San Diego: The “Overview Tour”

I love the opportunity to show people around this fine fine city. There’s never a doubt that they’ll leave without desiring to come back. so today I had the opportunity to bring a consultant for my company around the great city of SD. This was his first time in California so I had to give him the big picture. What a day!


I dub this the “Overview tour”. feel free to share and expand on the list!

  1. UC San Diego: turned out to be admit day so tons of student tours and colorful balloons. campus sure cleans up well!
  2. La Jolla Shores: gots to see the beaches. scenic route from UCSD to shores is truly a breath-taking view. stopped by some multi-million dollar homes on the way down.
  3. Mt. Soledad: best vantage point in northern San Diego
  4. Scenic drive down Bird Rock, Mission Bay
  5. Mitch’s seafood (Point Loma): yelpers go to to Point Loma Seafood. locals go to Mitch’s. added bonus that this week is burger week! $5 burgers all week long. Blue cheese bacon burger and crab poutine. (www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/burgerweek for complete listings)IMG_1594
  6. Pt. Loma lighthouse: best vantage point in southern San Diego. Coronado island, downtown, harbour island views and glimpses of Mexico too. would have gone to the tidepools if there were kids.
  7. Scenic drive through downtown:  drive through harbor island, shelter island, SD convention center, and gas lamp districtIMG_1576
  8. Petco Park: this is a favorite spot of mine to bring visiting friends because it’s one of the few stadiums that lets people inside when there isn’t a game that day. BUT! on this day it was SD Padres fan fest and they had a free exhibition game against a Mexico City team. Totally unplanned. What better way to introduce America’s favorite past time than from behind home plate?!IMG_1585
  9. Stone Brewery: SD’s popular brewery with custom flight selections. IPA, Imperial stout, and a ruination. people sure seem to love their beers. fun for them. i like to people watch.  IMG_1588
  10. Balboa Park: speaks for itself…just go.IMG_1590
  11. El Zarape:  icing on the cake. 2 things one has to try in SD…seafood and mexican food. depending on your audience you go the greasy goodness route (Tacos El Gordo) or the clean and healthy route (El Zarape on Park Blvd. not Adams Ave). This place had great veggie options for vegetarians and 99 cent fish tacos all day every day for me!

SG Eats: Mellben Seafood (Lunar New Year Edition)

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This was a very special meal for me. A few nights prior I was eating at a chinese restaurant in China town, Singapore when I noticed this unique dish that was on advertisements everywhere. It was called “Yu Sheng” and it’s a Lunar New Year dish that was created by a group of Singapore/Malaysian chefs looking to make something new. It’s a really fun and loud twist to the traditional get-together dinners. I can’t really explain it other than link a video.

I was so intrigued at dinner that I considered ordering it myself until I realized that’d seem really lame. everyone who was doing it was with family and here I was eating alone. So the next monday, I ring my ilmn coworkers and ask them to come to dinner with me. They chose Mellben and what a treat!

This is called a “coffee shop” which Singaporeans essentially call an open air restaurant. The food was amazing and much more affordable than the seafood restaurants downtown (like Jimbo). We had the butter crab which pairs beautifully with fried mantou, salted egg crab, but the one that stood out the most was the famous Crab Bee Hon Soup. Just thinking about this still makes me salivate. a cannot miss la!

links: HungryGoWhere, Yelp

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Dai Pai Dong in Tsim Sha Tsui



Address: Tsim Sha Tsui across Langham Hotel (I honestly don’t know the address, follow the map)

Specialty: Beef balls

Cost: ~$20 HKD a bowl

Hong Kong people are massive germaphobes and understandably, their horrendous experience with SARS really has them overly cautious about hygiene and cleanliness. Unfortunately one of the casualties of extremely clean environments is the shutting down of dai pai dongs in HK. Once commonplace, these stalls are harder to find and much more regulated.

