Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fall Prix Fixe at Roy's: San Diego, Ca

A girls' night out with the JLC was long overdue since I've been locked up at home since the end of June. BT was really wanting the Misoyaki Butterfish at Roy's and neither EHo or I had preferences so Roy's it was. Roy's in UTC-La Jolla has certainly gotten super busy since the last time I had dinner in the dinning room. I think the $5 happy hour has really made the joint a popular option for affordable yet classy fare after work. I've been to the happy hour before. I'm never really impressed with happy hour but it really is a nice step up from the standard happy hour.

{Wagyu "Meat Loaf Shumai" with Smoked Shitake Pan Sauce and a Vegetable Melange}

BT went with her original inclination of butterfish and in retrospect I should have went with her choice as well. I've ordered that dish so many times and its always a never fail to delight my palate. However, I was feeling a little adventurous and decided to go with the short ribs on the prix fixe. The prix fixe at Roy's is a 3 course meal that comes with a choice of appetizer, entree and dessert (I choose the Melting Hot Chocolate Soufflé which isn't pictured) from a limited menu. Usually I'm pretty happy with my decision whenever I go with their prix fixe meal but looking back I've only ever eaten their spring or summer time meals which offered a totally different selection than fall choices that night.

For appetizer, I ordered the Wagyu "Meat Loaf Shumai" which wasn't impressive at all. I probably shouldn't have ordered this appetizer but honestly I wanted the other two items even less. I'm never really impressed when a nice piece of meat is all chopped or ground up. How can you tell how great this meat is when its been pulverized? This was definitely the case with this "Meat Loaf Shumai". It could have used a little more seasoning and maybe another pass through the grinder if it was going to be ground at all since it was a little chewy. The vegetables weren't impressive either. I think it could have used a little dressing up... maybe a light pickling? It was just a very forgetful plate in general.

{Tender Braised Beef Short Ribs over Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Fall Vegetables and a Natural Braising Sauce}

I'm usually such a big fan of braised short ribs and order it most of the time when I see it on a menu. Who can resist fork-tender, flavorful beef? I can't! This was however another disappointment. I found the meat lacking in a real punch in flavor and a little on the stringy and chewy side. The only star of this dish was the mashed potatoes... smooth and creamy and aromatic with garlic. But I didn't come here for mashed potatoes so this dish was overall underwhelming as well. The one saving grace of the dinner was their signature chocolate soufflé which I forgot to snap a photo of. A chocolate craving can be cured many times over with this flour-less cake containing an oozing velvety center, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to cut the rich chocolate.

This is one of the few times I've left Roy's overall disappointed. I'll likely not be visiting till the spring or summer again to enjoy the prix fixe. Judging by BT leaving with a spotless plate, the butterfish is still a go so I'll definitely have that again if I'm back before the prix fixe changes.


8670 Genesee Ave.
San Diego, CA
(858) 455-1616
M: 5pm–9pm
Tu - Th: 5pm–9:30pm
F & Sat: 5pm–10pm
Su: 5pm–9pm
Aloha Hour: Su-F 4:30pm-6:30pm (other locations on website)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Road Trip: Tucson, Arizona

EHK and I just came back from Tucson this past weekend. It was quite a whirlwind as we basically rolled into town for a wedding and spent less than 24 hours there before we headed back to San Diego. Looking back, we had an excuse to be in town and should have taken off an extra day or two to explore the area or even drive up to Phoenix or Sedona.

I do have to give a shout out to Priceline again for setting us up in a lovely, extremely well priced room close to the venue which was the Manning House. We stayed at the Marriott in sort of an extend part of the University of Arizona. It turned out to be really nice location. The school is to one side of the hotel and there are literally a myriad of restaurants and shops to visit the next block over.

{Welcome to Arizona sign in Yuma, AZ}
{Tucson neon sign in Tucson, AZ}

Having about 3 hours to chill and get ready, we decided to grab a bit around the corner since we hadn't eaten since breakfast at McDonald's in Yuma.  The concierge recommended Gentle Ben's so we payed a visit. EHK and I shared a plate of Beer Spuds and he ordered a glass of the Tucson Blonde and a Southwestern Burger (not pictured). 

{Gentle Ben's Brewing Co ~ Tucson, AZ}

EHK said the Tucson Blonde was just a standard blonde... nothing to really wow about and he wasn't the biggest fan of the burger. I think his exact comment was "Am I eating in a college cafeteria?"

