Bushfire Kitchen

Don’t forget to enter my Foster Farms giveaway!

Bushfire Kitchen is a cafeteria-style fast casual restaurant located in Carlsbad/La Costa. We recently were invited for a tasting, which we gladly accepted.

Bushfire Kitchen 

The restaurant is located in a large plaza, next to Vons. I really liked the little fountain right in front!

Bushfire Kitchen was opened by cousins Brandon and Clive, who are originally from South Africa and opened up the first location in Temecula. The original idea for the restaurant in Temecula was for people to be able to get a nice, wholesome meal for take-out – and eventually it extended into this cafeteria-style restaurant in La Costa. We met with Eddie, the manager, who was really nice and enthusiastic, and had a wonderful passion for food and his customers.

Bushfire Kitchen Bushfire Kitchen 
Bushfire Kitchen

I also enjoyed the simple, rustic decor. The menu is listed on the board above the glass displays, which you can also find online here.

Bushfire Kitchen 
Bushfire Kitchen 

There was Batch Craft Soda, as well as beer and wines on tap. There were also house-made iced tea as well as hibiscus lemonade (not pictured). I tried the iced tea and sweetened it with a bit of agave syrup, which was quite good!

Salad Sampler
Bushfire Kitchen - Salad Sampler 

Eddie said that he would just send out some items for us to sample. The first thing to arrive was this beautiful platter of types of salads: mixed greens, Greek, kaleslaw, and quinoa. I enjoyed all of them, particularly the beets in the quinoa salad, and the kaleslaw, which I can honestly say is the best rendition of kaleslaw that I’ve ever had.

The salad was served with a house-made focaccia bread, which was amazing. It’s served with a green onion dipping sauce, which worked really well with the bread – probably because it paired well with the nuts and seeds on the bread.

California Burger with Sweet Potato Fries
Bushfire Kitchen - California Burger 

The California burger features a house-ground, organic and grass-fed beef patty, sharp cheddar cheese, arugula, avocado, and basil pesto aioli. …

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Ballast Point Brewing Company

Don’t forget to enter my Foster Farms giveaway! Ends Thursday, Sep 3 at 11:59PM!

Ballast Point is one of the most famous microbreweries in San Diego, and also one of our favorites! They’ve been expanding from their original tasting room in Scripps Ranch for the past couple of years, including a large brewery restaurant on Miramar. We’ve actually visited several times already, but this is my first post on BP since I remembered to take photos!

Ballast Point Ballast Point

Being science geeks (and beer lovers), we love seeing these giant fermentors.

Ballast Point Ballast Point

The tap list here is constantly changing, since they are always experimenting with new flavors. Of course, you’ll always be able to find Sculpin IPA (and several flavored versions such as grapefruit, tangerine, and habanero) and Victory at Sea, but I always like trying their R&D flavors. S had the “Calm Before the Storm”, a cream ale with Caffe Calabria coffee and vanilla. It was really refreshing and delicious. I tried a R&D beer that included peaches and watermelon – it was really fruity, which S hates, but I quite enjoyed it hehe.

TRUFFLE FRIES [$8]
Ballast Point

The truffle fries were ultra crispy and were drizzled with white truffle oil and topped with parmesan cheese. I never noticed until recently that truffle fries are often paired with cheese, which I actually don’t like because I think the cheese overwhelms the truffle flavor. But I liked these fries, mostly because they’re super crispy.

PORK BELLY & PEACHES [$8]Ballast Point

As the name suggests, this dish pairs crispy pork belly with grilled peaches, and serves them with arugula, ricotta salata (a firm, pressed and dried version of ricotta), and five-spice balsamic honey. The pork belly was wonderfully tender and paired well with the peaches. I liked the cheese and arugula and thought that they added a good amount of saltiness and bitterness to the dish to offset the peaches and honey, but one of our friends still thought that this was on the sweet side.

CRISPY DUCK NACHOS [$15]Ballast Point

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Baked Turkey Meatballs & Foster Farms Giveaway

I’m always learning to incorporate new and different ingredients in my cooking, and recently I had an opportunity to try out Foster Farms’ organic ground turkey. Ground turkey is not something that you see at all in Chinese cuisine, so I asked some of my friends for recipe suggestions.

Foster Farms Ground Turkey

One of them mentioned turkey meatballs, which sounded good to me – I’ve made ground pork and ground beef versions, so I modified a baked meatball recipe that I’ve used before.

Baked turkey meatballs

Baked turkey meatballs

The meatballs turned out really nicely. We ate them on their own, but I am planning to make another batch for spaghetti and meatballs!

