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  1. Tao? I don't think I've even heard of Tao. Other than Sushi Ota, it's a very bland, middle of the road list more for tourists than locals, don't you think?
  2. I own this cookbook. It is a tour de force and deserves the accolades it's gotten. It is also a rather daunting book at 900+ pages. There is a ton of pretty well researched information in it and the sections are reasonably well organized. Rather than split the book into chapters that focus on each country, Maricel has chosen to organize the book by ingredient/typcial menu categories and then provide supporting material and recipes that actually show the interrelationships and regional differences in the way dishes are prepared or ingreidents handled. I have not yet cooked from the book, but in reading through some of the recipes, I have no doubt they are doable. But at 900 pages how do you figure out where to begin The book for me is a bit unweildy becuase of it's size. I find it a bit awkward to handle and am wondering how that will translate to real time usage in the kitchen. I would have preferred to have the book broken down into 2, possibly 3, volumes simply for ease of handling.
  3. Sounds like they've gone down the tubes to me. What we ate was consistently good and not on weird oversized plates or in minimal portions, some of our portions were actually too big. Sounds like they let their initial success go to their heads and tried to take it to the next level and failed. Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience there.
  4. Good call on Carnitas Snack Shack. Really like it. Also good call for Chris on Lion Share. I also might send him to JSix for the farm to table thing, they also do a pretty decent burger at lunch.
  5. Mi amigo DanielO and his lovely wife spent Christmas in Oaxaca. They returned with the new, updated edition of Ricardo Muñoz Zurita's Diccionario Enciclopédico. They dropped it off last night and I've been enthralled ever since. From A to Z in 644 pages, it is everything you could possibly ever want to know about Mexican cooking, ingredients, regions, recipes, dishes, utensils, fiestas, food related traditions and more. I've always been fond of Larousse publications and their handling of the new Diccionario was striking. It's easy to use, well laid out and love the addition of nice color photos, including some really fun vintage photos. One of the new features in this edition are the charts - 5 pages listing Antojitos by name, main ingredients and the origin or where they are typically eaten - 7 pages listing all the drinks, main ingredients, the process by how the drink is produced, variations, origin, and whether or not it is alcoholic - 6 pages listing fresh and dried chiles by name, other names and where they are produced and/or eaten. The dried chile chart also lists the name of the fresh chile - 5+ pages listing moles - 4+ pages listing all the mushrooms by name, scientific name and the many alternative names for mushrooms throughout the Republic So far, this appears to be a beautiful and very useful update to a book that was already a pretty phenomenal resource. For anyone who is a serious student of Mexican cooking and cuisine, this book is a tremendous asset. Yes, it is in Spanish
  6. The reality is I'm an old dinosaur . Frankly, I find the whole too cool for my shoes mind set amusing, but I supposed I was that way when I was that age. Compared to downtown and the rest of Adams Ave., Mayahuel truly is not a "see and be seen" place. The last time I was there, which was, admittedly, a while back, it didn't reek of sophistication (real or faux). Lots of good latin art covering a variety of genres on the walls and there may have been picnic table seating. Funky probably fits it better than trendy. Chile infused tequila is better than jamaica infused , adds pizzazz to any tequila based drink.
  7. If you've been to Mayahuel you would know why I am surprised to see them on the list They are definitely NOT trendy or upscale in the least, but yes, they do have a fabulous selection of tequilas and mezcals. Mayahuel is a goddess in the Maya pantheon of gods and goddesses and is credited with the creation of the maguey plant. Mayahuel the cantina is up on Adams Ave. a half block west of 30th. It's decidedly downscale and not the least bit trendy. They also serve a very good mole with lovely floral notes to it. It's more about the libations and less about the scene and the environment. Yes, Jay Porter and El Take it EZ. I think he's got one of the more improved bar menus and one that's pushing the Baja envelope. Like ETiEZ and The LInkery, not everything works but I have to give he and his staff kudos for thinking outside the local SD box and trying interesting things. Everytime my firends and I go we all order different drinks and then pass them around the table. Some are more balanced cocktails than others. I always seem to come back to the Paloma made with jamaica infused reposado. Since I always have jamaica at home I've taken to keeping a bottle of reposado at home that I've infused with jamaica. Makes a lovely colored margarita too
  8. Very surprised to see Mayahuel, but not disappointed. They have a great selection of mezcals. Also glad to see Jay get a mention. They've really worked hard on their bar program
  9. Well, you'll certainly be safe from that "Michelin starred service" thing in San Diego. If anything, service tends to be a little to much on the casual side, much like San Diego itself. The usual suspects downtown are Cafe Chloe - http://www.cafechloe.com/ Cowboy Star - http://thecowboystar.com/ JSix (in the Hotel Solamar, also a Kimpton property) - http://www.jsixrestaurant.com/ Saltbox in your hotel is fairly well regarded Downtown, the Gaslamp and to some extent Little Italy all cater more to the tourist and convention trade than locals. There are hundreds of restaurants in the downtown/Gaslamp/Little Italy corridor, all with varying degrees of competency. For a glass of Italian wine and tasty panini try Songo di Vino - http://www.sognodivi....com/index.html - in Little Italy Bencotto - http://www.lovebencotto.com/ and Underbelly - http://www.godblessunderbelly.com/ - both also in Little Italy get a lot of love. Prep Kitchen tends to be a bit uneven and trends young. Little Italy is easily reachable via the Blue or Green line trolley from downtown. Depending upon where you pick up the trolley, LI is only 1- 4 stops away. Get off at the Little Italy stop an walk East 1 block to India St., which is pretty much 3-blocks of restaruants from which to have your pick. And if you're in town on a Saturday morning, check out the Little Italy farmers market, you can pretty much graze it for breakfast or lunch, from crepes to fresh local uni it's an easy market to eat your way through. Best view of the bay is probably at the Bali Hai - http://www.balihairestaurant.com/ - which has been a SD landmark on Shelter Island for 50+ years. It went through a major renovation several years ago where the menu was seriously revamped in addition to the facility. The killer Mai Tais are legendary, tho' I, personally, find them too strong and somewhat distasteful. Last time I was there I had an excellent pork tenderloin dish. The Bali Hai is an easy cab ride from downtown. Also with spectacular views of the bay are CLevel Lounge - http://www.cohnresta...s/island-prime/ - and Candelas - http://www.candelas-...com/index2.html - in Coronado. Be forewarned, C Level is part of a large and very successful local restaurant conglomerate which is pretty universally disliked on local SD food forums. CLevel is fine for drinks and apps, less successful for a full meal. Candelas does upscale Mexican and they do it pretty well. There is also a Candelas branch in downtown SD on 4th, but the Coronado location is doing a better job right now. You can take the water ferry across the bay, IIRC it leaves from the pier at the foot of Broadway, tho' your hotel should be able to provide you with the most accurate information. If you're from an area where the Mexican isn't too good, Candelas is a good introduction to the emerging upscale Mexican trend. El Take it EZ - http://eltakeiteasy.com/ - is bringing a bit of Baja to San Diego and keeping it local and sustainable at the same time. Very interesting bar program with tequila and mezcal. The big sister restaurant, The Linkery - http://thelinkery.com/blog/ - wass one of the first, if not the first, local restaurants to really focus on, and do, the farm-to-table seriously and well. Everything may not always work at either restaurant all the time, but they both are always doing something interesting. Both are located within walking distance of each other in North Park, which is probably a $20 cab ride (if not more) in each direction. But if you make it that far, the 30th St. corridor in North Park is a vibrant casual dining part of town with a number of places devoted to the craft beer movement and bistro-style dining. If a cab were to drop you off in the heart of North Park, University & 30th, you could walk 4 blocks in any direction and find any number of pretty decent places to try, from vegetarian/vegan to fried bacon. Enjoy your trip.
  10. I've been on an enchilada tear the past couple of week. I also made these...Enchiladas Verdes de Aguacaliente from Diana Kennedy's Tortilla Book
  11. Agreed! What do you think of the cookbook? I like the cookbook alot, in part because it's got recipes for things that are either overlooked or not featured at all. And in the interest of full disclosure, I was a recipe tester for the cookbook. Enchiladas Placeras was not one of the recipes I tested, so it was a new recipe to me.
  12. I'll add the Enchiladas Placeras I made recently from Marilyn Tausend's new cookbook La Cocina Mexicana Easier than I thought they'd be and very tasty. Sauce is Ancho/guajillo based and the tortillas are dipped in sauce and then fried; recipe called for cotija or jack, I had quesillo on hand and used that instead. Messy but good. The potato and carrots were cooked in water to which a little pineapple vinegar had been added until barely done and then fried. They were outstanding. Typically the chicken on the plate would have been either a leg quarter or breast that had been parcooked and then fried. I had a mutant chicken breast that weighed in at 16 oz so I poached that, sliced it and then fried the slices. That part was okay, but it would have been way better with just the whole chicken quarter fried. The dish was much lighter and less dense than I thought it would be. Left overs for dinner tonight...YUM
  13. I made the cover recipe a few weeks ago as well and thought it quite good. I really like the flavor profile. I ended up with a good bit of sauce and it had great consistency. The recipe is pretty straightforward and the directions easy to follow. It took a little longer to make than I had anticipated, but that was just a miscalculation on my part. This enchilada sauce is definitely worth making. I have the ability to get good quality tortillas already made, but I made my own which I think did contribute to the success of the dish a little bit. These are dip, stuff and eat-right-away style enchilada. I served 2 enchiladas per plate and did spoon some of the hot sauce over them right before I put them on the table. I'd encourage anyone to try this recipe, it's not super hard, but it is pretty darned tasty.
  14. There is an alley that runs in back of the property. There is a rather large lot off the alley that is being used as their parking lot, complete with attendent. Yesterday was their first day in business for the farmers market. Feedback I heard was all pretty good. Lots of the usual farmer suspects from Catt's other marekts.
  15. I've been using Pepperplate - http://www.pepperplate.com/ - for about the last 7 or 8 months for recipes I want quickly and for cataloging the recipes I come across on-line or in newspapers. It has an automatic import feature for some of the bigger recipe sites and blogs, for on-line recipes that can't be auto-imported, a quick cut and paste on the ingredient list, followed by the prep instructions generally does the trick. Also allows you to sort your recipe list by category (and you determine your categories), alphabetically, by date added and so on. It will also has a feature to allow you to expand or cut a recipe, plan weekly menus or a special menu and then create shopping lists based on the menu(s). iPhone, iPad, and Droid apps available. It's been pretty handy to be at the store and have the ability to double check I haven't forgotten something. Con...Not a lot of "help" or "how to" instructions on the site and it's not quite as intuitive as I would have like it to be. But, the learning curve isn't that steep.
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