Let me hear you say eh

“Eh” the sound one makes when debating the frivolities of casual dining.

“hows the avocado?”

“eh”

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So, I’ve had the pleasure of casually dining out in San Diego. I haven’t been disappointed so much as “eh’d”. It takes a certain imagination to cook, and it takes the same amount to eat. That being said, I’ve developed a short list of great foods to try in San Diego.

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Middle Eastern food. Yes, where else would you find great middle eastern food than next to the largest naval base in the county. This is by no mistake. San Diego has a very large Caldean population, as well as several other middle easterners (I wont go into details), but there are a handful of select restaurants that provide great service, ambience and of course, food.

 

 

My mom and I took my dad out to a place called Aladdin’s on Clairemont Mesa Blvd for fathers day and it was all of our first time eating there. My mom ordered a meat sampler that was absolutely delicious. And my dad ordered a big sampler that came with all sorts of appetizers and finger foods. I ordered the shrimp pesto pizza because I just really felt like eating pizza. In any event, the food was great. The fried foods were particularly tasty and the clientele seemed to be a mix of regular customers and big family gatherings.

 

So, if I was a tourist I would definitely try to get my hands on some lamb from a middle eastern restaurant. Lamb is great and tastes even better. For the vegetarian boyfriend who wears a Keffiyah, I would go for anything eggplant. Yes. Okay.

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Apart from middle eastern food, I might also try the fish. San Diego has great fish (it is after all a coastal city). The fish market is one my favorites, but a lesser known and also great place is Point Loma seafood. Any kind of “northern” fish food (crab, salmon, mussels) are gonna be well worth the wait. My personal favorite are salmon locks. Some people eat them on bagels with cream cheese; for me, I just go for the basic bread and butter. Tastes great, and smells even better.

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Of course, do not forget about Mexican Cuisine. Now, there are obviously different kinds of Mexican, like southwest, southern Mexican and taco shop Mexican. So, for southwest, I’d probably venture to old town- they are the “ambassadors” so to speak of southwest history in San Diego and keep it real with that old conquistador sentiment. For southern Mexican, you’d probably have to board up with a transplant family from Chiapas, but if you cant manage that, I would probably venture to yelp because Southern Mexican cuisine is hard to find, but it tastes great. Next, taco shops are a dime a dozen, but if you’re feeling adventurous you could cross the border and spend some cash on street tacos. Also, chains like Cotixan or Roberto’s are usually just fine. Taco shops are going to have giant menus full of stuff that sounds similar so I would suggest: a wet burrito, rolled tacos, milanesa (if they have it), or chile relleno. Yes.

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Lastly, you’re probably going to want some weird experimental food – or maybe not – so to play it safe but still maintain a sense of weirdness, I would go with some kind of fusion sushi restaurant. The best sushi in San Diego is a place in National City in the strip mall off of Sweetwater road, I believe it’s called Hanaoka. Anyway, great place, they have teriyaki this, dragon roll that. If I was you, I would get any roll with eel in it. Eel is weird and tastes great.

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I know I said that was it for the short list, but I just want to add one more

😬

The indigo grill in little Italy is one of my favorite restaurants. They have excellent “southwest” style food. “Good things Growing” has a mix of southwest style squash, corn salsa, a chipotle tamale and a few other really tasty items that as soon as you start eatin’ you’ll be callin’ the waiter Geronimo and throwing out Apache phrases in no time. Did I mention their cocktail list is JUST as mouth watering? Damn it, I suppose they don’t call it a spoiler alert for nothing. 🤣🤣🤣🤣

 

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Journey to the orient

Here in san Dia haho you have a wide. Mix of people. Immigrants from far and wide descend upon the desert basin in search of wealth, prosperity and limited natural resources. I’ve chosen today to embark to a little known pocket of Asia aka convoy to find out more about who these people are, what kinds of things do they like, and more importantly, what do they EAT!

 

Update: IMG_2274

 

So, after perusing the merchandise several times over, I settled on the oils aisle (and sauces). I pulled ‘plum sauce’ from the shelf and examined the contents not to my surprise was mostly plums, however, I was disconcerted with the price tag. I called the clerk over and asked if there were any other plum sauces. He directed me to a separate section where he picked out one that was a few dollars cheaper and one that was contained in a taller bottle. (jar). I thanked him for his service and after he was out of sight I grabbed a bottle of oyster sauce that an older Korean woman had fingered but not added to her cart. Now armed with oyster sauce and chili oil of the sesame variety I left the store.

I chose the chili oil because it was the closest thing to “Mongolian fire oil” that they had. I used to chow on hash browns when I was younger and every now and then would use fire oil for a n extra kick. The sesame oil is obviously used for stir fry, so Ill have to add that to my cooking arsenal at some later date. And there you have it folks, the quest for the best east asian sauces and oils continues!

 

Vegan or Vegetarian

So, what exactly is the difference between vegan and vegetarian?

Vegan is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products. In short, it rejects the commodity status of animals. In practice this means throwing out your eggs in addition to your $2000 Helmet Lang leather jacket as well as butter, yogurt, milk, meats, cheeses, etc. Ethical Vegans extend the practice into other areas of their lives i.e. beauty products or other animal products like beeswax or soap. The reasons for adopting a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle could range from practicing compassion towards living creatures to contending that animal products are environmentally damaging and unsustainable. Lastly, since meat is so expensive, a vegetarian diet could help save money in the long run.

No animal products means no protein, so you’ll have to find good sources of protein elsewhere. Some kinds of healthy proteins are lentils, beans, soy and quinoa (Be careful when eating soy, as too much can cause as much damage as eating too much meat!) Vegan diets are very high in fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C, E and Iron, but they’re low in vitamin B12, so you might want to supplement that with iron to avoid fatigue or depression. Now, the great thing about becoming vegan, besides impressing your friends and family with your savage knowledge of organic nutrition, is that it doesn’t have to happen overnight. In other words, the best way to become vegan is to slowly introduce plant based foods into your diet.

Another interesting thing about vegetarian and vegan diets is it’s impact on mood. According to a  2012 study in Nutrition Journal, omnivorous diets contain more arachidonic acid which can alter neurological changes that affect your mood. On the flip side, a vegan diet might not get you all the vitamins you need and that could cause depression or resulting negative mood as well.

“Vegetarian” is a loaded term and can be a bit confusing. There are several schools of vegetarianism and each exclude meat on the basis of respect for sentient life. What’s more, such ethical motivations range from religious doctrine to animal rights advocacy. But there are a whole host of reasons for becoming vegetarian including health-related, political, environmental, cultural, aesthetic, economic or personal preference.

Here are the different varieties of vegetarian and vegan diets:

Ovo: Allows consumption of eggs, but no dairy products
Lacto: Includes dairy products, but excludes eggs
Ovo-lacto: Does not eat meat, but does consume animal products such as eggs and dairy
Vegan: excludes all animal products
Raw Vegan: excludes all products of animal origin and food cooked above 48 degrees F
Fruitarianism: Consists entirely of fruits and nuts or seeds without animal products
Hindu: Usually lacto vegetarian, and may include eggs and meat in favor of Jhatka
Buddhist: Buddha allowed pork, chicken and fish under certain circumstances. The Mahayana traditions forbid eating flesh of any kind
Jain: vegetarian, excluding onions, potatoes, brinjals and garlic
Pescetarian: Lacto-Ovo diet with the addition of fish and shellfish