Honey-Rhubarb & Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

So. This is the first time I have ever cooked with rhubarb. But fear not,  it turned out quite nicely! I love rhubarb in desserts, it adds a great tang to pies and ice cream and pairs beautifully with strawberries or white chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Shavings

Dark Chocolate Shavings and a Swirl of Honey on the Parfait

It might seem intimidating at first because its a stalk-y vegetable that looks a lot like celery that is dyed bright red and you normally do not consume it raw or without cooking it with sugar. But cooking with it does not take very long at all and with the results you get a jammy sweet-tart confection that can be mixed into muffins, swirled into ice cream, mixed into a cocktail or dolloped on yogurt. I chose that last option.

Honey-Rhubarb & Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

Honey-Rhubarb & Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

Spoonful of the Parfait

Spoonful of the Parfait

I based my rhubarb on this recipe. I made some modifications and decided to add thyme to it. Thyme is such a nice woodsy herb that adds complexity to the honey-rhubarb compote. If you want it to be even more woodsy you could add rosemary even!

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

Rhubarb - Doesn't it look just like celery?

Rhubarb – Doesn’t it look just like celery?

INGREDIENTS:

Honey-Rhubarb Compote with Thyme

3 cups fresh rhubarb
1/4 cup orange juice
3 tbsp honey
1 sprig of fresh thyme

1. In a saucepan, bring the orange juice to a boil.
2. Add rhubarb, honey, and thyme and stir until everything is well mixed.
3. Cook mixture slowly for about 8 minutes. Taste for sweetness and add more honey if desired.
4. Let the compote cool completely. It can be stored in a jar for up to a week.

Honey-Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

Honey-Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

Honey-Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

honey-rhubarb compote
plain or vanilla greek yogurt
dark chocolate bar
honey

1. Layer the honey-rhubarb compote with greek yogurt
2. After each layer do a drizzle of honey and shave some dark chocolate on top of it.
3. Repeat.

Honey-Rhubarb Compote and Greek Yogurt Parfait

Honey-Rhubarb Compote and Greek Yogurt Parfait

The end result is a delicious mix of creamy yogurt, tangy-sweet honey rhubarb, and a touch of bitter from the dark chocolate. Its low-carb and satisfying (especially if you do big shavings of dark chocolate!). It made for a lovely breakfast today and tomorrow I’m thinking of adding the compote to some oatmeal with almond milk, coconut shavings and fresh sliced strawberries…

Honey-Rhubarb Compote and Greek Yogurt Parfait

Honey-Rhubarb Compote and Greek Yogurt Parfait

TIPS:
– You can substitute the honey in the compote recipe for a sweetener like sugar or the cup-for-cup Splenda! If you use a no calorie sweetener this would be a pretty healthy (and virtually zero carb) recipe.
– Adding in sliced strawberries or fresh blackberries to this parfait would also be lovely.
– If you don’t like dark chocolate, white chocolate pairs really well with rhubarb.
– Naturally you can use any kind of yogurt you like, and adding granola to this would really take it over the top!

Smudgy Honey-Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt Parfait Cup

Smudgy Honey-Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt Parfait Cup

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Healthy Snacks

Even though I usually eat healthy meals when I eat at home (eating out is a whole other story) my downfall can be snacks. Naturally the best things to snack on are fruits and veggies. But every now and then you want something salty and crunchy and that might vaguely remind you of potato chips and chocolate and other delicious but perhaps unhealthy things. I try to limit how many snacks I buy because if I have 5 types of snacks in my house I will inevitably rotate between all 5 snacks during the course of the day. If I only have 1 or 2 snacks then it is more likely I will eat less of them since it gets boring to eat the same snack all day erryday.

So everyone is familiar with healthy snacks like nuts, low-fat low-sugar yogurt, etc. but this post is about some new healthy snacks I recently discovered that I had never tried before (and obviously really liked!):

Baked Snap Peas

Snap Pea Crisps

Snap Pea Crisps

Snap Pea Crisps

Snap Pea Crisps

These are crispy baked snap peas. They are salty and crunchy and so addictive. They are also very low in calories. Trader Joe’s makes their own version too and that one is great because they use cornmeal for extra crunchiness. This can seriously substitute potato chips for me, you could even dip it in hummus or light ranch dip!

Snap Pea Crisps Nutritional Information

Snap Pea Crisps Nutritional Information

Dried Peaches

Dried White Peaches

Dried White Peaches

Dried White Peaches

Dried White Peaches

So dried fruit in general is sweet and chewy and can almost (ALMOST) taste like candy. Everyone is familiar with the usual raisins, apricots, cranberries, etc. but Trader Joe’s has a great selection of dried everything. Strawberries, mangoes, pineapple…you name it. One of my recent favorites are the dried white peaches. These are sooo good but not overly sweet. They’re not super low calorie so you can’t just eat the entire bag but definitely a nice little sweet bite.

