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zare_k's Profile

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Grocery Cafe- Burmese food! [Oakland]

Stopped by here for takeout this evening around 6pm and had the tea leaf salad and the pork with mango chutney. Really enjoyed the salad—crunchy, spicy, with a little bit of earthiness. Looking forward to seeing their full menu when they open in earnest.

Dec 02, 2014
zare_k in San Francisco Bay Area

Juniper and Ivy / First visit impressions

Separate rooms (each behind a door) for toilet stalls but common sink area.

Mar 24, 2014
zare_k in San Diego

Juniper and Ivy / First visit impressions

My partner and I went for dinner yesterday evening and the experience was mixed. The dining room was busy but not completely packed. The noise level is indeed very high and it seems they have done little in the way of sound dampening. It's a beautiful space, but while the noise is not deafening quiet conversation was impossible and the racket contributed to the harried feeling of the service.

Coachella dates - Enjoyed these, nice contrast between the sweetness of the dates, the bitter coffee powder, and the gaminess from the lamb bacon.

Beet and Mexican water chestnut salad - Refreshing and crisp but not a standout

Swordfish (my main) - Served with a romesco sauce, tiny purple potatoes, and roasted onions. Came out noticeably overcooked the first time, this was corrected promptly when I alerted our server.

Steak (her main) - Served with onion rings, roasted carrots, and something else I unfortunately did not note. Had a bite of the steak which was very flavorful.

Pine needle meringue - Served with citrus marshmallow sorbet and crumbles of pie crust. I don't usually focus much on dessert but this was my favorite dish of the evening. Intense citrus flavor from the sorbet, barely sweet, lightly foamed meringue and a hint of toastiness from the crust.

The service was rough around the edges. We were seated on time for our reservation and promptly offered water and drinks to begin. However, as the evening went on it became progressively harder to get our server's attention and I suspected that our table had somehow entered a bubble of invisibility. Dishes were paced well but ejected onto the table at arm's length and without comment as if the servers were actively trying to avoid any further interaction. Water wasn't offered again, nor did we have the opportunity to order another glass of wine, until I flagged the problem with the overcooked fish midway through the meal. Overall the service felt rushed and distracted-- perhaps the dining room was understaffed for the evening.

Mar 21, 2014
zare_k in San Diego

Source for organic pork in San Diego Grocery Stores

Any particular Sprouts location? I shop at the Hillcrest branch and I don't recall seeing Niman Ranch pork there.

Mar 19, 2014
zare_k in San Diego

Pierogi Truck - two thumbs up with a little wart

Pierogies are one of the things I miss from living in Pittsburgh so I was glad to see the Pierogi Truck open here-- unfortunately their schedule isn't very compatible with mine so I've only been able to visit a couple of times. I did enjoy the meat and the spinach pierogis and would return for them (haven't sampled any of the other dishes). I think they could do without the bacon topping, the fillings and sour cream sauce are pretty rich already.

Aug 13, 2013
zare_k in San Diego

Alchemy [San Diego]

That is exactly my experience with them-- half the time the execution is really good, but the other half of the time dishes are underflavored and/or overcooked. Service quality is similarly inconsistent.

Jul 24, 2013
zare_k in San Diego

Do you have a favorite Farmer's Market?

How would you rate the selection of Asian veggies?

Jul 14, 2013
zare_k in San Diego

Tacos El Panson - Carnitas Torta!

I used to go to El Panson all the time when I lived in that neighborhood. They are consistently solid yet I seldom hear them mentioned. I usually get tacos with adobada, lengua, or tripa there and enjoy their sopes as well.

Jul 09, 2013
zare_k in San Diego

Date Night Suggestion - Central San Diego

My vote would be for Farmhouse Cafe except for the cocktail requirement. Maybe drinks at Small Bar and then a walk over?

We live down the street from Polite Provisions and have been a few times now. I enjoy it but it would not be my first choice for a rare date night-- it can get noisy and the bar side has been understaffed every time we have visited so drink service can be slow and haphazard (never any problems ordering food though).

As the name implies the menu is fairly meat-oriented. From the pescetarian-compatible side dishes I can recommend the giardiniera, the macaroni and cheese, and the apple salad. My only major complaint about the food is the heavy hand with the salt shaker.

