DiningDiva's Profile

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Bracero

We tried to order the octopus and they had just run out...drat. Javier such has the touch with it. I've never had a bad octopus dish at any of his restaurants.

1 day ago
DiningDiva in San Diego

Bracero

And the tuna two ways...you have to try the tuna two ways, SR

Bracero

So you're saying he commits the same offense as the young chef about whom he writing about with his writing?

I thought some of the comments - not necessarily his - were pretty spot on based on what I'm hearing from friends and acquaintances within the business, but not in San Diego. My point was mostly that Bracero is pretty much the opposite of what Richman was writing about, which seemed intent on skewering innovation and cutting edge.

2 days ago
DiningDiva in San Diego

Bracero

This is an interesting article by Alan Richman from GQ about the current trends that are seemingly groundbreaking or had all the trappings of being groundbreaking.

http://www.gq.com/story/alan-richman-...

It's a semi-long article but I think worth the read and it definitly NOT what Bracero is about or striving to be. In fact, I'd venture to say that Bracero is the polar opposite the restaurants described in the article, which, I suppose, would make it more mainstream than groundbreaking

Bracero

"I think the main problem I have with this discussion (especially with DC) is this fixation on Bracero as something out of the blue which pushes culinary boundaries like never seen before anywhere in the US."

I'm in the German corner in this argument. And I also agree that the food and style of any creative chef evolves over time as they learn, experience and grow, and that is exactly what we're getting with Bracero. Romesco's was the first attempt at the clean, Baja style eating, filtered through Mision 19, filtered through Erizo, filtered through Finca and filtered through the whole experience of growing up and in a restaurant family. And while I don't agree with Herr H and his narrow definition of groundbreaking, I do agree that Bracero is not revolutionary San Diego cooking. I do think that Javier has a distinct culinary point of view and cooking style that comes from a different school of thought than so many of cookie cutter chefs turned out by the culinary schools as well as here in town. That doesn't necessarily make what he does groundbreaking but it does make it at least on the outskirts of the proverbial box.

Where I struggle in this particular discussion is with DC and RISD somehow anointing Bracero with legendary status. The restaurant was grossly over-hyped (Eater, I'm looking at you) and it's only been open 2 weeks. That is no where near enough time to know how much impact the restaurant and style of cooking will have on a very large, very well established restaurant community. I really doubt that local restaurant owners or chefs are going to be rushing out to place orders for a giant Caja China and changing their menus to fit. I'm also pretty sure the local taqueria scene is going to yawn and keep on keeping on with CABs and CA Fries.

Bracero is a beautiful restaurant channeling the chef's vision of local area food resources. San Diego will embrace Bracero as it should, and the restaurant, like Romesco's, will have a long run, but it is way to early to know what the impact will be on local dining and restaurants.

The meal I had at Bracero was outstanding. Our cocktails were uniformly good and there wasn't one clunker among the dishes we ordered. So far it appears to be living up to the hype, for which I am delighted. I'm really excited now to go back and try more stuff downstairs. I just wish parking in LI was easier :-)

Jul 30, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Galaxy Taco

I know DC, and I tend to get carried away on some of my hot button pet peeves. I think pico is one of those things that most people are surprised about when they see the actual costs, I know I am.

I have really mixed feelings about these $5 and gourmet tacos. I like the ideas and the execution is often quite good, but they're not really so much a taco for me as they are the Americanized Taco Dagwood.

I was hoping to make it out to Galaxy Tacos this coming weekend, but I don't think that's going to happen; checking out Burnside in Normal Heights instead. La Jolla is a schlep for me and I hate trying to park there.

Jul 29, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Galaxy Taco

"I did ask for extra pico de gallo, though, and all three benefited from that. (I was charged a buck for it, though. Kinda cheap of them to charge, I thought.)"

When the cost for 10# of pico nearly hit $50 we quit buying it and started making it ourselves. And, yes, our customers complain that we charge them $1.10 for a generous 2 oz portion in addition to what they're also getting on their tacos, carne asada fries or in a burrito.

Pico is not cheap to purchase ready made, which I'm pretty sure Galaxy is not doing given their pedigree, and it's not cheap to make in-house either. Tomatoes are not cheap, the price of onions has been volatile this year, even cilantro has been pricey and let's not talk about what fresh limes have cost over the past year. I'm lucky, my labor to make it is only $9/hr, I'm guessing who ever makes it at Galaxy is probably somewhat north of minimum wage.

Why should a restaurant not be able to recoup the cost of their ingredients and labor? Why should extra pico be free or priced below a dollar?

Not trying to pick on you Doc, but this is kind of a hot button with me. Not just with pico, but with food items in general. As customers we have no idea what a restaurant is paying for the food coming in their back door, nor do we know what their labor costs them, but with minimum wage at $9 and set to go to $10 on January 1st, 2016, we do know it's not inexpensive. The sense of entitlement some customers seem to think they have, or that upcharges or charges for extra food don't apply to them never ceases to amaze me. (Once, again DC, that last comment was not aimed at you). I make about $2 million in food purchases every year, I see invoices every week so I see pricing every week. I get farm and commodity reports as well as 2 produce updates every week. So when I see people posting that they feel ripped off because a restaurant charges them for something extra they've requested, the food cost abacus in my head starts doing the calculations. Most people are not in the hospitality business to provide the customer with freebies, they need to recoup their costs so they can stay in business.