Dried White Peaches Nutritional Information

Dried White Peaches Nutritional Information

Kettle Corn

Cracker Jack Kettle Corn

Cracker Jack Kettle Corn

Cracker Jack Kettle Corn

Cracker Jack Kettle Corn

Ok. So kettle corn might not seem that healthy but this Cracker Jack version is not only not bad calorie-wise its quite tasty! I love kettle corn and I was wary of this premade version but its delicious and feels like a treat. Popcorn in general is a good snack (as long as its not popped in oil or drenched in butter) because its mostly air. Now I wouldn’t eat this whole bag at once but I liked having handfuls every now and then and I would just roll up the bag and the kettle corn would stay crispy and did not get stale at all over the course of 5 days.

Cracker Jack Kettle Corn Nutritional Information

Cracker Jack Kettle Corn Nutritional Information

Fiber One Chocolate

Fiber One Chocolate

Fiber One Chocolate

Fiber One Chocolate

Fiber One Chocolate

When I saw the commercial for this I really wanted to try it but I was also preparing for the worst since an 80 calorie high-fiber delicious chocolate cereal sounded improbable. However I LOVED this stuff. Its so good with cold milk and it even turns the milk chocolate-y after, like Cocoa Puffs! How nostalgic of sugar-y chocolate-y childhood cereals. Mostly I tend to eat this cereal with milk but this could also be eaten dry if you’re into that kind of thing!

Fiber One Chocolate Nutritional Information

Fiber One Chocolate Nutritional Information

Kashi Go Lean Toasted Berry Crumble

Kashi Go Lean Crisp

Kashi Go Lean Crisp Toasted Berry Crumble

Kashi Go Lean Crisp Toasted Berry Crumble

Kashi Go Lean Crisp Toasted Berry Crumble

I’ve tried a lot of the Kashi cereals because they do high protein cereals that aren’t super sugary. This is my favorite by far. The almond flax seed is a little too crunchy for me and some of them seem too dry but this one tastes like yummy granola. The kind thats served on parfaits and looks deceptively healthy but can actually be kind of high in fat and sugar. I like eating this cereal in parfaits too, layered with Greek yogurt, honey, bananas, strawberries, and almonds.

Kashi Go Lean Crisp Toasted Berry Crumble Nutritional Information

Kashi Go Lean Crisp Toasted Berry Crumble Nutritional Information

So those are the snacks I’ve been eating lately. Hope some of these are new to you and that you discover something new you like! I have some other healthy snacks I’ve been wanting to try like a super low calorie Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream I saw at Whole Foods so we’ll do another post on healthy snacks later on too!

TIPS:
– A great substitution you can do is when eating cereal to switch almond milk in instead of regular milk. I am by no means someone who dislikes or avoids dairy – I love greek yogurt, cheese and ice cream – but a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk has 30 calories while a cup of skim milk has 90 calories. I personally even prefer the taste of almond milk for cereal too.
– Silk also makes lower calorie coconut milk and a coconut milk + almond milk BLEND. Both are great if you love coconut.

Cucina Urbana

Cucina Urbana has been one of my favorite restaurants in SD for a while. Its somewhere I know serves consistently awesome seasonal food and has consistently awesome service. Whenever I have friends or family visiting I love bringing them to Cucina, especially if its Thursday and they have their half off pizzas deal (TRY THE MUSHROOM PIZZA!).

Cucina Urbana Mural

Cucina Urbana Mural

Ok disclaimer. The restaurant is kindof dark inside so I had to use flash to take most of the pictures hence everything is very contrast-y. Let’s pretend this is a review done chiaroscuro style yes?

Cucina is a modern Italian restaurant: their appetizers consist of salads, vasi (spreads that are served with bread), and other small plates like fried ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms. For mains you have many pizza options, pasta and regular meat-centric entrees. We decided to stick with appetizers this time; for some reason lately I’ve been really enjoying ordering two appetizers instead of one entree.

DRINKS: They have a great drink program here, including some non-alcoholic concoctions. They infuse some of their liquors at home and for Christmas they did a panettone-infused vodka, such a neat idea. This time I ordered their White Sangria. Its crisp and refreshing and comes with cubes of green apple and orange.

