Saturday, September 23, 2006

Has it been a year already?


Cue the music!

Yep, it’s the obligatory 1 year celebration post. And it’s my 75th post! Wow.

Daaaa daa taaa da! My Very Own Blog celebrates one year. Yep, all run by some dude with an alias of FireFlyFiftyFive. I would have never thought I would have a web based log but here I am. And it’s about food. It seems like the first blogs out there were political ramblings and then maybe branched out from there. Eventually I saw some foodie blogs – some right here in our very own San Diego. So, I decided I am important too. (Not really.) I have something to say! (Um, okay.) Yea, there have been a lot of worthless posts – but that is the fun of it sometimes. My favorite was the great TGIFridays April Fools Day post.

But it all started out with the 2005 Taste of Downtown restaurant tour. I figured I’d be able to come up with a few more – and then once the January restaurant week came around that would give me a few more things to write about. Oh, some weeks I’ve had to rely on cute puppy pictures – other weeks on pure arbitrary wasteful posts.

This blog has never much been about home cooking or recipe exchange – instead I’d rather focus on restaurants. I definitely need to get out more. Yet, I’m a cheap bustard. And after a brief hiatus (this is my 3rd post for the week!) I’ll be back with an all new season of My Very Own Blog.

Restaurant Week
It’s coming up (well, a few months away – in the second week of January) and I’ve got me eye on Oceanaire I’d think and maybe El Bizcocho. But what the hey? The website reports: “This year, diners will enjoy six days of…fixed-price, three course dinner menus for just $30 or $40 (varies by restaurant) per person.” Ouch – I imagine some of the better restaurants will be $40 per person. It’s a less of a great deal at the price – but certainly understandable.

San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival
It’s a ways away, but I did notice that tickets for the Grand Event go up slightly after Oct. 1st. This is the fest in November – I went last year and it is quite a time. I see they have a designated driver discount, which is nice since there are a whole bunch of wineries represented. I’ll have more when the event is closer as there is a lot more than just the Grand Event tasting so read more at the website.

Taste of...
I see a Taste of Del Mar and a Taste of La Jolla are coming up in mid-Oct. I'll be sure to mention again before the dates.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Other weekend eats...

C Level
This is sort of a natural restaurant to hit when meeting out of town guests since it is right across from the airport. It’s C Level (at Island Prime) on Harbor Island right on the water with great city views. They have a pretty good Spicy Ahi Tuna Sandwhich – which my brother got. I was a little disappointed with the Lobster BLT (came with a side of Lobster Bisque). The L got a Grilled Rosemary Chicken Breast Sandwhich – this was really good with various toppings (melted chedder, bacon, avocado) and came with homemade potato chips.

But the real winner at the table was the so-called special: a Kobe Burger topped with mushrooms, caramelized onions and gorgonzola with parmesan fries. And for a second time in row at this very same restaurant, I have seen a girl order a burger medium rare. Wow. You know what they say about Midwestern girls!

Anyhow, I didn’t think to take any pictures here.

Coney Island Pizza
This is located in Poway, about the last stop on Poway Road before you are off to the hinterlands of Ramona. I thought it was okay – The L didn’t think much of it. But here is a picture:

It’s the medium Deluxe. Takeout. $15.50. Coney Island.

Grino’s Cocina Y Cantina
Luckily slander and libel refers only to what you say and write about individuals, right? I can say anything I want about a company? Okay, I guess then I would say this place is substandard to Chevy’s and that would be a compliment.


*Looks around*

Okay, it wasn’t that bad. But I have to say I was expecting more - 'nuff said.

But here's what our table had: Shrimp enchilada and grilled fish taco. Free range chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese and roasted corn, with a corn tamale and huitlacoche sauce. Sizzling grilled chicken fajitas - nope, not a sizzle at all. Braised lamb shank, canela arborio rice with caramelized vegetables.

Yet, it seems like it would be a fun place with a group. And the margaritas were good (they have nightly specials) but weak.
Gringo's - just a stone throw from Crystal Pier.

Taste of Downtown report.
No not me. We didn’t go this year. Luckily, the fine folks over at Oh So Yummy took over a dozen oh so yummy pictures and have a full report.

