Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday Onezies - Mario's, AJ's And Charley's

I know it's Thursday but there is a wonderful option on Blogger of controlling the date stamp and so posting as though I had timely did as planned last night. The draft has been sitting for a while and I'd hate to wait another week until next Wednesday to post again..

Most of the meals here I had earlier in the year during a rather busy month running errands all around town.
Mario's De La Mesa was maybe the most random Mexican find. It made me realize I never really knew La Mesa all that much. I really have so many places yet to explore in SD. Funtastic!

I spotted the place driving up towards LM downtown, and although I wasn't quite looking for a sit down type lunch the day the place looked so intriguing I kind of had to stop in.

Cute place! I heard later it used to once be a Danish restaurant? Well, the chips and salsa were definitely good.

MDLM full menu in my vault here. Going over it again I'm pretty sure I had the One Taco and One Enchilada Plate under the lunch specials ($9.50)..

You know for me a few things beat a great crispy shredded beef taco once in a while. Unlike from the few mega fast food chains of course what I'm talking about are these larger kind often toothpicked and dunked into the fryer right with the beef filling. An awesomely crunchy-crackly shell with some moist flavorful shredded beef (and you get the lovely fried bits on the edges that are great..).

With additional shredded iceberg lettuce, salsa and that nice salty and crumbly cotija cheese.. So good! I remember enjoying the enchilada as well and it was a rather large plate of food. But I had already ordered a tamale a la carte ($5.95). I guess I was really hungry but one site after it had arrived I knew there was no way I'd be able to finish everything.

Far from a tamale expert but the masa including the beef filling felt a bit hard, as if it just needed a few more minutes of steaming time. The flavors were there though especially with all that wonderful ranchero sauce. Not surprising boxed most of it to-go for dinner including those nice house made spicy pickled carrots.

Mario's De La Mesa, 8425 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91941

Meanwhile on the farther North side of SD... I was rocketing forward my gourmet status at AJ's Subs which is in the Sorrento Valley mini mall right along the I-5 on/off-ramp. First time visiting and I remember being particularly tired and hungry.

6" Meatball Sandwich. Not sure how most people have MBS's but I try to pack mine with as much veggies as possible. Here stuffed in a wider wheat sub roll (compared to Subway) that is toasted, with three tangerine sized meatballs with melted cheese (I think it was Swiss). Fresh fine shredded lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, peperoncini and black olives (+olive oil and S&P)..

Meatballs were ever so slightly on the salty side for me personally but very moist with the typical fine mince ground that I enjoy. The marinara was on the lighter sweet end which I liked as well with these particular MB's. Upper $7-ish for the large sandwich combo including drink and a bag of chips. Person behind the counter kept it business like but was very cool. I noticed he was slicing the deli meat to order for the other orders.

I didn't really have any expectations for AJ's but I thought the sandwich meal was a pretty good deal. It did the job nicely while I found the workers much more personable than your fill-in-the-blank big chain with part-timers void of any invested interest.

I believe the very eager to help gentleman by the register was Mr. AJ himself. I'll be sure to be back when in the area again. :)

AJ's Subs, 10920 Roselle St., San Diego, CA 92121

In my quest to find, eat and support my privately owned local food establishments that deserve a notable mention, I found myself trekking out to Lemon Grove and visiting Charley's Famous Hamburgers.

If you can tell by the photos it was one of those brisk colder weekends earlier this year. Before even sampling anything I had already fell in love with the (estimating) 10' x 15' drive thru shack that it was.

If you click on the menu board photo above it is a high res image that is fully legible. Order up!

I admit I should've at least gotten cheese if not some bacon on my double burger but I really enjoyed it. The patties were very moist, a bit on the greasy side but quite satisfyingly good. I thought they were slightly thicker than your typical stacker burger patties. Nerd detail, as you can see they serve Hunt's ketchup here. I love all ketchup but if I can't get my Heinz they're definitely next runner up personally before Del Monte (which tends to be a bit more acidic).

Despite having a severe lack of sweet tooth I was still curious in trying their also famous Apple Turnover Milk Shake. My goodness I couldn't put this thing down!

So tasty good, after a few slurps you're tempted to take a chew and when you do you're rewarded by a flaky dough crunch that only caramelized crispy edges of a baked apple turnover crust can give. If a Charley exists he is one gifted fellow to come up with this delight.. :)

Charley's Famous Burgers, 8213 Broadway, Lemon Grove, CA 91945


K and S said...

everything looks so good, especially that meatball sandwich :)

caninecologne said...

hi dennis - that apple turnover milkshake sounds pretty good! crust too! even better!

Anonymous said...

The tamale looks so delicious as well as the taco/enchilada dish. I'm a sucker for pork and beef tamales.

Dennis K. said...

Hi K&S! Definitely not bad and a good deal.. :)

Hi CC! I really enjoyed it a lot! Too bad it's a little out of ways for me.

Hi CAB! The tamale here was huge. Almost the size of a small burrito.. :)