Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mariscos German

I grew up with sidewalk vendors/carts/food trucks in Taiwan. Street food = awesome taste:cost value (for the most part). I've heard people poke fun or turn their noses up at the idea of eating from a "roach coach". Suckas didn't know what they were missing until the recent food truck craze popularized street eats. So apparently now it is "cool". Can you see me rolling my eyes right now?

Mariscos German has been around long before the craze and have a huge fan base, so this is likely to be old news for many. Fish tacos, fresh seafood tacos, ceviche, tostadas, & complimentary seafood soup can be had at super low prices. Best bang for the buck is the $1 fish taco, which I daresay easily ranks in San Diego's top 5. You could either fill up on that, or have something more interesting.

Marlin Taco - smoked marlin, bell peppers, onions, celery & cheese

Seafood tacos at Mariscos German kick ass. Choose your (shell)fish and they'll stir-fry it up for you with bell peppers, onions, and celery and then dump it all into two toasty soft corn tortillas w/ melted cheese. Tacos of note: Marlin and Gobernador(shrimp). From experience, the smoked marlin may be a hit-or-miss, though usually it's a hit. This is my favorite taco from the truck because it is such a mouthgasmic experience. Hell, it's my favorite taco in San Diego. That marlin tastes like bacon from the sea and with each bite of the taco, your tongue will get hammered with a huge spectrum of taste and sensation. The play of sweet/savory from caramelized veggies and marlin coupled with the rich creamy mouthfeel of the cheese are complimented by the marlin's smokiness and bacon-like umami. Eat fast enough (before they tacos get soggy) and you'll be able to enjoy the texture contrast of the taco filling and the lightly crisped tortilla exterior.

Grab a handful of napkins and a fork. You're gonna need 'em.

After a heavy hitter like the Marlin taco, I like to have something light and refreshing:

Seafood combo tostada

Mariscos German serves various kinds of ceviche-topped tostadas. Each one comes with a nice big hunk of avocado too! The tostada is pretty huge and is a lunch entree in itself, so if you're not a big eater, I would suggest sharing with another person.

Oh, and don't forget to pick up your free cup of seafood veggie soup. It's good stuff.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Uncouth Gourmands

Hola! New posts are going to start rolling in soon. In the meantime, scope out Uncouth Gourmands, a new food portal that has popped up in LA. Ran by three playful and media-savvy ladies, this is sure to become a big hit. What's even more awesome is the fact that the growing UG network spans across America! Searching for good eats in major US cities has just been made even easier.

Yes, I am fully aware of this thing called "Yelp". I am not a fan of Yelp. My reasons are many, so if you truly are curious about why I'm such a hater, just e-mail me and I'll send you an essay response.

Soon to come: Celestino or Drago Centro, possibly Pie & Burger, Afghan Palace.

Lastly, I've been cleaning up the blog layout and decided to scrunch up the blog listings into two links: LA/OC and SD. While I would love to proudly display the work of all food blogging enthusiasts on my home page, it can get rather hairy. Sorry folks!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dim-sum catch-up in Taipei

I'm baaaaack! No. Just kidding. But in the meantime, here are some photos to drool over. Can't believe I never posted them after Xi Men Ding...and of course any Taiwan related post requires a shout-out to the lovely Miss joanh, author of internet sensation The Hungry Girl's Guide to Taipei.

This set is from a quick catch-up w/ my father's college pal's family near the Taipei train station. It was actually an ambush, really. They wanted to set me up with their daughter. What a cutie! But sorry, girl, Roger is taken!

Quick shots in jpg_small, ISO 800. Not all dishes are pictured....again. G'damn I've been slackin'.


I want to see this every time I walk into my kitchen.

Dim-sum ain't dim-sum w/o shumai.

That's duck.


These come in various fillings of your choosing--shrimp is my fav.

Too tired to write more. Those of you who still swing by here, thanks for your continued patronage. Another photo set from Taiwan coming soon!

