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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Liking what I found at Luce!

Another debut experience for me this week! Heck yeah! Matter of fact had it not been for a really insightful podcast episode on DineLocalSD (episode 4), I may have never even bothered to make this visit happen. I had driven by Luce Bar & Kitchen many times before but never stopped in. After listening to the interview with head chef Kat Johnson, that all changed. Go check out the podcast yourself to find out why that is, but also, look on below and let your eyes do all the explaining for you!

Going on 5 years this coming September, Luce is doing well, let me say that! This place was fairly busy in my opinion for a Wednesday night but as told by the waitstaff it was actually unusually slow. I got lucky then I guess as my service was quick and responsive all night long and man can that kitchen spit out plates quick! Like a well-practiced orchestra from where I sat and oogled the dishes coming out.

I ended up going with the ceviche, the daily veg special of fried brussels sprouts and then an entree of Mary's chicken. Every item I got not only looked great, smelled great, but it was great! 3 for 3 on this visit for sure!

Ceviche very fresh and flavorful, not too citrusy, not too soupy and they use big chunks of mango, whitefish and avocado among other tasty items which I truly liked!

Sprouts I got minus parmesan cheese just cause I was not feeling it really, not sure why, just did'nt. No loss in flavor at all! Crispy sweet bacon pieces, a hint of balsamic reduction that was not overpowering or used too heavily. Perfect char and absolutely delicious. I had to pace myself as that could have been a meal by itself if not careful! Oh and DO NOT miss the house made hot sauce they serve with the sprouts! This stuff is money! Not fire hot but flavorful with a unique kick I really liked!

Mary's chicken was fantastic. Two major pluses, the strawberry rhubarb glaze works very well for this dish. Never had that with chicken before, glad I did cause I like! Now the polenta; something I just cannot make well myself worth a damn so I only get it when dining out and it's so pleasing to get it done the way it's meant to be as I found here. The chicken itself is super moist and tender.....again that glaze, my gosh!

The service here is impeccable! Everyone is friendly and kind. My server Erin was a class act for sure. Got me anything I needed when I needed it. She knew the whole menu and beer list very well. Super cool gal! You'll be well taken care of if you get her on your visit, trust me.

Now feast your eyes on the goods up close.....then go score yourself A Better Bite!

PS....Had there been room left, I would have certainly scored the daily dessert special posted up which was a salted caramel ice cream sandwich with heath bar cookies! Tell me that would not be pure $$!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

H2O Sushi & Izakaya Debut

To my great surprise and something all of you need to take note of as well, more so for all you sushi lovers for sure! I just got word that H20 Sushi and Izakaya now offers their AYCE sushi all day, all week! Not just on weekends from open to 3pm anymore as I had last heard. This was music to my ears (and belly) when I called into to ask their hours. The price is just $25 for dinner and $20 for lunch. The menu you can pick from is HUGE! Hand rolls, long rolls, premium rolls, nigiri, small plates, salads and even sweet potato fries! Yes, sweet potato fries people! Do you know how awesome it is for me to find sweet fries (and really good ones) on a sushi menu!? 

This was my debut visit to this 5th ave Hillcrest hotspot which was ironic really in that just across the road (directly across) is RB Sushi, another top notch and long time favorite of mine for AYCE sushi outings after crushing solid lifting sessions at the adjacent 24 Hour Fitness. Since RB, only one other venue has impressed me and caught my attention with AYCE value, quality, and service, OB Sushi in well.....OB. 

But now I come strolling into see just what these guys have to offer compared to the already highly set bar I have for my sushi expectations given the two places mentioned above. 

5pm, Sunday evening, not terribly busy at all. No wait, grabbed a bar seat and ordered right up. 3 rounds to order as much as you want but you must finish it all in 2 hours or you get charged for leftovers. Standard rules for AYCE sushi as far as I know. Service was fast, chefs are awesome, friendly and know their craft. Server Hannah was rock solid awesome! Tentative and kind, knew the menu inside and out and made sure I was taken care of the whole visit. I spend almost an hour and a half getting my fill of some of the best sushi I have had in a long time! Nothing I had was just average or even OK. It was all outstanding! The sweet fries were even exactly as I like them to be. Thick, hot, crispy and finished with a dusting of sea salt and brown sugar. Kudos x10 just for those alone!

Take a look at the slide show of pictures of betterbites I found at H2O Sushi Izakaya

Now I have 3 rock solid places to pick from for AYCE sushi. All within 4 miles of my house, all next to a 24 Hour Fitness gym and all about the same price with the same availability for lunch or dinner 7 days a week! San Diego truly does spoil us sushi lovers it seems! 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Burger Challenge Debut Event!