Again like the noodle store in Mongkok in a previous post this place comes with a caveat. If you can brave the frenetic pace and seemingly chaotic nature of these stalls, this place is a gold mine for food. The beef meat balls here are the best. You can order them with noodles or without noodles.

Now the thing is. In this particular dai pai dong area there are many stores and I have no idea if they’re interconnected or direct competitors. So when you go, look for the sign in the very first picture above and only sit near there. Or you’ll be pulled in by another store offering the same thing but just slightly different. The last picture in this post gives you a sense of how difficult that may be.

**closed on sundays!**

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Mongkok Noodle Stand: Fish Balls, Meatballs, Wontons & Noodles

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Address: 15 Nelson Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Specialty: Fish balls, meat balls & wontons

Cost: $22 HKD a bowl (~$3 USD)

This store has a little bit of history and it’s tucked just besides the notoriously packed streets of Sai Yeung Choi Street and the Ladies Market. I must have passed by this place so many times and never noticed it until my mom brought us here. You can order quite a lot of things here but the fish balls really stood out. They were light, almost airy, and full of taste. I didn’t realize how good they were until we had some store bought ones the next day and the difference was incredibly noticeable.

I think I ended up coming here to eat 3 separate times over the span of a few days. It was glorious on each occasion.

HUGE CAVEAT: don’t eat here if cleanliness and a relaxed atmosphere is what you’re looking for. You won’t find it. There are only a few tables and nearly everyone shares. There’s little to no customer service but if you sit down and are vocal with your order, you’ll get exactly what you want. If you do have the heart and the stomach to try it out, don’t look down. just…trust me.

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As I said at the top, this store has a little bit of history relating to my family. My mom said this store’s been open since she was here in HK. Right across the store is a used book store and right underneath the large yellow sign was where my dad used to sell used books 40+ years ago! He’d buy used text books from students, carry them from their homes to their store front and resell them when the next quarter came around. My dad was quite the book worm so it was a great job while he was a kid. I have no idea if this is the same store he once worked for or if there was even a store back then, but it’s a trip to see that connection.

Macau Restaurant: Portuguese Egg Custards

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Address: 25 Lock Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Specialty: Portuguese Egg Custards

Cost: ~8 HKD (~$1USD)

Macau is known for it’s Portuguese cuisine and though we had just gone to Macau and sampled its food a few days earlier, there just can’t be enough of a good thing.

Now we had just finished a ginormous, banquet-worthy dinner in the area (pictures coming soon) and wanted to walk off the meal by taking a stroll. My sister was complaining how full she was but I always save a little space just in case something undeniable presents itself. This was one of those times and this is one of those places. My sister proceeded to say, “how can you still eat?! Just get 2 for yourself and Jess, I just want to sample a bite out of yours”.

So we order 2 and she takes one bite of mine, then goes, “okay 哥哥 (thats me), take a bite and I’ll finish it”.

Yah. It’s that good…and yah, my sister’s a fatty.

Stop by the front and they got a guy selling these all day. It’s a pretty popular place so you don’t have to worry about the freshness. The food inside isn’t that memorable (I had it at another location years ago) but these custards are a must stop if you’re in the area. Get a batch just as it’s coming out and enjoy!

LA Eats 2011: Father’s Office

LA Eats 2011: Father's Office

1:00 PM
Gluttons? yes. Round 2 Lunch. Eat!

There’s something about this place that makes people salivate as soon as you bring up Father’s Office. Don’t know when it started and up until today, didn’t know why. 

Not far from Langers but in an entirely different neighborhood altogether, Father’s Office is in quite a nice area called Culver City. I thought it was downtown. nope. 

A bouncer checks ID’s at the door (you have to be 21+ to enter) and all waiters have the restaurant’s initials on their shirts with a big bold…F.O. I can’t help but think the bartender’s telling me F*** Off. I order at the bar and take a seat wherever there’s a spot. At 1 pm it isn’t too crowded, parking and seating isn’t an issue.

