Monday, December 25, 2006

Los Gatos Brewing Company: Los Gatos, CA

A while back ago when I was back home in the Bay Area for my brother’s high school graduation, I met up with a few good friends from back in the day. ES still lived in the area, CW came all the way down from Alaska also for her sister’s graduation and NCT came with her boyfriend GS from the OC on their way up to Napa. It was really good seeing the girls all together as we all do have crazy conflicting schedules so its not exactly easy to meet up in one place. Of course the choice of venue for meeting was up to me so I cruised around Jatbar since they wanted to go to a place not too casual. Well when I’m home I eat either mom’s good ol’ home cooking or at very casual places like Long Phung(post below). I don’t come home often enough and neither do I eat out often enough when I come up in order to give a recommendation I’d be totally confident in. So I’m looking around Jatbar and I come across a few places that sound good. They were all over the South Bay and Peninsula and I didn’t feel like traveling too far up North so I suggested the Los Gatos Brewing Company… remembering how pretty Downtown Los Gatos is at night.

We started off with some Fried Calamari($9.95). The flavor was a little bland as I remember it and it seemed like our order didn’t get its fair share of batter as you can see from the photo. However the calamari was tender which is a plus as chewy calamari is such a disappointment.


I ordered 4 Cheese Ravioli($15.95). It was quite tasty… the noodles were cooked perefectly and the filling was creamy rich. The toasted bread was a nice treat to dip into the sauce. However after a few bites it was a little too much for me and I ended up taking it home.


Edna ordered a Fresh Basil Pesto Pizza($12.95). I didn’t try any of the pizza but Edna said it wasn’t too bad. The prosciutto wasn’t overwhelmingly salty and it was very cheesy. The pine nuts added a nice crunchy texture to the pizza.


Nhu-Chi and Greg decided to share the house burger($8.50). They said they liked it…. it was a good basic burger. Again, I didn’t eat it so there’s not much I can say about this dish.


Crystal decided to go with the Pecan Crusted Catfish($23.00). I have no idea why she picked fish considering she can have all the fish she wants for fresh since she fishes back at home. She said that the fish was nice and tender and the pecans added a nice crunch to the fish.

Los Gatos Brewing Company
130 N. Santa Cruz Ave. 
Los Gatos Ca 95030
Lunch 11:30am-3pm
Dinner 5pm-9pm
Sunday Brunch 9am-2pm

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Long Phung Sandwich & Food To Go: San Jose, CA


So I’m back in the Bay Area and I thought it’d be fitting to write about a place I almost always go to when I’m back in San Jose. Long Phung is a real hole in the wall but if you are lucky enough to find this place you are in for one real treat. They make several of the classic Vietnamese take out items right in their own kitchen. At times there is quite a demand for the hot and noodle dishes that you may have to wait a while for the item to come out. This place really embodies a Vietnamese family run business. All the members of the family work together to make this business a success and it is by word of mouth of more than satisfied customers that this shop still continues to draw in so many happy customers after so many years.

Below is a plate of unwrapped Bahn Beo($2.25) This is seriously the best I’ve had ever and I’ve tried many a dishes at several restaurants in the Bay Area, the OC, LA and San Diego. You are lucky to get a glimpse of this unwrapped since usually I can’t wait to devour this dish when I get it. The perfectly sized round noodle disks are topped with mung bean paste, crushed dried shrimp, chopped scallions. Inside the cup is their house fish sauce which has just the right balance of sweet, sour and spicy to compliment the noodles. This dish may be a little intimidating to eat on the first try but I promise with a little practice the noodles shouldn’t be too slippery.


Ahh… a Bahn Mi with steamed pork loaf and pate($2.50). I used to as a kid be disgusted by the pate and gravitate more to the BBQ pork sandwich but I eventually grew a taste for pate and get it with my Vietnamese sandwich whenever possible. The bread was nicely toasted on the outside, soft and warm on the inside but not chewy. There was just enough pickled veggies and the pate didn’t overpower the other flavors of the sandwich.

