Monday, September 29, 2008

World's Best Pizza

There's nothing like hanging out with friends and kicking back with pizza and beer. The typical go-to pizza chains are just a no-go for me. This is where World's Best Pizza steps in. These guys are pretty cocky to call themselves the best, but they are definitely not all talk. World's Best boasts great quality ingredients for their pizzas. Let's take a look:

World's Best's pepperoni stomps on all the pepperoni pizzas I've ever tried. The guys here are extremely generous with toppings and really heap them on. While the picture above looks like nothing but a gooey mess of cheese, you will find that the topping-to-crust ratio is balanced. The pizza is kinda deep and with a moist, chewy crust. None of that stale, dry Papa Johns stuff.

Don't shoot me for bagging on pizza chains. I've just had too many bad experiences with them in college. Example: Finals week. I'm exhausted and hungry. Papa Johns delivers me a pizza with so little sauce, cheese, and toppings that I can see patches of dough.

I'm not a very forgiving guy. :D

Chains have nothing on this:

The Hawaiian tastes better than it looks. You can make this pizza taste even better by sprinkling on some red pepper flakes.

Too bad I can only enjoy World's Best when I visit LA. They oughta open one here in San Diego...

World's Best Pizza
3142 Colima Rd
Hacienda Heights, CA 91745

Thursday, September 18, 2008

UCOP Inquiry

It has come to my attention that the University of California Office of the President has been probing this blog for information concerning the BIBC 103 post I made awhile ago. I want to take this opportunity to declare my intent for that post.

I have never posted academic material from BIBC 103 on this blog. What I offered was a chance for undergraduates to learn from my lab-writeup mistakes. I had originally planned on offering my labs in the form of digital media and provide tutoring over phone or instant messaging. However, I ultimately decided that tutoring in-person would be far more effective and rescinded my original offer. Students who wanted help with their first upper division lab were required to contact me for tutoring. The labs have never been available without first meeting me in person.

As many of the academic crowd know, composing a scientific paper for the first few times is a very daunting task for students who do not even know where to begin. Often, they fail miserably. Though no student has contacted me via this blog for help as of this date, I wanted to guide these first-timers through the process because I personally had a tremendously difficult time when I took this course. All UCSD lab write-ups are required to be submitted to Thus, the possibility of plagerism has never been an issue. My goal has always been to help students understand and become familiar with the proper formatting, depth of content, and general content outline required for writing a scientific paper.

The original post I made offering my guidance for BIBC 103 has been taken down for the time being. If the UCOP has any questions or comments whatsoever, feel free to contact me via email. I would like to discuss this matter in the open and be involved in your inquiry as to speed up the process and more importantly, demonstrate that there has been no breach of the UC Academic Honesty Policy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

POMx Iced Coffee

I have no idea how POM got a hold of me, but I replied to their email, filled out a survey and BAM! Now I have four cases of this stuff.

First impression:
The ingredients are good nutritionally, with the exception of added sugar (not high fructose corn syrup). The main ingredient is reduced fat milk, which reflects the seven grams of protein in each 10.5oz (one bottle). In terms of calories, there is only 170kcals. A mere 30kcals more than a cup of reduced fat milk. This is a pretty healthy beverage. Good alternative to a soft drink.

The main selling point of POMx Iced Coffee is POMx, an "ultra-potent, 100% pure polyphenol antioxidant extract." How silly. Eat your fruit and vegetables and you'll have all the antioxidants you need. Advertising to the general (uninformed) public is all too easy.

POMx iced coffee tastes like coffee flavored milk. I'd like more coffee in here, but flavored milk is fine by me. There is 20 grams of sugar in here, but most of it comes from lactose. The drink is only lightly sweetened. Not bad, but if you want coffee, you're better off looking for another brand.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I've had my eye on Bite for a long time now after reading about Chef Walsh's credentials. Tonight I finally made a visit for the Tuesday four course prix fix dinner ($20) to get a feel for Walsh's talent. Rush hour traffic be damned.

Bite's decor is amazing. If I were a real writer I would be able to describe it for you, but alas, I am only proficient in writing biology/medical papers. Ya'll gotta see Bite for yourselves. The dining area is chic and modern without being cold or pretentious like other restaurants. The golden Os splashed across the wall really liven up the place. Lighting is a tad too dark for my taste, though.

Yeah of course I'll complain about lighting. YOU try hand-shooting at ISO800, f/4.5, 0"4. From now on I will lug my tripod into a restaurant for dinner. Inconvenient? Yes. Awkward? Totally. Worth the hassle? Hell yeah. Tonight's epic photo-shoot failure was the last straw.

Alright on to the food.

First Course:

Honestly I don't know what the spread and sauce are made of. But, my tastebuds tell me the amuse bouche tastes like strawberries and cream cheese/chives? Yummers. I could be wrong about the spread, though. Kinda hard to concentrate when I haven't eaten for six hours... Walking around the ICU is pretty taxing.

Champagne happy hour means cocktails for $4.50. Not too shabby!

