Pho Hoa

So I had never had pho until freshman year in college when I got introduced to this magical dish. I don’t know whether it really cures hangovers but I know its absolutely delicious and I love my pho tai. Even if it might be full of MSG.

There is nothing like watching those thin thin slices of rare steak cook in steaming hot beef broth with rice noodles, thinly sliced onions and herbs until the steak is mostly cooked thru but just kissed with pink in the center. At that point I add the fresh basil leaves, as much of the bean sprouts as I can (surreptitiously if I have to share my pho condiment plate with other people) and a couple slices of jalapeno. After that all I need is some hoisin and sriracha in a little side bowl to dip the slices of steak in. Ok that was a lot of steps but still. SO GOOD.

Pho Tai

Pho Tai. All IPhone Pictures Here Btw. My bad.

I’ve only eaten at a couple pho places in San Diego and so far I find them all good. I probably don’t know enough and haven’t had enough pho to be a good critic of it. I like the pho at Phuong Trang, Pho T Cali and Pho 5th Avenue. Pho La Jolla less so, partly because of the high prices and partly because even I could have guessed pho in La Jolla would not be super legit. But I was excited to try Pho Hoa in City Heights. A lot of people swear by it and its really well-reviewed on Yelp. All they do is pho too so one would think if they are still around they must be doing something right.

See Only Pho.

See, Only Pho.

Overall the verdict was this was pretty good but not amazing. Broth was a little oilier than I’m used to but had a decent beef flavor, noodles were a wee bit clumpy but there was a generous meat portion. However, and take this with a grain of salt as I mentioned before I am by no means a pho expert, I didn’t think it was leaps and bounds better than the pho I have at Pho Fifth Avenue or Phuong Trang.

Pho Condiments

Pho Condiments

I do like that they give you ngo sai (the hidden saw-toothed leaf thats peaking out from underneath the basil in the picture above and that I initially thought was a rogue weed that made it onto the plate) as I had never tried it before. I also pretty much like all herbs and often ate the herb garnishes off peoples plates as a child like a rabbit. So more/new herbs is always a good thing for me. Service was also very efficient, they take your order and set down the pho condiments plate and literally 5 minutes later our food was in front of us. The restaurant is definitely bare bones but decently sized.

We ordered the Pho Tai, which are thin slices of rare steak. Weirdly it seemed like some of the steak slices had a pearly sheen to them. No idea what this was and although it must be some kind of connective tissue there was no chewiness or detectable taste besides the steak. Steak was a little tough and could definitely have been more tender, but it was nice to have a lot of beef.

Pho Tai with Bean Sprouts, Basil and Jalapenos

Pho Tai with Bean Sprouts, Basil and Jalapenos

We also ordered the Pho Bo Vien which is beef meatballs. This was ok too but the meatballs could have been more moist. My dining companion was Vietnamese and she said the meat balls her mom buys have (I think) tendon in them so they are yummier/less dry. She also shared my opinion that the pho was good but not worth the drive there.

Pho Bo Vien

Pho Bo Vien

Lastly, I also ordered Che Ba Mau or tri-colored dessert (or three colored dessert? not sure). It comes in a cup with crushed ice which I thought was quite nice. You have the green jellies at the bottom, sweet red beans, and jackfruit; all covered with coconut milk sweetened with condensed milk and a sweet red syrup at the bottom. This was great except I don’t love the sweet red beans, I mostly just stir it up and eat the jellies with the sweetened coconut milk. Definitely melted a little (and ok I ate a lot of it) before I got around to taking the picture, trust me it was much prettier before I mixed everything/it melted.

Three Color Dessert

Three Color Dessert / Che Ba Mau

DSC_0239

DSC_0242

So the final verdict is solid pho but not out-of-this-world pho that is worth driving all the way to City Heights for. Fast service and low prices but in the end I’ll probably just keep going to Pho Fifth Avenue or Phuong Trang which are closer and have other good food options besides pho. Mostly those delicious charred beef rice paper roll things from Phuong Trang. Yum.

CHECK:

Pho Tai $6.50
Pho Bo Vien $7.50
Che Ba Mau $3.00
TOTAL (w/ tax) $18.36

Pho Hoa

4717 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115
(619) 283-6431

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Davanti Enoteca – Little Italy

I’ve been a huge fan of Davanti Enoteca since the first time I went so its about time I had a post on them. Davanti is fantastic for dinner but this post is on brunch which it turns out is pretty great too. We came here on a Saturday morning post-Little Italy’s farmer’s market and there were plenty of tables. Always nice to not wait 45 min+ for brunch.