Long Phung Sandwich & Food To Go
2145 Tully Rd.
San Jose Ca
M-F: 8:30am-8pm
Sa-Su: 8am-8pm

Monday, October 9, 2006

Solunto's Bakery and Deli: San Diego, CA

There’s a quaint little no frill bakery located in Little Italy that’s worth the visit. One thing that irked me were the weird hours(closing early on Saturdays and not even open on Sundays)… being a full time student up at UCSD and working in Sorrento Valley makes it hard to come down to Little Italy in time on the weekdays as traffic on the 5 is crappy like around 5 or so. However the store has recently changed their hours to stay open later on Saturdays and open at least half the day on Sunday so now I can visit more often. The bakery seems to be split into two sides. One side is responsible for serving several lunch items like pastas and sandwiches which I have yet to try. While the other side which all the warm sweet aromas are emanating from, the bakery is what keeps me coming back. I tend to have this habit of trying something that I like and then its hard for me to try something new from the same shop. At Solunto’s this happens to be the cannoli($1.50 for small and $3.00 for large). It consists of a fried pastry shell filled with cannoli cream which in this case tasted like a blend of marscapone and ricotta cheese, sweetened with sugar and flavored with vanilla. The pastry is then finished with chocolate sprinkles and powdered sugar. This tasty treat is sinfully rich and yummy… the crunchy pastry with the sweet silky cream is almost orgasmic. The ones picture below are large so if you still want to indulge but want to lay off on the calories you can go with the small which is about half the size of the large. The smell of this bakery reminds of the bakeries I’d walk past by during class when I was in Rome…it even comes complete with the little old grandma/matriarch figure that bosses the other workers around and seems in charge of filling the cannolis with cream. For a little taste of Italy at an affordable price you should visit this place definitely.

Solunto’s Bakery and Deli
1643 India St.
San Diego CA 92101
M-Sa 7am-6pm
Su 8am-2pm

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Recipe: Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon


Recently I experimented with grilling cedar plank salmon. I’ve heard good things with this technique and it seems like its not too difficult to get a great tasting piece of fish even on the first try. The moisture from the planks is absorbed by the fish as well as the subtle cedar aroma. The heat from the grill slowly dries the planks which slowly causes it to smoke and also lend a smokey flavor to the fish. Anybody can make a great tasting piece of salmon the first time around. As long as you pay attention to your fish!

  • ~ 1lb of your favorite type of Salmon steak
  • Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • cedar planks

  1. Prepare planks in advance by soaking them in water for at least an hour
  2. Preheat grill to medium heat…. 350 F (if you don’t have a temperature gauge or use charcoal instead you’ll have to go by feel)
  3. Wash and dry salmon. Cut to fit onto planks.
  4. Brush a thin coat of Dijon mustard onto the salmon. Next rub in the salt pepper, brown sugar, thyme and paprika evenly over the fish. You can use any other type of seasoning if you wish…I just happened to have these on hand.
  5. Place none skin or none seasoned(if skinless) side down on the plank. Place plank in middle of grill and keep lid closed as much as possible for faster cooking. Cook 12-18 minutes depending on size and thickness.
  6. Serve with your favorite sides. I like to serve mine with basamati rice, grilled french beans and grilled sweet bell peppers with sweet onions.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

The Sundried Tomato Cafe: San Juan Capistrano, CA


A While ago I was watching the Food Network and Rachel Ray’s Tasty Travels was on. Now I’m not the biggest Rachel Ray fan but she was talking about the places she was visiting in the OC and since I live in San Diego which is a stones throw away I thought hey why not just listen what she’s got to say since I’m around that area often enough. One of the restaurants that caught my eye was the Sundried Tomato Cafe. The menu seemed eclectic and the place looked cute. I decided the check out the location in San Juan Capistrano since its closer. The small quaint restaurant is located in a charming old town type of neighborhood so you can work up an appetite walking around before grabbing a bite.