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Okay so after Charlie and I wrapped up lunch at Santa Barbara Shellfish Co., we headed to Crushcakes where we were greeted by a QTpie behind the counter and a jaw-dropping display of cupcakes. To be honest, I didn't even really notice her until after I gave the display a good once-over...

Gotta prioritize, ya know?

Got a bunch of stuff. Not all are pictured or listed:

Buttermilk Crumb Cake - moist buttermilk cinnamon swirl cake with brown sugar cinnamon frosting.
Strawberry Blush - fresh strawberry cake topped with rosy pink strawberry frosting.
Peanut Butter Cup - chocolate cake with creamy peanut butter frosting topped with ganache.
Chocolate Chocolate - rich dark chocolate cake smothered in dark chocolate frosting.
XYZ(I forgot) & a better version of the
Hostess' CupCake

With a 2.5hr drive back to LA, I dunno how I made it without eating them all. For real, I show zero constraint when it comes to desserts. Will of Eclipse Chocolat fame can attest to can my UCSD pals who've all seen me destroy a dozen donuts, a whole choco-cake, a whole batch of brownies, or big bag of Oreos in a single sitting.

It's a wonder I can still see my abs. Not that I'm bragging, of course. I'm just sayin'.

Alright, so two of them didn't make it home for an afternoon tea photoshoot:


I anticipated the Peanut Butter Cup to be my favorite:

I mean, how could it not blow you away? I never pass judgment based on presentation when it comes to food, but this little guy totally had me sold. That is, until I took a chomp out of each of the four. PBCup was good, but nothing terribly remarkable, though the chococake was almost on par with my man Will's. The biggest weakness the PBCup has is the lack of PB flavor. If Crushcake can fix it, then we have a definite winner whose taste would match its perfect construction. On the other hand, Buttermilk Crumb Cake is a real sleeper. I did not expect such rich and decadent creamy/milky flavor from the cake. Holy **** it was like licking an angel. Choco-choco, however, did not wow me as much. It was a pretty standard chocolate cake/frosting combo. Maybe if some ganache were thrown in (kinda like Will's @ Eclipse) it would win more points.

Yes, the Buttermilk Crumb Cake blew my mind, but the winner of the tasting is Strawberry Blush. Almost too close to call, though. Stawberry blush packed a big whallop of fresh strawberry taste. I really dig that. Each bite tasted of the sweet aroma of fresh berries. Seriously. The cake is almost as rich as the Buttermilk Crumb Cake, but had a good touch of strawberry to it. Slap on that delectable strawberry frosting and Crushcake's got a signature cupcake. (No idea why their actual signature cake is the red velvet Crushcake. The thing was so unremarkable.)

I'm all for big bold flavors, but the thing is, I eat desserts in massive quantities. The Buttermilk Crumb Cake is just too heavy in such binging sessions and palate fatigue would creep up way too early. Out of a potential dozen Crushcakes, I'd likely buy three of their best flavors in sets of four. Four BCCs would just be too much even for me. Lastly, Stawberry Blush is just such a refined cupcake. It's "light" and yet it'll smack your mouth around with strawberry. A real culinary marvel. When the weather turns cold, though, I'd bump the BCC to #1 and wolf them down with some city+ roasted coffee.

Will, you've finally got a worthy competitor!

Crushcakes Cupcakery
1315 Anacapa STreet
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Santa Barbara Shellfish Company

From the Lompac return trip. Location is right on the pier and parking (validated) was no problem at all.

Beer boiled FTW!

G'damn these were so sweet. As sweet as fresh amaebi from a sushi bar. Can't decide which I like better: these or the monster sea prawns at Hong Kong Palace?

The Dungeoness and her onion ring crown.

Last crab season was the best ever and I hope you all took advantage of it. They were just about four bucks a pop at 99 Ranch Supermarket. If you live near a 99 and missed it, then you fail @ fooding, I'm sorry. This Dungeoness was more expensive, but somehow tasted a helluva lot sweeter than the live ones I took home from 99. Shoot, I even watched the kitchen folks prepare the order and it seems no different than what I do.

