A Comic-Con​ Foodie Pass

37420337_10156067312086865_5765682480333979648_n

A Comic-Con, Foodie Pass, don’t we wish? Because after all, you gotta eat.   After those long lines and people watching those varieties of ambitious costumes of caped crusaders or out of this world heroes, it is time to sit at the table with a friend for some delicious bites of food from the city of San Diego.

My friend and I debated whether the self admittedly described, “Comic Book Nerd” would dare leave downtown to hit the beaches in the surrounding area and dine out.  I said yes they would.   My friend said no that wouldn’t.   You be the judge.  Nevertheless, whatever the answer, I have a go-to plan for you for dining and drinks.

37537796_10160511158260368_9029786182807977984_n

Let’s start with the downtown area cuisine, what is central to Comic-Con and San Diego visitors.   The Water Grill is where we sat down to dine.  Our tall, long and communal style table creates an opportunity to chat with strangers or pretend you don’t notice them.  A friendly bearded waiter greeted us and took our orders.

37412642_10160511158270368_776438097507254272_n

I picked out the Manilla clam dish cooked in a saffron broth and chopped nuggets of chorizo.  It burst with flavor and a hearty French Baguette accompanies the dish it to sop up all the juice.  Each clam was a tender.    The other dish ordered, was the crab cake.  Unfortunately, with the experience of living in Virginia and Maryland where crab cuisine rule, the crab cake didn’t win us over.  It wasn’t offensive in taste.   Nor did it suffer from filler.   For many people in the area, the representation may be all they know.  Thus, I will simply say it was for me and I’ll venture to say not for any with a taste for east coast crab cakes.  This crabcake may be California typical.

Later in the evening, we caught the end of happy hour at a San Diego staple for brews, Karl Strauss Brewing Company.   Albeit small, the appetizer menu ranged from the run of the mil to innovative.   With items like Duck Fat pretzels.  I was so tempted but not in the mood for a bready carb.   For my friend, I ordered the classic boneless buffalo wings and for me,  I opted for a unique concoction of watermelon and feta, topped with peppers, pickled red onions drizzled with olive oil and Tajin seasoning.   37582223_10160511220930368_9134781580391219200_n

In the morning my friend to me to the Broken Yolk, which he told me is a San Diego breakfast staple.  I absolutely did not enjoy my breakfast.  The best item ordered was the messy caramel latte.  I ordered standard blueberry pancakes, eggs, and sausage.  I took one bite into the sausage and the oil splashed on my arm.  The eggs had no flavor.  The hash brown was more like hash burnt and the pancakes were flavorless.    The Broken Yolk clearly have people who love the establishment as it started in 1979 in Pacific Beach and has spread to locations throughout the area.   In fact, we walked past one near the Water Grill in downtown San Diego.   My experience is a subjective take.  I found the food flavorless, greasy, and cold.   My name is Crystal Jay, MCCN’s Food Scene Editor.

Escape Downtown

Where to dine outside of the downtown area when you visit San Diego:

 

 

Advertisements

MCCN Interview with La Nina del Mezcal interview

Interview from 3rd Annual Taste of Mexico:

Dave Miller: How did you get into doing Mezcal?

Cecilia:  Well um, kind of a long story but just to put it short… It was a trip that I took to Oaxaca about four or five years ago and the it was the first time I was there taking in the culture, taking in the people and the taste of Mezcal.  It occurred to me that people in Mexico were not appreciating it as they should so I started going back to Oaxaca and learning about Mezcal.  It is very extensive.  And then I started writing about it.  And that’s how the blog started and people started calling me la nina del Mezcal.  (Watch Interview for more)

 

Newport Beach, CA: Lighthouse Bay View Cafe

Newport Beach, CA – November 3, 2016 – Newport Beach’s newest waterfront culinary chef-light-housedestination, Lighthouse Bayview Café, is pleased to debut new winter menus for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, incorporating fresh flavor profiles and unique interpretations on classic dishes. The winter dinner menu also welcomes new nightly specials, courtesy of Executive Chef Ryan Sumner. The new menus unveil as the restaurant nears its milestone one-year anniversary in December 2016.

The Lighthouse Bayview Café winter dinner menu highlights Chef Sumner’s newest creations including a seafood ceviche with a “virgin mary mix,” sautéed brussels sprouts with Spanish chorizo, cioppino in a spiced tomato lobster broth and red wine braised short rib with parsnip puree, oyster mushrooms, horseradish and gremolata.

