Wednesday, November 27, 2013
If you haven't guessed by now I don't usually have relaxing Sunday mornings very often, but I'm trying to change that. So when a friend at work told me about a little place down the way from Adam's Avenue Grill that I just had to try, I did. Which is how my wife and I ended up at the lovely Farm House Cafe sipping creative mimosas and having one of our best breakfasts experiences ever.
As usual it wasn't so much of a plan to go there as a recollection of a recommendation and just enough energy to drag myself and my wife out of bed. We arrived relatively early for a Sunday, around 9:30 or 10 and snagged some seats outside. The wait staff was super friendly, and after a bit of morning banter I threw caution to the wind and ordered a mimosa. Never have I understood the appeal of ruining perfectly good or bad champagne with O.J., or vice versa, I was happy to see there were other options on the menu. I settled on an amazing concoction with cucumber, basil, and champagne. It was the perfect blend of flavors. It had been forever since I'd had cucumber juice, and the basil added the right amount of complexity to my drink. My wife ordered a similar concoction but hers came with a somewhat fruitier peach strawberry combination. Still good but we both agreed that the cucumber/basil was the way to go.
A little after we had gotten our mimosas I was feeling pleasantly relaxed we ordered brunch. I decided to get an omlet, which came with braised beef and red pepper puree, as well as a blue cheese Bechamel (a blue cheese cream sauce) Grilled Cheese. My wife ordered the Frnech Toast, petit, so only three slices with a side of bacon, also three slices. The my wife and I sipped our mimosas and pretended we were in France overlooking the Rein, complete with my feeble attempts at a French accent. Hey, you can do what you want during your Sunday brunch, my wife and I will do what we want.
A short time later our food came out. At first glance my omlet was not what I had been expecting. It was more of a hodgepodge of egg and meat, next to a beautiful looking piece of crusted bread. Then I took a bite. It was one of the best things I've ever put into my mouth. Even the meat, which I usually say I could make at home, well I probably could but I didn't and it tasted amazing. The "omelet" was cooked to my favorite consistency of not overdone, and there was a delicious sauce you can barely see in the picture that added amazing flavor to everything. The grilled cheese, at which I had been hesitant as I was not a die hard blue cheese fan, blew my mind. It worked perfectly with the omelet. By the time I was done I was sopping up the sauce with the remnants of the bread, and I had to resist the urge to lick the plate clean.
My wife said her dish was amazing as well, though a bit smaller than she expected. I managed to snag a bite, small bite, of the French Toast and bacon. The French Toast was sweet, but not too sweet. The bacon had been cooked prefectly, not too crispy but not too limp either, though it wasn't the best I've ever had. Just good filling bacon, and a good filling meal. My wife took a bite of my food, and said I had won this round on what to order.
So we finished our meal, but I was feeling like I just needed a little more. So we splurged on the selection of chocolates. Apparently the Farm House Cafe has an in-house choclateer. As you can see in the picture I couldn't wait for my wife to snap a pic before I tried one. The chocolates ranged from white to dark, and the dark had a variety of flavors. The most memorable, surprisingly, was a mint flavored dark chocolate, and it was so amazing because they used real mint, not some mint infused cream to flavor it. If you are going I highly recommend you get some of their chocolate if it is available.
So with a smile on our faces, not to meniton a bit of chocolate at the corner of mine. My wife and I left the Farm House Cafe. Already planning the next time we would come back, and I promising not to speak in my terrible French accent. Adieu.
Farm House Cafe
2121 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
My wife and I were heartbroken after the Gulf Coast Grill was shut down. I took a break from Cajun food for a while, but there is something about that spicy flavorful stuff that I just ignore. A quick glance through The Reader brought to my attention a little Cajun place hidden in an industrial park in Kearny Mesa. I sweet talked my wife into making our way out there, and am I ever glad I did.
