DiningDiva's Profile

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Easy dining for one from the convention center

Green line? There are transit police and the are fairly active, tho' not as much on that stretch of track as downtown and the Blue and Orange lines. I've had them check my transit card at Union Station before boarding and also at Little Italy. But it's pretty random. They're pretty visible at the stops.

about 2 hours ago
DiningDiva in San Diego

Who's familiar with 'old' San Diego restaurants?

Right, typing too fast

about 4 hours ago
DiningDiva in San Diego

San Diego CLOSED Restaurants: Thread Four (2014 edition)

Could be. Plus Mira Mesa Blvd. is easier to drive than Miramar Rd.

about 6 hours ago
DiningDiva in San Diego

Who's familiar with 'old' San Diego restaurants?

Wow, talk about a walk down memory lane :-))

I remember the Gourmet Room at the Town & Country. We got to go every now and again. We had to get dressed up and use our best manners. I have no clue if the food was good, bad or indifferent, but to my young mind, I thought it was good.

The drive-ins are, of course, long gone. They did save the neon majorette from the Campus Drive-in and she now adorns something in the shopping center where she once so proudly stood. The Loma theater is now a bookstore.

Bob Daley, Johnny Downs, the Lady Godiva promo (totally had forgotten about that one). Blast from the distant past :-)

about 6 hours ago
DiningDiva in San Diego

San Diego CLOSED Restaurants: Thread Four (2014 edition)

You think so? I think Blk Mtn & Mira Mesa is kind of far to go for lunch

about 6 hours ago
DiningDiva in San Diego

Cacahuate Japones Variations?

Me too, I had the same reaction. But alas, no :-(

about 21 hours ago
DiningDiva in General Topics

Cucina Basilico

Do you know if they do take out? This is literally right on the way home, and I'm finding that I'm not so much into cooking for 1 any more.

1 day ago
DiningDiva in San Diego

good food source

Welcome to the board!

Do you know in what part of San Diego you'll be living? It's a big geographic area and while it's fairly easy to navigate (we do love our cars and freeways) some areas are more congested than others.

Trader Joe's are all over, so you'll not have difficulties in that department; mostly likely just different products.

For big box buying there are quite a few Costcos around town, but very few (thankfully) Sam's Clubs or Wal-Mart super stores

In the Whole Foods genre you'll find local options with Jimbos, Bristol Farms, Sprouts, Windmill Farms and perhaps Harvest Ranch.

North Park Produce has several (i.e. 3 or 4) locations around town. They are good for ripe produce, a million varieties of feta, halal meats and a bunch of obscure eastern european and middle eastern ingredients.

Convoy Street in Kearny Mesa and Mira Mesa Blvd. in Mira Mesa are both strong Asian market enclaves (for restaurants to). Both areas are easily accessible from the major freeways and (for the most part) have sufficient free parking.

For Mexican products the 3 heavy hitters are Gonzalez Northgate, Pancho Villa and Vallarta. The Northgate flagship operation in San Diego is their store on 43rd St. just off the I-805 south. It *is* definitely worth making the trek to this store as it is pretty much the Disneylandia of Mexican food. Produce is usually good to very good with good to fair prices. The bakery rocks. Cheese counter, ceviche counter, 3 meat counters and a seafood counter, in-house tortillaria, plus a food court. Pancho Villa has dirt cheap produce price, quality is fair. Their in-house tortillaria is better than Northgate (try the flour tortillas from the tortillaria in the produce section), their meat department is not.

For fish and seafood most restaurants, and now many informed home cooks, are buying fish and seafood from Catalina Offshore. Definitely worth seeking out. Quality is excellent as are prices.

Iowa Meat Farms and Sisals Meats are 2 good options if you're looking for a butcher shop. There is also a new butcher shop opening up, or perhaps it already has, in the North Park area that I think will be doing some interesting things along the humane/sustainable lines, IIRC.

Don't get sucked in by the Little Italy name for a particular section of downtown. It's not particularly Italian ;-). It does, however, have a couple of decent options for Italian products. Assenti for pasta and Mona Lisa Deli for other assorted ingredients.

