Only a week after stuffing ourselves at College Area Taste, we were back for more at Taste of Hillcrest! This year’s Taste of Hillcrest was on April 19th 2014 between noon and 4. Dennis and I came out with Oh-So Yummy’s Cathy and Dave, who also joined us last year for Hillcrest’s Taste N Tinis. It seems the Hillcrest events just happen to occur around our birthdays so we’ve been gifted tickets twice! A happy foodie thanks to Cathy!
We already had printed tickets so we started closest to where we parked, at Brazen BBQ. They were promoting a new item to their menu which I think was sweet and spicy tri tip? It was tender but we thought it needed a tad bit more seasoning or maybe a stronger rub flavor. Typical tasting beans were paired with this sample.
Next was the indian buffet at Bombay. I always remember this as the place where you self-serve and possibly eat too much! Everything was fresh because we were first in line! I am always a fan of saag. Cathy commented that the tofu wasn’t that great but the rest of the sauces were. The lychee mousse dessert was sweet and fluffy.
Izakaya Masa is Dennis's favorite ramen noodle place in San Diego. In the past they used to only serve ramen after 9pm! Thankfully, they began serving it during regular meal times for us impatient ones who want ramen right away! The restaurant was also expanded but there are still waiting lists during peak dining times. We decided to meet up with friends who had never been here before.
I got there a little late and noted that Dennis had already ordered and received the Agadashi Tofu. At that point, it was already drenched in the flavorful broth and wasn't that crispy anymore. A bit wetter than I prefer but Dennis loves his tofu that way! This presentation was probably the prettiest I've seen so far, especially the shredded seaweed!
While searching for brunch in Sonoma a while back, we found a place called the Fremont Diner. It was a little outside of the main Sonoma area so we headed out from our lodging. We somehow completely passed the place while driving. I think it was because the sign outdoors only said DINER or something. Or maybe we were just looking on the wrong side of the road for it!
Once seated, I ordered the chicken and waffles dish. We opted in for the bacon and green onion for an extra $2. It was soooo not your typical boring waffle and was good to the last bite! The chicken pieces were breaded and juicy underneath. I could hardly finish my plate because the portions were very generous!
I got lucky and won a pair of tickets to College Area Taste from the SD food blog This Tasty Life. We also bumped into Mary herself (and Jake) at the ticket pickup and joined their posse for a few hours! Awesome!
For a while I thought this was Taste of College Area, similar to the other San Diego annual taste of x events, but it's actually called College Area Taste! Sneaky! Anyway, it is a food sampling trek and was held on Sunday April 13, 2014 between 11-3pm near San Diego State University (SDSU). Tickets are normally $25 pre-sale and $30 the day of. Will-call was located outside of the College Area BID Office (4704 College Ave) and was very quick. About half of the locations were right around the corner from the pickup location.
We did some wine tasting in Sonoma Wine Country a while back and had asked several folks if they could recommend a place for dinner. One of the most common responses was The Girl and the Fig.
I tried to make a same-day reservation but the restaurant was booked solid. We decided to try our luck with an early dinner walk-in around 5pm which worked out perfectly. We were seated next to the window and had a nice view of the passerby's. I loved that they had the paper tablecloths which you could doodle on! The walls also had multiple paintings of a woman, usually holding a fig but FYI her breasts were exposed, though in an artistic way.
Some very tasty appetizer bread and an olive platter (with 2-3 different types of olives) were brought to our table complimentary! What a great start! I am not into olives because they are too salty but Dennis really enjoyed sampling multiple types. The least salty ones were the dark red-purple olives...
I saw a friend post a facebook link about Ramen Yokocho Fest 2014 and I immediately knew Dennis would want to go! He is, after all, the ramen expert of our household! Not to mention, we'd also get to check out ramen from JAPAN and some new places we have never tried!
This year it was held at the Santa Anita racetrack which I believe is a larger location than the previous year. Parking was $4 per vehicle and admission was $5 a person (free for persons under 17). The festival hours were 11pm to 6pm on March 29 and 30, 2014. We went the second day on Sunday.
After you pay admission at the gate, you walk into the main building, then through a long underground tunnel leading to the middle area of the racetracks! Post tunnel, you must first buy your meal tickets from the booths. Each bowl of ramen was $8 and each drink was $2 (except beer) and it was prepaid and cash only. We got into the ticket line right at 11am opening time and the ticket wait was less than 10 minutes. Our two friends bought three each. Dennis initially thought we could share 6 bowls over the course of several hours as well, but I wasn't so sure. I had him buy 5 tickets to start...
We first heard of Eclipse Chocolate from their booth at the Escondido Chocolate Festival 2014. The coupons they passed out tempted me to try them. Then, Faye of Faye's Fork pointed out a better offer through Travelzoo (2 tasting trios, 2 drinks, and $20 worth of chocolate for $39) which sealed the deal. We picked a date night and drove down to South Park, which we don't visit too often. I especially love how my GPS took us down all the narrow side streets instead of a main road like 30th street. Guess it was all part of the fun of exploring a new neighborhood! Once there, we easily found parking right across the street. There were two women working that night and after waiting a bit, one of them seated us.
Each trio came with one main and two other choices. You can pick two from any of the three other categories (sides, soup & salad, or dessert). We ordered drinks first while looking through the menu.
I've always enjoyed cooking but generally stick to recipes from cookbooks or online recipes. On occasion I'll throw together my own recipe based off previous experience and either smile at the tasty results or take mental notes of what to do better next time. Nothing has really been written down before. With a little push from local food bloggers Barbara and Jackie, with ingredients from Melissa's Produce, this is my first recipe!