Bolillo Tortas – Westfield UTC Mall, San Diego

Can anyone else agree that the newly remodeled UTC mall is crazy ridiculous (not sure if I mean that in a good or bad way).

The new food court really is a sight to be seen. It’s so different. I still remember when it had the the Yellow Brick Road in it.

Many of the old establishments in the food court are now gone (Hot Dog on a Stick, Steak Escape, Terriyaki House, etc).

We stumbled upon this place few months ago. I didn’t even know Bolillo was here. I remember reading about them from Kirk’s post awhile back (from their Gaslamp location).

Their UTC location is tucked away in the back (the old Subway location). It’s really visually stunning (for a food court place).

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Love the distressed wood panels

On a side note, this was a decent buy at Costco. It’s two $50 gift cards for the price of $79.95. I bought it few weeks ago when it was discounted to $69.95 for a limited time.

photo (1280x960)
Costco purchase – $79.95 for $100

Bolillo Torta is one of the restaurants with them. You can see a list of their restaurants here.

I didn’t love them my first visit all those months ago. I thought my Cubana Torta tasted a bit dry even though the ingredients sounded amazing. But what sold me at the time was their bacon wrapped stuffed jalapeno. It normally costs $1 but it was included w/ every torta order. But now, it is not. They have reduced the prices of their tortas BUT each order no longer comes with the bacon jalapeno OR a choice of side.

Regardless, I was at the mall and wanted to give this place another try.

Making my Cubano
Making my Cubana

I think this is Miguel. They prepare each torta to order so you can actually see them making it right before your very eyes.

Gabby, the cashier, was so incredibly nice and helpful. I think the owner was there that night as well.

Cubano Torta $7.25
Cubana Torta $7.25

– Breaded Beef, shredded pork, ham, scrambled egg, cheddar cheese, avocado, tomato, lettuce, beans, mustard and mayonnaise.

Man - was this good or what
Man – was this good !

I substituted the breaded beef for carne asada and left out the beans. Gabby added a slice of queso fresco for me instead.

And I must say, this torta was AWESOME. The shredded pork was amazing. It was soooo juicy and flavorful. Normally I am not a huge fan of soggy bread but the bottom of the bread had soaked up all the pork drippings and oh my goodness…it was crazy good.

I saw them hollowing out the inside of the torta roll. Not sure if they do this so you can get a better ‘crunch’ when you eat the toasted torta? But I think normally they smear beans in the hollowed out section.

Looks burnt but it tasted great
Looks burnt but it tasted great

I was worried that maybe the rolls were burnt but it actually tasted just fine. And I appreciated that they took the time to toast the rolls for the orders too.

Bolillo Torta
Bolillo Torta $7.25

– Ham, manchego cheese, grilled pineapples, guacamole, refried beans, mayonnaise, mustard and homemade chipotle sauce.

Youngest sis thought this tasted ok. She said she tasted mostly the pineapple and that she wasn’t a fan of the beans (in the sandwich). But she, like me, isn’t a fan of beans in general.

Mayo, cheese corn
Mayo, cheese corn $1.00

This is their corn with mayo and cheese. They usually sprinkle Tajin powder on top but sis opted just for cheese/mayo. The corn was probably over boiled as it tasted watered down and was a little tough to chew. But the mayo/corn combination was killer – we both loved the taste of it.

 

Bacon wrapped jalapeno
Bacon wrapped jalapeno $1.00IMG_1965 (960x1280)

The first time I had this (months ago), the jalapeno was way bigger. This time around , it was smaller. I wish it had been prepared fresh but it tasted good regardless.

I’ve been back twice since these photos. They now include a side with each torta order (salad, fries or corn). But they raised the prices up a bit (still cheaper than what it states on their menu and online though b/c it doesn’t include the jalapeno). The last two visits haven’t been as good. The portion of my Cubana seemed alot smaller. It wasn’t as satisfying. BUT, it still was a great sandwich. I think it depends on who’s making the tortas that day.

I hope this place does well. It’s a wonderful addition to the mall and they really do serve great tortas in my opinion. I think they need to work on their consistency though. But I can’t wait to go back and have me another Cubana soon 🙂

El Encinal Mexican & Seafood – San Diego, CA – Soft grand opening

There are few times in life that you get to meet a great group of new people that you just *click* with. And last night, I had just that. It felt more like being in a friend’s living room with his family cooking in the kitchen. There was a sense of family, a sense of taking care of the people that are in your abode, and just making people feel *good*. Made me smile because it just makes you appreciate (even more) what’s important in life: family and friends. Aside from ordering a ton of food, I felt really lucky to have met everyone last night. There was lots of laughter, lots of stories shared, suggestions for this and that type of dish, hugs from everyone’s little kids (and I’m not a hugger), etc.