Davanti Enoteca

Davanti Enoteca

DSC_0668

There are two appetizers that you absolutely must start with, and luckily they are available for brunch. These are the focaccia di Recco a Ligurian style baked focaccia filled with soft cow cheese (add the honeycomb option) or the vasi with ricotta and honeycomb. Not both at the same time mind you because they are quite similar but one time order one and the next time the other. I personally prefer the vasi but most people I know like the focaccia di Recco better.

Davanti Lunch Menu

Davanti Lunch Menu

Davanti Brunch Menu

Davanti Brunch Menu

We went with the vasi with ricotta and honeycomb this time. You get grilled Pugliese bread with a whiff of truffle oil, a jar of impossible creamy and rich ricotta with sea salt and olive oil, and a wedge of honeycomb.

Vasi with Ricotta and Honeycomb

Vasi with Ricotta and Honeycomb

Ricotta

Ricotta

Grilled Pugliese Bread

Grilled Pugliese Bread

The combination of the toasty warm bread with cool creamy ricotta and sweet honeycomb is completely addictive. I do not know how they get their ricotta so smooth and creamy, I’ve tried both whipping it and blending it at home to obtain the same effect and sadly have not yet matched this texture. I suppose for $8 I can just keep coming here to get my fix for the real thing.

Grilled Pugliese bread with ricotta and honeycomb

Grilled Pugliese bread with ricotta and honeycomb

This is a large appetizer for two people, you get a lot of ricotta and they will gladly give you more bread if you run out, which we normally do 🙂

Next we ordered their salad with escarole + gala apple + pecorino dolce + celery + hazelnuts. It is a simple fresh salad and its also a sizeable portion. Simple and tasty with a basic olive oil dressing this is a light salad that has interesting texture and taste with the slightly bitter escarole contrasting with sweet cubes of gala apple, nutty toasted hazelnuts, crunchy celery and salty pecorino. Even though I am an avid meat eater I would not mind having this salad as an entree even though it also makes a mighty fine side salad when you are ordering pizza as your main dish.

Love that even though the toppings might look scarce on top when you mix up the salad there are plenty of all the other components so as to ensure that you’re not just eating fistfuls of escarole like a rabbit.

Escarole Insalata

Escarole Insalata

Escarole Insalata

Escarole Insalata

So for the actual brunch dish we ordered we went with the Prosciutto e Uovo Il Pane which comes with toasted tuscan bread with prosciutto, fontina, parmesan cheese, sunny side eggs on top and roasted tomatoes on the side.

Prosciutto e Uovo Il Pane

Prosciutto e Uovo Il Pane

Prosciutto e Uovo Il Pane

Prosciutto e Uovo Il Pane

This was amazing and the portion was large enough that we split it between two people and still had leftovers (ok we also ate all that other food before too but I maintain its split-able). The prosciutto is super crispy and the cheese is nicely melted into the toast. Mix it together with the runny fried eggs (make sure to request them more cooked if runny is not your thing) and the juicy roasted tomatoes and you have a perfect bite.

Prosciutto e Uovo Il Pane

Prosciutto e Uovo Il Pane

Also appreciated the pesto on the roasted tomatoes as pesto makes almost everything better.

Roasted Tomatoes

Roasted Tomatoes

Prosciutto e Uovo Il Pane

Prosciutto e Uovo Il Pane

Overall had a lovely and very reasonably priced meal with fantastic service to boot. Our waiter was friendly, super attentive, and even offered to take our picture before we asked, most likely because it was hard to ignore my fat Nikon intrusively sitting on the table for the duration of the entire meal. It was also about 75 degrees and sunny so sitting on the patio was quite nice. Although I suppose I have to attribute that part to the amazingness that is San Diego in December.

Davanti Patio

Davanti Patio

Loved their Christmas decorations too.

CHECK:
– Vasi with Ricotta and Honeycomb $8
– Insalata with escarole $7
– Prosciutto e Uovo Il Pane $10
TOTAL (w/ tax): $27.00

Davanti Enoteca – Little Italy

1655 India St, San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 237-9606

www.davantienoteca.com/

Sab-E-Lee

Pork Nam Tok

Pork Nahm Tok

I’ve always wanted to try Sab-E-Lee having read many posts about the great quality of Thai food there. I think just mmm-yoso has about a million Sab-E-Lee posts, which all look verrry tempting.

After spending a month in Thailand a couple years ago its hard to be overjoyed with the insipid vaguely ketchup-y Pad Thai stuff that is passed off as Thai food in many places. It is also hard to will myself to drive to Linda Vista but getting a half day off work helped with that 🙂

So I stopped by the Sab-E-Lee on Ulric Rd and got some Pork Nahm Tok and their Papaya Salad to go. They have a Yum-Woon Sen salad with shrimp and ground pork on glass noodles as well as a Nam Sod Salad that sounded more interesting than the papaya salad but according to them their papaya salad is “VERY POPULAR!!!” and the use of not one or two but THREE exclamation marks won me over.