The server brought us gratis… a basket of kalamato olive rolls and small french loafs as well as a small plate of flaky cinnamon rolls. The bread along with the sundried tomato butter was quite tasty however I’m a fan of warm bread which this wasn’t. I had never received cinnamon rolls for gratis so it was a delightful yummy surprise. They were so flaky and cinnamon-y..I’d really like to get a hand on that recipe.



Not too long later the waiter brought our entrees… 1/2 lb Angus burger($11) and three cheese pasta($13).
The meatwas exceptionally moist and well seasoned in between a toasted onion roll. Haha… beats having your average hamburger at a poor college student BBQ. The potatoes were bad but it tasted like they boiled them before roasting them.


The three cheese pasta was extremely rich and and flavorful. The chunks of chicken were quite tender and the bits of sundried tomatoes weren’t too salty. However, after a few bites I found myself overwhelmed by richness of the cheeses and packing it to go. Oh made a delicious lunch the next day.

The Sundried Tomato Cafe
31781 Camino Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Recipe: Creme Brulee

I’m a sucker for creme brulee and I try to order it wherever I can. However I do think its usually overpriced. C’mon… ~$8! There are certain things that I’m willing to splurge on such as a delicious slice of torte from Extraordinary Desserts since I think its a little too hard for me to come up with anything that even remotely close to it. Creme brulee is a different story. I’ve been reading different recipes and it seems simple enough so one day I bought the ingredients, ramekins, and a creme brulee torch. Low and behold… out came a tasty decadent creme brulee.


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks, graded large
  • 1 or 2 vanilla beans, split and scraped or 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus extra to caramelize top

  1. Vigorously whip egg yolks with sugar with a whisk or electric mixer until the mixture because light in color and sugar has dissolved a bit; set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine heavy cream with vanilla beans which have been carefully split down the center, its fragrant black seeds scraped from the pod and both combined with the cream or just add the extract to the cream. Bring the mixture to a simmer, when small bubbles have formed around the edges of the cream it is ready.
  3. Gradually pour the cream mixture into the egg/sugar mix, whisk gently by hand to combine. Strain custard through a fine mesh strainer, retrieve vanilla bean and place it back into the custard. Chill and cover mixture with a sheet of plastic wrap, pierced several times to release any steam( chilling mixture overnight will let the flavors develop and allow custard to thicken a bit).
  4. Preheat oven to 350*F(180*C). Place individual ramekins in a baking pan, deep enough to allow the water to come half way up the ramekins.
  5. If you used vanilla bean, remove them from the custard mixture( can be reserved for another use) and fill ramekins 3/4 full. Place pan in preheated oven and pour hot water in baking pan so water reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover pan with a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, sealing edges to retain steam. Cook 40 to 50 minutes or until custards are set. TO test for doneness, gently shake the individual ramekins; if center is still a bit liquid-like return custards to oven and continue to cook, checking ever 5 to 7 minutes, until it had just set , with a small area in the center, the size of a quarter, still a little loose.
  6. Remove ramekins from baking pan and chill custard in refigerator several hour or untill chilled through
  7. To serve put a thin layer of granulated sugar on top of each custard. Using a torch, caramelize sugar working from the outside in towards the middle keeping the torch in constant motion. Sugar should be golden brown and caramelized never black. If burnt, let sugar layer cool a few minutes than peel it away with a paring knife and begin again. Alternatively you could caramelize the sugar under a broiler, keeping a careful watch over it and rotating it to cook evenly.
Makes 4-5 ~8oz individual creme brulees

Recipe: Vanilla Almond Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies

This is my tried and true cookie recipe. It never fail to impress. Make it for somebody you care about, your coworkers, whoever and they’ll love them and you of course. ;-)


