Thursday, February 26, 2009


Mints probably don't technically count as "food", but I'll be darned if I don't like these as much as some food items. I randomly picked up a pack of these lil' darlings at the airport, and have been addicted ever since. Good things seem to come out of Vermont (like Ben and Jerry's!) so I'm pleased to add this as a constant in my purse and mouth.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sushi Ota

I had done some legwork trying to find the best, most authentic, freshest, and all around most incredible sushi place in San Diego for Ashton's birthday. Overwhelmingly the response I got from friends and reviews was Sushi Ota in Pacific Beach. Reservations highly recommended, and listed with $$ I knew I wouldn't necessarily be wasting money on ambiance. Anything comfortable with a focus on the food is A-OK in my book. It's nestled next to a 7-11 and behind another restaurant, so it's barely visible from Mission Bay Drive. Definitely a "destination", not just a wander in kind of place. The majority of the people there were Asian, which is ALWAYS a good sign, and even with a reservation we had to wait for a half hour (very willingly, by the looks of contentment on the patrons).

Let me just tell you this. I've eaten a lot of sushi. I've eaten it in many varieties in many places, and while I still have a long way to go to become a true connoisseur, I feel as though I know what okay sushi tastes like, what good sushi tastes like, what great sushi tastes like, and what out of this world sushi tastes like. This was out of this world. While eating truly amazing sushi, cost cannot be a factor. You just have to go balls out and go for the gold. I don't even like to waste valuable tummy space with drinking. Water is the only liquid to touch my lips in these kinds of situations.

We started with the calamari, which was golden, crispy, with a tangy plum sauce that was divine. Next was the seafood dynamite, with their "secret" dynamite sauce baked over a bed of mixed seafood that was basically heaven in our mouths. Then, the main spread. I got a veritable fiesta of sashimi over a bed of sushi rice, all of which was possibly the best and freshest fish I've ever come across. Ashton got a "sampler" which included a giant baked scallop and clam (both seared in their own juices to plump goodness), shrimp tempura (which came with it, but in my opinion don't waste time with tempura when there is real sushi to be had! Wonderful nonetheless), and a tiny seaweed salad that could have been pulled out of the ocean and prepared to order as far as my tastebuds were concerned. He also got an absolutely stellar platter of sashimi as well, so the mixing and matching was out of control. We lost ourselves in this magnificent feast the likes of which I had dared to hope for but could have not imagined in all its glory.

For as full as we were, we were still tempted by the plum wine and red bean ice cream, which together was an excellent way to calm our full tummies into a final submission. As we tottered away, I think we both knew that words couldn't describe or duplicate this experience. It was something beyond that. I can just say that we will absolutely patronize this place until the day it either burns down or we die, because I can say it certainly won't go out of business.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Parkhouse Eatery

We've been passing this on our way to El Zarape for weeks now, and every time we go by it catches our eyes. FINALLY we made it over to the Parkhouse Eatery in University Heights, and despite the crowd out front got sat immediately at the bar. Why people dislike the bar, I'll never know (at least for two people). The building is the definition of quaint, and they have a great outside patio area complete with hanging vines and a wonderful atmosphere. I didn't even have a menu before my eye was caught by an amazing looking mimosa-offshot (their Sunrise Mimosa), which turned out to be a glass cascading with an inner rim of raspberry puree, a generous amount of champagne, and a THICK orange juice topped with a pineapple slice. Yes, please, I'll have one.

The menus weren't extensive, but 100% of what they offer looked unbelievable. It was honestly one of the best brunch menus I've come across. I was incredibly torn in a few different directions, but eventually settled on TRES EGG ES SCRAMBLES... served w/house potatoes, french white toast and homemade PH jam. Of the varieties they offered I went with the fresh spinach, artichoke hearts & feta cheese for $9.50, and Ashton got the spicy serrano peppers, cilantro, tomato & house-smoked mozzarella scramble.

Another note, their bread is from local spot Bread and Cie, and was superb. Either way, this was perfection. An A+ rating. The drinks were fantastic (and large), the meal was beyond wonderful, the eggs were cooked perfectly, the jam was tasty, and the potatoes were some of the best I've ever had. And the price was RIGHT! For the 2 of us, our meals (which were large enough for leftovers) and 2 sunrise mimosas (big enough to last the whole meal) it was less than $35. Worth every penny. I also peeked at the dinner menu and it looks like a great place for a date night. Great food, and while most entrees are around $20, it shouldn't be a budget-breaker for an occasion.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

this is why you're fat

A fantastic find on the internet. This site is so 'Merican I can feel myself gaining weight just visiting it. I think this is my first time linking to just another random food site without it being some sort of restaurant or other food critic-esque blog, but one visit to This Is Why You're and you'll understand why. Here's a few of my favorites from the front page...


