Fried Cumin Lamb (孜然炒羊肉)

I went down to San Diego a few weeks ago to hang out with my youngest brother. The Asian ghetto, as it were, is located on and around Convoy Street, so we stopped at Chef Chin’s restaurant which looked promising.

The cubes of lamb were salty, fatty and crispy and aromatic with lots of cumin. The dish was garnished with fried cilantro and scallions. I loved it. While it wasn’t as good as the similar dish cooked by Lao Chengdu in Singapore, it pleased me.

Beef cooked in chili oil was good too.

It wasn’t as fiery as I would have liked.

They even had almond soup for dessert!


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. 


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.


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. 


Blue Jay Burger

Fear not, this was not a burger made of the flesh of Cyanocitta christata. This is the burger at Hodad’s made with blue cheese, bacon and grilled onions. 

Hodad’s menu

This was colossal! I devoured it, even as the juices dripped down my arms. The hot sauce on the table was good put on the fries, which I could not finish. 

Hodad’s is considered one of the best burger restaurants in America and thus the world. 

It’s crowded and there is always a wait. Nonetheless I highly recommend this place in Ocean Beach.