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mizducky

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

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The belly is now resting (and pining for the fjords? Sorry, couldn't resist--a misspent youth watching way too much Monty Python). Soon will come plating, and devouring! :smile:

Just think: you could have eaten crispy-fried Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam instead. :wink:


Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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Oh yeah--I have a few pictures from my supermarket run this afternoon that I thought would be fun to share.

After striking out at my first two markets, I wound up at the local Albertson's:

gallery_28661_3_497762.jpg

This place has got one of the more haphazard layouts I have ever seen in a supermarket. It's as if they're trying for marketing cool, but in a rather odd and semi-amateurish way:

gallery_28661_3_168179.jpg

Nothing says Superbowl party like a humongous wall of Pepsi :rolleyes: :

gallery_28661_3_107213.jpg

Just what the world needs: a bunch of pre-cut stewing vegetables all glommed together in their own vacuum-sealed bag:

gallery_28661_3_351508.jpg

I am so not ready to be hit over the head with huge displays of cheap Valentine's Day candy:

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But this store does have some very redeeming features, like significant amounts of ethnic food products:

gallery_28661_3_40542.jpg

Hey torakris, are you following along? Look--Pocky! :smile:

gallery_28661_3_23291.jpg

Anyway, enough fun and games--I hear a piggy belly calling my name ... back in a flash ...

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Carving...

gallery_28661_3_372404.jpg

Plating...

gallery_28661_3_280836.jpg

Tasting: the rub really did its work--the pork doesn't really need a dipping sauce after all (which is a good thing, because I kinda ran out of steam on making one). However, I still need some work on the skin bit--it's crunchy alright, but it's also a bit too hard. Ah well, if I hadn't had a brain fart about slashing the skin... But like I said, it's a learning experience, and it still tastes terrific. And the chopped salad came out nice too. In fact, I think it's time for seconds... :smile:

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Good Morning! I couldn't wait to get up and sign on to see the outcome of your dinner last night. We definitely have to try this at home.

I have never seen anything labeled pork belly in a supermarket or butcher shop. I've used, in cooking other dishes, "side meat" (pork) my whole life. The pieces come in packages and weigh about a half to three quarters of a pound. Would a big one of these be belly? I'm thinking of going to a butcher and asking for it.

I hope you're sleeping well and having sweet dreams, even as we --on the right coast -- speak!


Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Good morning, all!

Well, it looks like my bod has voted to sleep in again this morning. So, an easy start to the day, and a chance to catch up on a couple of previous comments:

The belly is now resting (and pining for the fjords? Sorry, couldn't resist--a misspent youth watching way too much Monty Python). Soon will come plating, and devouring! :smile:

Just think: you could have eaten crispy-fried Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam instead. :wink:

Heh. If I really needed to get some fried chopped re-formed pork product, I could always avail myself of this local establishment: Da Kine's Plate Lunch. I haven't had a chance to hit this place yet--again, they're in the middle of the busiest stretch of Pacific Beach, which I usually try to avoid. mmm-yoso, as an expatriate of Hawaii, finds them a little uneven, but I still want to check them out some day. And I'd probably get a side of the spam musubi, if they have it, just for grins.

Good Morning!  I couldn't wait to get up and sign on to see the outcome of your dinner last night.  We definitely have to try this at home.

I have never seen anything labeled pork belly in a supermarket or butcher shop.  I've used, in cooking other dishes, "side meat" (pork) my whole life.  The pieces come in packages and weigh about a half to three quarters of a pound.  Would a big one of these be belly?  I'm thinking of going to a butcher and asking for it.

Hi Susan! By all means, give this a shot at home. But bear in mind that I obviously haven't gotten my method perfected on this one yet. I mean, I enjoyed it fine, but frankly if I had been serving that belly for guests, I'm afraid I would have had to carve the skin off first, as it really was still a bit too hard and chewy to serve as-is in good conscience. By the way--all feedback and suggestions about how to improve this (I mean, in addition to remembering the danged steps I spaced on :blush: ) are heartily welcome; there *has* to be a way to do this right, and I want to figure it out.

