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Must try restaurant ...

Cumin in chilaquiles?!!??????

Alien

about 1 hour ago
DiningDiva in San Diego

Farmer's Botegga- OK so far!

Definitely skip the huevos rancheros :-)

1 day ago
DiningDiva in San Diego

Farmer's Botegga- OK so far!

Mixed results at breakfast this morning.

My friend and I both liked the place and the staff was really attentive and friendly without hovering or being intrusive.

My friend had an omelet which was nicely presented. He liked it, however, it was somewhat overloaded with a Fresno chile that was exceedingly HOT. Once he picked out the chiles, he enjoyed the rest of the omelet. The toast that came with it was D-R-Y as it was unbuttered and no jelly, jams, preserves or other type of spread was offered with it.

I had the huevos rancheros. Plate presentation could have been better, heck *I* can do better and I'm not exactly known for plate presentation. Thankfully the flavor was okay, but I had a LOT of issues with this dish. The plate was way overloaded with black beans. Now, I happen to really like black beans, but if you're going to give me 2 cups of beans they need to be special and these weren't. The eggs - all 3 of them - because apparently 2 isn't sufficient - were good, eggactly as requested, but they rested on 2 corn tortillas that had been warmed but not fried until crisp. Since the beans hadn't been drained, and I like runny yolks, those corn tortillas didn't stand a chance of not turning to mush, which they did. The menu said salsa fresco and queso fresco. No cheese and what passed as salsa fresco was a small, and I mean s-m-a-l-l dollop of a loose tomato sauce with some chile heat. If I had wanted a plate of beans, I suppose I could have ordered it. What I got was a poorly executed egg dish masquerading as huevos rancheros :-(

Even though there were a number of misstep with the actual food, both my friend and I would go back and give them another shot. The place has a nice feel to it, they've only been open a short while and most of what we had actually tasted pretty good.

1 day ago
DiningDiva in San Diego

Oaxaca - mole paste storage?

In Mexico, mole is the star of the plate, not the protein. Servings are usually generous and any rice and/or protein added to round out the plate. The focus is on the sauce and there are women in each community who are well known for their moles and are often hired to prepare it for the celebrations and gatherings for other families.

Making mole isn't necessarily difficult, but it is very, very labor intensive and knowing how to handle each ingredient is a plus. It does take some patience :-)

You are right, it keeps well. I wouldn't, however, consider it more like gravy, it's not really a pour over thing. Because of the time and labor involved in preparing mole, it (the sauce) is the main attraction :-) When you've prepared the mole, or reconstituted it from scratch, you can sear and then finish cooking almost any meat in the sauce.

1 day ago
DiningDiva in Mexico

Cactus Cooler Soda

When all else fails...TEQUILA

Jan 23, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego
1

Cactus Cooler Soda

It's the Coke knock off of Mt. Dew

Jan 23, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Oaxaca - mole paste storage?

That looks delicious!!

When I have left over mole I sometimes add some crema to mellow it out a bit and then serve it with shrimp.

Good luck, your shrimp dish looks great

Jan 22, 2015
DiningDiva in Mexico

Oaxaca - mole paste storage?

The reddish/brown mole paste you have might be Coloradito, it's another favorite.

There are thousands of versions of mole in Mexico. It seems that every community and family has their favorite(s) :-). Chocolate is not used in many of them. When it is used, it's function is to help round out the flavors. Remember, the Mexican chocolate that would be used in mole has some sugar, canela and possibly some nuts. All of those are regular mole ingredients, so by adding chocolate you're kind of rebalancing the sauce. A well made mole should not taste of any one ingredient but rather have it's own distinct flavor that is an amalgamation of all the ingredients.

Good luck with your other mole paste. I bet it's going to be very tasty

Jan 22, 2015
DiningDiva in Mexico

Have leftover roast chicken and sourcream in the fridge.....

Enchiladas Suisse...for which you'll need

corn tortillas
the chicken shredded
some shredded jack cheese
some finely chopped white onion
tomatillo sauce, homemade or jarred, should be a little on the tart side to counterbalance the richness of the cheese and sour cream
Sour cream

San Diego CLOSED Restaurants...2015 Edition

Not to subtle self promotion, probably deleted

Jan 21, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

San Diego CLOSED Restaurants...2015 Edition

Full-fledged vegan??? Wow.

I won't be going, but I think that neighborhood might be able to support the concept.

Jan 21, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

San Diego CLOSED Restaurants...2015 Edition

I'm starting the 2015 edition for closed restaurants. Please use this thread for all further posts

So in addition to Fish Public closing, which wasn't really much of a loss, the U/T is reporting that Alchemy is now set to close. Since I no longer subscribe to the U/T I couldn't get the details.

Sad to see Alchemy go, I always liked it. Plus, they had a great burger.

