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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Donut Daze

 A recent work event/meeting had me sent off to the corner of 30th St and Monroe St in North Park to grab what was easily a majority vote for some donuts to bring back for the group. Leave it to the dieting fitness guy to be the one who has to go pick up donuts right? However that may be the safest route in hind site as the likelihood of a few donuts going missing or the "oh they must have shorted me a couple" excuse is almost non existent.

I swung by NOMAD Donuts about 915am on a Tuesday morning and was told to pick up a wide range of all types of donuts they have. 2 dozen to be exact. With full range of what to get I did just that and after scouring the very unique and unorthodox menu listed for the day (it changes daily) I went with all 10 specialty donuts, all 10 traditional donuts and 4 good ol' donuts. The only one I was not able to grab was the vanilla bean good ol' donut as they were already out for the day. I thus doubled up on the maple donuts to round out the order.

Nomad Donuts will have been in business at this location for 2 years this November with no sign of slowing down as I was told they are expanding soon to a 2nd location which tells me San Diego folks know where to find a good donut and if supply-demand holds true.....demand is certainly high!

Brad pictured below (right) and Kristiana (left) are the two wonders behind Nomad Donuts. Brad the owner and Kristiana the head chef are responsible for their one of kind daily variable menu listings, all natural, fresh baked, in-house vegan and traditional donuts. Even their base recipe for their donut batter base is propriety I am told. Meaning you cannot find another donut like theirs anywhere else. All their donut toppings/icings come from real fruit, vegetable extracts and spices to give that true flavoring vice chemical additive which I can appreciate myself.

The most kick ass part of the whole deal......when I decided to make this trip a blog post review..... I told Brad this just to be transparent with him and to let him know it was my debut visit as well. He gave me the "ra-ra" discount which means HALF OFF! I was thrilled! 24 amazing donuts at half price.....score!

Now to answer the burning question.......I do a review on donuts for a blog post without trying any due to my current diet?! Yes and no is my answer. Being this was on a Tuesday re-feed day I was lucky enough to have the dietary allowance to have a much higher carb intake then any other day of the week. I thus made room to account for a "sample" of each donut pictured below. I literately cut out a bite size piece of each donut before my comrades could engulf them, saved it for after my training session later on and savored the crap out of every single bite! Those were the best 24 bites of "carbohydrate nirvana" I have had in my 10 weeks of dieting! I could have easily pounded half the donuts myself had I wanted to and those of you who know me.....know full well I could do it to!

Safe to say that after this review I had most definitely found A Better Bite.....24 of them to be exact! Now you can too!

Kristiana left and Brad Right, head chef and owner respectively. Two people making magic in the donut world!

Tuesday 8/23/16 menu selections. Check out them radical flavors!

I'd give points for color/visual appeal alone! Ube Taro back left corner two (vegan and traditional) only two I found just OK vice outstanding. Taro of course being a acquired taste for most non native Hawaiian folks like me.

Fresh, made daily, in-house, all natural no preservative vegan donuts baby!

One full box of goodness for the group!

My personal favorite of them all. Blueberry Lemon Meringue! OMG heavenly!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Just Vegg'n out lately....

I have several close friends both fitness minded and other not so much. Both groups however have worked me pretty hard in my 3 some years now in San Diego to try out the vegetarian landscape, specifically the vegetarian burger in all its forms, shapes and types. I have come to truly enjoy the classical black bean burger quite a bit in the past few years. In the past 8 months I have explored even further and tried other types of vegetarian burgers and found myself really pretty impressed with what I have found. And this coming from a truly hard core meat based burger lover. I am known to almost haunt places like Fuddruckers and Slaters 50/50 for their meat based burgers and build it yourself design features. 

This past week I wanted to put the veggie burger to the test and see how I would respond to the top 4 highest rated veggie burgers as rated by in the San Diego County area. The 4 venues below are what came up and so on a Wednesday afternoon I hit the road and made stops at each venue to get a take out order of their #1 selling veggie burger. Below is what I sampled out. To be frank, I would order each one again no questions asked. Although black bean(any bean) veggie burgers are still my personal favorite, I must say, I am a fan of others as well such as those made from quinoa, tempeh, hemp seeds, soy, and ancient grains now as well. 

