Posts Tagged ‘lunch’

Simple sandwich of Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado and Tomato with Pesto and a side of Mixed Greens Salad.  Simple is good.  Very good.

BLAT with Pesto

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Simple combination of garlic, ginger, sesame oil, rice vinegar and a touch of brown sugar to cut the spice, with green onions, grated carrots, ground chicken, a touch of mustard powder and white pepper and some chopped water chestnuts for texture.  Spoon into butter lettuce leaves, roll and enjoy.  A great refreshing summer meal.  It also makes a quick and easy appetizer.

Spicy Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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Fun is what makes a weekend different from the humdrum weekday routine.  Sightseeing in your hometown can take surprising turns.  We were out shopping for a baby gift, visiting all the haunts for deals so we could put together a great “baby basket” for the expectant couple.  This meant a sightseeing tour of neighborhoods we don’t frequent.

After a few hours, our tummies were growling.  Where should we eat?  We passed a handful of fast food shops.  Nope, none of us would spend money there.  We quested for a bonafide restaurant.  After many blocks of nothingness, we made a pact that we would stop and take a chance at the next place we passed where we could sit down to eat.

Along came Woody’s Burgers!  We couldn’t have stumbled upon a better lunch that day.  We went to the counter to order and it took several minutes for each of us to decide on a dish.  Once we did, the fun began.

Our order taker was polite, humorous, and informative.  Best of all he got all our orders correct and delivered them hot and ready to eat.

The only problem was deciding which burger, of the ones we ordered, was the best.  We couldn’t.  They were all good.  We also had a shared plate of sweet potato fries that was plenty for three people.  A very generous portion that satisfied all of us.

So, if you are in the San Diego area and have a craving for a burger (or even a Portobello burger) with an icy cold locally brewed beer, Woody’s Burgers is the place!  Oh and they have a shop in Palm Springs too if you are dirt biking in the desert.

The Blue Cheese Burger:  A 100% Angus Beef  with tomato and Blue Cheese Crumbles and special Blue Cheese Sauce

Blue Cheese Burger

The Hawaiian Burger: 100% Angus Beef, Grilled Pineapple, Toasted Bun, Lettuce, Tomato and Teriyaki Glaze

Hawaiian Burger

The Jalapeno Burger: 100% Angus Beef, Jalapeno Pepper Jack Cheese, Toasted Bun, Lettuce, Tomato, Jalapeno and Spicy Sauce.

jalapeno burger

Aren’t you  hungry now?  I am.  I could do it all over again right now.  Fresh ingredients, great service, and food served as it should be.

(This is my unsolicited opinion and I have no relationship to the restaurant or anyone involved in it.  I just loved their food enough to write about it.)

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A cooks night out is a wonderful experience.  For a few hours, being away from a flame and out of harm’s way from razor-sharp knives while removed from the demands of meal preparation is a delightful treat.

For me, dining out doesn’t have to be a fancy meal spanning several hours but it has to be good food.  Good food governs my desire accompanied by a hearty brew or a fine wine alongside.  Therefore, I follow the perceived aroma when I review a menu and if I end up at a white cloth eatery or a local order-and-take-out place then that is where my tastes have steered me.

This weekend what I craved was a casual experience with terrific food flavored such that it totally satisfied my palate.  My appetite wasn’t taking precedence here.  My taste buds were in charge.  In San Diego, it is easy to satisfy my requirements.

My dining companions and I ended up in North Park.  We heard there was an arts festival that evening and thought that would be a relaxing and stimulating stroll after our meal.  We’re a motley crew with eclectic tastes so arts and food just seem to fit like a glove.

North Park, San Diego

North Park is dense with fine food establishments from sit down eateries to places where you need to perch on a planter while you eat.  It is an area with restaurants galore, great deserts shops, taverns and bars, even a wonderful coffee spot to end the night, Café Calabria.

