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San Diego: Bell'agio Ristorante Tierrasanta

Little high-end priced for its location, but a longtime favorite. I can't recall a bad meal there, and the specials are almost always great.

Haven't made it in lately, so I hope it hasn't gone downhill.

Jun 30, 2008
ipe in California

San Diego Cheap Eats

The cheese pizza on deli the counter at Solunto's is also fantastic and cheap. $1.50 a slice. two's a light lunch.

Jul 12, 2007
ipe in San Diego

Casa de Madera - San Diego

I had an early dinner there today, and I have to say I found the results to be mixed.

The three salsas were all reasonably good (the "hot" wasn't so hot as I was warned, though still clearly over the fence separating taste from heat. Did not care for the hard and dry chips.

The blood orange sangria I enjoyed. Not cloying sweet, with a welcome cinnamon note.

Appetizer was the queso oregano, which was a huge amount of cheese for an appetizer, much more than the small tortillas could put a dent in. It was, though, perfect cheese. Rich and salty, laced with garlic.

My main course was the mole poblano. I tend to order mole at new restaurants whenever it's offered as a test dish; theirs was upper-tier, a good heat without overpowering the subtler elements. The chicken it was covering was a bit dry. It may have been a service problem, as they had been overdue in bringing it -- and for which my waiter apologized.

Dessert was the leche con arroz. With the diced mango on top, it reminded me of thai sticky rice, and suffered for the comparison. While my waiter described it as a pudding, it was a lot closer to the literal translation . Rice with milk. The strawberry on the plate was the best part.

I was told after I asked for my check that the chocolate tamales are the best dessert, but they were out.

Presentation was uniformly lovely, and the entree snafu aside (a big gaffe, I admit) the service was solid.

I like what the place is trying to do, but with only a few weeks under their belt, they still have some ground to cover before they arrive. I may give them another chance down the road.

Jul 09, 2007
ipe in California

Bangkok Spice on El Cajon - San Diego

I live nearby and gave it a take-out try. Just basics: Pad Thai and Tom Kha. Both were good, but not the best in town. Still, i'm glad to have a respectable Thai option very close at hand.

Jun 23, 2007
ipe in California

SD: What to order at Jayne's Gastropub

I've been there several times with friends, and between us we've been through everything but the steak, ribs, and schnitzel. So far nothing has disappointed, so you should be safe to follow your mood. My personal favorite has been the halibut.

The desserts are all quite good; save room!

Apr 20, 2007
ipe in California

Near San Diego State

Very good sandwiches at La torta, well within walking distance near the main entrance. Tons of food, very casual, and pretty cheap.

Apr 19, 2007
ipe in San Diego

Yoshino Japanese on Washington

I last ate there about four or five years ago, it was solid if unspectacular Japanese food -- teriyaki, noodles, etc. I'd probably go there once in awhile if I lived in walking distance.

Apr 19, 2007
ipe in California

Anyone Tried Cantina Mayahuel in Normal Heights SD?

I went in today after a few pass-bys, since it's just down the block. Seems to have built up a fairly good repeat business, as I was in not long after opening and there were already six or seven regulars (+/- friends) at the bar and shortly after a large party began trickling in. It had a friendly neighborhood feel.

I hadn't seen how large the tacos were, so I ordered a chicken torta. After I ordered, the regulars' food began to come out and a single taco would probably have been enough for a lunch. The torta was well seasoned with treatments of pineapple juice, chipotle, mexican crema, and ancho mayo-- a lot more trouble than most places serving tortas would go through. It paid off with a range of flavors that still didn't overpower the chicken. A very good torta. Most of the taco or torta variations have a similar treatment.

Definitely wish I'd stopped in for dinner on friday to try the mole.

Mar 25, 2007
ipe in San Diego

gems at Trader Joe's

My current favorite is the frozen Chimichurri Rice. Add any protein and you have a very nice fast dinner.

Mar 20, 2007
ipe in Chains

Looking for two sandwiches

Dakota, in the gaslamp, offers a classic Monte Cristo (at least at lunch).

I'd not had one in years (having been introduced to the sandwich, as so many have, by the Blue Bayou in Disneyland), and this was better than the few other renditions I've tried since -- most of those have been at chains.

It is very heavy, though, and i could scarcely approach finishing it -- much less the fries it came with.

Mar 16, 2007
ipe in California

NY/SF style Chinese food in San Diego

It's a shame the wok disappointed you so much. The cashew chicken, lemon chicken, and hunan beef. (or, in recent years, hunan chicken too) have been take-out staples of mine for years. They're not immune to the occasional off night, though, and I've had bad meals -- but I'd say less than five in about twenty years.

I would definitely second it as a decent example of the Jimmy Wong's genre of chinese, though I can't remember much about their noodles.

Mar 09, 2007
ipe in San Diego

Stone Brewing World Garden & Bistro (it's a long one)

I went there for dinner a couple of weeks ago. It was early (before six) and there seemed to be a huge amount of staff for the number of cusotmers. At any rate, the food arrived quickly (almost, as they say, too quickly).

The food was okay to good, and seemed a work in progress. The spud buds were my favorite part of the meal, and as noted they were only okay. My friend had the mac and cheese, which as it cooled was swimming in oil, and I had the Super Septuple Garlic Bomb Chicken, which didn't have anywhere near the garlic to merit the name. And while I usually don't notice presentation, this was one ugly dish. All the deserts that night seemed to be forcing the inclusion of beer as an ingredient and nothing appealed to either of us.

It felt promising, but was frequently undercut by new-restaurant jitters. I think I'll give them another chance some time down the road when more kinks are worked out.

Mar 02, 2007
ipe in California

Just Fabulous - San Diego

Sad. I had dinner there a couple of weeks back, before the doom was coming. Their corn chowder was very tasty on a cold day, though I did think the chicken was a tad dry. I took a PB mousse home and found it good.

I would've come back for the soup.

Feb 23, 2007
ipe in California

Coupons for San Diego restaurants

Tesoro is closed. Green Flash is standard on-the-beach seafood and such. Not bad, but nowhere to go to at full price (it was the first card I used). Gulf Coast, last I went (I believe chef or owner has changed since then) was good to good-plus.

Feb 15, 2007
ipe in California

Coupons for San Diego restaurants

I received a diner's deck for christmas (, which is 52 $10 coupons ($20 min purchase). It's most of the usual-suspects of neighborhoods and restaurants, but I've found it useful and, with one exception, worthwhile.

Oh, there are a couple of places that are closed now, but that's about par for Entertainment, too.

Feb 15, 2007
ipe in California

Beyond Ketchup and Mustard

Sriracha is good on anything (meat, eggs, as a dipping sauce) but chimichurri has also shown itself to be increasingly versatile.

Feb 11, 2007
ipe in Features

CAFE 2121 in San Diego

I tried breakfast there yesterday, the chicken crepes with strawberry salad. The crepes were deliciously prepared, with the chicken light yet filling. The salad is a perfect complement -- sweet and tart, soft and slightly crunchy from the pistachios. The pastries looked very interesting but I couldn't eat another bite; however I'll definitely be back soon.

Feb 03, 2007
ipe in California