Saturday, December 17, 2011

Spicy House

First Visit
  Miko is smiling in anticipation, not knowing what is in store...
Special cold noodles. 
Different than Spicy City's, and not as good, but still tasty.

Fish dish.  GIANT portion!!  We barely made a dent.

Ma Po Tofu.
We could barely eat this, but we felt that this wasn't a fair assessment.
So we decided that we needed to revisit, and bring reinforcements...
(Seriously, I just had ONE square with a whole bowl of rice, and I couldn't handle it. ~Miko)
Miko's notes on our official Convoy Conquest folder data sheet.

Second Visit
Cold appetizers.  SO DELICIOUS!!
The whitish thing in the back is a potato dish--Jenne's favorite of the whole evening.

Fish in spicy sauce.  Delicious.

Salt and pepper pork chop.  Lots of bones.

Beef wraps.  Tasty!

Lackluster fried rice. :-(

Mass quantities of steamed rice, of course

Duck with crispy rice...amazing seasoning!  Also lots of bones.

Awesome crab dish--if you don't mind getting your hands dirty...
and Elise didn't mind AT ALL.

Yummy cumin lamb!

Xiao long bao.  Don't even bother; just go to Dumpling Inn instead.

Vegetable dish--not super exciting but a nice foil to the spicy dishes.


Public service announcement: 
We recommend Coca-Cola to cool your mouth from the spicy food (and we're usually not Coke drinkers.) Don't know why it works but it does!

First Visit
Rating: Inconclusive
Date: 11/4/11
Time in: 7:49 PM
Servers' recommendations: Twice-cooked fish

What we ordered: Twice-cooked fish, special cold noodles, mapo tofu.
Number in our party: 2
Final check amount: $29.61
  • The food was so spicy. Okay, I (Miko) admit that I'm a ginormous wimp.  But Holy Jesus.  I couldn't be a fair judge, since all I could taste was burning.  Therefore, we decided that a second visit must be scheduled, and I would order items that were not marked with chili symbols.
  • The portions are GIANT.
  • The crowd was younger than we expected; they all look like college students.  There were very few non-Asians.
  • Convivial atmosphere and awesome decorations.  The ceiling is amazeballs.
  • The service is a little slow.  It's a big dining area, and they only had 2 servers working.  They really could have used 4.
  • When we ordered the cold noodles, the server pointed to the lo mein and asked, "Don't you want this?  It's more Chinese style."
  • We liked how they packaged our food up for us.
Second Visit
Rating: Two thumbs up
Date: 12/17/11
Time in: 7:32 PM
Time out: 8:55 PM
What we ordered: Cold appetizers: pickles, potato salad, and cured meat; salt and pepper pork chop; beef wrap; steamed bun; boiled fish; fried lamb with cumin; house special fried rice; snow cabbage, bean curd, and green beans; crispy duck with rice; fried crab with rice cake; beer; Cokes. 
Number in our party: 7 (Howie, Keith, Sarah, Elise, and Tracie as guest critics today)
Final check amount: $127.70
  • The food came out very quickly, which was fortunate, because we were all starved.  A hush fell over the table as we ate; we were too busy eating to talk.
  • The cold appetizers were delicious!  The potato salad was particularly good.
  • The boiled fish was not as spicy as it looked.  Sarah and Miko's favorite.
  • The lamb with cumin was Keith's favorite.
  • The crab was well-seasoned and lent delicious flavor to the rice cakes.  Yum.
  • The duck was a minefield of bones -- watch out! 
  • The pork chop also had a lot of bone and tasted a little like pancake syrup.  It would've been better if it had been more savory instead of just sweet.
  • The fried rice is kind of meh.  They were supposed to bring out the house special fried rice, but they brought out vegetable fried rice instead.  It was tasteless.
Address: 3860 Convoy Street, Ste 105
Phone number: 858.278.5883
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Parking: Crowded lot with teeny spaces.
Ideal group size: Any
Available vegetarian options: TONS (but they may have fish sauce in them).
Noise level: 3.5

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mignon Pho + Grill

Nice beer list, plus cow blowing a bubble.

Spring rolls--fine.

Lemongrass garlic fries--neither especially lemongrassy nor garlicky.

People were very excited about this pomegranate limeade, to the point of ordering seconds.

We only took one pho picture because they looked exactly the same.

Cow Ate My Shrimp (That's actually what it's called).