The location is verrrry small and despite them obviously being successful enough to open a second location this place is tiny and very bare bones. Don’t come here with a large group expecting to be seated right away. Or at all depending how large. The waitresses were friendly and the place was half full for lunch. I was happy to see the many kinds of chili you can top your meal with set out at the table just like we saw everywhere in Thailand.

Now for the food. The pork nahm tok was very flavorful, the pork was thinly sliced and topped with lots of cilantro, red onion, and rice powder. Could have been a little more charred but the abundance of spices and herbs guarantees its anything but bland. The nahm tok comes with cabbage and cucumbers for you to make little cabbage tacos with the pork.

Pork Nam Tok

Pork Nam Tok

Pork Nam Tok

Pork Nam Tok

Cucumber + Cabbage

Cucumber + Cabbage

The papaya salad comes with green papaya, dried shrimps, sliced chiles, tomatoes, green onions, peanuts and has a very strong dressing. I personally liked it but I think people who have more reservations about fish sauce might be discouraged.

Papaya Salad

Papaya Salad

Papaya Salad

Papaya Salad

Now the only downside: I read that their spicy levels are more legit than most Thai restaurants where a 10 is generally pretty unimpressive. So I was conservative and ordered a 4 (I would normally go with a 6). But even so the spiciness level was wayyy too high for me. For the papaya salad there are slices of Thai chili and biting into one of those larger pieces made my eyes water. I generally avoided them after that but for the nahm tok the sauce itself was pretty spicy so there was not much to do. I ate I think half of both and then just kind of drank copious amounts of water for a prolonged period of time….

I will readily admit that my spicy tolerance is kind of mediocre though as I did not grow up eating spicy food so perhaps take this with a grain of salt. I do however love hot sauce on my breakfast burritos, jalapenos in my sandwiches and have sriracha in my fridge at all times so I have somewhat been indoctrinated into San Diego’s spicy loving ways.

Pork Nahm Tok

Pork Nahm Tok

Overall despite the out-of-my-league spiciness I quite liked the food. Will be back to try the Pad See Ew and the Pork Neck Nahm Tok! Will also probably order a level 2 (the shame).

Sab-E-Lee

Two locations:
2405 Ulric Street, San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 650-6868

13223-2 Black Mountain Road, San Diego, CA 92129
(858) 780-0022

http://originalsab-e-lee.webs.com/

Doods Foods

We’ve heard a lot of good things about Doods Foods, the place is a small independent owned counter slinging burgers out of a little stand in the Tin Can bar with stellar Yelp reviews as well as cheap, cheap prices.

Now we love Burger Lounge but sometimes you don’t really want to pay $15 dollars for a burger and fries no matter how great that grass-fed burger and crispy fries are. Sometimes its ok that your burger was fed things other than grass…

The Tin Can Bar

The Tin Can Bar

Perhaps the best part is that Doods Foods is super close to us, in Banker’s Hill on 5th. When you enter the Tin Can its the ideal dive bar. Small, dark, Christmas lights, a great beer selection, a small crowd, 70s game shows on the TV and quirky live music. You order the burgers from the Doods Foods counter where it’s just one guy doing all the work. Note that if they’re pretty busy it can be kind of slow because as mentioned its one guy. You can get burgers, grilled cheese variations, sandwiches + fries and/or a salad with your burger.

Tin Can Bar

I got the Doods Burger, a classic burger a.k.a. thin patty, American cheese, tomato, onions, lettuce and chipotle buttermilk on a bolillo bun. Ok. Everything in this was very well done. The bolillo bun is AMAZING. The perfect amount of soft and squishy yet still held up to the burger. The tomato/lettuce/onions are super fresh and they also slice the onion suuuuper thinly which is nice because I for one think super thick crunchy slices of onion can completely overwhelm if not entirely ruin a burger. Lastly, the chipotle buttermilk is a nice touch, creamy and flavorful it definitely added a little twist to the otherwise classic cheeseburger.

Doods Burger

Doods Burger

Now for the bad news. The meat. The meat they use is apparently sourced from a Mexican market and its more fatty than usual chuck and super finely ground. Its definitely a little more greasy which I didn’t mind but the fact that it was super finely ground and tightly packed made the patty seem a little too mushy and too dense. The outside bites where that extra fatty chuck crisped up were nice but once those crispy edges are gone everything just seems so mushy and sadly the same cheap meat that makes the burger so attractively affordable also tends to be not so flavorful.

