It was a HOT weekend but luckily this year's Latin Food Festival (LFF) was within reach of the ocean breezes and a gorgeous view! Embarcadero Marina Park North provided a great spot for LFF, which was held on September 13 between 11-3pm. We purchased our second ticket and invited readers and friends to join us!
After picking up wristbands at the entrance, we headed into the event. The main area had two rows of tents, one with food vendors and the other with drink vendors. Since we hadn't eaten any breakfast, we decided to start with food first! Drinking on an empty stomach is *risky* business!
Our first stop was the Smoke Fusion Catering booth. What's a Latin festival without some tacos, right? These carnitas tacos were only the beginning of that trend...
It's baaack! Taste of North Park is an annual event that allows diners to explore the friendly neighborhood while tasting bites from 40+ participating restaurants and specialty brews around 30th st and university st. This is one of our favorite taste events in San Diego!
Presale tickets are available now for only $30 until September 26th. Afterwards, the price will go up to $35 and then $40 the week of.
One of my favorite things to make is smoked pulled pork sliders. I don't make it that often because it takes quite a lot of time and supervision but it is well worth it. The methods described below is a culmination of techniques I have researched and learned from several forums as well as my own experiments through trial and error. What works for me may not work for others due to the design and material of each smoker box or the heat source such as charcoal, propane, or electric. I'll describe the technical parts of the smoking process that I follow but I will leave it up to you to modify as needed for your setup.
My interest in eating Bo Bay Mon (Vietnamese seven course beef) was only intensified after our 8 course fish tasting at Nhu Y Ca 8 Mon. I know I must have tried it at least once in my lifetime due to my heritage so the next question was WHERE to go next? How about the place recommended by the grandparents?
Dennis, the family and I arrived at Anh Hong Restaurant, a large restaurant located in Garden Grove. The menu included regular Vietnamese fare but their specialty was the Bo Bay Mon, priced at 16.95 per order. Other than the salad and soup courses, each order had 3 pieces of meat per course.
Course 1: Goi Bo Anh Hong - special beef salad
The salad starter consisted of shredded carrots, celery and mint on top with fried onions and very thin slices of beef (boiled) and peanuts. Fish sauce played a big part in the flavor of this dish because the salad alone was on the plain side! Some pre-mixed versions are a little too heavy on the fish sauce but since I was able to control the distribution, I was happy with this healthy appetizer.
Course 2: Bo Nhung Dam - beef fondue with special vinegar broth
The waiter began bringing out the ingredients for spring rolls. A medium sized soup bowl of simmering vinegar broth was placed on our table, like a little mini stove. The vinegar taste was on the mild side and was flavored by the mild green onions.
We were thinking about having Bo Bay Mon (Seven Course Beef) while in the O.C. area and after yelping, the mention of an extra course led us to Nhu Y Ca 8 Mon instead. This place had EIGHT courses using fish instead of beef! I'm down for the fish!
The eclectic decor inside struck me first. There wasn't any type of continuity between the decorations, with random plants here and there. We were seated in one of their booths near the window and we asked the waiter about their fish set. He said that it was enough for two normal appetites so we ordered a single order ($24.95).
To start, we got the first course of Goi Ca (Fish Salad) in a very generous size. There were fish strips mixed in that were firm and did not fall apart. There was fish sauce already mixed into the mixture and it came with freshly fried shrimp chips.
In Mira Mesa, Tofu Ka took over the location where Fuze korean fusion had been. We had heard rumors beforehand and were curious to check it out for ourselves.
Inside the restaurant, they took away the empy bar area in the back and added decent lighting! I think this is a big improvement over the strange 'night club' look from before. I seriously wonder if they ever threw parties back there with a dj or something. Anyway, there's plenty of seating for diners between the patio and indoor areas. We decided to sit indoors.
First off, we noticed they served fruit infused water! The fruits seem to vary on the days but included a mix of pineapples, strawberries and oranges from what we saw. Also behind it is a discrete utensil box so grab your spoon and chopsticks from there! We were wondering where it was at first!
The banchan served here includes the typical items but also had pickled jalapenos which weren't as spicy as Dennis expected. Also, they have this potato salad side that Dennis likes. The fried fish however was not quite our thing because it has small bones in it and tastes bitter. There was one tofu side which was simple and nice... I kept getting refills on it!
Three more weeks until the Taste of Old Town! This event, previously known as Tequila Trail, used to be a part of the Spirit of Mexico festival, but despite becoming its own event, will still showcase plenty of tequila for its fans! Oh-So Yummy attended the past two years and has recaps for both Tequila Trail 2013 and Tequila Trail 2012.
This year's Taste of Old Town will be held on Thursday Sept. 18, 2014 from 6pm to 9pm. Enjoy food and tequila tasting samples from sixteen of the participating restaurants in Old Town.
Another book club dinner post! Yay to books and bites! For July, the girls met at Urban Plates, a farm fresh restaurant located in the huge shopping/dining plaza off El Camino Real and Del Mar Heights. You move through cafeteria style, pick out your main plate, salad, sandwich, etc then select from an eye-catching medley of hot and cold sides. As a heads up, there are two lines, one for salads and one for other dishes so make sure you go in the correct one, especially if it's shorter! Payment is made at the end before you seat yourself.
The urban plates ($10) come with a choice of meat and two sides or four sides with no meat. I ordered the medium rare Grilled Steak Plate on a previous visit. The beef strips looked gorgeous but weren't as tender or flavorful as some other places. It was accompanied with simple rectangular bread and I was curious if I would have liked it better as a sandwich. I picked lightly sauted brussel sprouts and an interesting mushroom squash medley for my sides.