Wa Dining Okan

I’ve been to Wa Dining Okan once for dinner, and while the food was really delicious, it turned out to be quite expensive since each dish was quite small. (Think Japanese tapas.) We ordered lots of little plates, and the costs added up pretty quickly. But our friend told us that their lunch is a set meal and quite a good deal. So, when my mother visited recently, we went together to check out their lunch options.


By the way, I learned that “Okan” is an informal term for “mom” in Japanese, fitting with the restaurant’s theme of Japanese “home-style” or “comfort” food.

There are actually quite a few options for lunch: rice bowls ($8, $9, or $10 options) and noodles (between $6.50 and $12). Each of us chose a rice bowl set meal, which includes your main dish of choice, three side dishes, miso soup, and rice. You could opt to substitute the regular rice with a “mini bowl” topping: salmon roe, beef, chopped pork, and mabo tofu.


Braised Pork Belly and Half Boiled Egg Set with Salmon Roe Rice [$10/set + $4/rice upgrade]

Braised Pork Belly with Boiled Egg

Braised Pork Belly and Half Boiled Egg

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The Original Sab-E-Lee (Rancho Penasquitos)

I recently got to check out the recently-opened Original Sab-E-Lee location in Rancho Penasquitos with some awesome people: Kirbie and DH, CC, and Carol. I love eating with food bloggers because everybody pulls out a camera as soon as the food arrives! And I don’t feel any pressure from dining companions to “hurry up and take a picture so we can start eating!”

S and I have visited the Sab-E-Lee location in Linda Vista before and really enjoyed our time there. However, we had ordered some “typical” Thai restaurant menu items such as curry and pad see ew, and this time I was ready to try out some new stuff. Everyone had great suggestions for what to try out.

Duck larb: duck grilled in spicy chili and lime sauce ($8.50)

Duck larb: duck grilled in spicy chili and lime sauce ($8.50)

Larb is one of those things that just sounds funny. I think it’s because I always want to say “lard”… but anyway,this is obviously not lard but a duck salad, mixed with chopped cilantro, onions, green onions, and dressed with fish sauce, chili, and lime juice. The duck meat was tender and thinly sliced, which allowed it to soak up the sauce, and I just loved the tangy flavors that lightened up the duck.

Beef jerky ($7.95)

Beef jerky ($7.95)

I’ve never had Thai beef jerky before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It was pretty chewy and actually somewhat bland without the accompanying sauce.

Crab noodles: pan-fried rice noodles with crab meat and eggs ($8.25)

Crab noodles: pan-fried rice noodles with crab meat and eggs ($8.25)

Since S doesn’t eat shellfish, we rarely order it when we go out since I like to share everything. …

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[Encinitas] Comfort food at Honey’s Bistro

It’s been a while since my last update.  I’ve got drafts piled up and finally have time to get to them.

I’ve been busy, but there should always be time for going to the spa with a girl friend.  But even better is the lunch afterwards :P  We were in Encinitas and decided to try out Honey’s Bistro, recommended by several people.

It was such a nice day and we got caught up in chatting that I forgot to take pictures of the interior and exterior… oops.  At least I remember to take photos of the food.

Order at the counter, and find a seat.  The menu was several pages long and a bit overwhelming – I really couldn’t make up my mind.  In the end, both of us ordered from the Specials chalkboard menu.

Santa Fe Omelette: chicken sausage, tomatoes, green onions, Ortega chilis, avocado on top.  Served with potato hash.  $9.25

Lobster eggs benedict: lobster, asparagus, green onions, homemade Hollandaise sauce.  Served with potato hash.  $10.95

Not the best photos in the world, but we were hungry and just wanted to dig in.  No time for multiple takes!

Both dishes were delicious – the omelette was soft and fluffy, and the ingredients were fresh.  I don’t normally like chicken sausage but this was really juicy and flavorful.  The lobster benedict eggs were poached perfectly.  The lobster was a bit over-seasoned, but overall really good.

But the real highlight of the dishes was the amazing potato hash.  The outside was browned to a crisp, tossed with green onions, and lightly salted.  Simple, and really really tasty.  It’s as good as the hash at The Mission, which is saying a lot because I loved it there.

Overall, I had a great time at Honey’s Bistro.  It’s a perfect place for a casual lunch, and they also have a few seats outdoors for a nice day.  And of course, the food is great.  Can’t beat that now, can ya?

Honey’s Bistro
632 S Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, CA
(760) 942-5433

[SD La Jolla] Lunch at Whisknladle

On the day that I left for my week-long vacation in Texas, SK and I had lunch in La Jolla, at Whisknladle.  Both of us have heard really good reviews about it, and we were super curious to try it out.  However, it’s on the pricey side, so we found an opportunity to head over for lunch!

(When SK suggested Whisknladle to me, I only had my cell phone, keys, and wallet with me… which means no camera pics. Boooo.)

The entrance to the restaurant is low-key but very… “organic” looking.  I like it.  By the way, most of the restaurant’s seating is in the patio area pictured right here; the bar and kitchen are indoors, but that’s about it.