Baked turkey meatballs

Foster Farms’ organic ground turkey is free of antibiotics, added hormones, or artificial enhancers. I like their chicken products and am glad to see the new turkey offerings! There is also a new line of all-natural sliced turkey lunchmeat. S and I don’t make sandwiches often, but I’m already thinking of ways to use sliced turkey in appetizers.

For a chance to try out Foster Farms’ turkey products for free, I am hosting a giveaway for ground turkey and sliced turkey vouchers! To enter, follow the instructions on the PromoSimple box at the bottom of this post. Good luck!

Disclaimer: I received a voucher for a free pack of Foster Farms ground turkey and free sliced turkey lunchmeat. The vouchers for the giveaway are provided by Foster Farms. I was not otherwise compensated for this post, and the recipe and writings are my own.

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[Boston] Legal Sea Foods

On our recent travels to Boston, we hit up one of the most famous seafood restaurants, Legal Sea Foods. We met several of our good friends here and had a wonderful group dinner.

Legal Sea Foods

There are actually several locations throughout Boston and Cambridge. We visited the Park Square branch, which had a really nice interior. S had also visited the one by MIT before on a previous trip.

OYSTERS ON THE HALF SHELL
Legal Sea Foods

We started the meal with a half-dozen oysters – we tried two varieties, one that’s slightly brinier and another that’s a bit more fishy. These oysters were delicious, but so far nothing has been as amazing as the fresh oysters I’ve had from the oyster farm in Tomales Bay.

CLAM CHOWDER
Legal Sea Foods

The most famous item here (according to S) is the clam chowder. I’m normally not a big fan of white clam chowder, but I must admit that this was really good. Smooth, creamy, with just the right amount of clams to add a touch of saltiness and seafood flavor.

LOBSTER BAKE
Legal Sea Foods

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World Curry (20th Anniversary)

World Curry has been thriving in Pacific Beach for 20 years! To celebrate, they are featuring a special $20 menu that will run for 20 days, from August 10-30. We were invited to attend their 20th year celebration, but since S and I were out of town during the party, we went for a separate dinner, together with our friend A.

World Curry 

World Curry 

We rarely venture out to Pacific Beach because of traffic and parking difficulties, but I’m always reminded of how many great restaurants are here every time I visit.

THAI ICED TEA [$3]
Thai Iced Tea 

I started off with a refreshing Thai iced tea. I love the sweetened condensed milk and fragrant Thai tea and could seriously drink this all day.

Here is the special menu being offered for the 20 year celebration. You can also see their regular menu (with all of the curry varieties) here.

Menu 

SALAD
Salad 

The curries came with a side salad to start – made with lettuce, cabbage, and a special house dressing that includes lime juice and tahini. I really enjoyed this, but S found this a bit too tart for his liking.

APPETIZER COMBINATION: NAAN, TIKKA TACO, PHALL POPPER, VEGETABLE PAKORA
Appetizer Combination

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Misc Pics Post, August edition

I realized that I have a smattering of photos from the past many months that never made it into full posts… So, I decided to do one of these “cleaning-out-the-memory-card (as Kirk of mmm-yoso calls it, “COMC”) posts. I’ve also included links to previous posts on some of these places!

PORK BELLY APP & SNACKSHACK PORK BURGER from Carnitas’ Snack Shack:Carnitas' Snack Shack Carnitas' Snack Shack

Carnitas’ Snack Shack is one of our favorite casual restaurants in San Diego. The pork belly app and pork burger, pictured above, are my two go-to items here, although we pretty much enjoy everything that we’ve tried on the menu.

Carnitas’ Snack Shack
Locations in North Park and Del Mar
http://carnitassnackshack.com

ZARU SOBA from Hinotez:
Hinotez

With all the hot weather lately, I’ve been craving cold noodles nearly everyday. …

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[Raleigh/Durham] The Pit BBQ

Earlier this year, S and I returned to our alma mater for our 5th year college reunion. Even though we love California, we’ve also really missed Duke, Durham, and the South in general. Needless to say, we planned a bunch of good ol’ Southern meals, including barbecue. 

If you’ve ever talked to S or me in person, one of us has probably given you a long spiel on all the different styles and varieties of barbecue across the country. (Sorry, if you’ve heard this speech several times; we get really excited about it.) I’ll spare you the long version and simply say that North Carolinian barbecue is quite different from Texas or Kansas City or Memphis – in NC, it’s all about the hog. There are even two distinct styles within North Carolina – Eastern and Western. Eastern style is chopped smoked whole hog, served with a vinegar and pepper barbecue sauce. Western, or Lexington style, is smoked pork shoulder, either sliced or chopped, and served with a tomato and vinegar-based BBQ sauce.

The Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) area where we used to live was a crossroad of sorts, and plenty of restaurants served both styles of NC barbecue. On our trip, we visited one of the area’s most famous barbecue joints, The Pit BBQ. There are locations in both Raleigh and Durham (recently opened), and we actually hit up both of them because it was so good!

