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Phoo D's Profile

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whatever happened to the general distaste for the 'foodie' label?

Gosh, if I were thin-skinned, I could take this whole discussion personally.

I chose this moniker when the new software prevented me from being e.d. which I had used for years.

I pretty much figured that no one even remembered the Jim Leff silliness about chowhounds and foodies, so I was surprised to find it reprinted again at this version of the site. Oooops.

I didn't spend a long time coming up with the handle as I was in a hurry to post. Also I kindof liked how Phoo D punned on my academic degree. In addition, there were problems with other names I thought about: Al Pastor (which I love, but someone else had used it in the past), Al Fresco (again, the same problem), Jimmy Chonga (except I prefer my burritos not to be deep fried), or Dim Somebody (which is perhaps too self-deprecating).

Anyway, since I hate to use a word that so upsets some people and gets howler howling again, I will send a request into the folks here at chowhound to change me over to Ed Dibble, which at least preserves the old e.d. sortof.

ed

Sep 12, 2006
Phoo D in Not About Food

Best Fish and chips in San Diego

Not what you'd think of as a fish 'n chips spot, The Fishery on Cass in PB does a good job. Real french fries (not frozen), impeccably fresh moist fish, nice exterior crunch. Around $13 if memory serves. Also a nice seafood combo.

ed

Sep 11, 2006
Phoo D in San Diego

Partially "cooked" Fish ---- Safe? [moved from General Topics board]

No offense, Robert, but these are hardly authoritative sources and pretty much rely upon anecdotal evidence.

A few years ago, a bunch of folks did get parasites from eating fish in California. But none had eaten sushi. Turned out they got the infections from undercooked rockfish (Pacific snapper). At that time, some health official said that he knew of no case of anyone in California getting parasites from eating sushi because the types of parasites that infect most fish (a cold blooded ocean temperature critter) are not the ones that infect people (different types of flesh at different temperatures). One of the exceptions was the particular parasite that affected the rockfish consumers because it is primarily a seal/sea lion parasite that finds a temporary home in the rockfish waiting for them to be eaten by the seal or sea lion. Salmon may pose a similar risk because of its time in rivers.

I have eaten raw fish now for over 20 years and have never been sick. Almost every time I get food from a Burger King (maybe 10 times in the last 10 years), I get a mild case of food poisoning. A number of years ago, Consumer Reports did a study on choloform levels in fast food and found alarming choloform levels at most restaurants mostly caused by parking cooked food under heat lamps or in other warm moist locations which are perfect bacteria breeding grounds.

ed

Sep 10, 2006
Phoo D in Not About Food

Monterey's Tuesday Market

The Market is year around - though not all produce vendors are there year around. It is right in downtown Monterey on Alvarado.

Also of interest is the Thursday afternoon FM in the MPCC parking lot. Not such a party scene, but many good food vendors including Coke Farms, which is not at the Tuesday market.

ed

Sep 09, 2006
Phoo D in California

Johnsonville Brats--what's the big deal?

That's the bockwurst I grew up with also. Also my favorites. When I was in Germany, I almost always chose weisswurst over the darker sausages.

ed

Sep 08, 2006
Phoo D in General Topics

Help! Dim Sum for Beginners

If you are going by yourself, the big problem is that most people can only eat three or four different items. The temptation is to select two or three from the first cart that comes by because it all looks so good. But if you do that, you don't have much room for anything else - so pace yourself. Also don't feel weird about saying no. With dozens and dozens of choices and numerous carts buzzing around, you will have to tell the cart ladies "no" a lot. They're used to it.

ed

Sep 08, 2006
Phoo D in General Topics

For 99¢ at Grocery Outlet in Marina . . .

They also have some wine specials. I bought a few bottles of Little Valley Napa Cab Franc for $4.99 per this summer. Not great - tasted like young vines, but varietally correct and and great value.

ed

Sep 07, 2006
Phoo D in California

Worst of San Diego and Most Over-rated

The reason I had wondered is that my local Cantonese restaurant owner loves Jasmine, and once I actually picked up a bunch of stuff for her from them that she ordered over the phone. The roast duck she ordered for me was better than any that I've purchased from there since. But from what you say it was just luck.

ed

Sep 07, 2006
Phoo D in San Diego

Bun Bo Hue

Those of us who post on the California board have recently been discussing an interesting Vietnamese soup, bun bo hue. These days, most hounds are acquainted with the joys of pho – that wonderful combination of rice vermicelli, rich beef broth, various types of beef, and garnishes. Pho is indeed a wonderful thing, but most phos are similar. I don’t mean to say that the quality is always the same, but that all pho seems to be within certain parameters and strives to achieve the same ideal. Bun bo hue, on the other hand, seems to vary significantly from restaurant to restaurant, which is one of the things that make it interesting.