Bud's is everything that comes to mind when I think about what a Cajun/Creole restaurant should be, well minus the location. My wife and I showed up for a late lunch, expecting it to have settled down some, but Bud's was still plenty busy when we got there. We were quickly shown to a seat outside, and settled down to look over the menu. It took a fair bit of restraint but I resisted the urge to order pretty much everything on it.
|Side of Jambalaya|
I saw they had pretty much every one of my favorite dishes: gumbo, jambalaya, po boys, soft-shelled crab. Just looking over the menu made my mouth water. After much contemplation I decided on a cup of jambalaya, and a po boy... but which one? I turned to our server and sought advice, he gave a couple of recommendations, mostly what was popular, but then he mentioned his personal favorite, fried catfish. Which is one of my most favorite Cajun dishes, but not always the easiest to cook. I don't know if it is just me but it seems near impossible to find good catfish. I've had it overcooked, and under-seasoned, but rarely have I had it just right. I guess I could have gone for something easy but I wanted to see just how good Bud could cook. My wife settled on the Louisiana Chicken, and surprised me by ordering a Caesar Salad then we sat back to enjoy the atmosphere.
|Awesome Caesar Salad|
We didn't wait very long, but as we did our waiter was quick to refill water and tea without having to be flagged down, one way to ensure a good tip from me. Finally our first dishes arrived. I looked over my jambalaya, noticing the chunks of sausage, smoke ham, and what i believe was some type of fish, and smiled. The rice was cooked perfectly, spicy but not too hot, the meat was warm and filling. My wife quickly noted I had a stupid happy grin on my face the whole time I was eating. I couldn't help it, it's been too long since I had really good jambalaya. My wife's Caesar salad came out at the same time. I don't know if it was the atmosphere or my good mood, but even the bite of my wife's Caesar salad tasted better than any Caesar I'd ever had, and Caesar is my go to salad.
|Gigantic Catfish Po Boy|
Just as we finished the first dish our main dishes came out. The first thing I thought upon seeing my Fried Catfish Po Boy was, how am I going to finish all this. It looked like they used an entire catfish in the thing. My first bite was perfect, it was an amazing type of crunchy, smooth, hot, and just the right amount of spicy that I remember Catfish is supposed to be. The bread was firm but giving. The fries were flavored, and came with a side of this spicy ketchup that I wanted to add to everything. My wife's food was also pretty impressive looking. I stole a few bites of it, even tried the mushrooms which I usually avoid, and it tasted great. Definitely the right amount of spice for my wife. I probably would have eaten more but like I said that Catfish Po Boy was gigantic.
So ended a memorable and very enjoyable lunch at Bud's Louisiana Cafe. I already have plans to return on a Wednesday or Thursday for dinner as that is the only time they serve beignets. Which if I remember from my youth, at Disneyland, are little puffy pieces of doughy goodness that you got if you were a good boy, so at Disneyland I was always a very good boy. See y'all there.
Bud's Louisiana Cafe
4320 Viewridge Ave, "A"
(In the Balboa Business Center)
San Diego, CA 92123
Thursday, September 5, 2013
|Adam's Avenue Grill|
Picture a beautiful Sunday Morning. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, a faint breeze gently brushes the trees outside my window, and I'm fast asleep. Let me just say this is not my regular Sunday Morning. I'm not sure why but for the last couple of years I've been driven to rise at the crack of dawn and get things done, weekday or not. So it came as a surprise when the clock struck 10 and I found myself still in bed. My wife on the other hand had no trouble sleeping in, and awoke with a beautiful smile on her face. Distracting me for a few moments from the fact that it was at least 2 to 3 hours past the time I should have eaten, but only for a few moments. Dragging my bedraggled body out of bed I threw on some clothes and with my wife started on a journey to one of the best restaurants in San Diego, Adams Avenue Grill.
|Chocolate and Peanut Butter Dessert|
|Chipotle Marinated Steak & Enchiladas (you can glimpse the Enchiladas beneath the egg)|
|Bacon Stuffed Waffle & Cheesy Grits Stack|
That was my first visit to Adams Avenue Grill, but not my last. I've gone there many times since with friends and family, even for my wife's birthday. I've left a few pictures below of what I and others have gotten there, including what my sister has described as the best Turkey Burger ever. I have only one critique, and that is about the Lavender infused Crème Brule. I didn't think it was possible to over infuse a desert to the point that it taste like soap, but that is what they did. I will say it was a very novel experience to eat something that taste like shampoo but without the bubbles or soapy aftertaste, but not one I want to repeat. So avoid that one dish, you can't go wrong with everything else on the menu.