Ok, onto the food.

Don Robertin Breakfast
Don Robertin Breakfast $5.99

– two poached eggs topped with special red sauce, sour cream, rice and beans

Runny yolk in Don Robertin
Runny yolk in Don Robertin

The runny yolk always gets me. I just get fixated on the beautiful yellow color. Friends LOVED this dish. Eggs were cooked perfectly. It would have been great with one of their freshly made tortillas on the side though.

Beautiful pulpo in cocktail
Beautiful pulpo in cocktail

This was their Campachana Cocktail $9.99 (medium). It’s a combination of seafood (shrimp, octopus, scallop I was told). The octopus was my absolute favorite. So plump and tender. No itty bitty stuff in this cocktail. Their cocktail is served more ‘liquid’ than ‘thick’. I’m used to the thicker cocktail sauce version. But their lighter, liquid version was light and wasn’t heavy.

Chile Toreados
Chile Toreados $1.99
Stuffed with smoked ono
Stuffed with smoked marlin

This was a real hit for all of us. It’s a chili stuffed with melted cheese and marlin. The smoked marlin was tasty and the chili – wow – was it spicy. I loved it. The combination of the chili/cheese/marlin was great. I am not sure about the price though. $1.99 seems a bit steep for one chili. But then again, Bolillo Torta charges $1.00 for a bacon wrapped jalapeno so maybe this is on par with what everyone is charging.

El Original burrito
El Original burrito $5.99

– Australian flap steak, melted cheese, avocado, tomato, mayo

MUST try their cilantro salsa!
MUST try their cilantro salsa!

I liked this burrito. It’s the FRESHLY made tortilla (more to come on that) that stands out. The tortilla is so wonderfully fresh and chewy. I would have preferred the steak to be cooked more rare. But that’s just my .02c. But you MUST MUST MUST try their cilantro cream salsa. If you have ever been to Lucha Libre, you will know what I am talking about. I could eat/drink tons of this cilantro salsa.

Shrimp taco
Shrimp taco $2.99

I appreciated the generous amount of avocado slices. Shrimp tasted fresh.

Panela
La Panela torta $5.99

– Refried PORK style beans, bacon, ham, melted cheese, mayo, topped w/ signature chipotle sauce and fresh panela cheese.

The ingredients alone in this torta makes me happy. So much piggy goodness 🙂 Unfortunately, for me, it didn’t taste amazing. It tasted ok. But it was missing something – that ‘umpph’. I believe they forgot to top it off with their signature chipotle sauce and panela cheese. I’d try it again though if it had the sauce and cheese on top.

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Que Loco Hot Dog $3.99

– Quarter pound beef frank topped w/ bacon, one over easy EGG (!) , mayo, ketchup, finished w/ queso cotija and side of fries

I have to admit. My eyes got HUGE when I saw this come out. Friend ordered this last minute even though we were all stuffed. I have never seen a runny egg on top of a hot dog! It really was beautiful. The bacon wasn’t really on top of the dog but more so under the over easy egg. It was a nice dish but a bit salty for me.

Freshly made tortilla!!
Freshly made tortilla!!

I deprive myself of carbs b/c I have no self control when it comes to freshly made carbs (be it tortilla, hot bread out of the oven, etc). But when I heard they made their OWN tortillas here, I about passed out. Friend surprised me and ordered me one just so I can see and try it. And well…jeez…it was HUGE. And it was so crazy fresh. It came out piping hot and when I took my first bite… (closes eyes)…it was just heavenly.  I literally wanted to fall asleep with a hundred of these things thrown on top of me (like a blanket) and just take in the warmth and smell of these things. Talk about the best nap of your life. Is that weird.

I asked if they would be selling these alone in the future. Owner said that he wasn’t sure at this point b/c the size of the tortillas were so big. So we suggested maybe making them smaller in future and selling them in packs that way .

I am not sure of their hours but last night they were closing about 8:30p. Their grand opening is slated for this Thursday March 7, 2013 at 12p I believe.

The restaurant is casual. You order from cashier and then seat yourself. Someone then brings out your food. We paid cash that night – I’m not sure if they accept credit cards at this point.