Each night of the week, Chef Sumner presents a menu of select specials starting at just $7.95. Features include an all-night happy hour to take the edge off of Mondays with brats and beers, crispy fish taco Tuesdays, burger and beer Wednesdays, linguini and clams on Thursdays, fresh catch of the day on Fridays, rosemary roasted prime rib Saturdays, and Chef’s special BBQ dinner on Sundays.

“Growing up in my parents’ market in Costa Mesa, I experienced firsthand the seasonal change of fresh ingredients,” commented Executive Chef Sumner. ”My inspiration for the winter menus came from that early education and the beach and boating culture here in Newport. And the nightly specials are for the locals.”

The winter lunch menu features new items like the “all grown up” grilled cheese with melted muenster, smoked gouda and parmesan on sourdough paired with creamy basil tomato soup. Brunch goes big with decadent offerings like the banana pecan bread pudding French toast topped with a salted caramel drizzle and whipped cream. The menu’s newest cocktail, the Buddy’s Bloody, is an oversized mason jar bloody mary with all the fixings, inspired by a legendary Newport Beach Lifeguard whose decorated career spanned 47 years.

Newport Beach welcomed Lighthouse Bayview Café to the new Marina Park on December 9, 2015. Since opening, the restaurant has offered breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week with happy hours Monday through Friday and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. The waterfront destination boasts outdoor dining, breathtaking views, dock ‘n’ dine capabilities for boaters, and full service catering year round.

Lighthouse Bayview Café is uniquely located on the waterfront of Balboa Peninsula’s Marina Park within a 24,000-square foot sailing and community center that encompasses a park and multiple picnic areas adjacent to a 23-slip marina. The Café features a dock space for boaters to access the park from the water. Offering guests 180-degree harbor, mountain and city views, access to the sand, the Café’s modern beach ambiance and innovative menus are distinctive and unmatched on the Balboa Peninsula.

Located at 1600 W. Balboa Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663.

Web: lighthousenb.com
Facebook: facebook.com/lighthousenb/
Instagram: @LighthousecafeNB

The Lake House – LA- Is Not Just Par for the Course Dining

Evchef-geore-and-chef-pauler had a meal so good you had to meet the chefs, I just did. The Lake House – LA – Nice to meet you Chefs George and Chef Paul.   This is not an obvious choice for dining as it is situated at Woodley Lakes Golf course but if you are golf,  work up an appetite  then crave a meal, you won’t be disappointed with this restaurant.   Check their schedule of Facebook for hours and events because even if you don’t golf, this restaurant is worth the trip.   Eat indoors or outdoors.   I dined outdoors and found it soothing to look out over the golf course as I sat at the nicely shellacked and rustic picnic table.

pulled-pork-sandwich

This was an inadvertent dining selection.  After walking four miles on the golf course, we were famished.  I wasn’t expecting much more than to extinguish my hunger.  Yet, quite the contrary happened.  I  took two bites of an incredible pulled pork sandwich brimming smoked flavor, my taste-buds totally impressed.  I offered a bite to my dining companion.  I could tell by his facial expression which spoke before he did that he had just eaten something more than ordinary.  He instantly mentioned how good it was.   I once review a bbq place where the made a simple statement, “If it is good you will not need sauce.”   If you ask for the sauce, it’s a crutch or habit because the flavor of this sandwich stands on its own.  You don’t need sauce.  Chef Paul knows a thing or two about BBQ.  It is a passion of his.  If you come to visit his restaurant, he confidently suggests that you try the tri-tip.   Now, I learned this after having no more room in my stomach to eat but I did devour the delicious pulled pork sandwich.

Van Nuys, CA: Colombian Cuisine at Meson Criollo Grill Restaurant

On a Sunday afternoon, I walked into joy my friends at Meson Criollo Grill Restaurant.  The husband is from El Salvador and his wife a Colombiana.  She would order for me and plate could have been three dinners for me.   We started with these piping hot crisp empanadas.   I would go back for those alone.   Then my hearty meal of steak, egg, rice, beans and plantains were the feast.   When in pseudo Colombia you drink as they do so I order a Colombian soda.

As for the decor, it seem casual.   I was so into my food and company that I barely noticed.  The restaurant is located in a strip mall.

– Crystal Johnson, MCCN Editor

Meson Criollo Food

Northridge,CA: Szechuan Place

Spicy wonton soup

Spicy Wonton Soup- Photo by Crystal A. Johnson

While going to do my laundry at a strip mall, a vibrant place caught my attention called the Szechuan.  Something about it even from afar screamed authentic.  The crowd mostly, if not all Asians except me tends to validate my authenticity suspicion.

