beef brisket, which also had a decent beefiness, the center of the meat was cold.
Now the egg was the best item, as it was decently soft boiled, and the flavor was right in the ballpark. But the yolk was ice cold....which really didn't go too well with a now almost room temperature broth.
All in all, I think Underbelly has taken a few steps backwards. I took a look at the beer list, which was pretty good. So perhaps that's what Underbelly has become. More of a Gastropub that serves ramen? Well, at least I gave this location a try.
While researching our trip it became obvious that we'd need a car to make the most of our trips in and around the Dordogne River Valley. Since this wasn't some crazy big city I decided to rent a car for a couple of days.
I'd made arrangements for a rental to be picked at the local Europcar office in Sarlat. The process was painless, the folks there quite friendly. As I mentioned when I drove around Crete, almost every car I've seen is a "stick". So I'm glad to have learned to drive in my friend's 70 'Cuda, which had probably the hardest clutch I've ever had to use. When on these trips, I think it best to get the smallest, easiest to hande, gas efficient, car you can get. We had a small Peugeot. I also requested a GPS, which was provided. There was one little glitch.....it was in French! So what better way to learn a few words in French, than with your GPS commanding you, "Le Gauche.....La Droite....Sortie...." It was almost like a song...."le gauche, la droite, sortie....le gauche, la droite, sortie". Basically, to the left, to the right, exit. But of course it sounds much better in French....repeat after me; "le gauche, la droite, sortie....."
One other thing that threw me off a bit were all the roundabouts....where you gotta know when it's your turn and then make that quick decision of which exit (Sortie) is yours. There were a few times where we took a lap or two in a roundabout.
As a whole folks were pretty relaxed out here; there's no freeway, so no one is blasting it down the road. Once I saw an ambulance approach from the back, lights flashing. I just crept over the right. The guys actually smiled and waved at us as they passed!
The payoff was being able to see some of the beautiful countryside. It was like being part of an ever moving painting at times.
I was just trying to get used to driving in the area, so we had no particular place in mind and ended up at this impressive, yet haunting looking church.
Looking at our map we had arrived at Cadouin Abbey, founded in 1115, the church was consecrated in 1154.
The Missus, while reading the Michelin Green Guide found that in 1934 two scholars found that the embroidered bands mentioned an emir and caliph who rules Egypt in the 11th and 12th century. Man, you can't make this kind of stuff up, can you? It kind of looks like the figure to the right has his finger in the air saying, "but wait a minute!!!!"
There was just so much to see, like this quaint little church. This town wasn't even on our map. The GPS said it was Saint-Avit-Rivière. The Wikipedia page says the "Commune" has a population of 80.
The façade of this church was quite charming.
A few minutes later we passed through a fairy tale like forest; the trees swaying gently above us.
And ended up outside the walls of a town named Monpazier, a well known "Bastide" (fortified) town. The town was founded in 1284 by Edward I of England, basically to command and control the roads and commerce in the area. The Porte Saint Jacques was our entrance to this historic town.
We took a different route back to Sarlat; but it was no less beautiful.
The biggest challenge with the car for me wasn't the driving, it was finding some parking once we got back to Sarlat. I finally found a spot 5 blocks away from where we were staying.
We walked on over to the restaurant the fellow in the TI recommended to us, by the name of Criquettamu's. It was a nice place, with small out door seating along the alleyway and a decent sized dining room.
It was a good thing we had made reservations; the place filled up quickly. The menu was "interesting" as it featured some truly French styled dishes, but also some rather strange "International" dishes. The couples on the tables on both sides of us; who spoke French, both ordered "sushi".....which looked quite bad. It really made me worried about what we had ordered. I needed some wine to calm me down.
This was quite a full bodied wine, with some tannic tones, a nice stone fruit flavor.
When our starter arrived, my doubts about this place increased a bit more. The trilogy of foie gras mi cuit was a bit of a disappointment.
All three were quite dry, almost crumbly. The version poached in red wine tasted a bit off; the best of the lot was the standard foie gras, which was still much too dry for my taste and lacking in flavor. The version stuffed with figs had a strong livery flavor. By far the most disappointing foie gras we had the entire trip.
Just as I ready to write this place off, my Duck Breast with Seared Foie Gras and Morel Mushroom Sauce arrived.
I don't even remember the potatoes, nor the salad; but that nice, rare duck breast, and melt in your mouth, rich foie gras, topped with a sauce with the earth nutty morels, brought together with a touch of sweetness, this was very nice. The portion size was on the large size and at 24€ (about $28 at the time), this was a bargain.
The Missus's dish was good, though not spectacular. Instead of the usual Duck Confit; She went with the Goose Confit (18€).
While I thought the skin of the goose could have been a bit more crisp; man was this rich and fatty. The texture of the meat was so velvety and rich, it basically melted in your mouth. I actually thought the flavor was milder than duck.
Overall, we thought the service, while on the slow side was quite nice. We chuckled at the presentation of the food as it looked a bit dated. We enjoyed our entrees, but that foie gras was probably the least favorite version(s) we had on our trip.
Criquettamu's 5 rue Armes Sarlat-la-Caneda, France
After dinner, we took a final lap around Sarlat-la-Caneda. Come morning we'd be moving on.
The town just seemed to have so much charm and character; we were sorry to be leaving the next morning. But we had a tight schedule to keep.
We got into Tokyo mid-afternoon, and proceeded to take the Narita Express to Tokyo Station. We decided to stay in the Nihombashi area fairly close to Tokyo Station. Our apartment was pretty small; like really small, though it had a laundry in the basement (remember the Jingisukan?). So we took care of all of that stuff; got in a short nap. By the time we woke up the sun had set and it was time for dinner. In spite of the hustle and bustle, we really liked this area, it made travel around the city quite easy. Anyway, with my trusty pocket wifi, I looked up our first option on my map; some Oden sounded great, but there was a huge line at Otako Honten. Plan B, grab some yakitori from Isehiro, but they were strangely closed down for the night. Plan C? I dunno..... I guess we'd grab some ramen from this little shop.
Boy did they like the signs and the posters....and the lamps! Even inside. The young lady working was a joy, very friendly, and patient.
Anyway, we ordered the Max #1 ramen, large size for me, a negi gohan, and onsen tamago for the Missus who'd of course share some of my ramen.
Man, that was shredded scallion allright....with some nice pieces of pork and a quail egg.
This was actually pretty tasty as they sauced the rice. Plus, the Missus loved the egg.
The ramen was different from other versions I've had.
That broth was really fatty, the texture was almost like oil. It had some definite chicken tones and some porkiness as well....but good lord it was so rich to be almost greasy. It also bordered on being quite salty. Good thing it was quite hot or we'd have some sludge on our hands. That egg was quite good, nice flavor, and nicely soft boiled. I really enjoyed the noodles which were fairly thick, a bit flat, but had been prepared to a wonderful pull and chew. I don't know why places here in San Diego have such a hard time getting it right, when this random ramen place on the corner here in Tokyo nailed it? The pork was a bit on the chewy side, but had decent flavor.
The quail egg and the spinach was an interesting touch. Walking back to the apartment, I suddenly realized we'd just had Yokohama style Iekei Ramen. I remembered reading about the shop that spawned this style of ramen, Yoshimura in Yokohama. And the thing that really made this place a legend was that the owners of Yoshimura-ya actually gave away the recipe to anyone who wanted it!
This was actually pretty good, if a bit too greasy and salty for my taste. No complaints for a random ramen shop we found.
Sorry about the address; I couldn't find a Romanized version of it.
Shinagawaya Yaesu 八重洲2-3-9 Chūō, 東京都 〒103-0028, Japan
We walked back to the apartment with warm bellies. Tomorrow would be a rather early day as we were heading to Kamakura.
At least the SoCal stores. As of July first. They replaced my card with one that acts like the typical supermarket discount card, but also allows you to accumulate points. Not sure for what, but I guess I'll find out.
Also of note, I was told that Marukai in Hawaii will be using a different system....so we'll see what happens when I travel back "home".
Marukai Market 8151 Balboa Ave San Diego, CA 92111
In the comments section of my post on Tamales from El Salvador Pupuseria y Restaurante; "Black Belt Jonez" (BTW, I love the Handle - I actually saw the movie starring Jim Kelly at the old American Theater on Hotel Street in Chinatown) mentioned Sabores Colombianos which was close by. Funny thing, I had just noticed the place on the drive up to El Salvador Pupuseria. So, I put the place on my "list" and managed to visit a couple of times over the last few months.