The owner was a nice humble young guy. He would occasionally ask for our opinion on the food and would take note of everything (be it good or bad). For example, one of the guys had ordered something to go and we later got a text from him saying the order of beans had been forgotten. Owner felt terrible about this and I believe went to the back to speak his employees about this.

Overall, I had a memorable time. It was heart warming to see everyone in such a good place (in their lives) last night.

I hope this place succeeds and does well.

Buenos suerte El Encinal y Dios te bendiga…

Menu

El Encinal Mexican & Seafood

4734 Federal Blvd

San Diego, CA 92102

(619) 255-1697

E & Drink – 99 Ranch Market, San Diego, CA

E & Drink

I love Hot Pot (Little Sheep, Shabu, etc.). But I tend to poop out on these places b/c they tend to taste the same after awhile.

I heard about this restaurant from Kirbie awhile back. This was her most recent post about E & Drink.

It’s located inside 99 Ranch (San Diego), across from Sam Woo. I’ve never seen the place packed. I’ve been here a few times for lunch already. Continue reading E & Drink – 99 Ranch Market, San Diego, CA

Urban Pi – Del Mar, CA

 URBAN PI

This used to be Pasta Pronto. Home of THE BEST mango pie dessert my family and I have EVER had.

Mango Pie
Mango Pie

My family absolutely adores this pie. It’s not your average apple pie with gooey fruit filling. Instead, it’s freshly sliced mangoes on top of some whipped cream of sort. We’ve been buying this dessert for many years now and sis was recently (well, during Christmas 2012) devastated when she heard Pasta Pronto was out (and re-conceptualized?) but that their pie would still be served at Urban Plates in Del Mar (hence our question : are the two related b/c their prices are pretty comparable and the theme about the same?).

So CDJ and I ventured here after our visit to the Whole Foods Del Mar grand opening.

The place wasn’t busy. And there was a very ‘quiet’ uncomfortable feel about it. I joked to CDJ that this would be a *great* place to take a first date b/c it would make the meeting even more awesomely awkward.

It’s Subway (sandwich) style ordering. You go up to guy who asks what you want. The Urban Pi  menu is located on the wall when you order. None of their specialty pizzas or salads are more than $7.50. So that in itself is pretty amazing – especially in this neck of the woods (RSF/Del Mar).

Friend chose this:

Thai Pi - $7.5
Thai Pi – $7.50

Thai Pi : $7.5

– organic cheese blend, Thai peanut ginger sauce, roasted chicken, bell peppers, marinated onions, chopped green onions, roasted peanuts, cilantro, roasted garlic

Thai Pi pizza
Thai Pi pizza – close up

This wasn’t bad. It literally tasted like a Thai chicken pad thai (minus the noodles) served on top of a pizza crust. It was ok. Better than I expected.

Crust
Crust

Not great but what can you expect for $7.50. I personally wished that the crust was crispier. There was a decent chew to the outer portion of the crust but CDJ didn’t like it very much.

Ordering is a bit odd. You order the pizza. Then you stop at cash register 1 and cashier asks you if you want a drink/dessert/salad. Then I’m not sure if she punches something into register b/c you then move on to salad / dessert section. I asked  ‘Do we need to pay NOW and then pay a SECOND time if we order salad/dessert/drink’ . She said nope.

Salad options didn’t look appealing to us that night. Look at the gallery below for more pics.

We didn’t order the mango pie that I was so happy to see still there. Instead, CDJ let me choose whatever dessert I wanted. Take a gander at this:

Chocolate Toffee Cookie
Chocolate Toffee Cookie
Coffee Toffee
Coffee Toffee  $2.00

This CALLED out to me. It sang a sweet, customized lullaby to me and me alone. I was instantly mesmerized …b/c….well…just look at it man.

I was so full from a late lunch so I wasn’t even hungry. But the few bites I managed of this cookie was heavenly.

Self serve soda station
Self serve soda station

– Organic sweetened (fair trade) soda –

Cola, Diet Cola, Mandarin Orange, Root Beer,
Pink Cactus,Blueberry, Ginger Brew

CDJ doesn’t normally care about soda. He just HAS to have some sort of soda during dinner. So he took his glass up there and started studying the options. I insisted that he try a few of the flavors so I can get an idea of their taste/flavor/etc (and also of this ‘organic fair trade soda’ bruhaha going around). He came back and didn’t say anything after filling his glass. I asked him what’s up. He just took a bite of pizza and said ‘ THAT was THE worst ginger beer soda I have EVER had’ and proceeded to eat more pizza. The thing I love about CDJ is that he complains just once. That’s it. He doesn’t lament about it. As for me, you’d probably still be hearing about the ginger beer/brew up to the very end of this post.