White Sangria

White Sangria

For the bread basket they usually give you white loaf bread and then a toasted brown bread. Even though I love brown bread this one is not my favorite. It also comes with plain butter. And yes I know that picture is super bright.

Overexposed Bread

Overexposed Bread

APPETIZERS: I love their Lacinato Kale + Hearts of Romaine Caeser here. They mix kale and romaine with a super savoury Caeser dressing. They then add shaved parmesan cheese, English mustard bread crumbs and fried “esca”. Esca is Italian for bait and these are super salty little fried fish. Not to everyones liking I imagine but I thought they were a good addition. The mustard bread crumbs also add a nice sharpness to the salad.

Kale Caeser

Kale Caeser

We also ordered one of the vasi, I hear the chicken liver one is great if you’re into that kind of thing but we decided to try the Burrata and Roasted Garlic Confit vasi. Burrata is like fresh mozzarella but instead of being made with milk its made with cream so its richer and creamier and oozier as opposed to a solid cheese. The burrata comes inside a jar and its perfectly seasoned with herbs. The roasted garlic comes on the side and its meltingly soft and ready to be squeezed out of the clove and smeared onto the bread. Since the burrata was seasoned it alone was delicious on bread but with the garlic this was fantastic. This came with a grilled bread, white loaf bread, and brown bread. My only complaint with this and is that our grilled bread tasted a little too charred but they happily brought us more non-grilled bread so this was not a problem.

Burrata and Roasted Garlic Vasi

Burrata and Roasted Garlic Vasi

Burrata

Burrata

Another great appetizer to share is their meat and cheese board, the Formaggi+Salumi. You can pick 3, 4, or 5 items and then choose how many meats and cheeses you want (if you picked 5 you could do all cheese or 3 cheese and 2 meats, etc.). We decided on 4 and did 3 cheeses and 1 meat. You have quite a few options for meats and cheeses and the servers are more than willing to help you if you are not sure what you would like. For cheeses we did a Parmesan-like cheese, a younger goat cheese and another mild cheese (we don’t like blue cheese!). For meat we ended up deciding on Coppa, a cured pork collar. They also had salami, prosciutto, and another meat I can’t remember.

meat and cheese board

Formaggi + Salumi

The board came with white loaf bread and the brown bread as well as various spreads + olives. In the picture you can see at the top left corner is what is left of our olives, these were a mix of black and green and they were in olive oil with herbs. To the right of that is a red pepper spread, next is grain mustard, regular mustard, strawberry jam and on the far right is honeycomb and fresh sliced apples. Basically this is one of my favorite meat and cheese boards because with all the spreads, olives, breads and fruit you can literally make every bite you take different. You can have a savoury bite with the coppa and cheese and red pepper spread then maybe have just coppa and mustard. Then switch to sweet and have some of the goat cheese with honeycomb and apple. I know the cheese portions look small but we couldn’t even finish this.

Cucina Urbana Pizza Oven

Cucina Urbana Pizza Oven

Lastly I had ordered a grilled octopus appetizer. The server came to check if I still wanted it given the cornucopia of food we had in front of us and I said yes. As soon as she walked into the kitchen I changed my mind. I could barely finish my salad and just could not eat another dish…unless it was dessert. So I called her and apologized and she was so nice about canceling it. This is another thing I love about this restaurant; they always go above and beyond with service. Last time we were here we wanted to order this baked squash goat cheese appetizer we had loved but unfortunately it was seasonal and it was gone, our waiter felt bad and gave us the ricotta-stuffed fried squash blossoms on the house saying maybe we’d like these instead (they were awesome). Another time we sat at the communal table and there was a father and daughter eating across from us. We had ordered at the same time but we got our entrees first and after waiting for theirs for a while the server came with free glasses of wine for them, apologizing profusely for the long wait. Seriously not only is everyone super pleasant here if there ever is a mistake they fix it immediately and make sure your experience is a positive one.

Cucina Urbana Interior

Cucina Urbana Interior

DESSERT: So yes I switched that octopus appetizer for dessert. Naturally. We went with the Pineapple Coconut Panna Cotta. This was a fairly decent sized cup of coconut panna cotta topped with cooked pineapple and crumbled sometypeof cookies. I loved the pineapple in this as it was sweet and tart and a good contrast to the creamy panna cotta. The panna cotta was not as good by itself as I thought it needed a little more sweetness and the texture was a little less creamy than I like my panna cotta. If you don’t like coconut too fear not because it was not overly coconut-y at all.

Pineapple Coconut Panna Cotta

Pineapple Coconut Panna Cotta

Overall it was a great experience and I can’t wait to come back on a Wednesday when they have their burger + beer special.

