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eG Foodblog: mizducky - San Diego: A (Really!) Moveable Feast

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#1 mizducky

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 09:59 AM

My favorite things to eat then were blueberry pie, fried oysters and fried eels--but I also used to love corn sandwiches: white bread and mashed potatoes with canned corn dumped on it. (Every once in a while, we'll come back to this fascinating topic, since it seems to matter so much to certain people in the audience.)
--Frank Zappa, The Real Frank Zappa Book


Greetings and salutations from sunny San Diego!

Any of my closest friends will tell you I am not one to be easily intimidated, but I admit it is a bit unnerving to be directly following such exemplary bloggers as John Whiting. But don't worry, I'll get over myself fairly quickly. :smile:

I was originally going to subtitle this blog something like "Beggars Banquet," or maybe "The Tightwad Gourmand" (as in "you've heard of the Frugal Gourmet, now meet ... " et cetera and so forth). These titles were attempts to address the fact that, for various reasons, I live a pretty low-budget lifestyle, but still manage to have a damn good time enjoying food. In fact, I kind of revel in finding and enjoying good cheap eats, and this blog would be a chance to go on at length about that revelry with folks of like mind. For one of the many things about eGullet that has really turned me on is the great egalitarianism of food tastes here--I've noticed that many of the same people who contribute passionately to topics on five-star restaurants and rarified vintages also weigh in with equal vigor about sliders, barbeque, chili, and other "just plain folks" food.

But as to the blog title I wound up with: by the serendipity of scheduling, it turns out that I will be moving at the end of this month to a neighborhood a few miles away from the one I currently live in. That means not only a whole different kitchen, and a whole different household with different tolerances about cooking, but also a whole new neighborhood of food resources to explore. So--one of the themes of my blog this week will be taking you all along with me as I get ready to move my personal food act across town. If I'm lucky and the fellow currently occupying my new digs vacates in time, you'll actually get to see my new kitchen and what I'll soon have to work with; but at the very least I'll take you with me as I start exploring the shops and eateries around my new neighborhood. There might even be an IKEA run in there somewhere--meatballs ahoy!

I don't get to do big cooking projects in my current living situation nearly as often as I'd like, partly because my current household companion (who I've immortalized in various posts as Fearless Housemate) is really sensitive to food smells, and partly because this wacky house has a substandard kitchen exhaust fan that vents directly into FH's bedroom--YIKES! So I do try to spare the poor guy from being stanked out of his own room as much as possible. HOWEVER, Fearless Housemate will be out with his band on a gig this Saturday evening, so I plan to execute some kind of minor cooking extravaganza in his absence--the exact nature of which will be determined by what looks good in the markets, what feels good to me, my energy level by the time we get to Saturday, PLUS your input and suggestions.

As for the bulk of this week's meals: I'm taking inspiration from Pan's foodblog, in which he demonstrated the dining, take-out, and delivery food wonders of his immediate neighborhood. Only I'll have *two* neighborhoods full of dining and take-out opportunities to draw upon--my new one as well as my current one, both of which feature a fabulous array of inexpensive ethnic eateries. In fact, the teaser photos for my blog demonstrated just a small sampling of the local riches in my current neighborhood:
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The above, in order of appearance: a bento box from Nijiya Market; a medley of cold Szechuan-style appetizers from my beloved Ba Ren; and the iconic San Diego takeout meal, a fish taco combo, this one from El Cotixan, the nearest 24-hour taqueria to my current abode. And that's just for starters; within a five-mile radius of where I'm sitting right now, I can also sample such cuisines as Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, Middle Eastern, Filipino, Indian, South American, Greek, Hawaiian, Jewish-style deli, several different styles of hamburger from national chains to one-of-a-kind monsters, and others cuisines that I'm still only just discovering after three-and-a-half years in this town.