Second Course:

Chicken liver mousse

Like Cpt. Jack, I go bananas over foie gras. Naturally when I spotted liver on the menu I had to order it. Yeah I know this is a far cry from foie gras, but I take what I can get. But where's the mousse? Oh you'll find it under that thin layer of dark mystery-jelly that tastes kinda like the mousse. Next time I'm gonna ask Walsh what it is. All in all, a good appetizer. However, as with all rich foods, this got old real fast. The acidity of the fruits do offer your palate some relief, but I just couldn't finish all that liver.

Lobster bisque

Okay if any of you see this on the menu, order it. It is rich and velvetly with a delicate sweetness. Great comfort food. How good? Well it could offer me fleeting consolation if I were to ever drop out of medical school. That good.

Puff pastry carmelized onion tart w/ nicoise olives

This was a really delicate, flaky pastry topped with sweet carmelized onions. Kind of a relief after the previous two heavy appetizers. I dig it. I don't dig the clearly evident camera shake though.

Third Course:

Scalloppini of chicken breast picatta with roasted red potatoes

My tastebuds sent me a flash of recognition after tasting the succulent chicken. The chicken tastes exactly like a Chinese rice-noodle dish. If you have ever ordered chow-fun in a Chinese restaurant, you would be familiar with that strangely delicious lightly-burnt taste. Walsh, I don't know how you pulled this off, but I want to shake your hand for making chicken taste like my mother's chow-fun. Very interesting.

Lamb meatballs in a rich & spicy tomato sauce with grilled polenta and arrugula

Walsh left me crying for more after I scarfed down this plate. The meatballs are really satisfiying but the tomato sauce totally steals the show. Lightly spicy with a hint of smokiness, this sauce is simply amazing. I mopped up every bit of sauce with the crispy polenta. Best entree of the night. My only complaint, however, is the fact that there are only four meatballs. C'mon Walsh! Don't tease us like that. This entree is like a crack rock. After it's gone, you just want more and more...

Pot roast

I really should have asked to keep the menu. I forgot what exactly goes into the glaze, but there is red wine involved. Loved it. The glaze is sweet and complex. Complements beef very well. I wish the meat could have been more tender and fatty, but in terms of flavor this dish delivers it well. Not as good as the lamb meatballs+sauce, though. Teehee!

Fourth Course:

Chocolate mousse

Dark, rich chocolate mousse. Good consistency and not too sweet. Dig in deeper and you'll find berries and part of a banana. I approve!

Grand Marnier Gelato

The silver medalist of the night. I can't ID the light citrus flavor...I've tasted it before but the words just aren't comin'. Very refreshing way to end a meal. Best dessert of the bunch, I think.

Berry cobbler a la mode. That means it comes with ice cream!

I love pie. If I ever cheat on my wife it would be with a pie. During holiday seasons I go through three pies a week. No joke. Bite doesn't serve pie, but cobbler's the next best thing. Lots o berries, good crust. Doesn't top the aforementioned gelato though!

All in all, a solid deal for $20. With some minor tweaks, Bite's prix fix menu would be a KILLER deal. I dig Walsh's style and will definitely be checking back with some friends and of course, a tripod.


1417 University Ave.
San Diego, CA 92103

Sunday, September 14, 2008


As one of the big players in Downtown La Jolla for the past decade, Azul serves innovative Californian coastal cuisine in a warm dining room that offers a sweeping view of the coastline. While the dinner menu is tempting (lobster pot pie and muscovy duckling, anyone?), Sunday brunch is by far more relaxed and leisurely. Arrive early, snag a coveted table next to the windows and enjoy a quiet meal to unwind from all the crap you had to deal with during the week. Arrive late and you might be greeted by a loud and jolly crowd.

I personally like to take my meals in a more serene environment to take a break from my posh, glamorous lifestyle as a penniless student and amateur food blogger. Gotta get away from all those cute co-eds who hound me 24/7. You understand.

Not my table. It had better lighting. Hindsight: 20/20.

Sunday brunch at Azul comes with complimentary fruit and pastries as well as your choice of beverage--champagne, mimosa, orange juice, or bloody mary--to sip on as you choose a plate from four main categories on the brunch menu: breakfast entrees, french-style omeletts, savory selections, and wood oven fired flatbread. Prices average out to a very reasonable $15.

One could easily make a breakfast from this tower.

Warm crab & artichoke pastry: topped with two poached eggs and lemon hollandaise.

Remembering how much I enjoyed the salmon/apricot pastry from Jer-ne, I ordered this pastry. It did not disappoint. "Melt in your mouth" is a hackneyed expression used to describe food and I never use it. Today, however, I will make an exception. This pastry is so flaky and buttery that it really does (almost) melt in your mouth. (You know. Because butter melts at about
32 °C.) It is a perfect housing for the well balanced crab/artichoke stuffing, whose flavors work very well together and do not overwhelm the other ingredients--or each other, for that matter. Scoop up some egg and hollandaise along with a bite of the pastry for a creamy treat. You'll be glad you ordered this.

Not food, but you can eat it if you really want...