The basics of the soup are round vermicelli, more like spaghetti than pho noodles. These noodles are served with beef, boney pork, pork blood (I usually ask for the soup “without blood”), and garnishes in a spicy broth. An ideal bbh broth will have some citrus tang, some shrimp paste funkiness, meaty flavors, and chili heat in a balance which varies from presentation to presentation.

The meats also vary. While all bun bo hues that I have tried include slices of beef (of various quality), the boney pork element ranges from meatless pigfoot to a slice of pork hock or a slice of tendonous, gelatinous pork leg. Some bbh will also include slices of pork loaf.

Garnishes also vary widely. Sprigs of mint, wedges of citrus, sliced or whole chilies, and bean sprouts seem most common, but other garnishes I’ve been served include banana blossom, Vietnamese coriander, basil, purple perilla leaf, shredded red cabbage, and some unrecognizable stems of something.

In any case, if you are looking for something different at your local Vietnamese place, try the bun bo hue. I think you’ll like it!

ed

Sep 06, 2006
Phoo D in General Topics

Help me find great produce in the Monterey Bay Area

Actually, I like Grove Market on Forest near downtown PG. It is a locals market, stocks much local produce and has a wide range of good breads.

On my most recent trip, I noticed that Marina has a farmer's market also, and I think (but am not sure) that it takes place on a weekend day. I've never been there, but it might be worth finding out about.

ed

Sep 05, 2006
Phoo D in California

Izakaya Sakura - San Diego with pics!

No veggies with fish head - unless you count the plentiful slices of ginger.

I've had the hiyashi chuka - perhaps on your recommendation - it was quite good. I also love the chirashi there for lunch or the zaru soba with tempura.

Currently, I would list Buga as my favorite Korean, but there has been mention on these boards of two new places (or at least new to me) but I haven't tried them.

ed

Sep 05, 2006
Phoo D in California

Anyone Else Make Tea This Way?

Some background: I switched from coffee (and Coca Cola) to tea almost 20 years ago. Started with loose leaf cheap black teas, then Darjeelings, then Pu-erh and Lapsong Souchong, and ended up falling in love with Chinese green teas, like Lungching and many others.

But what I always hated was the morning prep. Put water in kettle, heat to boiling, briefly cool, pour over tea in pot, steep, wait to cool to drinkable temperature. I felt like my morning was half gone before I could drink my tea.

Then, a couple summers ago, I bought a 2 1/4 quart Rubbermaid pitcher with a strainer top and started making sun tea. Suddenly I had tea ready to drink first thing in the morning.

When the sun went away, and even a whole day of steeping outside led to a thin greenish liquid, I was faced with a real problem – how could I make tea without going through the half hour morning ritual? In desperation, one day I put the leaves in the bottom of the Rubbermaid pitcher, got my tap water as hot as I could, and then filled the pitcher with hot water. Lo and behold in a couple of hours, I had tea just as good as the sun tea. Since then, even in the winter, I can make good tea which will be ready to drink the next AM. It is also helpful while traveling – no need to find boiling water or someplace that actually serves decent tea.

Does anyone else do this or am I just weird?

ed

Sep 04, 2006
Phoo D in Home Cooking

Izakaya Sakura - San Diego with pics!

I should add that I have quit posting about my meals there as I have written about the place often. If anyone is interested in reading about the range of dishes I have had there, a search for Sakura limited to the California board will bring up several of my reviews, plus good reports from others as well.

But I just have to add that last Friday night, I was served an incredible 1/2 head of kampachi braised in a mirin/soy combo that was sinfully succulent. I never realized how much rich flesh could be on a fishhead.

ed

Sep 04, 2006
Phoo D in California

Favorite IPAs?

Nice to see Grant's get a mention. He was the first modern American microbrewer and brewpub operator. But the first ales from there were called "Scottish," not India Pales, though not at all Scottish by my standards. But they were still too dark to fit my view of an IPA. In the last few years, I have enjoyed a good IPA brewed by Grant's, but in the early 80s, I had never run into it. Also he does one called Hop Harvest (or something like that) just featuring fresh Cascade hops from the most recent harvest. It is only available (if it is still available) right after harvest.

ed

Sep 04, 2006
Phoo D in Beer

Anything But Chardonnay!?