Oh, and one other little adventure: on Sunday evening, I'm going to be playing Mistress of the Church Coffee Reception. The congregation of which I am a member is going to be hosting a distinguished lecturer, and I volunteered to do battle with the social hall's brand-new high-volume high-speed high-falutin' coffeemaker. I'm told it's supposed to be easy, all the instructions are written out and taped to the beast. Ooooo-kay ... so how come nobody else volunteered for this task? :hmmm: I sense a potential for this to turn into something right out of an "I Love Lucy" episode, so I'll be sure to bring my camera along in order to record any coffee carnage.

There will be other neighborhood adventures as well, depending on time, schedule, whim, energy level, and audience suggestion.

About those audience suggestions: I do hope folks will chime in early and often with questions and comments as well as suggestions. As you may have noticed, I like to have a lot of fun while hanging on the board here, and it's so much more fun when I have accomplices to help bat the conversational shuttlecock around.

P.S. Oh yeah--despite my fondness for Frank Zappa, there will be no corn sandwiches in this blog (shudder). However, there may well be some fried seafood of some sort, though perhaps neither oysters nor eels (not that I wouldn't mind that...)

Edited by mizducky, 17 January 2006 - 11:09 AM.


#2 mizducky

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 10:20 AM

Okay, and we're already off to a bumpy start: by Murphy's Law, my elderly digital camera (an obsolete model of the Nikon Coolpix) just decided to go on the fritz, so this blurry-ish photo of my breakfast this morning is courtesy of my camera phone:

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I am usually not much of a breakfast person--in fact, back when I was a Seattle-based coffee fiend, breakfast was usually a big latte at most. However, for medical reasons coffee has had to become an occasional treat at best, so if I drink any hot beverage at all in the morning, it's usually some kind of tea. Today it's an organo-groovy yerba mate concoction from a local natural foods store. Accompanying it is one of my lazy/non-morning-person's breakfast specials: a pita full of melted cheese. Today's whole-wheat pita is courtesy of the local Trader Joe's; the sharp cheddar is standard supermarket issue (Von's). I'm really not much of a cold cereal fan; occasionally I'll do hot cereal; once in a blue moon I'll make a smoothie or an omelette. Otherwise, unless I'm specifically going out for a voluminous brunch, this is about as elaborate as breakfast gets for me.

The death of the old camera dictates what one of my morning's errands is going to be: buying a simple but serviceable replacement of some sort. I already had my eye on one at Circuit City; hopefully my next post or so will be pictures with the new puppy, as a couple of my other anticipated errands includes lunch, plus an initial overview of the local cheap eats troves.

#3 EllenC

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 10:51 AM

YEAH!! I love your posts and your humor MizDucky. Please Blog on!

#4 judiu

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 11:07 AM

Miz Ducky, blog on. Our ideas seem to mesh well, so I will vicariously enjoy southern California with you. :laugh:
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#5 OnigiriFB

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 11:07 AM

Alright! You're one of my favorite eGulleteers so I'm looking forward to this peek into your life. What fun!

#6 daniellewiley

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 11:17 AM

Oh this is exciting!! I always enjoy reading your posts, and San Diego is one of my very favorite places.
Would you mind sharing what neighborhood you are in and where you will be going?

We've stayed mostly in Pacific Beach on our visits, but I've also spent a fair amount of time in La Jolla and Coronado.

Any chance you can venture out for an Acai energy bowl? That was one of my favorite treats last time we visited.
Danielle Altshuler Wiley
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#7 wattacetti

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 11:34 AM

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Hey! That's the same model of coffee maker that I used to have in the office.

I'm looking forward to your blog; the only time I was in San Diego, we were locked into this hotel in Coronado (where they rent the use of the phone, not just the time) and didn't get to see anything of the city much less eat anything the city has to offer.

#8 Smithy

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 11:41 AM

Oh, this is going to be fun! Blog on, mizducky! Do be sure to include photos of the sunshine, since some of us are in the middle of winter.

Will you be moving into your very own place, or will you have a new housemate whose food preferences and sensitivities will need consideration?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

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#9 Megan Blocker

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 11:42 AM

Miz Ducky, I'm so glad to see you blogging!

A couple questions...how will your new situation differ in terms of cooking options? Is it just improved ventilation, or are your new roomies more adventurous all around when it comes to things culinary?