The menu is as limited as their beer selection is expansive. Every where I turn I see people eating the same thing. The Office Burger. This place doesn’t seem to customize the burger toppings for anyone. It comes prepared one way, and apparently it’s a way everyone here loves. We get ours medium rare.

There’s a caveat with this post. My friends have made some bomb burgers over the years. I’ve yet to eat a restaurant burger that comes remotely close to a home made bacon infused beef patty burger fresh off the grill. So that being said I went in with an open mind but skeptical that it’d live up to its hype. Keep in mind we just had a pastrami sandwich less than 90 minutes ago and that was fresh on our minds and palates.

It was…pretty good. Caramelized onion with bacon on a patty, various types of cheese, and leafy greens on a mini baguette. The bread comes a bit greaser than I’d expect (the bun glistens in the photo below). It’s better than any burger in recent memory than I’ve had in any other restaurant. I can see why people rave about it. The patty is really soft and juicy. my vocabulary is short and limited.

Is it better than a home made bacon burger? A.Wong, M.Chung and I came to consensus that it came pretty close…but not quite. If we had came with empty stomachs and had to wait 30 min, this burger would have tasted like a mound of heaven. But then, I think that’d be true for most burgers, so that doesn’t count. Maybe it’s unfair to pit a restaurant burger against a home made recipe…but on the other hand maybe that speaks to how good this place is, if it can cause me to debate that. At $12 a burger and ~$7 for fries it gets in to the hefty $20/person range for a meal.

Still. If I were in the area and had time to drop by for a burger, I probably would again.

First dropper-byer of LA Eats weekend! Big Jon took a break from tracking at Paramount Studio’s nearby to say hi and order some burgers. 8…to be exact. Some hungry mouths to feed back in the studio. One of his clients came out too, challenged Big J at HORSE. funny girl. she’s gonna get creamed.

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the office burger & sweet potato fries

Krist Liquor: Meat Market

Krist Liquor: Meat Market

last week i posted a snapshot about a taiwanese place here in san diego and W.Ying pointed out an undeniable truth. San Diego = mexican food. so in light of that i thought i’d follow it up with SD’s bread and butter. i wasn’t going to post this until after easter but got my housemate’s blessing so here it is.

quick context. my housemate’s been fasting meat for lent and along the way he’s invited friends to see what he’s been cooking (take a look at jmw590.wordpress.com). he’s only got 4 more days! Go J.WU!

now being able to see and taste his vegetarian food first hand is amazing and he’s done an outstanding job holding true to his fast. that boy can cook. initially i wanted to support him so i started eating less meat myself.

but then i snapped back to reality and decided to make up for lost meat. so i waited until he was out of the house on saturday before throwing meat on the grill. great globs of glorious mexican marinated meat on the grill. yeah.

Krist Liquor: Meat Market
pollo asada and adobada. chef at work taught me how to make spanish rice!

Tucked in between a jack in the box and a KFC is a tiny unassuming liquor store on Linda Vista ave. a few blocks away from church. I owe a huge one to H.Lang for bringing me here the first time. only a linda vista local would have this kind of knowledge. i must have driven by this place hundreds of times over the years without realizing it.

Against the far wall inside is a meat market that sells the best pollo asada (marinated chicken) in San Diego. i can confidently make that claim and stand by it. at $2.70/lb it just doesn’t get any better than that. they have a vast assortment of asada, adobada, al pastor and the price is extremely fair. packet of a dozen corn tortillas…0.99c! have tried their carne asada and adobada so far and they’re absolutely great too.

i’m no expert griller and when it comes to bbq, I typically leave it on a little too long. in spite of that, it still comes out the juiciest most flavorful meat ever. the only reason left to go to taco shops are for salsas which i can’t make. krist sells salsas too, but i’ve yet to try. oooo…another reason to go back!

yelp (no reviews yet on their food): http://www.yelp.com/biz/krist-liquor-san-diego
Krist Liquor: Meat Market
seriously…who da thought?