Doods Burger Inside

Doods Burger Inside

I got a side salad and that was good but nothing crazy. Just simple lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, shredded carrots and an Italian vinaigrette. I appreciated the freshness of the vegetables but I wish it had come with the chipotle buttermilk instead of the forgettable Italian vinaigrette.

Doods Foods side salad

Doods Foods side salad

The other more daring burger they have is the Flying Cheeseburger. This baby is a double patty, double American cheese, double bacon, lettuce, tomato, onions, chipotle buttermilk on bolillo bun MONSTER. Definitely a generous portion of everything but sadly the already kindof extra greasy pattys paired with all the bacon and extra cheese and whatnot makes this a super greasy mess. Tasty but hard to finish and afterwords you definitely feel a pang of regret for eating the whole damn thing. But then again maybe that’s how people like to feel after polishing off such a huge thing?

Flying Cheeseburger

Flying Cheeseburger

The fries are ok, a little too crispy/greasy for me.

Overall, I think Doods Foods is doing everything right except for the meat they use. Its definitely not a bad burger at all but it could be PHENOMENAL with a better meat selection. Then again that might be why the prices are relatively cheap compared to Burger Lounge.

Despite not entirely fulfilling our burger dreams I can’t help hoping that this place improves the meat and really nails it. Sitting in this hipster-ish little dive bar under the green glow of Christmas lights talking to the super friendly bartender, drinking good beer and listening to a girl sing about her crappy boyfriend from Riverside I can’t wait to be back and have a really great burger to top the whole experience off.

CHECK:
Doods Burger $4
Flying Cheeseburger $8
TOTAL w/ tax: $12.96

Doods Foods

1863 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 381-2756

https://www.facebook.com/doodsfoods

Carnitas Snack Shack

Carnitas Snack Shack is, as the name hints, an inconspicuous little shack in North Park on University Av. that serves a delightfully pork-centric menu. You order at the window on the front and then walk towards the back where you’ll be surprised to find a nice spacious shady patio with an herb garden and another shack towards the back that pours cool draft beer. How handy.

Rib Eye Sandwich

Snack Shack Steak Sandwich

The food is inexpensive and portions are generous. Yet they use high quality all local ingredients and have inventive if sometimes over the top dishes. Not that that’s a bad thing. Its a casual but pleasant atmosphere and despite the uncharacteristically high temperatures and humidity that has been plaguing San Diego lately it was a nice spot to linger at with friends – especially in the evening when it cooled down a little.

Carnitas Snack Shack

Carnitas Snack Shack

Anyways onto the food. Some of their dishes change daily and they’re really good about updating their menu on their website but we ordered dishes that were all staples. You can order their Carnitas in either taco or torta form. The taco form is topped with guacamole and tomatoes on a tortilla and the torta form has guacamole, tomatoes, lettuce and mayo on a roll. I chose taco. Seeing as you only got 2 tacos I was concerned I would still be hungry. This was a completely unnecessary concern because they PILE ON the meat and I could barely finish my plate.

Carnitas Tacos

Carnitas Tacos

Carnitas Tacos

Carnitas Tacos

The carnitas are pretty good but not as amaaazing as I expected. Still really good though. I was hoping for more crispy bits but then again that might be a personal preference. There was a lot of meat and not a lot of just bits of fat which is nice because it sucks when you realize that half your carnitas portion is just blubber. And as always the combination of carnitas + guacamole + tomatoes + greasy tortillas (from the carnitas of course) is always a winner.

The entrees all comes with the corn salad you see in the picture. Its corn tossed in a spiced mayo with some herbs. Its cool and creamy and really tasty and goes well with the fatty meats that seem to populate most of their dishes. Yum.

Another popular item is their Snack Shack Steak Sandwich. This is reminiscent of Board & Brew’s Baja Beef which we boldly declared the best sandwich in SD here. Its sliced rib eye steak, pepper jack cheese, pickled serranos, chipotle mayo and tomatoes on jalapeno bread. And its glorious. Its steak-y and creamy and spicy and super messy but really satisfying. If you’re not super into pork and come here this is the way to go.

Snack Shack Steak Sandwich

Snack Shack Steak Sandwich

Lastly we also ordered the Triple Threat Pork Sand which is a pork loin schnitzel + pulled pork + bacon + pepperoncini-pickle relish + shack aioli sandwich. Pretty much pork every which way. Now sadly I did not get to try this but it was decided that this was superior to the Snack Shack Steak Sandwich which surprised me because that had been my favorite.

Triple Threat Pork Sand

Triple Threat Pork Sand

Dammit I should have tried it.

