Tag Archives: avocado

1. snorkel, 2. eat, 3. eat again

Snorkeling is an invigorating, tiring, hungering activity. As my cousin and I were searching for a place to fill our stomach voids, this woman working for the La Jolla Visitor’s Center asked if we needed help. I immediately ignored her because I thought she was trying to sell me something, but with her assistance,  we settled on The Spot for its diversity of burger meat offerings. Cow and buffalo and lamb, oh my! It has an easy-going sports bar atmosphere with open, full pane windows to capitalize on the California breeze. I was comfortable from the moment I sat down.

I ordered a buffalo burger with caramelized onions (duh), avocado (duh), mushrooms (duh), and provolone (duh). I got the green bean side dish for a semblance of health in my life, but ended up eating a load of my cousins fries so there that went. Whatever, they were delicious: crispy and light and beer-battered.

I also had a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, which is a pretty excellent beer, but I was definitely enjoying it more before the burger came. The beer didn’t have quite enough mouth-rinsing power for a burger of this magnitude. Needed to ask for a water.

After walking around in La Jolla and shopping in stores that were almost too expensive for us to even enter (except this one where I bought 8 pairs of earrings for $10?), we stumbled upon Cups La Jolla, an organic cupcakery. We had both heard about it but never went, and when we were approaching the storefront, our craving for gelato was quickly replaced with an itch only a cupcake could scratch.

I got a vegan Chocolate Cheesecake cupcake, a rich chocolate cupcake with thick cream cheese icing. Vegan cream cheese icing tastes exactly like regular cream cheese icing: both are supremely rich and delicious. It also works very well in the roll of glue for a cupcake sandwich, my preferred method to eat this cupcake. My iced coffee was very fresh, and they didn’t even charge me for the soy milk!

Since Cups is not only a cupcake shop but also a lounge, they have a DJ. During our stay, he did transitioned from “Don’t Stop Believin'” to “I’ve Gotta Feelin'” seamlessly. I asked him how he got a gig spinning at a ritzy cupcake shop, and he told me that his girlfriend’s family owns the place. What luck.

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24/3/365 (aka, unhelpful)

Last night, I went to see Antibalas/The Sway Machinery at the Cashbah in Little Italy. I’d seen Antibalas once before at the Roots Picnic ’09 in Philly, but the Sway Machinery was a new one. The lead singer is in Balkan Beat Box and the drummer was in NaNuchKa at some point. Go Eastern Bloc!

I had a Stone IPA that left this funny little pattern in its lacing. Heart it laces.

I also had a Stella Artois because I heard good things about it in the past but clearly those things came out of mouths that had not been around the beer block. It was watery and flavorless. For some reason, I like Sapporo much better so I got one of those to replace my judgment error.

So Antibalas announced the start of their last song at around 11:45 and as 12:00 approached, they showed no signs of stopping. Finally, at 12:15, they left stage, only to come out for a 45 minute encore. No complaints at all from me! But it was starting to get to that hour where my stomach acid takes on the role of fidgety-child-in-backseat-on-road-trip-who-won’t-quit-until-fed. I gallantly ordered my (Ford) Mustang, “To Keith’s 24 Hour Family Restaurant! Ándale!”

I pulled into the sketchy, eerily empty parking lot of Keith’s 24-hour, and I was met with something like this:

Angry, confused, disappointed and hungry as ever, I went home to a pantry and refrigerator full of ingredients. Not prepped food, but ingredients. What a night not to have leftovers! I figured out my cravings pretty quick, and whipped up an open face breakfast sandwich worth writing home about.

I toasted a piece of bread while slicing a perfectly ripe California avocado and frying an egg. As soon as the bread was done toasting, I rubbed it down with some garlic, layered on the avocado, balanced the egg atop all them monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs, if you will), and spread some spicy salsa on top. I served it (to myself) with some pickled jalapenos on the side, which have become one of my favorite ingredients/condiments since living in San Diego. I bought a jar for $1.29 at Vons because I figured if they were horrible, I could afford losing $1.29; then they turned out being amazing and probably the best $1.29 I ever spent on jarred food. I’ve also been wanting to pair them with my eggs ever since seeing this blog post from the Amateur Gourmet.