  • 1 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • jam of your choice
  • sugar in the raw
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and white sugar until smooth. Mix in vanilla and almond extracts. Mix in flour until dough comes together. Roll dough into approximately 1 1/2 inch balls, dip top part in sugar in the raw. Using finger or knuckle make a small hole in the center. Fill center with some jam.
  3. Bake for 14-18 minutes in preheated oven or until lightly brown. Let cool 1 minute on cookie sheet
Makes approximately 40 cookies

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Old Bear: Rome, Italy

The first time I ate at Old Bear I was bit turned off. Perhaps it was kinda late already and I was feeling sleepy or maybe the bread tasted a little stale or maybe some of the company was unpleasant. Whatever the reason, the second visit changed my mind about the place because of the oh so tasty Spaghetti Carbonara. I ended up eating dinner at this place for over a week. The prices are good, the service is super friendly and the portions are fit for a king.

The antipasto appetizer plate was quite a smorgasbord of Mediterranean treats. However, I don’t feel like we appreciated it enough. My favorite items on the plate was the fresh tomato bruschetta and the handmade fresh mozzarella. The sweet juicy tomato pieces dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper on top of crusty bread was such a delight. Though I would have preferred the bread to be more softer. The mozzarella reminded me of Obika, it wasn’t as good as there but it was still delicious. Tasting all these fresh ingredients really inspired me to cook more at home when I came back and feature more fresh ingredient in my dishes.


Ahh the spagehtti carbonara. This dish could have sigle handedly caused me to gain a few sizes had I not been walking around so much. Ummm… noodles tossed in panchetta, garlic, heavy cream and parmasan cheese.. need I saw more? This bugger was responsible for me coming back to have dinner at the same place for like a week.


Before tasting these roasted potatoes I was a firm believer of drench my tatters in ketchup. However Old Bear doesn’t offer it as a condiment so I tried it plain. Quite yummy just roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper. I tried making them back at home with baby red potatoes and they were just a delish.


Paella Valencia…so yummy but salty too. I learned quite early that the Italians like their dishes heavily salted and this dish is no exception. I found the rice a little salty yet the seafood was quite tender and tasted just right.


Lasagna all Bolognese. What impressed me was the noodles were cooked so perfectly…just the right firmness. The filling was not too overpowering as was my experience with several lasagna dishes I’ve had back at home. It was a light meat sauce with some ricotta cheese.


I’ve never really been a fan of lamb until I tried these lamb kabobs. The light seasoning of rosemary was both aromatic and tasty.


The ricotta cheese cake was quite delicious even though Cassidy thought it was too sour for her taste. It was very tender unlike the firmer texture I was accustomed to. The glazed strawberries went well with the lightness of the cake.

The Old Bear 
Via dei Gigli d’ Oro 3
Roma, Italia 00186
p: 06.68210009

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Obika: Rome, Italy

Obika is an interesting take on what we Americans normally associate with sticks of cheese that we munch on in our lunch boxes as kid. Think sushi bar but for Mozzarella cheese. Wild ehh? Mozzarella is just about prepared in any way you can imagine here. I ended up coming back to this place like 3 times just for the Mojito. The Mojito is a little pricey( 8,50 euros) so try to come around happy hour when you can get a drink of your choice and eat from the buffet which is an array of cheeses, meats and light pastas all for 8 euros.
One time my party and I came late(after happy hour) so the owner decided to make some plates of the items from the buffet for us to try. This was only one of the plates and the other side of the table got a different plate of items also from the buffet.


Ahh… the mojito. It makes me sad that this is the best mojito I’ve ever had which means I’ll have to come back just to be sipping away at one of the best damn mojitos ever. A cool thing is that instead of stirring in the sugar, they add sugar in the raw or coarse large grained sugar that won’t dissolve as easily so you can stir and control how sweet you want your drink to be.