The restaurant is located on the corner of University and 37th street. If I recall, this used to be a Thai Restaurant for a while. The folks working here always seemed so friendly and welcoming; though timing and service can be a bit spotty. The dining room is simple and functional.
Part of the strangeness is that the register and reception area is in a totally separate room, so if you walk into the dining area, they might not even know you're there for a while. These days, I grab a menu by the door and just walk to a table.
On my first visit; I went with a favorite from Antojitos Colombianos; the Lengua en Salsa. Here they give you a rather large bowl of soup to start.
Man, this was pretty hefty for an accompaniment. Nice chicken flavored broth, with some whole potatoes and a couple of crunchy, but pleasant pieces of tripe. Decent flavor, not too salty.
The flavor of the Lengua en Salsa was good, the tangy sauce and vegetables; the condensed beefiness of the tongue. The portion size was quite large.
On the other side of things; the tongue was a bit more tough than I enjoy and the yucca frita wasn't crisp. The plantain was delish and I enjoyed the creaminess the avocado brought to the dish.
A few weeks later, I was in the area and thought I'd drop by for a snack....which would be anything but a "small bite".
The experience took on a rather strange tone as this woman walked up to the front of the place and started to display some rather odd behavior; like praying to the trash receptacle, then making stabbing motions at the telephone pole. Then, gasp....she saw me inside the restaurant and started making strange faces, then turned her back and started making bizarre hand signals to me. Since there was no one else in the place, I changed tables. Soon after, the police arrived and sent her along her way....apparently she was bothering some other folk as well. This is sad. I hope she gets some help with dealing with whatever demons she is dealing with.
I ordered an Empanada and also without really thinking the Arepa con Chicharron.
The empanada exterior was light and slightly crisp, though perhaps a bit more chewy than I prefer. The beef filling was tasty, but the shredded beef was a bit tough and stringy which meant that in one bite you'd take some of the nice crust, but pull all the filling out. The salsa was a nice, tangy, not very spicy addition.
I'm not quite sure why I ordered the Arepa con Chicharron. Perhaps it was a moment of weakness. But man, that was so much pork, for such a small arepa.
The arepa was quite nice; this wasn't stuffed, just a plain, moist corn cake. The pork was a mixed bag; the rind was super hard and tough, but everything else was a nice, fried, porky place. I used the salsa from the empanada, along with the lime to combat the richness.
We had a couple of fairly "cool" days this past May and on one my "shopping Saturdays", I decided to drop by Sabores Colombianos for some Ajiaco, the chicken and potato soup.
The portion size was quite large. Plus, it came with rice, capers, green salad, and the ever present half avocado. The soup had a distinctive grassy-bay leaf-artichoke flavor. When I asked, they told me it was a herb known as guasca, a traditional flavoring component for dishes like Ajiaco. There was a generous portion of shredded chicken and quite a bit of potato in this soup. Great flavor, but my only complaint was that it was served a bit too cold and quickly started to develop a "skin".
Still, quite a hearty meal in a bowl.
A couple of weeks later; after returning from our trip to Lima, Santiago, and Easter Island, I decided to take the guys to lunch. I thought they'd enjoy trying out some Colombian food, so we headed up to City Heights and Sabores Colombianos. I had them try some empanadas and also ordered a Papa Rellena.
This version was filled with beef, which was on the chewy side and could have used a bit more seasoning. Still, that crunchy crust, with a nice potato flavor with the boiled egg. This was quite filling.
Calvin got the Lengua en Salsa and I decided on the Sobrebarriga, which was flank steak with basically the same sauce as the Lengua en Salsa.
This was a bit more tender than the lengua, but was also no the stringy side. I do enjoy the tangy tomato based sauce. The yucca was as before, on the gummy side.
So JohnF is quite the eater, so I ordered the Bandejas Paisa for him.
Which he said was delicious and to both Calvin and my amazement polished off; after having an empanada and half the papa rellena! Good lord!
On one of my visits, I saw a gentleman who I believe was one of the Servers at Antojitos Colombianos. I'm not sure if there's any connection, though the food is a bit different. In my mind, I thought the dishes at "AC" were a bit better, but its been awhile, so perhaps I need to revisit. Still, I thought the food here was good in a rustic, homestyle kind of way and I don't think you'll leave hungry.
Sabores Colombianos 3695 University Ave San Diego, CA 92104