The first time I went to Din Tai Fung, all I had to do was walk across this pedestrian skybridge connecting the mall to my hotel in Bellevue, WA where we were staying for a conference. T and I went 3 times that weekend and I started trying to come up with reasons why we would need to come back to Bellevue just to feed my dumpling craving. It’s a little crazy to think that we would fly to Seattle before driving to Arcadia for dumplings, but there you go.
I finally did make it to the Arcadia location, and then the new Arcadia location, but only because I was attending a training course near Pasadena that left me with plenty of time to explore on my own. When we heard that Din Tai Fung was opening a location in Costa Mesa, a spot not only closer to San Diego but also conveniently located close to both our respective companies in Orange County, I started to get excited. It also helps that it’s kind of on the way home from Disneyland.
My parents watch a lot of food shows, so I’m used to getting e-mails telling me about some place they saw that I absolutely have to try because it looked so good “on tv”. The last one they told me about was 8 Korean BBQ, but when I looked it up I only saw the location in the heart of Los Angeles. There’s not much in LA that we visit, so I wasn’t sure if I wanted to brave LA traffic just for some pork belly that my parents saw on some show. But when I was mapping out places to try within reasonable driving distance (LA/OC driving, that is), I came across another 8 Korean BBQ location in Buena Park, and when I called to verify that they were the same spot with the same pork belly offerings, I made reservations for us to try it out during my Santa Ana trip.
A few weeks ago, I had to work out of my company’s Santa Ana office for a couple of days. Because it kind of covered a weekend, and because we have friends that recently moved to Santa Ana, it seemed like a good excuse to invite myself over to stay with them and save myself a bit of a commute for a couple of days. (Don’t worry, we also make our guest room very available to them when they want to come to San Diego.)
One of my co-workers in Santa Ana is known for his love of food. So, while I was there, I asked him if there were any new spots he thought I should check out while I was in town. Once of his recommendations was 4th Street Market in “downtown” Santa Ana where, coincidentally, my friends had also been already and enjoyed. So, because I’m a pushy houseguest, I asked if we could check it out one night.
So, yes, I am a terrible blogger but I still like to pretend I’m a food blogger and go hang out with the bloggers that are far superior to me. And, recently, I was invited to join some wonderfully fun people at Caffe Calabria in North Park for a dinner event showcasing Specialty Produce and highlighting the deliciousness of chef Javier Plascencia (I mean, his food, of course…)
Gyu Kaku in Scripps Ranch has been open for a while now and I had originally been really interested in trying it out. But then I kept reading the menu online and looking at the prices (especially their “set menu” prices) and I couldn’t help but feel like Korean bbq would be a tastier and better deal.
I finally went once with a girlfriend and we managed to make it in during happy hour. It was a little chaotic and I was distracted by the much older gentleman and his snuggly much younger dining companion at the table next to us who had apparently never been to a place where you cook your own food – so, I can’t even tell you what we ate or how much it cost us that night. I feel like we had some post-dinner talk about how we would have rather gone for k-bbq.
After getting an e-mail that Monday is Happy Hour All Night Long, and also needing to stop at Trader Joe’s for a few things (since it’s in the same shopping center), I figured I would give it one more shot at happy hour prices to see if my opinion had changed.
I suppose I should thank the Veranda restaurant at Rancho Bernardo Inn for reminding me why I started a blog in the first place and motivating me to create a new post.
I started “blogging” because I, quite egotistically, felt I had a lot to say but didn’t like getting into internet arguments in forums or being told I didn’t know what I was talking about. I figured having a space of my own, without a lot of online traffic, would let me vent my complaints without being bullied and, if someone were searching for similar topics, perhaps they’d find my ramblings helpful. Over the years, it kind of evolved and then food blogging got really popular and PR groups were reaching out to me for reviews and media dinners. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good media dinner and event and am tickled pink to be included among the company of some lovely San Diego food bloggers. I should have a shirt made that says, “Some of my favorite people are food bloggers” – this blog introduced me to them!
But, you know, posts pile up, pictures need editing, you start writing about food you ate over a month ago because you’re behind and then it all starts to feel like work. Sometimes, I just want to eat. If it’s something particularly tasty, maybe I’ll Instagram it. But then I don’t want to write a post because the only picture I have has already been put up on Instagram! It’s a vicious cycle. So, you’ll notice things have been deadly quiet around here. And then my best friend and her husband tried to take us out for dinner for Christmas while some friends were in town. Continue reading
Don’t ask how I first learned there was a Rita’s on the west coast, in San Diego, no less. I end up finding a lot of random info on the Internet, usually just clicking one link to another. Most of the time, it’s just a random tidbit that sticks in my brain for weeks until it pops back up. So, when T and I were planning a Saturday fun-day (Sunday fun-day sounds better, but this one happened to be on Saturday) that would bring us up to Carlsbad, Rita’s popped back into my head and then I did some Googling to make sure I wasn’t crazy.