H Mart (San Diego) – Family Seafood Dinner

Uncle loves to get live seafood from the newly opened H Mart in Mira Mesa, San Diego. H Mart does have decent deals on live lobster – about $6.99/lb a few weeks ago. Mom told him that she enjoys the way I prepare live lobster and crab so he and my aunt went to H Mart and bought a ton of fresh seafood of us to prep for a family dinner one Saturday evening.  Continue reading H Mart (San Diego) – Family Seafood Dinner

Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill – Del Mar, CA

The newly renovated Del Mar Highlands mall is pretty crazy. I remember when this strip mall opened up MANY MANY years ago and it seemed SO cool back then. But over the years, it became outdated, boring, and not somewhere anyone would say ‘Hey, let’s go THERE!’.

But the remodel was truly epic – the strip mall is completely different (actually, almost exactly like the Promenade remodel in Del Mar). Just new, fresh, inviting – and different things to be discovered with each visit.

Sis and I used to come to this Sammy’s quite a bit when it first opened years ago (I believe in 1991). But none of us have stepped foot into this place for quite some time. We felt the food had become monotonous and uninteresting.

The recent remodel of this location is impressive. They opened a side patio that is beautiful and inviting. Continue reading Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill – Del Mar, CA

Pearl Chinese Cuisine – Rancho Bernardo, CA

Pearl in Rancho Bernardo has been our ‘go-to’ destination for dim sum and evening to-go meals. I think they have the best non-Convoy-located dim sum in San Diego.

They are located right next to Webb park. And if you’ve never been there, you’ll be amazed to find the cute pond there. My nephews love to see the ducks and turtles that occupy the pond.

Sis usually orders take out from Pearl twice a month or so for dinner. Their new dinner specials are: 1) buy any FOUR dishes, get one free and 2) buy any EIGHT dishes, get two free. Here is the menu (they don’t have a website so this is their faxed version they sent us):

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So it’s a good 4 pages of items to choose from. The prices aren’t the best but I think it’s because they have to make up for giving dishes away for the dinner specials.

Sis ordered the following on the last take out :

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Mixed vegetable fried rice with garlic $9.95

Not sure why she gets this vegetable fried rice instead of beef or bbq pork fried rice (as it’s the same price). But she likes this fried rice – not too salty and provides a decent amount of veggies for the kids.

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Chicken with mushrooms $10.95

I want to say they use trumpet mushrooms for this dish? The chicken is always tender and the snap peas are cooked nicely.

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Rock cod filet w/ black pepper $11.95

I think this is the name of the dish. It’s more salt and pepper style. Sis and her husband particularly like this dish. Me – not so much. I don’t like ordering anything fried (to-go) from Asian restaurants b/c I always drive home like a crazy person (b/c I’m so concerned the dish will be soggy if I drive home too slow). This dish holds up ok – it’s still a bit crispy when we open the container. But it lacks seasoning. I find it pretty plain.

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Pork chop with tangy sauce $10.95

I thought this was called Shanghai style pork chop on the menu? But I don’t see it on there so I think it’s the pork chops w/ tangy sauce. They recently changed this dish to use pork chops vs pork spareribs. Sis likes this version more as it’s easier to cut for the kids. I don’t like this version more b/c the meat is a lot leaner and tastes dry compared to their original version. If you like sweet tangy sauce, you will like this dish.

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Peking duck $28.95 – two courses

Obviously, this isn’t on the dinner special menu. But sis ordered this for me b/c she knows I love peking duck. It’s not cheap at $28.95 but it IS a two-course dish.

The dish comes with : duck skin, shrimp chips, steamed buns, diced duck meat w/ water chestnuts, fresh lettuce, and hoisin sauce.

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Duck skin

They put the duck skin over fried shrimp chips. As you can see, it’s a pretty decent amount of duck skin 🙂 We like how a few pieces of skin still have a layer of duck meat underneath. The rest of the meat is diced up w/ water chesnuts and I believe mushrooms and then served in lettuce cups. I think they skimped on this part b/c we only received a small container of the duck meat.

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Steamed buns for duck skin

Kids and sis love these little man tau buns. There’s something special about warm mantou – the smell and feel of them just brings nostalgia for me and sis. And Pearl preps them nicely here – plus, they retain their heat and ‘softness’ during the meal.

I’m counting the items she ordered now and realized I forgot to take a pic of the fifth item. It’s the Mince beef with Cilantro soup ($9.50). We both like this soup. It’s made thick w/ egg whites and some corn starch. But we’re both fans of cilantro so this soup is a hit for us.

They comp you the least expensive dish you order. No surprise there. And the portions for the dishes aren’t bad. We usually have left overs for at least another meal so we think it’s worth it.

Pearl Chinese Cuisine
11666 Avena Pl
(at Bernardo Center Dr)
San Diego, CA 92128

Neighborhood: Rancho Bernardo
(858) 487-3388




iSushi (Walmido) – San Diego, CA

I recently revisited Walmido  and was SHOCKED to find that they had ENTIRELY redecorated their restaurant. Mom was in town and was craving a bowl of spicy Korean seafood noodle soup. So I was in the area and decided to come here to place a to go order . I literally did a double take when I walked in.

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Remodeled sushi bar

As you can see, there’s a NEW restaurant name on the wall.

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Private dining rooms
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New chairs and tables

I first heard about this place from Kirk. He had an epic post about Walmido’s live halibut fish ‘banquet’ here and it prompted me to try out this place once I heard about it. Family and I tried out their regular family sashimi style meals (that comes w/ 15+ banchan sides) but we were really disappointed w/ the quality of the sashimi. I would only come here for their amazing lunch specials and their affordable sushi rolls. So it was really surprising to see that their lunch specials are no longer on the menu 🙁

I love the waitresses there. Stephanie and Sunny are just awesome. I guess I’ve gotten to really know them b/w 1) I used to come here all the time alone for lunch and 2) they’re open during Holidays (Thanksgiving, Xmas eve, new years, etc). So it’s almost comforting to come here b/c I’ve become accustomed to seeing them so often.

I asked Stephanie what was going on. She said they remodeled and will have new menu. I asked about the name change and she said it’s still Walmido but iSushi as well.

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iSushi menu / Walmido chopsticks

I went back two weeks later to have lunch. This is their new Korean special menu

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Korean special menu

The $100/120/140 is the price for their live halibut special (referenced above). They take the live halibut and use it to make sashimi and a soup/noodle dish. The price depends on the size of the halibut. Mom and I want to try this one day b/c she likes halibut. But I think halibut sashimi tends to be chewier than I prefer. But the price is ok b/c they really give you a TON of banchan to go with the meal. I’m just hoping their live halibut is better than their sashimi special that we tried last year (we paid about $100 for the sashimi special).

This is their new menu:

New sushi menu:

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As you can see from the sushi menu, iSushi has a location in Chula Vista as well.

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Heart Attack $6.95

Stuffed Jalapenos – 4 pieces

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Close up of Heart Attack – Look at the beautiful tobiko on top

We just paid $5.95 for a similar dish at RakiRaki. But their version here is much more substantial. But yeah – it’s kinda expensive.

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I believe it was stuffed w/ krab and spicy tuna. I liked how spicy the jalapenos were. And I love the crunch the beautiful orange tobiko gave to the dish.

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Lunch bento combination $8.50

You can choose from Choice A and Choice B for $8.50 (see lunch menu above).

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Choice A – Salmon

Decent portion – and the salmon tasted nice.

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Choice B – tempura

Surprisingly, this was really good. The tempura was crunchy and not too thick. It included 1 shrimp, zucchini, onion and sweet potato.

The total for that visit was $16.69 after tax.

On next visit, I decided to try out something from their Korean menu b/c 1) prices seemed lower and 2) you get their banchan with any item purchased on this menu. And the spicy seafood noodle soup that I bought my mom was really really good last time.

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Banchan for lunch

Includes: kimchi , pickled radish, cabbage, stewed zucchini, tofu, fish cake, pickled cucumber, potato salad

My favorite: the fish cake. It tastes especially good when they serve it warm.

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Spicy Seafood and Vege Soup $7.99 (Lunch)

This is located on the lunch special section of the Korean menu (5th item down) for $7.99.

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Look at the size!!

No joke but look how BIG this serving was. I used my chopsticks as a gauge for you all to see. The serving was massive. Well worth $7.99

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Lots of chili and jalapenos

The soup had clams, shrimp, squid, cabbage, zucchini, and onions. They did NOT skimp on the clams. And as you can see, the soup was SPICY. It tasted hearty, almost thick.

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Noodles in Spicy Seafood soup

They use thick udon noodles in this soup. Again, I’m not a big noodle fan but there’s something about thick, chewy, soaked-up-the-flavors-of-the-soup udon noodles that makes me swoon every time.

So that lunch cost me $7.99 + tax. Not bad right. I thought it was better than the lunch bento I had on the previous visit. But I guess it’s just different offerings. Thinking back, I don’t think $8.50 for the salmon/tempura bento was that bad now.

After lunch, I went to their live fish tank to take a look at what was being offered. The tank had been broken for awhile so it was nice to see it up and running again. Andy, the sushi guy, has always been so nice and friendly to me. They had live fat shrimp, apprx. 2lb live lobsters, and halibut that day.

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Live shrimp

Andy said it was about $8.00 to prepare the amaebi in two ways (nigiri sushi and then head is deep fried).

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Roe of the shrimp

Andy fished out one of the shrimp with roe for me to see

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Mom and dad would tell me how much they loved shrimp roe. I, personally, have never had the roe. I will take sis here to try it out soon b/c she’s never had amaebi before so this will be a nice treat for her.

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Live lobster in tank

Andy said it’s about $30 for the lobster – tail is prepared sashimi style and claws/head are steamed (?). I think the $30 price tag isn’t all that bad. I had lobster sashimi once in Taiwan and it tasted a bit bland to me. But I would love to try it again here though.

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Live halibut in tank

Isn’t it funny looking. So flat. And it’s poor eyes look confused. But this is what they are known for I think – this is their $100/120/140 special on their Korean menu. Andy said the $100 easily feeds 3-4 ppl.

I definitely will be back to try out more of their stuff. And I can’t wait to bring sis and mom back here to try some live seafood as well.

Walmido (still has their old menu – not newly implemented iSushi menu as of right now)

4367 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111
Neighborhood: Kearny Mesa

(858) 571-1888



RakiRaki Ramen and Tsukemen- San Diego, CA

Sis and I finally had a chance to try this place. We had heard decent reviews of their chicken based ramens. We got there around 11:30a on a weekday for lunch.

The menu was a bit confusing.  Continue reading RakiRaki Ramen and Tsukemen- San Diego, CA

Mapo BBQ Korean Cuisine- San Diego, CA

CDJ and I came here one night b/c Jeong Won was just too busy (you can read my review of Jeong Won here). We had heard nice things about Mapo BBQ Korean Cuisine but we were just too in love with Jeong Won to consider going anywhere else.

We came here I think 730p on a Friday night. It wasn’t terrible packed so we were lucky and got a table right away.

These are the two options you can choose from for the AYCE:  Continue reading Mapo BBQ Korean Cuisine- San Diego, CA

Vintana Wine + Dine – Escondido, CA

When I first heard about Vintana, I shook my head in question wondering ‘whyyyy on EARTH would ANYONE want to open a restaurant INSIDE a car dealership’. It made me question the all-so-powerful Cohn Restaurant conglomerate. I’ve never been a huge fan of their restaurants. Always felt their menus had a lot of hype but when it came to the actual food served…yeah….not so much substance.

Sis and I took car to the dealership the other day to get serviced. She’s been to this dealership in the past and has raved about it. A family friend gave sis and me a few gift cards for any of the Cohn restaurants so she wanted to take the opportunity today to try out Vintana (while car was getting serviced). Continue reading Vintana Wine + Dine – Escondido, CA

China Max – San Diego, CA

It’s been years since I’ve been here for dim sum. We usually go to Pearl in Rancho Bernardo now when we feel like dim sum.

China Max offers dim sum until 3p on weekdays (I came here at 230p for a late lunch last week). You order off their dim sum menu and they bring your selected items out to you. Continue reading China Max – San Diego, CA

Nattiya Thai – San Marcos, CA

Mom and I had an opportunity for a rare lunch together yesterday. We decided to meet at Nattiya Thai for a quick lunch with a friend as we were all in the area.

Nattiya Thai is located in a strip mall across from the Lowes shopping center. There was plenty of parking this Wednesday afternoon.

No one had been here before but we figured they would have some decent lunch specials.

The restaurant itself is nice and quaint. We sat in the back where there’s an indoor fountain which proved quite soothing during our lunch.  Continue reading Nattiya Thai – San Marcos, CA

Jeong Won Korean BBQ Buffet – San Diego, CA

This is one of the handful of the all you can eat (AYCE) Korean style BBQs here in SD. But what makes them stand apart from the others is their buffet style service – you literally walk up to the buffet station and pick and choose from a large variety of meats/vegetables/banchan.

I personally have never seen a ‘self-serve’ AYCE Koean bbq before. Usually, you order 2-3 dishes at a time and the server brings out the dishes to you. But here, you literally can take as little, or as much, as you possibly want to grill. Continue reading Jeong Won Korean BBQ Buffet – San Diego, CA

So it begins…A San Diego Food Blog

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