Oh and we got the fries too. They have bacon salt on them and come with a salsa like condiment that might be an attempt at homemade ketchup. These were pretty tasty and perfectly fried, reminiscent of McDonald’s fries – which is a very high compliment for any attempt at fries by the way. And for only $2.50 well worth it.

Fries

Fries

They have a very decent beer selection too. I went with the Cherry Cider which was crisp tart and not too sweet. Very nice.

Cherry Cider

Cherry Cider

For dessert I got the Banana Split Truffles. You get 2 super chocolate-y ganache truffles covered in dark chocolate and then drizzled with white chocolate, salty peanuts and banana chips. Really tasty. Sadly no pictures because they disappeared too fast. I wished there were more salty peanuts and banana chips to balance out the richness of the ganache but can’t complain too much.

Anyways. Great atmosphere and great food. The only mild annoyance is that on hot days you have flies around because they’re trying to hang out with you on the shade. They light candles that are supposed to keep them away but I would recommend sitting underneath the fans so they stay away definitively. Can’t wait to be back here and try the Triple Threat Pork Sandwich!

CHECK:
Snack Shack Steak Sandwich $9
Triple Threat Pork Sandwich $9
Carnitas $7
Fries $2.50
TOTAL: $29.70 (w/ tax)

P.S. Can’t remember how much the Cherry Cider was so left that off. Sorry kiddos.

Carnitas Snack Shack

2632 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 294-7675

http://carnitassnackshack.com

Related links:

Azucar

So I’m pretty when people are thinking desserts in San Diego their first thought is Extraordinary Desserts. Which is completely understandable and pretty fantastic as far as desserts go, however I invite you to consider Azucar in Ocean Beach as well. Although it bills itself as a Cuban style bakery, they go beyond that and have fantastic offerings.

Azucar's Havana Cake

Azucar’s Havana Cake

Azucar

Azucar

Its definitely smaller and more casual than Extraordinary Desserts but I think a perfect afternoon would be perusing the antique stores on Newport Av. and then stopping and getting some coffee and dessert at Azucar. The cakes are mini sized and mini priced (your waistline and wallet will thank you!) but still feel very high-end and complex, with ingredients like passion fruit curd, flambeed pineapple, and champagne infused chocolate.

Azucar's Cake Display

Azucar’s Cake Display

You can also get yummy sandwiches (try the Cuban naturally) as well as amazing coffee. They also do more casual pastries like their flaky pastries with guava or cheese, ham croquettes, cookies, brownies, scones and cupcakes, etc. Personally I prefer their sweet to their savoury. As a disclaimer I will say that in life I also prefer sweet to savoury.

Azucar's Cake Display

Azucar’s Cake Display

As far as their more elaborate little cakes these are an incredibly affordable $6 bucks. One of my favorites is a white cake with passion fruit curd, raspberries, and a marshmallow toasted top. Next on my to try list is one that had rum soaked cake layered with coconut cream and flambeed pineapple. And their birthday cake is also inspired by the Momofuku birthday cake which would please anyone with a super sweet tooth. However, what I actually got this time was a white layer cake with dulce de leche filling and a vanilla frosting with sprinkles. Behold.

Vanilla Cake with Dulce de Leche

Vanilla Cake with Dulce de Leche

Sprinkle Close Up

Sprinkle Close Up

It WAS delicious. A little too sweet with the frosting but I tend to not be a big frosting person anyways. The cake is so moist and flecked with little vanilla beans (play find the specks on the first image of this post!). It pairs incredibly well with dulce de leche because really what doesn’t pair well with dulce de leche.

The other item I tried was their mojito cookie. This was awesome. The cookie is thin but chewy and a light green inside, topped with granulated sugar. It really does taste like a mojito sans the alcohol component. But the fresh mint and lime flavor with the texture from the granulated sugar really makes this cookie. And yes I had a bite on the way home before I was able to take a picture of it. Life happens.

Mojito Cookie

Mojito Cookie

Mojito Cookie

Mojito Cookie

Mojito Cookie - So green!

Mojito Cookie – So green!

I’d like to also point out that the service at Azucar is great. Everyone is really friendly and they don’t mind at all when people like me stand there for 20 minutes and read all the descriptions of every cake 3 times before deciding what I want to take home. Usually when I’m picking desserts there’s 2 that stand out of maybe 10 options but here I think I could’ve been happy with almost any of the cakes. It helps that I like that they use Latin inspired ingredients like tropical fruits and dulce de leche (which I love). Until next time I’m in OB I guess…

Azucar

Azucar

Azucar

4820 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107
(619) 523-2020

http://iloveazucar.com/

Cafe Chloe

Cafe Chloe is an adorable French cafe in downtown San Diego. It serves simple but tasty French food and its a great place for brunch or dinner. They have classic French food like pâté, steak frites, and croque madames as well as some more modern (or California-fied if you will) interpretations of French food such as whole wheat pancakes with cherry syrup. Cafe Chloe uses mostly local and organic ingredients which is always nice as well. We decided to stop here for brunch on a Sunday morning and we were able to get seated right away.

