We enjoyed the Latin Food Fest in San Diego last year and were pleased to be invited back for the Los Angeles grande tasting on March 21. Even though it's farther away, we knew there'd be many, if not all, new restaurants for us to sample! The sipping of spirits was also a plus.
The Los Angeles location was at Hangar 8, a 15000 facitity at the Santa Monica Airport. Paid parking lot ($10) and ticket pickup were to the right with the event to the left.
Entrance to the Latin Food Festival. It doesn't look all that big on the outside but there were additional booths, mainly the spirits, located in the back building.
We first got in the Stella Artois line for the purpose of collecting their cute glassware. I'm a fan of Belgium style beer so this one is nice and familiar. I also like their cider too.
While waiting for beer, Dennis picked up samples from the nearby Rosa Mexicano booth. The tableside guac was yummy but we needed more than two chips! The pink lemonade mixed drink was refreshing and light. The El Floridita booth had pork with a banana chip. The strands of meat were long which made it a bit chewier for us.
To the left of Stella was Coni'Seafood, serving raw shrimp marinated in jalapeno juice. There were definitely some hesitant looks as we took pictures. I finally gave it a shot and...
Burger much? You could have gone CRAZY during San Diego Burger Week! San Diego CityBeat ran this burger promo that included 50+ restaurants with... FIVE DOLLAR BURGERS! Not fast food five dollars but gourmet must get in my belly kinda burgers. Foodie blogger that I am, I took this as a challenge... how would this year compare to last year's San Diego burger week? You're about to find out!
On Friday, the first day of the promo, Dennis was still recovering from being sick so we went local. It's been years since we last visited Callahans but this seemed reason enough.
We started with the Burger in a Basket combo with half fries/half tots plus a choice of beer. The burger itself was rather simple though and ketchup became my add-on. The steak fries are a little thick and clunkier than I prefer but tator tots disappeared rapidly. I'm a sucker for tots I found. I'm still digging the blueberry wheat beer here too.
Dennis ordered the Club Callahan (12.59) and added a cup of Jalapeno Beer Cheese Soup (0.99). He wasn't completely ready to burger at this point but he would be soon...
Get ready to indulge in exotic flavors and delight the palate during the 15th Annual Taste of Hillcrest. On Saturday, April 18 from noon to 4:00 p.m., San Diego’s most fabulous neighborhood will bring together some of the best chefs and cuisines for food connoisseurs to experience on a self-guided culinary tour.
From cafes to bistros to five-star dining, Taste of Hillcrest will feature more than 40 restaurants and span more 12 blocks. Participants can treat their taste-buds to foods from all over the world including Italy, Mexico, Middle East, Asia and American favorites. Peruse the streets and take in the sights and sounds of Hillcrest, while selecting from fresh seafood, sushi, spicy Thai, delicious pastas and feel-good classics during the tastiest event this season.
continue reading for more info and the giveaway...
It was half past 8 and we were starving for dinner! A quick yelp search in Mira Mesa led us to Tim Ky Noodle, open until 9:30pm, later than most Vietnamese places in the area. Dennis whispered to me that it was in the same spot as Tan Ky Mi Gia, which had been here for ages... A staff member confirmed the new ownership and name change.
The new restaurant had been open for 2.5 months and was pleasantly decorated; I especially loved the neutral paneled walls and the woodgrain table finish. Also there was plenty of light inside which is always great for taking food pictures!
After a brief glance at the menu appetizers, we were already ordering the Fish Sauce Wings (6.99). Maybe I'm addicted after wing week and various other wings but this "fish sauce" flavor caught my eye!
It all began last year with City Beat's San Diego Burger Week, where I practically ate a burger a day for a week (and avoided 'em for almost a month after). Then they created Wing Week, and well, I just couldn't turn that down either... With options galore (30ish restaurants), a $5 basket of wings was mighty tempting!
Common Theory Public House
I'd been wanting to check this place out after seeing it on local bloggers Kirbie's, Mary, Jinxi's, etc blogs. It was close to work so I convinced a few coworkers to join me for lunch.
I got two orders of Salt and Pepper Wings for the table. This batch was crispy hot deliciousness. The "pepper" portion of it wasn't black pepper as I expected but flakes of RED pepper! So by the end, my lips were burning a bit (I'm weak spice) but OMG they were so tasty I couldn't stop! The wings came in an order of 6 and were a generous size with juicy meat underneath the skin. I only managed 7 wings before calling it quits.
This year, there are many additions to the list as well as a few repeat locations. The most up-to-date list is available on the official website as well as attached to the post for archive purposes. What's your pick?
Manna BBQ opened a Mira Mesa location around Thanksgiving of last year. The biggest benefits to this location vs original in Convoy? A bigger parking lot and no crazy lines, at least for now! The mother-in-law wanted to give it a try so we visited on Sunday. Yay to my second KBBQ AYCE in San Diego, following Taegukgi just last year. Yeah I know, I'm late to the KBBQ AYCE train.
The restaurant opens daily at noon. We arrived around 12:15pm and there were already a few other tables occupied. Seating was quick.
An assortment of banchan was placed on the table. Dennis really liked the bean sprouts because of the sesame oil flavor on them. I tried the noodle item (similar to jap-chae), the potato salad stuff in the back, and one or two of those crunchy cucumbers. One strange thing is that they didn't have the normal kim-chi in our batch that day! It didn't really matter because we concentrated on meats anyway.
A large salad was served to every table, even for our party of 3! I'd say it was tossed with a light kim-chi inspired dressing, hence the occasional specks of red. This was sampled but for the most part ignored to make room for the meat!
Each person was provided a dual dipping sauce container, a zesty ponzu style sauce on one side and straight-up salt on the other side.
Manna's menu gives you two options, A1 (27.99) and A2 (21.99). The major difference is that A1 includes a few more meats such as seafood. We were okay with just A2 for this trip. Let's order!
Our third and final restaurant for San Diego Restaurant Week was Cowboy Star in downtown San Diego. We were interested in this menu because we noticed it included DESSERT for lunch too, which makes it a three course meal for only $20. Yea, I'm all over that!
Being from Texas, the cowhide-style seats in the waiting area made me feel a bit nostalgic, even if it wasn't something you'd find at MY family home. And I just love cowboy hats! Surprisingly this blogger here doesn't even have her own! On the other side of the chairs was a bar area to pass time before seating in the main area.
After we ordered, they brought out a bread appetizer. It had a sourdough texture inside but was toasty brown on the outside! I didn't take pictures but it was probably served with butter.
Our first appetizer was the Cauliflower Soup. I rarely see this on a menu so of course it was a must! The soup came out at the perfect temp and ready to eat. It had a richness and subtle cauliflower taste to all that creaminess and was topped with a few tibits of cauliflower and pepita seeds. It exceeded my expectations and I'd be willing to eat this again!