The Pit Raleigh 

The Pit features both Eastern chopped barbecue and Lexington pulled pork. On our first visit, we decided to go with their signature, the Eastern chopped barbecue.

CHOPPED BARBECUE – EASTERN NC STYLE
The Pit Raleigh 

The pork was SO GOOD. It’s not as smoky as, say, Texas barbecue – but the meat is tender, with just enough smokiness, mixed with vinegar and pepper flakes to provide a mildly spicy and tangy flavor. You really can’t find that vinegar-pepper barbecue sauce anywhere else. 

CAROLINA STYLE RIBS (SPARE RIBS)The Pit Raleigh 

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Savoie Eatery

Savoie Eatery is a French and Italian restaurant, part of Karina’s Group. Recently, Chef Mikel Anthony took over the kitchen, and we were invited to a “Meet the Chef” dinner to experience the new menu.

Savoie

The restaurant is located in the Otay Ranch Town Center in Chula Vista. It was a bit of a drive for us, especially since we were heading southbound during peak traffic hour, and we were quite happy to finally arrive at our destination. We were led to the restaurant’s beautiful patio, where a big table was set up for the dinner.

Savoie

We milled around a bit at first and chatted with some of the other guests. S and I are still relatively new to San Diego compared with some of the other people we met there, and it was really cool to hear about some of the city’s history.

This was a wine-pairing dinner, but S and I don’t know much about wine. All I know is that the wines came from Quigley Fine Wines, which sells directly to customers and had the coolest sommelier. We enjoyed all four of the wines provided – I didn’t drink much since I was the driver that night, but I was really surprised that S liked them so much since he normally doesn’t like wine at all!

Savoie 

The menu for the evening was quite impressive – the food was Mediterranean-influenced, featuring dishes from France, Italy, and Spain. Chef Mikel gave an introduction to the restaurant, and he also introduced each dish of the night as it was served.

PATATAS BRAVAS & BLISTERED SHISHITO PEPPERS
Savoie 

Savoie 

Our first two courses were the Patatas Bravas (sautéed potatoes) and Blistered Shiso Peppers. The potatoes were served with a spicy tomato sauce and ancho aioli, and these had a nice and spicy kick! I haven’t been impressed by too many places around San Diego that claim to be spicy (with the exception of a few Thai restaurants), so I was pleasantly surprised by the heat. The shishito peppers were cooked until they were slightly shriveled, and served with a tangy and creamy buttermilk thyme dressing.

PULPO TWO WAYS
Savoie 

Savoie 

Octopus seems to be the new trend – I’ve been seeing it on menus more and more frequently lately. Here, it was prepared two ways: first, as a carpaccio, topped with tentacle gremolata, Calabrian chile and oil, arugula, and ancho aioli. I loved that while this dish was so flavorful, the delicate octopus wasn’t overpowered. The second preparation was a braised and grilled tentacle, served with a morita chile pesto sauce and cacahuates, or peanuts. This, too, was delicious and showcased the octopus in an entirely different way. The peanuts provided a nice, crunchy textural contrast to the tender octopus. 

CAMBERI PICANTE
Savoie 

Next up was a sautéed shrimp, coated with a Romesco sauce made with roasted piquillo peppers and topped with chili flakes, a touch of Parmesan, and feta cheese. The shrimp was perfectly cooked, and again, I loved the bold yet balanced flavor of the sauce. Bonus – since S doesn’t eat shrimp, he gave his shrimp to me! I said that it’s a good trade-off for us – I get his shrimp, and he gets my wine – and someone immediately responded that only a “true foodie” would give up wine for shrimp, hehe.

MAILLARD SCALLOP
Savoie 

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Mess Royale revisit

Mess Royale, which opened earlier this year, is a genuine “poutinery” that serves up some delicious poutine and other Montreal eats. We first visited a couple of months ago, but made another visit lately and tried some new items. On the day we visited, there was a special for items with bacon – I believe it was $2 off, which is a pretty great deal. So, we focused on bacon items.

BABE [$11.5]
Mess Royale 

The “Babe” is pretty simple – poutine with bacon. I really enjoyed the light smokiness of the bacon paired with the cheese curds, fries, and gravy. The sprinkling of chives on top was also quite nice and gave it a bit of a refreshing taste. 

MORNING RECOVERY [$11.5]
Mess Royale 

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El Agave Tequileria

El Agave Tequileria, located in the Old Town neighborhood of San Diego, recently rolled out an “artisanal taco menu” available for lunch, and S and I were invited to check it out.

El Agave

The first thing we noticed when we walked in was – there is a lot of tequila in this restaurant!

El AgaveEl AgaveEl Agave

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