Okay...end of rant...I'll return the thread to it's normally scheduled reviews.

Jul 29, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Bracero

"It would be nice to come up with a simple, single term that encapsulates all of these adjectives, but note the absence of the specific term "Baja Med" in his list."

That is because Miguel Angel Guerrero copyrighted the term Baja Med

Jul 28, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Bracero

"The cuisine represented by Bracero is currently only available here, per RISD's comment. It's something very new and very special, and links directly to our local area. There will be copycats elsewhere in the country, sure, but this cuisine in San Diego will one day be considered the original, The Real Thing."

I'm speechless...
I also totally and completely disagree with this statement, but alas I am at work and do not have the time to construct my usual diatribe explaining why.

DC, you're really out on a limb here

Jul 28, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Next Food Network Star - latest and greatest?

I think Dom will be back via the Star Challenge. It's down to just he and Rue and I think he can out cook her pretty easily. She was only marginally better on camera than he, so they may be pretty evenly matched there.

Jul 28, 2015
DiningDiva in Food Media & News

Bracero

Whoa...that's a pretty narrow definition. Avant Garde may be a better fit your definition than groundbreaking.

Trust me on this...escamoles in San Diego is definitely groundbreaking ;-)

Jul 28, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego
1

Bracero

SR is right, if you look at what Javier and his family are serving at their restaurants, by and large, it is interesting and it tastes good, often times it tastes extremely good. There is an ease and flow about their food that makes eating it an enjoyable experience. True, not every dish at every restaurant of theirs "works" but nore often than not they do. And they use interesting ingredients and are usually satisfying and taste pretty darn good.

Jul 28, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Bracero

Plantains are local????
(she said with her tongue in cheek)

Jul 28, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Bracero

RISD, I don't agree that this is an indigenous cuisine for SD. The most interesting thing about this area is that San Diego County and Baja California DO share the same climate, growing conditions and geography, but have manifested it in different ways simply because of the artificial barrier that is the international border.

Remember, going for the "authentic" local flavor is what just about put Old Town out of business. While it may have been historically accurate, no one wanted to visit let alone eat the food. The same can't be said for Bracero my friend ;-)

Jul 28, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Bracero

Honkman, there are enough Mexicans in San Diego and SoCal with more than enough expendable income to keep Bracero open for years without the, ummm, "traditional" customer base. It should also be no surprise, their palates are more sophisticated than the traditional customer base.

The hype around Bracero really went over the top and was far greater than it really needed to be. Stop already! We know a high profile chef is opening a new concept but really, it's not the second coming of Guy Savoy. And given the sheer volume of new/trendy/hipster places that have opened in the last 6 months it's not as if there was a lack of other restaurant news.

So far, Bracero is living up to the hype but I think we need to reserve judgement on it's long term success and/or impact. It's no secret Javier's heart lies in the Valle and he has additional project ideas for this property there. Bracero's long term success will most likely hinge on how well and how quickly he can ingrain his style of cooking into the fabric of the SD restaurant scene and then on the quality of executive chef he selects to helm the kitchen when he isn't there.

Is the Bracero menu groundbreaking? Probably not. Is it interesting, absolutely.

Jul 28, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Bracero

That's it? That's all you had? No escamoles?

Jul 27, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Next Food Network Star - latest and greatest?

Me too. There was just something charming and endearing about Dom. Clearly Bobby and Giada were in his court and the network wasn't. But let's face it, he was awful on camera.

Emeril was not so great in front of the camera when he started until they put him in front of an audience. Who knows, maybe Dom is the same way, tho' I tend to doubt it. There's always Star Redemption, he could be back.

Jul 27, 2015
DiningDiva in Food Media & News

ISO inspiration for "Bowls" meals

I read the original thread too and thought that was a good idea. I do bowls, but, clearly, not as frequently as that poster :-D. Bowls are a great way to use up leftovers and excess produce, especially if you get a CSA box with a ton of stuff in it. They're also pretty quick and easy to throw together.

What you put in a bowl is generally dictated by what flavors and foods you like. Mind trend towards Mexican, Latin and Mediterranean flavors.

The basic formula for a bowl is - grain (or beans) of choice + vegetables (raw, cooked or both) + protein (which can be optional) + sauce or other seasonings.

I used to do this breakfast bowl a lot. It was also pretty effective at staying with me all morning because of the protein.
* Black or pinto beans (about 1/2C) + 2 eggs scrambled + shd. cheese (about 1 tbls) + pico de gallo. Occasionally, I'd trade out the beans for rice but I liked it better with beans.

