Friday, March 14, 2014


They give you free edamame and miso soup, which is nice.
The soup wasn't bad.  The edamame needed salt!
"Yellowtail Delight" -- it wasn't entirely delightful but it was okay.
It wasn't as spicy as it looked.
These were live shrimp just minutes earlier! 
Sadly, they weren't very flavorful.  I liked the fried heads though.
Rating: Two thumbs down
Date: 3/14/14
Time in: 1:51 PM
Time out: 2:25 PM
Servers' recommendations: Live shrimp sushi, Yellowtail Delight
What we ordered: 
Live shrimp sushi, Yellowtail Delight
Number in our party: 2
Final check amount: $21.85
Price per person: $10.93
  • The server was a pleasant fellow and very enthusiastic about his recommendations. It was clear he took pride in working at the restaurant. He asked us if we wanted the shrimp heads from the sushi fried, and he took the trouble to inquire with the chef which fish was freshest today.
  • Despite the adorable server, the meal was underwhelming in the most boring way. The food and the ambience of the restaurant was just so meh.
  • We went and had Sage Cake afterward as a palate-cleanser.

Address: 4365 Convoy St
Phone number: 858.560.0990
Noise level: 2, but no one else was there at the time because we went at an off-hour.
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Parking: Shared lot; you have a decent chance of finding a space.
Ideal group size: 1-4

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Convoy Conquest Awards Season! - East Side

We are now done with Convoy's East Side!

Why?  It is kind of hilarious that after this whole journey and all this work, our long-time favorite still ranks first.  But now we feel extra-justified in loving it best!  Dumpling Inn was the first place we ever had xiaolongbao, and we have imprinted on them.  We've had beloved, reputable xiaolongbao in other cities, but they never tasted as good as our Dumpling Inn's.  We love that they've kept it small, because they could choose to expand in a bigger location on Convoy if they wanted to.  Yes, they have their off days, but that is because they actually cook their dishes from scratch.  It doesn't exactly have x-factor, but it gives us a happy-tummy feeling after the meal.  Even people who don't like vegetables (cough, Miko, Nick) like the crack greens!
Nominees: Chon Ju Jip, Pangea Bakery Cafe

Best Chinese: Dumpling Inn

Why?  For all the reasons above.
Nominees: Dede's Chinese Cuisine, Liang's Kitchen

Best Japanese: FAIL.
Why?  Chopstix, Katzra, Nozomi, Sushi, Roll Depot, Tajima, iSushi...  They are all terrible.
Nominees: Walmido?  But they were just okay, and they closed.

Best Korean: Chon Ju Jip
Why? Has a nice, homey feeling, and the restaurant feels like it's being itself without stepping down to a common denominator.  The ddukbokki and seafood pancake are the best versions we've had on Convoy.
Nominees: Dduri Ba, Josun, MARU

Best Thai: Thai House
Why?  We like them, and there are no other nominees.

Best Dessert: Pangea Bakery Cafe (Jenne) and Fruit Shop (Miko)
Why?  Pangea has yummy breads (like the raspberry bun!) and they're open late.  It's a good place to bring a bunch of friends and talk after a meal.  The Fruit Shop introduced Miko to mangosteens, and they have really interesting varieties of fruit that are not often found elsewhere.  And they happily press samples on you!
Nominees: Pho Convoy Noodle House (just for their tricolor bean dessert)

Best Date: MARU Lounge
Why?  It's more sophisticated than the other restaurants, but it doesn't feel so try-hardy like Rakiraki.  It's cozy and not loud, and they're open late with alcohol options.

Nominees: Josun

Best Service: Cali Baguette Express
Why?  Mitchell Nishimura, who works at the Kearny Mesa Cali Baguette location, is a wonderful human being -- kind, considerate, with meticulous attention to detail.
Nominees: iSushi and Sushi, Roll Depot (terrible food, excellent servers), Fruit Shop

Best X-Factor: Friend's House
Why?  So many cute knick-knacks and cozy nooks!
Nominees: Cali Baguette Express, Chon Ju Jip, Thai House, Convoy Tofu House

Best for Kids: Cali Baguette Express
Why?  They have lots of fun snacks (like Hi-Chew, which is delish), and it's cheap!  Plus, Mitchell Nishimura is good with kids.
NomineesLiang's Kitchen, Pangea Bakery Cafe
Why?  It was dirty.  The teapot was gross, and there was a BUG crawling around in the cart of dim sum!!