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Lillian Hsu's Profile

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In search of good fresh mango

Thanks for the tip on the alfonsos, ipsit. I think the Indian mango I had last time was the kesar, which was incredibly fragrant and sweet. I will start dropping in on the markets around Black Mountain in the next few weeks.

Apr 10, 2010
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

In search of good fresh mango

A few weeks ago, I got a box of Manila mangos at Lucky Seafood on Mira Mesa. They were excellent, perfect for making mango with sticky rice.

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Lucky Seafood
9326 Mira Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA

Apr 10, 2010
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

Love me a really good Deli sandwich..

If you love sandwiches, you have to try Chez Nous in Scripps Ranch. Their spicy chicken is addictive, and their soups--especially Burmese Chicken or Thai Chicken--are my favorite comfort food. They also make a great tuna melt, leg of lamb, pastrami, chipotle chicken, etc.

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Chez Nous
9821 Carroll Canyon Rd, San Diego, CA 92131

Mar 20, 2010
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

Falafel in San Diego

I had a good falafel at Village Grille on Main Street in El Cajon. Other tasty places in that area:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/604909

Mar 20, 2010
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

Aqui Es Texcoco expanding (San Diego)

Has their outpost on University opened yet? I popped my head in a few weeks ago, but it was still mostly a raspados place.

Oct 01, 2009
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

Chin's Szechuan (San Diego)

We had a nice brunch at the Miramar branch a few weeks ago. Some of the stand-outs were the wasabi flavored celery and the glutinous sweet potato cakes. The interior of the latter had the chewy texture of a deep fried sesame ball, but the sweet potato flavor made it even better. Piping hot, they were delicious.

Aug 30, 2009
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

Pescado Zarandeado at Mariscos Godoy CV

Thank you so much for the recommendation, kare_raisu. Finally made it to Mariscos Godoy today, and it was excellent. I would count it as one of the three best meals I've had since moving to San Diego.

Three of us shared the Pescado Zarandeado, the Papas Relleno, and a Ceviche de Pescado. The Pescado Zarandeado was tender, juicy, and beautifully seasoned. All of the complements to the fish, even the simple toasted quesadillas filled with refried beans and cheese, were tasty. The Papas Relleno was pure comfort food: mashed potato and juicy shrimp topped with a creamy green chile sauce and melted cheese. At first glance, this dish looked like it would sink to the bottom of my belly and sit there for days, but the cheese was surprisingly light and the potato fluffy. The Ceviche de Pescado could have used a bit more acidic punch for my tastes, but there was no denying the freshness of the fish. This entire feast, plus agua frescas for three, came out to $35 total. Amazing.

Service here is warm and extremely attentive. Our waitress came and checked on us at least five times throughout the course of the meal. She strongly recommended the chicharron de mariscos for our next visit. Can't wait to go back.

May 03, 2009
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

Anza Borrego Update

Thanks for your report, NAspy! We were in Borrego Springs on Friday and went to Calico's on your recommendation. Our sandwiches were simple but tasty, just right for a light lunch before an afternoon hike. Most of the customers coming in seemed to be ordering their pizza---will have to try that and their turnovers next time we're in town.

Apr 14, 2009
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

Eats in El Cajon

This is too late for your Saturday lunch, but maybe your granddaughter would enjoy trying out some of these places in the future:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6049...

Apr 14, 2009
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

Tasty bites in El Cajon (hummus, shawarma, and Neveria Tocumbo II)

Recently, I’ve been commuting to El Cajon twice a week and have been enjoying exploring the local chow, especially the Iraqi offerings. Here are a few of my favorites:

Ali Baba (421 E. Main Street) makes the best hummus I have ever tasted. Super creamy and garlicky, it’s downright addictive when paired with their piping hot flat bread. I have also enjoyed their shawarma plate and the shawarma sandwich. The purple pickled turnips add a nice crunch and tang. I’m looking forward to going back with a group and trying the Masgoof (whole fish baked with special spices and Iraqi salsa) and the Pacha (stuffed honey combs and intestine with rice and lamb shank). Has anyone tried these two house specialties?