Adams Avenue Grill
2201 Adams Avenue
San Diego, CA 92104
|One of the Specials but if I remember correctly - Flat Iron Steak with a Burgundy Red Sauce Reduction, Horseradish Gorgonzola Mac and Cheese, and Veggies|
|Carolina Stuffed Turkey Meatloaf & Maple Spiked Sweet Potatoes|
|Slice of Pie on my Wife's Birthday|
|Best Turkey Burger Ever!|
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Housed in what was once a Chinese Restaurant, if you look up you will see the original red tiling along the ceiling, is a hip retreat from the mainstream. In a slightly darkened room with no windows, is a series of tables and booths have been placed for maximum comfort and my guess to focus on the main attraction of the restaurant, the food. The atmosphere was loud but friendly that night. The waiter just having finished talking to the table over and receiving a few belly laughs. My wife and I took a seat and only had to raise our voice a few decibles to hear one another.
The wait staff, we had a bearded waiter that could have doubled as an action star, came to our table with a smile and a laugh. I was already in a good mood when he asked us if we want anything to drink. As it is date night I break my usual taboo about ordering whiskey with ice and decided on a Whiskey Sour Julep. My wife ordered a Dark and Stormy, which has rum, lime, and ginger beer, on the rocks. My wife has a weakness for ginger beer. Our drinks arrive and we decide to try a couple of meatball sliders while we peruse the menu. They come out fast and are just as advertised, chunks of meat and cheese on a french roll. They are also delicious. We also get some bacon wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese. They are melt in your mouth good, and I don't even like blue cheese.
Best of all though was one of the special appetizers, poutine. I don't see it in a lot of places but when I do I almost always order it. This is usually a concoction of fries, cheese curds, and occasionally something other ingredient, a protein most of the time. It came out in an oversized bowl and at first I didn't know quite what to do with it, but then I grabbed a potatoe skin, dipped it into the cheese sauce and luxuriated in the taste of pure unhealthy food.
My wife and I finally decided on our "Not Entrees" as the amount of food is not quite an appetizer and not quite an entree. It is a great amount of food if you are not that hungry, or if you are like us and want to try a bit of everything. I order the Block Cut New York Steak in a wine sauce reduction. I'm curious to see if it is as good as the one I make at home. Usually they are not, but with this place I decide to give them the benefit of the doubt. My wife ordered the Korean BBQ Chicken. They make a point of telling you it is "non-traditional" and when you see it you know why.
My wife and I engage in idle chatter as our food is prepared and I decide to get a Dark and Stormy for myself. I normally don't do drink reviews and I'm not going to start now. Let me just say if you come to The Corner you have to get one. A few sips later our food came out. My steak was cooked perfectly. Medium Rare as I believe all red meat should be cooked. The wine reduction was really good but the steak barely edged out something I would have been able to accomplish in my own kitchen. Still it was tasty enough that I did not need a doggy bag at the end of the meal. My wife's chicken was a very interesting mesh-mash of flavors. I liked it. The chicken was cooked perfectly but the whole lettuce wrap delivery left a bit to be desired by me. My wife on the other hand really enjoyed it. I will say that the cilantro-lime emulsion that came with it was so good I would have put it on just about anything.
Overall this place was an amazing find. And with that... all credit for finding this place goes to my wife, and her monthly AAA Magazine, but Shhhh! Don't tell anyone, as most of the hip places in Orange Country are quickly changed into chain eateries, or Starbucks. I think it has something to do with the city charter. I kid! Check this place out the next time you are in town. I promise you will not be disappointed.
8961 Adams Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
Monday, April 22, 2013
|Big Kahuna Cheese Balls, so good almost forgot to take a picture.|
|Basket of Fries|
It was Sunday a little before noon and I was feeling the need for something simple but tasty. The wife and I had been to Big Kahuna's once before. I'd been looking for something a little more authentic Hawaiian and was really not impressed by what they had served me, but I wanted to give this place a second chance. I decided I'd go with something they were known for this time, their burgers. We were greeted warmly and told to take a seat anywhere. We chose a seat near a window and started parusing the menu. I already knew what I wanted but after looking through the menu I thought we'd try an order of Big Kahuna's Balls too. I wasn't too impressed with the name but anything with garlic, butter and cheese baked onto it can't be all bad.