Prep yer own meals?
I'm seeing more and more of these places where you can cook your own meals for the week – they buy the ingredients and provide the kitchen space while you spend 2 hours making your meals for the week. You take it home and eat these meals while they do the clean up. Any one try this yet? There was a good article in the paper last week.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hash House a Whoa Whoa

With visitors in town wanting to go to the zoo – it was a perfect chance to go to Hash House a Go Go. What could be a better combo? Filling up on gargantuan amounts of food and then spending the day in the sun! What could go wrong? Well, if eating lots of food and downing Bloody Mary’s makes you tired you might fall asleep on the zoo tour bus. Or you might even foul your shorts at the slightest passage of gas.

Yet, let us not think about such unimportant matters and get to the food. Remember, as always this isn’t so much of a review as a report. A report from the edge. We’ve been here before to see the canoe sized plates so we were sure to come hungry. We were not disappointed. The wait was a staggeringly small 3 minutes at a little before 9 a.m. on Sunday – sweet! We rose as early as humanly possible to get there before it became a zoo – plus we were going to the actual zoo (world famous, you know!) and they say that it is good to get there early before the animals take their midday naps.

This is one place that it isn’t considered odd to take pictures of your food. The plates are the size of a tire! This is something to write home about!

The Tractor Driver Combo
Two Eggs w/ bacon sausage or potatoes with griddled french toast with banana cinnamon cream and pecan maple syrup

This one actually looks pretty easy to eat – honestly, I think it needs a little more. French toast was real tasty.

Hash House Farm Benedict
House smoked salmon with fresh asparagus, sundried tomatoes, chili cream and two basted eggs served on a fresh split biscuit with griddled mashed potatoes

Wowsa. Is that a lot of food or what? Here, you really couldn’t ask for more. This was mine and I think the best of the 3 breakfasts at our table. Lots of flavors. I ended up eating most of it, but in the end they took my plate away. And remember these plates (the photos lie!) are 2 feet across.

Another at the table ordered the ol’ Indiana favorite, Andy's Sage Fried Chicken with maple reduction, 2 eggs, bacon mashed potatoes & biscuit.

My wife skipped out on this meal – choosing to catch up on some work instead. Her loss. But she is hella busy. All in all, our visitors from out of town greatly enjoyed this place – or at least they said they did. And me? I give it a big thumbs up! I know the place may have a detractor or two but I think those folks don’t understand a thing or two about what a country boy needs to eat.

On a side note, walking back to the car we saw a sign in front of a building undergoing renovation that declared “Hash House presents: The Tractor Seat!” Or it might have been The Tractor House! Their website reports: “Open the first week of October! Cocktails & Sizzling Meats coming to you soon! It is located a block up from the Original Hash House a go go San Diego and will feature a new direction for the boys with late night dining and a huge signature cocktail list.”

Yum! I hope I get invited to the grand opening!

Oh yeah, how was the zoo? Pretty good. The polar bears were frisky and the orangutans were on their best behavior. I saw absolutely NO poop being flung!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Poway BBQ and more...

You might recall Leanne mentioned Poway BBQ (located next to Del Taco) a while back – I got curious and decided to stop in for takeout one evening. After a quick look at the menu I decided to get a sampler platter of the St. Louis Style ribs. Big problem with the picture. Like the boob I am, I accidentally deleted the photo before I loaded it onto the computer. Oooooops! But you can just barely see the ribs beyond the beans pic I took - follow the arrows!

Yummy! (Yet, I probably need a lesson or two in photography.) Very meaty and delicious but the sides (slaw and beans) were pretty much worthless. I pretty much agree with the review I saw online (via the very ancient newsgroup sdnet.eats – available via Google groups. I’m old school, I go to dejanews (which redirects to Google anyhow) to search and read these boards. But I’m not so old school to actually use a newsgroup reader.) Sorry, that was a bad tangent. Here’s that review. Sounds like the St. Louis style ribs are they best thing they’ve got going.

I thought about doing a side by side comparison between Poway BBQ, Joey’s BBQ Joint (whatever exactly it is called – I’ve mentioned them a few times) and good ol’ Abby’s Real Texas BBQ but money and time prevents me from doing a same day comparison. But maybe a blogger rundown sometime in the future but with that deleted picture I think I will scrap the whole thing.

I really liked each of the 3 sauces – there was a sweet, a Cajun and a one smokie flavor. I probably got them mixed up with each section of ribs. Sadly no bread with this (Joey’s ribs comes with tasty corn bread. I think the sides at Joey’s were better too.) Yet, the ribs was meat and quite tasty.

On to other recent eats:

Pho Viet Cali
This one is in the food court in Mira Mesa near the San Diego Credit Union. I’ve had pho here once – pretty decent and filling. Was it different than the other pho place I’ve been to in the converted Coco Restaurant just east of Camino Ruiz on Mira Mesa? No, not really – even the menus look alike.

I also had my first Banh Mi here – ehh, so-so. I’ve read about them on Chowhound and on Kirk’s blog. I guess I fall in with the people that think “what’s the big deal with them”. It’s a pretty good spot to pick up a quick dinner – go for the spring rolls and maybe an order of a stir fry of chicken and veggies with noodles.

East Buffet
This used to be (I believe) an Acapulco restaurant on Miramar - you know, next to that one furniture store. That place failed miserably. But from that rubble someone somehow turned it into what is marketed as the largest Chinese Buffet this side of the Mississippi. And man, it is large. And cheep. (Yes, so inexpensive I have no problem spelling out “cheap” with two “ee’s”.) I guess it must be “authentic” because I saw fried fishheads, tripe and chicken feet. Good God, chicken feet?

I definitely had a quite a few plates of pretty okay food – nothing too great yet there was a lot of it, which always (hey, nearly always) makes up for the other. And did I mention that the lunch price is just $7.49? Wow.

I have my eye on a couple of other area buffets: Taste of India and Thai Café. It’s not that I’ve heard anything particularly great about them – or anything at all really but I’m aware that they exist.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Cook it again, Sam

Okay, I might be the king of cheesy titles. Cook it again, Sam. Bad. Maybe I should mention that is only because I am doing this post "on the fly" - quickly and directly into blogger. Watch fer errors! By "Sam", I mean The Cooking Guy from the Red Kitchen. Folks out there in San Diego bloggernation might know of a dude named Sam the Cooking Guy. You can see him in action next week (Sept 18th) at the Macy's kitchen in Mission Valley as part of a Learning Annex class. I think it is around 30 bucks or so plus a registration fee for Learning Annex. Details at his site.

Save us, Scott!
No, there is no saving you now. But if you've seen me mentioning using a gift card for a meal out here at this very blog, yes, my very own blog, it's possible, nay, likely that I got it as a half priced gift certificate through a radio station. So I guess I can, ahem, save you some $$$ that way. Current offers out there:

Mighty 1090 (the sports station - now called XX Sports Radio.)

Star 94.1 Super Star Deals (and check out the two sister stations.)

Cough, cough, and JackFM (coupons)

Oh? So! Yummy?
And now to fulfill a contractual obligation, I need to make mention of a great new San Diego (mostly) blog filled with many blogging bloggers that go out to eat a lot. Give a warm welcome to Oh So Yummy! It’s a collaborative effort between a bunch of college students that DON’T think it is strange to take pictures of their food at restaurants. Thumbs up!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I'm McBloggin' It!

Ahh, the Deluxe McBreakfast!


It’s bigger than the Big McBreakfast from nameless fast food restaurant but really not all that impressive. Can’t anyone do an Ultimate Supreme Breakfast? Maybe someone has (I’m thinking Carl’s Jr.) but I guess I don’t do fast food breakfast that often.

The hash brown was the best thing on the Styrofoam plate. As pictured, it’s a whoa nellie 1220 calories according to the McDonalds website. And it really doesn’t even look like it. To think I’ve had 5 times as much food at breakfast buffets. Scary.

Okay, I'm mostly goofing around today, I'll be back within 3 months with more posts. But for now, does anyone know of any good breakfast restaurants in the Poway area? Yes I know there is an IHOP (in PQ), a Le Peep, an Original Pancake House, a Denny's (or two) and then The Incredible Egg in RB. All are decent enough for breakfast but is there anything else?