Saturday, April 30, 2011

Few Visits To Parsian International Market & Grill

Sharing again a few more meals on my sometimes magic carpet transport called the Radiused Corner, the blog I enjoy keeping personal. My rambling thoughts and OCD inspirited photos arrive today at Parsian International Market & Grill off Convoy Street along with a mischievous monkey friend perched on top of my hat.

While I had many great meals at Balboa International Market I sometimes enjoy the more mom and pop intimate atmosphere of PIM&G, especially along with one of their home cooked stews.

Here we have the #7 Eggplant Stew with loads of Basmati Rice and salad for $6.99.

The large strips of roasty baked eggplant were delicious in the rich tomato base along with sauteed onions and tender sirloin strips.

And when I think of Persian cuisine I now can't help but immediately think of the Tahdig (pronounced - Tadeeg). This day's a bit thicker and not as buttery as BIM's but I find any crusty rice fragment preciously taken from the bottom of pots hard to criticize.

The Hummus at Parsian Market is as thick as peanut butter. Poke it with any of your metal utensils and it will remain standing upright. Yummus. ($2.99)

The flavors are also that much condensed and rich. I was inspired in creating a sort of savory PB&J with my leftovers and some sweet caramelized onions, but that's another post.

The Kabobs are very nice here as well.

Here's a standard #3 Chicken & Beef Kabob combo ($10.99, hummus not included).

Large pieces of chicken breast lightly marinated with saffron and lemon that were flame grilled just moist and tender in the center. The garlic and tumeric spiced flavorful ground beef Koobideh my favorite almost anywhere.

Warm Basmati Rice, melting butter and a sprinkle of sumac. Why is it I feel I've known you forever...?

I was tempted one day with the Cutlet Sandwich ($4.99).

The mixture of the fried cutlets were more potato-ey than beefy but they had a nice spice blend flavor to it and the combination with cool crisp veggies (tomato, iceberg lettuce, onions) and pickles all wrapped in a fresh Lavash bread was quite nice and also felt actually healthy.

I had their Fesenjoon Walnut Stew ($7.99) for dinner one evening near closing time (8PM) and was packed for me to-go.

So unfortunately there's not much to look at...

But the thick walnut stew unearthed has a sweet aftertaste of pomegranate sauce and is very pleasantly yummy. I definitely had enough rice with it... sheez, haha. ;)

Though completely opposite in nature it actually reminded me a lot of the Filipino Dinuguan blood stew. But the dark rich texture here would obviously be made with friendly pulverized walnuts. Still the dish isn't quite vegetarian with large tender chicken strips and is nicely hearty and satisfying.

I forgot the price of the Lamb Kabob but it was up there with the Filet Mignon (~$12.99).

May look a little dry here but in fact was also very moist and tender.

For the price I'd probably be sticking to Balboa International for my lamb fix (or the Afghan Aria Kabob Cafe for their marinated lamb chops) but the stews and kabobs which I've yet to try all are definitely as wonderful here.

Last I tried one of their specials for the day for $6.99. The two ground beef Koobideh Kabob was offered without rice. Sounded like I'd have a better meat to carb ratio the day but totally failed.

The fresh wheaty and slightly sweet flat bread that it came with unfolded would be as big as a Persian soldier's shield and could've fed me four times over. Pliable at first and slowly becoming a nice crusty/crackly as it cooled.

Did wish I had also ordered some of that Eggplant Dip (Kashk-o-Bademjan) I've been taking notes on my now very dog-eared take home menu. At Parsian Market I know there'll always be a next time. :)

Green Almonds are in season and you can get them here. Read about a recipe from Cathy of Mmm-yoso using it in a dish here.

Parsian International Market & Grill, 4020 Convoy St, San Diego, California 92111

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Uno Momento - When In Doubt...

...In-N-Out. Not all my posts are ridiculously long, and no photo of a Styrofoam box this time either. Instead a bird eyeing my burger..

And the burger being eyed on. I had this experimental four-patty and single-cheese for the first. Might sound a bit strange but I always personally found their particular choice of processed American a bit overwhelming in all its lovely bright orange salty flavor.

I'd still be sticking to my slice of raw onion but maybe go back to my usual ketchup instead of sauce. It also did prove my one slice of cheese per two patties ratio was indeed golden to my particular taste buds. So a "4X2" would be my next order, with ketchup, nah extra sauce?? In any case this would all be fine tuning and it was still a delicious In-N-Out with the squishy buns grilled perfectly crusty on one side, extremely crisp fresh veggies, and the always awesome service.