CHECK:
White Sangria (Happy Hour price) $5
Burrata + Roasted Garlic Confit $8
Lacinato Kale + Hearts of Romaine Caeser $9.50
Formaggi + Salumi (4 items) $15
Pineapple Coconut Panna Cotta $8
TOTAL: $49.14 (w/ tax)

Cucina Urbana
505 Laurel St.
San Diego, CA 92101
www.cucinaurbana.com

5 Minute Healthy Salad – Strawberries, Feta, Almonds, Turkey + Thyme

One of the best ways to eat healthy during the work week is to BYOL – Bring Your Own Lunch. Cooking a bigger portion ensures you have extra leftovers to bring to work. However there are days when there are no leftovers to be had and very little time in the morning to prep something to take to work. Even though I have turned to Trader Joe’s frozen meals and PB&J’s, I also learned how to make tasty, filling salads that I can throw together in 5 minutes. I love salads with berries and this an easy strawberry salad that requires minimal cooking and will be ready to go in your trusty tupperware in less time than you take to shower in the morning.

strawberry, salad

Strawberry Salad

The best part about this recipe is that the basic concept is there but you can substitute whatever you have in your fridge: if I don’t have strawberries I throw in blueberries, if I don’t have feta I use goat cheese…No turkey? A tiny bit of bacon is not going to kill you. It’s all good 🙂

strawberry, salad

Strawberry Salad

INGREDIENTS:

Mixed greens
5 strawberries
2-3 slices of roasted turkey breast (not the cheap rubber-y kind please)
Handful of almonds
Feta
3 sprigs of thyme
2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon honey
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat up a small frying pan and add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to it.
2. Rip up the turkey in small pieces and add it to the hot pan. Season to taste and let it get crispy and brown around the edges.
3. While the turkey is browning fill your plate/bowl with the mixed greens and slice up your strawberries and place them on top of the greens.
4. Add almonds, thyme leaves, then crumble feta on top.
5. Add the turkey thats browned.
6. Combine the 2 tbsp of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and honey in a small bowl then whisk together and season to taste. If you are eating this right away pour it on top and toss to combine. If taking to work add it to the bottom of the container so everything doesn’t wilt and you can toss it all together before eating.

Amounts in this recipe are fairly loose because you should not be measuring things that early in the morning. Just add however much you want of each ingredient. I recommend adding A LOT of toppings so that the salad feels like a meal and you’re not just eating greens by themselves like a rabbit :/

You could also always add more meat like chicken breast. I like using meat as just an accent as opposed to the main ingredient in this salad because reducing your meat intake is good for you (but hard to do!) and although we tend to cook full meals for dinner (complete with steaks or salmon filets and whatnot) there are so many tasty ingredients you don’t miss it in this salad.

Strawberry

Strawberry

A great way to make salads more flavorful too is to use herbs like salad greens. If you have ever had tabbouleh or fattoush or other Middle Eastern salads, they use parsley and mint as if they were salad greens not just accent herbs. So have herbs on hand! I grow rosemary, basil, parsley and thyme. All are doing pretty well except for the parsley which apparently cats like to eat…

For this salad basil, rosemary, or mint would also pair beautifully with the strawberries.

Thyme

Thyme

Basil

Basil

Rosemary

Rosemary

So this is a lovely 5 minute salad for spring, look out for future posts on a super fast nicoise style salad and citrus-avocado based salad…

TIPS:
– If you don’t have strawberries: blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries would all do – just make sure its fresh fruit!
– We used fat free feta but using real feta makes the salad creamier and using goat cheese even more so!
– If you don’t have almonds, hazelnuts would be particularly good here. Or else pine nuts, walnuts, pecans, pistachio and most nuts would work…perhaps not peanuts.
– Candied nuts always are really good in berry salads as well! Those have a lot of calories so we stayed away from them this time.
– Any mixed greens maybe with the exception of iceberg lettuce could be used as a base – butter lettuce, romaine, spinach, etc.
– If you use a pre-made low fat dressing that would save you even more time!

Cafe 21

Cafe 21 has long been ranked #1 brunch in SD and being a fan of Hash House I always wanted to go to see this restaurant that upstaged Hash House’s pizza-sized pancakes and my favorite pesto scramble with chicken

sangria, cafe 21, san diego

Sangrias at Cafe 21

Cafe 21 has two locations, one in the Gaslamp and one in North Park. Brunch tends to get pretty busy so we would advise you to go early or late and in general the North Park one is less crowded than the Gaslamp. We went to the North Park location around 10 am and only had to wait a couple minutes for seating at the bar.

