San Diego Restaurant Week, a.k.a. Take My Money

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Restaurant Week, which occurs in 25+ major cities nationwide, offers the epicurious a chance to enjoy local restaurants at reduced costs. With the leadership of Ingrid Croce, 30 San Diego restaurateurs took a page from New York’s restaurant week (which has now grown to a month-long event!) and spent four months organizing the 1st Annual San Diego Restaurant Week. Seventy-five restaurants participated in the inaugural event between January 30-February 4, 2005* and has grown to include over 180 places, ranging from small mom and pops to mega-restaurant groups. Its overwhelming success spawned another week-long event in September, making it a bi-annual event. Meals vary in price between $10-50 per person.

Although the official SDRW will be from Sunday, January 18 through Saturday, January 24, many restaurants will extend their specials another week just for your enjoyment. The main website usually releases a list of extensions, but some do it unofficially, so give your special place a call.

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I have three tips for success for any first-timers (or even old dogs can learn new tricks):

* Make reservations! For the more popular locations (ahem… any Cohn Restaurant Group venue), walk-ins fail because they will be so booked. In fact, chances are, reservations were full weeks ago.

* Download the app! There’s a list of all participating restaurants, menues, a bill splitter… because math; and a chance to win meals for a year just by uploading those food pictures I know you take.

* Go for lunch! It’s cheaper, and compared to the respective dinner menus, most are the same, and if not, portion sizes and menu items may vary. Last year, I went to Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse for lunch and ate just as much as I would have for dinner at a fraction of the cost.

Wherever you choose, the most important part of the meal is those around you. You may or may not end up liking the dishes you choose, but at least you’ll be surrounded by loved ones who’ll share in your joy or misery. Happy fooding!

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* What is Restaurant Week?

Out to Launch: 85 Degrees Bakery, San Diego

85c Soft Opening Invite

Calling all lovers of loaves and buddies of bread, 85 Degrees Bakery is opening in San Diego THIS FRIDAY, November 14, 2014! They will be located at 5575 Balboa Ave., San Diego, CA  92111 in the Balboa Mesa Shopping Center.

Yes, fulfill your fantasies of flakey goodness starting at 10a until midnight. After the grand opening, their regular operating hours are:

Sunday – Thursday: 7a-10p

Friday – Saturday: 7a-midnight

As you are preparing your tents for the grand opening, yours truly was able to nab an invite to their soft opening this Thursday! I’ll report back on my carbo load session! Signing out!

Out to Launch: OB Noodle House: Bar 1502

Update: Looks like they moved their grand opening to Sunday, June 1 indefinitely. Keep up with their FB page for more updates. =)

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The antithesis to my “86’d” series, “Out to Launch” will highlight new locales for your eateth and drinketh pleasures, and on today’s menu is OB Noodle House: 1502.

The original OB Noodle House is a local favorite of Ocean Beach residents, and beyond, especially with their OB-esque tagline, “It’s always a good time for a bowl.”

After the souring attention received from being featured in Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” a second location seems a natural decision. Announced months ago that they will take over The Blue Parrot‘s  building, just minutes from the original location, they’re finally ready for their grand opening.

IMG_20140511_124940FB_IMG_13998378865130258My friend, the surf fishing one to those paying attention and Kaus to those not, invited me to the soft opening on Mother’s Day. His friend, Steve Yeng, is the owner of the location whereas he and his two brothers co-own the original.

With a minimalist approach to their decor and food menu, they do a lot of good with just a little. The only aspect outside of that approach is their whisky and beer selection where they are doing a lot of good with a lot of greatness!

I can say this won’t be my last time there. Join them for the grand opening this coming Sunday. May 25. Doors open at 11a, but I have a sneaking suspicion you’ll need to get there sooner if you don’t want to wait.

 

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86’d: Farewell “Fuze” and Goodbye “Gen Lai Sen”

This is my first post in a series called “86’d” where I’ll report on establishments closing their doors, and on today’s menu, “Fuze” and “Gen Lai Sen.” TOFU KA Korean Restaurant Logo

Some of you may know that two years ago, there was an apparent fallout between some of the back-of-house (BOH) personnel at Min Sok Chon, so one chef split, and of that fire was bourne an Asian-fusion restaurant and bar called “Fuze,” which replaced the long-standing Korean-owned “Mr. Wasabi.” Recently, it was supposedly under some renovations, but it’s clearly a closeout. It is already open as “TOFU KA Korean Restaurant.” It’s nice to have a tofu house option outside of Convoy. Let’s see how well this third Korean contender holds up.

gen-lai-sen-seafood-restaurantNow, most folks who frequent downtown San Diego have undoubtedly passed by “Gen Lai Sen” and it’s huge yellow sign. Most folks also just admit curiosity, so perhaps due to the lack of submission to such curiosities, this long-standing, seemingly hole-in-the-wall restaurant is closing its doors at the end of the month. No clue as to what will replace it, though. The gesture may be too little, too late, but I might as well check it out before it closes, right?

 

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* Photo credit for TOFU KA: Yelp

* Photo credit for Gen Lai Sen: Trip Advisor

It’s Back! A Little AYCE at Little Sheep

venue-1522History doesn’t always repeat itself, but when it comes to the Little Sheep here in San Diego, you can count on it. Once again, AYCE Mongolian hot pot returns the first Tuesday of May (yes, that’s TOMOROW) as expected, per tradition since 2012. Prepare for long lines of 2+ hours if you come after 6 p.m.. Parties of four are manageable, but be wary regardless!

