A Mexican Affair In San Diego

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If you follow us on InstagramFacebook, you must be aware of our trip to San Diego, CA couple of weeks back. From Mexico border to Downtown and bay to beach, San Diego will thrill you in every aspect. We will cover the others later on, this one is all about our affair with San Diego’s food. Yes, after enjoying St Louis and Chicago‘s, food delicacies we added San Diego in our list.

You can see the influence of Mexico in food, culture & language of San Diego. While Mexico in proximity brings in the flavors of Mexican cuisine, easy access to ocean adds prominence of seafood in the city. On our short span we had some amazing Authentic Mexican food and not to mention the very famous Fish Tacos.

San Diego’s Fish Tacos : Thanks to Ralph Rubios who introduced this delightful dish to Americans. He got inspired by Fish tacos on his visit to San Felipe, Baja California(Mexico ) & after that opened a restaurant in San Diego, CA.

We tried our hands on San Diego’s specialty Fish Tacos/Tacos de pescado: Made out of deep fried battered white fish, served with with lettuce or cabbage, pica de gallo(salsa) and avocado, on a corn tortilla with lime on the side.

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Fish Taco at Los Dos Pedros

We tried fish tacos at Los Dos Pedros near La Jolla Blvd & Fish Mart, San Ysidro & fell in love with one served in Los Dos Pedros, highly recommended for it’s crispy fish. You can’t stop just at one, it’s that delicious.

What Else We Had:

At Taco El Guero-  Located at Dairy Mart Rd, San Ysidro, this restaurant is quite popular among the locals for their tacos and Carne Asada Fries. We had Tacos El Vapor, steamed corned tortilla filled with any type of meat. Bean Tostada with Cheese Enchiladas, a combination of Tortilla with beans and enchiladas served with rice. IMG_8203

At Fish Mart- A convenient place to enjoy Margaritas with complimentary fish soup and tortillas. Next to Taco El Guero (doesn’t have fish tacos in menu), this restaurant serves fresh seafood and fish tacos. We ordered Mango Margarita,combination of mango slush, alcohol and spices on the rim which was totally palatable. Fish Soup came up surprisingly really well. IMG_8208

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At Los Dos Pedros: Near La Jolla Blvd, we had a really appetizing lunch here. There is limited seating space as it’s mainly a takeout joint. Tacos to combos, everything on the menu is cheap and portions are good. We had Chicken Taco combo and Fish Taco Combo, served with beans and rice. As mentioned earlier, their Fish Tacos are too good & worth dying for !!

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Fish Taco Combination
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Chicken Taco Combination

Food Tips:

  1. Try out local food joints, they are affordable and authentic.
  2. Most local joints don’t accept cards, so keep cash handy.
  3. For best Mexican must visit Old Town, San Diego.
  4. The language can be a barrier while going through the menu at some restaurants(especially near the border).

So, what’s in your food list for San Diego?

A Cheesy Affair With Chicago Style Pizza !!

We are die-hard food lovers, especially when it comes to the signature dishes,we never miss any opportunity to try out. Nothing hidden about our fondness for food, one can find our journey on Instagram.

After exploring Chicago we tried our hands on Chicago’s signature dishes and came across “Chicago Style Pizza”.

Chicago Style Pizza : Well known as pizzas paradise, Chicago style pizza acclaims two most popular pizza styles, deep dish and stuffed. Both are made pie style with large amount of cheese and tomato sauce, delighting both eyes as well as taste buds. While Lou Malnati is esteemed for deep dish pizza, Giordano’s has been hailed for its stuffed ones, deeper than the deep dish ones.

STUFFED PIZZA: Our fondness for pizza took us Giordano’s ,before visiting there we ordered in advance as it takes 40 minutes to get it prepared.

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After few minutes we got served with the most acclaimed Giordano’s Stuffed Pizza, and we got our answer why it’s a big deal in Chicago. The thick buttery crust with layers of mozzarella cheese, add on toppings, covered on top with a thin layer of dough & tomato sauce make this dish outstanding. 8a786196fc90affa0d4208559cf77f49_1444181327

DEEP DISH: After Giordano’s episode it was Lou Malnati’s turn, well known for it’s traditional deep dish pizza. Talking about Lou Malnati’s pizza, we got it after waiting for an hour as its Chicago’s favorite and always full specially over the weekends. Crispy crust with layers of cheese and ingredients you choose topped with tomato sauce. IMG_1062IMG_1061

Dear vegetarian don’t be disheartened , both places offers veggie ingredients to choose from.

Disclaimer:  After having Chicago style pizza you may feel guilty, which is absolutely normal.

Tips:

  1. Order pizza before arriving as it takes 40-45 minutes.
  2. Also try Uno’s & Gino’s east pizza.

 

St Louis: What Shouldn’t Be Missed !!

Along the banks of Mississippi river on border of IL and MO is situated the city of St. Louis. Apart being known for the Arch, this city has a lot to offer. We tried to capture most of the city both as traveler and foodie, walking down the streets, getting a bite of local food and capturing the famous tourist spots. Here are few reasons why St Louis should be your next destination:

1. Gateway Arch:  A 630 foot monument on the bank of Mississippi river, is world’s tallest arch and a major tourist spot. Easily accessible from downtown and the most visited attractions. Buy tickets to visit observation deck on top of the arch,this few minutes tram ride will be your best experience in St Louis.IMG_3001.JPG

2. Missouri Botanical Garden Located in Shaw Blvd, this is the oldest botanical garden offering a vast horticulture exhibit. Spread across 79 acres this garden includes major attractions like Japanese garden, Climatron(a conservatory based on tropical rain forest  theme), Temperate House, Linnean House (oldest operative greenhouse). Click Here for pictures

Timings: 9am -5 pm daily, General Entry Fee: $8

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Missouri Botanical Garden

3. Cathedral Basilica of St Louis One of the few churches which are both Cathedral(having pope’s throne) and Basilica(special spiritual, historical, and/or architectural significance), it took more than 7 decades to complete it(from 1912-1988). Witness the extravagant interior of mosaics made out of glass in 7000 different colors, astonishingly no paint has been used inside the church,Check out the pictures.Tours are available to get well versed with art and history of the Church. Tour booking is free and can be done through the website or over the call, you can make a donation as per your will after tour commences.IMG_2943

4. Mississippi River Overlook-Most serene place in St Louis to experience the spectacular view of Downtown, Gateway Geyser and skyline of St Louis from 40 ft tall platform overlooking Mississippi river.

Do make a visit to Gateway Geyser next to the platform, incredibly boosting the water approximately to the height of Gateway of Arch on the other side of Mississippi River. It also holds the credibility of being the tallest fountain in USA and second in the world.

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View from the platform

5. Downtown Take a walk on the “Washington Ave” and “Broadway”, try out the best restaurants, indulge in shopping and acknowledge the diverse culture of St Louis. Busch Stadium, home ground to St Louis Cardinals and Old Courthouse are just a few blocks down from the Washington Avenue(the main street).

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Washington Avenue

6. Toasted Ravioli  Created in St Louis, this deep-fried appetizer should be on your list. Toasted ravioli of St Louis became famous when it got dropped by chef accidentally and eventually became the most desired menu item. Filled with meat and fried till golden brown it is served with marinara sauce and topped with Parmesan cheese. One can have this dish at “The Hill”, an Italian neighborhood in St.Louis.

Must try Mama Toscano’s Ravioli at 2201 Macklind Ave, St. Louis.

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7. St Louis Style BBQ – We have started loving BBQ after visiting couple of joints in Chicago and now on our visit to St Louis, it would have been unfair if we hadn’t tasted the renowned St Louis Style BBQ. Few notable restaurants serving authentic STL BBQ: Pappy’s Smokehouse, The Shaved Duck, Smoki O’s Bar-B-Que. 

We tried Smoki O’s BBQ Read our review here . This place is highly recommended if you are in the city and a non-vegetarian of-course.

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Travel Tips:

  • Try to book hotel in Downtown as most attractions are nearby.
  • Make a visit to Mississippi River Overlook around sunset for spectacular view.
  • Traveling with kids !! Well St Louis do have City Museum, Zoo & Aquarium. There is no entry fee in museum and zoo.
  • Try to visit Missouri Botanical Garden in Fall season.
  • Do try Gooey Cake & Provel Cheese Thin Crust Pizza, other specialties of St Louis.
  • As a visitor, do not roam around at late nights. Be safe
  • Last but not the least click a selfie at Mississippi River Overlook.

 

 

We tried “St. Louis style BBQ”..!!

Hey everyone, we are back from St Louis with some wonderful experiences, be it our road trip or witnessing the beautiful Gateway of Arch or roaming around the city.  But first, we would like to share our encounter with Smoki O’s. As foodie travelers, we always have few local joints of every visiting city to try out and Smoki O’s was on our list for BBQ.

Thinking about St. Louis  food specialty, what comes into mind is St. Louis BBQ, uniquely prepared by grilling the meat and pouring the sauce over, rather than dry rub or slow smoking. One can taste St. Louis style BBQ ribs at many other restaurants and they might be good as well, but we opted for well known & the authentic one.