In-N-Out Burger, 2910 Damon Ave, CA 92109

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Yet More Lunches @ Wa Dining Okan

Sharing yet a few more lunch meals I've had at Wa Dining Okan. It's almost the exact same format as the last, haha. More here while the rest are kinda scattered throughout my blog..
Before I forget you can follow Okan on Twitter now to check on their latest specials.

The same drill, you first order what they call the "basic set" for a very affordable $6.50. White hakumai can be replaced for the brown hijiki rice without extra charge.

The three daily changing tasters can range anything from very Japanese "Wa"fu to very Western influenced "Yo." (Easy to remember as "Wah?" for the maybe not so familiar to some traditional Japanese dishes to the "Yo! what's-sup.." somewhat recognizable Western influenced. Maybe this is a stretch.

Anyhow the first two - simmered taro root, flavored konbu, pumpkin salad; and asparagus with miso, oden, large chunky cuts of simmered bamboo shoot..

..above simmered potato with konyaku, tuna salad, another konbu dish, and below - potato salad, takenoko flavored with bonito and kinpira gobo (braised burdock root).

Homemade pickles and a miso soup packed with vegetables completes the smaller and healthy starter where a choice (or more) of weekly changing sides can be added that usually range from $2.50~$4. I've never been let down with any of Okan's vegetable or tofu dishes usually priced at the lower $2.50. Here's an Agedashi Dofu no Kinoko Ankake (fried tofu with a mushroom sauce).

Your agedashi-dofu with a small delicious twist. Below Grilled Bamboo Shoot and Asparagus dish that was also simply seasoned yet wonderful.

I just love large cuts of takenoko!

Going on to something more hearty. If you ever run into any Japanese Curry as a special at Okan I highly recommend it. Blows out of the water any other offered in San Diego (including the "Houses").

This day Gyutan Curry was offered off menu. The braised beef tongue was melty tender, their curry really hits that spot where it's simultaneously savory rich, yet lightly sweet and mildly spicy. I'd wish they kept it permanently on the menu but that may not be great for my diet, haha. Also you might want to switch to white rice when having but they'll usually ask.

I love that Okan always offers something with a creative modern twist. It makes me wonder sometimes if chefs of other Japanese restaurants ever watches television or reads food magazines. It's nice to stay classic but also nice sometimes to tweak, especially if you think of all the competition that's offering the same-o stuff. Sorry, rantling over..

Saba no Karashi-age - fried mackerel that had been lightly marinated in Japanese hot mustard. This was very tasty.

Below something more traditional, Mackerel braised with miso. But a simple sprinkle of fish powder made it particularly enjoyable. I wanted to pour the braise liquids over my rice but felt in the rather chic atmosphere of Okan would be a bit Ogyogi Warui... (おぎょうぎ悪い - bad manners). I still did it when no one was looking. :P

Miso soup break...

Rollu Kyabetsu - the familiar rolled cabbage sometimes called stuffed cabbage. Had a nice strong simmered flavor with the dashi and tomato. Sakura's can tend to be under flavored certain days.

Fried Chicken with Chili Sauce. This is your Karaage fried Okan style with a very light koromo batter, extremely juicy and tender inside. The spicy Chili Sauce was the tasty Japanese Chuka variant of what you would find in Ebi-Chili.

Last a bit more esoteric dish, Unagi no Yanagawa-fu Nikomi.

Grilled Eel simmered Yanagawa-style. From my understanding a Yanagawa-fu Nikomi is a small-pot type dish made by simmering meats with eggs, green onions and gobo burdock root in a good amount of dashi seasoned with soy sauce, sake and sugar. Here bite sized grilled unagi Kabayaki is used.

The result is a rather soupy but strong flavored simmer, to me not that far from what you'd ladle over a large bowl of rice to make into a tamago-toji donburi. Was definitely fun to try.

Okan keeps my lunches healthy but also timely. I could be in and out in 30 depending how quickly I eat. The weekly changing lunch is served Mon ~ Sat and is cash only.

Last I was there they let me know of a charity concert for Japan that will be happening at the new Moonlight Amphitheater in Vista, April 30th. It'll be live broadcast to Japan so check it out if you can! Facebook page here.

Throwing in a quick dinner I had with friend..

There's a beer set now with choice of three items from their Ozara offering on the counter for ~$10. Top is mine and lower my friends. The large cut simmered takenoko were delicious!

And the Gobo Mizuna Salad, no brainer..

That's all for now but see you again soon Okan... :)

Wa Dining Okan, 3860 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111