Thursday, April 26, 2012

Favorite Meals - Addendum

Thanks to loyal reader (and fiance of LivinTheDream11) Julie, I have an addition to yesterday's food blog post about my favorite meals on Highway 101. I forgot one of my favorite lunch places around, and I'm not really sure how I forgot it. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...

Grand Shrimp, Chicken, Carne Asada Tacos

Not only is Bull Taco the single most picturesque restaurant setting in all of North County, it also happens to be home to the best street tacos I've ever had. Sitting atop a bluff in Cardiff, Bull Taco boasts a crazy large menu with traditional Mexican fare, as well as the bizarre options, including the occasional bison, goat and wild game tacos. I admit, that even if the food sucked, I would still frequent this place because of the amazing views. But Bull Taco matches the view with its food, and always entertaining guys in the kitchen. These tacos are super fresh, incredibly well-seasoned, and always leave me wanting more. 

Thanks for the edits Julie!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Favorite Meals on Highway 101

It has been far too long since I dedicated an entire post to food. And coming on the heels of my last post highlighting my discontent with my ever-decelerating metabolism, I figured it was only appropriate to spend some quality time talking about my love-affair with food.

So today I thought I would spend some time talking about my favorite meals at restaurants on Highway 101 in North County San Diego (from Encinitas to Solana Beach). Since I talked about some of this back in 2009 (Click here to see my "Favorite Meals in San Diego"), I am just making additions, no repeats (except for Pizza Port off the Honorable Mention list).

(*My apologies to my food-blog expert friends at TwoDC for not having individual photos of each meal.*)

Santana Burger
This burger actually inspired this blog post, as I went there last night for dinner and was in spice-tastic (and brew-ific) heaven.

My favorite beer place in all of San Diego also boasts my favorite burger in San Diego. If you are a fan of 'the spicy', then this is a must-have. Let's start with the ingredients - Fire Roasted Poblano Peppers, Avocado, Grilled Onions, Pepper-Jack, and Ancho-Mayo. Of all the wonderful goodness in that list, the absolute winner is the ancho-mayo. It is the unifying force that keeps the burger moist and spicy in every bite, and works with the creamy avocado for a decadence I can't explain without needing a moment to compose myself. This burger is not overpoweringly spicy (although last night's was pretty hot), and comes with a healthy serving of seasoned thin-cut fries. Holy hell, how good is food?

Santa Fe Chicken Sandwich
Sticking with the spicy sandwich theme, the Lumberyard Tavern & Grill (which happens to sit directly across from Encinitas Ale House) offers one of my favorite chicken sandwiches around. It has all the usual suspects of a spicy grilled chicken sandwich (avocado, pepper-jack, ortega chile, tomato and chipotle-aioli), but what makes this sandwich a must-have is...THE PRETZEL BUN. Oh man, these are 'tha bomb.' Wonderfully fresh and slightly sweet, fluffy yet spongy, these pretzel buns melt in your mouth. The sweetness of the bun works ridiculously well with the spiciness of the sandwich. This is one of the few sandwiches I eat and realistically consider ordering a second.

Mole Enchiladas
Making a surprise appearance on the list is a meal I had for the first time a few weeks ago. I have been going to El Callejon for a couple years now, mainly because they have one of the better margaritas in town. Their food has always been well cooked, well-seasoned and tummy-filling good, but at no point was there a meal I had to come back for. Until now. These mole enchiladas ('MOL-ay' as in the sauce, not the underground critter) were unreal. The poblano/chocolate infused mole sauce was so rich and thick that I ended up spooning it straight into my mouth. I'm going back for those very, very soon! AY CARAMBA!

Classic Fish Tacos
The best fish tacos in San Diego. If you take me to a place that has better fish tacos than here, I'll pay for your meal and love you forever, cuz these are scrumdiddlyumptious! The right amount of cabbage and salsa fresca goes a long way with these bad boys, especially with the lightly battered fish just melting in your mouth. I love to go here and sit in the bar, have a beer and some fish tacos...and normally contemplate ordering another plate of them. Sometimes I do. Other times I pat myself on the back for flexing restraint. Then that pat turns into a punch into the temple as I get depressed that I robbed myself of more fish tacos.