Via dei Prefetti
Piazza di Firenze
 p: +39066832630
Happy Hour: 7:30pm-9:30pm on weekdays.

Super Pizza: Rome, Italy

I often went to the Despar Market to load up on drinks and snacks but rarely took a look at Super Pizza a small pizza stand that is tucked in between a niche of the market. One time, about 2 weeks into the program/trip Albert had mentioned to me when we were on the way to Pompeii that he had gotten some supplis to munch on for the long day trip. I kept that in mind and ended up visiting there with Adrienne about a week or so later. I’m kinda kicking myself in the head for not having visited earlier. The have an assortment of fresh baked focaccia style pizza as well as tasty supplis. Suppli is simply seasoned risotto rice with gooey mozzarella in the middle and often times meat in the middle, breaded and fried crispy. It is such a treat to bite into one and find the stringy cheese. For some reason eating this reminds me of childhood and eating a Lo Mai Gai( lotus wrapped rice). I’m suck a sucker for just about anything rice. They charge by the weight for the pizza which they fold into a sandwich for you so it can get a little pricey depending how hungry an eater you are but a pretty hearty slice is about 3-4 euros and they charge 1euro per suppli. Be a regular and talk with the nice girl that works there and she’ll hook you up sometimes with some free suppli or an extra large cut of pizza.

OooOoo…look at the tasty pizza.


But what really drove me to come back and still gives me some of the fondest memories of simply sitting around and people watching by the Pantheon were these tasty little morsels.


Super Pizza
Via Giustiniani
(between the Despar market space)
(between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona)
Rome, Italy

Babington's English Tea Rooms: Rome, Italy

I know it sounds odd to want to go to an English tea room when in Rome. However this place is located in the historical Piazza di Spagna right across the Spanish Steps from the Keats and Shelly house so I felt a little inclined to visit a little piece of late 19th century history. Babington’s was nicely decorated in decor of the era. What also drew me to the place was a review that was raving about the Shepard’s pie. Unfortunately we sat down and then were told that the Shepard’s pie was out of season. I feel terribly guilty about leaving when already sitting down so we stared glass-eyed at the extremely overpriced menu…. 18-20 euros for a sandwich?!? I decided to go with the “High Tea” which was a surprising 36 euros. It consisted of the house tea, assorted sandwiches, assorted cookies and crumpets.

I can’t seem to find a picture of the tea on my camera. However, it did come in a fancy silver teapot, the house tea was quite fragrant and it came with the usual condiments of sugar, lemon and cream.

The assortment of sandwiches was a little on the skimpy side. I was hoping to see a buffet server of some sort stacked with all the sandwiches I could dream of. Wouldn’t you for 36 euros? Also the the sandwiches weren’t as tasty as I had hoped.


The cookies were rather unimpressive. Perhaps it was just the initial experience with the tea sandwiches that already turned me off but for some reason I thought that Costco cookies were even better. Not to say that Costco cookies are bad its just that high expectations come with a high check you know.


One of the hot buttered crumpets. I was really hoping to get some jam but it never came. Hmm…it tasted like a hard tasteless English muffin.


It was nice visiting Babington’s Tea Rooms however the food wasn’t all that impressive and the price considering what it is was less than appealing. I say if you want to have a nice tea but are willing to giving up the some of the formalities…Hutington’s Library’s Rose Garden Tea Room up in the Pasadena/ San Marino area has an awesome value… for $20 there is a limitless buffet of tasty sandwiches, salads,delectable desserts, fresh scones and tea. You just need to make a reservation about two weeks in advance (626)683-8131. Also a thing to note is that the Rose Garden Tea Rooms price is on top of admission into the gardens so be prepared for a somewhat pricey but well worth trip.

