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mizducky

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

200 posts in this topic

I didn't think you were that far inland.  I know the Pacific's plenty cold, but doesn't it help mitigate the desert climate?  Or are you farther inland than I'd thought?  For instance: Claremont, up in the San Gabriel Valley near the L.A. area, is about 30 miles from the ocean and can get plenty cold (for SoCal) at night.  I wouldn't expect that of Santa Monica.

My current abode is about five miles inland--though I'm also within a mile of all the lagoons of Mission Bay Park. But I'm also up on the seaward side of a little mesa--the neighborhoods with "Mesa" in their names aren't called that for nothing--plus there are various intervening ravines and canyons, all of which geographical features tend to catch and hold the cold air from the breezes blowing off the ocean. And then when the sun goes down, the temperature does its dramatic drop thing--even in the summer, though less dramatically than in the winter. San Diego has lots of little microclimates like this, where the temperature can be a good ten to twenty degrees cooler than the rest of the city. It's actually a godsend in the summer, when our inland neighborhoods and towns like La Mesa, El Cajon, and Santee can shoot up into the high 90s. Alas, I suspect I will be a little more toasty this summer in my new digs in Mission Valley--which really is a valley, a very broad east-west one containing, along with a lot of shopping malls and the I-8 expressway, the San Diego River and a sizeable recreational/greenspace park.

I love old cookware, and have my share of it interspersed with the newer fru-fru stuff.  Your beloved saucepan kinda looks like something from the Wagner Ware Magnalite line.  Is it?  I've admired those from afar for years but never been willing to cough up the money on eBay.

Y'know, that's exactly what it is--has "Magnaware" stamped right into the bottom. I can't ever remember what I paid for it, but I can tell you it was probably ridiculously cheap. Whoever I got it from obviously didn't realize what they had. :biggrin:

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Thanks again for the luv. All of you. :wub:

Okay, I've gotten enough work-type work done to not feel guilty about buzzing off to do the labor-of-love-type work of collecting more info for y'all. And after the early morning chill and haze, it's turned into a bright sunny Sandy Eggo day. So--off to see who I can scare with my little camera! See you soon...

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How did I miss this blog of yours all these days, Mizducky? Wow! What a wonderful way of blogging at eG! One query for now - what is that LeanCusine packets lying all inside your freezer near frozen strawberries :-) Just curious.


VK Narayanan

Chef de cuisine

My Dhaba

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Yeah!!

Oh, and we haven't had any Traditional Inside-of-Fridge shots in the past blog or so that I recall, so--brace yourselves: it's the Chaos Fridge! :shock:

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Only a fellow blogger can truly appreciate such a brazen money shot, eh, Ellen? :wink: I feel like it's about to explode, Mr.-Creosote-like, into the camera.... What the hell is in that thing? Details, woman!!


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Behold one of my favorite cooking utensils:

gallery_28661_3_440136.jpg

I have had this unsightly-looking saucepan for what seems like forever. I can't even remember where I got it--probably at some thrift shop or something.

That's funny, because before I read your text under the picture, I pointed at it and said "that's my pot!" I have that exact one, and it gets a lot of use. They're still being made, since we got it at a Farberware outlet in somewhat recent memory. I shouldn't be surprised that they show up in thrift stores.

(And yeah, I drink that Safeway Select stuff, too. The Apple Cider flavor (no real apples were harmed in production) was pretty darned good!)

Enjoying the blog - my, you do eat well!

Marcia.


Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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How did I miss this blog of yours all these days, Mizducky?  Wow!  What a wonderful way of blogging at eG!  One query for now - what is that LeanCusine packets lying all inside your freezer near frozen strawberries :-)  Just curious.

Like I said, all of those microwaveable things--the Lean Cuisine, the mini-pizzas, the Eggo waffles, etc.--all belong to Fearless Housemate and his girlfriend. Once or twice since I lived here, when I was hungry and it was way late at night so I didn't feel like going out, have I "borrowed" one of those Lean Cuisine dinners--and found them so unpalatable that I pretty soon was cured of any further borrowings. I'm sorry, but those things are *nasty*! :wacko:

Yeah!!

Oh, and we haven't had any Traditional Inside-of-Fridge shots in the past blog or so that I recall, so--brace yourselves: it's the Chaos Fridge! :shock:

gallery_28661_3_212062.jpg

Only a fellow blogger can truly appreciate such a brazen money shot, eh, Ellen? :wink: I feel like it's about to explode, Mr.-Creosote-like, into the camera.... What the hell is in that thing? Details, woman!!

Oh god, what *isn't* in there? :laugh: Again, a lot of that stuff is Fearless Housemate's: the milk (a few different containers, because he has a bad habit of forgetting he already has some and buys more); the little flavored yogurts, some assorted packs of supermarket-grade fresh tortellini, some deli meats. The jars of pickles are fair game for everyone. Any left-over takeout is usually FH's, though since he almost never actually eats leftovers those are considered fair game also. There are assorted different salsas and pico de gallos (picos de gallo?) of varying degrees of hot (FH likes 'em hot; I like 'em mild). The six-pack of Diet Hansen's pop, FH bought for me--we often pick up little favorite items for each other. (He usually asks me to keep my eye out for Diet Plumagranite flavor Snapple, as that flavor's nearly impossible to find. Yes, FH is a total Snapple fiend--he even created this humorous webpage celebrating the little "Real Facts" messages inside the Snapple caps--note that when he built that page, his favorite flavor was Diet Peach.)

What else is in the fridge? Of my stuff, there is almost always a big 2lb block of supermarket cheddar and a package of whole wheat pita (two of my basic subsistence foods); some kind of peanut butter; a big container of plain unflavored yogurt (more smoothie fodder); assorted basic veggies (onions, carrots, celery, garlic, etc.), and a whole bunch of condiments (several types of mustard, assorted Asian condiments, though most of those that don't really need refrigeration have migrated to my pantry cabinet). Oh, and right now there's a half-bottle's worth of dry vermouth (back-up cooking wine). And that's pretty much it. Nothing special or glamorous, really. It just looks like there's much more in there than there really is, because it's all gone higgledy-piggledy from random people just shoving stuff in any old where. Once in a blue moon I get all anal-compulsive and re-arrange everything neatly--heh, that lasts maybe a couple of hours before it's all wacko again. :rolleyes:


Edited by mizducky (log)

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Thanks so much for the vicarious taqueria visit. I was salivating all over my computer! I'm so pleased you're blogging.


If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

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Now, on to this afternoon's explorations...

Lemme take you to the beach

La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-lahhh ...

Have a freak out

Later we'll peak out

You're on restriction

So you'll probably sneak out!

--Frank Zappa, "Lemme Take You To The Beach," from Studio Tan, 1978

Yes, I have gotten the message that a lot of you in colder climes are pining for some glimpses of sunny SoCal splendor, so instead of investigating more inland strip mall heavens today, I headed over to my personal favorite of San Diego's beachside communities, Ocean Beach. Each of the San Diego beach communities has its own unique flavor, and OB, as everyone calls it, is the one that's distinctly hippy-dippy. Wednesdays also happen to be when OB's farmer's market happens; because traffic and parking is usually murder on farmer's market days, I have yet to get to one in my 3.5 years of living in this town, but as it was still earlyish in the afternoon I decided to try my luck and see how close I could get.

I took my favorite shortcut, through the backside of Mission Bay Park:

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Mission Bay Park is this wonderful network of lagoons and green space wedged in behind Pacific Beach and Mission Beach. SeaWorld occupies one corner of it, but it also incorporates all kinds of boat ramps, bathing beaches, fishin' holes, RV parking, and just wide-open green space like this. People are always hanging out, picnicking, bicycling, kite-flying, and just loving the space. It's one of the most terrific pieces of urban park planning I've ever seen.

Anyway, I slip around the park, past SeaWorld, and into OB ... and wonder of wonders, I find a disabled parking space a half-block away from the site of the farmer's market! (Yes, I have a disabled driver placard; it's a godsend to my creaky knees.)

I've arrived almost an hour before the official start of the market, and people are still setting up, so I have some time to kill--a pleasant prospect on OB's main drag, Newport Avenue, which is lined with antique shops, beachware emporia, headshops, cafes and bars. I decide to make a beeline to my personal favorite hang in OB:

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Jungle Java is a combination smoothie/latte bar and garden shop, and very very OB-ish. I order a mango/strawberry smoothie:

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...and proceed to hang out in the lovely part-outdoors/part-indoors courtyard:

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I still have time to kill before the market gets underway, so I decide to pay a visit to my favorite burger joint in San Diego, Hodad's:

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A "hodad," as the joint's menu informs you, is surfer-speak for a non-surfer who hangs out on the beach trying to pretend he is a surfer--in other words, a poser. Hodad's the joint is no poser, though--they are an authentic throw-back hippy-surfer feeding and watering hole. Witness their signature vehicle in the lot next door:

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The interior of the place is even more drenched in local flava:

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Yes, that is an actual front end of an old split-windshield VW bus sticking out of the wall there, complete with half-a-surfboard on top. It has a dining booth inside. Here's a closer look:

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I order a single bacon cheeseburger basket with everything:

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Now *that's* what I'm talkin' about, bay-bee! ... Erm, not the blurriness of the shot; the bigness of the burger. Can you just imagine the size of the double burger?!? This thing has got on it big rings of raw onion, a big slice of tomato, slices of pickle, and shredded lettuce. The burger patty is crunchy-charred on the outside and juicy-red on the inside. The big seasoned fries are crunchy on the edges and nice and fluffy on the inside. This whole deal costs $6.75. And for that princely sum you also get to read all the crazy license plates on the walls and hear music over the PA that you haven't heard played in public in decades. They were playing Emerson Lake and Palmer's "Karn Evil 9" when my order arrived, a tune of great significance to my teen years--ah yes, "welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, I'm so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside...!" :wub:

Suitably burgered up, I at last find the farmer's market ready for my inspection. As often happens with these things, there are more booths selling non-food items (crafts, jewelry, gewgaws, etc.) than selling food, but there are still many nice offerings, such as aguas frescas:

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Citrus and avocados:

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Cucumbers, strawberries, tomatoes, butternut squash:

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I bought some tomatoes and cucumbers from this lady. She seemed bemused but pleased that I wanted to photograph her booth.

At this point, my knees are begining to complain, so I hobble back to my car. Before I depart OB entirely, I decide to drop by the food co-op, where I have a membership:

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The OB People's Organic Food Market is a lovely little co-op in a building they had specially designed to be environmentally friendly. They have terrific produce:

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Plus a goodly stock of other organo-groovy groceries:

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It was getting time to be heading home, but I knew I needed to get you folks just one more shot, so that I could end with:

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... as the sun slowly sinks into the west, we bid a fond farewell to the Fine Fantasy Freak Republic of Ocean Beach. :wub:


Edited by mizducky (log)

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Oh, by the way: Frank Zappa is actually sorta-kinda-semi-on-topic for this blog, because while he was born in Baltimore, he grew up in, spent the rest of his life (aside from touring) in, and, despite his best efforts, was indelibly shaped by Southern California. He even lived in San Diego for awhile as a kid. I've met people here in San Diego who knew him way back in the day--one who had his dad as a substitute teacher, another who actually had the young Frank himself as a babysitter. (How's that for an interesting thought?) Southern California references as well as food references are rife throughout his music, from celebrating the turkey farmers who used to populate Sun Village (just outside Palmdale) to dissing the speed freaks who hung out at the local Winchell's Donuts at 3am. Anyway, thought I'd throw that in. Carry on, folks!

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Awesome pics...seriously. Not only are you blogging your day of food and neighborhood travel you're also introducing Sun Diego to those abound. Looking forward to more pics through the eyes of your camera. I've heard of Hodad's but never been. That burger has my name written all over it. Have you ever been to the farmers market in Coronado on Tuesdays? No arts/crafts...all food, flowers and herbs. I go every week.


My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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Ummm..............does the SD Visitors & Convention Bureau know that you're loose on the town  :biggrin:

Alas, I wish they did--I think they should contract me to do their PR! :biggrin:

Awesome pics...seriously.  Not only are you blogging your day of food and neighborhood travel you're also introducing Sun Diego to those abound.  Looking forward to more pics through the eyes of your camera.  I've heard of Hodad's but never been.  That burger has my name written all over it.  Have you ever been to the farmers market in Coronado on Tuesdays?  No arts/crafts...all food, flowers and herbs.  I go every week.

Many thanks! I'm still getting used to the new camera--I think the reason why a few shots are blurry is that it's a tiny thing, and I'm still trying to figure out how best to hold it so that it stays motionless when I hit the shutter, without getting a finger in front of the lens or some damn thing.

As to the Coronado farmer's market, alas no, haven't been to that one yet either. I adore farmer's markets, flea markets, all those sorts of things, but in recent years with the arthritis and all, anything that involves walking more than a block or two has become a bit of a challenge. I've been arguing with myself for some time now about getting one of those little electric scooters--they're a bit pricey and a bit of a bother to shlep, plus I've seen how screwed up from heavy use the ones in stores can get, so I've been loathe to invest in one. Next week, right after this blog ends, I'm supposed to start a brand new exercise/physical therapy program through my HMO, so maybe that'll help with the mobility issues--and then, no farmer's market will be safe from me! BWA-Hahahahah!!!

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I am just floored by how wonderful your blog has been so far. I haven't missed SD since I left at 18...until now! You know things about that town I never dreamed of. Your pictures of the landscape are stunning.

Please keep showing us markets if you can. I find them much more interesting than restaurants...they are more universal. And I love your fridge. Looks just like mine. :cool:

And by the way, Zappa was my hero...I have every album and saw him in concert many times. Oh, I miss him.

Thank you, mizducky!


Lobster.

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Wow! Your thread on Deadline Eating kind of gave away the answer when Soba posted his styrofoam teaser-shot. It's great to enter these places with you, MizD.

I don't know which of the photographs I like the best so far; it's a toss-up among the fridge, door flung open, the sunset, the bird's eye view of a genuine Southern California food co-op and the burger joint.

You may have told your story long ago on eGullet, but I plead ignorance. I've grown to appreciate how much Asian foods and cooking are central to your life & wonder if there is more to the tale.


Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Oh, and we haven't had any Traditional Inside-of-Fridge shots in the past blog or so that I recall, so--brace yourselves: it's the Chaos Fridge! :shock:

gallery_28661_3_212062.jpg

Oh, I can match that.

But what's that jar of peanut butter doing inside it? That stuff will keep just fine at room temperature.

BTW, Ellen, you're too funky and clever to be truly Caucasian. Besides, you don't eat or make Green Bean Casserole.

Edited to add:

Okay, now I have to concentrate on a little actual paid work (one of my great struggles as a work-at-home freelancer is to stay focused).

I can relate. But the commute to work can't be beat!

--Sandy, not working on two resumes, a cover letter and two job applications as he types this


Edited by MarketStEl (log)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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How does your food co-op work? Do you have to put in sweat equity?

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Thanks for the visit to Hodad's! It brought a tear to my eye and hunger pangs to my stomach. The onion rings at Hodad's are awesome, as well.

You've captured the essence of OB in your visit. Frank Zappa would have been at home there. It's also no surprise that OB is home to the only dog-friendly beach (called Dog Beach, of course) on the San Diego coastline where dogs are allowed to roam leash-free. Just watch where you step in the sand. :laugh:

edited to clarify.


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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Good morning, all! I'm up bright and early (for me, at least), and nursing a bit of an achy-breaky bod after hiking around the OB farmer's market yesterday, but still am planning to do some more local food travelogue for y'all today. There is one advantage to SoCal car culture, I will admit--for those of us a bit on the disabled side, we can at least count on being able to drive right up to, and (usually) find a disabled parking spot right next to, almost anywhere we need to go. (And because I work at home and thus don't car-commute as Sandy pointed out, I feel a little less guilty burning a few extra dinosaurs to get around and about.)

Once again, many thanks for your positive feedback. As I joked to Fearless Housemate last night, I'm feeling a Sally Fields moment coming on: "You like me! You really like me!" :laugh::wub:

Catching up on a few comments and questions:

Please keep showing us markets if you can.  I find them much more interesting than restaurants...they are more universal.

Will do. As a matter of fact, I've got a couple of markets in mind for today...

You may have told your story long ago on eGullet, but I plead ignorance.  I've grown to appreciate how much Asian foods and cooking are central to your life & wonder if there is more to the tale.

Y'know, there really isn't a whole lot more to tell. I've just been totally in love with Asian food for as long as I can remember--literally so: one of my very earliest childhood memories, verified as going back to before I was 2 years old, is of my parents taking me to a Chinese restaurant for the very first time (it was called China Pearl, in Pearl River NY, just a handful of miles from my home at the time in Blauvelt--even the lighting in that place is engraved on my memory). And that was the first of innumerable family Chinese restaurant feeds throughout my youth--my family was definitely part of that trend, famed in song and comedy routine, of Jewish-American fondness for Chinese food. (In fact, I think the last time this came up I posted a link to this most excellent article on that trend; while I don't agree with every single point made in that article, I still think it's one of the most thoughtful discussions of the trend I've yet seen.)

Anyway, after many restaurant outings, and many explorations of New York City's Chinatown (another fond memory: of my dad and I having lunch in the venerable Wo Hop basement noodle house--say what you will, folks, I still cherish that ol' greasy spoon!), I continued and expanded my explorations into various Asian cuisines when I moved to the Boston area, where my repertoire expanded to include Vietnamese, Indian, Korean, and Japanese (yep, I was eating sushi back in the 1970s before it became "fashionable" :smile: ). Another formative experience: living in an international women's grad student dorm, and watching and learning from the Chinese and Korean students as we cooked our meals in the big shared kitchen (and they watched and learned from me, too: I recall having a rapt audience as I demonstrated how to make pan gravy).

Then when I moved to Seattle I got exposed to Thai food (favorite Thai restaurant in the Seattle area: Bai Tong, right outside SeaTac Airport), had my first exposure to Filipino food, spent large hunks of time in Seattle's International District--especially the huge Uwajimaya market--and just generally soaked up the growing Pacific Rim food sensibility happening up there. And now I'm just continuing my learnings down here.

And those learnings most definitely include eGullet--my knowledge has grown exponentially thanks to the many eGulleteers living in and/or hailing from Asian cultures who have so generously shared their recipes and cultural lore. So--many thanks and deep respect to all who have given of those lessons so freely, it really means a whole lot to me!

Anyway, from the very first, even with the heavily Americanized food that was my first experience, there has been something about Asian cuisines that has deeply resonated with me. I do love all kinds of food, but I could happily confine myself to the (admittedly huge!) world of Asian cuisines for the rest of my life and never feel deprived.

But what's that jar of peanut butter doing inside {the refrigerator}?  That stuff will keep just fine at room temperature.

BTW, Ellen, you're too funky and clever to be truly Caucasian.  Besides, you don't eat or make Green Bean Casserole.

I dunno, sometimes the peanut butter just winds up in there because it's convenient. Or something. :laugh: And thanks for the validation of my ethnic funkitude, man ... at this point in my life, I consider it my mission to make every day just a little more funkadelic. :biggrin:

How does your food co-op work? Do you have to put in sweat equity?

No sweat equity at this one--they maintain a paid staff to do the daily work of the store; all the board and committee and event tasks, however, remain volunteer. I pay $15 in dues annually, which entitles me to avoid the non-member 10% mark-up (yes, the co-op is open to the public). This seems to be the pattern with a number of food co-ops that I have known over the years, to have started out as a wild-and-woolly all-volunteer operation back in the late 60s/early 70s, only to move to this more consumerist model partly as a response to member/owners' busier lives, and partly to compete successfully against privately-owned natural foods chains such as Whole Paycheck, erm Foods. :smile: You can read more about the OB co-op, and their beautiful environmentally-sensitive building, right here.


Edited by mizducky (log)

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Would you believe I dated a nice Jewish boy from Blauvelt NY....wonder if he liked Chinese food :biggrin:

tracey


The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

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Would you believe I dated a nice Jewish boy from Blauvelt NY....wonder if he liked Chinese food :biggrin:

Heh. Y'know, I've run into all kinds of people with connections to Nyack, the town we moved to when I was eight, but I think you may be the first person I've run into with any sort of connection to Blauvelt, the town I lived in before that. I dunno what Blauvelt looks like these days, but when I was a kid I remember it as sort of a "sneeze and you'll miss it" kind of place ... while Nyack seems to have gotten discovered and has taken off.

Anyway--I am back from today's round of explorations, a little early because my bod started giving off creaky-joint distress signals. But I got some more fun photos ... back in a bit when I've whipped my report into shape.

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I love old cookware, and have my share of it interspersed with the newer fru-fru stuff.  Your beloved saucepan kinda looks like something from the Wagner Ware Magnalite line.  Is it?  I've admired those from afar for years but never been willing to cough up the money on eBay.

Y'know, that's exactly what it is--has "Magnaware" stamped right into the bottom. I can't ever remember what I paid for it, but I can tell you it was probably ridiculously cheap. Whoever I got it from obviously didn't realize what they had. :biggrin:

Magnalite! Favorite of old-fashioned Cajun cooks in south Louisiana. It's good stuff, even better when inherited.

Great start, mizducky, can't wait to read more!


"I like 'em french fried pertaters." (Billy Bob Thornton as Karl, in Sling Blade.)

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What's up B? Wa-sa-bi

I'm searchin' the city for sci-fi wasabi

The start button has been pushed already

Obi-Wan Kenobi is waiting for me

--Cibo Matto, "Sci-Fi Wasabi", Stereotypa A

As kalypso has pointed out, the stretch of Mission Gorge Road that runs through my soon-to-be-new neighborhood is home to a bazillion fast-food emporia of various degrees of inspiration or lack thereof. I suppose this is to be expected of a city that is the corporate headquarters for this sterling enterprise:

gallery_28661_3_444039.jpg

But still, as kalypso also mentioned, there are a number of real gems among the cubic zirconia, and so today's mission was to visit a few of the ones she had cited, some of which I had already researched by way of Google and such.

First off: I am always interested in finding a (relatively) cheap but still good sushi joint, so I decided my first stop would be lunch at Jump Tokyo:

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This place is wedged into a large busy strip mall right at the head of the overly-complicated and heavily-trafficked intersection of Friar's Road and Mission Gorge Road, and it took a little skill to get into the parking lot without having my head handed to me. :smile: However, I made it inside with head still safely attached to body, to find a soothing pleasant-looking dining room:

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Notice all those pieces of paper taped to the walls behind the sushi bar? I don't think I recall seeing that anywhere before. Each hand-written sheet lists a roll named after somebody--like "Bob's Roll" or "Jack's Roll" or etc.--with its price. I'm guessing those are rolls created in honor of various regulars? Next time I'll be sure to actually sit at the bar and see if I can find out. This first visit, I decided to sit at a table rather than right at the sushi bar the better to get away with whipping the camera out. Still, I had a pretty good sightline to the bar to watch the sushi chef in action. He seemed a methodical yet affable sort, at a guess around age 40--that is, not a (possibly untrained) kid.

(I'm really getting off on the "Harriet the Spy" aspect of this whole blog food photography thing, by the way. At one point this afternoon the whole thing started striking me as so funny that I started giggling in the car. What can I say? I'm easily amused. :biggrin: ).

In an attempt to keep this lunch still vaguely within the realms of cheep eatz, I decide to go with one of the lunch specials--the 2nd sushi lunch plate, consisting of spicy tuna roll, five pieces of nigiri, plus a miso soup starter. The soup:

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Nice flavor. Only a couple of tiny tofu cubes. Some slices of scallions, and a couple of pieces of seaweed (I was guessing wakame).

The lunch platter:

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In addition to the roll, we've got ebi (cooked shrimp), sake (salmon), ?I'm guessing tai (snapper), maguro (tuna), and unagi (eel). The nigiri was all nicely made and the fish well-flavored--the maguro was perhaps a little more heavily doused in sauce than I usually prefer. The spicy tuna roll was very good, with a light but noticeable taste of sesame oil leading, and the spiciness sneaking up on you afterward.

I found myself wanting a little bit more, and decided to order a salmon skin hand roll:

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This was very pretty, and tasty, but not quite what I was expecting, as I could find no actual salmon *skin* in it, just bits of hot grilled (skinless) smoked salmon. And again the chef put in a little more sauce than I preferred--in fact, it started dripping out the bottom of the cone as I was chowing down on it. Maybe this is what I get for sitting at a table rather than going right up to the bar, making friends with itamae-san, and letting him get to know that this Caucasian girl isn't afraid of the stuff that often makes other Anglos go "euw."

With the additional roll and my iced tea, this meal came to $18 and change--definitely higher than what is usually considered cheep eatz range--but then again, sushi is always pricey, so for a sushi meal I consider this pretty reasonable. Like I said, I do want to come back with a bigger budget and do the bar, so that I can really let the itamae do his thing. I get the vibe that it would be worth my while.

There are several other food joints in this strip mall that I also need to come back for. I noticed that Troy's, the Greek place next door, had come up with an interesting way to give some personality to an outdoor dining area that sticks into the parking lot:

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(Monty Python voice: "Bring me a shrubbery!!!" :laugh: )

Next stop on my list: that vegetable market I'd noticed on my first visit to the neighborhood, Farmer's Outlet--after a few more death-defying traffic maneuvers, I finally found the well-hidden entrance to its parking lot, and made my way to the entrance:

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Inside, the place was pretty big, and had a nice, though not particularly unusual, stock of produce:

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But what really turned me on was their non-perishable grocery items, which included a bunch of ethnic ingredients--not only Mexican, but also Middle Eastern, Indian, etc.:

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(I had more photos of the ethnic bounty, but alas they did not come out at all.)

So--that was a nice find! And perhaps the produce will be more prolific come summer.

Okay, next stop, the well-ballyhooed Iowa Meat Farms:

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They had this cute li'l guy welcoming you into the parking lot:

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And inside, a huge and impressive meat counter--this is a hair less than half of the fresh meat bounty:

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In addition, there are a couple of freezer chests, plus several shelving units and chill-chests of sauces, condiments, and general grocery items. They didn't have any fresh pork belly, but they did have some in one of the freezer chests, and at $2.49/lb they succeeded in underpricing 99 Ranch. Their other items are not necessarily tight-wad bargains, but to judge from the looks of the stuff, their prices are definitely in line with the quality of what you'd be getting. I think I see a splurge on a beef rib roast somewhere in my future. :wub:

Okay, at this point my bod was giving out definite distress signals, plus it was past 3:30pm and I did *NOT* want to get caught up in the beginnings of rush hour, so I beat a hasty retreat back up the I-15 towards Clairemont Mesa and home.

But I did pull it together to make one final stop--just for you, Ling, a patisserie! :smile:

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This place opened up a little over a year ago in a strip mall about a half-mile from my current abode, and I hadn't had an excuse to drop in until now--so, thanks, Ling! The whole little mall is dominated by Middle-Eastern/Persian-oriented businesses; but while the handsome young proprietor appears to be of that ethnic group, his bakery offerings have a distinctly European look to them:

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And here is what I got there:

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The cream horn is dusted with chopped pistachios; the large chocolate cake item has a cappucino flavoring; and the little cake roll, the proprietor threw in as a free sample. Erm, the cream horn and the cake roll are already gone now. :laugh: Like I said, I usually don't seek pastries out without prompting, but if they're around, I have no problem eating 'em.

Okay, time to contemplate a nice soak in a hot bath ... and a nice simple dinner in. This galivanting around doing the foodie-reporter thing is hard work! :laugh: (But it's so much fun...)

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