Saturday, May 21, 2011

This Saturday's Random Selections

Sharing another collection of random eats this weekend. Because my scatter brain tends to enjoy serendipity and occasional randomnimity... Also anonymity except for a few close friends.

Santouka has been offering their Summer Hiyashi Chuka again since middle-ish of April.

My older post on some Hiyashi Chuka to be had in SD during the summer months here,
and another here, the Chinese inspired Japanese chilled summer noodle salad of sorts.

It's a tad high at $9.23 after tax but they give you a ton of noodles where you most probably wouldn't be leaving hungry despite the tease of only two slices of their special pork cheek meat toro niku. The ramen noodles were properly chilled and rinsed with ice water and had a great resilient texture.

The slightly sweet/tart sauce is surprisingly mild but with lots of dashi flavor. I'm sure I'll be having it again, soon as the weather starts to warm back up.

Still at Santouka but showcasing my little more underground tendencies. Here is me dumping a pack of Natto into my spicy Kara Miso Ramen.

Of the 36 chambers of Wu-Tang this technique is probably up there in the mid twenties. Sorry that doesn't make any sense, but anyway obviously not recommended if you don't already absolutely love natto. This started with me mixing my Natto Rice into my ramen near the end of the meal but slowly found purchasing a pack (usually come in threes) from the market the more economical and direct method. Even some Japanese may find it a surprise that Natto in Ramen is not an abhorrent anomaly.

Over at Ikea where it seems everyone shops.

I don't remember when the snack bar down stairs started serving pizza. But they've got one for $1.75 a slice (or $2 combo with refillable drink). Frozen yogurt soft serve, $1. If that isn't a junk food trio I'm not sure what is, haha.

Anyway I'm not sure how pizzas are popularly served in Stockholm but this all cheese thin crust I personally call New York / Bowling Alley style.

This day it actually had a decent stiffer crust and the gooey cheese coupled with a rather salty marinara that I felt was a recipe for cheap snack success. Though less filling to Costco's $2 slice, I preferred this less bready take of mass consumption.

While my half dozen meals from Smash Burger still lie dormant in my photo album for over a year I finally had a chance to try out Five Guys recently thanks to Kirbie's report on one opening at the Costa Verde center.

There's enough written on them already so I'm going straight to my thoughts on the burger which is a double patty when ordered normal. Toppings I chose were all that were listed in black text on the board which include the very standard lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, mayo, mustard, etc.. Only the grilled onions and grilled mushrooms I would personally consider a true "topping" but in any case it also doesn't cost you extra. Cheese is extra which I got, as is the Bacon which I didn't get.

(A) The sesame seeded bun may have been toasted over the griddle but when it arrives to you wrapped in foil it is rather uninspiringly soggy. (B) The torn pieces of lettuce may be better than some fine shredded style you often find in California but I still much prefer folded whole leaves. (C) The patty(ies) I've heard many comments about the burger being expensive but I felt they give you enough beef as for quantity went to justify the $4.99 price. The thing for me was that although it was far from calling dry, it wasn't juicy either and also lacked a good crust which immediately makes me puts them along with the many mega-chains. While it may be difficult to griddle these thinner patties a medium, I've had many 80/20 grounds that were cooked-through yet still very juicy.

The burger overall was still enjoyably greasy though most seemed to originate from the grilled onions and mushrooms, mayo. You can say In-N-Outs aren't exactly overflowing with juices themselves but they are much better balanced as a whole and full of textural variety from the crispy toasted buns to the cool crisp whole lettuce leaves.
I have to say I did enjoy the Cajun Fries which were crispy outer and extremely potato-ey in the center. And when I'm out East I'll probably give Five Guys another try since I heard they're better executed out there.

Here's Mary's take on Five Guys on her blog, Darlene's thoughts on hers, and Kirk's thoughts during Burger Week here.

A photo of a delicious Chicago Char Dog from Lefty's Chicago Pizzeria in Mission Hills.

$3.75 for the dog itself without fries. More expensive than when in the windy city but probably the most affordable option here in San Diego. My variety post on Lefty's wieners here.