As has been mentioned previously, there are close to 50 weekly farmers markets in San Diego County and most of them are year round. The 2 super heavy hitters are the Saturday market in Little Italy and the Sunday market in Hillcrest. Both are about equal parts farmers and prepared food/non-food items. Some markets trend heavier on the produce, others trend heavier on the prepared or non-food items. Prices tend to be high at the bigger markets, but it is one-stop shopping for everything from olive oil to green beans.

There are a lot of options for food in San Diego, most require you to do a little leg work to find what works for you and your family.

1 day ago
DiningDiva in San Diego

Cacahuate Japones Variations?

Almost every Mexican market has them, usually by the cash registers.

They are addictive.

2 days ago
DiningDiva in General Topics

San Diego CLOSED Restaurants: Thread Four (2014 edition)

And an even strong customer base from 2 blocks away on the Miramar campus ;-)

Oct 18, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

San Diego CLOSED Restaurants: Thread Four (2014 edition)

I could be wrong, but MT was in their original location for 10 years and didn't begat little Mamacita Testas around town then. As far as I've heard, nothings changed...

(But never say never...)

Oct 18, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

San Diego CLOSED Restaurants: Thread Four (2014 edition)

Actually, Mira Mesa isn't that strange a place. Lots of Asian, very little Mexican. If I am right about MT going into the old El Maguey space, the new place will be right on the corner of one of the busiest intersections in SD...Black Mountain & Mira Mesa. There are 3 strip malls on 4 of the corners all of which are high volume places.

Different location, different customer base. Mama Testa may do better in this location than Hillcrest

Oct 18, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

San Diego CLOSED Restaurants: Thread Four (2014 edition)

Being a TV star is the furthest thing from Caesar's mind. The food won't change, in fact, I expect it to actually get better. Mama Testa was started with one premise in mind...TACOS. There are a couple of non-taco things on the menu, but I seriously doubt that Caesar will abandon that business model. I'm also pretty sure there are no plans to clone MT around town.

Oct 18, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

San Diego CLOSED Restaurants: Thread Four (2014 edition)

Have you tried QT Pot? I saw it when I drove into that parking lot this morning.

Oct 17, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

San Diego CLOSED Restaurants: Thread Four (2014 edition)

El Maguey has been completely gutted. My guess is Mama Testa is taking over that space. Behind the Wells Fargo at Black Mountain and Mira Mesa.

Walkable from work :-)

Oct 17, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

Nazca Grill

I think the egg suggestion sounds really good too

Oct 17, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

Nazca Grill

No one over about 25 should eat an entire order. Too many calories, too much fat. An enormous portion isn't an indicator of how good, or not, the carne fries are

Oct 16, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego
1

Nazca Grill

In most of the saltados I've had it more like a stir fry with the french fries mixed in.

Oct 16, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

Nazca Grill

Okay, so as we all know, I am pretty much a purist and traditionalist when it comes to Mexican cuisine, but carne asada fries rock.

They are a caloric gut bomb but there is something very satisfying about them. If you're going to order CA Fries just make sure it's from a someplace where you like the carne asada. They're particularly awesome if seasoned twister fries are the french fry option. Add cheese, or nacho cheese sauce, sour cream, guac, pico and hot sauce of choice and you're good to go.

Oct 16, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

Buying (used) cookbooks in San Diego

There used to be a new and used cookbook store up on Adams around where Ponces is. It think, however, that they closed and moved to OB several years ago.

One of the junk/antique stores in OB has a HUGE used book area. I'm pretty sure it's the Antiques Mall on Newport (2nd block west of Sunset Cliffs, small parking lot). They have a bunch of bookcases full of used cookbooks and if you're patient you can find some gems. The Antiques Mall is fairly big, the cookbook section moves around, but last month it was in the center of the store closer to the east end of the building.

They used to have a cookbook collectors meeting there once a month, don't know if they still do.

Oct 15, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego
1

Nazca Grill

Big second for Q'ero.

Oct 15, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

Help Refine Oaxaca list, please!

Another of the reasons we go to Oaxaca...

http://casitacolibri.wordpress.com/20...

