C Level

This post is way behind – from two months ago, to be exact. It was our friend A’s birthday, and she requested C Level for her birthday dinner. C Level actually shares the same space as the fancier Island Prime, and both belong to the Cohn Restaurant Group which has a pretty big presence in San Diego.

_DSC1770

Being the more casual of the two adjoining restaurants, C Level does not accept reservations. Good thing A’s birthday falls on a Monday – and we were seated without having to wait at all.

Oysters on the Half Shell

Oysters on the Half Shell [$12/half-dozen]

We started out with half dozen oysters, served with a raspberry mignonette and a fire-roasted cocktail sauce. The oysters were fresh and briny, and we really enjoyed them.

Kemo Sabe's Famous Black & White Sesame Salmon [$29]

Kemo Sabe’s Famous Black & White Sesame Salmon [$29]

A chose the sesame-crusted salmon for her entrée. It was served with wasabi mashed potatoes, wilted arugula & baby spinach, pickled cucumber salsa, and a soy sauce reduction. As you can tell from the description, this dish had a heavy Asian flavor influence. The salmon was cooked really nicely, although the sesame seed crust was falling off. My favorite part was actually the wasabi-infused mashed potatoes. I’ll have to try that at home next time.

Chef Deborah's Filet Burger [$18]

Chef Deborah’s Filet Burger [$18]

Continue reading →

Myung In Dumplings

Myung In Dumplings is a Los Angeles-based chain that opened its first San Diego outpost a couple of months ago. I’ve never had Chinese-Korean dumplings and wanted to try it out.

_DSC1791

Shortly after being seated, we were given some complimentary side dishes – pickled radish and kimchi. They weren’t the best, but I’m not being too picky.

_DSC1794

Myung In’s specialty is, obviously, dumplings but also mandu – basically Chinese steamed buns. We ordered some of each.

Boiled Dumpling with Pork & Vegetable [$8]

Boiled Dumpling with Pork & Vegetable [$8]

Boiled Dumpling with Kimchi & Pork [$8]

Boiled Dumpling with Kimchi & Pork [$8]

Continue reading →

Vessel Restaurant

S and I first visited Vessel Restaurant at the Kona Kai Resort during a media preview dinner last year, and we had an absolutely wonderful experience. We were lucky enough to be invited again for a summer menu preview a couple of weeks ago, and of course we happily obliged.

_DSC2430

The tables were set beautifully in the private dining area. This was to be a beer-pairing dinner, and the four beer tasters were already prepared.

_DSC2427

Sorry for the blurry photo. I guess my camera (and I) decided to focus on the butter in the back instead, haha. The four beers that we tasted were: Alesmith .394 Pale Ale, Refuge Blood Orange Belgian Ale, Stone Delicious IPA, and Maui Coconut Porter. Out of the four, I really enjoyed the Blood Orange Belgian and the Coconut Porter – which was also S’s favorite.

After catching up with some blogger buddies and making some new friends, we were hungry for dinner! There were a few baskets of asiago cheese rolls, which were awesome, and I really had to stop myself from eating, like, 6 of them. 

_DSC2432

This was our menu for the evening… and also why I reminded myself not to eat too much bread.

_DSC2431

48-Hour Pork Belly

48-Hour Pork Belly; Beer: Maui Coconut Porter

Our meal started out with a 48-hour roasted pork belly. It was so incredibly tender and simply melted in your mouth. It was served with plantain powder, sweet potato spaetzle, and a mole sauce with anise and chocolate. The mole sauce really did it for me – the bitterness and sweetness really complemented the pork belly well.

Roasted Pear

Roasted Pear; Beer: Alesmith .394 Pale Ale

After the pork belly, we were given a simple roasted pear. But don’t be deceived by its simplicity – this was packed with flavor. I loved the caramel notes in the roasted pear, and the cheese was actually a blue Stilton (the chef wasn’t able to get Roquefort). I enjoyed the floral notes in the dish but couldn’t taste much of the black pepper in the vinaigrette.

Corn Dusted Albacore

Corn Dusted Albacore; Beer: Refuge Blood Orange Belgian Ale

I was looking forward to this dish, given that I have a corn obsession. The albacore was fresh and seared lightly. It was served with a savory bacon powder and onion jam – I really enjoyed the sweet and salty interplay. This dish was additionally paired with a serrano-corn custard, which I found to be too sweet and not spicy enough. I liked the fresh corn at the bottom of the custard, though.