Cafe Chloe

Cafe Chloe

On the weekends they have this amazing Sticky Bun. It’s flaky and cinnamon-y with a sticky, sweet glaze and pecans. I once got it later in the day and it was stale-ish and not as amazing so definitely try to get this when its fresh! I also took home the other half I didn’t finish and had it with ice cream. This was one of the best ideas I have had in recent memory…

Sticky Bun

Sticky Bun

For brunch they have the usual Bloody Mary/Mimosa offerings as well as a fresh pomegranate juice. If you have never had fresh Pomegranate Juice it tastes so much better than POM. It’s more complex; sweet and very tart with a hint of bitter at the end. Loved this.

Pomegranate Juice

Pomegranate Juice

As far as actual brunch offerings we went with the Croque Madame and the Greek Yogurt with Apricot-Hazelnut Granola and Lavender Honey. The croque madame was pretty good. I wish it had more mornay sauce but French ham, gruyère, bread, and a sunny side up egg are really all the things I crave for brunch (namely meat + cheese + carbs + egg). The frisee salad on the side is also a nice side that adds some lightness to the whole thing.

Croque Madame

Croque Madame

If you prefer something a little on the sweeter or lighter side their granola was really good. The apricot and hazelnuts along with the lavender honey gave it a much more interesting taste than the plain granola + yogurt + honey + berries/bananas you get at most places. The apricot and lavender work really well together, sweet and chewy apricots + floral honey is a match made in heaven. As much as I love eggs and some kind of ham/meat for brunch I think the granola will be my go-to dish here from now on!

Greek Yogurt Granola

Greek Yogurt Granola

Overall this is a lovely little place to go to. It really does have the feel of a French cafe and both the inside and the patio are nicely decorated and welcoming. After a lovely meal at this classy little cafe I made a mental note to come here more often!…

CHECK:
Sticky Bun $3.50
Pomegranate Juice
Croque Madame $13.75
Greek Yogurt Granola $7.75

Cafe Chloe
721 Ninth Ave #1
San Diego CA, 92101
http://www.cafechloe.com/

Polite Provisions II

After being quite smitten with Polite Provisions the first time around, we decided to revisit the place during the afternoon to see what it’s like a little earlier in the day. It was definitely less crowded on a Thursday afternoon compared to a weekend night which is when we previously attended. We were able to sit at a table and it was a more casual vibe with most people ordering food from neighboring Soda & Swine next door.

Polite Provisions

Polite Provisions

Polite Provisions

Polite Provisions

As usual the cocktails we got we’re all spot on. The cocktail menu changes a bit everyday but there are a couple constants. They try to incorporate seasonal beverages and change up the cocktails on draft. Below is the cocktail menu for that day:

Polite Provisions Menu

Polite Provisions Menu

On to the libations…

The cocktail I ordered was the Ocean Side. This came with London dry gin, fresh lime, mint, sea salt and celery bitters.

Ocean Side

Ocean Side

I really, really liked this drink. It’s refreshing, not cloyingly sweet, and herbal as well as sweet and savoury at the same time with the sea salt and celery bitters. The celery flavour is noticeable but subtle, it played really well with the mint and lime. I’d reckon if you like gin and tonics and you like Bloody Mary’s you would like this guy.

One of the other drinks we ordered at our table was the Uncle Jalapeno, with Blanco tequila, jalapeno, and T-Bone’s pineapple soda.

Uncle Jalapeno

Uncle Jalapeno

I love spicy flavors in drinks like the habanero infused beer Ballast Point does or the jalapeno infused drink at Whisknladle (cannot remember its name right now even though I always order it!). I am not someone who can handle suuuper spicy food so don’t worry if you are wary of that, these are not meant to burn your palate, the peppers just add the slightest zing and more of their flavor than just blunt spice. The pineapple soda tastes like fresh pineapple and complemented the jalapeno and tequila flavors really well, without being too sweet. If you like those Mexican fruit cups with the spices and little limes on them you will love this.

The last drink we had was the Kentucky Buck. This drink was a little sweeter and fruitier but not anything excessive. It has bourbon, fresh lemon, strawberry and ginger beer.

Kentucky Buck

Kentucky Buck

Ok so the best way I can summarize this drink is that it tasted EXACTLY like strawberry fruit roll-ups. IT WAS AWESOME. And other people at our table agreed. Not very bourbon forward and very drinkable. If you’re not a fan of spirit-forward drinks but like fruit roll-ups (and who doesn’t?) you will like this drink.