Unlike the richly decorated Ali Baba, the newly opened Village Grille (diagonally across the street from Ali Baba) is pretty barebones inside, but I had a nice falafel there for three bucks. The falafel was made fresh from scratch and served up in a warm chewy bread. It came stuffed with an array of fresh crunchy veggies and pickled ones. (It was the first time I’ve had baby corn in a falafel sandwich!) Next time, I'll try one of their more Chaldean dishes, like the kobba musilli, a crushed-wheat pie stuffed with beef.

El Cajon International Market (502 E. Main Street)
I picked up a tray of their assorted fresh baklava for a party, and it was pretty good, a bit more savory than I’m used to when it comes to baklava. I have also tried their small shawarma sandwich. The bread they use at Ali Baba’s is better, but the lamb here was juicier and well-spiced. The day I was there, two documentary filmmakers came in to film their shawarma maker at work. This market is an incredible place to pick up Middle Eastern spices and ingredients of all sorts—it inspires me to try out some new recipes.

Neveria Tocumbo (1183 E. Main Street)
I love the ice cream at the original store on Market Street, so I was delighted to come across their other store here in El Cajon. The owner said that they’ve only been open here for a year or so and that they have far less foot traffic in El Cajon than in SD. It’s pretty dead during the day, he said, but hopping at night. The guava and rose petal I had were just as good as I remembered at the Market Street store. Right now, some of the other interesting flavors they have are nanche (yellow cherry), guanabana (soursop), mamey, grosella (gooseberry), and bubulubu (strawberry, marshmallow, and chocolate).

Any other recommendations for good eats in El Cajon? Or for other specialties to try in the many Iraqi eateries? Next time, I'm planning to hit up the taqueria inside Foodland, as suggested by Cathy.

Most recent thread on El Cajon:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/84155

Mar 18, 2009
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

San Diego Thai Market?

Thanks, maestra! I'm going to be in Escondido on Tuesday, so I'll check them out!

Mar 12, 2009
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

San Diego Thai Market?

Hi southparkguy,

I do a lot of Thai cooking and have to hit several different Asian markets in San Diego to collect the ingredients I need. Here are a few markets I frequent and the ingredients I seek out at each one:

99 Ranch Market (Chinese)
7330 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Clairemont
carries: lemongrass, galanga, kaffir lime leaves, Thai chilies, Thai basil, pandan leaves, Pantainorasingh Thai iced tea mix, Mae Krua oyster sauce, tamarind paste
*I've also seen little kaffir lime trees sold at Ranch 99, so if you use them frequently, you might want to invest in a tree. (I got my tree at Walter Andersen Nurseries in Poway, but I think it was cheaper at Ranch 99).

Lucky Seafood (Vietnamese)
9326 Mira Mesa Blvd., Mira Mesa
carries: lemongrass, Thai chilies, Thai basil, Mae Ploy curry pastes, Tra Chang fish sauce, Chaokoh coconut milk, Mae Krua oyster sauce, tamarind paste

Minh Huong Supermarket (Vietnamese)
4029 Euclid Avenue, City Heights
carries: holy basil, Thai basil, lemongrass, galanga, Thai chilies, Mae Ploy curry pastes, Mae Krua oyster sauce, tamarind paste

Muang Lao Market (Lao)
4704 Market Street, Chollas View
carries: bamboo rice steamers, tamarind paste

97 Supermarket (Cambodian)
Formerly: 4679 University Ave. , City Heights
Soon: 3918 30th St. , North Park (not sure if it's reopened yet)
carries: Mae Ploy curry pastes

United Oriental Food Market on El Cajon was closed down last time I swung by there. If anyone knows if they're reopening somewhere, please post!

Hope that helps!