You know when sometimes you go to a restaurant and one dish stands out so you know what you absolutely must order? At Cafe 21 there were 4 dishes that I absolutely wanted to order. I considered ordering 2 and taking the rest home but finally decided I should not completely cancel out the benefits of the hot yoga session I attended that morning and decided on only one dish – it wasn’t easy.

Cafe 21 has 4 kinds of sangria and they’re all displaced on the wall – two red wine ones and two white wine ones. We were stuck deciding between the Pineapple Citrus and the Watermelon Cantaloupe. We asked for a taster and ultimately decided on a pitcher of the watermelon one. It was very refreshing tasting and tasted more like melon than wine. This was served with a slice of fresh watermelon and lots of ice; perfect for a hot day.

watermelon, sangria

Watermelon Cantaloupe Sangria

The menu has quite a few options ranging from frittata-style omelettes that come in cast iron pans (you can get one side dish with them), benedicts that come on corn cakes, salads, sandwiches, yogurt parfaits and specials. I decided on the Filet Mignon Omelette that comes with bell peppers and goat cheese with a salad for the side.

salad, strawberry, cafe 21

Side Salad with Strawberry

filet mignon, omelette

Filet Mignon Omelette

The omelette was fluffy and delicious, it comes super hot in the cast iron pan. I loved the goat cheese but wished the bell peppers were a little more cooked as I like them soft instead of crunchy. The filet mignon was cooked medium-well, I suspect it was rarer but cooked while sitting in the cast iron pan. The side salad was delicious, simple greens but dressed with a slightly sweet berry dressing and garnished with fresh strawberries.

My friend got the Prosciutto Omelette. This came with prosciutto, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese. It looked amazing and I think I would pick that one over the Filet Mignon Omelette next time. All the omelettes come with toast as well.

Prosciutto, Omelette

Prosciutto Omelette

Overall everything was quite good, the service was excellent, and we kept staring at dishes come out of the kitchen and inquiring as to what they were as everything looked amazing. Can’t wait to come back here and try the lavash bread with turkey sausage topped with cheese or the smoked salmon, egg, and avocado sandwich. And the baked pancakes with apples….And the shrimp corn cake benedict! Clearly will have to return more than once…

Cafe 21

750 5th Ave
San Diego, CA
92101

2736 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA
92116

http://www.cafe-21.com

The Healthy Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie

This is the perfect post-gym or late night snack when you’re craving something sweet but don’t want to actually indulge on sugary sweets. It’s creamy and peanut butter-y with a swirl of fresh strawberry that will hit all the right spots. And the best part is that its almost fat free and just about 160 calories!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie

The magic that makes a peanut butter smoothie so low calorie is a product I recently purchased called PB2. Its powdered peanut butter and you essentially can mix into anything and it will taste like peanut butter but with none of the fat! I have not had it on its own or on bread (that might be pushing it) but I love mixing this stuff in smoothies or even in my morning cereal. If you do want to just eat it on bread (or by itself) you just have to mix it with water. The other day I made a quick stir fry with shrimp, kale, and bok choy to which I added soy sauce, grated ginger, coconut flakes and 1 tablespoon of the PB2. I was skeptical of it working in savoury dishes but it was so GOOD!

powdered peanut butter

PB2

Whereas regular peanut butter has about 90 calories per tablespoon, this stuff only has 15 calories per tablespoon and is all natural with no weird additives:

PB2 label

PB2 label

I ordered it from Amazon and it was $4.60 for a 6.5 oz jar (buy it here).

So the smoothie has fairly simple ingredients besides the PB2: greek yogurt for creaminess, almond milk, oats, strawberries, and you need some kind of sweetener. Thats it. Read on for the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup of greek yogurt (this could be frozen for a thicker smoothie)
1 cup of almond milk
3 tbsp of PB2
2 tbsp oats
1/2 cup of strawberries (could be fresh or frozen)
Sweetener (We used Splenda, but you could use stevia or if you don’t mind the extra calories real sugar, agave, honey etc.)