Giant Breakfast Burrito
A seven pound breakfast burrito stuffed with potatoes, eggs, onions, and ham bits, lots of cheese on top and smothered in red chile.
Unbelievable. Honestly, these are just the beginning. It promises to be a sickeningly nauseous ride through artery-clogging and coma-inducing piles of gluttony of which the likes I hope I never see. Or maybe I do. It's really a mental struggle to try and deal with the obvious disgustingly over the top obese experience with what I'm sure would prove to be a tastebud explosion. It's a toss up. Either way, carnivore, vegetarian, food lover, any random person- I suggest you visit the site and just see what actually exists. Mind = blown.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Well, I survived my first trade show in Orlando. It certainly wasn't stress-free, but the amount of relief felt after the fact more than made up for it. Unfortunately, beyond the show being an unbelievable learning experience for me, the city of Orlando (or at least the part around the Convention Center) is one of the tackiest places I've ever been in my entire life. If anyone has been to Pigeon Forge Tennessee (home of Dollywood!), let me just compare it to a watered-down version of that. I've never seen so many Denny's in my entire life in such a small area. Brunch clearly was not even an afterthought to these people. Ugh.

The redeeming culinary value of Orlando was found in the unlikeliest of places. Next to our hotel, in a completely standard tacky strip mall (think liquor stores and Subway) there was nestled a small, unassuming Italian restaurant called Ciao Italia. Thankfully a coworker who'd gotten to Florida before me had unwittingly stumbled across it and returned singing its praises. Being somewhat of a food snob (unbelievable, I know), I had low expectations, but was pleasantly surprised with the atmosphere inside. There were plenty of tables for large parties, white napkins, a great wine list, and a casual attitude with what seemed to be a very nicely put together menu.

We started with the Bruschetta al Pomodoro, which was FRESH FRESH FRESH. I maybe snuck a few pieces of calamari from my co-workers plate... and enjoyed it thoroughly. I also split a bottle of St. Andrews Pinot Grigio, which is one of the most flavorful ones I've had in a long time. I ultimately settled on the Penne alla Contadina (penne with imported prosciutto di parma, mushrooms, and peppers in a light tomato basil sauce.) It. was. fantastic. Just a fabulous, melt in your mouth experience. Their saucier should be given a raise and offered a 24 hour harem at his disposal. The prosciutto was flawless, the mushrooms were fresh, and the pasta could not have been cooked more perfectly.

Feeling full, I packed up half to eat later in my hotel room, but when they brought us out dessert menus, I couldn't help myself. My boss and I split a New York cheesecake and their Tartufo Nero (let's just say it involved chocolate, hazelnut, and a creamy center that I can't even describe). I mean, I LIKE cheesecake, but there is a huge difference between even mediocre cheesecake and GOOD cheesecake. I think it's a safe bet that this was by far the lightest, tastiest, and most wonderful cheesecake my tongue has ever been privileged enough to experience.

In fact, the next day after raving about it to our reps at the show, they asked if I would be opposed to going again the next night. Um, no. I would not be opposed to that. Not only was it fabulous, the alternative is Denny's, so yeah I think I can manage a repeat. This time I started with a Peroni and a Caesar salad (I love it when the dressing is a bit more oily and not just a straight cream- to die for) and a basket of garlic bread was gladly torn into by our party. This time I opted for the Ravioli de Pesce (Artisian ravioli stuffed with mixed seafood in a vodka basil sauce.) Keep in mind I was THIS impressed with the lower end of the price spectrum. Others who went even more balls out than I reached levels of ecstasy that until then were uncalculated.

From the rest of the party, their lasagna was impeccable, the salmon was just ridiculously orgasmic, and the veal chop was melt in your mouth excellent. In no way was I disappointed, and my expectations were blown out of the water. If you ever find yourself in this city dedicated to mass consumerism and commercialism, take a moment to locate this hidden gem on Westwood Blvd. You won't regret it, and maybe, just maybe, pass this info along and together we can give Denny's a blow they won't soon forget. Chalk up one more for the little guy!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Bowl Sunday

Of all the possibilities to eclipse brunch, Super Bowl Sunday is one of them. This day dedicated to eating, drinking, and being merry is rivaled only by Thanksgiving, and millions of people around the world found themselves in drunken and swollen belly stupors yesterday. I was no exception. I tended to focus more on munchies and ignore the booze which would take up valuable tummy space, although I did partake in a Rum and Root Beer which was spectacular. The spread we had at my aunt's condo in Oceanside was unbelievable. Not only was there a fabulous view of the ocean from their balcony and a calming breeze from the marina, there was an absolutely loaded table with homemade goodies. Luckily the family understands the importance of homemade and largely skipped the store bought stuff minus chips and unavoidables like that. Shrimp dip, homemade cocktail sauce, chili (mine!), meatballs, and an array of dips sagged the table to its breaking point. I was particularly proud of my contribution of my first attempt at chili, which albeit spicy, was insane. I have to thank Andy Hannas for his recipe contribution, and while mine could NEVER rival his, I thought it turned out PDG. If you want the recipe, let me know and I might be convinced to part with it. Probably not, so just feast your eyes on the photo and try to be satiated. Unfortunately, chili does not translate well into photos, but I often find the pukier it looks the better it tastes. This was no exception.