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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Getting Freaky!

As most know by now I am one who looks far and near, high and low for the most unique, novel and new places to score A Better Bite around San Diego. When I get word of or see an item or place doing something pretty nifty it does not take much to pull me in the door. That is just the case for my visit to Facing East Noodle & Bar off Convoy St in Kearney Mesa. Just 4 days after catching glance of the "freak shake" concept they have on their menu (5 in all) I was sold that I MUST try this out! And so I did!

3pm on a Tuesday afternoon after a rock solid training session I made my way up to the store and popped into an empty restaurant, grabbed a seat and told them right off the bat.....I am here to try this awesome freak shake I have seen. Salted Caramel Pretzel please! Lisa Yu, one of the 3 store managers told me all about these creations which were inspired at their opening after a fellow manager saw one in NYC and not only loved it himself but saw the popularity they had there. Why would this not work in San Diego he figured? Well, he figured right because Facing East alone has 
over 1/3 of their 374 Yelp member picture posts featuring 1 of the 5 freak shake options on the menu.

Who would think a Taiwanese, Chinese, Asain Fusion joint like this would rock the house with a dessert item like this? It is truly freaky to think about!

It took about 10 minutes from order until the masterpiece hit my table and I was bug-eyed at the presentation all while trying to capture the perfect shot with my camera before it began to melt. The discipline I used to hold off and get the good $$ shots was not easy and I so wanted to dive right in! This thing has mini pretzels, KitKat bar, fudge, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, sprinkles and french vanilla ice cream with chunks of caramel cookie mixed in! The whole shabang indeed! And a perfect blend of flavor and texture at that! The perfect size dessert for the gastronomically gifted like me or to share on a date night indeed! At about $9-10 each they are easy on the wallet as well!

Heaven in a mason jar!

$$ shot after first bite!

Be sure to let Lisa know that Josh the food blogger sent you in and she will take great care of you and your tummy's sweet treat needs!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sicilian cuisine found in Little Italy's Barbusa!

This week Tuesday evening from 6-8pm I was privilaged enough to have been given an invite to my 4th Elite's only event. The lucky guy I was, I wanted to be sure I got all I could out of this experience for me of course.....and you the readers of this blog so read on and feast your eyes and then get your butt into Barbusa for A Better Bite pronto! 

As always is the case with these Yelp Elite events (agian my 4th), Brad or community manager, did a great job of organizing the whole event with the owners and Chef/kitchen staff and they wow'd us all with a 2 hour non-stop tour of Sicily (I was there in 2007 so I know) from the massive perfectly grilled yellowfin tuna entree (with a killer salsa verde and chimichurri sauce!) main dish to the vodka spiked mac n' cheese, the mushroom risotto, the creamy polenta board, 2 types of amazing bruschetta (eggplant and mushroom), the cannoli chips....yes chips! And of course some amazing sips from the bar (outside red wine I am not a drinker so cant comment much).

We all got to take home samples of homemade pasta made in house as well so how cool is that!? Chef Ninno was amazing and it was clear he loves his job and prides his teams ability to put out the best Sicilian food in town. PJ heads the ship at Barbusa and was sure to talk with anyone willing to speak with him all night long.....a great guy indeed!

The Elite members in attendance both vets and noobs alike are always a class act clan. I love my fellow YE's and meet new faces every time. Nothing like great food and great new venues with other people who give a serious damn about it!

Hope to see you all at future Elite events in this great city of San Diego!

Check out the storyline of photos here to see all fun, food and sips I got to be part of (and you can too!). Make sure you let Chef Ninno and PJ know that Josh the Food blog guy sent you in!

