San Diego based food and restaurant review blog. Documenting all types of food, events, and recipes.

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One restaurant wasn't enough to experience Texas BBQ. Dennis and I needed more after visiting Harmon's Barbecue! The next day we headed to another recommendation, a little further east than the last.

City Market is situated in the little town of Luling. The whole city population is under 6k. When googling, I also found a "Luling City Market" in HOUSTON, approximately 140 miles away, but they are unrelated. Added to my Texas food list!

When we got to the parking lot, there was a really strong smell of oil or similar. We noticed these oil rigs across the street. Not sure if they were real and/or in working condition but we were in Texas after all where gas is cheap! We hustled inside to get away from the smell.

Old Town is known for its Mexican fare and we have ventured here for delicious meals as well as Taste of Old Town samplings. After I won a gift card to Jack & Giulio's Italian Restaurant, our curiousity was piqued. Can this Italian restaurant hold its own in Old Town? We had to check it out.

Jack & Giulio's is only a few blocks away from the heart of old town so parking can be difficult during peak dining hours and weekends.

Sitting inside seems romantic with the candles though people can also take a seat at the bar. The large open patio area definitely appeals to visitors, especially in the summer time. A little bit of shadow cast by the building does keep it a little more breezy and 'cold' than usual.

Sundays are our lazy sleep-in days. By 1pm, the hunger inside was roaring for us to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! San Diego Restaurant Week had just started and Cafe La Rue won out as our destination based on distance and menu potential. I was also drawn to the thought of visiting La Valencia Hotel since I've seen tons of buzz on my instagram feed.

The main bar and dining area was spacious and not busy in the early afternoon. For this photo view, Dennis tested out a new 14mm Ultra-Wide angle lens which gave approximately a 110 degree view on his camera.

I love cozy booths like this so we plopped down happily into the cushions. There are three booths inside with the rest using regular, single person chairs.

The SDRW menu was $20 and gave several choices for the main course and the dessert course. Each main course had three components per the description "Main Course - Menage a Trois."

Muffuleta Sandwich, Soup du Jour & Truffle Fries

As much as I love Cali, it's still nice to visit the home state of Texas once in a while. There was also a small mission set for this trip... check out some of the Texas BBQ scene that I missed while growing up here. The only BBQ joint I remember eating was the local joint. They practically catered for the whole town, including at my mom's wedding! I needed to expand that experience!

We met my high school friend and her family at Harmon's BBQ, which was close by their home. Immediately to the left of the restaurant is a BBQ Crossing! I already thought that was a good sign! Pun intended. You can also glimpse a peek at their smoker in the shed. Not sure why they didn't lock the gate per the sign.

Here's the restaurant entrance. It's the same wooden color as the walls so you could miss it if you weren't paying attention. That may have happened to us...

Food preview...

I've lived in San Diego for about 10 years now but still love discoving new things about this beautiful city of ours. I was invited to spend a Saturday afternoon touring downtown Carlsbad along with a few local food blogger friends, both old and new, through the Carlsbad Food Tour.

Our gracious guide and the founder of the Carlsbad Food Tour is Cherimarie Poulos. She leads this easygoing journey through downtown Carlsbad and filled us with bites and fun little history bits throughout. I'll preview the places we visited but will leave the historic details for visitors to experience themselves!

The first stop of our tour was at Caldo Pomodoro, which means hot tomato. Their buttery garlic bread has won awards from SD magazine and can be dipped into a chunky flavorful marinara. I heard very good things about their sauces too. After sampling the famous garlic bread as well as their baked artichoke hearts, we settled inside to hear more history of the restaurant as well as some of the famous visitors who have stopped in for a bite!

Dennis emailed me about Urbane Cafe that recently opened in Mira Mesa and it sounded vaguely familiar... in fact I recall receiving a free sandwich coupon in the mail. Score! I also had a strange feeling of deja vu... finally realizing Dennis had taken me to "urban" cafe (as I incorrectly recall it) in Linda Vista a few years back. This means it's definitely time for a revisit!

We parked only a few spots away from the entrance. The parking lot to the restaurant is huge because it is shared with Fresh & Easy, Bevmo, and a splatter of smaller restaurants and businesses off Mira Mesa Blvd and Camino Santa Fe.

Dennis's little brother joined us for lunch that day. A foodie in the works! We suggested chicken and beef initially but he wanted something from the vegetarian section. I asked him if he had ever eaten a portabella mushroom before. NEVER he said with his eyes wide open. And that's what he picked!

At my day job, my office is relatively close to the kitchenette. Every time I enter that area, I eye the huge snack box by the microwave. It's filled with candy, cookies and other snacks for 75 cents but I typically resist the urge for sugary, processed food. Some days though, I give in because I'm going snack-crazy and I don't even know what I should be snacking on instead.

My eyes totally lit up when I found this email for doing a product review on Golden Island Jerky. Snacks are constantly evolving to meet the newest food trends and the addition of protein is one of those positives I can see myself agreeing to!

Golden Island pitches their products as handcrafted and gluten-free as well as individually sliced and marinaded. These are then fire-grilled or kettle-cooked to maximize their intense flavors and bring out a moist, tender texture.

The mother-in-law recently hit a big milestone birthday so the whole family got together to celebrate. We took her to Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar to satisfy her seafood craving. It was a large party of 9, once you add in the parents, sisters, their spouses, little brother and us. A big group means more food to try!

We had a reservation and were seated at a roomy table by the window. Plenty of natural light comes in during the day due to the huge windows. The lunchtime menu is only one page and does not have any options for kids. The waitress suggested sharing one of the sandwiches for the little brother.

As a starter, Dennis and I ordered the Clam Chowder. This was a chunky and savory chowder that included potato and bacon strips as well as the usual clams. It was seriously one of the best chowders we've had in a while. The little brother had never eaten this type of soup before and kept asking for more and more. It was also accompanied by these hearty cheddar biscuits that we broke into pieces to dip in the chowder. At least, that’s how I’d eat it.