We also had an order of fried clam strips and some chowder. Clam strips were unremarkable. Can't remember the last time I've been impressed by them so I suppose I'll just stop ordering 'em now. Chowder, on the other hand, is terrific at SBSC. Charlie's gal supposedly is more than content to work on her own bowl of chowder, leaving clayfu to finish all the seafood by himself.

Sure prices are high here, but what do you expect? It's right on the pier with a spanking good view. If you know a better place for seafood nearby, I'm all ears. But, it'll be tough to top SBSC's quality and execution.

Santa Barbara Shellfish Company
230 Stearns Wharf
Santa Barbara, CA 93101-3571
805. 966-6676

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Marche Moderne

Every once in awhile I find "surprise money" neglected in the pockets of rarely worn pants. Woohoo! I have cash to spend again! Similarly, after a heavy session of Korean BBQ, I find a "surprise meal" between my teeth a few hours later. Deliciously mmm-yoso! Another one of my favorite surprises comes when sorting through my portfolio.

This was from a catch-up last year with one of my dearest gal-pals who was briefly in town. Figured we'd choose one of the best restaurants Orange County has to offer--Marche Moderne.

Seared Foie Gras w/ Apricots & Toasted Brioche

"Foie gras" means "order me" in French. People who say otherwise are just pretending they know how to speak French....even the French. This was a great dish. Poached apricots packed a surprisingly big whallop of flavor despite being sliced so thinly. Wish there was a bit more acidity to cut through the fat, but who am I kidding? It was good enough for me to horde.!

Mixed greens, mozzarella, & stuff.

Rabbit food. But for a $30 prix-fix lunch menu, it was a good value. For sure kicks Nine-Ten's ass in freshness and taste. Nine-Ten just throws together greens, salt, and oil, while Marche they do the same thing, but add cheese, nuts, and tomatoes. Did I mention better quality greens than Nine-Ten? (Alright alright I'll stop the bashing now.)

Pork loin with...with...oh who the heck can remember after half a year?

Jeebus Christ my entree was huge. Thick slices(5) of pork placed on top of some sauteed mystery greens (again, who the heck can remember?) then topped off with a bright fruity salsa. That green guac lookin stuff at the bottom is actually some funky cream with like...cumin, cilantro, and yeah okay maybe some guac too. In terms of flavor, I really dug my entree. Big, earthy, meaty flavors contrasted with a feisty salsa that just lights up your tongue. The only shortcoming was the texture of the loin. I mean c'mon, guys. Even I can cook up a more tender loin. Seriously, fellas.

"Trout" risotto with calamari + shellfish and stuff.

Gal-pal ordered the "trout" risotto. Pardon my ignorance, but that looks and tasted more like an Arctic Char to me. Best dish of the day. Miles ahead of the foie gras. Everything about the entree was impeccable. The Char walked a fine line between medium-rare and medium-well while the broth soaking the risotto slapped your face around yelling "Hey! I taste like seafood! *slap* Oy!" For realsies, that broth was the biggest and most aromatic combo of seafood flavors I've ever had. A Bouillabaisse on 'roids.

I ate 35% of her entree. What? Don't look at me like that. She's a light eater. ahem.

Yay! Sweets! Simple, light, and refreshing. I wouldn't have been able to handle anything heavier, though we did tear through a bag of chocolate covered strawberries and truffles from Godiva ten minutes later.

Oink oink.

What a steal at $30/person. Very very interested in their dinner menu now.

Marche Moderne
3333 Bristol St
Ste 3001
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

(That's the 3rd floor of South Coast Plaza, FYI)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Berserkerfest II

Southern California food blogging sensation clayfu invited me this past weekend to Berserkerfest II, an epic no-holds-barred "What Happens in Lompoc Stays in Lompoc" wine party with the fabulous folks over at Wine Berserkers.

The trip took us from LA to SLO, then back south to Lompoc for an early afternoon tasting at Arcadian Winery to kick things into gear before heading over to the host of Berserkerfest II, Brian Loring's Loring Wine Company.

Barrel-stand, anyone?