Grain + teriyaki chicken (off the bone) + steamed broccoli is a pretty tried and true bowl combo

The combinations are endless. What do you like to eat, what flavor profiles do you like, what ingredients do you usually have hanging around your fridge and pantry. Almost every thing works and you can customize it to exactly what you want.

Jul 26, 2015
DiningDiva in Home Cooking
1

Why everyone should stop calling immigrant food ‘ethnic’

The author makes some good points

Bracero

No harm/no foul...(or should that be fowl)

Jul 24, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Bracero

Go back and read my post. The photo *IS* the pulpo at Finca

Jul 24, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Bracero

Photo of the pulpo at Finca

The pulpo at Mision 19 is more charred and it used to come on skewers placed upright in a wood block, sauces on the side. He has, however, changed up the presentation on the dish and altered it somewhat.

None of the dishes are going to be mirror images of each other. One of the reasons we wanted to order the pulpo at Bracero was to see which dish it was closer to Finca or Mision 19, or neither.

Jul 24, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Galaxy Taco

1) I don't think enough of us have had a chance to eat there yet to reach critical mass on a solid opinion

2) You usually have to give a place a few weeks to settle in and get the kinks worked out before the true colors reveal themselves.

This is a high profile restaurant from a high profile chef and owner, I'm sure comments will start popping up shortly.

Jul 24, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Bracero

I believe the two pulpo dishes are different. I think the dish at Bracero is closer to what he was serving at Mision 19. It was, BTW, already sold out when we tried to order it at Bracero the other night.

But FN is right about the pulpo at Finca. There is no other way to describe it than divine.

Jul 24, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Bracero

You are absolutely right they are a seasonal item and I'm really sure the escamoles will still be on the menu for the next few days and probably weeks. I ran into Javier while we were waiting for our table and just about the first thing he said was to be sure to try the escamoles. He is very proud of them and rightly so, they were delicious. As good or better than anything I've had in D.F.

Also try the Albacore Two Ways, if for no other reason then the charred onion crema. They were already out of the pulpo and the squash mole by the time we tried to order them, which was about 7:30ish

Jul 24, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Galaxy Taco

Ding, ding, ding...we have a winner.

I agree with both you and DC, these are not really tacos.

Jul 24, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Galaxy Taco

I have no idea who Tabelog is or how they determined the 11 MOST AMAZING tacos in America, but I did think it interesting that there was only 1 taco from CA, 1 taco from AZ and none from TX or NM, yet tacos from New York, New Jersey, West Virginia (don't look, it's a blueberry BBQ taco), Mississippi, Kentucky and Louisiana made the cut. I can't believe they dissed Texas, I've had some good tacos in Texas.

http://www.tabelog.us/summary_article...

Truly indicative that tacos have officially jumped the shark...

Jul 23, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Galaxy Taco

"the addition of the word craft in front of the word burrito will merit a 20-30% price hike."

I thought that was called Chipotle's

Jul 23, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Bracero

The tacos de fideos are small. Our server told us all the tacos are on the smaller, "street taco" size, and that the fideo taco is the smallest.

Jul 23, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Galaxy Taco

But why do tacos have to be cheap?!?!???

Other than the fact that an $80 peso (at today's exchange rate) taco would be unheard of in Mexico, even at the alta cocina, nuevo Mexicana places, or Tijuana for that matter? Or that an over-stuff, overly loaded taco would be a novelty in Mexico anyplace other than the major tourist destinations? Or because they're a snack and not a meal?

I get that tacos are probably one of the most versatile foods on the face of the planet. I also get that they are trendy, hipster, hot at the moment...which is really too bad. I don't get why everyone feels the need to gussy them up with more "stuff" than is really necessary. Kokopelli did really great taco riffs at their street stand, but the combinations made sense, were wonderfully tasty and nowhere near the $5 range. SM I feel your pain, the places that jumped on the taco bandwagon are charging what the market will bear. Like lemmings, will they go over the brink an into the $5+ abyss? A taco isn't a mini burrito, although with the way they're being made now, that's about what they're morphing into. Will we now see the dawn of the $10 carne asada burrito?

Most memorable tacos for me were in a little town just over the Jalisco/Michoacan border. I'd taken a red-eye from LAX to Guadalajara. We'd driven southwest toward Michoacan and finally stopped at an open-air, roadside carnitas stand for breakfast. 1/2 a kilo of carnitas (maciza) just out of the copper pot, an unlimited supply of hot, handmade corn tortillas, the ubiquitous plate of chopped white onion, cilantro and lime wedges, plus a bracingly hot salsa de chile peron (chile manzana). No funky sauces, no weird ingredients that served no logical purpose in the taco. Just a tortilla, some meat, a sprinkle of onion and cilantro and a dab of salsa. Taco heaven. Those are followed very closely by the tacos from the evening taco vendor on the corner of the Plaza Chica in Patzcuaro...best bistek, chorizo & potato tacos and not overloaded with stuff that doesn't belong, all for about a buck and change. These are deliciously satisfying tacos and they don't cost all that much.

More is not better and more just so a higher price can be charged is certainly not better.

Okay, rant is over.

Jul 23, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego
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