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Blend the strawberries with some of the sweetener. Alternatively if you like more texture, crush them with a fork with the sweetener until they are thoroughly smashed to bits. Set aside.
2. Now blend all of the rest of the ingredients with your desired amount of sweetener until smooth. The oats add fiber but will leave a bit of a grittier texture so if you are not a fan of this feel free to leave out.
3. Pour the peanut butter mixture into a large cup.
4. Pour the blended/smashed strawberries over it and give it a swirl with a knife.
5. Drink up!

peanut butter, jelly, smoothie, healthy

Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie

TIPS:
– Instead of 1/2 cup of strawberries you could add real sugar free jam if you have it at hand
– I have done this smoothie with banana instead of strawberries and highly recommend this as well.
– Other great additions would be coconut, dark chocolate or a big swirl of honey on top.
– This could also be made with regular milk, soy milk, etc. I just love the taste of almond milk and its extremely low calorie
– You can easily make this vegan by substituting soy or any other non-milk based yogurt for the greek yogurt!

peanut butter, jelly, strawberry, swirl

Swirl!

Now I’m just waiting for someone to come up with powdered low calorie Nutella….

peanut butter, jelly, smoothie, strawberry, healthy

Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie

If you prefer a Healthy Peanut Butter Banana & Chocolate Smoothie

Or a Healthy Berry & Peanut Butter Parfait with Granola….

This is PB2’s company website http://www.bellplantation.com/

They also have it with chocolate!

Albertacos

Craving some tasty and well priced Mexican food? Need an enormous burrito to satisfy your craving while you’re in North County? Sun Diego Eats has got you covered! As a native and former resident of Vista, Albertacos has been a staple of my life for over 10 years. In fact, I still make semi-regular pilgramages up there just to chow down on some of their food. So what’s so great about this little taqueria? Read on and find out.

Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast Burrito

Albertacos is in the classic taco shop mold; bright red and yellow paint, a fuzzy drive-thru intercom and delicious Mexican food. Some of their more popular eats include rolled tacos (loaded with guacamole, sour cream and cheese), the California Burrito, Carne Asada fries, and of course the Breakfast Burrito. The Breakfast Burrito includes eggs, bacon, fries, cheese, and ham. To enhance your experience, add in Carne Asada and make it even more filling. It is well worth the extra 50 cents, especially since the burrito only costs ~$3.25 to begin with.

Breakfast Burrito and Carrots

Breakfast Burrito and Carrots

What happens next is magic. The ingredients fuse together to create one of the best Breakfast Burritos I have ever experienced. The carne is juicy and flavorful, the eggs hot and fluffy, and the cheese is melted all over the place. In short, it is a super hearty burrito which will quickly convince you to order another for the road. Just look at that thing!

Breakfast Burrito Closeup

Breakfast Burrito Closeup

Of course, no Mexican burrito would be complete without hot sauce, but fear not, Albertacos delivers once again. Their red hot sauce is fiery, well balanced, and we encourage you to consume it in large quantities like we do. Recently, Albertacos has installed a salsa bar which includes a second red hot sauce as well as a green tomatillo hot sauce. The green is also quite good and it’s refreshing aspect contrasts well with the red. Lastly, don’t forget to order a couple sides of spicy carrots! They are done to perfection here. The carrots are tangy, spicy, and contain just the right amount of crispiness. It sounds simple, but spicy carrots are messed up at so many other Mexican places that I never take them for granted. So next time you’re in the area, make sure to make the stop in from the 78 and get the Mexican order of your choice. You won’t be disappointed.

Red Hot Sauce

Red Hot Sauce

DSC00020

Green Hot Sauce

CHECK:
Two Breakfast Burritos – $8.00
3 Sides of Carrots – $1.00 (They usually only charge for 2 bags at max)
Total – $9.00

Note: There are multiple Albertacos locations throughout San Diego, I believe near SDSU and also in San Marcos. We cannot vouch for these spots as we haven’t tried them and are unaware if they are owned by the same folks. The Albertacos we so strongly endorse is the one on Sycamore Ave in Vista.

Albertacos

601 Sycamore Ave, Vista, CA 92083
(760) 598-6047

Bleu Bohème

For Restaurant Week Bleu Bohème used to have a dish called Tournedos Rossini which is filet mignon tournedos in a Madeira demi-glace on top of a crouton topped with foie gras and truffles. These are basically all my favorite things so I bookmarked this place but unfortunately never made it to Restaurant Week. We did however make it to happy hour and managed to sample quite a few dishes.

Bleu Boheme Patio

Bleu Boheme Patio

Their happy hour is quite short but worth it if you can make it to Kensington between 5 and 6 pm! Their martinis, champagne drinks, wine by the glass and craft beer selection (which is awesome btw) is all 50% off. They have a selection of appetizers and of mussels + fries that are all 50% off as well.

Basil Martini

Basil Martini

Red Ale

Red Ale

We started with the basil martini with citrus and a red ale. The basil martini was refreshing and not to sweet, it has tiny pieces of the basil in the drink which gave it a strong basil-y flavor. They also serve you crusty bread with butter right away. We liked the bread but it was extremely crusty so much so that we ended up just eating the insides.

Bread

Bread

APPETIZERS: We ordered quite a few of these. Our favorite was the Nouille au Fromage, a.k.a. the mac n’ cheese. Flat wide pasta with creamy gruyere cheese sauce, peas, duck confit and bacon all baked so the cheese is browned on top and piping hot inside. We did not see much of the duck confit but there was a good amount of bacon and this dish is a fairly large portion.

Nouille et Fromage

Nouille au Fromage

Next with so many options for mussels and fries, we chose the Moules et Frites au Champignon which has a creamy garlic sauce, white wine, bacon and wild mushrooms. This was also delicious and it came with PLENTY of mushroom and bacon (see picture below). The sauce was very flavorful and we definitely were mopping up the extra sauce with the crusty bread we did not eat (problem solved). The fries were very thinly cut and perfectly fried, we just wished they were a tad saltier. Overall would definitely order this again!

Moules et Frites au Champignons

Moules et Frites au Champignons

Next came the Galette du Crabe or crab cakes. These were 3 small crab cakes with an aioli on top and served with jicama remoulade and tomato-rocket salad. These were good but nothing too remarkable, I prefer when crab cakes have big lumps of crab as opposed to the finer shred meat, nonetheless it was not the type of crab cake that is predominantly bread and it was very well seasoned. Although it doesn’t sound very traditionally French, we loved the jicama roulade which was cool and crunchy and a nice contrast to the fried crab cakes.

Galettes du Crabe

Galettes du Crabe

Perhaps the dish I had the highest expectations for was the Crèpe de Homard, a lobster crepe with marscapone, asparagus and white truffle-carrot sauce. However the crepe was quite small and had finely shredded lobster that did not have a strong lobster flavor. The thick orange sauce had carrot and truffle but I did not care for it too much and thought it overwhelmed any lobster flavor in the crepe. Don’t think we would order this one again.

Crepe au Honard

Crèpe de Homard

Lastly another dish we quite liked was the Carpaccio de Saumon Fumé which was rum cured-house smoked salmon, crème frâiche raifort, baby arugula salad with shaved fennel, lemon zest, Champagne vinaigrette and capers. This is the only semi-healthy dish on the happy hour menu if you care for that sort of thing, but it is so flavorful we were all fighting for the last pieces of the salmon. Although we could not taste the rum-curing (not even sure if this would impart flavor though?) the combination of all the elements was very good. You had the salty smoked salmon with Champagne dressed greens, the crunch of the anise-y fennel, tangy capers and lastly the crème frâiche raifort to balance it all out.

Carpaccio

Carpaccio de Saumon Fumé

You thought that was it didn’t you? Well after all this can you imagine we still ordered dessert? We can.

DESSERT: There were many good dessert options and we had heard good things about the crème brulee crèpe however we ultimately decided on the Brioche aux Cerises. With brioche bread pudding, dried cherries, white chocolate, toasted almonds and Amaretto with crème fraîche this sounded like quite the combo. The bread pudding was not dense and was very light in texture but still custard-y in the middle. The white chocolate flavor was not very prominent but the dried cherries added sweet, chewy bites to the pillow-y soft bread. We really, really wished this had come with ice cream because that would have taken it to the next level.

Brioche aux Cerises

Brioche aux Cerises

CHECK:
Red Ale $3.50
Basil Martini $5.50
Galette du Crabe $7.48
Carpaccio de Saumon Fumé $7.98
Crèpe de Homard $8.98
Nouille au Fromage $6.75
Moules et Frites au Champignon $6.98
Brioche aux Cerises $9.95
TOTAL: $61.69 (w/ tax)

Patio View

Patio View

Overall we thought happy hour was a great deal. There are quite a few options for food and drink which was nice. The dishes that really blew us away were the Nouille au Fromage and the Moules et Frites. Everything else was good except for the Crèpe de Homard which I thought was a little underwhelming. Definitely want to make it back here for the Tournedos (*crossing my fingers it will be in the next SDRW menu*).

Bleu Bohème
4090 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116
www.bleuboheme.com

PB & BCH Toast

If you are currently at a loss for breakfast we have the simplest recipe for you. It involves no cooking (is toasting cooking?) and it will be ready in about 5 minutes, depending on how fast your slicing skills are.

