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San Diego Cheep Eatz mini-reviews


mizducky
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Unfortunately, Tepee, the stretch from Carlsbad to San Diego is coastal, high-rent areas.  Most restaurants are expensive.  There is no known good Chinese restaurants (in our standard) until you hit Convoy, which is about 27 miles away.

The Chinese restaurants on Convoy are good, but not necessarily "cheap".

I have asked my college roommate about this. Just like me, he grew up in Hong Kong but has been living in Oceanside/San Diego for many years. Here's what he said:

1. Are there any good (in our standard) Chinese restaurants in the Carlsbad/Oceanside area? (Name and Street)

Nothing is good in North county, period.

2. Which Chinese restaurants in Kearny Mesa (in the Convoy area) would you recommend?

Jasmine, Emerald, or China Max. They are OK, but better than nothing.

My note: San Diego Chinese food prices in general are much higher than those in the Los Angeles/San Francisco areas.

Sorry - By Chinese you mean Cantonese, right???

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Unfortunately, Tepee, the stretch from Carlsbad to San Diego is coastal, high-rent areas.  Most restaurants are expensive.  There is no known good Chinese restaurants (in our standard) until you hit Convoy, which is about 27 miles away.

The Chinese restaurants on Convoy are good, but not necessarily "cheap".

I have asked my college roommate about this. Just like me, he grew up in Hong Kong but has been living in Oceanside/San Diego for many years. Here's what he said:

1. Are there any good (in our standard) Chinese restaurants in the Carlsbad/Oceanside area? (Name and Street)

Nothing is good in North county, period.

2. Which Chinese restaurants in Kearny Mesa (in the Convoy area) would you recommend?

Jasmine, Emerald, or China Max. They are OK, but better than nothing.

My note: San Diego Chinese food prices in general are much higher than those in the Los Angeles/San Francisco areas.

Sorry - By Chinese you mean Cantonese, right???

BTW - China Max is pretty good Hong Kong style seafood, but you will pay..as you will in Los Angeles - lived there for 4 years! And yes, San Diego is more expensive, but for Guangdong style - the prices at Sam Woo - $2.95 for weekend breakfast is not bad - though I don't think prices would ever compare with HK!

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Teepee - A word of caution about Legoland.  If you have teens, they may be bored by the park.  It's really aimed at younger kids up to about 11 years of age.

There's also the Wild Animal Park in the North County/Escondido area (it would be south-east of Carlsbad) which is opearated by the San Diego Zoo.  Lots to see but wear comfortable walking shoes.

Thanks, Toliver...that's fine, my kids are 4 -11.

Hz, thanks for doing all these homework for me.

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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Sorry - By Chinese you mean Cantonese, right???

I did not ask my college buddy specifically. But knowing him, only Cantonese style Chinese food would please him. (As it does me)

But from experience these "Cantonese" restaurants usually offer "northern" Chinese dishes as well, such as King Pao Chicken, Twice-Cooked pork, Moo-Su Pork and such.

TP: you are welcome. I have become your travel agent and I didn't even know it! :laugh::laugh:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Another hole-in-the-wall:

Good Guamanian food (lumpia, empañadas, chicken Kelaquin, bbq pork ribs, marinated beef, etc) can be found at Islander Grill (3645 Park Blvd.). It's right next to the Embassy Hotel and if you blink you will miss it. There's only street parking so good luck with that. :wink:

Chileheads take note...they have a Finedene (fini-dini) sauce that will clear your sinuses for a year. Use it sparingly unless you like it very, very spicy!

And thanks for posting the info about the Filipino buffets. I was surprised there are so many in National City and all in the same area. That will make exploring all that much easier.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Another hole-in-the-wall:

Good Guamanian food (lumpia, empañadas, chicken Kelaquin, bbq pork ribs, marinated beef, etc) can be found at Islander Grill (3645 Park Blvd.). It's right next to the Embassy Hotel and if you blink you will miss it.  There's only street parking so good luck with that. :wink:

Chileheads take note...they have a Finedene (fini-dini) sauce that will clear your sinuses for a year.  Use it sparingly unless you like it very, very spicy!

And thanks for posting the info about the Filipino buffets.  I was surprised there are so many in National City and all in the same area.  That will make exploring all that much easier.

If you enjoyed Chamorro food you might like Bamboo Hut - it's a plate lunch place - sorta, but they had Chamorro stuff too, at least they did when I last visited over a year ago!

9172 Mira Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92126

I've always gotten a kick out of Islander grill - the Grill is right out on the sidewalk!

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Some other interesting SD restaurants:

- Wired Cafe le Bistro: Nice little French-like cafe. Good for a nice lunch - 8935 Towne Centre Drive

- Tropical Star: Small shop for south american stuff with a very small restaurant (few tables) attached with good south american food (peruvian etc.): 6163 Balboa Ave.

- Don Chuy: Nice mexican restaurant in Solana Beach: 650 Valley Ave.

- Thai Garden: Best Thai in SD (or closeby since it is in Oceanside): 4750 Oceanside Bvd., Ste. A-18

- Barnes Bar-B-Que: Good Memphis style BBQ: 2625 Lemon Grove Ave.

- Mediterranean Cafe: Good mediterranean food, kabob, gyros, spanakopita etc. : 112 Washington Ave. (And please don't go to Daphne (as somebody else wrote). That is the worst greek-style restaurant in SD.)

- Mucho Gusto: Don't know why but their Carnitas Burrito is great: 5650 Balboa Ave.

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Some other interesting SD restaurants:

- Wired Cafe le Bistro: Nice little French-like cafe. Good for a nice lunch - 8935 Towne Centre Drive

- Tropical Star: Small shop for south american stuff with a very small restaurant (few tables) attached with good south american food (peruvian etc.): 6163 Balboa Ave.

- Don Chuy: Nice mexican restaurant in Solana Beach: 650 Valley Ave.

- Thai Garden: Best Thai in SD (or closeby since it is in Oceanside): 4750 Oceanside Bvd., Ste. A-18

- Barnes Bar-B-Que: Good Memphis style BBQ: 2625 Lemon Grove Ave.

- Mediterranean Cafe: Good mediterranean food, kabob, gyros, spanakopita etc. : 112 Washington Ave.  (And please don't go to Daphne (as somebody else wrote). That is the worst greek-style restaurant in SD.)

- Mucho Gusto: Don't know why but their Carnitas Burrito is great: 5650 Balboa Ave.

So Mucho Gusto is worth the effort - we live close by - in Bay Park and I pass it at least 5-6 times a week...

Med Cafe - One of my regular stops for lunch since I work in Hillcrest - $5.95Gyros Pita plate is a bargain - something that always makes me laugh is that if you look at the lunch menu posted on the door it says 1/3 Hamburger Plate $5.95 - almost sounds like you'll get only 1/3 of a hamburger instead of 1/3lb Hamburger! Service is very nice! - Don't forget El Cuervo next door!

Daphne's - People don't know - it's one of those "fast-casual" chains - like Chipotle, etc... not very cheap, but food is consistent.

Next to Tropical Star is Noble Chef - But you've got to know what to order! DO NOT order any of the Orange Chicken, Beef Broccoli garbage, it's terrible! Instead, try the Shrimp with XO sauce Fried Rice or Chow Fun, or the like - got some "wok hey" going on. Stay with the Chiu Chow style dishes or home-style stuff like turnip cake w/scrambled egg. I like the Shrimp Tomato on Rice too....it's soooo 60's Chinese, but has a strange attraction!

BTW - hzrt8w, I haven't forgotten ,but need to check the addresses before I post!

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- Barnes Bar-B-Que: Good Memphis style BBQ: 2625 Lemon Grove Ave.

Honkman, thanks for posting your list.

I am curious about the BBQ joint.

I've read some online reviews and they've been positive about the place. Can you provide a little more info on what you think their best dishes are and what you'd stay away from?

Thanks!

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Want to add:

Your vacation resort is very close to the Oceanside Pier.  There is a Ruby's at the tip of the pier.  They sell hamburgers, fish and chips and sandwiches.  Prices range from US$6.00 to $9.00.  It is a good place to eat and view the West coast sunset.  Or go there in the morning and have their breakfast.

Click here for Ruby's dinner menu

There is also a McDonald's at the head of the pier.  You can buy some breakfast sandwiches and coffee from them and walk out to the pier to enjoy.

Oceanside is where I grew from age 9 to 19, when I moved to Escondido to attend Palomar College (before heading to San Diego State two years later). My Dad still lives in Oceanside so I visit often. For 30+ years, our family has been eating at what is arguably the best family Mexican restaurant in North County; Anita's on 101/PCH/Hill Street [when I lived there, it was Hill Street; now I am not sure WHAT they have named the main drag through town -- is it Pacific Coast Highway or the 101 these days???].

Instead of Ruby's, however (which IS a chain, after all), I would recommend one of the various Angelo's that exist in town. It is odd, but I believe there are three; all on PCH/101 and placed at the beginning, middle, and very end of town. Literally, if you are entering from Carlsbad, there is one there right by the lagoon, another one in downtown, and the last one right before Camp Pendleton. Or, if coming from the North, reverse it -- right after Camp Pendleton, when the town starts on PCH/101, is the first Angelo's, etc... They have amazing burgers and the most over-the-top onion rings that I've been hard-pressed to top.

Lastly, don't discount wandering around the Harbor village. Restaurants have gone in and out over the years, but the Fish-&-Chips place has been there forever (it was one of my first summer jobs). The same guys own a second branch down by the water in Carlsbad and is an institution as well.

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Yeah, I'm curious about the Barnes BBQ too. It's close to home so I'll check it out.

I do have to plug my favorite (so far) bbq place called PHIL'S on Goldfinch and Washington. I absolutely love this place. My wife and I eat there just about once a week. After I moved down here from the bay area I printed out a list of bbq joints in SD and Phil's was #3 on the list. I never made it to #4.

Bob

Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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Yeah, I'm curious about the Barnes BBQ too.  It's close to home so I'll check it out. 

I do have to plug my favorite (so far) bbq place called PHIL'S on Goldfinch and Washington.  I absolutely love this place.  My wife and I eat there just about once a week.  After I moved down here from the bay area I printed out a list of bbq joints in SD and Phil's was #3 on the list.  I never made it to #4.

Bob

Phil's is my favorite too - though call ahead, otherwise chances are that you'll wait!

Phil's BBQ

4030 Goldfinch St

San Diego, CA 92103

(619) 688-0559

Full rib dinner all fries - side of sauce......and a place to sleep afterwards!

But it ain't cheap at almost $20.

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  • 2 months later...

Stumbled upon a new find: KER/Little India/Gateway to India Buffet. This is on Black Mountain Road in the block just north of Miramar Blvd. I was originally chasing down some other Indian restaurant (Ashoka the Great), only to discover that the entire strip mall in which it resided was an enclave of Indian businesses of various sorts (restaurants, groceries, clothing shops, DVD emporium, etc.). KER had a fierce number of banners up touting their vegetarian buffet, so I decided to check them out instead.

I found the KER operation to be endearingly eccentric--they have a big warehouse building, about 3/5 of which is taken up by an intriguing looking Indian grocery/supermarket, and the other 2/5s dedicated to the restaurant. In the latter cavernous space are a large number of long tables, arranged in a setup I'd more associate with a bingo parlor than a restaurant, with a wide-screen TV against one wall tuned to a cable station showing Bollywood-style music videos. The place only had a handful of customers, and was very casual. You basically find a cashier in the grocery side of the operation to pay in advance for your food, then amble over to the restaurant side, grab either a paper plate or a big metal thali tray, help yourself to the buffet, and sit wherever. A nearby table bore several jumbo 3-liter bottles of pop sitting in a big bowl of ice, with a sign indicating the pop was for buffet customers only (I guess they also have menu service, but it might take awhile to locate someone to wait on you.)

Among the large variety of dishes in the buffet: a wonderfully firey lime pickle, a couple different raitas, a couple different potato dishes, a couple different chickpea dishes, a nice zucchini dish, and what I thought was a really awesome mattar paneer. They also had a separate table of sweets--these were a little on the dry side, but still pleasant. Best of all, while I was dining an older turbanned gentleman appeared from the depths of the kitchen with a basket of freshly-made still-piping-hot parathas and made the rounds of the small number of diners--I happily took a paratha and found it excellent, wonderfully flaky. If I'd know they did this, I would have saved room for more parathas. :smile:

Oh yeah--all you can eat for $6.99.

So now I have to visit this joint again when I have more time and am a little less famished, so I can check out the grocery side of the operation in greater depth before I go stuff myself at the buffet.

Edited by mizducky (log)
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  • 2 months later...
K Sandwiches -- 7604 Linda Vista Rd., cor. Mesa College Drive (Linda Vista)

I was down in San Diego visiting my family during the President's holiday weekend when my brother started raving all about this little Vietnamese sandwich shop...which turned out to be K Sandwiches! What a small world... :wink: Of course, my brother, aka "the Coupon King", also liked it because the sandwiches are so cheap.

We were gathered at my mom's house for our usual family holiday dinner where we all cram into the kitchen to make our own special dishes. My brother made his version of the Vietnamese sandwiches using baguettes he bought at K Sandwiches and some sautéed spicy pork butt that he got from the asian grocery store on Mercury (north of Balboa...don't bother parking in front since the parking lot sucks...there's a better parking lot in back).

The sandwiches my brother made were quite good but he said K Sandwiches versions are much better. My future SIL always orders their Veggie sandwich.

By the way, if you've been there lately you may have noticed quite a line during meal times. Turns out that just down the street at Mesa College some enterprising credit card company has been offering a free K Sandwich if you filled out a credit card application! Brilliant marketing concept by the credit card company and by K Sandwiches. A nice way to bring in more business...

edited for spelking

Edited by Toliver (log)

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Hi to all. Thanks for starting this post, Ellen!

Great thread. Now that I no longer live in SD, I am real dependent on postings like these.

But I did want to toss my few cents worth in. Pho Pasteur is interesting. I need to try it again. Did you notice the dishes using game? I believe they serve alligator and venison (?). I didn't think the pho was as good as some other spots, but there is something about the seedy ambiance that I like.

I tried Arirang years ago and did not like - but they have had grand opening signs up for the last year or so and maybe they have new owners. But there is so much good Korean food around, that I am not too tempted to use up a precious SD meal on a buffet. Do Re Mi used to be a good cheaper alternative to other Korean spots, but again, it's been years since I've been there.

Somebody also needs to mention Ba Ren on Diane off of Claremont Mesa. Nothing fancy, but incredible Sichuan food at great prices.

For banh mi, I like a little sandwich place Kim Chan which is, if memory serves, in the back of a strip mall at 47th and El Cajon.

Great to see a useful SD thread.

ed

One point . . . was his ability to recollect the good dinners which it had made no small portion of the happiness of his life to eat.

--Nathaniel Hawthorne "The Custom House"

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K Sandwiches -- 7604 Linda Vista Rd., cor. Mesa College Drive (Linda Vista)

I was down in San Diego visiting my family during the President's holiday weekend when my brother started raving all about this little Vietnamese sandwich shop...which turned out to be K Sandwiches! What a small world... :wink: Of course, my brother, aka "the Coupon King", also liked it because the sandwiches are so cheap ...

By the way, if you've been there lately you may have noticed quite a line during meal times. Turns out that just down the street at Mesa College some enterprising credit card company has been offering a free K Sandwich if you filled out a credit card application! Brilliant marketing concept by the credit card company and by K Sandwiches. A nice way to bring in more business...

Ah yes, great minds thinking alike. :smile: Glad to hear that K is taking advantage of the nearness of the college--I haven't been back up that way in a few weeks, due to moving and all, but I remember noticing a number of studenty-looking types in there on previous visits.

Great thread. Now that I no longer live in SD, I am real dependent on postings like these.

But I did want to toss my few cents worth in. Pho Pasteur is interesting. I need to try it again. Did you notice the dishes using game? I believe they serve alligator and venison (?). I didn't think the pho was as good as some other spots, but there is something about the seedy ambiance that I like.

Thanks, Ed! I only got a chance to skim the huge menu at Pho Pasteur, so I missed the game offerings, but did notice they had a bit more than the usual pho palace. I shall have to re-investigate at some point.

Meanwhile, I have recently started on a whole pho kick, and so have branched out to a few other places. All of these are at least decent, and pho by definition is cheap eats, so here goes:

--Convoy Noodle House -- I think this one has turned up on a number of local foodie lists. 4647 Convoy St.

--Saigon -- on the edge of a nexus of Vietnamese businesses on El Cajon Blvd. that I've only just begun to explore. 4455 El Cajon Blvd

--Pho Hoa Cali -- a couple of blocks west of the Convoy Street "strip" (there appears to be another restaurant of the same name up in Mira Mesa--I have no info as to whether they are under the same ownership or what). 7351 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.

I am also on a quest to find decent falafel in San Diego--so far, I've had a number of dried out hockey-pucks, but I got some appropriately moist and tender, if somewhat crumbly, falafel at a little joint near SDSU called the Greek Corner. Their building and its interior furnishings look for all the world like this joint used to be an Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips or something, but now it's a typical gyros joint with all the fixings. They could be a tad more generous with the number of falafels they put in their sandwiches, but otherwise a fine offering. 5841 El Cajon Blvd

As I gain further familiarity with the offerings out here on the eastern edges of San Diego, I'm sure I'll have more places to post about. El Cajon Blvd. alone is going to take me a looooooong time to explore!

Edited by mizducky (log)
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Ellen, have you tried Troy's for falafel yet? It's in the shopping center at the dreaded intersection of Mission Gorge Rd. and Friars Rd. There are a lot of people in the east county that swear by it.

If you're up for venturing into downtown, you can always try the Athen's Market.

There's also a new branch of Pho Hoa Cali in Mission Valley, next to Hooter's, across the street from Target

Edited by kalypso (log)
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Ellen, have you tried Troy's for falafel yet?  It's in the shopping center at the dreaded intersection of Mission Gorge Rd. and Friars Rd.  There are a lot of people in the east county that swear by it. 

If you're up for venturing into downtown, you can always try the Athen's Market.

There's also a new branch of Pho Hoa Cali in Mission Valley, next to Hooter's, across the street from Target.

Hi, kalypso--Yes, I did try Troy's, and alas, the falafel they served me were total dried-out hockey pucks. I'm willing to give their other offerings another shot, but I'm afraid they lost me on the falafel. I will track down Athens Market sooner or later. And thanks for the lead on the other Pho Hoa Cali branch--I will definitely pay them a visit too.

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Well that's a bummer about Troy's. Welcome to the East County :laugh:

Since you're trolling El Cajon Blvd. you might want to check out The Place. Decent Kosher/Jewish deli type of place, best pastrami in SD. I think it's around 63rd or 67th, still in the SDSU neighborhood and well within a reasonable radius of your new place. I like the produce and the meat counter (with butcher and Mexican meat cuts) at the Pancho Villa market on El Cajon where it crosses the 805. You might want to skip the seedier sections of El Cajon, you know, the parts where it's more than just the stop lights that are red.

Once you're done with El Cajon Blvd., you can start in on University Ave. In some respects I think it has more interesting food choices from La Mesa to Mission Hills.

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I am also on a quest to find decent falafel in San Diego...

It's a long haul from where you're centrally located but if ever you're up in Encinitas, you should try Roxy Restaurant & Ice Cream. They have a booth every year at the Del Mar Fair (it's always in the exact same location) and I always get their Falafel Burger, which is quite good...not really dried out at all. It's a big green "burger" which is weird looking but it's tasty.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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There's also a new branch of Pho Hoa Cali in Mission Valley, next to Hooter's, across the street from Target

Wow, it's good to see this thread is alive and well!

Just a couple of things:

Pho Hoa Cali on Clairemont Mesa Blvd - is now Pho T Cali. I really can't tell the difference in food, but notice that some of the people working there are different.

In Mission Valley, it's Pho' Cali - co-owned by a former EE at Kodak and a Mechanic - so I really don't think there's any affiliation with Pho Hoa Cali on Mira Mesa Blvd. Had lunch there a few weeks ago, but didn't have time to post. A bit more expensive then most $6/bowl of Pho'. Very mediocre, and some of the worst Banh Pho' I've ever had, also skimpy on the garnishes, though Ngo Ngai was provided - the broth was pretty good. This is also the place where you can get Banh Mi for $4.99, just in case you feel guilty paying 2 bucks for it elsewhere! But if you really can't wait the extra 10 minute drive to Linda Vista, you can get Pho' here.

I though Pho Pastuer was pretty good, though if I recall they were a bit more expensive then most Vietnamese Restaurants at the time. I also had an alligator dish, and all I remember was that the meat was sour, and slimy - though the first bite tasted like chicken! Go figure.....

http://mmm-yoso.typepad.com/mmmyoso/

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Looking for a few things in this here San Diegoland:

Good BBQ (Phil's is okay, but I want something less refined)

Biscuits and Gravy for breakfast (something that will make my cardiologist cry)

Good Dim Sum (for sombody missing San Francisco and pining for the fjords)

You wanna go too? Love to have you join me/us!

Howard

"Cogito Ergo Dim Sum; Therefore I think these are Pork Buns"

hvrobinson@sbcglobal.net

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BBQ - beef ribs, Fat Ivor's in Valley Center. Worth the schlep. They do pork ribs too, also good. Very refined, good baby backs: Hunters in Mission Valley.

Biscuits and gravy: Troy's in Clairemont Square shopping center. Better = in Pine Valley - again, a schlep. (Pine Valley Cafe? )

Dim Sum - I'll toss out the names usually given to me, and wait to see what the reaction is: Emerald (seafood) and Jasmine - both on Convoy, a couple miles apart. Both very popular and crowded. Jasmine at least will bring items by request, as well as the carts tracking round.

We'd be happy to join you at any of these. We be three - me, he and the littley. And we'd be happy to check out any new sources. Meantime, we practice making biscuits.

How about Korean? What stands out, locally?

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Have to add to this list:

Chicken Pie Shop of San Diego

2633 El Cajon Boulevard, North Park, 619-295-0156.

Fast service, good mains, frozen veg, whipped potatoes, low-budget pies for dessert. Very cheep eetz.

The classic is the chicken pie dinner (pie, veg, potatoes, biscuit, dessert for <$7), but I like the chicken livers a lot too. And they serve buttermilk.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Looking for a few things in this here San Diegoland:

Good BBQ (Phil's is okay, but I want something less refined)

Biscuits and Gravy for breakfast (something that will make my cardiologist cry)

Good Dim Sum (for sombody missing San Francisco and pining for the fjords)

You wanna go too?  Love to have you join me/us!

Howard

Here's a link to a review of a pretty good BBQ resto in the South Bay. Read it and see if it's what you're looking for.

For Biscuits & Gravy try Rudford's on El Cajon Blvd. or Brian's on the very eastern end of Washington. If you're willing to travel try the Bread Basket in Alpine. And they might be on the Sunday (Jazz) brunch menu at Magnolia's on Euclid next to the trolley tracks.

For long time the choice for dim sum was Emerald's on Convoy. They had a kitchen fire last year, which has kind of put a crimp in their pot stickers. Pearl in Rancho Bernardo is owned by the same people as Emerald and the dim sum at Pearl gets pretty good marks, tho' it is priced higher. China Max on Convoy has it's proponents, as does Jasmine. However, the general consensus of the dim sum cognosenti is that you really need to head north to L.A./Monterrey Park, or take a really long road trip to SF.

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