Since the grandparents are in Orange County, we typically drive up from San Diego to visit. And of course for Mother's Day, the whole family got together! Grand Garden was the chosen destination, the same place where we have celebrated a few birthdays, weddings, and other big events. With a huge family like ours (20+), a banquet restaurant like this accommodates everyone quite easily. The restaurant is a bit hidden away in the corner of the plaza and has their own dedicated parking lot in the back.
The restaurant is always elegantly decorated. Crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling and blooming bouquets adorn the room. It just *feels* special.
To the right was a huge video screen for sharing pictures, videos or messages. That day, "Happy Mother's Day" was splashed across the screen.
The siblings, cousins and their kids were seated at the "kids" table while the parents and grandparents sat at the "adult" table. Someone at our table looked over the menu, eventually picking one dish from each category.
I admit I get consumed by the idea of sampling EVERY location at a Taste event. I've conquered a few neighborhoods over the years but Hillcrest has eluded me 3 times (2015, 2014, and 2012). Nevertheless, it was time for attempt #4... Official info about the event is here.
This year, our tickets came with a lanyard/clip which meant no worrying about misplaced ticket (and yes, that has happened multiple times). Each participating location was assigned a number which was marked off the ticket to receive your sample.
Our first stop was Napizza with their delicious truffle porcini and margherita pizza with a crunchy crust. We also had two thin crust pizza slices from Wine Steals.
Our recent trip to Pechanga Resort & Casino was quite a busy one! Between the delicious events of Chocolate Decadence and Pechanga Wine Festival, we also dropped by Kelsey's Bar & Grill, one of eleven restaurants inside the resort. Pechanga completely overhauled its sports bar restaurant and turned it into an upscale American pub. One of their additions was smoked barbecue and a large craft beer selection!
The restaurant isn't hard to find if you use the resort map and follow the overhead signs in the casino.
As we talked to the hostess, our eyes were immediately drawn toward this dessert display behind her. The food was looking amazing already!
Even though I work close to Convoy, I still haven't tried that many places in the area. One place that does pop into mind is Nozomi because we're fans of the katsu curry and the chirashi bowl. We recently acquired a restaurant.com gift certificate so the setting was perfect for a revisit.
Weekend nights can get especially busy in Convoy but we lucked out with parking in the restaurant lot around 8:30pm. A few tables were already occupied and the staff permitted us to sit wherever we wanted. The menu had noticeably changed since our last visit and now includes some pictures of the food! They are under new management too.
Since I had some cravings for sushi, we browsed through the available rolls first.
Midori Roll ($15)
Right away Dennis picked out the Midori Roll. This lit-up roll tasted absolutely amazing, maybe even in Dennis's top five rolls.
I don't do buffets or All You Can Eat (AYCE) much but when it involves Korean BBQ, I'm suddenly more open to the idea. Taegukgi Korean BBQ House happened to be my first AYCE KBBQ in San Diego and I found myself back for lunch two years later! My only other two KBBQ visits were at Manna BBQ in Mira Mesa and the original Manna BBQ in Convoy. I'll eventually get around to exploring others...
The restaurant is in the same plaza as Zion Market and has plenty of parking, plus you can get your asian grocery shopping on afterward! Dennis and two coworkers joined me during their Tuesday AYCE lunch special.
The restaurant is very spacious with a covered patio area that would be ideal for summer time. They sell macaron ice cream sandwiches from this middle stand and often have fresh made taiyaki, fish-shaped dessert with red bean in the evenings.
Pizzanometry is the new build your own pizza place in town that recently opened a few weeks ago. It replaced D&C Tofu House and is located next to Siam Nara and Pho Ban Mai in the Rite Aid shopping plaza.
For those of you who are not familiar with this concept, you get to create your own pizza masterpiece from start to finish using a large variety of ingredients. You start with the type of dough, followed by the sauces and cheeses, and then finally the meats and the veggies. But wait, what is the difference between this and a traditional pizza restaurant you ask? Well here, there is more interaction between the customer and your pizza stylist (that's what I call them). You also get unlimited toppings all for the same price of $7.99! Of course, you can always opt for the classic predesigned pizza combinations if you don't want to go through the pizza gauntlet.
With all the food/alcohol events and restaurants on our to-do list, I feel the need for healthier eats at home. Recently I was invited to try out Farmer's Fix, a new delivery service that provides fresh organic salads to their customers. All meals are provided in a 24oz compostable EcoProducts bowls to reduce waste after you eat and are delivered in a cooler bag with ice packs that can be reused for a future order! Consideration of the environment sounds like a plus to me!
To get started, I visited their website (Farmers Fix) and created an account. The salads are $10 each (minimum of three) with a shipping cost of $6. If you order 5 or more, shipping is free. I picked out a couple of salads that sounded interesting and chose Monday as my delivery date. Within a week, a green cooler bag with my order arrived at my door!
Southwest Salad - Black bean, cherry tomato, chickpea, cilantro, corn, poblano pepper, red onion, romaine lettuce, sunflower seed
I was very excited to try my first salad, which is their Southwest Salad. There's a plastic fork on top for size comparison.
Last month we were invited to attend a food and beer pairing through Amanda from Passion Roots PR. The drinks were from Mike Hess Brewing while the food was from Zoe's Place food truck. I've been exploring beer lately so this event got a resounding YES from me. I generally prefer stouts but a few others have managed to tickle my fancy! I'm down to find more!
A small group of bloggers met for dinner at Mike Hess Brewing in North Park. To get to the tasting room, we walked over a raised bridge between massive beer vats. I remember being impressed with this newer brewery during Tuesday Taste of North Park last year!
Once inside, the beer menu is available above the bar.