Jan 2007

Á Châu – San Diego

January 16, 2007
Cuisine: Vietnamese, Deli

4644 El Cajon Blvd Ste 111
San Diego, CA 92115-4432

Phone: 619-281-4066
Website: none

Bánh Mì Bì Chả ($3)

One of my favorite traditions in San Diego is picking up some Bánh Mì at A Chau for my long flight back to Philadelphia. On our way to the airport, the Astronomer and I picked up two Bánh Mì Bì Chả and one Bánh Mì Nem Nướng for our long trip back east.

I enjoyed my Bánh Mì Bì Chả on the second leg of my flight. Of all the different combinations of Bánh Mì, the Bì Chả is far and away my favorite and A Chau makes it best. Bì is thinly shredded pork mixed with cooked and thinly shredded pork skin. Chả are Vietnamese meats spiced and flavored in a multitude of ways and is often ground to a paste and cooked. Chả is often referred to as Vietnamese sausages or sometimes steamed pâté rolls. The difference in taste and texture between the Bì, Chả, and pickled vegetables is what makes this sandwich so delicious! The onion oil adds another dimension in flavor as well.

The Astronomer ate his Bánh Mì Nem Nướng on the second leg of the flight as well. Nem Nướng is barbecued Vietnamese meatballs. They are often reddish in color and grilled on skewers like kabobs. Ingredients in the marinade include fish sauce. He enjoyed his sandwich immensely.

A-Chau on Urbanspoon

Jan 2007

Extraordinary Desserts – San Diego

January 15, 2007
Cuisine: Desserts

1430 Union Street
San Diego, CA 92101

Phone: 619-294-7001
Website: www.extraordinarydesserts.com

Dessert I: Passion Fruit Ricotta Torte – ricotta cake layers, soaked with passion fruit juice and layered with passion fruit whipped cream, kiwis, strawberries and bananas ($7.50)

Dessert II: Lemon Fruit Tartlette – a crisp buttery tart shell filled with lemon cream and topped with fruits of the season ($7.50)

Dessert III: Chocolate Truffle Loaf ($5)

Dessert IV: Caribe – chocolate mousses infused with mangos, bananas and passion fruit layered between dark chocolate lilikoi soaked chocolate cakes and finished with dark chocolate and topped with fresh tropical fruits ($7.50)

Dessert V: Apple and Berry Croissant Bread Pudding with Cinnamon Ice Cream ($10.95)

Dessert VI: Lemon Bar ($3)

Dessert VII: Hot Fudge Sundae ($10)

After reading and hearing good things about Extraordinary Desserts, a group of friends and I headed over to see if their sweets were truly as “extraordinary” as their name implied. Besides serving desserts, the restaurant also has gourmet teas, panini, salads, and bruchetta on the menu. The atmosphere in Extraordinary Desserts is relaxed, trendy, and modern.

Kellie and Justin started the evening with some warm drinks. Kel ordered the White Hot Chocolate ($6), while Justin had a mocha ($4.50). Kellie thought her drink was “the best thing ever.” I took a sip and found it awesome as well. The flavor was strongly vanilla and had a light sprinkling of cardamon. Kellie’s hot chocolate came with a side of whipped cream and an extra serving of cocoa. Awesome. Justin liked his mocha too.

The presentation at Extraordinary Desserts is gorgeous. Pureed fruit sauces and fresh flowers accompanied all of our dessert selections. The Astronomer and I shared the Apple and Berry Croissant Bread Pudding with Cinnamon Ice Cream and a Lemon Bar. The cinnamon ice cream was excellent, but I was too busy chatting with my old friends to give the desserts my full attention. The Astronomer thought both the lemon bar and bread pudding were great, but quite pricey. I agree, eleven bucks is a bit high for dessert. In regards to the lemon bar, the ratio of lemon to crust was 1:1. I prefer more lemon and less shortbread.

Kellie ordered the Passion Fruit Ricotta Torte, which I thought was the best dessert of the evening. The tropical fruit flavors were explosive and refreshing! The fruit purees further intensified the flavors. I will definitely order it on my next visit. Mike ordered the Lemon Fruit Tartlette.

Justin, a huge fan of chocolate, ordered a hot fudge sundae. He was expecting Hershey’s chocolate syrup, but instead got actual fudge! Imagine that! He disliked the copious amount of whipped cream atop the sundae and yearned for nuts. Justin couldn’t finish his sundae because the chocolate was too intense toward the end. Regardless, for $10 Justin was hoping for a larger serving. I agreed.

Even though Cousin Phil is not a big fan of desserts, he ordered a chocolate loaf. He liked it as much as a non-dessert lover could. Tannia ordered the Caribe, which she and Phil both really enjoyed.

Extraordinary Desserts on Urbanspoon

Jan 2007

In-N-Out Burger – Pacific Beach

Photo by Joyous!

January 15, 2007
Cuisine: Fastfood, Burgers

2910 Damon Ave.
Pacific Beach, CA 92109

Phone: 1-800-786-1000
Website: http://www.in-n-out.com

Entree I: Double-Double ($2.75) with Fries ($1.09)

Entree II: Cheeseburger, Protein Style, Animal Style ($1.85)

Ever since reading Fast-food Nation, I’ve wanted to eat at In-N-Out Burger to support their high food standards and fair employment practices. The Astronomer and I met up with his friend Jason (AKA San Diego H8R) from JBS for a quick lunch at In-N-Out before exploring the wonders of UCSD.

The Astronomer ordered the classic Double-Double and a side of fries. He thought the burger was delicious, even with the Thousand Island dressing. The fries were “nothing special,” but he liked how they were free of nasty trans-fats. Me too.

I normally order a Double-Double, but wanted to try the “secret menu.” I ordered a cheeseburger “Animal Style” (A mustard cooked beef patty served on a bun with pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, extra spread and grilled onions) and “Protein Style” (Instead of a bun, the burger is wrapped in lettuce). The burger was very messy to eat due to the extra spread and lack of buns. The grilled onions were fabulous and the burger overall was very good! The secret menu is quite a novelty, but next time I may just go for a plain old Double-Double with grilled onions.

In-N-Out Burger on Urbanspoon