|Big Kahuna Burger|
The balls came out first and on my first bite I knew I was going to love them. We only ordered six of them but despite not being that hungry I had to stop myself from finishing them all off before our burgers came out. I was amazed these little balls of dough packed such amazing flavor. As I was finishing off my third ball our burger's came out. I had opted for the Big Kahuna Burger. It was a one and a half pound burger with Monterey Jack, Chedder Cheese, tommato, red onions, cabbage (which was a nice change from lettuce), Mayo, Ketchup, and Mustard. Despite the size I wouldn't say it was the biggest burger in town (as noted on their website), but it was no small fry either. In addtion I ordered fries and they brought out a large basket of them, more than enough for my wife and I to share. The first bite of my burger completely redeemed Big Kahuna's for me. The burger was cooked perfectly to order, the ingredients were fresh, and it was full of flavor. The soft toasted bun is what pushed it over from very good to great for me. My wife ordered the Teriyaki Pineapple Burger. I managed to snag a bite and found it to be one of the better Terryiaki burgers I've had. Again, a good melody of flavors, and none of that cloying Terryiaki aftertaste that keeps me away from those types of burgers.
I was pleasantly surprised on my second trip to Big Kahuna's. The next time I feel the need for a quiet, well relatively quiet, restaurant to enjoy one "tasty burger" Big Kahuna's will definetly be at the top of the list.
3780 Ingraham Street
San Diego, CA 92109
Monday, March 25, 2013
|The Front Door No One Uses|
|Packed until we got there, must have just missed the lunch crowd.|
A large opening in led into pretty much brand new tables bolted to the ground and a long legged stools to sit on. We walked up to the cash register in the back, made our order, and then ambled on down to a recently vacated seat near the front, the perfect spot for people watching. About 20 minutes later our sandwhich came out. Now this is where it gets good and decadent.
|How can something so small looking be so bad for you?|
I had decided to go with the Fat Sal. It was an "extra wide" garlic bun filled with roast beef, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, fries, brown gravy, and mayo. Wow that's a mouth full. It was stuffed, literally with everything that was bad for you. I took a big bite and managed to get a piece of roast beef, mozzarella stick, and onion ring. I got to admit when I list of ingredients online I wondered if they could really make it work, but after the first bite I realized they had. It was actually pretty good. The only thing I didn't like about it was the lack of roast beef. It was like they sacrificed a delicious cut of meat in order to put the cheaper fried food into the sandwich.
The Fat Sal
|The Fat Anthony|
Outside of the sandwiches being good but not great, I really liked Fat Sal's. It had a nice open PB atmosphere, the tables were clean, and the people were nice. I'll probably head back there the next time I feel the need to eat something that I have no question is horrible for me. I can't wait to try the Fat Juanita. ... ouch... I just hope my heart can handle another round. It hurts a bit just thinking about it, but hey no one lives forever.
Fat Sal's Deli
956 Garnet Avenue
San Diego, CA 92109
Monday, March 18, 2013
Now my wife does not like the fact I mention this, but El Patio is a hole in the wall, and if you have ever been inside of it the lack of a view might turn you off, but the inside is decorated with beautiful paintings that take the eye away from the small windows looking out (if you were to stand on a bar stool) to the street. Recently they have updated the restaurant with new booths, and a new menu. Thankfully the menu only looks new, it still has the favorites that lured my parents-in-law there so many years ago.
So my wife and I were free on a Friday night and felt like something special so we headed down to Chula Vista for a bit. We were greeted at the door, and quickly shown to a booth were we proceeded to snack on chip and salsa with a side of hot carrots (small bowels of pickled slices carrots, onion, and jalapenos). My wife and I ordered while I sipped on ice tea. Before I'd even gotten to my third ice tea (I was pretty thirsty after running right before we came) they'd brought out our food.
I had a number ten, two cheese stuffed Chile Rellenos with a side of rice and beans and a single gigantic tortilla (usually one is enough to fill me up, but I was pretty hungry that night). My wife went with her usual, the Guacamole Enchilada with rice and beans, which I just realized is also Vegetarian, go figure. As usual my Chile Rellenos were perfect. Scrumptious chilies stuffed with cheese. I usually stack it with the rice and beans on a strip of still steaming hot tortilla and shovel it all into my mouth. My wife, meanwhile, managed to finish one and a half Guacamole Enchiladas before calling it quits, but not without a big smile on her face. I should add to this day my wife compares every Enchilada, Guacamole or not, to the ones at El Patio, and they almost always come up short in comparison.