Mar 11, 2009
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

Where to buy harissa in San Diego?

Thanks for all the help! I will definitely try making the harissa myself and will look for the aleppo pepper at North Park Produce!

Mar 11, 2009
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

Where to buy harissa in San Diego?

Thanks for the recommendations! I will check out both places.

I hadn't thought of making it myself...but I just looked up the recipe, and it does look super easy. Thanks, Josh!

Mar 09, 2009
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

Where to buy harissa in San Diego?

I'm planning to make some fish stew and couscous this week and have been on the hunt for harissa. I couldn't find it at Henry's, Trader Joe's, Vons, or Whole Foods. Parsian International Market on Convoy and Mama's Lebanese in North Park are both out of harissa. El Cajon International Market (a fantastic little Iraqi Chaldean market, btw) did not carry it. Any other suggestions? Thanks!

Mar 09, 2009
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

Fresh soy milk in San Diego?

Excellent. Thanks for the recommendations! I will try them out this weekend.

Feb 18, 2009
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

Fresh soy milk in San Diego?

Are there any restaurants in SD that make their own soy milk? This past weekend, we went to Chin's Seafood and Grill for their Northern Chinese style breakfast. We were disappointed to learn that they didn't make their own soy milk...just bought it and heated it up.

Any leads?

Feb 17, 2009
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

San Diego Sandwich Spots people like

I second the spicy chicken and pastrami--both very juicy and flavorful! I am adding the chicken salad with curry to my must try list. Thanks for the rec.

I also love Chez Nous's Burmese chicken soup and their mango special salad. Plus their oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. Can you tell this place is on my rotation? =)

Feb 17, 2009
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

Where to buy holy basil (/hot basil) in San Diego?

Hi chandrru,

I recently bought holy basil at Minh Huong Supermarket in City Heights.
Their address is: 4029 Euclid Avenue.

You're right that 97 market closed down recently, but they're supposed to reopen at 3918 30th Street. (I'm not sure when.)

Here's mmm-yoso's scanned photograph of the new directions:
http://mmm-yoso.typepad.com/mmmyoso/2...

Feb 10, 2009
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

Best Farmer's Market in San Diego?

Yes, the Tuesday Escondido market does have a nice variety of produce for very reasonable prices! (Plus, you can duck around the corner to Panaderia Ortiz when you're done!)

Feb 02, 2009
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

Best Farmer's Market in San Diego?

Do you mean Schaner farms? I'm also a big fan of their produce. They had fabulously fragrant basil in the summer/early fall, perfect when paired with their heirloom tomatoes. I also love their bouquets of herbs.

Another favorite stand in the Little Italy market is Polito Family Farms. In the summer, they had delicious figs, and right now, their valencia oranges are super juicy and sweet.

There's also a good olive vendor at the bottom of the hill, near India St., where I like to get my kalamatas.

Even though there's more variety at the Hillcrest FM, I prefer the Little Italy market because it's less of a zoo, and I can walk to Mona Lisa and Assenti's afterwards for deli meats and fresh pasta.

I do wish there were more stands that sold greens. In recent weeks, I've gotten to the market around noon, and all the greens at that one stand were already sold out!

Feb 02, 2009
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

Visiting San Diego, need some recs

And Pad Thai came about when Chinese immigrant street hawkers adjusted their noodles to the sweet, sour, and spicy tastes of their Thai customers! In fact, according to my Thai cooking teacher, all of the noodles in Thailand are of Chinese origin, except for the native kanom jeen.

Jan 03, 2009
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

Mariscos del Atlantico (Puerto Madryn, Argentina)

In town for the whales, we didn't expect too much from the food in this tourist region. Turns out we were wrong. Our dinner at Mariscos del Atlantico was one of the best meals we had in all of Argentina. The grilled abadejo recommended by our waiter was amazing--I have rarely had such juicy, perfectly cooked fish anywhere. We also enjoyed the warm mariscos sampler, especially the super sweet scallops. If you're in the area, I highly recommend it. Make sure to call ahead for a reservation.