The restaurant has an extensive menu.  Things caught my attention like Szechuan pork, a couple nearby sharing tofu stew,  and corn chowder soup.  However, I settled on something that I don’t see everyday which is spicy wonton soup.   This is not you standard American Chinese won ton soup.   Instead it is a mixture of chili oil, broth, green onions and garlic and my wontons were filled with pork.  Though, I enjoyed the flavor,  I did think it was too oily.  I would like to maybe had more broth based.  It was very rich.  The garlic and green onion tasted very fresh.   I also order some crispy spring roll that were perfectly crispy and the vegetables inside tasted fresh and were crunchy.

I believe this restaurant is relatively new.  The service was extremely slow but the staff was very nice.

The decor is beautiful.  It make you kind of forget you are in s strip mall by a laundry mat and cleaners.  I definitely would like to explore some of the other dishes.

Szechuan Place

The restaurant is located by California State Northridge University.  It should do well and better than previous establishments in that location.

Where: 9250 RESEDA BLVD UNIT #7-8 NORTHRIDGE 91324

NBA Star Ray Allen to Open 1st Organic Fast-Food Restaurant on East Coast

Two-time NBA champion Ray Allen and his wife Shannon Allen, are in the process of opening a chain of organic fast food restaurants. The name of the fast food chain is “Grown” and their first one will be located in Miami, FL.  READ MORE

allengrown

Los Angeles, CA: Joe’s Cafe

Joe's Cafe

Joe’s Cafe- Photo by Crystal A. Johnson

Located in the Granada Hills section of the San Fernando Valley is Joe’s Cafe.  Despite the ordinary name, it is not an ordinary restaurant.  Breakfast and Lunch are two meals of the day specialized at Joe’s Cafe.  If you know anything anything about this area then you know that Food Trucks meet on this business strip every Friday night.  Joe’s Cafe could be easily missed if it were not for the crowds waiting and the rare outdoor dining that you see happening during the weekdays especially.

Pretzel burger

The restaurant has heightened popularity with a Chopped Champion chef.  And let me tell you, the food does not disappoint.  I went with two men who ordered sandwiches that are accompanied with pretty green salads.  One dining partner kept talking about his menu item called The Beef , describing it as the best burger he every had.  Now, he had been to the establishment for breakfast and wasn’t originally that impressed but this time, he was.  His burger was sandwiched between a pretzel bun and the burger was topped with cheddar cheese, drunken onions and roasted jalepeño aioli.

Joe's Cafe Burger

I opted for the popular Belgian waffle which can be filled with chocolate

Belgian waffle

Bacon filled Waffle- Photo by Crystal A. Johnson (Joe’s Cafe)

chips and bacon.  I opted out of the chocolate.  I can say this was one of the better waffles that I have eaten.  It was light in texture and flavors included sweetness plus the right amount of savory imparted from the bacon.

Joe’s Cafe is not open for dinner.

Address: 17815 Chatsworth St, Granada Hills, CA 91344

 

 

 

Sherman Oaks: The Review of Fish Dish

Fish taco Cu at Fish Dish

On a Tuesday night the neon lights of Fish Dish on Ventura Blvd caught my attention.  The food critic(me) is trying to be slightly healthier though I admit that fries are a weakness.  My interest in fish tacos has reawakened since having a fabulous fish taco from Señor Sol.  At Fish dish, they offer various types of fish tacos and you have a choice for it to be friend or broiled.  I opted for the broiled Cajun fish taco with an order fries.

Fish Taco and Fries at Fish Dish

At Fish Dish, they give you an ample amount of fish but for me I found the flavor bland despite the so-called Cajun touch. It was not a bad taco.  The fish tasted fresh and I believe many would be pleased with it.   They have a nice salsa bar.   And the sauces are really good.

Fish Dish ext

The location is rustic and cool.   You order at the counter.  It is a no tipping spot.   Parking is always a challenge on Ventura.  Most of the nearby parking is metered.

Fish Dish on Urbanspoon

Northridge, CA(Los Angeles) Review of Señor Sol

Believe it or not this this review of Señor Sol has some divine inspiration.  My pastor loves this place.  He would talk about how I had to try these fish tacos. If he was Catholic I would say,  “Father knows best” but instead I’ll say my pastor selected a a great choice.  The incredible taco  will include two tortillas so it will not fall apart, perfectly grilled whitefish, cheese, cilantro and delicious sauces.  I’ve become a regular now.  I almost always order a fresh made agua fresca like jamaica.

You may be familiar with the sister restaurant Los Fuentes but I enjoy this restaurant better.  It is great looking.  If you are looking for a nice spot to take a date without having to leave a tip, my tip is check out this spot.

Señor Sol on Urbanspoon

image