Friday, July 30, 2010

quinoa + sautéed veggies

In my opinion, Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a vegetarian staple. It is a complete protein, simple to make, delicious to eat and a great alternative to rice, cous cous or even noodles! Quinoa has a very delicate flavor and could also be used in salads, breads or even cereal. I personally love making quinoa with stir fried veggies and adding soy sauce, so I will share with you how I make a quick dinner of quinoa!

You can buy boxed quinoa in any health food store (above is a picture of organic quinoa from Trader Joe's), but I personally like using bulk quinoa. I usually buy it out of the bins at Henry's. Make sure if you buy it in bulk to rinse, soak and drain quinoa once or twice before boiling, this will soften the outer shell since quinoa has a slightly crunchy texture.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
2 large carrots
1 stalk celery
1 zucchini
1/2 white or yellow onion
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp butter or oil
soy sauce to taste

(serves two)

1. Place 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water in saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed (about 10-15 minutes).

2. Slice carrots, celery, zucchini, and onion. Set aside.

3. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat and add butter. Add sliced vegetables and minced garlic (I use minced garlic from a jar). Sauté for 5-7 minutes, you'll notice the onions becoming translucent. Add soy sauce and sauté for another 3 minutes.

4. Add sautéed veggies to the quinoa. Stir. Serve!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cupcakes Squared

A co-worker had suggested trying a cupcakery close to work, Cupcakes Squared. Jon and I have been meaning to go for a few months, but every time we think about going, it always falls on the one day they are closed: Monday. Yesterday happened to work out perfectly, so I took Jon as a surprise.

I went in excited... red velvet (not-so-red velvet, as they call it), SQUARE cupcakes and a place that also offered gluten free, sugar free AND vegan cupcakes! When we got there, the selection was pretty depleted. Their menu consists of 25+ cupcakes, yet they only had a handful to choose to from and no gluten free or vegan cupcakes. The prices were moderate: $2.75-$3.50 per regular and $1.50-$1.75 per mini.

Jon went with a regular almond cupcake and I got a mini (they were out of regular) not-so-red velvet, of course. Unfortunately I didn't like their take on red velvet, my cupcake tasted too bland. Jon, on the other hand, loved his almond cupcake! We were both disappointed that I didn't have a better experience altogether. Upon further investigation, I saw on their website that they have their six regular cupcakes and a couple different specialties daily. As for the gluten free and vegan cupcakes, they only offer these Thursday-Sunday. All of their cupcakes sound so lavish and ornate; I will have to go back on a Tuesday to try their Vanilla Chai and give it a second go!

photo via puertabella

Location: 3772 Voltaire Street San Diego, California 92107
Point Loma

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Basic Pizza

Little did I know there was a place here in San Diego that made mashed potato pizza! My friends sister, who stumbled across my facebook page, messaged me about Basic Pizza. I was ecstatic about this since Jon had introduced me to cheddar potato pizza just last month at Antonio's Pizza in Rhode Island, so I decided to take him out for mashed potato pizza on his birthday.

Jon's birthday happened to land on the first night of comic-con, so we sat and people watched through their large windows inside this industrial themed 1912 warehouse with brick walls and high ceilings. I wish this place was my apartment. Basic is also a bar, so make sure to have your ID ready upon entering.

Their menu is quite simple, you build your own pizza on a thin crust white or red pie. We opted for the mashed potato on white and half black olive/half artichoke hearts on red. We got smalls, but these pizza's were still larger than expected and came out on cookie sheets! They bring you a mason jar with silverware inside, I thought this was a cute touch. The mashed potato worked well with the mozzarella, parmesan and garlic white pie.

and Antonio's cheddar potato pizza

Location: 410 10th Ave San Diego, California 92101

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Original Pancake House

I have never met a person more into pancakes than Jon! While skimming Yelp, I remembered that a friend mentioned The Original Pancake House in Kearny Mesa. Jon grew up eating his mom's own dutch apple pancakes and the second we saw a photo on their websites home page, it was decided this is where we'd be eating for breakfast.

OPH was super busy this morning, but tables were being cleared out quickly. I skimmed The Reader and after about 15 minutes we were seated. The waitress was nice, timely, helpful and on top of our coffee and water refills. If you don't already know this about me, service is more than half of what I base my experience at a restaurant on and OPH had great service!

I favor waffles to pancakes, so I went with a plain waffle, but got a side of warm apple syrup... sugary, sweet, wonderful! I was confused that they didn't have hash browns, but Jon pointed out to me that they were listed on the menu as American Fried Potatoes. All in all, OPH was better than I had expected.

dutch apple pancake

Location: 3906 Convoy Street San Diego, California 92111
Kearny Mesa

Pizza Port

Always trying new pizza places, Pizza Port has been on "the list" for a while now and we finally ventured to the Ocean Beach location yesterday!

With the exception of all the hippies that migrate to Ocean Beach, I really love the area. Great Farmer's Market every Wednesday, cute, small, local shops, a plethora of antique stores, plus some really awesome food places.

Jon and I don't drink, but for those of you who do, Pizza Port offers handcrafted brews and wholegrain beer crust for their pizzas. They also make an exceptional house made root beer. We, of course, had to try the root beer and it was fantastic!