I've only sampled a few of the many cocktail options. So far my default choice is the Ocean Side, based on gin and lime flavors with celery bitters.

Jun 28, 2013
zare_k in San Diego

Ethnic restaurant for birthday dinner?

How about Izakaya Sakura? I've been to a couple of birthday gatherings there and they had no problem accommodating a group of that size.

May 22, 2013
zare_k in San Diego

San Diego CLOSED Restaurants: Thread Three- The Saga Continues.

Savory Garden (located in the 99 Ranch complex on Clairmont Mesa) has closed.

Apr 21, 2013
zare_k in San Diego

Excellent Dishes in Unexpected Places

I don't really think of Super Cocina as being in the same class, because while the ambiance is certainly unassuming just about all of the dishes are (IME) at least pretty good.

Mar 30, 2013
zare_k in San Diego

Excellent Dishes in Unexpected Places

I am interested in examples of excellent dishes found in unexpected places-- the kind of place where the rest of the menu is indifferent at best, and the restaurant itself certainly doesn't look like anything special. I'm thinking of something like the pozole at Taqueria El Rodeo in City Heights, which I only discovered it because I used to live down the street. The menu looks pretty much like San Diego Standard Taco Shop and everything else I ever tried there was just okay. The pozole, though, is always good-- tender pork and hominy in a mild but rich broth, served with fresh chopped onions and cilantro, some shredded cabbage, and a nicely ripened half avocado.

What are your favorite unexpected finds?

Mar 30, 2013
zare_k in San Diego

Chula Vista to North Park

A few more suggestions for Chula Vista:
- Spicy shrimp tacos and ceviche at Mariscos El Pescador, located in the Toys 'R' Us parking lot off of L street
- Adobada tacos at Tacos El Gordo on H St. Lengua is usually good there too.
- Barbacoa de chivo at El Comal on Broadway
- Shrimp cocktail and pulpo a la diabla at the restaurant that shares space with the gas station at 3733 Main St (sorry, I can never remember what it's actually called).

Mar 25, 2013
zare_k in San Diego

Favorite weekend breakfast/brunch spots. . .

Lovely Spouse and I generally prefer to brunch within the confines of Greater Snorthpark Heightscrest, our home neighborhood:
- Hanna's Gourmet
- Cafe 21
- Bleu Boheme
- Minh Ky
- Pho Hoa
- El Borrego

Dec 13, 2012
zare_k in San Diego

Weekday Happy Hour Near Chula Vista Waterfront

I have been asked to suggest a venue for a coworker happy hour on a weekday afternoon/evening this month. Our office is in Chula Vista near the bay, and I would like to avoid a long drive or any place where parking will be a real challenge-- probably no further north than I-8. We are primarily a group of nerdy engineer/IT types and are looking for well-crafted appetizers, interesting cocktails, and a good beer list. Relatively quiet atmosphere would be a definite plus, extra points for scenic location.

Nov 20, 2012
zare_k in San Diego

I need me some soup (92101)

If you are willing to venture east into City Heights:
- Lamb consomme at El Borrego Restaurant
- Pozole at El Rodeo Taqueria
- Pho at Pho Hoa
- Soup noodles at Minh Ky

(All along El Cajon Blvd.)

Nov 09, 2012
zare_k in San Diego

Sab-E-Lee dishes I should order?

Our standby dishes are the salty fish fried rice, duck larb, spicy raw beef, red curry, and pork leg with spicy basil sauce.

Sep 27, 2012
zare_k in San Diego

Akinori Sushi in Hillcrest

Well, not to put too fine a point on it but the couple of times I ate scallops as a kid I got rather violently ill afterwards. I don't have any reason to think that they had gone bad or were not prepared correctly on those occasions so I have just avoided them ever since. I have no trouble eating shellfish otherwise. My partner, however, is quite allergic.

Sep 13, 2012
zare_k in San Diego

Akinori Sushi in Hillcrest

I ate at Akinori Sushi for the first time last week. I opted for the 5 course omakase, and the meal itself was delightful both in flavor and presentation. A few highlights:

- Crisp, slightly salty-sweet clam
- Halibut with ghost pepper salt
- Live shrimp
- Luscious hamachi
- Perfectly al dente soba noodles with a pesto sauce
- Delicate miso soup with tiny clams in the shell-- a perfect finishing course

Unfortunately, on my visit the service was a bit rough. It was later in the evening on a weekday and the restaurant was quiet, with a few other people sitting at the bar and perhaps two or three tables occupied at any given time. A server took my order at the bar, and she seemed uncertain about how to process my request that the chef guide the meal. When we arrived at the omakase listing on the menu, she asked (with perhaps a hint of skepticism) whether I was okay with the cost, the duration, and the amount of food.

People with food allergies or strict dietary rules may wish to be cautious here. I communicated to the server that I do not eat scallops, and the chef confirmed this with me. However, one of my courses was originally presented with scallops (a "cocktail" of layered salty plum sauce, cucumber sauce, scallops, and salmon roe) and when I reminded him of this restriction I was a bit taken aback to watch his assistant carefully remove the scallops from the dish and simply replace them with pieces of squid.

At some point in the evening one or both of the servers made a mistake that cost the restaurant money, and I sat awkwardly as the chef upbraided them at some length (albeit not unkindly) for the error.

As I said, the food was excellent-- certainly on par with Kaito and quite reasonably priced given the quality of the ingredients and presentation-- but the service issues detracted somewhat from the evening. I hope it's just a temporary problem with less experienced staff and a fairly recent opening.

Sep 10, 2012
zare_k in San Diego

Niu Rou Juan Bing / 牛 肉 捲 餅 (Scallion pancake rolled with beef)

Do you recall the brand of the pancake?

Aug 10, 2012
zare_k in San Diego

Niu Rou Juan Bing / 牛 肉 捲 餅 (Scallion pancake rolled with beef)

Who makes the best niu rou juan bing in San Diego? I recently tried the version at Liang's Kitchen, and while the pancake was pretty good (a little crispy, not too oily) the beef was dry and bland. Overall it was not very satisfying, but I don't want to have to drive all the way to San Gabriel Valley just to satisfy a snack craving.

Aug 09, 2012
zare_k in San Diego


Unfortunately, to my knowledge there is none to be had here.

Jun 16, 2012
zare_k in San Diego

Live seafood in the South Bay

Thanks for the suggestion-- however, this market does not have live tanks.

Feb 16, 2012
zare_k in San Diego

Live seafood in the South Bay

What is the best market for live seafood (crab in particular) in the South Bay? I usually go to 99 Ranch for this, but since I started working in Chula Vista it's not really convenient for me to get up there on a weeknight. Looking for someplace south of 8, and preferably closer to 5 or 805 rather than out in Bonita or Eastlake.

Feb 13, 2012
zare_k in San Diego

what are your favorite places on (or off) adams ave?

We have been enjoying the weekend brunch at Bleu Boheme in Kensington-- the eggs benedict with duck that I had yesterday was delicious.

Bleu Boheme
4090 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116

Aug 07, 2011
zare_k in San Diego

Weekday Lunches in Chula Vista

I recently started working in Chula Vista and am seeking places to go out to for lunch during the week. So far I've tried (and enjoyed) Tacos El Gordo, Mariscos El Pescador, and Aqui es Texcoco. I'm especially interested in finding at least a couple of vegetarian or vegetarian-friendly restaurants as one of our group members does not eat meat. My office is located near the E Street exit off of 5, and I'm wiling to drive up to about 15 minutes one way.

Jul 09, 2011
zare_k in San Diego

What's a good San Diego Food Gift To Give Out of Towners?

+1 for Chuao and also Eclipse. My favorite chocolate bars from Chuao are the Spicy Maya and the Firecracker (the latter to my surprise I wasn't sure about the pop rocks). I also love their picante caramel which can be had in bonbon or ChocoPod format.

From Eclipse, I like the Moroccan Spice and Sea Salt Nib bars.

Apr 12, 2011
zare_k in San Diego

Need help deciding on a wedding caterer in San Diego

Pear Tree catered our wedding in 2008. The food was quite good (but in my opinion fell short of being great) and everything about the experience went smoothly. I would certainly consider working with them again.

Dec 21, 2010
zare_k in San Diego

Where can I buy a whole duck in SD?

99 Ranch has whole, unfrozen ducks that run about $15.

Sep 22, 2010
zare_k in San Diego