Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pre-Vacay Ramblings.. Wow, End Of 2010!!

VACATION TIME! :) Flying home tomorrow for a week and then spending another week in Tokyo. I'm not sure what sort of access to the net I'll have during so this post may actually be my last of 2010.

Watched Tron: Legacy Thursday night. Technically it was wee hours of Friday morning.. But anyway, I thought it was pretty good despite still feeling it had potential of being even better, like how surprisingly good The Dark Knight was, but anyway it was good satisfying entertainment. I'd watch it again.

In the area of food consumption.. Visited Aria Kabob Cafe a couple more times. I was tempted in ordering another lamb dish but tried their $4.95 lunch special and thought it was a bargain deal. Coming from the steam trays it's a really quick meal too if you're in a hurry.

You get a little bit of everything, usually around four things plus rice. Just today I had what's above. Beef stew (curry?), a spiced green pea dish, chicken stew and mashed yellow lentils (yum).
Another day were potatoes simmered in spices, chicken curry, fried eggplant (delicious) and green peas in spices. Not bad at all for something priced along a Cali Burrito.

As with Kirk of mmm-yoso I had to try the fried hot dog with three toppings out of pure curiosity. Mine with chili, onions and tomatoes. The wiener was fried up nicely, but as I read it was in fact really just a hot dog. For the price I'll stick to my Costco dog but still glad I tried it since it'll let me sleep better at nights now knowing, haha. ;)

Aria Kabob Cafe, 8010 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92111

Being in the Holiday Spirit I have some nice things to report on Tajima. Their lunch combos at $8.95 are a pretty good fill and quite decent. A choice of two items from a long list and comes with salad, a light mayo'd pasta, miso soup and bowl of rice.
This day my Surf 'n' Turf lunch of menchi katsu and broiled mackerel.

Recently Tajima has been claiming to use Kobe beef in their hamburg and menchi. I'm sure they really mean Kobe-style beef but in any case despite the menchi being fried close to incineration it proved to still be moist and relatively juicy (when eaten while hot). No complaints on the broiled mackerel either.

Chicken Nanban was offered as a lunch special one day for $9.95 and thought I'd try it. It's the first offered in SD as far as I know.

The fried chicken dipped in a spicy vinegar sauce I wished were crispier but was moist and tasty especially with that light tartar sauce. The plate even came with a hiyayakko. Their gyoza has improved somewhat being a bit more substantial with a little more filling. Still far from mouth watering but the Japanese gyoza whore that I am will most never turn a plate of it down if placed in front of me. ;)

Tajima Japanese Restaurant, 4681 Convoy Street, San Diego, CA 92111

Two lunch meals from a series of work related errands in the last few months. At Miyabi Tei in Mitsuwa Costa Mesa's food court, I usually end up ordering their giant special of the day curry plates but ended up with a hot soba and mini katsu-don combo. I knew it would be very average tasting but it was what I was in the mood for and at $6.25 you can say it's a pretty good deal as well. And look, for your soba all the free tenkasu you want!.. :)

Funny how you can buy tenkasu in a bag for your okonomiyaki or takoyaki recipe, but it really originated as a byproduct from collecting rogue batter bits when frying up large quantities of tempura (something they actually do here at Miyabi Tei). A nice heaping ladleful for me.

Below there are at least five shadows pointing in every which direction on my tray. Six including one of myself that I'm casting over my meal. This food court is one of the worst for taking photos. Anyway, the mini katsu-don was quite Ok and I love takuan. Again, for six bucks it was hard to complain.

Miyabi Tei (in Mitsuwa-CM Food Court) 665 Paularino Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Another photo of a Styrofoam box, this specimen from Bentoss right across the parking lot..

Bentoss' piping hot Japanese curry when on their "A" game can be delicious. They were on their "B+" game this day but it was still pretty good with lots of umami from sweet veggies. I have a stash of more of these visits that I need to eventually dig up.

Bentoss, 675 Paularino Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Ramen Yakyudori has been like one of those new friends you make where your first impression was great but then realize you have yet to put a finger on their true personality. RY usually delivers a decent Tokyo Shoyu. This day could've had more beads of oils on the surface but more important they really need to crank the heat temperature up on the soup.

Too bad they stopped serving the shoyu in the special bowl. I never understood why they stopped. It was way cooler and for me much more appetizing looking.

But anyway I've yet to try the yakitori during dinner. Kirk's very positive post on it recently it seems the grilled skewers are at least as good as the original location in Hillcrest. Perhaps this place was a Yakitori house that happened to serve ramen after all? :P

Recently the miso was back to the more punchy aka-miso personality. It was on the salty side but something I can handle. If they can only blend the miso so that it'd pack a flavorful miso punch while also not be too salty, I think they'll have something that would satisfy many more San Diegans. Just my humble opinion.

Ramen Yakyudori, 4898 Convoy St., Suite 101, San Diego, CA 92111

Finally a complementary rice ball from an Udon teishoku meal from my personally beloved Izakaya Sakura. From experience the rice ball is usually filled with mentaiko cod roe, but this day was with some of the nice miso marinated salmon from their lunch set.

Delicious. Almost as good as my mother's made for me for Sports Day in grade school, haha.

Be kind, be good, be fair. If you don't hear from me in the two weeks, you will in 2011!

Kuroshio Sea - 2nd largest aquarium tank in the world - (song is Please don't go by Barcelona) from Jon Rawlinson on Vimeo.


K and S said...

have a nice vacation and eat up all the foods of home :) happy holidays!

caninecologne said...

hi dennis - have a safe trip back home and enjoy your vacation!!! also, cheers for a great holiday season and the upcoming new year!

KirkK said...

Hey Dennis - Have a great vacation, and happy holidays to you! I got a laugh out of you trying the dog at Aria.... it really is just a hot dog! ;o)

meemalee said...

Have a wonderful time, Dennis! Eat lots, have fun and if we don't hear from you before then, have a Happy Christmas and New Year!

Michael said...

Hi Dennis, Great post and pix, as usual. Have a great holiday and a safe trip.

fliu said...

That was a nice post to read on a rainy day! Your pics are always awesome. Have a nice vacay ! That video of the aquarium w/ that song was INCREDIBLE - where did you find that?

Kirbie said...

Have a great vacation! Can't wait to see your posts from your trip home!

OkiHwn said...

Wait until yo see that aquarium - it is unbelievable! I really hope you get to try the tebichi at Hanaori!

Sawyer said...

hey dennis, sounds like you're finally able to do some much wanted traveling! hope you're enjoying your trip and the holidays! lookin forward to the posts!

Dennis K. said...

Thanks everyone! I had a great time. Have lots of photos to share. Hope everyone had a good break too!