On the other end of the spectrum, steer clear of Mar y Meseta. We ate here our first night in town because Mariscos was full. Very mediocre for the price.

Oct 24, 2008
Lillian Hsu in Latin America & Caribbean

Cadore Heladeria (Buenos Aires)

We were in ice cream heaven in Buenos Aires and wickedly jealous of the ice cream delivery bikes we saw all across the city! (Why oh why don't we have these in the states?)

Our favorite heladeria was Cadore on Avenida Corrientes in the theater district, not too far from the Congresso building. The dulce de leche granizado, frutilla tropical, pomelo, and limon were all outstanding.

Oct 24, 2008
Lillian Hsu in Latin America & Caribbean

Buenos Aires - La Cupertina

hey daveena,

Just wanted to say a quick thank you for this recommendation. The round veggie empanadas at La Cupertina were truly scrumptious AND a work of art--dusted, as you described, with sugar and emblazoned with the first letter of their filling. We bought some carne empanadas for our plane ride home to the states--best airplane snack ever! Whispers of envy abounded =)

Oct 24, 2008
Lillian Hsu in Latin America & Caribbean

Salta, Argentina Restaurant Reviews by ALEDM

We also had a memorable meal at Jose Balcarce. Like you, we found the pate served with the bread irresistible. If you have a chance to go back, try the llama carpaccio--I was a bit doubtful when my friends ordered it, but it turned out to be the one dish that lingered longest in my memory from our three weeks in Argentina.

At Dona Salta, we enjoyed the huascalocro, the locro, and the matambre--a juicy, well-flavored grilled beef pounded quite thin.

One more recommendation for Salta: the cafe at MAAM (El Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña). To our great surprise, this place has excellent food! We shared tall glasses of fresh banana licuados, our first taste of humitas, and the best pork tamale I've tasted in my life--incredibly moist and flavorful. The cafe also serves a delicious house salsa made of local peppers; we wish they sold it in bottles to take home. Altogether, a nice place for lunch or a snack after a visit to the museum's small but fascinating exhibit.

Oct 24, 2008
Lillian Hsu in Latin America & Caribbean

Buenos Aires recommendations and dining partners

The nice thing about Campo Bravo is that it's open really late on weeknights (2 or 2:30, I think). We had wanted to go to Las Cholas, also in Las Canitas, but it was closed by the time we arrived after a late flight. Campo Bravo turned out to be a solid alternative. The special Campo Bravo bife de chorizo was well-flavored, if a tad sinewy, and the pasta dish we had was excellent.

La Cupertina would be a great place for lunch (more of a cafe than a bar/club, though). Definitely the best empanadas of our entire trip! Try the regular sized carne empanadas and the double sized carrot, zucchini, or eggplant ones.

Oct 24, 2008
Lillian Hsu in Latin America & Caribbean

Buenos Aires recommendations and dining partners

Ditto for me on Don Julio. We liked the meat here better than La Cabrera and La Brigada in San Telmo, plus the service at Don Julio was outstanding.

We were particularly impressed by the blood sausage appetizer at Don Julio.

Oct 24, 2008
Lillian Hsu in Latin America & Caribbean

SD cravings

Spicy chicken sandwich on jalapeno bread w/ a cup of pureed spinach soup and chocolate oatmeal cookie from Chez Nous

Oct 24, 2008
Lillian Hsu in San Diego

La Barbacoa: Authentica de Borrego SD

Thanks for the rec, kare_raisu! We stopped in here for lunch on Sunday and loved the pansita tacos. I admit I didn't know what I was eating at the time, but it was delicious!

We were also impressed by the huitlacoche quesadilla, the fresh tortillas, and the excellent chunky salsa.

Looking forward to your report on the cenaduria!

Oct 22, 2008
Lillian Hsu in San Diego