Also, how does the kitchen sharing work? Do you work out a schedule?
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#10 mizducky

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 11:49 AM

Many thanks for your encouraging words, folks--I truly appreciate it.

Would you mind sharing what neighborhood you are in and where you will be going?

Any chance you can venture out for an Acai energy bowl? That was one of my favorite treats last time we visited.

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I currently live in Clairemont Mesa, which for those of you not very familiar with San Diego is north of downtown, inland (east) a little ways from Pacific Beach, and just south of MCAS Miramar. It's also just west of Kearny Mesa, with its major agglomeration of (mostly) Asian restaurants and shops on and around Convoy Street. (I assume MCAS Miramar used to run convoys down that street, thus the name.)

I will soon be moving to Mission Valley, just east of that lovely landmark :wink: Qualcomm Stadium, in a little neighborhood known as Grantville. One of the major food features of that neighborhood that I'm especially excited about is Iowa Meat Farms, one of the few independent butcher shops in this town, and a place with an excellent reputation. Hopefully I will have at least pictures, and maybe even some product, to show you from this joint.

As to the Acai energy bowl--wow, I hadn't even heard of that place, but when I looked where it was located I wasn't surprised--it's right in the middle of the Pacific Beach strip, which I usually avoid like crazy due to the usual tourist conjestion. But offseason in the middle of the week, I might actually find parking down there, so I'll see if I can swing by there.

Okay, I have done battle with circuitcity.com and have been told my new camera awaits me, so off to start my errands. See y'all shortly ...

#11 mizducky

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 11:53 AM

Okay, I lied--one more quick answer, and then I'm off:

A couple questions...how will your new situation differ in terms of cooking options?  Is it just improved ventilation, or are your new roomies more adventurous all around when it comes to things culinary?

Also, how does the kitchen sharing work?  Do you work out a schedule?

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The new kitchen, while smaller, is a bit more modern and much better maintained, and has a proper ventilation system. Also, my new roommate loves to cook, and isn't afeered of major cooking smells. Not sure yet how we'll work the kitchen-sharing, but as I work at home and he works in a store, plus is another musician with rehearsals elsewhere two nights a week, I'll have huge blocks of kitchen time all to myself--bwahahahah!!!

Okay, now I'm really off (as if you didn't know that already...)

#12 kalypso

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 12:30 PM

Hola MizDucky, or perhaps I should make that welcom to the hood :biggrin: I'm about 4 miles Northeast of your new digs.

You will love IMFs. A little spendy, but I've never had a bad piece of meat from them. Here's the skinny on Iowa Meats. Local restauranteur David Cohn is from originally from Souix City, IA. When he moved to SD he opened Iowa Meat Farms and went into the meat business. It was slow at first so he got the idea to open a restaurant to supplement the meat biz. So was birthed the Corvette Diner, a favorite local joint. Both IMFs and the Cohn restaurant empire grew from there. Did you know that the Cohns also own Sisel's Meats in Bay Park as well? Their steaks are good, their pork even better. Try the thick, slab bacon and breakfast sausage. They also have an amazing selection of jarred and bottled sauces of every imaginable variety; probably the widest, most complete selection in SD. Plus, their butchers are knowledgable about how to cook each piece of meat they sell and will gladly give you instructions.

A few blocks down the street from IMFs is Farmer's Outlet which is a pretty decent vegetable market with a good choice of Middle Eastern and Mexican ingredients.

Mission Gorge Rd. is home to every fast food franchise you can imagine. But tucked away in the sea of strip malls are a few interesting independents. You can get a pretty good sushi fix at Jump Tokoyo, which is right next door to SD Brewing Company, whose beer is pretty good. Happy Chef and Mandarin Szchewan will do for Chinese in a pinch, well actually, the lunch special at Mandarin Szchewan is pretty decent, but you'll never mistake it for Convoy St. :raz: For checkered tablecloth style Italian you're less than 5 mintues from 2 of San Diego's oldest establishments, Nicolosi's and Fillipi's. If you go to Fillipi's it's right next door to the seductively named Camel's Breath Inn, and if you go there, I want, no I demand, a full report :wink: But for really good Italian, try Trattoria Antica in the Von's shopping center on Lake Murry Blvd. , which will be less than 10 mintues from your door. Or keep driving East on Mission Gorge until you get to Santee and try Trattoria di VI, the best kept dining secret in East County.