Onto the pizza... Jon got a small jalapeño, cheddar and black olive pizza. I got one of their specialty pizzas, the garlic veggie (garlic, fresh tomatoes, mushroom, spinach, feta, mozzarella), and added my staple--artichoke hearts! Both were delectable.

Locations: 1956 Bacon St. Ocean Beach, California 92107
and 135 N. Highway 101 Solana Beach, California 92075

Friday, July 16, 2010

local, large, lucious lemons!

I have to share with you these amazingly large locally grown lemons that Jon brought home from his co-workers lemon tree! I looooooove lemons, I could eat them every day with just a little salt and a spoon.

These lemons were the size of my cats head!

This was the smallest one of the bunch

Thursday, July 15, 2010

input welcome

Out of curiosity, would my readers like to continue seeing simple pictures/location/definition of the places and food on my blog or would you rather a story/review behind the pictures (kind of like the one I wrote below for Lefty's)?

Lefty's Chicago style deep dish pizza

Alright, I must take a breather from Yelp!

I wanted to share my first experience of deep dish pizza with you. Back in April, Jon had plans of taking me out for my very first Chicago style deep dish pizza. I really enjoyed it, but wish they hadn't skimped on artichoke hearts. I'm not sure about how I feel for the cornmeal crust, but I've been told that's the only way they make deep dish pizza? Either way, I'm sure I'll have it again and I'm actually surprised that I haven't since!

excited! half artichoke hearts, half kalamata olives

As for Lefty's: I am all for supporting mom and pop shops, the employees were friendly, the wall art was neat to look at; everything Chicago. It takes about 45 minutes for them to make your pizza, but I didn't mind. The seating was super cramped, with only one or two 2-seater tables, the rest was bar-style inside (which is totally fine if you are getting pizza by the slice). There were flies everywhere(!), it was frustrating trying to eat.

Location: 3448 30th St. San Diego, California 92104
North Park -- between Upas St. & Myrtle Ave.

Monday, July 12, 2010


I'm getting back into Yelp! Add me if you have an account!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

tigers blood shaved ice

To my shock and awe, Jon had never tried the only greatest snow cone flavor--Tigers Blood! I have been on the eternal search this summer for a snow shack in San Diego! Confused that they are in almost every parking lot in Salt Lake City, I finally found an ice cream shop (that Jon and I have actually visited once before), The Daily Scoop, that served Hawaiian shaved ice.

Location: 3004 Juniper St. San Diego, California 92104
Southpark -- between 30th St. & Fern St.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

grilled cheese + tomato

I get my grilled cheese making skills from my mama

Friday, July 9, 2010

hot dogs and sauteed onions

I've always been a pretty simple girl when it came to hot dogs: ketchup only, please. Lately I have had an obsession with sauteed onions on hot dogs. I can easily eat a plate of sauteed onions and mushrooms by themselves, so good! Today I made a quick hot dog lunch with sauteed onions simply as the topping.

1 onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp soy sauce
dash of seasoned salt
buns and hot dogs, of course!

Pour 1 tbsp olive oil in saucepan, turn on medium heat, add onions, seasoned salt and soy sauce, cover.

After about 3 minutes, uncover, stir, throw in hot dogs, add a little more seasoned salt, recover.

Yum! Coming along nicely...

After about another 3 minutes, eyeball to make sure the onions are sauteed to your liking. Serve!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Isabel's Cantina

I previously posted about a breakfast joint called The Mission, and come to find out one of the owners had left The Mission and opened her own restaurant (actually a few!) with a similar, more extensive menu, called Isabel's Cantina.

Located in Pacific Beach, inside what looks like a garage, but with a hip asian themed, lounge style atmosphere, serving an array of food options. Since Jon and I went for breakfast, we got the homemade coconut french toast with fresh fruit and crispy dragon potatoes with soy chorizo!

Location: 966 Felspar Street San Diego, California 92109

Friday, July 2, 2010

Wurstküche and Scoops

Jon took me to Wurstküche a couple days ago, a sausage and belgian fries purveyor in downtown LA. They had three vegetarian/vegan options: Vegetarian Italian - fennel, garlic, red peppers and eggplant, Vegetarian Smoked Apple Sage - apples, yukon gold potatoes and rubbed sage, Vegetarian Mexican Chipotle - chipotle, chille di arbol peppers, garlic and onion. Jon went with the Smoked Apple sausage and I got the Mexican Chipotle sausage with caramelized onions. Their twice dipped belgian fries are really what sealed the deal, as well as their dipping sauces! I got the Sundried Tomato Mayo and Chipotle Aioli.... possibly some of the best fries I have had to date.

Cute menu, fun atmosphere and awesome architecture and design/setup. I fully approve this place if you are ever in downtown LA.

Afterward we went to Scoops, a small place to get gelato just off of Melrose. I have to say, my entire life I have never been a fan of chocolate, especially by itself, but we got a scoop of the salty chocolate and I finally understand why women go crazy for chocolate! This was probably the best gelato AND chocolate...anything...that I have ever had! Another definite recommendation.

Location: 800 East 3rd Street Los Angeles, California 90013