Dry-Aged Ribeye

Dry-Aged Ribeye; Beer: Stone Delicious IPA

Continue reading →

Snacks Series: LALA Yogurt Smoothies

It’s been a while since I’ve done a yogurt snacks series… Mostly because we’ve sort of stopped trying new brands and just stuck to our favorites. But recently I was given the opportunity to try out LALA Yogurt Smoothies. LALA is a dairy products company in Latin America, and has recently expanded their products to supermarkets in Southern California and will soon launch in Texas.

_DSC2473

I tried three different flavors of LALA yogurt smoothies – Creamy Coconut, Mango, and Strawberry. There are a ton of other flavors, too – you can see the whole list here. I really wanted to try the Piña Colada, but couldn’t find it at the Ralph’s closest to me. *Sadface*

_DSC2476

Continue reading →

Regents Pizzeria

Don’t forget to enter my KRAVE jerky giveaway!

Regents Pizzeria is our go-to pizza parlor – it’s close to our home and serves up really good pizza. (Then again, I’m not from a pizza city, nor am I a connoisseur of pizza, but other New Yorkers I know really endorse this place!) It used to be just a small shop, but has recently expanded to a huge space, featuring many beers on tap, big-screen TVs, and a patio.

_DSC1753

I couldn’t get a great picture of the interior, though, because it was pretty crowded when I visited.

_DSC1754

Like I said… tons of beers on tap! (I wasn’t feeling like drinking that day, though, so I passed up on the alcohol.)

S, myself, and our friends ordered several slices. We could have also done a large, I guess, but each of us wanted some variety.

Pizza Pazza & Milano

Pizza Pazza & Milano

These are two of my favorite pizzas from Regents. Continue reading →

Sharetea

Sharetea is a Taiwanese bubble tea franchise that recently opened in San Diego. I’ve had their milk tea in Berkeley before and was excited to hear that they were expanding to SD!

_DSC2426

Our first visit was on Grand Opening Day, June 1. The special promo was buy 1 get 1 free – but it wasn’t until we were close to the front of the line that we learned the free drink was limited to the classic milk tea with tapioca. I didn’t mind too much, but I can imagine some customers feeling misled.

_DSC2463

This mural looks like it was done by the same artist as the one from Infini Tea. There is a little tapioca pearl dressed in the cultural outfit for each of the countries where there’s a Sharetea franchise!

_DSC2466

My favorite was obviously the koala tapioca pearl, representing Australia.

On our first visit, we tried the Okinawa (brown sugar) milk tea, which was quite tasty. But the wait time for the drinks was over half an hour – just for milk tea! It didn’t seem like their line was very optimized, and a bit chaotic. But it was grand opening day, so I sort of expected it.

We returned about a week later, around 10pm on a Saturday night.

_DSC2468

Continue reading →

Snacks Series: KRAVE Jerky & Giveaway!

Don’t forget to enter my other giveaway for McDonald’s Arch Cards!

Did you know that June 12 is National Jerky Day? I certainly didn’t until a few weeks ago, but it sure made me excited because I love jerky. As a kid, I was always a meat-lover over desserts and candy, so needless to say one of my favorite snacks was beef jerky. Now I have a greater appreciation for fruits, vegetables, and sweet things, but just take a look at how many Korean BBQ posts I have and you’ll realize that I’m still a carnivore at heart.

One of my favorite brands of jerky nowadays is KRAVE Jerky. I was initially drawn to it because of the colorful packaging and intriguing flavors, such as black cherry barbecue and lemon garlic! And recently, I was contacted by the company and received some samples – including some flavors that I’ve never tried before!

 _DSC2496

See? Doesn’t the beautiful packaging just draw you in?

_DSC2499

I’m looking forward to trying the pineapple orange, which I’ve never had before. Out of all the flavors that I’ve had, my favorites are the black cherry barbecue pork jerky, the sweet chipotle beef jerky, and the basil citrus turkey jerky.

Continue reading →

Mess Royale

Don’t forget to enter my McDonald’s Arch Card giveaway!

Mess Royale, San Diego’s first “poutinery,” opened up a couple of months ago in Hillcrest. I’ve never had really good poutine before, so of course I wanted to go check it out, and we went with our friend A, who has spent some time in Canada before and would serve as our judge.