As much as we would love to have a full breakfast everyday, one rarely finds the time to make rashers of bacon, crispy potatoes and scrambled eggs on weekday mornings. And breakfast is, as most of us are tired of hearing, the most important meal of the day. Although we too are guilty of occasionally skipping breakfast, many studies have shown that people who eat breakfast eat less throughout the whole day. Almost on par with skipping breakfast is having an unsatisfying breakfast. Although many times cereal will do just fine, if you are pressed for time and want something hot you need nothing more than 4 or 5 ingredients.

Peanut Butter Banana Coconut Honey Toast

Peanut Butter Banana Coconut Honey Toast

INGREDIENTS:
Loaf of country whole wheat bread (We like Trader Joe’s Demi Miche bread)
Peanut butter (we are partial to crunchy but we know this is a controversial topic)
1 banana
Honey
Shredded or flaked coconut (or any other topping of your choice!)
Coconut oil

Directions:
1. Slice some of the bread to your desired thickness.
2. Toast. Spread coconut oil on both sides then pan fry until golden on each side.
3. Spread the peanut butter generously on one side.
4. Slice the banana and layer on top of the peanut butter.
5. Drizzle with honey.
6. Top with coconut flakes.

Should you follow these ridiculously simple (almost to the point of being unnecessary) directions: The toast will be hot, crunchy on the outside, and will smell coconut-y and butter-y at the same time. The peanut butter will begin to melt where it touches the bread and ooze over. The bananas and honey will add sweetness and lastly you’ll have some more texture and flavor from the coconut. So good! This would also be a perfect afternoon snack.

TIPS:
– If you are allergic to coconut you can use butter instead of coconut oil and omit the coconut flakes.
– This would be also delicious with just plain white bread or super dark rye bread.
– This is what the Trader Joe’s Demi Miche bread looks like (here).
– Instead of the coconut flakes you could also top this with dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, dates…), chocolate chips, cinnamon, nuts, or berries!

Bronx Pizza

Bronx Pizza Counter

Bronx Pizza Counter

Ok. This is not somewhere where you come on a date night and order a Pinot Noir then linger over dinner while picking between pizza with zucchini blossoms and fresh figs or mashed potatoes or whatever is trendy to throw on pizzas these days. This is somewhere to stop by and grab fast, fresh and delicious no-nonsense pizza with friends before hitting the bars or picking up a whole pizza to go when you’re to lazy to cook and you just want to eat yummy pizza  in front of the TV (it happens).

Bronx Pizza

Bronx Pizza

Bronx Pizza is located on Washington St. between 3rd and 4th in Hillcrest. The place looks rather small on the outside but there’s actually a lot of seating inside. When you walk up all the pizzas available by the slice are displayed. You walk in, tell them what you want, pay (cash only) and then go find a seat. It’s efficient, and if you see a long line fear not because they easily clear long lines and even though there were 5 people ahead of us we waited less than 5 minutes.

Pizzas

Pizzas

They have all the traditionals flavors – pepperoni, cheese, vegetarian, meat lover’s – and some more inventive options but nothing too crazy – pesto, white pizza (plain, with spinach or with mushrooms), tomato basil, pepperoni and peppers, artichoke pizza.

White Pizza with Spinach

White Pizza with Spinach

ENTREE: We ordered the Tomato-Basil (actually a white pizza with no sauce and fresh tomatoes and basil on top), the Pepperoni and Peppers (jalapeno and cherry to be exact) and the White Pizza with Mushrooms (mozzarella, ricotta, mushrooms). We loved the pepperoni with peppers; it was spicy, salty and cheesy with the cherry peppers adding more dimension and taste to basic pepperoni with jalapenos. The white pizza with mushrooms was also excellent. They mix the ricotta with herbs so it has more flavor and white pizza pairs well with mushrooms. The mushrooms were also well-cooked instead of those paper-y dry things you get with a lot of chain pizzas. The tomato basil was nice but rather bland we will probably order the artichoke pizza next time instead. The crust wasn’t super thin but it was definitely New York style, we would have preferred a little more char and a little more chew but with the toppings it wasn’t bad at all.

Pepperoni and Peppers (left) and Tomato-Basil (right)

Pepperoni and Peppers (left) and Tomato-Basil (right)

White Pizza with Mushrooms

White Pizza with Mushrooms

Overall we really liked Bronx Pizza, its a no frills establishment serving good food and its cheap and fast. We will be returning for the pesto pizza and the arthichoke pizza (and for how fast it is!).

Bronx Pizza Window

Bronx Pizza Window

CHECK:
Pepperoni and Peppers $2.50
White Pizza with Mushrooms $2.50
Tomato-Basil $2.50
TOTAL: $8.10 (w/ tax)

Bronx Pizza
111 Washington St
San Diego, CA 92103
www.bronxpizza.com