Spam Breakfast from Jollibee! My previous fun Jollibee experiments here.

I like how the eggs are actually fried and not steamed like most fast food joints. And mmm the garlic rice. A slice of fresh tomato to keep things healthy and balanced.

Soy Sauce Chicken Rice plate at Cam Ky Chinese BBQ. An older post here.

Although I find their roast pork a bit too chewy for my personal taste, there's something about the very friendly and chill atmosphere of the place that keeps me occasionally want to return. I've had some good duck in the past but tried a plate of the soy sauce chicken this day.

The spot was hit.

Had quite a few more Mapo Tofu over the year but unfortunately most weren't very inspiring for me to do a part three post. Part One and Two of my SD Mapo Doufu Findings here.

I was surprised revisiting Ba Ren's version this particular day because it severely lacked any waft of the characteristic spicy/numbing Szechuan Peppercorns. The use of Douchi fermented beans were low as well. Could've been a fluke but I also noticed a lot more Americanized offerings on their updated menu.

There'll be a few Japanese Retort Curry pack impression posts coming soon. These were really fun to try.

Just a sampling below but despite some unusual ingredients such as squid ink, these you can find in any typical larger supermarket in Japan. Sort of frustrating for me how you only see the same two or maybe three brands max in Nijiya, Mitsuwa and Marukai. As with the instant noodles I always suspected they all get them from the same trade source.

Although I may not have been their biggest fan it was sad to hear Curry House closing on Kirk's blog. I'm hoping that Coco Ichibanya will set foot here to replace in SD. Outside of Japan I thought they were only exclusive to Hawaii but turns out there's been one in Torrance since April of last year. Come on down!

A bit abrupt but think I'll end it here today. Sorry for being too lazy to list addresses again as well. Hope you all are enjoying the weekend! I'm gonna get a lot of rest. :)


OkiHwn said...

The Soy Sauce Chicken Rice plate at Cam Ky looks pretty good!

K and S said...

yummy selections!

caninecologne said...

wait? is this the curry house on convoy? i just ate there not too long ago! :(

your post had lots of great pix - love your doodlings on them.

i liked seeing your spam and garlic fried rice/egg breakfast. looks like the breakfasts i used to have as a kid but my mom would chop up tomatoes and add sliced green onions in them. good morning breath ha ha, but when you're a kid, you don't really care.

i've heard about natto but have never tried it. i want to smell it first!

word ver:

My favorite episode of Star Trek is "The Trayble with Tribbles"

Dennis K. said...

Hi Nate! I think you'll like it. There's a combo plate with choice of meats too... :)

Hi Kat! It was fun putting together.

Hi CC! Yeah I was shocked hearing of Curry House closing in SD too. With the backing of House Foods I thought they were invulnerable.

Everybody says natto is smelly but I find them smell kinda like coffee beans. I think the slimy texture is more a hurdle for most people.

Cathy Doe said...

I got the Hiyashi Chuka at Yakyudori last summer, before anyone had posted on it...a post that is still unfinished, since all of the food there is just 'good' and not thesaurus researched. Plus I can't describe how it is the tonkatsu for lunch.

I've ordered SPAM when eating out lately...musubi at shopping mall food courts, SPAM sushi at Chop Stix...

Good post. I now want pizza.

Dennis K. said...

Hi Cathy! Thanks...
The Hiya-Chu (slang) at Ramen Yakyudori was good last year. (I just realized my link was pointing to the wrong post and fixed it.) The Tonkotsu is not bad too. I've still yet to go for dinner, the place gets packed early.
Yes, Spam Musubi is so underrated!! :)

Mike said...

We had lunch at Ba Ren today, and while the food was still very good it definitely lacked the punch of Szechuan pepper and chile heat we've had in the past.

I'm sure they will up the ante if asked, but their default flavor profile definitely seems muted.

Despite the relative lack of tingle and burn, it was still a very enjoyable lunch.

Dennis K. said...

Hi Mike! Thanks for the update. I'll have to make sure and say "authentic hot" or something like it next time...