I still remember the first bottle of Chardonnay I ever tasted. My girlfriend and I were invited to some soirée at her manager's place in 1974 or 75. We were supposed to bring a bottle of white wine. I probably just went to a grocery store, but I really don't remember where I found the bottle of wine. The label said it was a Pinot Chardonnay from Christian Brothers' winery. I probably had a couple of glasses of the wine that evening and remember that I liked it immensely.

Thereafter for the next 20 years, my white wine of choice was Chardonnay. Of course I would drink other white wines; in particular I have always had a fondness for Rieslings and also sometimes would have a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Nonetheless, I drank far more Chardonnay than all other white wines combined. I even grew to love the super buttery, oakey California versions of the grape.

Then one night began to change my tastes in white wine. A friend of mine and I were enjoying a special dinner at the Sardine Factory in Monterey, California. We started with the bottle of Le Sophiste, a Marsanne and Rousanne blend from Bonny Doon winery. It went well with the food and I enjoyed its minerality and its structure. It was so good that we finished it before our main courses arrived, so we asked the sommelier - an older gentleman with a German accent, a black patch over one eye, and a tastevin around his neck - to recommend a nice big California Chardonnay to go with the main courses. When we began to taste the Sanford Chardonnay he suggested, it seemed flabby, simple, and uninteresting. I really missed the Sophiste.

This would be a better story if I said that I'd never again enjoyed Chardonnay, but actually it took a few years for me to come to the point where I no longer liked the flavor profile of that grape. Don't get me wrong, if you buy me a nice bottle of Chardonnay, I will find a way to drink it. If you serve a chard with the dinner over at your place, I promise I won't complain, but I no longer order Chardonnay, buy it myself, or even taste it in wineries.

Having given up Chardonnay has opened my mouth to a large range of other whites. NZ Sauvignon Blancs are probably my current dry white favorite, but I also have enjoyed all sorts of white blends, regained a fondness for Chenin Blanc, and discovered Torrontes, Alsatian wines of all sorts, Viogniers, Pinot Grigios (or Gris) etc.

In any case, my experience with Chardonnay leads me to ask you other hounds out there if you've had similar experiences to mine. Have your views of a varietal ever changed dramatically? Have you ever burned out on a grape varietal? How do you feel about Chardonnay? What are your favorite white varietals?

ed

Sep 04, 2006
Phoo D in Wine

Worst of San Diego and Most Over-rated

Korea House. Everyone on these boards knows this place sucks, but the Reader keeps recycling a thumbnail review by Max Nash from around 10 years ago.

Roberto's.

Dumpling Inn. Not a terrible place; I like the jellyfish salad, but every dumpling I've had there has been mediocre - The XLB (soup dumplings) were thick skinned and generally flavorless; fish dumplings not expecially good either. Maybe I order the wrong things, but when I'm looking for a dumpling, I just get dim sum at Emerald or China Max.

I agree that Jasmine isn't special though I sometimes wonder if it's better when you can speak Cantonese.

I guess I don't do enough fancy dining in SD to be really disappointed.

ed

Sep 04, 2006
Phoo D in San Diego

inexpensive, but good, olive oil? [Moved from Home Cooking]

I always buy the large cans of EVOO from Middle Eastern Markets. Usually I will ask the proprieter what his best is or what he uses in his home. I am fond of Sultan from Turkey. Currently I have Spitiko from Greece. Cost $25 for 3 liters. I store it away from heat and have never had a problem with rancidity.

ed

Sep 02, 2006
Phoo D in General Topics

Report on Super Cocina, San Diego

Here's Kirk's review of the place:

http://mmm-yoso.typepad.com/mmmyoso/2...

ed

Sep 02, 2006
Phoo D in California

Izakaya Sakura - San Diego with pics!

Glad you enjoyed. It's been my favorite since my first visit there. I usually sit at the sushi bar. That does not require that I only have sushi. Kazu is the owner as well as sushi chef and he also seems responsible for overseeing the cooked dishes. The reserved signs just mean that the places are reserved for serious sushi lovers & regulars.

I have no problems communicating. I have also found that the place gets better as Kazu gets to know you. He is friendly and likes folks who appreciate what he is doing there.

