Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁)

Here I am in San Diego County and after making a pretty decent sweet and sour pork, I decided to make one of my favorite dishes of all time, kung Pao chicken. 

The finished product tasted like the real deal. I was very pleased. 

First I cut the chicken breast into cubes and marinated it in soy sauce, sherry and corn starch. 

Next I mixed soy sauce with sugar and corn starch for the sauce. Since I didn’t have black vinegar, I used balsamic vinegar. 

Next I cut up ginger, garlic and scallions which I would add after cooking the chicken cubes. 

Chilies went into the hot wok first. They burn quickly, but a little burn is what I associate with kung pao chicken. 

After they brown a bit, I added the chicken cubes.

I cooked the chicken until golden brown. 

Then I added the garlic, scallions and ginger. 

Here is the recipe:


Charburger with Cheese 

The Habit 

is a new hamburger chain, at least to me. 

It was crowded and as a result of it being a rare rainy day in San Diego, my brother and I had to share a table. 

But how is the burger, you ask?

It was very good. I think the beef is grass-fed and in any case the quality was good. True to the menu, the burger was charred. They use better quality lettuce than In and Out and the bun was warm and slightly chewy. 

I have yet to try Shake Shack’s cheeseburger. However I could be moving up to LA to work and there’s one location up there. 

Chicken Artichoke Panini

After delivering a dog to my brother who lives in Hollywood, I was starving. I would have been happy to get fast food on the drive back to San Diego, but he insisted on buying me lunch on the condition that we went to a restaurant that had outside seating and allowed dogs. There’s a place down the street that serves a good Eggs Benedict, but it was too late for brunch, I felt. 

Panera makes the same sandwich better and for half the price. It was dry and needed a sauce or an aioli. The chicken was dry, the artichokes were dry and I was not impressed. 

It looked good but it was very disappointing.

Shrimp tacos

I was with my brother last week and we went to Los Panchitos in Point Loma. I didn’t want fried shrimp, but that’s what was served. Either I didn’t read the menu carefully or the entry didn’t mention that they were fried. I’m working on my Spanish, so it could have been that.

They were covered in a spicy creamy sauce. One would have been enough for lunch, along with some chips, maybe. I try not to eat huge lunches when I’m going to exercise later. 

The tortillas were freshly made and the cabbage was nice and crunchy. I wanted to try more of the housemade salsas, as those I had were very good. 

The shrimp were plump and delicious. 

The menu is extensive and they serve oysters, so I will return. 

Mushroom Corn Tacos

What I really wanted was huitlacoche quesadillas. Or just one. Instead, I ordered this at a Mexican restaurant in the Gaslamp District last month.

What is huitlacoche you ask?

It’s a fungus that grows on corn. It is delicious and I have eaten it exactly one other time. I wanted to go to the place that serves it in Chula Vista, but I wasn’t driving.

The presentation was good and everything tasted fresh. But I was still hungry afterwards and it was fairly bland.

The margarita was decent. Earlier, I had walked around downtown with my brother. We saw some Indians protesting the Navy using an ancient burial ground for some nefarious purpose.

It was a beautiful day.

The huitlacoche quesadillas of Texcoco Es Aquí beckon.

Insalata Caprese Sandwich 

Another job interview was over on Notmal Street in Normal Heights, San Diego. Normal street is so named because that’s where the school district office is located. 

I was very early, so I ordered a sandwich at a café across the street. I wisely chose one which would be the least likely to drip on my lucky tie. The bread was warm and chewy and the two slabs of buffalo mozzarella were wonderful. 

The pesto tasted floral and vibrant. The tomatoes were ripened outside. 

The artisanal cola was good, although I have never seen it in supermarkets, not even at Trader Joe’s.
Did I get the job, you might be wondering. 

Not yet. But that sandwich was awesome. 

Salsa Verde Shrimp Tacos

I had a job interview a few weeks ago near the University Town Center, so I checked out the food court afterwards.

Rubio’s is a chain restaurant but they make decent Mexican food.

The shrimp was pan-seated and served with avocado slices, cabbage and of course, salsa verde. 

Salsa verde is usually made of tomatillos, green chiles, lime juice and cilantro.

Rubio’s is definitely better than Baja Fresh. However, Baja Fresh holds a special place in my heart for making Californian Mexican food in Singapore.

I digress. The shrimp was plump and fresh and the tacos were delicious. The salsa bar was top notch.