Jan 21, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Enchiladas Suisse

IIRC, Agua Mala is out of Ensenada...

Jan 21, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Your Favorite San Diego County Wines

Stopped in at Renquist at Xmas. Only picked up one bottle there. What they were tasting was good but not outstanding.

http://www.borjonwinery.com/

http://naggiarvineyards.com/

Jan 20, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Your Favorite San Diego County Wines

When you get done with exploring the wines in SD county you can start in on Amador County. Start with Borjón in Plymouth and Naggiar in Grass Valley. Both of them are pretty spectacular. Naggiar is great for Barberas and Syrahs and Borjón for Zins and Syrahs. Just bought a mixed case of Borjón as Xmas...

Jan 20, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Enchiladas Suisse

I haven't tried their chile relleno. It's not something done well in San Diego.

Romesco's has a seafood stuffed relleno as well as chile en nogada on a regular basis. I understand the chile en nogada is pretty good.

If you're just looking for a plain, cheese stuffed chile, try Rana's in Casa de Oro

Jan 20, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

"Fresh" Ham for Lechon Asado

Ni modo...I'll be in Oaxaca on the 7th, so not able to attend :-(

Jan 20, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Oaxaca - mole paste storage?

Heat a little oil in a skillet. Add a tomato that has been pureed and cook it down over medium heat until most of the excess water has been cooked off. Add as much mole paste as you want and stir until the tomato has been combined into it. Then add water or stock and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the mole is hot and the consistency of heavy cream.

You can skip the tomato step and simply go straight to sautéing the mole paste in some oil, but if you're using a jarred paste the tomato helps the flavor and texture.

Once the mole has been reconstitued, taste and adjust the seasonings to suit your taste. It sometimes needs a bit of sugar the round out the flavors

Jan 20, 2015
DiningDiva in Mexico

Open Air Fish Market (@ The Embarcadero) to Start August 2.

Wow. Go Toni!

Jan 19, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Eating in Valle de Guadalupe, Baja - Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

If you leave early enough Friday afternoon, cross at San Ysidro. From the new crossing, El Chaparral, the feeder road to Rosarito/Ensenada is well marked. It may even say toll road. The cross does back up on Friday afternoons as the approach to it is a little curvy, narrows down and then widens out. The toll road will be a much easier drive at dusk and early evening than will Mex 3 south from Tecate. If you're going after daylight savings begins, then the drive south from Tecate is fine. The washed out parts of the toll road reopened right before Christmas

I'd come back through Tijuana as well. If they've got all the crossing lanes open the wait won't be too bad. If you're driving do not cross without car insurance. I've used Baja Bound, they're reasonable and trustworthy. They also have driving directions - with photos!! - of how to find the border crossing whether you're going north or south - http://beta.bajabound.com/before/driv...

Jan 19, 2015
DiningDiva in Mexico

"Fresh" Ham for Lechon Asado

What day is the butchering class and how much?

Jan 19, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

How to convince wife to go to TJ

Cabs are about $5-$6 USD place to place within TJ. It's $15-20 to El Mazateño from San Ysidro. If that fits your budget cabs will be able to get you to exactly where you want to go. Not all cab drivers speak English and many don't know where restaurants are by name. When my friends and I do an independent crawl we always have the name of the restaurants, the addresses and phone numbers written down. We've had more than a few taxistas call the restaurant for specific directions.

Traffic in Tijuana can be chaotic. A bike is certainly not impossible, just be aware there aren't a lot of designated bike lanes and motorists take the right away whether they have it or not.

Club Tengo Hombre probably fits what you want to do better than Turista Libre. And for under $100 USD they'll provide the transportation, the food and the craft beer.

Jan 19, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

The Pearl?

Delightful meal at The Pearl last night, actually, really good.

We had the Brussels Sprouts app along with the Pork Belly app. The Brussels sprouts were well roasted and came with a lime aioli, cotija cheese and some pickled jalapeño rings. I wasn't sure how the jalapeño rings would work with the sprouts; surprisingly well. The Brussels sprouts portion was enough to feed 3 people generously. The pork belly came out on a bed of beet polenta that had been enriched with marscapone and finished with tomato jam. In a meal where nothing was a miss, this was the biggest winner for me.

For entrees we chose the pork chop, the albacore steak and the flank steak. Good selections all of them. I had the albacore which was perfectly seared and still raw in the center. It came with some fabulous blistered tomatoes and some less than fabulous white beans. My brother-in-law wolfed down the pork chop and the sweet potato mash that had been enriched with burnt marshmallow. It approached, but did not go over the edge into cloyingly sweet. The dish also came with a generous spoonful of cranberry compote. My sister's flank steak was delicious and tender and served with a mound of chorizo mashed potatoes, which we all thought were stunningly good.