Almost always there are special fish and cooked dishes. I always ask if he has any special or unusual fish.

There is no sushi menu to my knowledge. They have the standards and then what is seasonal.

ed

Aug 29, 2006
Phoo D in California

Monterey/Pacific Grove Update?

Max's in PG might be your best bet for a steak dish and a fish dish.

I too love Passionfish. So many things there are outstanding.

ed

Aug 29, 2006
Phoo D in California

Vins de garde: endangered species?

Caparone out of the Paso Robles area has been making ageworthy red wines for years. They used to be readily available for around 8 or 9 bucks from TJs, but in the last year or so, they have not been for sale there.

Last summer, a friend did a tasting of Cabs and Merlots (all from Bien Nacido vnyd) from 95-99 and all were drinking well. The 92 that we opened was also excellent.

This year, I pulled out one of my last bottles of the 80 Cab and it was quite fine.

I am not as fond of their zins, but the cabs and merlots last a long time and do improve with aging.

ed

Aug 28, 2006
Phoo D in Wine

Hoai Hue Deli – San Diego

After rolling into SD in the early afternoon on Friday, I went to El Cajon Blvd looking for this small restaurant. Kirk (of mmm-yoso blog fame) had heard that it had good bun bo hue, but the first time I tried to locate it, I pulled into the wrong stripmall and ended up eating somewhere else.

From the outside, Hoai Hue Deli looks pretty sleazy. It occupies a tiny place in the back of a very small stripmall with almost no parking. It shares the mall with a Vietnamese tattoo parlor, an AA office, and the exceedingly seedy Café Viet, which has the choice location by the sidewalk. The front glass of the restaurant is covered with steel bars and its rusty sign hasn’t been painted in years. I felt right at home.

As soon as I entered, I was shocked. It was 1:15 and six of the seven small tables were full of people. When I said that I was interested in lunch I was directed to stand in line at the cash register to which was affixed the only menu in the place. By the time I got to the register, the last open table was taken. When I mentioned to grandma at the cash register that I wanted bun bo hue (no blood) but added that there was no place to sit, the owner/manager/grandpa said “no problem” and spoke to a gentleman sitting by himself at a small table. The nice guy moved over, and I had a chair to sit in. Friendly place.

The bun bo hue ($5) was quite good. The sliced beef was as tender and flavorful as any I ever remember having in bbh. The 1” slice of meaty pork hock replaced the usual meatless pig foot. Instead of slices of tendon, the soup had two huge knots of chewy tendon that I liked a lot. The spicy broth had bits of red chili floating in it and presented a nice balance between chili heat, meaty flavors, citrus tang, and fermented shrimp paste funk. When I thought that Kirk would probably like it more funky, I looked over at the condiment tray and spied a whole small tub of fermented shrimp paste. While not packed with noodles, the amount was certainly adequate for a $5 lunch.

The garnishes, on the other hand, were skimpy. There were the usual bean sprouts, lime chunk, and two nice sized sprigs of mint. Two small green whole Thai chilies instead of the usual jalapeno slices. That was all.

I did miss having a menu to look at, so I have no idea of what is available, but this is not Phuong Trang; I think the menu had only 18 items listed. Most of the other diners were eating bowls of soup – but I noticed one young man unwrapping what seemed to be banana leaves wrapped around what kindof looked like mini Viet tamales. A couple other odd looking appetizers were being enjoyed at other tables.

I hate writing about a spot when I have only eaten at it one time, but this tiny restaurant charmed me. It is certainly popular in the area; in addition to being full, I saw at least two people come in for take-out, one guy leaving with several cartons of food. The older couple, whose restaurant this seemed to be, were friendly, smiling, and gracious. I hate to recommend the place too highly as they don’t seem to have enough space for the amount of business they currently have. But if you are like me and enjoy looking for culinary holy grails in little holes in the wall, this spot is worth a visit.

ed

Aug 27, 2006
Phoo D in California

What's your house wine?

My house wines vary depending on my tastes and what's available. I have enjoyed the Montevina reds - the syrah and barbera and both good, drinkable, and under $10.

But right now, my absolute favorite (and thanks to whichever chowhound first suggested it to me) is Castano Monastrell from Yecla in Spain. Just bought a case of the '04 for $5.98 a bottle. The '03 runs $6.99 at Whole Foods in California. This is serious good red wine for cheap.

ed

Aug 27, 2006
Phoo D in Wine

please enlighten me: sonoran?

In Yuma, I find it helpful to distinguish the old-line, Sonoran, restaurants from the Mexican restaurants that reflect and cater to the more recent immigrants from across the border.

The old line places emphasize flour tortillas, serve a lot of burritos including chimichangas and burritos enchilada style, add a lot of cheese, and use primarily beef. Food tends to be flavorful but mildly spiced in general. Tacos are rolled or folded - both with fried shells. Albondigas is the characteristic soup. Often these places cater to gringos, and combination platters are common.

The new style places reflect the various origins of more recent immigrants, so styles of preparations may vary more from place to place. They often serve soft corn tortillas for tacos, have spicier salsas, prepare a wider range of dishes, more often use pork and chicken, serve a range of caldos (soups) like pozole, caldo de pollo or de res etc. The best food is rarely found in combination platters at these spots. Instead focus on meat preparations that you like: green chili, pollo asado, carnitas, steak ranchero, etc.

This is, of course, an oversimplification, and I suspect that good restaurants reflect and respond to their clientele.

ed

Aug 27, 2006
Phoo D in Southwest

Best of SD?

The Fishery 5040 Cass in PB. Inside and outside dining. Good preparations. Very fresh fish as the restaurant shares space with a retail/wholesale fish operation. Not real fancy, but excellent seafood choices. Even the fish 'n chips is memorably good. Call 858-272-9985 for res.

ed

Aug 27, 2006
Phoo D in California

Carmel-Monterey-Pacific Grove Report

Had a nice lunch at Pinos Grill (or Grill at Point Pinos). It is a breakfast/lunch place at the clubhouse of the PG public golf course.

I had a great shrimp salad (called shrimp louie on the menu). Made with great mesclun, topped with 3 spears of impeccable asparagus, and covered with small very fresh shrimp, hard boiled egg slices, and louie dressing. Very good and satisfying. For some reason, I ordered onion rings as well, and they were perfect, flavorful and crispy, though the ranch dressing they came with added little (imho). It was way too much to eat for lunch.

Service was friendly, room nice and spacious with some view, and prices reasonable. But the menu was more standard than Red House, if memory serves - burgers, fries, etc.

Melange does look good to me too, but I didn't try it. One of my local friends did have high praise for the Cellar Door, but usually I'm not much of a steak person in restaurants.

I'm surprised you haven't done PF or White House yet. My experiences with both are much more positive than at Stokes (though I may be in a minority here) or Max's.

ed

Aug 24, 2006
Phoo D in California

Trip to Monterey/Carmel/Pacific Grove...Saturday night dinner requests

My favorite breakfast spot - particularly on weekends - would be Tico's in Marina though that is a few miles from PG.

ed

Aug 23, 2006
Phoo D in California

Trip to Monterey/Carmel/Pacific Grove...Saturday night dinner requests

Robert's White House is more elegant and quieter, and the cuisine is richer using more butter and cream. The menu tends more toward European preparations. Vegetables are expertly cooked. Plates are beautiful, but the wine list is limited and more expensively priced than PF. If available, the cold artichoke soup is unbelievable.

Passionfish has a greater emphasis on seafood and (to my mind at least) the dishes and presentations are more original and interesting. More dishes with Asian inspiration or flavor touches. Outstanding appetizers and salads. Wine list is interesting, extensive, and well selected and wines are priced just above retail. I, like susancinsf, prefer the quieter side rooms with the view of the Shell station.

On my last trip to the peninsula, I had one dinner at Robert's and two at Passionfish. They are both fine choices.

ed

Aug 23, 2006
Phoo D in California

Big belly fried clams

Just a note. Out on the West coast, I've never heard of big belly clams. Fried clams in general are rare; you're much more likely to find fried calamari than fried clam of any sort. The major exception are razor clams from the Northwest. And they are becomming overfished so most years there is no commercial harvest south of Alaska.

ed

Aug 21, 2006
Phoo D in General Topics

Do you ever eat from a non-professional cook selling from the back of their van?

Where I live, some taco trucks are licensed, some aren't. Some have proper electric and water connections, some don't. Some are year around and some are seasonal. Some have put in covered ramadas and even restrooms. But I will try almost anyplace once.

And the best tamales I've ever had came out of a cooler in somebody's trunk.

ed

Aug 21, 2006
Phoo D in General Topics