“What is hot pot?” you say? Well, to put it simply (and for those who didn’t already click on the Wiki link): cooking food at your own table in a stock of liquid. The kind of ingredients or stock used depend on the country. The Japanese and Taiwanese have shabu shabu whose stock is generally water or on the healthier side. The Chinese also do hot pot as do the Thai (Thai Suki ) and the Vietnamese have their lầu.

Enjoy this weekly Tuesday special, good all day!

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Surf Fishing in San Diego!

My one and only fishing excursion was a half-day trip during which I spent an hour feeling seasick, so imagine my excitement when my friend, Kaus, said I could fish from the comfort of solid ground! Imagine my further excitement when he said he’d cook what I catch! Okay, maybe he was voluntold, but a minor detail!

Kaus and I left for for Del Mar Beach, Calif. with our friend Dean, our photographer and videographer (oh yes, there’s video), to begin our adventure. Once there, Kaus taught me how to set-up my fishing rod.

Down the MiddleStep #1: construct your rod, ensuring all the rings are lined up. I’m pretty proud of this picture, actually. =)

Fact #1: “Surf fishing” is a general term for all types of shore fishing, which includes casting from piers and jetties, and is almost exclusively done in saltwater. More specifically, I went “surfcasting” or “beachcasting” where the casting is done from the beach.

 

 

 

I don't know what I'm doing...Step #2: thread the fishing line through the rings of the rod.

That look right there is either of sheer concentration or utter confusion. You decide.

Don’t know why though, as it’s the easiest step… threading a needle. Must be because I’m tall and awkward and still learning how to use my limbs, haha.

Fact #2: Your success hinges on the time of day you go and the state of the tide.

 

 

Hooks, lines, and sinkersStep #3: attach your terminal tackle. For this day, we used a “caroliina rig.”

If you don’t know what a terminal tackle and carolina rig are, don’t worry, I didn’t either.

Fact #3: In Southern California, you can catch surfperch, croaker, corbina, and halibut, and if you’re lucky, a leopard shark.

 

A Different Kind of PoleStep #4: Smile and look like you accomplished something!

Fact #4: This government guide gives you the official skinny, while SC Surf Fishing is a more comprehensive source that includes forums, pictures, tips and tricks.

 

 

 

 

Now that I look the part, can I play the part? Watch this video (my first Youtube upload AND my first time editing video) and see what transpires. =)

Water, water, everywhere...And yes, I did eventually go into the water, haha.

 

 

 

 

Isn't he cute?!Finally, this begs the question: after all this, did I catch anything? Why, yes, yes I did! Isn’t it just adorable? Oh, and the fish is cute too. =D

Anyway, I threw the little guy back because he was so little, but a catch is a catch! That’s all from me today. Hope you enjoyed my little adventure!

9 Cool Facts About St. Paddy’s Day!

Yes Drinking!

Today is about learning, folks! Don’t worry… I made sure to pick the more interesting tidbits for you. Enjoy!

Image1. March 17th is the day of Saint Patrick’s death, not his birth date.

His birthday is actually… well, we don’t know that one. It was the year 387 AD, though.

2. Saint Patrick was not Irish.

He was born in Scotland, but is celebrated in Ireland because he was successful in bringing Christianity there.

3. It’s spelled “St. Paddy’s,” not “St. Patty’s.”

Yup, I learned that myself recently. Some easy ways to remember:

* “Patty” is for Patricia, while “Paddy” is for Patrick.

* Or “Paddy” rhymes with “daddy”–yes, this is how my mind works, sometimes.

* Patrick is derived from the Irish name Pádraig (pronounced paw-drig), which is spelled with a “d” so… yeah…

Speaking of dying things green and not-so-subtle transitions, Chicago is the first and only city to dye their river green each year, but here is another interesting fact:

4. It takes 40 lbs. of a dye that begins as orange before turning into the vibrant green you’ve come to know.

They’re so proud of this tradition, there’s even a website dedicated to the whole event.

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Now, after speaking about dying things green, let’s talk about why it should be blue:

5. Saint Patrick’s color was actually blue.

It is believed the transition to green came later to associate with Ireland’s beautiful countryside, or its nickname, the “Emerald Isle.”

Now, this wouldn’t be a food post without some mention of Irish cuisine, right? I cant say I’ve ever made any Irish food myself, so I’m pretty green in that arena, so I tend to like the more festive, less traditional recipes that just require added food coloring.

6. Corned beef is not a traditional Irish dish.

Beef wasn’t cheap then, so this dish was for the wealthy British who made it a mainstay after they conquered most of Ireland.

And celebration wouldn’t be complete without some beer and spirits to raise our spirits, right? Now I can move onto our last, but definitely not least, facts for the day:

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7. St. Patrick’s Day was a dry holiday in Ireland until 1970.

Irish law prohibited drinking on religious holidays, so St. Patrick’s Day celebrations were dry from 1903-1970.

Pubs were closed this day each year, until the law was overturned, a wise choice as it became apparent that the boost in commerce and tourism was the much-welcomed aftermath.

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8. You may break from Lent on this day to fully celebrate with food and drink.

When I first learned of this tidbit, I got all giddy, haha. Have fun with this one, folks.

9. The Irish cheers by saying, “Sláinte!”

It is likened to toasting to another’s health.

And now, please cue the star and rainbow… the more you know!

Happy St. Paddy’s Day, ye goats!