The Hitching Post
catered the event, which was very neat. But the fact that 'Zerkers each brought a motherload of jizzerific wines to share and enjoy with friends totally kicks HP to the curb. Ain't nothin' able to top fine wine and good company.

Oh right. I do apologize if I get any names wrong in this post. Too many 'Zerkers to meet! While good n buzzed, no less...

Let's begin!

'Zerkers trickling in and setting up

HP preparing to feed us. Keep the meat comin', gramps!

Grilled Quesadillas - duck, corn, cheese.


No silly macrobrews here. Only craft, micro, and hella rare vintage bottles. Most of the good stuff aren't pictured, but do give you an idea of what was available, some dude popped open a spicy Anchor Brewing Co. Christmas Ale...from 1995. Holy frijoles.

Actually, it was this dude (in purple tie-dye):

Gathering of my fellow beer advocates

Seeing such prime-o booze being opened, I naturally had to toss in my 1.5 y/o Alesmith Grand Cru and year-old Stone RIS for a good measure. But really, I was way out of my league here. And a special thanks to Brian who lugged in some very well aged Belgians. Delicious, matey! Except for the Sour.

Berserkerfest II underway!

Grilled BBQ Chicken Pizza

Food was solid for the most part. Could not stop munching on the quesadillas, smokey bbq pizza, and BLT pizzas in between mouthfuls of grilled meat. Speaking of meat...

Beef skewers were whatevers, so let's pretend this is beef is the impeccable grilled lamb.

Thanks Humberto! Loved it.

As a very interested newbie to the scene, I had just about a bazillion questions to ask and like any enthusiastic hobbyist, several 'Zerkers were more than happy to share their tastes in wine, walk me through tastings, and show me the ropes. Big shout-out to my man Humberto, Fu, Prof. Lin, and Mr. & Mrs. Gonzalles!

Grilled Gulf Shrimp w/ Cajun 'Slaw

50% Prof. Lin and too much Fu

Ribs and shrooms.

So Paul, remind me again what happened here at the end of the evening?

Yoni's tag placed up high to compensate for a certain inadequacy. ;D

MAH Gs! Dan, Paul, D-Unit (thanks Walsh), and cutie-pie Chris, you guys rock!

And with a few drinks down the hatch, silliness, hilarity, and violence ensued!

Checking for a puncture wound

Yeah that's right, Lauren. Don't tolerate crap from Fu! Show him who's boss. Work those sexy heels!

Taking a breather from Burgs

Yes, not all the grub and social cliqs are pictured. A real comprehensive shoot would require sobriety and declining offerings of grilled meats held up by cute little blondie servers. Ain't gonna happen!

Berserkerfest II was a blast and I am very happy to have had the chance to come out and meet this wonderful online community. What a great bunch of fun-loving folks. You guys really tickle my funnybone. Thanks for the good times and wine education. And of course, a big thanks to Brian for having us!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Uncle Jerry's Handmade Pretzels

I got hired to snap some product shots for Uncle Jerry's Pretzels awhile back and it looks like the photos are starting to make their way to their website. See if you can ID my photos and the original ones from Uncle J! Pal of mine from the good old undergraduate days is currently redesigning the website and a second photoshoot is planned, so maybe some lucky San Diego or LA/OC bloggers can swing by for some tasters :) We'll see.

Here's a small handful of photos from the first shoot:

The original Plain-Jane

Okay okay. Calling The Original a plain Jane isn't exactly fair. It really puts typical pretzels to shame. I especially like the faint smokiness that the salt gives. Dough tastes light, clean, and fresh. That probably doesn't make any sense, but think of it as a supermarket cake VS cake from a capable bakery or dessert cafe. One's obviously finer. If ya can't tell the difference, then I don't know what to tell you. (Maybe "L2Taste, n00b" ?)

My only complaint is that Uncle Jerry was a bit too gung-ho when sprinkling on the salt. I suggest brushing at least 25% of it off or washing it down with some good local brew*. A beefy IPA or Belgian Strong Pale Ale would go very nice with these.