Overall we had another great experience. Drinks are still all mostly $8 bucks, you are getting such good value for your money. The only $10 dollar drink was the dessert one. Cannot wait to come back yet again and try the punch bowls…

Polite Provisions

Polite Provisions

Polite Provisions
4696 30th St
San Diego, CA 92116
politeprovisions.com

Brooklyn Girl Eatery – Brunch

So Brooklyn Girl has brunch, which I had no idea existed or else I would have gone sooner. Came here on Saturday around 11 am and was happy to see that there were plenty of free tables, which is nice considering trying to come around dinner time without a reservation has not worked well for us recently!

Brooklyn Girl

Brooklyn Girl

DRINKS:First of all, let me say right off the bat that Brooklyn Girl has the BEST Bloody Mary I’ve ever had. And this sentiment was echoed by others at our table. It’s so flavorful and has the perfect amount of spice. Watery Bloody Marys might very well be one of the worst things ever. I blame these bland and watered down specimens for me believing I hated Bloody Marys for most of the 24 years I’ve been on this Earth (I have seen the light and converted about 3 months ago). They have a special Bloody with bacon and a pickled quail egg too but we all went with the House Bloody which is described as “No Frills, All Delicious, Svedka Vodka, House Bloody Mix Celery, Jalapeno stuffed Olive, Lime, S&P rim”. Spot on.

Bloody Mary

House Bloody

We also loved their Horchata Borracha, or drunk horchata if you habla español. Housemade horchata + Kraken rum = deliciousness. This also came with a cinnamon sugar rim that was a nice touch.

Horchata Borracha

Horchata Borracha

ENTREES: As far as brunch options go they have omelettes, benedicts, pancakes, french toast, granola, and some less usual fare like their burger (add an egg to it!), a T.A.B.L.T. (Turkey Avocado Bacon Lettuce Tomato), a duck confit + duck egg dish, chicken and dumplings, and a breakfast pizza! It’s definitely an interesting but tasty selection.

I went for the Breakfast Pizza which did not disappoint at all. It comes with thick cut bacon, aged white cheddar, eggs, and chives. No tomato sauce on this pizza, and it was better this way. It’s super savory and there’s enough bacon that you get some on each bite. That with perfectly cooked eggs with soft yolks that are perfect for dipping in was heavenly. Wish the pizza had more char on it but besides that it was just about perfect. And huge too! Definitely more than enough for splitting.

Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast Pizza

Some of the other dishes we ordered were the South of the Border, a Mexican inspired benedict. This came with house chorizo, poblano peppers, black beans, red onions, flour tortillas instead of a biscuit, poached eggs, and an ancho hollandaise. I’m not a huge black bean person but besides that everything was pretty tasty. The chorizo was flavorful and the eggs were perfectly cooked. We asked for some hot sauce for this dish and with that it was good to go.

South of the Border

South of the Border

We also got their Traditional Benedict. This was smoked ham, english muffin, poached egg, and hollandaise with potatoes on the side. Despite this being pretty standard fare I liked it even more than the South of the Border because all the components were individually so good. The potatoes were super crispy and I don’t normally like thick cut ham but this one tasted so much more like real pork than the usual salty processed stuff that I could eat it by itself.

Traditional Benedict

Traditional Benedict

DESSERT: Lastly we also ordered the Bread Pudding. This took a while to arrive but it was well worth it. It was piping hot and studded with dark chocolate chips. It comes with an anglaise sauce to pour over the bread pudding, and when you do that the chocolate starts to melt into the anglaise and creates rippling chocolate swirls in the vanilla sauce. Eating this together with the hot custard-y bread is amazing. I was dying for an espresso after this but sadly their espresso machine wasn’t hooked up yet (they recently remodeled). Oh and I didn’t take a picture of it because we all devoured it immediately. So here’s more picture of food:

Not the Bread Pudding

Not the Bread Pudding

CHECK:
3 House Bloody’s $24 ($8 each)
Horchata Borracha $10
Breakfast Pizza $13
Traditional Benedict $11
South of the Border $14
Bread Pudding $8
TOTAL: $86.40

Overall, Brooklyn Girl continues to impress me both with their creativity and with the top-notch quality of their ingredients. They also do a good mix of having traditional options and bolder dishes for the more adventurous. I would definitely highly recommend brunch, especially before everyone else catches on and it becomes as busy as their dinner services!

Brooklyn Girl

Brooklyn Girl

Brooklyn Girl Eatery

4033 Goldfinch St
San Diego, California 92103
brooklyngirleatery.com

Jayne’s Gastropub II

So the first time we went to Jayne’s we loved their patio and thought the food was good but perhaps a tad pricey (see our previous post here). But we loved the decor and vibe of the place so we returned for the most cost-efficient of hours, happy hour!

For happy hour Jayne’s has $6 dollar drinks, wine, and small plates, as well as $5 dollar beer and $3 dollars off regular cocktails! We ordered a couple of the small plates, drinks and dessert and were quite pleased with the food, the drinks and the price. What was great too was that there was plenty of seating at the bar and bar tables during happy hour and unlike a lot of bar areas this one had plenty of natural light and it was a great spot to hang out with friends.

DRINKS: We ordered a Gimlet and the Tom Collins. Both were part of the $6 dollar specials, which also include the Rickey, Highball, Daiquiri and the Old Fashioned . The gimlet is basically gin, lime juice and some sugar so if you are a fan of tart/sour (I am) this is a simple refreshing drink.

Gimlet

Gimlet

The Tom Collins is also gin-based, with lemon, sugar, club soda and a cherry and orange garnish. This is also not very gin forward for those wary of gin and its a nice drink to sip on a hot day.

Tom Collins

Tom Collins

APPETIZERS: So the $6 dollar plates are small plates, we started off with the Crispy Calamari, as we noted previously, Jayne’s calamari is pretty great with a crispy golden crust that is unbeatable. It also comes with lemons, cocktail sauce and aioli for dipping.

Jayne's Calamari

Jayne’s Crispy Calamari

Jayne’s is also famous for their fish & chips. They use that same beer battered fish for their Sea Bass Fish Tacos so naturally we had to order that too. The tacos come with traditional toppings (shredded cabbage, corn, salsa, white sauce) and though nothing too crazy, they were good standard fish tacos.

Sea Bass Fish Tacos

Sea Bass Fish Tacos

Another Mexican-leaning dish in this English pub type restaurant was a Pulled Pork Quesadilla. This was smaller than we were hoping it would be but still packed with flavor.

Pulled Pork Quesadilla

Pulled Pork Quesadilla

Lastly they have the Baby Jayne’s Burger. Jayne’s burger is supposed to be great so I had to order the baby version during happy hour. This is definitely larger than a traditional slider but obviously smaller than a regular burger. It comes with a hefty portion of fries, these were good but not stellar but there were so many we couldn’t even finish them.

Jayne's Baby Burger

Jayne’s Baby Burger

My burger came with pickled red onions, white cheddar, lettuce, tomato and mayo. There was also a side of ketchup. Great bun, good meat and solid toppings. This little guy was very tasty indeed, it would probably have been out of this world if the patty had been medium-rare instead of cooked all the way through, even cooked well-done it was still soo juicy. The medium-rare is a personal preference though and besides that there’s not many unkind things to say about this burger. I’m also sure its harder to cook a slider patty medium-rare since its thinner than a regular patty.

Jayne's Baby Burger

Jayne’s Baby Burger

DESSERT: Since everything else we ordered was a nice shade of beige or brown (happy hour menus rarely have very vegetable or non-fried options no?) we thought we would continue the trend with the Caramel Crème Brûlée. This isn’t normally on their dessert menu but was a special that day.

Caramel Crème Brûlée

Caramel Crème Brûlée

This had great caramel flavor, I actually don’t love the crunchy sugar crust on traditional crème brûlée but here because the custard was infused with caramel the burnt sugar / deeper caramel notes of the sugar crust paired beautifully with the creamy center of the dessert. Since this was an early-ish dinner though I think the crème brûlée did not have enough time to chill and the custard was lukewarm so hopefully next time it will spend more time in a blast chiller!…Yeah we watch Iron Chef, we know what those blast chillers are for 😉

Caramel Crème Brûlée Zoom

Caramel Crème Brûlée Zoom

Overall we were sad happy hour could not be served in the back patio but we liked the food and the prices for Jayne’s happy hour. The service was excellent too, the bartender was super friendly and attentive. If you are planning to go to their happy hour our favorite was definitely the Baby Burger, ask for it medium-rare and you’ll definitely be a happy camper. Oh and if someone orders the White Bean Crostini with Grilled Peppers let us know how it is, I saw one sail by me and it looked quite tasty….

CHECK:
Gimlet $6
Tom Collins $6
Crispy Calamari $6
Jayne’s Baby Burger (w/ fries) $6
Pulled Pork Quesadilla $6
Sea Bass Fish Tacos $6
Caramel Crème Brûlée $9
TOTAL: $48.60

Jayne’s Gastropub
4677 30th Street
San Diego, CA 92116
http://jaynesgastropub.com/