Oct 13, 2014
DiningDiva in Mexico

Help Refine Oaxaca list, please!

Not surprised about Itononí. I was disappointed in it last November but didn't know if it was just a momentary lapse or if it had really started to go downhill. I'm sad to hear it appears to be the latter. Their corn antojitos used to be exquisite <sigh>

Oct 12, 2014
DiningDiva in Mexico

Help Refine Oaxaca list, please!

I dredged up this old thread

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/262553

It is very good

Oct 12, 2014
DiningDiva in Mexico

Help Refine Oaxaca list, please!

I always seem to end up in either Morelia or Oaxaca, love them both. This time it will be Oaxaca from Oct. 25th - Nov. 6th. I am so looking forward to it :-)

- Juarez/20 de Noviembre is pretty much a market for locals. It's about a block off the zocolo. It covers 2 blocks and is easy to navigate.

- The abastos is on the outer part of town by the 2nd class bus station. It is large, sprawling and somewhat chaotic. Market days are Tuesday and Saturday when the market swells with people coming in from the surrounding areas. My Mexican friends that live in Oaxaca will not let me go to the abastos alone. With the teacher unrest, downturn of the economy and covert nacro presence they felt it wasn't as safe as it used to be. They feel that since I am clearly not from around there that I could be a target for a crime. I have never felt unsafe in the abastos, ever, and I only mention this because it is local Mexicans who are cautioning me. The abasots is a warren of nooks and crannies, usually crowded and a lot like a labyrinth. That said, I would encourage you to go as it is a wonderful market. Dress down, leave anything of value in your hotel safe, don't carry a lot of money with you or a big fancy camera. If the market is busy walk with a purpose, don't block aisleways (they're narrow) and look like you know what you're doing and where you're going. There is some lead-free green glazed ceramica on the outer part of the market and it's a good place to get a clay comal if you want to attempt to bring one (or two) back.

- The market in Etla is on Wednesday. I like this market and on the top tier is a whole building devoted to prepared food. The artist Francisco Toledo has developed a couple of projects in Etla, a small taller that makes paper from palm fronds and other fibers as well as an art school. If you have a driver, he'll probably know where they are.

- The market in Ocotlan is on Friday and well worth a visit. Rodolfo Morales is a famous Mexican artist from Ocotlan. He lived in Europe for many years but eventually returned to Ocotlan. He was quite dismayed by the disrepair he found when he did. So he used his position, connections and money for many renovation projects, several of which are walkable from the Ocotlan market. The church, monestary and a municipal building all abut the market. His house is open to the public and it's only about a block or so from the market. And the Aguilar sisters of ceramics fame are only a few blocks from his house. The market at Ocotlan has a permanent market building in which many of the fondas are located. There is one that is owned and operated by a woman who bears a striking resemblance to Frida Kahlo. I hear her food is good, especially the guisado de guias (vine soup). The Friday market in Octolan is a do not miss for me, your milage may vary.

- You're already going to the Sunday market in Tlacolula. You'll love it. It's been cleaned up quite a bit since my first visit in 2003, and the sanitation in the prepared food areas is much improved. They have a whole wing devoted to bakery items, buy a few and munch them as you walk through the market.

- La Capilla...I love La Capilla, but not always for the food. I love the setting and how relaxing it is. The food I've had has ranged from really good and quite delicious, to just okay, to absolutely horrid. Weekends are your best bet. Their tlayudas are usually pretty reliable as are their frijoles con hierba conejo. They have an enormous open kitchen and will encourage your to come in and take a look. Sometimes they'll let you take photos, sometimes they won't. The horchata is very good.

- Itononi is a breakfast/lunch place devoted to corn...local/native corn, non-GMO corn. It wasn't quite as good last November when I was there as it had been on previous visits, but it's still worth seeking out. http://www.itanoni.com/

- http://carbondepalo.mx/ A friend who travels frequently to Oaxaca recommended this restaurant to me and I will be trying it out to see if she's right or not.

- La Olla is usually reliable for comida and the food very good. It was somewhat disappointing last November and seemed to be rather empty.