Extra Dark

Hands down my favorite of all Uncle Jerry's offerings, even though I have yet to taste the chocolate pretzels. For reals, you just can't beat that smokey, lightly charred taste. Love it! The Original is good, but giving it a good burn puts it at a whole new level of awesomeness. This variety is definitely for folks who enjoy strong, bold flavors.

Milk Chocolate

Hope to try it on the next shoot. Smells good, though!

Dark Chocolate

Have not tasted this sexay thing yet either, but I do salivate at the sight of it. Like its Milk Chocolate sibling, this baby is one big hefty fella. You can really feel the weight in your hand.

Family portrait

Uncle Jerry also carries Whole Wheat and Sesame flavors. I'm not exactly a fan of those two, but they do have their merits other than being higher in fiber and therefore healthier than their chocolate or OG counterparts. The Whole Wheat really does taste like...whole wheat, which is to say it tastes like "blah." Slight nuttiness with a rough texture. I'll eat it only because it's a healthier option. The Sesame is two or three steps ahead of Whole Wheat in terms of flavor. Their textures are similar, but the Sesame is more aromatic thanks to the addition of sesame (ah duuuhrr, Roger). Try 'em and let's compare notes. I'm sure some folks would enjoy the nuttiness.

I do want to emphasize that Whole Wheat and Sesame don't taste bad at all, but they can't hold a candle to the OG or Extra Dark. However, when you are working your way solo through a whole bag of OG or Extra Dark like the pig and stress eater that I am, it is really nice to have some sort of palate cleanser. Sesame's my choice fo sho.

Stay tuned for Berserkerfest II + me and my bro's Grace burger night celebration.

*UPDATE (3/7/10): Apologies to readers and Uncle Jerry. It completely slipped my mind to mention that all flavors are also available in Low Salt. Sorry, fellas!

Uncle Jerry's Handmade Pennsylvania Dutch Pretzels
Uncle Jerry’s Pretzels
PO Box 695
Lancaster, PA 17608
(717) 872 - 0803

Saturday, January 9, 2010


No one probably checks here for updates anymore, but no doubt some loyal patrons to 5dS have been wondering about the lack of reviews, news, and food porn. Well folks, it looks like I have to close up shop for now until I can get back on my feet. 2009 was pretty rough with all that sacrifice and budgeting but it'll get a helluva lot worse this year. Woohoo.

My most luxurious treat these days? A $3 brownie from Beverley's Best Bakery...consumed over the course of a week and a half. Indulged once a month. Sure was hard kissing San Diego and Eclipse Chocolat g'bye since fuel costs are no joke anymore. On the upside, I'm getting plenty of exercise walking to the supermarket and to the mall.

(Will, if you're reading this, I'd like you to know that I dream of your desserts and truffles at least 2x a week. That ain't no lie... Sweets have always been my one and only comfort....)

What about those restaurant pig-outs and fine dining? Well, once a month, I take me and my brother to East L.A. for a few .80c $1 tacos on E. Caesar Chavez Avenue where Clayfu and I went for a taco crawl. (Took two separate trips in order to try every stand, cart, and truck.) How glamorous.

Sure I can blog about what my brother and I whip up in the kitchen. After all, we are pretty damn good cooks. But, ya'll would just get depressed at our new 1 1/2 meal a day + 2 snacks lifestyle. I'll spare you. :P On the bright side I can see my abs again due to the forced dieting. Feels/looks like my undergrad body once more! Forget the washing machine, dirty laundry can just roll around on the abs.

All praise the sub-1800 calorie diet. And this is on top of my weight training circuits.

My fellow food bloggers, I really really miss reading up on your latest eats, finds, and going-ons in life. Haven't been visiting ya'll for so long because...well, damn-it. All your posts get me ravenous for things I cannot afford right now. Ah man I'm gettin' all teary eyed. ARGH! In any case, keep up the great work documenting all the good eats. Lord knows luckier folks could use a delicious meal or snack to cheer themselves up in these bleak economic times.

Future updates will be from archived photographs and notes prior to my current plight.

To borrow a phrase from my fav. Winnie the Pooh character...

TTFN! Tata for now.