Also, don’t eat MorningStar’s Veggie Sausage Links. I usually dig meat emulators, but at this time of night, the combination of sausage flavor with mealy sand texture in a non-meat-based casing was horrible. I mean, I guess you can eat them. Maybe they’d be good on a nice roll or some baguette bread (ciabatta?) to disguise the texture, and doused in spicy mustard because spicy mustard is delicious. I feel like I should force myself to like them because each one only has 40 calories but I’d rather eat carrot sticks. Same shape, better everything.

I also looked up what the deal was with Keith’s, and they’re only open all night on Fridays and Saturdays. Thanks, Keith’s, for including “Open 24 Hours” on your neon sign. I really appreciate it and I’m sure all the hungry late nighters of San Diego do too. Their website says they’re open 24 hours on Wednesdays. What LIES!!

my first mexican food

A lifetime of East Coast Mexican food has been a lifetime left unaware of the culinary greatness that has met me here in San Diego. I would trot along, going to Mexican restaurants in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York like I had something to prove: East Coast Mexican is good! Yes, the food may have been good, but I finally realize why so many West Coasters cringe at the thought of labeling it “Mexican.” It just isn’t. Find below a brief rundown of some of the highlights.

Chicken Mole Plate at the La Jolla Open Aire Market

For $6, I enjoyed tender pulled chicken covered in rich but not overpowering mole. Served with three warm, corn tortillas, I assembled mole tacos. First, I lined the tortillas with a layer of cheesy, salty, and supremely creamy refried beans. Then I added some rice and the mole, topped with two types of house salsa made with fresh ingredients from the market, included grilled and smoked peppers. You can see the cilantro leaves! Mole leaves its eater with such satisfaction and happiness; I guess chocolate really does make everything better.

Pico de Gallo at Fruitilandia in Normal Heights

When I was first looking for a place out here, I found one option in Normal Heights so I scoured the Internet for cool places to eat in the area. I came across Fruitilandia, which is essentially a fruit salad bar, and kept it in mind even when I knew I wasn’t going to live in the neighborhood. When I walked in, I was kind of overwhelmed with the options. There aren’t that many, but I had no idea what they meant. My previous experience with Pico de Gallo had been limited to the fresh tomato, onion, cilantro salsa. This Pico de Gallo, however, was a fruit salad dressed in a vinaigrette of lime juice, salt, and chili powder. I decided to have the cashier choose my fruits for me, and he went with the typical Pico de Gallo fare: mango, jicama, cucumber, watermelon, orange, cantaloupe, and honeydew.

This dish had some familiarity because my dad passed his love for salted watermelon to me in my youth, but the familiarity ends there. The saline, spicy, tart lime juice thoroughly dresses the fruit, which makes for an interesting eating experience. You first notice the salty tang of the dressing, which gives way to the sweetness of the fruit (or the more neutral palate of the cucumber and jicama), and the chili powder leaves a nice heat in your mouth.

Fish and Carne Asada Tacos at Roberto’s Taco Shop in Pacific Beach

Roberto’s Tacos is a fast food Mexican restaurant that is actually delicous. The pictures are pretty bad because I went on a whim (translation: unprepared, without camera) and had to use the iPhone, but at least I captured the greatness. The first picture is a fish taco with crema and cabbage slaw, and the second is a carne asada taco with loads of guacamole and pico de gallo (the tomato kind). Both tacos were so flavorful and stuffed to the brim that would would have been more than enough to satisfy. How was I to know this? You need to eat like three at Chipotle and like ten at Taco Bell to call it a meal.

Also, this doesn’t strictly pertain to Mexican food but guys, the avocadoes out here are plentiful and amazing. This attractive, bearded farmer at the La Jolla Open Aire Market looked me straight in the eye and told me that the avocado he was holding would be the best I had ever eaten. I bought it, ate it, and wholeheartedly agreed.