Oh, and let's not forget Longhorn's for burgers and Troy for Greek, also been around 25+ years or so.

You're entering suberbia where real hole in the wall dining does exist, but you're gonna have to ferret it out.

#13 Toliver

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 12:35 PM

Kiss the ground for me, mizDucky...anywhere in San Diego will do. :laugh:
Miramar was an NAS (Naval Air Station) up until recently and I don't doubt the naming of Convoy has a military connection. There's a large military housing presence (I was going to say "navy housing" but I am sure that's expanded over the years to include the other military branches) in Linda Vista, Tierrasanta and Serra Mesa which are respectively south, far east and southeast from Convoy.
Such a small world...my SIL works at the Grantville post office.
I believe Grantville just got a new trolley stop, too, so that area is happening now. :cool:
Remember Rory's? They used to be next to Iowa Meat Farms. It was a '50's retro joint serving up hot dogs and frozen yogurt. One of the rare failed Cohen family (Dakota's, Indigo Grill, Blue Point, etc) restaurants. I think the Cohens even own Iowa Meats, too.
I am looking forward to your culinary adventures and roaming the streets of San Diego vicariously with you!

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Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”
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#14 Pan

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 01:59 PM

When I saw the teaser of food pics, I thought California, but I didn't guess it would be you. mizducky is a person of excellent taste, folks. Any Afghan food in your immediate future? :wink:

#15 avocado

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 02:39 PM

Despite the change of plans/change of title, you're still going to give us some "Tightwad Gourmand" tips and tricks, right? I could use 'em!
Blog on, Ducky, I'm looking forward to it!
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#16 Zucchini Mama

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 03:02 PM

Miz Ducky, what a nice surprise! Moving's such an exciting adventure. Thanks for bringing us along and just think, since you'll be only five minutes away from the Camel's Breath Inn, when the wind is going the right way, you should be able to catch a whiff of the camel breath. (Did it escape from the San Diego Zoo?) This is a great month to do budget food, after holiday blow-outs.

Bloggin', bloggin', bloggin', keep those duckies bloggin'....

Zuke
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#17 Smithy

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 03:18 PM

Bloggin', bloggin', bloggin', keep those duckies bloggin'....

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:laugh: :laugh:

I'm so glad I like that song. It'll be stuck in my head for a couple of days now.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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#18 MarketStEl

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 03:33 PM

What?????

You started blogging and didn't give me a heads-up?

*pout* (can't find an emoticon for this one)

I'm looking forward to more of your missives from disgustingly sunny San Diego.

See if you can't work the San Diego Trolley into one of your pix. Pleeeeease? (Or are they like most transit systems and don't allow eating on the trains?)
Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia
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#19 Mooshmouse

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 04:16 PM

From one mid-move blogger to another, more power to you sistah! :cool:

Looking forward to seeing what this week has in store for you.
Joie Alvaro Kent
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#20 johnnyd

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 04:19 PM

Oh yeah--despite my fondness for Frank Zappa, there will be no corn sandwiches in this blog


WaWhaWHAAT???

:biggrin:

I beg you to reconsider! :cool:
"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

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#21 mizducky

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 05:22 PM

I want a New Toy (oh ay oh), to keep my head expanding (ta).
I want a New Toy (oh ay oh), nothing too demanding (ta).
--Lena Lovich (song originally written by Thomas Dolby)

I am now the proud owner of an Olympus FE-100, a basic little 4.0 megapixel jobbie that will be more than adequate for my relatively simple photographic needs.

I then took my new toy over to the aforementioned Convoy Street in search of lunch.

San Diego used to have an actual Chinatown, in the area now known as the Gaslamp District--back in the day, that whole area was known as the Stingaree and was basically the red-light district. But since then it's been all the way down and then back up as a gentrified tourist area, and all that remains of Chinatown are some lovingly restored buildings, a museum, and maybe a couple of active businesses. The Convoy Street area isn't really a proper "Chinatown" in that there's little actual housing here--just block after block of strip malls jam-packed with restaurants, groceries, and other businesses catering to a variety of Asian ethnic groups, interspersed with a few Anglo-American businesses and a bunch of auto dealerships (and the occasional adult bookstore--the more things change, as they say...)

My destination for today's lunch was a joint I had noticed but not actually gone into before--I was alerted to its potential by mmm-yoso's most excellent blog. Jamillah Garden is a Halal-certified Islamic Chinese restaurant; while it tries to cover all the bases of various Chinese cuisines on behalf of San Diego's sizeable Muslim community, if I was remembering Kirk/mmm-yoso's recommendations correctly, the dishes to really check out were the specialties that actually hail from the Northern Chinese Muslim community. So: here's the joint itself:
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...and here is what I ordered:
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"Green onion pies"

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"Lamb dough slice chow mein"

These are both dishes to which Kirk gave the thumbs-up, and I agree. The green onion pies were served fresh off the griddle--the flavor was extremely mild, but the texture very pleasant, flaky and toasty and slightly oily like parathas. The "lamb dough slice chow mein" (that's what the English says on the menu) requires a little more explanation. These noodles are handmade, apparently sliced off a roll of dough right when the order is fired--and they're wonderful, soft yet chewy, very freeform. The noodles are then incorporated into what seems to be a nicely done, fairly standard chow mein dish--only with lamb, apparently a favorite meat of the Northern Chinese Muslims. The lamb was pleasant, but alas for this lamb-lover it didn't taste particularly lamb-like. Also in the dish were generous bits of scrambled egg, slivers of scallion and carrot and other assorted veggies, all bound together in a well-flavored mild brown sauce. All in all, a terrific comfort food dish, as the relative simplicity of the flavors was more than made up for by those fabulous noodles.

After a few more work-related errands, I'm now back home, and drinking some of this:
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Pure cherry juice is the gouty carnivore's friend! I try to have some kind of real cherry product around at all times, because even with meds the little crystals try to gang up on me, and while I've cut my meat consumption radically I'm just not willing or able to go totally vegetarian.

#22 johnnyd

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 05:35 PM

I met Ms Lovich once. She had black nail polish.

But Frank! Will you at least call any vegatable by name? :smile:

Edited by johnnyd, 17 January 2006 - 05:54 PM.

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#23 mizducky

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 05:49 PM

Hola MizDucky, or perhaps I should make that welcom to the hood  :biggrin: I'm about 4 miles Northeast of your new digs.

You will love IMFs.  A little spendy, but I've never had a bad piece of meat from them.  Here's the skinny on Iowa Meats.  Local restauranteur David Cohn is from originally from Souix City, IA.  When he moved to SD he opened Iowa Meat Farms and went into the meat business.  It was slow at first so he got the idea to open a restaurant to supplement the meat biz.  So was birthed the Corvette Diner, a favorite local joint.  Both IMFs and the Cohn restaurant empire grew from there.  Did you know that the Cohns also own Sisel's Meats in Bay Park as well?

(Much other incredibly useful info snipped solely to conserve bandwidth--mizd.)

You're entering suberbia where real hole in the wall dining does exist, but you're gonna have to ferret it out.

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Thanks for the warm welcome, kalypso, not to mention all that useful info! I have gone to Seisel's Meats and was quite impressed, which was part of why I was so excited to see how near I will soon be to their original biz. And I'd been eyeing that vegetable stand--I hope to capture it for this blog later on in the week.

Kiss the ground for me, mizDucky...anywhere in San Diego will do. :laugh:

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Heh. If I can be sure I can get back up off the ground without screwing up the Creaky Knees, I will most certainly do so. :biggrin:

Any Afghan food in your immediate future?  :wink:

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Ah. Doing a Khyber Pass run is definitely tempting, but as you saw on your visit, parking in that stretch of Hillcrest can be a royal pain. But I will see what I can do ...

Despite the change of plans/change of title, you're still going to give us some "Tightwad Gourmand" tips and tricks, right? I could use 'em!

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Oh, most definitely! Stand by for an upcoming post ...

What?????

You started blogging and didn't give me a heads-up?

*pout* (can't find an emoticon for this one)

I'm looking forward to more of your missives from disgustingly sunny San Diego.

See if you can't work the San Diego Trolley into one of your pix.  Pleeeeease?  (Or are they like most transit systems and don't allow eating on the trains?)

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Dude! It was supposed to be a surprise, after all! :laugh:

Yeah, the San Diego MTA is a real bear about people eating on their pretty little trains. But, especially as the brand-spankin' new elevated trolley station is right near my new apartment, it will probably at least wind up in a location-establishing photo in a future post. The darn thing really is quite glitzy--you'd love it.

Oh yeah--despite my fondness for Frank Zappa, there will be no corn sandwiches in this blog

WaWhaWHAAT???

:biggrin:

I beg you to reconsider! :cool:

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Oooooooh ... I dunno ... I just *know* that Frank's childhood food fave must have involved canned corn, and after many childhood summers of savoring New Jersey truck farm butter-and-sugar corn on the cob, I just can't seem to get excited about the canned stuff. Maybe if I made an upscale version with fresh-off-the-cob corn and freshly made garlic mashed potatoes on some kind of artisanal bread ... :biggrin:

#24 helenjp

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 05:55 PM

Lamb noodles! Great start to a blog! I think those handmade noodles are made the same way as Mongolian soup noodles, though cooked differently.

Green onion breads - yum! (I've only ever made them at home, always curious about what they're actually served with in restaurants?)

I think the blog jinx got to you - my digicam also sputtered and died as I tried to take my first blog photo, and thanks to that, we how have a Panasonic Lumix LZ2!

#25 mizducky

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 06:47 PM

I met Ms Lovich once.  She had black nail polish.

But Frank! Will you at least call any vegatable by name? :smile:

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Heh. You have no idea how huge a temptation it has been to strew this entire blog with food-related Zappa quotes. Food items definitely seemed to appeal to his sense of humor ... but alas, I don't want to run too far off-topic or off-fair use guidelines, so I'm going to content myself with only the occasional topical epigram here and there.

Meanwhile, as to my Tightwad Gourmand rules--actually, I don't have rules so much as a general heuristic (now there's a computer geek-atroid term!) with regard to having fun with food on a budget. The guiding principle is: of course you can produce incredible results in the kitchen with high-grade ingredients and professional-quality equipment, but it's important to realize that pretty much all the world's great cuisines (as John Whiting pointed out in his cassoulet missive) started out as dishes made by poor people making do with whatever oddments they could not afford to let go to waste.

So, as a self-styled 21st century urban peasant, po-mo bohemian variant, I give myself permission to explore the possibilities of bargain basement ingredients, gear from Target, and other declasse stuff. The magic, at base, is in good technique--if your technique is crap, the finest ingredients and gear in the universe will not save your dinner. (This is not to say that my technique is sterling--far from it--but I'm no slouch if I do say so myself...)

Likewise, behind many of those unpromising-looking mom'n'pop storefronts are excellent cooks transforming humble ingredients with fabulous technique--all it takes is an adventurous soul (and a cast-iron stomach) to seek them out.

This is one of many reasons why I am also a huge Tony Bourdain fan--because he gets all the above and celebrates it. That, and he also celebrates offal--a related concept, as offal traditionally has been poor folks' food. Oh yeah, and it doesn't hurt that he vaguely reminds me of Lou Reed ... :biggrin:

Hauling this further back on topic: all the above does relate not only to the food joints I'll be showing y'all, but also to what I'm thinking of cooking Saturday night. I'm not planning to get particularly spendy on the ingredients for that session. In fact, I'm thinking of trying out another of the dishes from the Chinese home cooking pictorials of our esteemed specialist Mr W.K. Leung a.k.a. "hzrt8w". Either that, or if I discover that pork belly's on special at the local 99 Ranch, I'm going to have myself a little oinkfest a la Daniel. :smile:

#26 christine007

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 07:03 PM

Hi Mizducky! i'm a Newbie here, and I've never seen anything more enjoyable to read than these food blogs, so thank you!
The onion pies look so good. Do you dip them in a sauce or eat as is, or dip them in the main dish? They also make those in the cooking of India, I think.
I find your homemade and takeout concept very interesting. thanks again! :smile:
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#27 mizducky

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 07:07 PM

Hi Mizducky! i'm a Newbie here, and I've never seen anything more enjoyable to read than these food blogs, so thank you!
The onion pies look so good. Do you dip them in a sauce or eat as is, or dip them in the main dish? They also make those in the cooking of India, I think.
I find your homemade and takeout concept very interesting. thanks again! :smile:

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Welcome, Christine!

Y'know, I don't actually know what is the customary way to eat those onion pies. I just tore them in big strips, rolled them up a bit, and munched away. I think I used a bit of them to mop up the sauce from my noodle dish. Anybody with more knowledge want to chime in here?

Meanwhile, it is time for me to contemplate dinner. I'm thinking a trip down into the outskirts of PB (that's Pacific Beach to all you non-San Diegans) to one of my favorite little taqueria finds. Back shortly ...

#28 mizducky

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 08:57 PM

Ah, Pacific Beach! Land of carefree surfer dudes and dudettes--the latter given to wearing shorts with Ugg boots because, like, it's *winter*, y'know. :rolleyes:

Wending my way through the traffic on the nearly always busy Garnet Ave (main drag of PB), I made my way to one of my favorite taquerias, a little joint known as Taco Motion:
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I can't claim to be any kind of expert on taco-shop fare, but one of my rules for sussing out whether this kind of joint is on the ball is whether they offer offal, and if so, how many varieties. This place caught my attention right away because they have tripas (tripe/cow's stomach), buche (pig's stomach), and cabeza (beef head/cheek meat), as well as menudo--not just as a weekend special, but every day of the week. So far, I've always ordered the burrito de cabeza because I like it so much, but because I'm still not too hungry after that big lunch (even though I brought half that meal home in a doggy bag), and also because I've got spectators, I decide to do something different.

I consult the sizeable menu:
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...and decide to get four mini-tacos, one each of buche, tripas, cabeza, and al pastor (al pastor is marinated pork grilled on and sliced off a vertical spit, much like gyros meat).

I arrive home with my prize:
Posted Image
Whoa, even though each of those tacos is supposedly "mini", together they're still a lot of food. But they're so purty! :biggrin:

They're not perfect. The tripas is just a hair on the mushy side; the al pastor is just a hair on the dry side. The buche is quite nice. But the winner, once again, is the cabeza--moist, tender but with just a little chewiness (I'd never consciously realized this before, but I really do have a major fondness for that tender-but-chewy mouthfeel thang). None of the meats are particularly spicy on their own, but they're nicely accented with a little sprinkling of cilantro and pico de gallo, and come with a really good hot sauce--not just raw hotness but with a bit of flavor too. They also came with extra corn tortillas--they're really fresh, but I kinda wish they had toasted them on a comal, or at least a griddle, rather than steaming them or whatever they did, because that left 'em a bit rubbery. Ah well. This was a good change of pace, but I think next visit I'll be back to getting the burrito de cabeza. Unless I'm hungry enough to do justice to a big bowl of menudo.

#29 Rebecca263

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 09:01 PM

My favorite duck! Oh, my, you fabulous MizDucky, I'm seriously crushing on your funniness and now I get to have an entire week of you? :wub: Bliss! So glad that you got a new camera, too. I can't wait to see lots of your take on San Diego. California is so exotic! Oh, and regarding Tightwad Gourmand, can I join that club?
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#30 jackieg

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 09:49 PM

Very excited to see you blogging. Love to read your posts, always well thought out and witty. Great timing to get me in the mood for fun in the sun, I'll be in SD this weekend. More of a girl's fun weekend though, than food centric so probably won't visit any of your recommendations.





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