The lunch menu was overall pretty light but a lot of variety, featuring a few different salads, sandwiches, pastas, and a couple of meat entrees.  It took forever to decide between the skirt steak salad, flatbread, and burger – but finally, this is what I chose:

Niman Ranch Cheese Burger with WNL garnish, $17

I ordered the burger with Whisknladle garnish, which means that it is served with bacon, Thousand-Island-like sauce, and an egg (yay!).  The meat-to-bun ratio was good, the garnish was fantastic, but unfortunately, the kitchen overcooked my burger – instead of being a nice, pink-ish medium, the burger was just past medium-well.  And really, if the meat wasn’t done properly, then I could not really say that it was a great burger.

SK ordered the rigatoni, and as usual, we switched plates halfway through the meal.

Rigatoni with fennel sausage, chino broccoli, chili & garlic, $17.50

I really enjoyed this – the fennel sausage was one of the best sausage I’ve had in a long time!  The pasta was also cooked nicely, and the sauce was hearty and flavorful, but not too heavy.  I also loved how the cheese was so finely grated that it simply melted into the sauce – yum!  I was pretty much ready to lick the plate clean.

The bottom line?  I had a great meal at Whisknladle.  Of course, if the burger had been cooked to medium, it would have been a perfect visit.  I am hoping that this was just a fluke in the busy kitchen, but I will shy away from the burger next time.  I am interested in trying their sister restaurant, Prepkitchen (locations in La Jolla, Little Italy, and Del Mar), which is cheaper but serves a similar-style food.

1044 Wall St., La Jolla, CA
(858) 551-7575


Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30AM-3PM
Dinner: Sun-Thu 5PM-9PM, Fri-Sat 5PM-10PM
Brunch: Sat-Sun 10AM-3PM
Bar menu: Daily 5pm-Close

[Quick Post] Fried Chicken Sandwich at Bakesale Betty’s

Fried chicken sandwich at Bakesale Betty’s in Oakland, CA.  Basically the best fried chicken sandwich on Earth.

Hidden delight at K Sandwiches (San Diego)

Sid and I wanted to try something new around Convoy St, and we decided upon K Sandwiches, a highly-rated (on Yelp) Vietnamese sandwich shop. We were skeptical of this place at first because, come on, how filling can a bahn mi be? But we were in for a surprise.

We discovered that K Sandwiches was not just a sandwich shop – it was actually a whole bakery! Which meant that the sandwich baguettes were baked freshly in the shop. They also made other pastries such as croissants and danishes, and Asian rice cakes. On another side of the shop was a hot bar, where you can get dumplings and rangoons in a lunch box.

We went for the sandwiches. There were about 10 different options – half of them with cold cuts and half with grilled meats. Sid ordered the #1, which had three different types of cold meats, and I went with the good ol’ grilled pork (#7).

Grilled pork sandwich @ K Sandwiches


They were pretty good. The baguettes were toasted and lightly buttered (which I love, but they also scratched the roof of my mouth – just an FYI), and the pork was very nicely grilled. It was filled with cilantro, jalapenos, and pickled radishes/carrots. I really liked it, and it was actually a pretty filling meal. Sid’s sandwich was also pretty good – the meats tasted great – but I still preferred my warm sandwich.

At $2.99 per sandwich, it was a fantastic deal. We were pleasantly surprised by this nice little lunch spot.

Pastalini (San Diego)

Sid has apparently wanted to try out Pastalini, a fast-casual pasta bar, so we went a couple of days ago. Upon entering, we were both reminded of the pasta bar in the Marketplace (or Great Hall) at Duke. You pick your noodles, sauce, meat, and veggies, and they cook it for you on the spot. Fortunately, the selections and food are much better than Great Hall… There were at least six different types of noodles: fettucine, bowtie, rigatoni, angel hair; or cheese tortellini, gnocchi, and whole wheat pasta (for an additional charge). There was also a wide variety of sauces, and you can taste any of the sauces. I tried the sun-dried tomato and immediately loved it. Sid tried the alfredo and said that it was good (nice and garlicky), but went with the pesto instead.

There were also several options for meat, and many different veggies. I eventually decided on pomegranate meatballs (although the Italian sausage was quite tempting), and roasted squash and mushrooms.

Preparing my food:

As you can tell, you can see everything that’s going on, which is pretty cool. They have 3 burners and had 2 going at a time. (They also serve custom pizzas, which are made in the back.) You can choose to have your pasta seasoned with garlic paste, salt & pepper, red pepper flakes, and oregano. (I got all but oregano.)

My food (Angel hair pasta with sun-dried tomato sauce, pomegranate meatballs, roasted zucchini, and mushrooms). It’s served with three ADORABLE bread buns:

It was a nice dish, although in retrospect, I should have paired the pomegranate meatballs with the pomegranate marinara.. One downside is that my sauce was quite oily – and so was Sid’s pesto. A few of the zucchini pieces were a TAD overroasted and had an unpleasant burnt taste, so I’m not sure I’d recommend that. Sid’s spinach and onions worked pretty well, though, with his grilled chicken and pesto.

Pastalini is definitely a good lunch spot – fast, cheap (~$7), large portions (I got two good meals out of it). I say ‘lunch spot’ because it’s only open till 7:30pm on weekdays, and closed on weekends, which I found a little strange but if you’ve got the time and are in the area, stop by and let me know what you think.

(P.S. we went to the Miramar Rd location – there is a second location in Linda Vista, which has more extended hours.)