Pig a Chick.
You get a little bowl of broth with the broken rice dishes. 
The broth is actually really good!  Much better than the first time I (Jenne) came here.
Rating: Two sideways thumbs
Date: 12/10/11
Time in: 1:30 PM
Time out: 2:36 PM
Servers' recommendations: Anything with a thumbs up on the menu. Filet mignon pho.
What we ordered: Cow Ate My Shrimp, Create Your Own Pho with Tai, Pig a Chick with Fried Egg, filet mignon pho, egg rolls, lemongrass garlic fries, 2 pomegranate limeades, 1 regular limeade, 1 Diet Coke.
Number in our party: 4 (Sarah H. and Tracie as guest critics today)
Final check amount: $62.72
  • Everything was adequate, but not amazing.
  • The waitress was careful to mention that the broth is more subtle than at most other pho restaurants.
  • I (Miko) strongly prefer the Tai rare steak to the "filet mignon" in pho.  It's too soft and thick.
  • Egg rolls are pretty delish, but not any more delish than at other places.
  • Lovely selection of alcohol. 
  • You get free refills for fountain drinks.  Very rare for pho restaurants!  
3860 Convoy Street, Suite 116, 117
Phone number:
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Parking: Crowded lot with teeny spaces.
Ideal group size: 1-8
Available vegetarian options: Vegetarian pho, tofu.
Noise level: 3

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wa Dining Okan

The menu changes frequently.
(Note the "Housemaid Salmon" --as fans of Downton Abbey, we were amused.)

Fried shrimp with sea salt -- incredible. 
You can just eat the whole thing, shell and all.

"Spicy" shrimp dish that was actually not that spicy.
Cheese hamburg.

Our friendly server mixes the half-cooked egg into our kettle-cooked rice. Yummm.

It has fatty pork in it. So good.

Dessert was custard pudding with black sugar honey.

And shiratama zenzai -- red bean paste and rice dumplings with green tea ice cream on top.

Fried mochi.

Such good potato salad!

Simmered radish in broth.
This is the kind of thing Okan does so well!  Simple homey dishes.
Rating: Two thumbs up!
Date: 11/20/11
Time in: 7:40 PM
Time out: 9:17 PM
Servers' recommendations: Pork cheek, spicy marinated tuna, fried shrimp with sea salt, cheese hamburg
What we ordered: Fried shrimp, potato salad, simmered radish in broth, flavored rice with braised pork in a kettle with half cooked egg, fried mochi, spicy shrimp, mini cheese hamburg, custard, shiratama zenzai
Number in our party: 3 (Aki as guest critic today)
Final check amount: $61.41
  • All the dishes were excellent.  The fried shrimp, potato salad, simmered radish, flavored rice, and desserts were particularly delicious.
  • Portions are pretty tiny, so you have to order a bunch of things.  We actually had already had dessert and then decided to order more savory because we were still hungry.
  • Always come here for dinner.  Lunch doesn't even compare! 
  • The music is a nice, quiet jazz.
  • Jenne really likes the azuki in the shiratama zensai, and she usually does not favor red bean paste. (Guys, this was no-kidding delicious --J)
Address: 3860 Convoy St, Ste 110
Phone number: 858.279.0941
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Parking: Crowded lot with teeny spaces.
Ideal group size: 1-4.  (4 would be the maximum.  It's a good idea to make a reservation if you're coming for dinner.)
Available vegetarian options: Onigiri...maybe?  If you eat fish, you'll be fine, but if not don't bother.
Who not to bring: Vegetarians.
Noise level: 2

Friday, November 4, 2011

Chilies Thai Gourmet - CLOSED

Fancy water cups!

Free salad has mayo/rice vinegar dressing.

Prawn and tofu wraps. Yum.

Chicken wings with coconut on top!

Me Hank.

Desserts! Sweet rice with coconut ice cream on the left, taro cake on the right.