Babington’s English Tea Rooms
Piazza di Spagna, 23, 00178
Rome, Italy
p: +39066786027
f: 3906791532

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Miscellanea International Student Pub: Rome, Italy

I have to owe Scott for introducing me to this wonderful little pub that really helped me out with staying under budget while I was in Rome. This pub is tucked in a little alleyway so you may have to ask around to find the place but it is well worth the effort. The food here is very reasonably priced for a student’s budget and the drinks are actually discounted at lunch. What kept me coming back like Scott was the roasted turkey sandwich. Its roasted turkey with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and romaine lettuce in between two tasty slices of rustic bread. This sandwich is actually better to go as they season the lettuce already and it’s kinda tough to do it when they present your sandwich already assembled. One thing that Scott was raving about that I only got a taste of and never really got to try was the Fragolino.. strawberry wine. I’ll be sure to have a glass if I ever go back.

Via Pastelle
Pantheon Area
Rome, Italy

Nerbone: Rome, Italy


Walking through the quaint streets of Florence was a nice change from the bustle of Rome. It is quite easy to work up an appetite visiting several of the museums and churches that dot the town. After going to the Academia and gawking at the David we were quite famished. We decided to walk back the Mercato Centrale that we had passed by on the way from the train station. We were astonished to walk in and find two floors of basically any ingredient an Italian cook could dream of. The place was organized into several small stalls like a little open market. We let our nose guide us and soon found our way to Nerbone… a small food stand famous for panino bollito( boiled beef sandwich so we decided to try that. Man was it delicious! The bread was quite crusty which the Italian seem to be fond of and the beef was incredibly tender and flavorful. The guy making my sandwich added a green and red sauce which added a delightful kick. There surely is nothing like simple, down home, no frills food.

Mercato Centrale 
S. Lorenzo
Florence, Italy 
p: 055 219949

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Giolitti's: Rome, Italy


The place I’ll miss the most in Rome is Giolitti’s…a pastry and gelato shop. It is perhaps the most famous one in town and lucky for me my hotel was practically around the block. Though they serve a large selection of pastries and tarts, what kept me coming back was the oh so yummy gelato. I remember my first week in the program I shied away from the shop since it seemed too intimidating to order gelato. In this shop there is no real concept of a line so you must first pay for your choice of size of cone at the cashier’s then somehow get the attention of one of the scoopers. Luckily AM and SR took me in one time and showed me how it was done. Funny thing…it helps to be a girl and even more to be a girl who speaks Italian or at least enough of it. The Italian men seem to be enchanted with American girls who can carry on a decent convo in Italian. Both AM and SR knew enough to get by so they made friends not only at this shop but also at several shops. At Giolitti’s, Adrienne often got a free cone or upgrade from her friend. For me, I usually got more than the normal serving whenever I smiled and tried but failed miserably at trying to say the flavors in Italian but I was a happy camper with my mela verde(green apple), fragola(strawberry) and melon(melon-cantaloupe) flavor combo so whatever. I had visited other gelato shops or seen some of my classmates come back from others and noticed that Giolitti’s probably gives you the best deal in town. For several places a small cone will get you only 1 flavor, at others perhaps 2 flavors but here they give you 3 choices. Be friendly with your scooper and he will reward you. Gelato here is definitely a different experience from what it is at home. In La Jolla or even one time in Los Gatos I remember getting gelato…it wasn’t spectacular and I remember it being quite pricey( $4-5 for a small cup). Giolitti’s makes it fresh daily to my understanding and I love that you can see and taste little chunks of fruit in the fruit selection plus for a small it’s only 2 euro(~$2.60 USD) and I usually had a tough time finishing the cone. An odd thing at Giolitti’s is that you can’t sit at their tables unless you order a dessert/ drink from their menu. You see them many a times shoo-ing away confused people happily licking away at their cones. I did try a banana split off their menu one time but I must say I’m more satisfied picking flavors from their vast selection and walking around the neighborhood with my cone. I recommend this as a definite must go if you are ever in Rome. I’m sad that it took me 6 weeks to figure out my 3 favorite flavors(the ones mentioned above).