Leave it to a city like SD to take an alternative to the real thing and answer the demand of the cities vegetarians and go all out with a worthy product that even this meat freak finds appealing and worthy of calling A Better Bite!

Mushroom Swiss Burger $7.25
Black bean patty, lettuce, tomato, Swiss, sauteed mushrooms, Vegan Mayo (I omitted this)

The melted Swiss and mushroom over the bean patty was amazing! You don't go wrong with a classic like this!

Signature savory patty with guacamole, Santa Fe salsa and spicy grilled jalapeƱos, served on a multi-grain ciabatta.

Loved the almost real texture and taste of crispy fried chicken in this burger. Very hearty and complementary use of bread choice for this burger.

The Rambler $7.95
Organic black bean patty, crispy onion rings, cheddar 'cheese', BBQ, chipotle 'aioli', lettuce and tomato.

An amazing combo of ingredients that really made it feel, look ans taste like an authentic beef burger. Loved the onion rings and cheddar cheese on this bad boy. Great sauces as well!

Grilled Quinoa + Veg Burger 10.95 
Scratch-made blend of organic quinoa + kale + mushrooms, Chao cheese, house-pickled onions, arugula, veg mayo, drizzled cilantro pesto. 

The simplest construction of them all, only some arugula and pickled onions were on this one besides the patty, "cheese" and bun. Very nice earthy taste and chewy patty however.

Friday, August 5, 2016

San Diego is on a ROLL......of the sushi burrito kind!

Products from 4 of the leading sushi burrito joints in San Diego according to Yelp.

Sushi Freak's The Gunshow ($12)
Kudos goes and thanks goes to Jennifer and Tito!

Poke Chop's Lucky Charm ($11)
Kudos and thanks goes to Albert!

Pokirrito's The Pokirrito Classic ($12.50)

Rolled Up's Little Crunchy Guy ($10)
Kudos and thanks goes to James!

I thought for sure this new craze for a Japanese+Mexican fusion of classics, the burrito and the sushi long roll was a for certainly short lived fad soon to fizzle out among the tried and true traditionalist of both Mexican burrito lovers and Japanese sushi aficionados of which San Diego has many in both respects. After months of existence and actually noticing growth in the trend, my eyebrows were raised. I should have known better then to think San Diego would not be open minded (and mouths open) to this fusion of the cuisines. I mean any city that takes bacon and doctors it up in the endless ways that this city does should already set expectations higher then normal right?

The sushi-burrito is no different. With 4 major players in the city, some with multiple locations already and others although new are the hot-spots to be found at tells me pretty clearly that the people found something the love and they want more of it!

I had heard and seen enough and finally gave in and said that's it! I need to see what this is all about. It was not a far reach as I am already a true sushi nut whom readily goes out for rainbow rolls and hand rolls once a week almost every week of the year. What did I have to lose right?

On a Wednesday right after work about 4pm I made my rounds to each of the 4 establishments above and picked up that venues best selling sushi burrito and ordered it exactly as it comes on the menu with no alterations. I watched each item crafted in an almost assembly line fixed pattern of perfection and detail by chefs that have clearly honed their skills. Every venue had a particular way of blending, layering, combining and construction these massive sushi burrito rolls that fit their name to a T!

I got my goods, scooted on home and broke out the spread for pictures and samples. Being in contest prep diet mode yet, it did prevent me from being able to dive in and devour every roll start to end (and I would have!) but for me it was a disciplined but generous bite or two of each roll to get a good idea of the flavor, texture, unique combination of sauces, sushi, veggies, rice and all the goodness.

I cant compare any 1 roll to another since each roll was vastly different then all other others. That said I cant rank them best to worst. In fact not one was bad at all. I would hands down order each roll again no question.

With many more rolls to try on each venues menu from build it yourself to other classic designed rolls I see many trips back into each place for my sushi burrito fix when it hits me. Having now seen what the hype is all about, I guess I can say I see "how this city rolls" with the trending changes of the San Diego culinary landscape.

I hope this post has shown you yet one more way to find yourself "A Better Bite."