So a smile on our faces, and a bulge in our bellies my wife and I exited El Patio. Who knows when we will return. Judging from my wife's expression I'd guess sometime next week.
El Patio Restaurant
410 Broadway Street
Chula Vista, CA 91910
Monday, January 28, 2013
Just to let you know this reviews takes place over two different visits to Eddie's, apparently I really really like it. There is no way I could eat all the food presented in this review in one sitting... well maybe.
So my sister drops by for a visit, and the first thing that runs through my mind is that I need to find a tasty but acceptable meal, she is a bit of a picky eater, for her to enjoy. I take a look around my kitchen but all I have is some cheese and a few saltine crackers. Well that would fit the bill in terms of acceptable, but it wouldn't be very tasty. After some consideration I remembered a place that I used to run by when I lived over in Golden Hills. Well the place is actually in North Park, but I passed as I was training for a marathon so yeah it is a bit far away. Anyway I'd gone there once or twice and remember it being amazingly tasty without adding too much spice/heat to the dish. I look to my lovely wife and with a smile we whisked my sister off to one of the best little Philly inspired eateries in San Diego, Eddie's Philadelphia.
Eddie's is nice, comforting, and clean. The inside is decorated with a wealth of items commemorating the great city of Philadelphia, from the Philly's (the baseball team) memorabilia to articles depicting some of the city of Brotherly Love's celebrities. It is all bling, but nice bling, and you can tell just by looking at it that the owners went to a lot of trouble to make it known just how important Philadelphia is to them. You can feel the love, for lack of better words, they have for Philadelphia. Glancing at all the bling we walk up to the register and my sister and wife order the Avocado Burger, my sister with Sweet Potato Fries and my wife with the regular fries. I order a Patty Melt with fries, and we all get drinks. We pay up and grab a couple of cups sitting next to the soda machine, which is conveniently located right next to the cash register. Then we amble on back to our table. My wife and I tell my sister about the first time we came here.
You see Eddie's has changed a bit since it first opened. There was a time that you didn't automatically get fries with your burger. My wife and I used just order a large fry and have this gigantic basket of fries placed before us. More than enough to share. Nowadays though fries just come with the burger, or sweet potato fries, or onion rings, etc.
A few minutes later the same woman who took our order brings out the food, and I take a bite, and it is just as good as I remember it to be. The ground beef is seasoned perfectly, and for awhile we sit there and try and figure out why it taste so good. Is it the meat? There is no way this stuff isn't at least 20% fat, if not more, and its juicy, perfectly juicy, almost dripping down my hand, but not so much that it causes a mess. My sister digs through her burger, and I take a bite of it with nothing on it. I think I taste cumin, and we find a big piece of garlic in the meat, but that is as far as we get. Whatever is in the burger, whatever is mixed with the ground beef, it is great, definitely in the top ten, maybe top five of my favorite burgers.
The fries are as good as ever. Big thick, crinkle cut fries, second only to steak fries in my book, with not too much salt, and cooked just long enough so they are crispy but not burnt. My sister's Sweet Potato Fries on the other hand are not that great. After I steal a few I decide to stick to my own food. Yet another tasty meal from Eddie's, which is why I went back a few days later.
I'll admit the first time I went to Eddie's I ordered their steak sandwiches. Made with prime rib I thought, how could you go wrong. Well I don't know how they did it but back then it was just off enough for me to prefer the burger. Still I like giving places a second chance, and Eddie's definitely deserved it, so I went back there with my wife to try it again. I ordered the Cheese Steak and Onion Hoagie, of which I have a great weakness for, and my wife got the regular cheese steak. We also got an order of chilli fries, because I'm always looking for a good chilli fries wherever I go.
Update: Not sure if they have new owners, but came back for the hoagie and it was different, and not in a good way. Also the service was a bit sub-par. I'll drive by and give it another chance before I declare it changed not for the better.
Eddie's Philadelphia Steaks Hoagies and Burners
3501 30th Street
San Diego, CA 92024