We began the night at Carnitas Snack Shack, always a favorite, which specializes in pork (you guessed it) carnitas!

carnitas menu

While we waited for our food, we enjoyed the ambient artwork and the raised bed of vegetables behind our table.

carnitas mural

Our starter was an exquisite Pork Belly appetizer with sweet chili glazed served with a frisee salad.  It was tangy sweet, melt in your mouth memorable, balanced by the slightly bitter flavor of frisee with some fresh radishes to surprise your palate.

 pork belly appetizer

One of my companions (with a mouth the size of a mason jar opening) ordered the Snack Shack Triple Threat Sandwich: pork Schnitzel, pulled pork, bacon pepperoncini, pickle relish, shack aioli served with a sweet corn salad.  I had to participate in an arm wrestling match in order to get a bite; it was that good!

carnitas triple threat sandwich

The last dish we enjoyed was the Carnitas Tacos: two carnitas tacos with guacamole and salsa fresco served with a sweet corn salad.  If you prefer, you can order this as a torta sandwich.  This one made my taste-buds smile and my tummy feel content.

carnitas tacos

We did order the seasoned fries, served with a sinfully good bacon ketchup, but they vanished before I could get a photo.  Let me just say that this food is so good that you should try to get photos before it hits the table or it’s gone in minutes.

After dinner, we strolled the length of the arts festival and encountered some wonderful food trucks.  Too full to taste them we just stood and inhaled their goodness.  This one represents some fine restaurants in the San Diego area.  Great food all around.

indigo grill truck

The evening ended with a visit to a brew market and then a tavern for a glass of chocolate stout to top off the evening.

north park brew market

chocolate stout

One of us, not me, bought a decadent piece of cake at a nearby bakery before we left the area.  It too mysteriously vanished before I could take a shot of it—or get a taste!  But word has it that we should go back so I can get my own piece.

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Last night we served a Grilled Cheese Sandwich Buffet with 3 different grilled sandwich delights.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich Assortment
First was the Jalapeño Cheese grilled cheese with softened cream cheese, roasted jalapeño and mixture of spicy Jack and Sharp Cheddar. The second sandwich was a combination of tart Granny Smith apple, thick sliced Applewood Bacon and Sharp Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich.  Next up was a Green Goddess Cheese Sandwich with an herbed cheese spread comprised of cilantro, Italian parsley, Basil, Tarragon, shallot, lime and some other goodnesses grilled sandwich.

sandwich stack

We used two artisan breads for the sandwiches smeared with a condiments including Dijon mustard, Major Greys Mango Chutney and on the side we offered miniature dill pickles and home-baked crinkle cut potato chips.

For a first course we offered a choice of two soups: tomato basil or chicken with matzo balls. Not one drop of leftover soup at all!

It was a great evening, good food and the finale was a sweet dessert of homemade fro-yo (frozen yogurt) with fresh blueberries, strawberries and raspberries from our farmers market.  And as an added option we offered a selection of Girl Scout Cookies because it’s a personal thing.  I love the cookies and the program.


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One of the best aspects of a holiday is the leftover food.  There are dozens of ways to deal with leftovers from using them again as they were or remaking them into new and different dishes.  I usually choose to create something new from the old so that it’s seemingly fresh and inviting all over again.

In this case, the leftover corned beef needed a lift.  So, along come two great pieces of Puliegese bread, some olive oil and slices of leftover corned beef.  Add to that some Guinness caramelized onions with a tart coarse seed mustard and some nutty Gruyère cheese.  And we have a new dimension to our leftover corned beef dinner: The Leftover Grilled Corned Beef and Cheese sandwich.  Of course, it was served with a side of Gruyère mashed potatoes and cornichons  for contrast.  And don’t forget a good bottle of stout.

Corned Beef Sandwich with Guinness caramelized onions and Gruyere cheese

Corned Beef Sandwich with Guinness caramelized onions and Gruyere cheese


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We had an evening out to taste some local So. Cal eats.  Our primary stop was Papa Luna’s Empanadas in Pacific Beach , California. My first taste was: Sunny Goat Empanada with organic goat cheese, sausage, sundried tomato. We took eight people with us so we could try most of the menu. These are Argentinian style which means they are baked and not fried. These are also handmade while you wait. Terrific dinner with a side salad and sweet potato fries.  This place is worth a visit…you won’t be disappointed.

papa luna sunny goat2 organic goat cheese sausage sundried tomato

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