- Casa Crespo up by the Santo Domingo church has a fantastic roof top terrace. The food is good to very good and they usually have a few traditional Zapotec dishes on the menu that have been gussied up. Cooking classes, chocolate shop in front, interesting mezcal cocktails. Even if you don't want to eat there, going up to the terrace for cocktails and appetizers is a great idea.
http://casacrespo.com/

- Casa Oaxaca by the Santo Domingo also has a roof top terrace and they're picky about who they let up there. If you don't have a reservation your chances are slim, if you look like riff-raff (i.e. tired tourist) or are "older" your changes are none.

- Los Pacos in Centro Historico was a recent surprise - http://www.lospacos.com.mx/restaurant... . Nice contemporary dining room, they feature the 7 moles of Oaxaca. They have a sampler you can try and then order what you want with the mole of your choice. I was surprised at how good their moles were and several Oaxaqueños I know say this is one of their favorite restaurants.

On Wednesday evening, go down to the zocalo about 6:00ish, IIRC. Every Wednesday they have Danzon in front of the cathedral complete with double marimba band. The band plays and people dance. Some are great dancers, most are not. Everyone is having a good time. Then grab a table at one of the open-air cafe/bar and hang out for a while. Have a couple of drinks, snack on whatever looks interesting and watch live go on.

Do not miss Monte Alban. Go first thing in the morning, don't forget your sunscreen and a hat. They sell great hats there too if you do. Hire a guide, they aren't super expensive and are worth the price as they will explain everything about the site as they go. Most are college educated, history/anthropology/archeology majors and all have been certified by the government to do the ruin tours.

Go visit El Tule, the largest tree in the western hemisphere. It doesn't sound like much when you read about it, but up close and personal it's impressive. There's a place doing caldo de piedra not far from there, tho' the name of the place escapes me at the moment.

I'm sure you'll be struck by how much it's changed in 20 years, but you're going to have a fabulous time.

Oct 12, 2014
DiningDiva in Mexico

Los Mercados

Mexico Desconcido has been published in Mexico for a long time with articles highlighting everything related to Mexico that you could possibly imagine.

They recently published this article on 13 markets for that are good for eating. It recommends specific fondas and puestos by name, and gives street addresses and hours at the bottom of each entry. They missed the Mercado Hidalgo in Tijuana which is actually pretty good for eating, but I do understand why they included the Mercado Negro in Ensenada (markety #13) instead. The food stalls they did recommend may not be the "best in show" but they are clean and/or of historical significance in terms of the market (i.e. such as now being operated by the 3rd or 4th generation of the same family)

The article is in Spanish, but you can run it through one of the on-line translators to get the gist. It's a nice little slide show and worth, I think, the trouble to translate if you need to.

http://www.mexicodesconocido.com.mx/m...

Oct 12, 2014
DiningDiva in Mexico

San Diego CLOSED Restaurants: Thread Four (2014 edition)

Oh...my...god...Black Mountain & Mira Mesa, almost walking distance from work. I'm assuming he's not going into the Vallarta space, but there are other possibilities. The article does say tons of parking and a patio. Wonder if it's the one kitty-korner from Vallarta.

Mashed potato tacos here I come :-D And look out Patron...

San Diego CLOSED Restaurants: Thread Four (2014 edition)

Isn't the dive bar next to Mama Testa also going out. Alibi Bar? I thought I read that somewhere...or maybe they were just renovating, but who in their right mind renovates a dive...

I would suspect rent as the major culprit, along with lack of easy parking and a changing customer base at that end of University.

I'd prefer MT to be closer to MM Blvd. & Black Mtn :-)

Oct 10, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

San Diego CLOSED Restaurants: Thread Four (2014 edition)

Honkman is speaking of Mama Testa the taco joint up on Univeristy near Richmond in Hillcrest.

I think they're just moving and from the looks of the photos they've released, it looks like there might actually be parking!!

Oct 09, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

San Diego CLOSED Restaurants: Thread Four (2014 edition)

FN is not pulling your leg. He has very deep SD roots too.

Oct 09, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego