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San Diego Cheep Eatz mini-reviews


mizducky
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We tried Rudford's on Saturday. The biscuits and gravy was a huge portion. The gravy would have been good on chicken fried steak. I prefer a lot of sausage flavor in the gravy on biscuits, so it wasnt to my taste.

Brian's is now on the to-do list. Wheeeee!

"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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I second Pearl if you can make that extra 20 minutes drive up the I15 from convoy. Better food than emerald (imho since they don't have to rush due to a less hectic schedule).

A good sichuanese resturant is also located in (you guess it CONVOY!). It called Dede's (it's in the strip mall that has a korean bank in it near the Pacific Honda dealership).

I would also recommend Boo Choo (a korean bbq place off engineer road). They serve prime beef for their galbi, bulgogi among others. Will happily recommend the sang gul sa (or bershire pig belly meat). They are kinda pricey though.

There are tons of banh mi places along el cajon blvd and also linda vista (but the one i used to go to changed owners and they changed recipes :( )

Tajima (located in the same strip mall as Arirang house, the chinese halal place) serves decent ramen and japanese food. Be wary of the wait on weekends or late nights (since they open till 3 am on the weekends).

Check the San Diego Reader for some reviews about odd places to eat!

Edited by His Nibs (log)
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A good sichuanese resturant is also located in (you guess it CONVOY!). It called Dede's (it's in the strip mall that has a korean bank in it near the Pacific Honda dealership).

I would also recommend Boo Choo (a korean bbq place off engineer road). They serve prime beef for their galbi, bulgogi among others. Will happily recommend the sang gul sa (or bershire pig belly meat). They are kinda pricey though.

Check the San Diego Reader for some reviews about odd places to eat!

I used to really enjoy Boo Cho, but since they've changed owners, I think they've gone downhill a bit. I rather have Buga.

Dede's is pretty good, and IMHO not as spicy, nor as high in oil as Ba Ren. My Wife who is from China calls is Pseudo-Sichuan.....pretty good, though alot milder. Though let it be said we enoy the cuisine from ChongQing more then what we've had that represents ChengDu

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

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I tried Buga once... Found it kinda overpriced (compared to boo cho). Running joke i have with my friends, the chinese characters for buga (on the sign board) represents rich folk (富家) However, since I have left SD in July of last year.. not too sure about the quality at these resturants these days. Based my recommendations on the period leading up to July 2005.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have a correction:

Biscuits and gravy: ....... in Pine Valley - again, a schlep. (Pine Valley Cafe? )

Went there last week, and got the correct name instead of my guess above.

Its Major's in Pine Valley, and its still worth the schlep out I-8.

"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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Stopped by Da Kitchen Friday for lunch. It's located just East of the I-15 at the Carroll Canyon exit. It's in the same shopping center as Carl's Jr., (which is very visible), right next door to Chez Nous (a worthy lunch stop itself)

Think Hawaiian, think Da Kine's or L&L, think plate lunch. There is an extensive menu of salads, sandwiches, rice bowls and lunch combos all centered around chicken or chicken teriyaki, as well as a few pork and salmon offerings, but no spam and no musabi.

I happen to like katsu, so I ordered the Chicken Katsu with Japanese BBQ sauce, to-go, $7.95. The plate comes with rice and either macaroni or green salad. I opted for the green salad and wasn't sorry. Crisp, fresh romaine was topped with a generous little pile of juilenned carrots. The salad was dressed with what was billed as their house papaya seed dressing. It was delicious, and there was too much of it, but I would end up being happy about that.

The chicken katsu was an overly generous serving of chicken thigh cutlet that had been breaded with panko. It was exquisitly light and crispy, but best of all it was virtually grease-free. I'm not, however, exactly sure what the Japanese BBQ sauce was. It tasted a lot like a generic, tomato based Sysco BBQ sauce that they had tried to doctor up, but what ever they used didn't really meld to well with the tomato base. It didn't have soy notes, it wasn't sugary, it missed being like sweet and sour by a mile, it had some faint curry like flavors, but whatever the ingredients, they weren't a match made in heaven, nor did it do much for the chicken. Seeing that I had extra salad dressing left I stuck a strip of the katsu into the papaya seed dressing. Eureka!! that worked in spades. The dressing turned out to be a perfect compliment to the chicken katsu. I'll ask for that next time instead of the BBQ sauce. There is a large, pleasant dining room as well as outdoor patio seating if take out isn't on the agenda. Portions are enormous, go hungry or be prepared to have leftovers.

Da Kitchen is a nice addition to an area with not a huge number or variety of decent lunch options. The food is good, but not spectacular, the atmosphere is relaxing and the staff welcoming which makes it a pretty decent choice for lunch in Mira Mesa.

Edited by kalypso (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks in part to my recent switch to a healthier food regimen, I've really been hitting the local Vietnamese joints recently (in my opinion, Vietnamese noodle soups such as pho and bun bo Hue are strong contender for perfect dieter's dine-out option). Here are the ones that I've enjoyed so far:

Convoy Noodle House (4647 Convoy St # 101B -- in the same block as Jasmine, same side of street, a couple of strip malls north). Great all-round restaurant, with a friendly mellow feel. Decent flavorful broth, especially in the bun bo Hue. The plate of add-ins (bean sprouts, herbs, etc) tends to be a tad on the modest side.

Pho "T" Cali (7351 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, in the same corner strip mall as the taqueria Lolita's) -- this large-ish super-spotless pho joint is like a rapid-fire assembly-line at lunch time, moving a large number of mostly non-Asian office workers in and out quickly and efficiently. Their pho is decent-to-good; again with the somewhat skimpy add-in plate.

Saigon Restaurant (4455 El Cajon Blvd.; stand-alone building, with a street-edge sign you can't miss) -- A busy and very good restaurant serving a mix of locals and SDSU students (at least I'm guessing that's where all the studenty sorts are coming from). Very tasty broth and very generous amounts of meat in their pho. They also have a huge menu--I mean, even more huge than the typical pho place; several local eGulleteers and I had a fabulous multi-course dinner there recently, which while not exactly qualifying as "cheep eatz" was definitely quite reasonable given the tons of food we consumed.

Pho Ca Dao (5223 El Cajon Blvd.: stand-alone building in the same shopping center as the World Foods Market, an Asian supermarket that is also very worth a visit) -- I've only eaten here once so far, but it was good! Had a bun soup with duck that was very yummy--the broth is not anywhere near as hot as it looks, but is quite tasty. This place apparently does not get very many non-Asian customers; they tried to talk me out of ordering the bun, fearing I wouldn't like the un-deboned duck and chunk of congealed pig's blood they serve in it. But I prevailed, and I'm glad I did. For a change, a very generous pile of add-ins, including, for the bun, both mint and basil plus other herbs, and shredded cabbage as well as bean sprouts.

The Convoy neighborhood and that stretch of El Cajon Blvd. between Saigon and Ca Dao both have a number of other pho joints large and small; and I understand there's another clump of them up on Mira Mesa Blvd., and another on Linda Vista Road (I think I mentioned Pho Pasteur in a previous post--they're at 7612 Linda Vista Rd.). More to explore... :smile:

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Pho Ca Dao (5223 El Cajon Blvd.: stand-alone building in the same shopping center as the World Foods Market, an Asian supermarket that is also very worth a visit) -- I've only eaten here once so far, but it was good! Had a bun soup with duck that was very yummy--the broth is not anywhere near as hot as it looks, but is quite tasty. This place apparently does not get very many non-Asian customers; they tried to talk me out of ordering the bun, fearing I wouldn't like the un-deboned duck and chunk of congealed pig's blood they serve in it. But I prevailed, and I'm glad I did. For a change, a very generous pile of add-ins, including, for the bun, both mint and basil plus other herbs, and shredded cabbage as well as bean sprouts.

Hi mizducky - Your Pho'/Bun Bo Hue diet seems to be in full swing. One thing about the Bun Bo Hue at Pho' Ca Dao - which I think is good, BTW. Is that instead of giving you the fermented shrimp paste and chili oil on the side, it's already been mixed into the broth, which may be a bit off-putting for some people.

So fay I've really enjoyed the Pho' at Lucky Pho' which is attached to Lucky Seafood Market in Mira Mesa:

Lucky Pho' in Lucky Seafood Supermarket

9326 Mira Mesa Blvd

San Diego, CA 92126

Which would probably appeal to those who enjoy a darker - richer broth.

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

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To Miz Ducky (and anyone else who may be interested) who posted in the current food blog about southern/soul food...

It doesn't really qualify as cheap eats because it isn't exactly cheap but you can get some southern cooking at the "Fix Me a Plate Café" in La Mesa. They are located in the Soup Plantation strip mall on Fletcher Parkway south of where Navajo meets Fletcher Parkway.

The restaurant is a few doors down from the Soup Plantation (which always has a line out the door during meal times) and a chinese restaurant a few doors down on the other side. I believe there's also a Boll Weevil's at the far end of the strip mall.

Click here for the Fix Me a Plate Café menu.

I went to the Fix Me a Plate Café with my mom shortly after they opened. They were training staff so after just about every question we had asked our server she had to go into the kitchen to find out the answer. :blink:

Anyway, the catfish was quite good...coated with corn meal and fried. The dinner plate gets you more pieces of catfish (I think 3 as opposed to just two). The Po Boys on the menu seem to be the least costly items, though neither of us ordered them.

Overall, we liked the food.

It really made us miss the southern cooking of the legendary Bren Dory's which used to be in Chula Vista/Bonita and later, Imperial Beach. Now that was some good food! :wub: Too bad they went out of business. :angry:

edited for clarity

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”

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Had a lovely lunch the other day at the lunch buffet at Madras Cafe, on 9484 Black Mountain Road, in the Little India complex just north of Miramar Road. Madras Cafe specializes in Southern Indian cuisine, which differs in many ways from the northern cuisines which influence most Indian restaurants in America. First off, it's definitely a bit lighter--the sauces are looser, a little more broth-like than gravy-like; the flavors, while just as spicy, are a bit lighter too. And there are different characteristic breads, with more non-wheat flours involved. Or so I understand from reading up on stuff. :smile:

The buffet on the day I went had an assortment of vegetable curries, a chickpea stew in which the individual beans were darker and firmer than I'm used to from other cuisines (not usre if they were just a smaller darker variety to start, or were roasted or something at some point), a couple different kinds of rice dishes, a carrot halwa, raita and chutneys, and a really yummy spiced hot apple compote dish. Servers circulated with freshly-made dosas stuffed with potato and these fascinating little steamed rice breads known as idlis. I also ordered a mango lassi that was bursting with tart/sweet mango flavor. Weekday lunch is, if I'm remembering right, just under 7 bucks before tip; price goes up on weekends.

There is a whole nest of other Indian restaurants and grocers worth checking out in that Little India complex, by the way; I'm still (very slowly) working my way through them all. :smile:

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  • 4 weeks later...

Ate at Saigon this weekend (El Cajon Blvd). Extensive menu, friendly to kidz, food was good.

I wrote down all the names (diacritical marks and all) but left the list elsewhere.

Fried eggrolls, with lots of leaf lettuce and mint. Very good.

Broad rice noodles with chicken and veg - rich, mild, familiar. Good noodle texture (once they were extricated from the covering pile o goodies).

Broken rice with shredded pork and steamed egg. The chucnk of egg (sort of a fat fritatta with black fungus and cellophane noodles in it) evaporated - everyone at the table wanted seconds. The pork was very different from what I consider shredded (ala Ropa Vieja) - more like julienned pork. Well seasoned & rich even tho dry. It had a flavor undertone Im unused too - like meat hung a bit longer than usual. It was dusted with something mysterious to me, and also had clear ?noodles? sprinkled on top which were more resilient than Im used to with cellophane noodles - reminded me of the supposed sea cucumber salad I had in China, but finer. The pork/rice was better the next day when reheated together.

Stirfried spinach was watery and redolent of garlic. This reheated nicely for breakfast omelets, sauteed with a little EVO. Something at the table came with a thin fishy sauce that we decided went best with the spinach. Added to the watery look, but worth it.

And the crowner - whole crab (partially dismembered for us) in tamarind sauce.

Oh yeah, we'll go back!

This place is pictured and described in mizducky's second food blog.

The building was originally San Diego Yamaha Suzuki lo these many years ago.

"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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  • 1 month later...

This is in the new IKEA catalog:

Now open at 8:30 am for breakfast

$2.95 breakfast. Breakfast is served between 8:30 am and 11:00 am.

Includes scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, waffles or swedish pancakes, and coffee.

"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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  • 5 weeks later...

2633 El Cajon Blvd - The Chicken Pie Shop

Perhaps the ultimate in cheep eatz. <0

This place has been around a while. It closes early (8pm) and only takes cash. I've had my order delivered to the table in as little as three minutes, tho 5-7 is more usual.

Chicken Pie Dinner $5.50, comes with coleslaw -crispy tangy finely chopped,

mashed potatoes, chicken gravy, veg of the day (from a large bag stored in the freezer) and a superb chicken-turkey pot pie, and dessert (pie - not the same crust as the pot pie. Not very good pie) & a big cottony roll.

For ~4.50, you can get the pie with just the spuds or just the vegies or whatever. The gravy and the pie are very good, and I like the coleslaw.

Today's veggie was corn, sweet and well drained, if not fresh off the cob.

For $6 there are a variety of dinners available that include all the sides above plus a cup of soup - choice of chicken noodle (very good), veggie or split pea (I've never tried either of these. Not all options available on all days). The chicken livers are consistently well prepared - crispy on the outside and tender inside.

Other points of interest on the menu: giblets, buttermilk.

For non-birdlovers, they have a ham dinner as well.

Its an amazing thing to be able to feed 4 adults to satiation for $22 before tax and tip.

The inside is diner/cafeteria, and loaded with ceramic chickens, paintings of chickens etc. The waitresses are quick and the food comes wheeled out on carts.

"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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  • 5 weeks later...

La Ranchita, Poway (intersection of Twin Peaks Rd and Espola).

This falls in the Mexican fast food category - Baja style eats.

Utterly delicious lard-laden refritos. And other good eats.

The crispy taco shells were freshly fried and managed to be crispy and greasy as all get-out simultaneously. Good adobo, shredded beef, chunky guacamole (they offer a choice of smooth or chunky).

I ended up wrapping my beef taco inside my guacamole taco and having a tacotaco. The horchata seemed spicier than many and therefore particularly good.

This place is swamped when the rodeo is in town. Its pretty busy the rest of the time too, according to friends who live near by. Service nevertheless was quick.

3 tacos, one combination plate,large drink, $15. Enough food for two fairly large and very hungry adults.

"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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  • 2 weeks later...

On a recent vacation in San Diego we stayed about a half block from the water near Crystal Pier. We became regular breakfast fans of Kono's right at the base of the pier. The first time we ordered way too much food, but the next day we split a #1 wrap. We had it cut in half and had the red sauce served on the side. On the third day we had the moves down pretty well. One of us would get in line to order the wrap and the other of us would scout out a waterfront table across the street. Those wonderful breakfasts were one of the many highlights of our vacation. I still crave them! Granted, it's plactic cups and trays, but they were a true bargain. To have a waterfront table (ok, so they too were plastic) and a great breakfast for 2 for way less than $10 is a find. My vote goes to Kono's for really great Cheep Eatz.

Cheers,

HC

Edited by HungryChris (log)
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On a recent vacation in San Diego we stayed about a half block from the water near Crystal Pier. We became regular breakfast  fans of Kono's right at the base of the pier. The first time we ordered way too much food, but the next day we split a #1 wrap.

What kind of food? Mexican?

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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On an early morinig walk to Crystal Pier on our first day in San Diego I spotted a surfer sitting on a bench having a beautiful breakfast wrap. His eyes were closed as he ate. I knew at once that I had to try whatever he was eating. It was a #1 breakfast wrap from Kono's. It is a combination of cheese and eggs and avocado with a mild red sauce. We were hooked on the very first one and never tried another thing. Kono's has most of your traditional breakfasts, however.

When you place your order you give the counter guy your name and the server brings it to wherever you end up sitting. We were pretty impressed that even though there was a long line at the counter every day, he knew our name after only hearing it the one time. Eating inside is nothing short of a crime if the weather is nice because there are tables right on the water across the street. A walk out on the pier to see what kind of fish people are catching and to get a close-up of the surfers at their task was our normal after breakfast routine and I recommend it. Getting a look at the cottages for rent right on the pier is also kind of neat.

Cheers,

HC

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I hadn't been to Kono's before, but today I was in the area and dropped by. It's actually a classic of its type--SoCal beachfront surfer-grub joint. Surfboards hanging on the walls, and a menu full of tasty cheap filling stuff. I ordered what they called a cobb salad and got a dinnerplate-sized paper plate of very fresh iceberg lettuce, topped with mild ranch dressing, bits of real bacon, shredded cheese, hard-boiled egg, chopped tomatoes ... and what seemed like about two breasts worth of grilled chicken, in chunks. They also do their breakfast menu all day, including three more breakfast burritos besides the one HungryChris fell in love with. :biggrin: And yeah, you can't beat the location with a stick.

Nice one, Chris. I usually avoid PB because of the crowds, but now that it's the off-season and one can actually find parking I'm going to see what else I've been missing down there.

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There's a great little Mexican place on Mission Gorge near Friars, and Kaiser, called Tacos Fiesta. It doesn't look like much, perhaps a drive-through hamburger stand originally. It has just a few outdoor tables. We started going there when we lived in Cardiff, over 20 years ago, and still go there when we're in San Diego. The beef tacos remind us of the kind we grew up with in Imperial County.

What about Fillipi's? We usually go to the one in Little Italy. I like the lasagna and their pizza. Perhaps it doesn't qualify as "cheap eatz," but it's not expensive.

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There's a great little Mexican place on Mission Gorge near Friars, and Kaiser, called Tacos Fiesta.  It doesn't look like much, perhaps a drive-through hamburger stand originally.  It has just a few outdoor tables.  We started going there when we lived in Cardiff, over 20 years ago, and still go there when we're in San Diego.  The beef tacos remind us of the kind we grew up with in Imperial County. 

What about Fillipi's?  We usually go to the one in Little Italy.  I like the lasagna and their pizza.  Perhaps it doesn't qualify as "cheap eatz," but it's not expensive.

I currently live just a few blocks from Tacos Fiesta. Its carnitas plate is pretty darn decent--generous portion, especially for the price, and the meat was nice and moist. Though once the guys there gave me an order of carne asada instead (I didn't discover their mistake until I got home with my takeout)--though the portion was once again generous, the meat was IMO overcooked and unremarkable in flavor.

Hold forth about Fillippi's if you so desire (hey, it's cheap compared to many other joints in town ... :smile: ).

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I hadn't been to Kono's before, but today I was in the area and dropped by. It's actually a classic of its type--SoCal beachfront surfer-grub joint. Surfboards hanging on the walls, and a menu full of tasty cheap filling stuff.

[...]

What... no music by The Beach Boys? :raz:

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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  • 5 weeks later...

Sorry--upping periscope after having been a little swamped with work and all.

I got turned on to another dandy Vietnamese cafe by Kirk/mmm-yoso's blog. The cafe is called Mien Trung, and it's in Linda Vista, tucked behind K Sandwiches in its own little lot in a tiny building it shares with a Thai restaurant. Its short menu includes no pho whatsoever, but it serves an excellent bun bo Hue. More about this place here and here.

Edited by mizducky (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

This past TG weekend my mom came down from the bay area to visit and have TG dinner at our new house. One restaurant she always makes a point to eat at is D.Z. Akins. While I'm not a huge fan of their dinners, their sandwiches are quite good. This time when we went I had their Rueben Hamburger but with Pastrami instead. I do have to say that it was a damn good burger with pastrami, swiss cheese, sour kraut and of course the burger patty. Served very hot with lots of flavor. My mom had a salad with three heeping servings of various chopped stuff like liver, chicken and tuna (I think). It was huge and looked quite nice. Honorable mention goes to their hot dog too. My daughter had the grilled hot dog kids meal and it too was quite tasty.

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

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