As to what the cut of meat is called: yep, it is also known as "side meat" among many American butchers. That's in fact what the butchers at Iowa Meat Farms called it when I asked for pork belly. Dunno about the small pieces you've been seeing it sold as--they would probably work fine for roasting, though the increased surface area might mean even more shrinkage than I witnessed, so if you could get a bigger chunk I think that would be better. This is also the cut of meat that is used to make American-style bacon. Are there any Asian markets at all near you? I don't recall seeing any on my brief visits to Daytona, but then I wasn't deliberately looking for them at the time.

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Ah ha! The belly!

I have hazy memories of my mother using a little flour along with the salt on the scored skin to "crackle" it. I have much clearer memories of the resulting product! :biggrin:

It looks good...I was surprised to find it skin-on though, can you buy it that way in supermarkets, or is the skin just another reason to shop at Iowa Meats?


Edited by helenjp (log)

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Ah ha! The belly!

I have hazy memories of my mother using a little flour along with the salt on the scored skin to "crackle" it. I have much clearer memories of the resulting product! :biggrin:

It looks good...I was surprised to find it skin-on though, can you buy it that way in supermarkets, or is the skin just another reason to shop at Iowa Meats?

Thank you!

Myself, I have yet to see uncured pork belly by any name in any mainstream American supermarket around here--but then, said mainstream supermarkets don't actually have proper butcher departments anymore. All their meat comes in pre-packaged from a central commissary or something, and you hardly see any cuts other than super-standard chops, roasts, etc. :angry: When I've seen pork belly in big Asian supermarkets like the 99 Ranch chain, it's been in a variety of forms, skin-on and skin-off, as big 2lb-plus uncut pieces and also pre-cut into large (around one-inch) chunks. And like I said, while Iowa Meat Farms did have it, they didn't have it fresh but in their freezer, suggesting that it's not one of their high-priority items. The situation, however, may well be different in other parts of the US, such as Florida where Susan is.

Meanwhile, I'm making note of the flour tip. I also find myself wondering if giving the skin-side a light coating of oil somewhere in there would have helped. I'd also seen a two-step process in which, instead of just pouring boiling water over the skin, you start out by giving the whole piece a short par-boiling before applying the various saltings/rubs/etc. Oh dear. I suppose I will be forced--forced, mind you--to buy more pork belly to conduct further experiments. :wub::laugh:

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I can tell you are just gonna hate doing those experiments! (and their side effect of heating the apt).

That's a fascinating salad. Was it as good as it looked?


"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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Hey torakris, are you following along? Look--Pocky! :smile:

gallery_28661_3_23291.jpg

We should make it a new rule that a foodblog isn't complete until you eat Pocky! :biggrin:


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Up until a few years ago our local markets occasionally carried "fresh side", fresh pork belly sliced like bacon. I love it pan fried until it is starting to crisp.

I've never seen a big chunk like that around here. Will have to check the Mexican market next time I go.

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That's a fascinating salad.  Was it as good as it looked?

Well, I sure think so. :smile: It's even better the next day, too. Pico de gallo is normally served more as a fresh salsa-type garnish with tacos etc., but I simply cut my veggies into bigger cubes and eat it straight as a salad.

I vary the ingredients based on whim and what looks good in the market. I've even added daikon on several occasions with great success--I love radishes, and daikon not only has a really nice mellow radish-flavor but it's much more efficient to chop up than the cute little round red radishes. I've also used a nice flavorful red wine vinegar instead of lime juice when I don't happen to have any limes in the house.

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And like I said, while Iowa Meat Farms did have it, they didn't have it fresh but in their freezer, suggesting that it's not one of their high-priority items.

I suspect it's more an issue of pork belly not being a big seller rather than an issue of priority. To have it fresh might mean having to price it higher in order to cover an loss incurred on unsold fresh product. Ergo, put it in the freezer case, price it reasonably (or at least reasonably for Iowa Meat Farms) and satisfy the small number of customers that actually come in looking for it.

You might talk to them about getting some fresh product. I've talked to them about special orders on occasion and they're actually quite ammenable to them. They don't stock fresh foie gras but they can, and do, get it fresh upon request. Bet they'd be willing to do the same thing with pork belly.

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Up until a few years ago our local markets occasionally carried "fresh side",  fresh pork belly sliced like bacon. I love it pan fried until it is starting to crisp.

I've never seen a big chunk like that around here. Will have to check the Mexican market next time I go.

Could you remind me where you're located, BarbaraY? I'm always fascinated by the cultural geography of various foodstuffs, especially those associated with specific regional and/or ethnic cooking traditions.

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Okay, I'm off to play Church Lady with my alterna-groovy Unitarian friends. I've got my camera with me, so at the very least I'll show you the kitchen set-up in our social hall. And I'm hoping to sneak another cheep eatz hit in there somewhere. Looking forward to fielding more of your comments when I get back...

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Mizducky - If you're looking for Spam Musubi; L&L will do just fine. In addition, perhaps a little closer to you; right down Garnet in the same mall as Great News cooking store(which will keep you occupied for quite a while); and Lotsa Pasta.

Hawaiian Island Barbecue

1768 Garnet Ave

San Diego, CA 92109

http://mmm-yoso.typepad.com/mmmyoso/2005/0...ian_island.html

In addition, I've had Spam Musubi from Nijiya as well. For a plate lunch I think at this time that Da' Kitchen makes the best - right up the 15, Carroll Canyon Road exit.

Da' Kitchen

9823 Carroll Canyon Rd.

San Diego, CA 92131

Open Mon-Sat 10am - 8pm

http://mmm-yoso.typepad.com/mmmyoso/2005/1...tchen_fina.html

I'll pass on a funny story about World Sushi; it's right up the street from where we live. I once dropped by and decided to have some Sushi (they do pretty good tempura and stuff). My usual drill with the Itamae is to first order a few nigiri, so I had some Maguro(what I call buffet grade fish), Hamachi(lousy), Hirame(decent), Albacore(lousy). Then asked the Itamae(real quiet Vietnamese Guy) what is good today? He tells me "The California Roll is really good tonight!" WHAT! Was he even paying attention to what I was eating? Since then I've stayed away from the Sushi at this Vietnamese owned Japanese Restaurant. The other Japanese style dishes are pretty good and that's what I stay with.

Nijiya will sometimes have okara, it'll be close to the fish and sushi! It may be hard to come by; but since Nijiya has their own brand of tofu, sometimes they do sell this tofu by-product. Next time I'm there I'll ask if they still carry it.

Kirk

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

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There was a bit of a sardonic rant on Unitarian potlucks on CBC radio the other day. The announcer was complaining that all the food had too much cumin in it. I'm not a Unitarian, but I found the piece over the top. I got the impression she was making goofy insults while people were trying to enjoy their meal.

If you can't stand the cumin...stay out of the church kitchen, I say.

I have been to some amazing potlucks in my life, and haven't noticed an overabundance of cumin, myself. What I am noticing more recently is a divisiveness between the vegetarians and the omnivores at potlucks. Oh and the vegans. They usually just eat their own dish. :unsure:

Looking forward to a little Unitarian grub and gossip!

Zuke


"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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[ By the way--all feedback and suggestions about how to improve this (I mean, in addition to remembering the danged steps I spaced on :blush: ) are heartily welcome; there *has* to be a way to do this right, and I want to figure it out.

According to Marcus Wareing in The Cook's Book the secret to crisp cracklings is to score the skin, rub it with salt and oil, roast at high temperature for the first 15 minutes and do not baste at all. He's cooking a shoulder of pork, so the cooking time is much longer than for yout pork belly, but the principles still apply. It seems that you were on the right track, except for your minor memory lapse.

In the accompanying photographs the scores are deep parallel lines about a finger width apart and what looks like a good 2 or 3 tablespoons of salt is rubbed all over the skin. The roast is cooked for 15 minutes at 425 deg F, then lowered to 300 deg F for the remainder of the roasting - 3 hrs and 15 minutes for a 7 and 3/4 pound roast. The finished product has crispy, dark caramel brown cracklings that are cut off the roast and served alongside the slices of meat.


Cheers,

Anne

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There was a bit of a sardonic rant on Unitarian potlucks on CBC radio the other day. The announcer was complaining that all the food had too much cumin in it. I'm not a Unitarian, but I found the piece over the top. I got the impression she was making goofy insults while people were trying to enjoy their meal. 

If you can't stand the cumin...stay out of the church kitchen, I say.

I have been to some amazing potlucks in my life, and haven't noticed an overabundance of cumin, myself. What I am noticing more recently is a divisiveness between the vegetarians and the omnivores at potlucks. Oh and the vegans. They usually just eat their own dish. :unsure:

Looking forward to a little Unitarian grub and gossip!

Zuke

It's funny you should bring all that up, Madame Zuke, because I was just reflecting on how, when I first joined the Unitarians, one of my (many) issues to sort out was concerns about their foodways. Yeah, they were refreshingly eclectic and open-minded in their spirituality, but I feared they might still be mired in tired old church-supper cuisine. And, well, some of their congregations do have that problem. But many more put together potlucks and dinners fully as eclectic as their worship services, and the bunch I hang with here in San Diego do seem to know how to cook up a storm when they put their mind to it. My bunch also seems to handle the vegetarian thing pretty gracefully--they just accept it as a given that they will provide veg and non-veg options at all congregational food events, and nobody fusses at anybody else about the matter.

So--I got down there tonight to discover that there were several events going on simultaneously, two of which at least having need of the main kitchen (there is a second kitchen attached to one of the larger Sunday school classrooms--that's where I wound up making felafel a few months ago for a children's world religions class that was in the middle of a unit on Islamic culture). Anyway, in addition to the lecture reception that I was there for, the youth group was having a meeting and dinner, but we all shared the space with good humor:

gallery_28661_3_524.jpg

And the big bad mysterious coffeemaker that everyone was afraid of turned out to be a real pussycat:

gallery_28661_3_349283.jpg

It already has a connection for water, so all you have to do is turn on the heater, plop in the filter and a couple of pre-measured packets of coffee, wait for the "ready to brew" light to switch on, and then flip a switch and voila: coffee!

Meanwhile other folks were getting the refreshment table set up in the social hall adjoining the main kitchen:

gallery_28661_3_211039.jpg

And then there was nothing to do except slip into the meeting house to catch the tail end of the lecture, and then wait for the teeming hordes to descend on the goodies.

Alas, cookies and crudites do not a dinner make, so after it was all over I headed out to grab some real food. Since I was feeling a little overdosed on meat, I decided to go for a meat-free meal, so I headed back to my neighborhood of Clairemont Mesa and one of my favorite vegetarian joints, Sipz Fuzion Cafe:

gallery_28661_3_493329.jpg

Other than its overly cutesy name, I really like this place. The core of their menu is from the venerable Asian Buddhist vegetarian cooking tradition, in which soy products and gluten, along with terrific technique, are used to fashion foods that resemble meat products in both flavor and texture. When done really well, the results are not only fairly convincing, but really tasty. More importantly for a sometimes-frustrated carnivore like me, their foods have a really satisfying mouthfeel, capturing that chewy-yet-tender combo that I really love. The "fuzion" in the cafe's name refers to the fact that their dishes draw from a variety of different Asian cuisines, and also includes vegetarian takes on selected European dishes like lasagna and such.

