Amongst chocolate, wines, and beers at the Escondido Chocolate Festival, we also sampled our first ever pupusas at Cuscatlan Salvadorian Cuisine. A pupusa is traditional Salvadorian dish, essentially a deliciously thick corn tortilla that's usually stuffed with cheese and meat. Almost a year later, we finally made it back for a full meal at the restaurant!
The Cuscatlan Sampler ($13.95) sounded like the best way to start our visit. This monstrous sized plate contained fried plantains, fried yuca with fried pork, 1 corn tamale, 1 chicken tamale, 2 pupusas, sour cream and beans.
We've been to Brooklyn Girl once before for a friend's birthday and decided that San Diego Restaurant Week would be a great time to revisit! Their pre-fixe dinner menu was $30 and includes an appetizer, entree, and dessert. As a couple, we'd get to try more of the menu at one sitting!
That night they served chili flakes and lemon seasoned popcorn as a complimentary appetizer. You can definitely taste a little bit of both flavors in there. It's tasty but not all kernels were fully popped so we hit a few hard pieces here and there. When staff cleaned up the table next to us, I noticed there were also kernals there so we weren't the only ones leaving them on the table. The popcorn flavors do change so you won't know until you're there!
Dennis loves his whiskey drinks! This was the Bear Hug ($11), made with Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey. It's a nice drink with a ginger spice and a hint of syrup from the walnut liquerer and honey, garnished with an orange peel.
The first appetizer from the restaurant week menu was the Bacon Wrapped Vietnamese Meatballs.
While browsing options for San Diego Restaurant Week (SDRW), we noticed Gaslamp Union Kitchen & Tap on the list. One of our favorite samples during Taste of Downtown 2014 were their Farmhouse Meatballs so we decided it was time to give the actual restaurant a go! I also made reservations through opentable.com for here and two other restaurants for SDRW. If I'm eating out already, might as well earn points toward a dining check toward more eats!
The restaurant is spacious between its indoor tables, bar seating, and outdoor patio area. There are also TV's mounted for watching sports or whatever they play on the tube.
After reviewing the menu, we decided to order the Albacore Poke! After a bite, we felt the fish was a bit sticky and needed something to brighten it up, perhaps a dash more salt or sesame oil. I found it to be quite plain, even with the addition of fried wonton chips.
I'm known to love a good deal and am especially happy if it's food related! Hence, I spent quite a bit of time finding as many offers as possible for my birthday. This was in December so the majority of the offers should carry over to this year.
For my birthday, 100+ emails greeted me. Besides direct email lists for restaurants, I also used ibirthdayclub for smaller San Diego restaurants though it's a hassle signing up for individual restaurants. The majority were the "buy 1 get 1 free" type, but I did find a few winners in the process.
The Works (Mission Valley area) - a free 2-topping pizza through ibirthdayclub. This was the biggest surprise as I was expecting something small! I estimate 14" in diameter! We also ordered their breadsticks which came with yummy marinara.
Fogo de Chao (all locations) - $25 off your lunch or dinner. Considering lunch is already at $32, this is pretty slick.
Dennis and I keep finding ourselves revisiting Pho Ban Mai when craving local Vietnamese food... or when we are in the mood for these:
Buttered Chicken Wings (8.99). These remind us of Dennis's family's butter chicken wings, which we only get for the holidays! So now we don't have to wait that long or make a big mess frying things at home!
After visiting the Grand Canyon last year, Dennis and I hit up Las Vegas for a couple of days before returning to San Diego. We decided to venture off the strip for one of our meals and I set my sights on Firefly on Paradise. Tapas here we come!
Firefly had a really cool looking bar area and artsy bright decor. I loved all the red and orange accents!
We were the first customers of the day so had our pick of seating. The shady patio area seemed perfect for the warm but comfortable weather.
Dennis ordered a delicious Cherry Mule to start. It was a tad bit heavy on the ice but the awesome copper mug kept it ICE COLD. In fact, Dennis couldn't help himself and ended up ordering his own copper mugs for home use! Drinks anyone?
A new place we found through ibirthdayclub was Domenic's Italian Ristorante in Poway, which offered up to $10 off your entree, no other purchase required. Most lunch items were within that range so that meant a free lunch for me! Whoo hoo!
To start, we were served a complimentary bread basket. There were two types, garlic knots and focaccia bread. Dennis preferred the little knots because the were nice and fluffy and tasty. The focaccia worked fine dipped in olive oil and vinegar. I had the opposite opinion and liked the flavor of the big pieces. For some reason, all the parmesan made the bread knots taste drier to me.