Sunday, October 21, 2012

Red Moon Noodle House


Milk tea.  I (Jenne) liked how it wasn't mixed up--I enjoy having a job to do.

Singapore noodles--guess what sold Miko on this dish?

Salt and pepper shrimp--again, not fried hot enough!  What is with the Convoy fryolators lately??  But the shrimp itself was good.

We don't really like Chinese-style rice anyway, but it was dry even so.
Rating: Two sideways thumbs
Date: 10/20/12
What we ordered: Milk tea, salt and pepper shrimp, Singapore noodles, rice
Number in our party: 2
Final check amount: About $12
  • I lost the scrap of paper that I wrote my Red Moon Noodle House notes on.  Fail.
  • Jenne and I both love curry-flavored Singapore noodles, and when I saw that there was an EGG on it, I couldn't resist.  I would've really liked the noodles if the seasoning wasn't still powdery on them -- it lingered on the tongue.
  • The lady who served us was very nice.


Singapore noodles again!  The egg was especially good this time.
We also had the champon (Japanese noodle soup) but I forgot to take a picture.
Xiaolongbao -- not on the menu!

Rating: Two thumbs up
Date: 11/19/12
Time in: 8:40 PM
Time out: 9:34 PM
What we ordered: Singapore noodles, champon, xialongbao sample
Number in our party: 2
Final check amount: $18.09
  • This day, Jenne and I decided that we should meet in this plaza and have dinner in one of the restaurants there.  Despite the fact that we gave Red Moon sideways thumbs last time, we found ourselves skipping our RakiRaki revisit and coming here instead.
  • Thomas (the owner) is a super-nice guy who speaks Chinese, Japanese, and English fluently.  Impressive.  He was curious to know how we heard about Red Moon and amazed to hear that we were trying every restaurant on the street.  He immediately sat down to check out our blog on his phone, and he was fascinated by our project.  We are definitely not immune to flattery.  Thankfully, he didn't take our previous lukewarm reviews on Red Moon personally.  "As long as you're fair and honest, and you were," he said.  Which made us like him even more.  
  • The Singapore noodles were STELLAR this time.  There was no powdery seasoning residue, and the vegetables were crisp, but cooked through (which my mom tells me requires frying at very high temperatures.)  The shrimp in it was also cooked well -- not overdone and chewy, like it often is at other restaurants.  This dish is a great comfort food, and I've gone back for it several times.
  • We wanted more salt in the champon, and I wanted shichimi to add to it. 
  • We'd like a bigger assortment of condiments on the table; specifically, we request chili paste, sesame oil, and sriracha. Especially since they have a...
  • SECRET MENU ITEM: XIALONGBAO!  Sick of waiting in line at Dumpling Inn?  Red Moon is right across the street!  There are few good choices in San Diego if you want soup dumplings.  Dumpling Inn's xiaolongbao has a more refined flavor, but Red Moon's gives them a run for their money.  Plus, because Red Moon is careful to space out the individual dumplings in the steamer, they don't rip on you as easily.  After all, a torn xiaolongbao is pretty much ruined. 
    There's no line here, and the staff at Red Moon is miles friendlier! 
Address: 4646 Convoy St
Phone number: 858.576.7466
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Parking: Private lot shared with rest of plaza -- it can get a little crazy, but you can usually find a spot if you drive around a few times.  But the spaces are teeny.
Ideal group size: 1-4
Noise level: 1.5

Bonus secret menu item--daigaku-imo!!  These are candy-coated sweet potatoes and they are AMAZING.  Thomas says they can only make them when it's not busy so they aren't on the menu.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Off-Convoy: Up2Yoü

First Visit:

Snow ice with mango.  Never had snow ice before but it was pretty tasty, though way more than I could eat. The mango was kind of woody and underripe.
We LOVE these birdcage lamps!  They did all the decorating themselves, Miko found out.
Milk tea--kind of blah.
OKAY THIS IS THE THING!!  The honey toast is the most delicious honey toast that has ever honey toasted.  All other brick toast is dead to us now.
Second Visit:

 Adorable teapot with a candle to keep it hot!

omg just look at itttttt

Part of their Halloween decorations--this is on the bathroom wall so you see it in the mirror.
Twenty-Fourth Visit:

Okay, it wasn't actually the 24th visit, but we've been coming here for dessert whenever we eat on Convoy. And the toast is plated differently every time! Like here, when they made cocoa silverware silhouettes! How cute is that??                           
Rating: Two thumbs up! 
Date: 10/10/12
Time in: 7:30 PM
Servers' recommendations: Honey toast with condensed milk
What we ordered: Honey toast with condensed milk
Number in our party: 2
Final check amount: $4.58
  • This dinky, adorable cafe is owned by a couple in their mid-20s (although they look like they're 18).  They found the beautifully mismatched furniture and fixtures on Craigslist and at Ross, and they painted the walls themselves.  We've been won over by how cute this place is.  Plus, it has a nice, cozy, laid-back vibe.  We would've come back to hang out, even if it weren't for the honey toast. 
  • But GOOD GOD, the HONEY TOAST!  Because they cut the bread into squares before toasting, each piece is crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  It is also drenched in butter, which is always a win.  After eating Up2Yoü's version, the brick toast at Tea Garden and Tea Station tastes like ashes.  (And we genuinely liked Tea Garden!  But why go there when Up2Yoü is right down the street?)  I tried my best to recreate their toast for Jenne's birthday, but it was total crap; I don't know what Up2Yoü does differently, but there must be an art to it.  Jenne and I are addicted.  I might have gone three times in the last seven days. 
  • Their teas are VERY sweet. I like the pure white tea (unsweetened), and it goes very well with my toast.
Address: 7770 Vickers St, Ste 101 (Okay, it's not EXACTLY on Convoy, but close enough.)
Phone number: 619.663.6388
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Parking: Small shared lot; there's usually a space nearby.
Ideal group size: 1-4
Available vegetarian options: Lots
Noise level: 2-3, depending on how crowded it is



Chicken karaage.  This karaage should not even be on the same street with Sakura's. It was weirdly powdery and seemed not to have been fried hot enough.  Also, please note the world's tiniest dab of mayonnaise.  What is that. 

Premium ramen -- Miko thought it was bland, but the noodles were amazing.

Tsukemen -- I really liked the broth!  The noodles were also really good, but are they supposed to be ice-cold?  I've never had tsukemen before, but it seems like a weird way to do it because they make the broth cold.
Rating: Undecided
Date: 10/10/12
Time in: 6:40 PM
Time out: 7:20 PM
Servers' recommendations: Premium ramen
What we ordered: Premium ramen with egg, tsukemen with egg, karaage
Number in our party: 2
Final check amount: $25.59
  • It's a trendier place than we're used to.  The decor is sophisticated, with big lanterns and tables made of exposed wood.  The servers are dressed in all black, and the chefs are in whites behind the shiny counter. 
  • The place is filled with the delicious aroma of good-quality ramen noodles.
  • And indeed, the noodles are awesome.  They are firm, al dente, and golden-rich in flavor.
  • However, I (being an annoying, snobbish purist) don't deal well with Japanese fusion.  Even though the noodles themselves were the best I ever had, I kept wishing I could just take them to Yakitori Yakyudori so I could have them with traditional shoyu broth.  The premium ramen broth was SO BLAND.  I had to steal Jenne's tsukemen broth to add more seasoning.
  • Their boiled eggs could really use work -- if they're going to charge extra for them, they need to be the marinated, soft-boiled beauties like Yakitori Yakyudori's.
  • The servers hovered over us a bit too much, but it's a recently opened restaurant, and we could tell that they were still trying to get their rhythm down.  
  • We are as yet undecided about how we want to rate Rakiraki.  We'll revisit this place again in a month or two.  We don't want to rate them unfairly while they're still figuring things out.  
Fried rice, with...frozen vegetables?  Really??

Here's the ramen

Katsu curry.  Nice katsu!

Rating: Two sideways thumbs
Date: 8/25/13
Time in: 5:51 PM
Time out: 6:40 PM
What we ordered: Tonkotsu shoyu with underbelly chiasiu and tonkatsu curry
Number in our party: 2
Final check amount: $28.89

  • The menu is pretty confusing, and they only gave us one to share! It's difficult to look at a menu together when you're sitting across from each other. It's changed a lot since our first visit!
  • The fried rice is fried well but it was so bland that we didn't finish it. And if we don't finish fried rice...That's pretty bad.
  • The ramen is heavy. I struggled to finish it. I would get it without the garlic chips -- it's too much.
  • The katsu was very good, but the sauce made it soggy. Jenne does not like soggy, but I do! We weren't crazy about the curry. I would just get the katsu and rice.
  • They do not make the takoyaki here -- it's frozen. You can get a whole bag for that price at an Asian market.
  • We had a very nice Japanese server, which was an improvement from our last visit.
  • They shouldn't crisp the chiasiu. It should melt in your mouth.
  • Jenne says: The restaurant has a weird macho vibe. It's like they're in some kind of dick-measuring contest with David Chang. (PS: David Chang doesn't care)
Address: 4646 Convoy St
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Parking: Private lot shared with rest of plaza -- it can get a little crazy, but you can usually find a spot if you drive around a few times.  But the spaces are teeny.
Ideal group size: Any
Available vegetarian options: Lots
Noise level: 2