Rating: Two thumbs up
Date: 11/4/11
Time in: 2:18 PM
Time out: 3:11 PM
Servers' recommendations: This was the first restaurant where the server wouldn't give us a recommendation, despite our repeated request for one.  "Everything!"
What we ordered: Me Hank, chicken wings, prawn and tofu wraps, taro cake, sweet rice and coconut ice cream.  I (Miko) had to ask for any savory dish to be prepared mild.
Number in our party: 2
Final check amount: $24.30
  • This was our second Thai place in a row.  We were not excited -- we were imagining the same lunch special that they have at every other Thai place in San Diego.  But!  Chilies Thai Gourmet is in direct contrast with Koon Thai Kitchen, which is larger, fancier, and more commercial.  It's teeny and simply decorated.
  • The whole place is run by two people (a husband and wife, we think).  That explains why they have rather inconvenient hours.  (Every time we tried to come here before, it was closed.)
  • The music was soft and pleasant.
  • The prawn and tofu wraps were quite tasty.  Recommended!
  • The chicken wings were curry flavor and had shredded coconut on top.  I (Miko) would have liked the meat to be a bit softer, but it was still yummy!
  • The Me Hank noodles needed a little more sweetness to the sauce.
  • The coconut ice cream was SO delicious.  It had a slight hint of salt, which made it totally addicting.  Holy cow.  The taro cake was also good, but it didn't even compare.  We want to try the fried bananas with ice cream next.
  • The chef is a truly ADORABLE man.  We asked him about the ice cream, and he launched into an earnest explanation of the recipe.  He clearly takes pride in his work, but  is very humble.  The restaurant is supposed to close at 3, but he let guests in right when we were leaving and offered them a choice of either the lunch or dinner menu.  He won our hearts. 
  • Our meal was so enjoyable that we giggled in the car on the way home.
Address: 3904 Convoy St, Ste 105
Phone number: 858.565.8861
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Crowded lot, especially when The Original Pancake House is still open
Ideal group size: 1
Available vegetarian options: Lots of tofu options

Noise level: 1.5

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Koon Thai Kitchen

Larb Woonsen

Pad Kee Ma

Salmon Panang Curry
Tom Ka
Rating: One thumb up (Miko), one sideways (Jenne)
Date: 10/9/11
Time in: 6:45 PM
Servers' recommendations: Tod Mun Goong (deep-fried shrimp patties), Moo Ping (grilled marinated pork), Pla Salmon Rod, Ka Po Moo Krob, (crispy pork), Panang Salmon
What we ordered: Tom Ka Soup, Larb Woonsen, Panang Salmon, Ka Po Moo Krob, Pad Kee Ma, 3 desserts (2 mango with sticky rice and 1 Bua Loy)
Number in our party: 4 (Sarah and Sarah as guest critics today)
Final check amount: $62.50
  • I (Miko) had a total girl-crush on the waitress.  She was frickin' ADORABLE.  
  • The default spice level is too intense for me -- I (Miko) would get everything mild next time.  But I am also a huge wimp.
  • The pork was definitely the best dish.
  • The salmon was a little overdone.
  • This would be a good date spot. 
  • The sticky rice had crunchy rice bits instead of the usual sesame seeds.  God, these desserts are so tasty.
  • I (Miko) had never had Bua Loy before...and I would come back just to eat this.  Mochi balls in sweet coconut milk with a hint of salt... So delicious...
Address: 3860 Convoy St, Ste 102
Phone number: 858.514.8111
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Crowded lot with itty-bitty spaces
Ideal group size:
Available vegetarian options: Tons

Noise level: 2

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rosa's Pizza

The light wasn't very good, but you can just barely see the delicious cheese crust along the side!

Rating: Two thumbs up (Three, including Glennis.)
Date: 10/2/11
Time in: 6:40 PM
Time out: 7:12 PM
Servers' recommendations: Hawaiian pizza.
What we ordered: One slice of Hawaiian pizza.
Number in our party: 3
Final check amount: $3.78
  • We were really not excited to try Rosa's Pizza -- when we try places on Convoy, we're usually in the mood for Asian cuisine.
  • It's a teeny place with nowhere to sit inside.
  • But it was surprisingly good!  Neither of us are that big on pizza, but if wanted any, we would come here again.
  • It smelled delicious inside.
  • It had mini-X-factor. (A post explaining the X-factor is coming soon!)

Address: 3860 Convoy St
Phone number: 858.277.8822
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Crowded lot with the tiniest spaces ever.
Ideal group size:
1-4, unless you're getting a pizza to go.
Available vegetarian options:
Veggie or cheese pizza. Eggplant parmesan, spaghetti, eggplant sandwich.
Noise level: 2.

Palomino #3

Surfo (steak and shrimp) burrito

Rating: Two sideways thumbs (Glennis gave them a thumbs up, but she's a huge softie.)
Date: 10/2/11
Time in: 6:45 PM
Time out: 7:12 PM
Servers' recommendations: Milanesa, Surfo Burrito, California Burrito
What we ordered: Surfo Burrito   
Number in our party: 3 (Glennis is guest critic today.)
Final check amount: $7.49
  • The food is fine, but it doesn't distinguish itself from any other taco shop in San Diego. 
  • The staff was really nice, though, so I felt guilty writing the sentence above.
  • The carne asada in the burrito was not grilled -- that was Glennis's one criticism.
Address: 3860 Convoy St, Ste 101
Phone number: 858.279.4025
Accepts credit cards?
Private plaza, teeny tiny spaces
Ideal group size:
Available vegetarian options:
Mexican food standards, e.g. chile relleno