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Monday, December 26, 2016

Pancake Perfection

It would be wrong of me not to get at least one more solid pancake review in before the 2016 year lets out so here have it. This is much overdue actually as both of these visits took place on Sunday mornings over the past two weekends prior to my flying home to Madison, WI on December 22nd for leave time with family over the holidays. I write this blog post from my hometown matter of fact.

My SD culinary adventures took me back into 2 places I have been before to quell my always present craving for pancakes. Anyone with a bent for hotcakes likely has heard of or is well aware of both venues......they are none other than Brians 24 and Richard Walkers Pancake House. Perhaps the two most well-known and popular establishments in all downtown San Diego or even the city IMO....when it comes to the BEST EVER pancakes.

Let's recap what was had and what better bite you can land yourself in the coming Sunday's of 2017!

745am Sunday Dec 18th: Richard Walkers Pancake House (downtown)
A plate does exist under this monster!

I got the HUGE German Pancake as I had not had this before here but had seen it many times and finally decided it was my turn to test it out.....glad I did! Different than any kind of traditional pancake I had ever had to date. It looks different, taste different and is different. Just look at it! This giant plate engulfing "pancake" has a nice crispy rim but a soft custard like bottom with a truly amazing texture and flavor that's half pancake and half french toast/custard. Dusted with powdered sugar and comes with lemon slices and butter to drizzle on. I went sans butter myself as I wanted to taste the real flavor of the pancake alone. I found that was good enough! I found that the standard recommendation of "cut and roll tactic" is truly the best method to eat this monster so that you get the soft bottom wrapped in with the crispy rim in every bite. Service was fast, kind, friendly and on point. Prices are fair and dining outside on the patio is a treat in itself with the heated vents. What better way to take in a Sunday morning in DT San Diego?

3pm Sunday Dec 11th: Brians 24

Bacon, banana and chocolate chips packed in every bite!

Having eaten here over 25 times (in the past 2 years) according to my check-in history.......I am no stranger at all to Brian's 24. I think half of those check-ins are for pancakes as well. I also think 1/4 of their Facebook pictures are from me as well.....just saying. I was really feeling creative on this visit and was torn between going sweet or savory style hotcakes. Normally plane Jane buttermilk does just fine and dandy for me at Brian's 24. This time I needed to venture out more. Then my creative mind with help from my roaring stomach came to a compromise.....maybe even Elvis himself shot down a bolt of inspiration at that moment....bacon, chocolate chips, and banana please! My server had no problem with my request becoming a reality. I got the short stack of 2 giant plate size (their plates are hubcap size mind you) hot pancakes riddled with my trifecta of goodies in each pancake. I even happen to bring in my own little concoction of peanut butter "frosting" which I make often and top many homemade items with. It's just a combo of whey protein powder, almond milk and powdered peanut butter. I smothered a generous dose of that on my hotcakes and OMG!! That with the banana-bacon-choco chip combination was something I had not tasted in a LONG time!! Every single bite was a flavor explosion of flavors and textures. (Brians 24 hotcakes as the fluffiest and softest you will ever have btw..) So just when I thought I had experienced the very best of Brians 24 pancake selection, they go and raise the bar yet again with some help of my own creative gastronomic impulses.

So the year is now over yet and if you need to get 1-2 more pancakes fixings out of your system still, or if you need a new years day venue to recover at and soak up some pre-evening booze....then I have found two of them for you. Close out 2016 or bring in 2017 with a Better Bite and order up some hotcakes that will make the German in you scream with joy or have Elvis rocking in the grave....its win-win either way for you!

Happy Holidays to you all! Good eats and good wishes!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Better Bites found at Barrio Star

On a Friday night just last week I found myself with a hankering for some tried and true Mexican food I could rely on. Having been to this venue 3-4x before for breakfast and never once been disappointed with the food or the service, I decided to venture into the dinner menu of the the one and only Barrio Star in Bankers Hill. 

I got in about 645pm and the place was pretty busy but not crazy. Greeted right away and seated by the host. Took a table end seat with a nice view of 5th ave. I really wanted to explore the dinner menu as much as a I could on this visit so thats just what I ordered up. Having had the Barrio power bowl and Barrio power burrito on several occasions before from the amazing breakfast menu they have.....I had high expectations for the dinner menu as well. I was not let down!

Below are shots of the spread I got....

Fresh ceviche appetizer (perfect use of lime)

Cucumber appetizer (love the marinated and  curry spices)

Chicken Pozole Soup Bowl (light and flavorful)

Mexican Chopped Salad with added chicken (dressing is on point!)

Side of organic steamed greens (dressing is amazing!)

Everything I got was delicious! Flavorful, fresh, well seasoned and authentically made with a true Mexican spin. The use of spices and juices/marinades for the chicken, salad dressing, ceviche, soup and even the greens was a hit on all levels. Very robust flavors that enhance the natural flavor appeal of the foods themselves. Nice to eat a meal that goes down well and sits well also because of its natural and wholesome foundation to begin with.

My server Jenna was awesome! She was very kind, super tentative and very caring for me during my experience. Able to keep my large order 100% straight without even writing it down! My dishes came out quite quickly as well from the cucumber to start with and ending with my very well seasoned and steamed greens. Everything was before me within 15 minutes of ordering! Not bad for a fairly busy Friday night I'd say.

So its pretty clear that Barrio Star can pull off both the breakfast menu and the dinner menu without missing a beat. Love a place I can find solid, consistent meals made fresh and authentic for a good price with good service morning, noon and night. That's what I call A Better Bite!