Carlsbad and Monterey Pizza (half-and-half)
This place got honorable mention in the 2009 post reference above, but it deserves it's own write-up. Our regular neighborhood stop, Port provides Julie and I with an easy outlet for nights we want good food with no effort. A quick phone call and leisurely walk up the street earns us a date with our two favorite pizzas split right down the middle! The Carlsbad has pesto, chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and feta cheese, and the Monterey has pepperoni, mushrooms, onions and more artichoke hearts. They have the best crust around (super fluffy), and quite simply, they make an awesome pizza.

Chicken Sa-Tan and Pad Thai
Shout out to friend-of-the-blog Heidi on this one. One night we went on a dinner excursion and she introduced me to Siamese Basil and their solid menu. We started with the Chicken Sa-Tan, which were grilled chicken skewers with a peanut dipping sauce. An underwhelming order I know, but shockingly tasty, with the right amount of spice and heat on the chicken, and the perfect butteriness to the dipping sauce. Admittedly the most basic item in any Thai restaurant, the Pad Thai came highly recommended, so I I suppressed my natural instinct to order something new and exciting. Best decision ever. Apart from my fiance's home-made pad thai (I'm serious, come over on that night for dinner - perfection), Siamese Basil has the best around. The combination of peanut and sprouts with a surprisingly oily soy glaze is heaven on a plate. They always have Stone as a beer option they also get a coveted "LivinTheDream11 Good Job" sticker.

Kalua Pig and Macaroni Salad
Let me start here by saying I normally detest macaroni salad. There are so many ways to mess it up, and normally restaurants do. It's either too sweet, or too creamy, or lacking in taste, or people try and put their own spin on it and ruin it in their own creative way. But Kealani's does it right. It is the perfect consistency, perfect saltiness and creaminess, and oh man do they give you a good portion. Combine that with their succulent Kalua Pig that is so tender and not perfectly marinated, and you've got yourself one happy Hawaiian tummy. A-LO-HA!

California Burrito
Did you really think I'd make a list of my favorite meals in my neck of the woods and not put down my go-to comfort food? Simple recipe - carne asada, cheese, fries, sour cream. Lather, rinse, repeat. My boy 'Berto knows what's up.

Hmmm, feels like my metabolism is speeding up....

Friday, April 13, 2012


1) My Padres suck. I made sure to put "my" in there so you all could see I'm not jumping off the bandwagon. I have always been and will always be a hardcore Padres fan, but over the last 3-4 years their team has been utterly bad. Actually, it's not just that they're bad...they're boring. After losing or trading players like Adrian Gonzalez, Heath Bell, Mat Latos, and Jake Peavy, not bringing a bona fide hitter, and the incredibly ridiculous ownership-saga currently going on...there's not much to root for these days at Petco Park. Guess I'll just keep going to games to hope to see Cameron Maybin prove he's worth his outlandish contract, or to see if Nick Hundley can go "oh-for" the whole season (currently 0-19).

Nick Hundley, Hitless

2) I am obsessed with golf. I've always enjoyed playing and watching golf, but in the last 6-8 months, I've really become fully enamored with the sport. I'm playing as much as I can (which isn't nearly enough, but hey, sh*t's expensive!), and am really enjoying every hole, even if it ends with having to sink a 10-footer to save my triple-bogey. Played golf at twilight last night, and I forgot how much fun it is to play and try and beat the darkness.

3) This summer, I am committed to conquering my fear of overcooking food on the barbecue. Now, for the record, I have a great barbecue and have cooked many a good meal on there (including last week's burgers and grilled soy-garlic mushrooms), but every time I pull that sucker out of the shed, I worry about under or over cooking the meat. I have always had a fear of cooking for other people (including Julie), because I don't want to give them crappy food when they are relying on it as a meal. But alas, unless I get my buddy "B" from TwoDC to come down to San Diego and be my personal BBQ-expert (still crossing my fingers on this one), I figured it's about time to just grill up a storm and screw up a meal or two and learn from it and move on!

4) I am guessing by this time next year, I will be officially more excited about pro hockey than pro basketball. I am starting to really enjoy the skating and puck-handling in the NHL playoffs, and I am sickened by the NBA and all the constant drama that surrounds it. So look out world, Marc might have to finally go to his first pro hockey game soon!

5) This time last year, none of my friends had babies. Now there are four new munchkin-babies running around with a 5th coming in a few months. WTF?! I'm not even ready for a DOG!

6) My metabolism has officially slowed down. For those of you that know me well, you know how sad of a day this is for me to admit. I can't eat like the old days...the tummy just shuts down after a certain amount of eating. So now I can only eat five of my Mom's homemade tacos, not eight. Major bummer.