{ Gentle Ben's Brewing Co ~ Tucson, AZ}

The spuds were ehh... ok. I just didn't understand the little mound of salad in the middle of the plate. I ordered a plate of Beer Spuds right? I expect a plate of greasy spuds and nothing else. They were a little on the cold side. I would have preferred them to be pipping hot and not covered in the sauce. I'm more a sauce on the side type of girl for the fried fare.

{Beer Spuds ~ Gentle Ben's Brewing Co}

When we were looking for our hotel, EHK spotted this cupcake place just down a block from Gentle Ben's so I being the cupcake fanatic had to stop by. I really wanted to try 2 different types of cupcakes but I don't really like it when I ask what's good in a shop and the attendant basically says everything. I was going to order the Red Velvet since I'm a big Red Velvet fan and also because of the namesake. However, I wanted another flavor too and asked for a recommendation. The attendant basically gave me a run down of the flavors and didn't tell me what were the most popular flavors or what was his favorite. So I ended up ordering 2 Red Velvets.

{Red Velvet Cupcakery ~ Tucson, Az}

In retrospect. I should have saved my money and came back to SoCal for some Sprinkles. Speaking of which... Sprinkles in La Jolla is bound to open this Fall in The Shops at La Jolla Village (shopping center that contains Whole Foods). No more trekking to Newport Beach for cupcakes! Coming back to these cupcakes, at first glance they seemed like a deal at $3/cupcake compared to Sprinkle's $3.25/cupcake but they were actually way smaller than expected. The cupcake was on the moist side but definitely underwhelming and I found there to be too much frosting for so small a cupcake. I prefer a higher cake to frosting ratio.

{Red Velvet Cupcake ~ Red Velvet Cupcakery ~ Tucson, Ar}

Sorry I didn't take any photos at the wedding. I found myself busy modeling with EHK at the LA Photo Booth installation. It was the huge hit of the night as everybody was either modeling or checking out the images as they appeared on the Mac monitors instead of dancing the night away or listening to the prompts the MC was giving.We missed MH and OH's "Grand Exit" since we were so taken with the booth :(. In our defense, its no ordinary booth. Its like this wall-less setup and the guest controls the photo taking with a remote pedal. Oh... and everybody magically looks photogenic in their photos.

Dave, the Best Man did get a chance to stop by and chat with us before we took off, learning that we were heading back to San Diego in the morning and told us we had to try the Sonoran Dog at El Guero Canelo (featured on Man v. Food on Travel Channel).  I've attached a clip of the Man v. Food episode in which Adam tries the Sonoran Dog for your viewing pleasure.

Dave put up such a convincing argument that EHK and I immediately headed back to our room to change out of our fancy clothes and met up with MK to see what the heck Dave was talking about.

I have to admit that the description sounded pretty amazing. Bacon wrapped dog, pinto beans, grilled onions, fresh onions, tomatoes, mayo, mustard and jalapeno sauce. Who can resist? It turned out to be an interesting dog. I wasn't thinking that it'd be in a sweet Hawaiian bread type roll. Overall, dog wasn't too bad. EHK's complaint was that he didn't really taste the bacon. So... double up on the bacon wrapping? I wasn't really digging the beans. It was just falling all over the place out of the bun. After a night of model it wasn't all that filling by itself either. So be prepared to order 2 if you are ready to eat.

{Sonoran Dog ~ El Guero Canelo ~ Tucson, AZ}

We awoke the next morning ready to hit the road but not without something in our belly's first. The guys at the wedding weren't that awesome at helping us to find a breakfast joint so we were on our own. I spotted a pretty copy of the Tucson Guide in our room and perused it hoping for some breakfast inspiration. My prayers were answered as I stumbled upon a small article recommending a stop at Rincon Market to start a lovely day in Tucson. Apparently they have a breakfast bar on the weekend that serves made to order omelets, Belgian Waffles and Eggs Benedict. Yum!

{Cinammon Rolls ~ Rincon Market ~ Tucson, AZ}
{Omelet Bar ~ Rincon Market ~ Tucson, AZ}

Upon entering, I spotted the bakery counter with such a variety of pastries and some massive cinnamon rolls. I also saw a counter with some pre-made breakfast items but I'm not such a big fan of pre-made scrambled eggs. So EHK and I hopped over to the omelet station which I thought was a pretty good deal. For just under $7 we got an omelet filled with any of the ingredients we choose at the station, some home fries, some sautéed veggies and cinnamon roll or croissant. We actually really enjoyed our breakfast. Value wise, it was awesome and we really liked customizing our omelet.

{Omelet Plate ~ Rincon Market ~ Tucson, AZ}
{Mixtas Tostada ~ Tacos y Mariscos Juanita's ~ Yuma, AZ}

Finally on the road, we were troopers since we wanted to get back home before dark. However, hunger finally overcame us so I perused EHK's Blackberry as we were approaching Yuma looking for something tasty to eat. I came across Ed from Yuma's post on mmm-yoso mentioning Juanita's so we decided to make a food stop. We ordered the mixtas tostada, 2 fish tacos and 2 shrimp tacos. We actually wanted to order more food but decided to see how we'd feel after this initial order.

Thanks goodness we decided against ordering more at first. The mixtas tostada came out and covered nearly the entire circumference of  the plate. We really enjoyed the concoction of shrimp, octopus, cucumbers and onions with the exception of the massive amount of imitation crab. As EHK said, this dish would have been money if it weren't for all the imitation crab. The tacos were pretty good too. Maybe could have used a little more crunch in the batter but the portions were definitely very generous. All in all, this was what we were looking for on quite a warm day in Yuma. For $13 for this entire lunch, we were happy campers and filled for the rest of our trip back home.

{2 Fish and 2 Shrimp Tacos ~ Tacos y Mariscos Juanita's ~ Yuma, AZ}
Gentle Ben's Brewing Co.
865 E. University Blvd.
Tucson, AZ 85719
(520) 624-4177
M-W: 11 am-12 am
Th-Sa: 11 am-2 am
Su: 12pm-10 pm

Red Velvet Cupcakery
943 E. University Blvd., Suite 165
Tucson, AZ 85719
(520) 829-7780

El Guero Canelo
2480 N. Oracle Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85705
(520) 882-8977

Rincon Market
2513 E. 6th Street
Tucson, AZ 85716
(520) 327-6653
store hours:
M-F: 7am - 9 pm
Sa: 7am - 8pm
Su: 8am - 8pm

breakfast bar hours:
Sa: 7am-12pm
Su: 8am-1pm

Tacos y Mariscos Juanita's
SW Corner of S. Avenue A & W. 8th St
YumaAZ 85364

Friday, October 15, 2010

Opera Patisserie: San Diego, CA

Live or work in the vicinity of Sorrento Mesa or Mira Mesa and looking for a place that serves up a nice breakfast or lunch and offers a good selection of sweets and pastries? This is your place! EHK and I had the day off from work and happened to be in the area running errands so we stopped by for some lunch and croissants to take home. Upon entering, we were greeted by a lovely display of pastries and and friendly staff.  Honestly I wasn't expecting too much from this place. I had heard of it before and had been meaning to stop by but its in a strip mall obviously meant to cater to Qualcomm employees and several of the Biotechs nearby just looking for a quck bite.

{Quiche Lorraine}

I ordered a Quiche Lorraine and EHK got a Croque Monsieur. I ended up being pleasantly surprised. My quiche came out and I could immediately smell the wafting aroma of butter, onions and bacon...mmm. The crust was delightfully light and flaky and the custard decadently studded with chopped onions and bacon. This turned out to be a fairly good quiche and something I'd definitely order again.

{Croque Monsieur}

I've actually never had a Croque Monsieur to compare this too. I think of it as a fancy grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Quite rich with béchamel and Gruyère cheese. I enjoyed it but I definitely had issues finishing my half of the portion that EHK offered.

{Pain au Chocolat and Butter Croissant}

The croissants turned out to be pretty decent too. Crispy on the outside and super flaky and airy on the inside. My only complaint is more chocolate please in the Pain au Chocolat. Its not bad for San Diego but my favorite is still the double Pain au Chocolat filled with Valrhona at Tartine. I would happily wait at the end of long line that curls around the block for some of that.

{Halved Pain au Chocolat and Butter Croissant}
Opera Patisserie
9254 Scranton Rd. Suite 101
San Diego, CA 92121
M - F: 7 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Sat, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Ratings and Recommendations by outbrain