There are only seven tables next to the window. Each seat four. Want a table? Get to Azul early. Brunch starts at 10am. Hope to see some of you there! I know I will definitely make a revisit.

Azul, La Jolla
1250 Prospect St.
La Jolla, CA 92037

Friday, September 5, 2008

Party time!

Friend and blogger Charlie hosted a helluva wine tasting party and with his infinite generosity allowed guests to taste some pretty fantastic stuff from his collection. Of course, a party ain't a party without food so everyone pitched in to assemble a feast of cheeses, prosciutto-wrapped cheese-stuffed figs, a very refreshing salad (with strawberries!), bruschetta, cheesecake, and meats to slap on the grill.

We racked up quite a calorie count...

Condensation ruined the labels' appearance.

Here are some of the wines we tried on top of two bottles of bubbly. Yeah that's what I call champagne. Got a problem wit dat?

Because I'm still an amateur, you'd best talk to Charlie about the wines. Don't get me wrong, I took plenty of notes, but mah man Charlie can provide SO much more information.

Beautiful rack of lamb sitting on top of some flank steaks. Sausages not pictured. Because I couldn't get used to the idea of spitting, my memories of the evening are really fuzzy. Want the recipe we used for the meat? Sorry I don't remember it. The only details I remember are from my wine notes. Amazing how legibly I write even when intoxicated...

Let's look at the lamb again:

Did you know we have five taste sensations? Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Salty, and Umami. Chomp into a well grilled hunk of meat like the lamb here and you'll see what umami tastes like. That meaty "sweetness" really jolts my nucleus accumbens. Lookit me using my neurobio knowledge from last year.

So at this point, I had a good buzz going and was beginning to move onto the drunkeness stage, hence the lack of additional pictures to show the collective effort that dinner required.
But I must give credit when it is due!
Many apologies to:
1. Sharon, whose stuffed figs looked as delicious as she. (Oh they tasted great, too.)
2. Chris' gal pal (::grumble:: I TOLD YOU I'm horrible with names and you looked at me like I was silly) for the great salad and bruschetta. LOVED the dressing, btw.
3. Chris for the additional two bottles of wine.
4. Frank for those franks and endless entertainment. You tasted avocado in the Burgundy huh?

In case you are wondering why I have deviated so much from my usual writing style...

Yeah I'm kinda buzzed right now.

Thank you once again, Charlie.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

3rd Corner

Before we begin, I would like to thank Charlie for introducing me to this fabulous wine bar. Isles of wine, affordable food, and comfortable seating make 3rd Corner a perfect hangout for wine fans. Don't feel singled out if wine isn't your thing. It's worth it to come here just for the $10-20 entrees and charcuterie/cheeses.


Charcuterie plate
selection of cured dried meats and sausages

Very good starter to share with one or two other people. I think 3rd Corner charges a buck per loaf of bread though, so keep that in mind, carb lovers. The cold cuts were pretty good and my favorite is the spicy one on the far left (next to pickles).

(1 of 2. Missing the 2nd)

Yummers. A 'lil spicy and fruity.


steamed in white wine, garlic, parsley, and butter.

Mussels at 3rd Corner are not as epic as the ones I had at Mimosa (they are on the average/small side), but are still delicious nonetheless. 3rd Corner makes up for it by serving you a TON of them, though. You'll get bored eating a plate of these, so I recommend sharing. Also, the broth at the bottom should not be wasted! Soak that up with some bread.

Pan Seared Scallops
tomatoes, garlic, nicoise olives, capers, green beans & roasted potatoes in a white wine lemon sauce.

This entree was a real winner. My friend Ricko totally cleaned the plate and scrubbed up the sauce with bread. I'd do the same if I ordered it. Sorry guys, but I don't remember what this tastes like. I'm going to get my own plate on the next visit. You go on and try it too. We'll compare notes.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin
mustard sauce, mashed potatoes, and vegetables.

I was a little hesitant about ordering this entree, but went ahead and got it anyway. I figured "Hey, if they can make a plain entree taste great then they can do everything else well too?" Turns out I made a pretty good prediction. The slices of tenderloin don't look it, but they are super tender and well seasoned. The mustard sauce was more mayonnaise than mustard, which was a big disappointment. Yah I scraped it right off. I make a better sauce at home.


Chocolate Marquis + paired wine

Not a very memorable desesrt. Essentially a slab of dark choco-cake. The next item is much more exciting.

Goat Cheese Napoleon

Hot damn the goat cheese napoleon was good. This is pretty much two layers of almond brittle with goat cheese and a drizzle of honey sandwiched in-between the layers. Strawberries and raspberries offer your toungue a short breather from all that goaty cheese. (Is "goaty" a word?)

Creme Brulee

I've had creme brulee from a lot of restaurants, but most places make it way too sweet for my taste. 3rd Corner does creme brulee right.

3rd Corner Wine Shop & Bistro
2265 Bacon St.
San Diego, CA 92107

897 S. Coast Highway, Ste. F-104
Encinatas, CA 92024