Check out the flavors… and there were oh so many more.


A real strawberry granita!


This was quite a delicious banana split…. this ice cream at the bottom was french vanilla cream and bacchio(inspired by bachi). It was certainly a nice treat.

via Uffici del Vicario, 40
Rome, Italy
p: +39-6-6991243

f: +39-6-69941758
open till 2 in the morning though I believe gelato isn’t brought out till 11am-ish

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Princess Pub: San Diego, CA

Many a times have a been down in Little Italy and passed by this English pub surrounded by mostly Italian restaurants. Then I heard from a former coworker that this was a must visit place because of the fish and chips. I needed some de-stressing from finals on this particular trip so I brought Angie along to try out this place and of course trade our latest stories of the drama going on in our lives. Girls+food=always trading stories. So we both decided to try the fish and chips which according to the menu was “San Diego’s Best”. It was a little pricey…close to $15 for 3 pieces of battered fried cod a generous amount of fries and a small side of coleslaw. Overall the fish wasn’t too greasy, had a good flavor and crunch to it. However the fries seemed a little soggy and neither I or Angie were impressed with the coleslaw.

Unfortunately, Princess Pub doesn’t offer takeout boxes so make sure to bring your appetite with you.

1665 India St.
San Diego Ca. 92101

M-Th: 11am-midnight
F: 11am-1am

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Saigon: San Diego, CA

So I was checking out Kirk’s food blog(mmm-yoso) and came across a Vietnamese place in El Cajon named Nhuy-K. Funny thing, we didn’t end up eating at that place since we were driving along the Boulevard and saw Saigon with a brightly colored neon sign and a packed house. We decided to ditch our previous plan and try this place out. The interior was quite cavernous and in typical Vietnamese restaurant style, there were many neon signs/lights on the windows. What caught my eye was the bahn xeo on the menu. As I have stated in some previous entries, the bahn xeo is my bench mark for weather I decide to come back to a Vietnamese place (if they have it on the menu).

So we started off with an order of spring rolls, a jackfruit shake (for me) and a three bean dessert (for EHK). The thing that caught us my surprised us was the size of the spring rolls…the diameter was like that of my wrist. It wasn’t particularly tasty nor was it not but I didn’t expect it taste fantastic considering it was 9:00 PM. I kind of regretted ordering the bahn xeo now since I was feeling satisfied already.




My fears were confirmed since my order came out and it was absolutely monstrous. Unfortunately the meat was cooked into the crepe which I don’t really like. The good thing was that it wasn’t too oily like at Phung Trang. EHK did some of it though and gave approving thumbs up since it was crunchy, not incredibly oily and the filling wasn’t 99.9% bean sprouts.


His order of the dac biet pho came out and he was equally thrown off by the portion size. He said the pho was decent. I think what’ll keep us coming back here is that its open till pretty late, the prices are reasonable and the portions are gigantic.


On a second trip the following week we decided to try the 7 courses of beef. This time we started off both with coffee shakes which weren’t bad and the egg rolls were piping hot and fresh but not as meaty as I’d hoped.



Thi is probably one of the better setups I’ve seen. Usually its a pan over a little kerosene can.


The first two courses came out which are the marinated and unmarinated beef. I believe that the unmarinated is meant to be boiled in the vineagar broth but we prefer to fry up all the meats in the buttered pan instead. Then wrap it up with some rice paper with the veggies provided.





Next a variety of beef sausages came out. I’m not very fond of them since I feel in essence they are the same course and the the restaurant gets away by making different varieties of sausages.


Lastly the beef porridge came out(not pictured). It was smooth and had a nice flavor to it. I think I’d really come back for it since its hard to find a place in San Diego that makes good porridge or just makes porridge for that matter.

4455 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, Ca 92115
Su-Th: 10am-10pm
F-Sa: 10am-11pm

Ratings and Recommendations by outbrain