Mr. Vietalian and I just came back from San Diego. I was wondering what San Diego would be famous for food-wise. I mean Maine has lobsters, Massachusetts has chowder, Hawaii has Hawaiian food and spam musubis, and of course each city has its own unique thing, but what the hell does it for San Diego? I still am trying to figure it out. Mr. Vietalian says it’s fish tacos. But unfortunately I don’t like tacos or fish. But we did go to a fish market, El Pescador Fish Market.
El Pescador Fish Market, located in La Jolla on Pearl Street, is a small fish market. Decent prices, but by no means cheap. As someone that doesn’t love seafood, it was a weird place for me. I’ve gotten by usually by eating chicken, beef, or anything that’s not fish. This is not the case here. Everything is seafood. I had the Dungeness Crab and Bay Shrimp combo sandwich, not a ton of mayo which is good. But I did unfortunately have some bites without any meat. Mr. Vietalian said he would have preferred Wahoo’s up the street, the tacos weren’t anything too special for him. It might have been the anticipation of waiting for these tacos and reading about them online. Also the creeps sitting next to us (they asked a couple to leave their table because there weren’t enough tables) detracted from our stay. I wish it was a little more but I like the little I had.
Before this we took a drive around the state. We found ourselves out past San Diego zoo at Lake Cuyamaca. It was so small town I was almost uncomfortable. It was a restaurant and a store all in one. We sat on the deck that overlooked Lake Cuyamaca. So beautiful, the lake was shining, the sun warmed our shoulders, and there was a nice soft breeze for us to enjoy. I had the Breakfast Special, which were 2 pancakes. The bottom had blueberries, peanut butter and bananas in the middle, another pancake on top and strawberries with powdered sugar on top of that. Mr. Vietalian had the country fried Steak and gravy, which he said was good. Mr. Vietalian loves his country southern food so he knows it pretty well. He said it was one of the better gravies he’s had recently. I enjoyed my pancakes as well. It’s really quite hard to mess up pancakes. Given the fact that I’m not a huge fan of peanut butter, it didn’t quite add to the meal. We loved our waitress though. She was very sweet and attentive. The bill didn’t come out to much so we left a rather large tip for her. She tried to give us our change while we were leaving. But we insisted it was for her. As we left she cried she was so happy for her tip. She earned it. She made our day and I hope we made hers.
The very first night we ate at PB Alehouse out of sheer convenience and how hungry we were. We started with the fried calamari and poutine chips and short ribs. Got full and then did not want to eat our meal and had it packaged to go. So the food was good. But I’d like to take a minute to commend our waitress. The table behind us had 6 people who had drinks and food. Then some time after the waitress dropped off the check decided they wanted separate checks, in addition, they could barely figure out who ordered what and what everyone should pay. I do believe in everyone paying their fair share. But that was ridiculous. What’s wrong with just splitting the check 6 ways? Yeah someone might pay more or less, but do they realize how much hassle they put the waitress through? When the waitress came back and they requested separate checks she politely said, “I can do that. But just as a tip you should probably let your server know when you order that you’re going to want separate checks so it’s easier for us to help you.” Gold star.
We visited Mr. Vietalian’s cousins in Los Angeles for brunch. Combined with the fact that it was a Sunday and Mother’s Day we had a 2 hour wait. It’s a good thing they wanted to catch up or that wait would be completely unbearable. It was still a little unbearable. But the food was good. I have a lean corned beef sandwich and onion rings. So good after a morning work out. Mr. Vietalian got corned beef hash and extra crispy hash browns. It was a nice little patio and a good breakfast, but not something I couldn’t find in Boston. Or in Hawaii. Or probably in any other US City.
On our very last night we went to Gang Kitchen in the Gaslamp district. Unfortunately, I really did want to like this place, but it wasn’t meant to be. When we first showed up there was no hostess to seat us… for over 5 minutes. So we left, took a walk, and then made our way back where a hostess finally did seat us. Some of the food was creative, the crispy rice with spicy tuna on top. But then there were the spicy spring rolls which were less creative and a bit too much spice. Then the seared tuna and five spice chicken. All the food was tasty but just nothing blew me away or stood out. Such a shame, especially for the price of the food. But you know, live and learn.
In the morning we made our way over to Snooze. On a Monday it had a 30 minute morning wait. But so worth it. I had a puff pastry pot pie that was basically filled with sausage gravy usually topped with a sunnyside up egg (but I don’t like egg, so it was on the side) and a side of hash browns. I’ve come to the realization that while pancakes are all well and good, I get hungry later because they’re just so empty. I did decide to try some of the sunnyside up egg, after all, I’m working to get over this picky thing. I liked the whites but not the yolk. But the fact that I ate part of it was the most fantastic. It was kind of like a hardboiled egg. Mr. Vietalian got the shrimp and grits. He said it was good, on the trendy side but good. It was a good ending to our San Diego vacation. Affordable, so so tasty, and the way we did it, it got us to the airport on time.
Snooze renewed my love of pot pies. When I came home I fixed a recipe from Martha Stewart. I altered it a bit. But I love puff pastry. I’ve started to bake an extra piece of puff pastry on the side to have more puff pastry. It’s potatoes, carrots, chicken, and peas In addition, Mr. Vietalian and I have made half and half sweet potato and regular potato hash browns. I’m finally getting the hang of making hash browns. I use a grater when I can to create the nice thin potatoes. I was cutting it by hand and it makes it much thinner and easier to fry. They came out nice and crispy and hopefully not as bad for us. Oh so delicious, thank you Snooze for inspiring me.
shallot, finely choppedsmall onion
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
1 small parsnip, peeled and sliced into rounds
- 1 russet potato, peeled and diced
- 3/4 c. green peas
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 thyme sprigs1 tsp dry thyme
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 5 teaspoons cornstarch whisked with 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 package (14 ounces) puff pastry, cut into four 4 1/4-inch squares
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cook onion in oil in a large pot over
medium heat until soft, about 4 minutes. Add carrot
and potato. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add wine; simmer
until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock; bring to
a boil. Add chicken and thyme. Cook for 2 minutes. Season
with salt and pepper. Add cornstarch mixture and cream. Bring
to a simmer; cook until thick, about 5 minutes.
- Divide mixture among four
610-ounce ramekins; top with
pastry. Brush with egg. Cut a hole into each to vent. Bake on
a baking sheet until golden,
12 to 1415-16 minutes.
- 1 medium russet potato, shredded
- 1 medium sweet potato, shredded
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 cup oil for frying, or as needed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse shredded potatoes until water is clear, then drain and squeeze dry. Place shreds in a bowl, and mix in the onion, flour and egg until evenly distributed.
- Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is sizzling hot, place potatoes into the pan in a 1/2 inch thick layer. Cover the whole bottom of the pan, or make separate piles like pancakes. Cook until nicely browned on the bottom, then flip over and brown on the other side. It should take at least 5 minutes per side. If you are cooking them in one big piece, it can be cut into quarters for easier flipping.
- Remove from pan, and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.