Would I come back? I think so. You cannot beat the price. And I think this would be a fun place to take little ones or maybe have a quick meal w/ a friend. But I was observing the customers that night and everyone seemed very quiet. No laughter or boisterous conversations. Again , perfect for a first date.

 

Whole Foods – Del Mar, CA – Grand Opening – 2/27/2013

Anyone who grew up going to the Promenade (I still think of 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica for some reason) in Flower Hill (Del Mar) will be shocked when they visit the new Whole Foods.

It used to be a movie theatre. An old, run down theatre. I remember going there to watch a movie and then jetting over the Pappachino’s next door for pizza.

They tore down and literally re-gutted everything in that section of the mall. I went last night for Whole Foods grand opening and they had about 10 parking guys directing traffic. I was worried thinking I’d never find parking in this tiny strip mall but wow, they guide you to the back of WF, and lo and behold, there’s a four(?) story parking structure…WTFAYFKM (I had never seen this before and it took me forever to figure out what it stood for but slapped my forehead when I finally got it) Continue reading Whole Foods – Del Mar, CA – Grand Opening – 2/27/2013

Wonderful Sushi Restaurant – Rancho Penasquitos (San Diego, CA)

How have I never been to this place. We’ve known this strip mall for ages now but have NEVER visited. Saw a coupon for this place and was jonesing for sushi pretty B.A.D.

It’s located in the same mall as Vons, Starbucks, Round Table Pizza, Time Warner. Plenty of parking. It’s tucked away so head towards Sab-E-Lee and the Postal Annex.

We went Sat night around 730p and it was pretty empty. Not saying that’s a bad sign. The friendly hostess sat us and handed us the menu (they don’t have a website so I thought posting some pics of the menu would help) Continue reading Wonderful Sushi Restaurant – Rancho Penasquitos (San Diego, CA)

Todo Sushi – Carroll Canyon

My aunt introduced me this place when I was probably in college. It’s located in Carroll Canyon – sort of between Mira Mesa and Scripps Ranch. Not alot pickings to choose from around this area for decent Japanese food.

Friend and I recently took a painting class from PaintNVineyard . It’s a 2 hour painting class that I have come to enjoy (I think I’ve done 5 classes so far?). Here’s my favorite and best painting I’ve done so far…

Continue reading Todo Sushi – Carroll Canyon

Sam Woo – 99 Ranch

Who hasn’t been here. Honestly. It’s been such a staple for cheap Hong Kong style eats (with a touch of, generally, horrible service).

We know the routine. If it’s packed, you put your name down and wait for mean waiter to call your name (and don’t even think about leaving the area before your name is called b/c they’ll cross your name off if you’re not there and lose your place on list).

But they are one of the few places in SD that offers roast bbq duck. If you are lucky to get a freshly roasted one, you’ll never want try another fowl in your life. It’s *THAT* good when it’s fresh. BUT. When it’s not. You’ll know.

Sis and I come here for lunch b/c they have some decent deals. Prices are in 3 categories. $5.95-$6.95 (something like that). Continue reading Sam Woo – 99 Ranch

Convoy Tofu House

I remember being told that ‘Convoy Tofu House’ was the ORIGINAL tofu house in SD.

(Not to be mistaken with the Tofu House (no Convoy in name) next to the Crab Hut and O’Brian’s)

My Asian friends would tell me Convoy Tofu House was more authentic than the rest (this was YEARS ago). Sis and I have enjoyed the Tofu House b/c we liked their banchan (appetizers) more than the other tofu houses. But the crowds, wait, slow service of the Tofu House had worn on me. So I’ve been going to the Convoy Tofu House for the last year. Continue reading Convoy Tofu House

Poppa’s Fresh Fish

It’s only fitting that my very first post will be about Poppa’s. I had visited him a few times. One night, at the Mira Mesa market, he introduced me to a few of his customers. We all started talking about me writing a blog soon and everyone started throwing out ideas. FayesFood? FayesFinds? Then one customer said ‘hey FayesFork!’. And the idea was born. Right then and there, at a Farmer’s Market on a Tues night.

I had seen this little vendor at farmer’s markets over the last two years or so. Never really paid much attention to the vendor b/c 1) he’s known for his live uni which I had never had in my life at that point and 2) well, he sold live uni and that wasn’t something I’ve never ever (and I mean EVER) wanted to try. Continue reading Poppa’s Fresh Fish

So it begins…A San Diego Food Blog

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