_DSC1984

The owner is a Montreal native, Hugo Tassone, and he chatted with us a bit during our visit. We learned that the cheese curds in the poutine are from Wisconsin, and he ships in his Montreal-style bagels from St-Viateur Bagels.

Smoked Salmon Bagel [$12]

Smoked Salmon Bagel [$12]

These sesame-topped bagels were quite delicious. They’re smaller and taste lighter and crispier than New York-style bagels to me (full disclosure here that I am not from NY). I loved the Norwegian smoked salmon used here, and there was just the right amount of cream cheese and capers. The only thing that I wasn’t a huge fan of was the red onions, which had quite a bite – but I wasn’t a huge fan of raw onions to begin with. The bagels are served with a small side salad, dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.

Of course, we also tried the poutine:

OG: Original Montreal Poutine [$8.5]

OG: Original Montreal Poutine [$8.5]

The original is plain and simple: hand-cut fries, “Mess Royale” gravy, and cheese curds. Continue reading →

McDonald’s All-Day Breakfast Giveaway

S and I love McDonald’s breakfast, especially the sausage egg McMuffin. Ever since leaving the South, we’ve really missed breakfast sausage patties, but thankfully we can still count on McD’s. We used to miss the 10:30AM cutoff all the time, though, and have always wished for all-day breakfast. Now, our dreams have come true!

SD-Breakfast-MCD

All-day breakfast launched about a month and a half ago, and since then, I’ve stopped by a couple of times to order breakfast for dinner!

_DSC2470

I was so happy to be able to get my favorite Sausage Egg McMuffin and the signature hash brown at 9PM, hehe.

_DSC2472

To celebrate the launch of McDonald’s all-day breakfast, I’m hosting a giveaway! I’ll select two winners – first place will receive a $5 Arch Card and a T-shirt, and second place will receive a $5 Arch Card. Continue reading →

[Los Angeles/Koreatown] Commissary

Ever since I watched the movie Chef, I’ve been interested in trying out one of Roy Choi’s restaurants and/or food trucks. For one reason or another, though, we never had the chance to stop by the Kogi taco truck yet on our LA visits… But we did get to have brunch at Commissary, another one of his restaurants. Actually, the intended plan was to have lunch at POT, but once we arrived we discovered that it was no longer serving lunch (*sob*) and we decided to check out Commissary instead since they are both located inside the Line Hotel (another one of Roy Choi’s projects).

_DSC1593

_DSC1587 

Commissary is basically a greenhouse, and it was pretty hot on the day that we visited so it definitely wasn’t super comfortable. But the concept of the restaurant is pretty cool – a focus on fruits and vegetables and farm-to-table dining.

_DSC1592 

Their water glasses are so pretty! I have a mug/cup obsession and our cabinet is filled to the brim with different mugs, cups, glasses, etc. We’re pretty much out of space for them, but I don’t know if I’d be able to resist if I saw these glasses for sale somewhere.

Cocktail menu

Cocktail menu

Our friend A was intrigued by the “Asian Pear” cocktail and decided to try one. Don’t judge us for day drinking… It was a weekend getaway, so basically vacation. 

Asian Pear cocktail [$14]

Asian Pear cocktail [$14]

To our surprise, the drink arrived in a to-go soup container. A was really put off by this, but I actually thought that it was kind of cute. The drink itself was quite refreshing, with the subtle ginger flavor coming through. The mochi ball on the toothpick was interesting, but A said that it had hardened by the end when she ate it.

Deviled Eggs [$8]

Deviled Eggs [$8]

We decided to share several items. S really likes deviled eggs, so we ordered them (even though I felt they were overpriced). They were pretty good, though – I liked the flavor of the dill and chives mixed in with the egg yolks.

OUR Eggs [$14]

OUR Eggs [$14]

Commissary calls this dish “OUR Eggs” – it’s their standard breakfast plate with two eggs any style (we chose over-well), hash browns,  choice of sausage or bacon, and toast (not pictured). The hash browns were actually pretty good, although they were not super crispy, it reminded me more of a potato pancake rather than hash browns. The sausage was very flavorful – not as good as a sausage patty, but still, pretty good.

Brioche Eggs Benedict [$17]

Brioche Eggs Benedict [$17]

Continue reading →