Located on N Broadway, Smoki O’s is one of the most famous BBQ joint and has been acclaimed by many for its ribs, briskets and rib tips.

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The lady behind the counter/the owner(Earline A Walker) ,greets you warmly & help you through menu. She took a great interest in knowing from where we are and our feedback for the food !!!

Though everything on menu looked like worth trying after reading so much good about this place, but we had to bound our self to Ribs and pulled pork sandwich which comes with sides ,we opted for BBQ Spaghetti & Mac and 3 cheese.

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We are new to BBQ world, but we still found STL BBQ sauce a bit sweet and less smoky one compared to Chicago. Ribs were perfectly grilled and BBQ sauce gelled well with them. The pulled pork sandwich was flavorful with soft bun,portions are good and even sides are great to choose from.

Awards and Recognition

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If you are in city, this is a must try few blocks down from The Arch, worth for the price you pay with a great hospitality.

Address- 1545 N Broadway, St. Louis, MO 63102

Tips:

  1. Do try their snoots appreciated by Andrew Zimmern, Bizzare foods , we got a couple free samplers and they were great,too crispy, though we came to know lately that they were actually “nose” parts…
  2. If you are looking for a fine dining then this is not a place to be, its more like a takeaway joint with few seating.

Rating for Smoki O’s

Location- 3/5

Food- 4/5

Service- 5/5

Smoki O's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restaurant Review: Pub-Style “Fuller House”

Fuller House is very popular pub style along with family restaurant. Located in Hinsdale downtown it’s always occupied, especially on weekends it’s hard to find a seating space.
After going through the restaurant reviews on Zomato, I was more eager to try those Mason jar Cocktails. 

As we reached there it was fully packed. We were warmly greeted and seated comfortably near the bar. The interior  was very classy,there was an upper deck for family seating and a full bar on the lower one.

So, let’s get started with drinks. I asked my server what would she recommend us and she suggested Blackberry Lemonade and Alagash and Blue Moon. Alagash, a draft beer with generous portion of wheat spiced with coriander, on the other hand Blue Moon is brewed with Belgian style wheat and oats having orange flavor.

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Alagash & Blue Moon Belgian style wheat

Blackberry Lemonade includes Bulleit Bourbon,fresh lemonade and blackberry. It was served in a Mason jar,totally fascinating. Alagash was light with refreshing taste while Blue Moon was spicy.

For starters we ordered loaded Nachos with chicken(I am a nachos fan really, so no other food stands the chance.) and Buffalo Chicken Wings. Both were appetizing but wings were better out of the two.

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Chicken Wings

With a very little space left in stomach, we opted for BBQ chicken pizza. It was average, that’s all I have to say as it was neither really flavorful nor bland !!!

not so good BBQ Pizza

Overall, it was a great experience of a pub-style restaurant. We really liked the service and food.

Here goes my rating for this restaurant :

Location-4.5/5

Food-3.5/5

Service-3/5

Ambiance-4/5

Fuller House is surely a place of its own kind. 

Fuller House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restaurant Review: Pita House, Lombard IL

I have always preferred other cuisines whenever it comes on Mediterranean food, but this time we decided to have a shot at this joint called Pita House in Lombard,IL.
Very comfortably located at Roosevelt Road this one was recommended by Foodie colleague from Zomato Meet.

As we entered there was no crowd as on weekdays people prefers takeout. A decent place with ample seating space and self-service.

If you are looking for a restaurant with luxury dining, great interior then please avoid this place, you will be disappointed. 

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We ordered Chicken Shawarma pocket, Hummus with pita bread & falafel combo

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Hummus with pita bread
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Shawarma Pocket
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Vegetarian Falafel Plate

Well, Hummus tasted really good while pita bread served was soft and fresh, very much authentic. 

Vegetarian Falafel Plate- Falafel was really delicious with strong flavours, crispy served with the rice, lettuce and tomatoes. The combo also includes pita bread & sauces, sufficient for 2 people. Chicken Shawarma Pocket was average in taste with lost flavors on the way to our table. The  chicken was tasteless, the seasonings were missing..not like the one I have tasted earlier.

For drinks we opted for Turkish coffee and Baklava in desserts. Baklava is a filo pastry sweet, filled with nuts & honey. 

 

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Baklava
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Turkish Coffee

 

The combination of soft filo and crispy nuts was savory and very light. The coffee was as usual a bitter, concentrated drink but with no flavors & sensations. It was not at all near to what I have heard.

Overall, we liked this place, its worth a try for palatable Mediterranean meal especially Entrees.

My Rating for Pita Bread

Location-3.5/5

Food-3.5/5

Service-4/5

Ambiance-3.5/5

Pita House Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato