This Friday: Brunch @ Toronado w/ Pizza Port Solana Beach and Heart & Trotter

Toronado & Pizza Port brunch
Umm, yes please.

Toronado is partnering up with Pizza Port Solana Beach and Heart & Trotter to throw a prix fixe brunch on Friday morning.

With 7 (seven!!) pairings, $55 per person is an absolute steal. Goat cheese pate? Grilled lamb belly with naan? Pork sirloin ramen? PLEASE. Someone be my sugar daddy (or mommy!) and take me to this!

And that’s not even mentioning the Pizza Port beer paired with all that drool-worthy food! Head Brewer Devon Randall is providing specialty beers for the occasion. I would LOVE to get my lips around the Pizza Port/Automatic Brewing collab Beer Hunter, brewed for Michael Jackson’s (the beer hunter) birthday. This batch has been barrel-aged with cherries.

Heart & Trotter successfully funded a Kickstarter campaign last October to provide monthly packages of hormone-free, antibiotic-free meat to customers. Working with local ranchers, the duo who founded the company want to open a location right in San Diego. They’ve done butchering demonstrations, most notably at Alchemy in South Park, taking down a beef hindquarter in front of diners.

NorthCountyFood.com – a sister site

North County Food logo

I’ve recently been in touch with Chris, who runs NorthCountyFood.com. Chris writes about great restaurants and chefs up in the North County area. North County, much maligned in conversations with other San Diegans, has a HUGE craft beer scene, with breweries and gastropubs opening up seemingly every month. Chris writes about cool spots to visit, much like my earlier (and future?) blog posts. So keep an eye on this blog, please!

Chris’s description of his site:

North County Food was created with the goal of helping highlight the growing culinary scene in North Coastal San Diego. San Diego County is so large that most food and restaurant coverage rarely looks north of Del Mar. We hope to feature Chefs, restaurants and events that exemplify the growth and strength of the North County Food scene.

We do not consider ourselves a review site. Instead we hope to highlight Chef and ingredient driven restaurants, as well as food related events and news. Input is always welcome.

In 2014 we are teaming up with other local writers and bloggers to help bring more coverage of North County and San Diego. We believe teaming up with people who are equally passionate about, food, beer, and art can only bring good things to all of us.

Yu Me Ya in Hillcrest

Yu Me Ya closed in 2013.

This is a post I wrote in June, after my birthday.  I had anticipated adding some photos, but none from the meal were really about the food, so I’m posting this without the pics.

I celebrated my birthday on Monday with a delicious dinner at Yu Me Ya (Yelp page here), located on 4th and University in Hillcrest. The reservation was at 7pm, which meant we just missed their happy hour specials (from 5-7pm), so if you ever want to try out some of their delicious tapas, check them out during Happy Hour!

We had a LOT of food. My favorite dishes were the carpaccio and the baked scallops & shimeji mushrooms. For the carpaccio, they used fried wonton cups and layered avocado and spicy tuna inside it. I hate spicy things, but I loved this dish; the spiciness was very mild. The baked scallops & mushrooms were mostly mushrooms, but my god, I love mushrooms, so I’m totally okay with that. It was creamy but not ridiculously so, which my lactose-intolerant stomach thanks Yu Me Ya for.

The tapas ranged from $3 to $7. They also served big bowls of udon and ochazuke for about $8-9, although I can’t recall the exact price. (Ochazuke is a bowl of rice, random toppings, topped with hot green tea, to make a sort of rice-green tea soup.) I was not impressed with either.

The food bill got up there, especially for 9 people, so be careful ordering. The tapas might be small, but they do fill you up! Order in waves, so you don’t over-eat!

Knotty Barrel in East Village

Andrew took me to Knotty Barrel in East Village. (Check out their Yelp page here.) Knotty Barrel is a craft beer establishment serving appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and entrees costing about $9-20, sandwiches and salads being on the lower and entrees being on the higher end.

They have great big chalk boards on the wall listing the bottled beer and wine selection, and the draft beer selection listed handily on a paper menu on the table, along with some pencils. More info on that later.

After taking a gander at the menu for a bit, we started off with the truffle and parmesan fries:

Knotty Barrel beer and food menus

Knotty Barrel truffle and parmesan fries with ketchup

I ordered myself a flight. The flights are $7 for four 4oz. tasters. But I want to note: Blind Lady has the same exact taster glasses and we tout them to be 5oz. Still, $7 for a 16oz flight (or 20oz…) is not bad! That’s the price you get for indecision. ;)

To order a flight, you take a copy of the draft beer menu and one of the provided pencils at your table, and mark off which four beers you want to drink. SIMPLE! And the menu has a description of the beer and alcohol content listed, so you don’t have to guess randomly if you don’t know anything about the beer. It’s a great, painless system.

I got Allagash White, Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Alesmith Anvil ESB, and Avery Ellie’s Brown Ale. I’ve had all but the latter before, and thoroughly enjoyed them all. The beer tasted clean and not like they’d been sitting in crummy, uncleaned lines.

Knotty Barrel flight

And finally, my food came, a delicious ahi tuna salad. The salad was lightly dressed (which I prefer) in a sesame dressing. Very tasty. The only weird thing: the ahi was on the side on top of a tiny bit of seaweed salad. Huh? I mean, it was just a tiny mouthful of seaweed, which was tasty, for sure, but it seemed a little pointless. It also came with a couple of deep fried wontons. The first one I tried was empty, which I thought was weird. Then I had the second, which was filled with cream cheese. Ick.

Knotty Barrel ahi salad

Andrew got the grilled cheese sandwich, which used cheddar and tallegio, and included heirloom tomatoes and prosciutto to add some heartiness to it, a very good and cheesy sandwich. Andrew was raving about the chips that came with them.

All in all, a great gastropub. I would definitely eat there again. Their chicken piccata sandwich and bison burger are something I would like to try the next time.

Neighborhood in Downtown, San Diego

I have been to Neighborhood before, but it’s been a couple of years. Their food menu selection seems to have expanded, including a couple of non-burger options, which is what my friends and I opted for.

My friends both got the pulled pork belly sandwich, which came with a gigantic pickle and a side of chips. The pork itself was juicy and tender, cooked perfectly. I was definitely jealous after a couple of bites.

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In my head, I wanted something that would not be messy like a burger or pulled pork sandwich, so I ordered the grilled shrimp wrap instead. They came out huge:

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And it was also a huge disappointment. They were too big and too sloppily wrapped to hold together, and they fell apart instantly. BUT the shrimp was cooked well, although there were only about 2-3 pieces per roll, completely subsumed by the massive amount of veggies. And the mango sauce? Oh my God. Amazing. It paired very well with the shrimp and mango bits.

Next time, I’ll get a burger, like they’re known for, or the amazingly juicy pulled pork belly sandwich.

They also have a good selection of craft beer, including one on cask.

MIHO, Mission Brewing, and the Golden Hill Farmers Market

I took my Nikon F3 out and about with the 50mm lens. Goddamn, this lens is awesome for indoor light (as long as it’s sunny outside, I suppose). I took some shots inside Mission Brewing that I thought came out very well.

Microscope

MIHO quote

The week before, MIHO had a fucking delicious tofu lettuce wrap. About $8 for a gigantic portion of marinated tofu, green tea rice, lettuce, veggie medley.  The 50mm prime lens has such a shallow depth of field.  Amazing.

MIHO tofu wrap

I also walked down to the Golden Hill Farmers Market while I was sick. It wasn’t the greatest idea, but mmm, look at the delicious food.

Sliders

I want to eat everything in this picture:
Seafood

Like always, more at my Flickr account.

IRC Japan fundraiser at BLAH

Just got an e-mail from Blind Lady Ale House about a benefit they will be holding on April 25, 2011, from 6pm-11pm.  A bunch of local breweries and restaurants have donated for a beer and food tasting.  Tickets are $35 and only 150 will be sold.  You can buy them at Brown Paper Tickets.

Beer tasting will include 2 flights.  There are six 5-oz pours in each flight, IIRC, so that means 60 ounces of beer!  Lee Chase (Automatic) and Cy Henley (Alpine)’s collaboration beer will also be present at the benefit.  Plus there will be appetizers and other nibbles to eat while you drink.

Ticket and raffle sales will go straight to the International Rescue Committee‘s Japan fund.  I’ve posted about IRC a few times.  They are an amazing organization that does a lot of things around San Diego.

The BLAH International Rescue Committee Beer Tasting Benefit for Japan
April 25, 2011
6-11pm
$35

San Diego Food Trucks

I’m really digging whoever runs the San Diego Food Trucks page on Facebook.  So far, it seems like a really great place to keep up-to-date on what food trucks are roaming around our city.  They also link to cool articles, like this one, on How to Start a Mobile Food Truck, which has a list of things a new entrepreneur will have to keep track of when starting up.

9. Use of Social Media. The advent of social media has allowed food trucks to interact with their customers, seek their immediate feedback and keep them updated about the business. Many food truck owners use social media to broadcast their daily specials and locations to their customers, making it easy for their followers (repeat and loyal customers) to find their trucks in the city. T witter and Facebook, the most commonly used social media tools, have allowed truck entrepreneurs to pick and move where customers are located. Other truck owners announce their scheduled location and itinerary ahead, with some with their own websites putting a calendar of their locations on their websites in order for their customers to find them where they are. The most successful food trucks are those who are savviest in using social media, and their ability to build buzz using this medium.

This article will probably be useful for any kind of mobile service too. Maybe a mobile bike repair shop can put up their calendar of where they will be setting up shop each day of the week.

Anyway, just posting a random thought while I skip my only class today. <_<

MIHO interview

San Diego Food Trucks did an interview with Kevin from MIHO Gastrotruck that I think is very informative about what’s going on in the food truck “scene” right now.

Kevin: The most rewarding aspect is developing a sense of community at each of our locations. Our customers, or HOMI’s as we like to call them, are mostly regulars that come on a weekly basis. We really enjoy getting to know them and giving them something to be proud of in their “work” community – a lot like the sense of belonging and attachment you have with your local bar or favorite restaurant. The Cheers theme song got it right – sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.

Andrew (the significant other) and I head to MIHO every Friday for HOMI Hour at Whistle Stop. I usually go crazy for their veggie taco, when they have it. Andrew gets the burger every time. And I agree, it’s nice to go somewhere and have them recognize you and smile!

SD Food Truck’s FB page seems like another great source for news if you’re interested in finding mobile food in your area! So go ahead and LIKE away!