Picture storyline

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Dessert on a new level

As a guy with a very low-key sweet-tooth I do not often find myself in deep craving for sweets as many often do (pancakes the big exception). I am more of a savory type who gets the fix for steak, burgers, burritos etc. There are times when through my screening of new places on, a picture or two or high star review of a local joint catches my eye and pulls me in. This was just the case for SD Boba Tea. After a few minutes of picture surfing their page on I was 100% sold I had to come in for my debut visit and try this dessert item that riddled half their customer submitted pictures....honey brick toast. You can fully build these perfectly solo (or shared if you're that nice) sized dessert plates with tons of toppings as their menu lists. I went basic and added graham cracker crumbs, strawberry/banana slices and whip topping........then I got all crazy with some of my own add-ons to make it macro friendly.....IIFYM put to practice all the way baby!

I added the following items to my already stellar dish of goodness....

Hormel real bacon bits
frozen blueberries
PB2 powdered peanut butter (made into a frosting)
MitoXcell superfood cocoa powder (made into a frosting)

As can be seen was every single bit as good or better then it looks to be! The honey brick toast is a soft but sweet light and fluffy "toast" crossed between pound cake flavor and yellow cake softness. The cake is cut crosswise into 6 cubes but not all the way through the bottom so it holds together well to support the mound of toppings. The top of the toast is drizzled with honey and it soaks into the bread so very well!

Such goodness at stake!

Close Up $$ shot!

I approve 100%

The owner I spoke to RJ, was way cool and came out to assure I had everything I needed and was enjoying my dish. I sure was! He explained its creation and their purpose with serving it "just as they would want it themselves" which was cool to hear. They offer military discounts as well so kudos to these guys for that! My plate was under $5! Where else ya find dessert like this for the value!?  Truly a place to find a deal along with "A Better Bite!"

Monday, January 23, 2017

PB Sushi "Rolls" Out new AYCE sushi option!

Yes you read that right. The well known and ever popular PB Sushi joint on Garnet in Pacific Beach has just now begun offering an ACYE lunch for $20 (open-3pm) and dinner for $25 (3pm-close) which puts them in with only 3 other AYCE sushi places I know in town. Wasabi Sushi just down the road at the other end of Garnet has one, RB Sushi (both local stores) have one and RK Sushi on Washington in Hillcrets has one as well. I have had them all multiple times before and found them all well worth going. Prices vary a bit, days and times offered vary and pace of service varies just as much. This review will give some insights to why I think PB Sushi may be the new contender.

Besides price-point being one of the best deals compared to the others its also one of the largest menu's I have seen for what is included in the AYCE offer. Pretty much everything!

I being a traditionalist stray from the Americanized stuff and go basic. The pictures below show what I got on my debut visit.

4 hand basic rolls, baja veggie roll and double Miso soup...... winning!

Veggie Tempura roll was bomb! The yam inclusion is melt in your motuh good!

10 piece nigiri spread was fresh and delicious!

I was seated instantly right at the sushi bar, given a menu and explained how the whole deal works which like most others is pretty simple, 3 rounds to order up, 2 hour time limit, charged for anything you do not finish. The place was not too busy for a rainy, cold Sunday night about 7pm. Smaller inside than the other places I go to for ACYE sushi but that did not seem to take away from anything at all either.

I had great service, tentative wait staff and super quick sushi chefs behind the counter! The quickest I have had. Party because I was one of 2 people at the bar and I had 2 sushi chefs back their whipping up my order. I had all the food items ordered in front of me in 10 minutes! Many times you wait 20+ minutes between every order at other places. Now I know this depends on how busy the place is of course so I am curious to see how well these guys would do on a packed afternoon or evening with orders are flying in left and right. However on this visit, these guys were some of the fastest I have had. Very friendly and cool to talk to as well.

This offer just began like 2 weeks ago I am told so this is brand new for them. Even so they seem to have a good handle on what they are doing and how they do it. Being near one of my main gym locations down the street, just 4 miles from home and having this offer available at lunch and dinner 7 days a week could make this my new go-to spot for sushi period. With quality, price, value and speedy service like this....what is not to like?

So come "roll" into PB Sushi soon and find yourself with "A Better Bite" sushi style!