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WORLD FARE: Inconsistencies plague FuAn Garden

Posted on July 16, 2014 by a

Cold Appetizers

The history of Chinese food in this country is rife with mislabeling. The first “Chinese” food to gain popularity on these shores was “chop suey” which, of course, was never truly Chinese. Next came “Mandarin” cuisine that had little to do with the food actually served in the Forbidden City; it was, instead, a repertoire of dishes originating in Fujiian Province in China’s southeast—the source of a major wave of Chinese immigration—presented as that which it was not.

Read more at:  http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-13204-inconsistencies-plague-fuan-garden.html

WORLD FARE: Excellence at Laja in the Valle de Guadalupe

Posted on July 9, 2014 by a

Oven roasted local lamb with vegetable risotto

The tall-poppy syndrome is a social phenomenon—prominent in Australia, New Zealand and Canada—in which people of distinction (“tall poppies”) are cut down for the simple “crime” of elevating themselves above their fellow citizens through their accomplishments. It’s a syndrome that appears to be alive and thriving in the Baja and Southern California food scenes.

Read more at:  http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-13182-excellence-at-laja-in-the-valle-de-guadalupe.html

WORLD FARE: Mariscos Nine Seas is no roach coach

Posted on July 2, 2014 by a

Green ceviche shrimp 2

Mariscos Nine Seas food truck isn’t listed at sdfoodtrucks.com. It’s a curious omission, considering that Nine Seas (3030 Grape St. in South Park) not only offers some of the best Mexican-style seafood in town but is also one of the best local food trucks regardless of style.

For more see:  http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-13162-mariscos-nine-seas-is-no-roach-co

WORLD FARE: Across the Bosphorus — and the tracks — to Lezzet Café

Posted on June 26, 2014 by a

Handmade manti

Lezzet Café sits below the point where Chollas Creek empties into San Diego Bay and Interstate 15 ends in the least fancied stretch of Barrio Logan (3586 Main St.). It’s the endpoint of a journey, if not exactly a destination. It takes an act of will to get there.

For more see:  http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-13140-across-the-bosphorus-and-the-tracks-to-lezzet-café.html

CITY BEAT DRINK ISSUE: Boozin’ with Tracy Borkum

Posted on June 19, 2014 by a

TB 3

Drinks with Tracy Borkum at The Tractor Room in Hillcrest was less about the drinks we ordered and more about what we were not drinking.

For more see:  http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-13128-boozin-with-tracy-bo.html

WORLD FARE: Romesco is BajaMed deconstructed

Posted on June 18, 2014 by a

Bone Marrow Sope

Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro (4346 Bonita Road in Bonita) shouldn’t work: a little bit Spanish, a little bit Italian, a tiny bit Asian and alotabit Mexican. At first glance, chef Javier Plascencia’s attempt to be all things to all people had all the marks of a doomed effort. First glance, it seems, was wrong.

For more see:  http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-13109-romesco-is-bajamed-deconstructed.html

Recipe: Lamb & Bison Meatballs with Tomato-Chipotle Sauce

Posted on June 12, 2014 by a

Lamb and Bison Meatballs 3In last week’s San Diego CityBeat World Fare column,  I reviewed Tapas Picasso in Hillcrest. Two of my favorite of Chef Loren Villalobos Alsman’s tapas were the meatballs in spicy chorizo sauce and her superlative albacore mousse paté with chipotle. Following an inspiring telephone conversation with Chef Alsman, I decided to pay tribute to her “authorial cuisine” by combining aspects of these two dishes into a Mexican-tinged tapa of my own.

For more see:  http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/blog-1585-recipe-lamb-bison-meatballs-with-tomato-chipotle-s.html

WORLD FARE: Best Sandwich on the Planet, Part 3: Tip Top Meats

Posted on June 11, 2014 by a

Headcheese Sandwich

German food sports a bad rap. It’s no exaggeration to say that the term “gourmet German cuisine” is seen as an oxymoron. This is partly because much traditional German food is heavy, perhaps well-adapted to soaking up the country’s justly famous beer. It’s drinking food, if not precisely drunken food.

For more see:  http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-13090-best-sandwich-on-the-planet-part-3-tip-top-meats.html

WORLD FARE: Tapas Picasso is more creative than dependable

Posted on June 4, 2014 by a

albacore mousse pate with chipotle

I assess the quality of a Spanish tapas bar on two main criteria: creativity of its signature dishes and execution of the core classics. Tapas Picasso (3923 Fourth Ave. in Hillcrest) succeeds brilliantly on the first count, but it’s not nearly consistent enough on the second.

For more see:  http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-13066-tapas-picasso-is-more-creative-than-dependable.html

NEWS: Inaugural Bacon & Barrels San Diego festival this weekend or, “How I spoiled my dinner judging the Jefe del Porko competition”

Posted on May 29, 2014 by a

The Duck Dive’s “Three Lil Piggies” trio of pork, applewood smoked bacon, roasted pork loin and pork belly with Cider Jus

The Duck Dive’s “Three Lil Piggies” trio of pork, applewood smoked bacon, roasted pork loin and pork belly with Cider Jus

On Tuesday afternoon, I – along with Troy Johnson, Andrew Spurgin and Stacy Poon-Kinney — had the opportunity to judge the “Jefe del Porko” culinary competition, a part of the inaugural Bacon & Barrels festival taking place this Saturday at Embarcadero Marina Park South.  A VIP dinner featuring Top Chef finalist Brooke Williamson takes place Friday night at BassMNT (919 4th Avenue, San Diego).

The winner of the competition was a bacon-wrapped duck fat dish entered by Barleymash (600 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp) that defied the laws of modern health-consciousness, if not gravity.  But there really is no substitute for taste, is there?  The

Competition was fierce, in part a tribute to the fact that bacon makes absolutely anything better, in part a tribute to the versatility of bacon and in large part a testament to the devotion of San Diego chefs to the bacon arts.  Honorable mention, in my view, was owed to Tavern’s superb take on the BLT. The “B” was represented by bourbon roasted tomatoes, the “L” by lamb bacon and the “T” by tzatziki sauce.  It might well have been the winner in my book if I could figure out how to explain that the winner of the “Jefe del Porko” competiton cooked lambo instead of porko.

Andrew Spurgin, Troy Johnson, Michael Gardiner and Stacey Poon-Kinney judging the Jefe de Porko competition

Andrew Spurgin, Troy Johnson, Michael Gardiner and Stacey Poon-Kinney judging the Jefe de Porko competition

In addition to a series of chef and mixology demos, the Bacon & Barrels festival will give attendees the opportunity to taste most of the entries themselves and vote on a People’s Choice award which will be announced at 4:00 p.m. from the Culinary Stage.  The festivals gates open at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday for general admission ticket holders.  For more information go to:  http://www.baconandbarrels.com/schedule-1

Also worthy of note was Eureka UTC which did their best to attempt to improperly influence the judging panel by submitting a Bacon Old Fashioned.  While it did not get them the victory I definitely like their style. 

Eureka UTC was not really doing — or trying to do — anything untoward.  Their Bacon Old Fashioned was not officially an entrant in the competition, they had actually won the Mixology portion by default (since no other mixologists participated) and simply brought the drink for the judges to enjoy. It was, in my view,  a rather nice gesture.  Personally, I would not want to do anything whatsoever to discourage future such gestures on their part.  Indeed, if they would like to contact me through this website I would be more than happy to give them my work address so that they can engage in such gestures on a regular basis.

Posted by MAG | in News | No Comments »