Their dining room is simple and casual, and tonight full of twenty-somethings along with a couple of families with young kids:

gallery_28661_3_526135.jpg

I order an appetizer of "chicken" drumsticks, and an entree bowl of Thai curry "chicken." The appetizer:

gallery_28661_3_427091.jpg

These are soy protein formed around a wooden stick in a drumstick shape, wrapped in a thin layer of what I think must be yuba (bean curd skin) and then deep fried. They are hot out of the fryer, juicy and flavorful, with a great slightly chewy texture. The dipping sauce has got a lovely balance of sweet/sour/salty/spicy that goes well with the drummettes.

The entree:

gallery_28661_3_177718.jpg

The coconut-milk curry sauce on this stuff is absolutely wonderful, thick and creamy and spicy--I asked for it super-mild and it still has a bit of a kick to it. The sauce is chockful of chunks of very convincely-textured soy "chicken," sliced bamboo shoot, straw mushrooms, bell pepper, baby corn, potatoes, and other assorted veggies. Oh, and as you can see, a big scoop of fluffy rice is plopped right on top. The bowl is huge, but the sauce is so excellent that I wipe up every last bit of it with every last bit of the rice. This entire meal set me back about $14, including tax. Not bad at all for such a huge quantity of food.

And now I'm home and trying to warm up--the heat's been off and the house is like an icebox!


Edited by mizducky (log)

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Hi Mizducky! No matter how busy I am (CNY just round the corner), I simply must read your blog. Yup, enjoying myself tremendously.

Guess what? I've been to your neck of the woods and back (early Dec) and I got a TAN!!! You know, Malaysia is sunny almost every other day of the year and I don't really get a tan. Just 2 weeks in LA and I'm all toasty. You should have blogged before I visited. Now my kids have been deprived of Hoddad's, although they had a good share of Carl's Jr, In-n-Out Burgers, Burger King, and, etc...

:wub: Loved your produce, but good authentic chinese food was really, really hard to find...

p/s...oh, I would've suggested making char siu with your pork belly, coz you can use the leftovers to make a good tasty rice or char siu baos.


Edited by Tepee (log)

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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Hiya Kirk! Thanks for the great update on the local kine grindz! :biggrin: As well as for this info:

Nijiya will sometimes have okara, it'll be close to the fish and sushi! It may be hard to come by; but since Nijiya has their own brand of tofu, sometimes they do sell this tofu by-product. Next time I'm there I'll ask if they still carry it.

Cool. I would like to play with the stuff, just to see what it's about.

According to Marcus Wareing in The Cook's Book the secret to crisp cracklings is to score the skin, rub it with salt and oil, roast at high temperature for the first 15 minutes and do not baste at all. He's cooking a shoulder of pork, so the cooking time is much longer than for yout pork belly, but the principles still apply. It seems that you were on the right track, except for your minor memory lapse.

In the accompanying photographs the scores are deep parallel lines about a finger width apart and what looks like a good 2 or 3 tablespoons of salt is rubbed all over the skin.  The roast is cooked for 15 minutes at 425 deg F, then lowered to 300 deg F for the remainder of the roasting - 3 hrs and 15 minutes for a 7 and 3/4 pound roast.  The finished product has crispy, dark caramel brown cracklings that are cut off the roast and served alongside the slices of meat.

Thank you barolo, that's incredibly helpful! And reassuring to know that I was at least in the right ballpark. So now I'm ready for the next go-round...

Guess what? I've been to your neck of the woods and back (early Dec) and I got a TAN!!! You know, Malaysia is sunny almost every other day of the year and I don't really get a tan. Just 2 weeks in LA and I'm all toasty. You should have blogged before I visited. Now my kids have been deprived of Hoddad's, although they had a good share of Carl's Jr, In-n-Out Burgers, Burger King, and, etc...

:wub: Loved your produce, but good authentic chinese food was really, really hard to find...

p/s...oh, I would've suggested making char siu with your pork belly, coz you can use the leftovers to make a good tasty rice or char siu baos.

I may be totally off-base here, but I think your tan and our great produce are related. No, really! The connection I'm guessing at here is the fierceness of the sun. I'm not sure why, possibly some combination of a nearby ocean and sorta-nearby rocky desert for sunlight to bounce off of, but the sunshine here is astonishingly fierce--I have to really be achtung about hat, sunglasses and sunscreen at noon on hot sunny days or else I get totally scorched (not to mention close to the edge of heat prostration--YIKES!). And all that abundant sunshine, plus the mild weather year-round, (plus a monumental amount of irrigation, to be sure) allows for Cali's major produce production. Or at least that's how I figure it.

As fast food burgers go, Carl's Jr. and In-n-Out have definitely got it going on. Burger King's alright--I'd definitely take them over McDonald's (ick). Of the big national chains my personal favorite is Jack in the Box (terrific funny TV ads too). But I'd take a Carl's over a JITB any day.

Oh--and char siu, that's another fun cooking project to add to the list. Man, I'm gonna be the Mistress of Pork Belly by the time I'm done. :wub:

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Up until a few years ago our local markets occasionally carried "fresh side",  fresh pork belly sliced like bacon. I love it pan fried until it is starting to crisp.

I've never seen a big chunk like that around here. Will have to check the Mexican market next time I go.

Could you remind me where you're located, BarbaraY? I'm always fascinated by the cultural geography of various foodstuffs, especially those associated with specific regional and/or ethnic cooking traditions.

I'm in the middle of the Mother Lode Gold Country in Central CA. I think the fresh side is more a Mid-western or Southern thing than local.

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Miz Ducky, thank you for a wonderful blog! The pork is (or was) a thing of beauty, and your pictures are most enjoyable. DEEE-licious! :wub:


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Good morning, everybody! Once again, I totally appreciate everyone's appreciation. :wub: This has been a really fun project for me, not only as a food nut, but also as a writer (not to mention an enthusiastic but still obviously rather amateur photographer).

I've got to get a slug of paying work done today, but I've got one last blast planned for your blog-reading pleasure. I'm going out for a blog-finale dinner this evening, and while originally I had it exactly fixed in my mind where I'd be doing that dinner, I realized this morning that it would be a lot more fun to turn this into another Audience Participation thing and let y'all decide where I'll eat.

So--here are the two main choices I am contemplating:

1) Ba Ren -- you've heard me wax poetic about this place before. Terrific Szechuan food in a modest and friendly setting. I've witnessed lots of discussions both here on eGullet and in "real time" about what the heck "authentic" means with regard to various ethnic restaurants, but without fretting about it too much, I'd say Ba Ren has got to be one of the more authentic purveyors of this style of food that I've had the pleasure of tasting. Also one of the spiciest! -- although they do have a number of milder dishes on the menu. Since I'll be dining alone due to circumstances beyond my control, if this winds up being tonight's choice I will be forced--forced, mind you :smile: -- to over-order so that I can show you folks a couple different items from their lengthy menu. No worries, though, their food is great as leftovers.

2) East Buffet -- yes, a buffet. But what cheep eatz survey would be complete without including a buffet of some sort? And East Buffet is actually a darn good one as buffets go: a big flashy Disneyland of mainly but far from exclusively Cantonese-influenced food, including a chef station doing Mongolian-grill-style stirfries while you wait. Yes, the other stuff is sitting around in steam tables--but with the huge volume of business they do (they're directly across the street from MCAS Miramar), the food is freshened frequently. And while it's not haute cuisine, it's actually quite yummy when accepted on its own terms. I was especially interested in trying out their seafood hotpot buffet, which they only offer Mondays through Thursdays (I've only been there on weekends before).

So there you go: Sorta highbrow vs. solidly lowbrow dining. A place I've already reviewed here on eGullet vs. one I have not yet done. Risking my tummy with hurts-so-good Szechuan spiciness vs. risking my tummy with all-you-can-eat excess. High end of cheap eats cost scale vs. more modestly priced end of scale. So--what do you all think? Which of these do you want to be your vicarious dining experience tonight?

Meanwhile, I'm contemplating a really mild low-key food day the rest of today, in order to be properly prepared for tonight's blowout, whichever it shall be. :biggrin:


Edited by mizducky (log)

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One vote for the buffet!


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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    • By Christy Martino
      Ciao!
       
      I'm Christine and I'm a born and bred New Yorker. I’m an Italian by blood (and at heart, of course) since my parents actually came from Italy. My father was from Sciacca, Sicily while my mother was from Sondrio, Lombardy. Despite coming from different regions, or because of it, love for food and cooking has been one of the mainstays in my family home life growing up. And I’ve always loved the dishes my parents prepared during special occasions, and even on regular days.
       
      And of course, I love cooking (and eating) Italian food and I have a few recipes from my mother, but I'd really love to collect some more, especially the traditional ones. And if anyone can contribute some historical background to each dish, that would be really great.
       
      Grazie mille!
    • By Chef Margie
      Hello Everyone!
       
      Happy to join eGullet in hopes to share my passion for culinary and kitchen with others. I have an Instagram account, but I don't think that is enough as I want to learn more, expand, and share my love for food with individuals who share the same passion.
       
      Here is a brief bio about myself: Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA by my Filipino parents. Having no brothers and sisters, I am very independent and surprisingly social with others but also love spending time on my own and with my boyfriend Louis, who is my kitchen partner in crime (this is how we actually met, working BOH at a local Vietnamese restaurant in LA). Having attended college majoring in accounting as an undergrad and grad, I orignally wanted to become a licensed accountant for finance and real estate, but it was not fulfilling and the content honestly bored me to death! I also desired to leave the corporate business world and join the professional kitchen. So I took the leap, graduated culinary school, quit my desk job, and worked in the professional kitchen. Then my health and finances took over, and I had surgery and I needed more money to survive in a city of ridiculous rent prices. I had to leave the kitchen and go back into accounting. Fast forward to 2017, I am currently unemployed having been laid off two days before Christmas the prior year! Using this as a sign and as an opportunity for self growth and realization, I am once again on the culinary path. Not necessarily to work on the line, but to learn more, cook and bake more at home, and expose myself out there to all things food and kitchen. Not also forgetting to mention I am always surrounded by food: Louis is also still in the professional kitchen, and we WILL have that restaurant one day (dreams DO come true, I just know it!).
       
      Anyhow, I am super excited to be posting here and exchanging ideas! See you out there! 
       
      Margie
    • By ElsieD
      We are at the airport waiting to board our flight.  As we seem to have interested folks from different parts of the world who may not know too much about our province,  I thought I would start this blog by giving you an overview of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL).
       
      Before Newfoundland  became part of Canada in 1949, it was a British Colony.  Cupids, a town on Conception Bay, was settled 406 years ago, and is the oldest continuously settled official British community in Canada.  Most of the early permanent settlers came from southwest England and southeast Ireland although  the French also settled here and in the 17th century Newfoundland was more French than English.  French is still spoken in Port au Port Penninsula, on the western side of the island, with English spoken everywhere else.   Just off the coast of south west Newfoundland, St. Pierre et Miquelon are islands that are still a colony of France.  There is a regular ferry service between Fortune, NL and St. Pierre et Miquelon.
       
      Geographically, the capital of St. John's is on the same latitude as Paris, France and Seattle, Washington.  In size, Newfoundland and Labrador is a little smaller than California, slightly bigger than Japan and twice the size of the United Kingdon.  NL covers 405,212 sq. kilometers (156,453 sq. miles) with over 29,000 kilometers (18,000 miles) of coastline.  By itself, the island of Newfoundland covers 111,390 square kilometers (43,008 sq. miles).
       
      The population of NL is 510,000, of whom 181,000 live in St. John's.  While there are some larger towns, vast areas are sparsely populated.
       
      In Newfoundland there are no snakes, skunks, racoons, poisonous insects or arachnids.  There is also no ragweed - allergy sufferers rejoice!  There are over 120,000 moose and it is home to one of the world's biggest caribou herds.   They also have some of the continent's biggest black bears.
       
      Note: This information was taken from the official Newfoundland and Labrador web site.
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