I just recently got the privilege of being able to take my favorite dining venue for burgers in any city/state I have ever lived in my 32-year life span, and coordinate the first official burger challenge they have offered! Is this real? Could a midwest born & raised burger loving carnivore/foodie like me be so darn lucky? It turns out I am and dreams do come true (yes I dream about burgers).  

Just this Sunday, March 12th, I had previously setup a date with Jeff Hall, GM of Slaters 50/50 Liberty Station to work with me to design and structure an event I have sarcastically toyed with for almost my full 4-year residence in SD. It finally caught traction with Jeff and we made it happen at last! Best of all, I got to test drive this "sinister" plan of ours and now all of you can sit back and find out what it is, how it works and perhaps even hit the course yourself and give it a shot.

The Rules:

  • 36 minutes timed
  • 6x 1/4lb burgers (post-cooked!)
  • 1 must be the burger of the month (BOM)
  • 14 burgers to pick from
  • Cannot have any two burgers the same
  • No veggie burgers
  • No chicken burgers
  • No pork burgers
  • Burgers must come just as described on menu

For those brave/crazy/burger loving types like me.....if you do finish the 6 burgers in time, by yourself. Consider yourself (full) and a worthy victor for having Slain the Sinister 6 Slider Challenge!

As of this writing date, no official award/prize/wall of fame is set up. However, that is likely to change very soon now that its been proven that it can be done. And if that does not convince you......check out the photos below and that should be all the motivation (teasing) you need! 

Better yet, check out my youtube channel for the full video as it actually happened! Click here.

The slideshow of burger awesomeness awaits you! Click here!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Java Joint Opens in Point Loma

When I get wind that a new coffee joint is opening anywhere in town, my eyes and ears perk right up and I am the first guy in line to know when and where it's happening. When I am told its just a couple miles down the road from me, it's on like donkey kong!

Just this case played out this week and weekend off Rosecrans on Shelter Island Drive at a place called the Coffee Hub Cafe which is right next door to the well-known Point Loma Wine Pub (their is a reason for that I will get to!).

This Saturday morning from 8-1200, Sandy and Andy, the owners, held a grand opening event for all community members near and far to attend. They had a short half hour bike ride planned, prizes to win, a live singer, free coffee samples, games, and the full breakfast menu of bites available for the customers to try out. I had a wonderful time visiting with Mia their PR person and regular loyal customer, Sandy one of the two owners and some of the other very kind and friendly staff who were busy at work serving up the many people who were eager to try out the goods like I was! Andy was so busy do the bike thing I never did get to meet time!

Here are some unique facts about Coffee Hub Cafe you may want to know.....

-The Coffee Hub soft-opened on February 3, 2017

-It's owned by husband/wife duo Sandy and Andy Hanshaw -- Sandy is a small business owner and Andy is Executive Director of the San Diego Bike Coalition. The Coffee Hub came out of Sandy's passion for gourmet food and Andy's love for bikes.

-Sandy Hanshaw's other restaurant, The Wine Pub, shares a kitchen with the Coffee Hub -- The Coffee Hub serves coffee and breakfast/lunch. After it closes for the day, The Wine Pub serves dinner and wine.

-Sandy Hanshaw takes pride in her community and aims to give back wherever she can. She hosts fundraisers and various philanthropic events at her restaurants such as Bike for Boobs, Woofer Wednesday's and Point Loma Heroes.

-On Fridays they offer a FireFigther Fridays offer in which all Firefighters with their badges, get a free small coffee open to close. How cool is that!?

-The Coffee Hub uses only beans roasted from the (very) local SWELL coffee roasted also in Point Loma near Modern Times. 

-The Coffee Hub has an active Facebook Page for community members to interact with the owners as well so check that out!

I will say right out that this is some of the best coffee I have had in a long time! Dark, robust, fresh and an aroma that will wake you up all by itself! I did not get the chance to try out any of the bites they have (yet) but a look over the menu shows me that they have more than a thing or two I would love to come back and try out. 

Cyclist, coffee junkies, coffee house fans.....all of the above, this is the new place to come in and be seen. Grab a seat at the tables inside, the chairs outside and take a minute to relax and enjoy this Corner of San Diego tucked away in Point Loma. A cup of coffee is waiting for you! And for that matter, Abetterbite as well!

Grand Opening Day storyline of photos available here.