We finished the meal with donuts, their signature house dessert. Light, airy, sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with a dark chocolate sauce they were just enough to satisfy the sweet tooth without being overly heavy. The portion was more than ample for 3 people.

2 apps, 3 entrees, 1 dessert, 1 of the pricier bottles of wine + tax + tip = $60 per person. For the quality of the food and the size of the portions, this has got to be one of the best deals in done. Not to mention that The Pearl is just plain fun. Expected to see the Rat Pack at any minute, they had a Bond movie rolling, and all 3 of us LOVED their bathroom sinks

Jan 17, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

SD's top 22 new restaurants in 2015

It's not just servers who will be employed.

The chefs, sous, pantry, utility and sanitation crews are more likely to be salaried, not tipped out. 22 restaurants? Lots of BOH positions that usually aren't filled by students

Jan 16, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

SD's top 22 new restaurants in 2015

The back patio at Patio on Goldfinch is beautiful and has no TV, but it can get noisy, although I've not had horrible conversational problems when sitting at one of the 2-tops. Food has been mostly hit or miss with more hits than misses, but I always leave somewhat disappointed.

Jan 14, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

SD's top 22 new restaurants in 2015

Yes...please

Jan 14, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

SD's top 22 new restaurants in 2015

Yes, and isn't it ironic that the Eater article mentioning the removal of the burger is sandwiched in between an extra-large, ginormous banner ad for Carl's Jr. and large, square, side-bar ad...

Jan 14, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Javier Plascencia's new SD Restaurant

Yes, Jair is the principal behind V y C. No, as far as I know he still has Merotoro in D.F. One of his brothers is running Verde y Crema.

If you ever get to Mexico City do try Merotoro, it's in the Condessa. It's very, very good and very, very spendy.

Jair is the only chef to have landed 2 restaurants on the Top 50 restaurants in Latin America...Laja and Merotoro.

Jan 14, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Javier Plascencia's new SD Restaurant

It pains me to say that our meal last night at Verde y Crema was nothing short of ordinary and disappointing, definitely did not live up to the hype :-( Perhaps it was because it was a Tuesday, or because we ate early so that we could get to a 7:30 pm meeting (that didn't start til 8 pm, gotta love tiempo Mexicana), but all 3 of us were underwhelmed.

Off the "para compartir (shared plates)" section of the menu we tried the Esquites and the Gorditas de Pulpo. The esquites arrived swimming in a large bowl. The corn was appropriately chewy as field corn should be, but the rest of the dish was sort of lacking in oomph. Esquites are basically "elotes con todo", corn on the cob slathered with mayo, lime, chile powder and cotija, cut off the cob. The Verde y Crema version was too soupy and any trace of mayo, lime or chile powder was lost in the soup. It tasted good, it was easy to eat, but it was boring. The gorditas were better but still missed. The blue corn gordita base was really delicious and perfectly cooked (i.e. not gummy inside) as was the octopus. The problem with this dish is that there were too many additional ingredients and some of them weren't playing well with the others. One of our group really, really like the gorditas, the other 2 of us thought they were good, but the flavor somewhat muddled. The gorditas come 2 to an order and would be a nice size meal for 1 person.

Off of the entree menu we ordered the Sandwich de Birria y Queso Gouda and the Porterhouse de Puerco. The birria was beef, fairly dry with a good dose of chile. Most of the birria I've had is a little wetter with not so much chile, but once I got over the difference between what I expected and what I actually got, I have to say I liked this sandwich quite a bit. It's served on a toasted sourdough-style bread and the melted cheese adds a nice touch. This plate came with a large tangle of skinny, skinny, crispy shoestring potatoes and housemade catsup which had good flavor but lacked some body. There was also a simple side salad of lacy green lettuce and cherry tomatoes. It was, unfortunately, horribly over-salted to the point where you couldn't eat it.

The pork porterhouse was beautifully cooked and served over a bed of garbanzo beans, which we though an odd choice but the garbanzos were pretty tasty. The seasoning used on the pork probably leaned more to Morocco than to Mexico. We all liked it, but we didn't love it and I think the pork would have been more successful with a Mexican rub rather than a Moroccan one.

3 beverages, 2 shared plates and 2 entrees and tip only set us back $20 each. The food was actually well prepared and the portions generous, but each dish just kind of fell flat. However, for $20 it was a good value and I've paid far more for far less in the U.S. I would be more than willing to go back and try it again when they were busier and when the A-Team is more likely to be in the kitchen. I'm glad I went and I would go again.

The physical space is beautiful, I wish we could have something similar in San Diego...sophisticated and rustic at the same time. Our cab driver had a little bit of a hard time finding it, but it's only a block off of Aguas Caliente Blvd.

Jan 14, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

The Pearl?

Thank you, that is exactly the feedback I was looking for :-)

Jan 13, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego