Sunday, April 22, 2007

Taste of Hillcrest

Yesterday was our annual tradition of going to the Taste of Hillcrest with Sally. We parked at her house and walked to all the restaurants. 3.3 miles, 23 restaurants, and 4 hours later, we were happy and stuffed! Here's the run-down.

We first went to the Bamboo Lounge at 12:05, and they told us the bartender wasn't ready. What?!?! So we skipped it and went to Lucky Buck's, which was a Mexican restaurant. They weren't "ready" either. How lame, I must say. If you signed up to participate in the Taste of Hillcrest and you know it starts at 12:00, you should have your food ready! I don't have time to eat at all 37 restaurants as it is, so I'm not coming back to your restaurant later! Bad first impression! Here's the list of places we actually ate at.

1. T Deli - ham & swiss sandwich on warm sourdough. Big thumbs up from Todd and Sally. I thought it was pretty good, but it's still just a sandwich in the end.

2. Baja Betty's - we loved it last year, we love it again this year! They were ready, and the spread was nicely put together. We had a carnitas taco with cilantro, onion, pico de gallo, and hot sauce. And they put out small cups of margaritas! Here's Sally & I at Baja Betty's. Two thumbs way up!

3. Mama Testa Taqueria - choice between small carnitas soft taco or crispy beef taco. Pretty yummy!

4. Amarin Thai - shrimp peanut paste on cracker; tangy cabbage salad; and pad thai noodles. It was alright. We all thought the pad thai was kind of tasteless.

5. Ono Sushi - another perenial favorite. Udon stir-fried noodles with mushrooms & veggies, chicken fried rice, and sushi roll pieces.

6. Bacione Ristorante - served same food as last year - rigatoni with creamy tomato sauce & mushrooms. The sauce tasted good.

7. Taste of Szechuan - we skipped it last year thinking how could it be good Chinese food. But Todd's friend Dave really likes the restaurant, and usually Dave has good taste, so we tried it out. They served chicken with asparagus on rice, and crab rangoon. Well, I must say the chicken dish had great flavor! We declared it a winner.

8. Crush - they have strange food here, probably because it's really more a hipster bar than a restaurant. They served up roasted vegetables baked in goat cheese, with balsamic vinegar on melba toast. It was pretty good but I don't like goat cheese, it smells funny.

9. Corvette Diner - slightly disappointing meatloaf sandwich.

10. Kemo Sabe - turkey wrap - seems not so special considering it's Kemo Sabe. Todd liked last year's Brownie-ala-mode better.

11. Bombay Exotic Cuisine of India - this was our favorite restaurant in SD, until they moved across the street and changed chefs. They served chicken masala tikka or banana curry over rice. It was pretty good. But Indian food toned down for the masses. We like the spicy faire.

12. Sushi Itto - peel & eat edamame, chicken teriyaki skewer, stir-fried noodles, and sushi roll pieces. It was decent.

13. Kous Kous Moroccan Bistro - enjoyed the atmosphere and saffron curry chicken over couscous with raisins & chickpeas.

14. Urban Mo's Bar & Grill (formerly Hamburger Mary's) - what?! I had not idea this placed changed names. They served the same buffalo wings as last year though. But the full-sized pink lemonade was new, and it hit the spot.

15. Brazil by the Hill - a traditional Brazilian dish - beef with black beans & rice in a brownish sauce. Also, a little cup of thick chocolate mousse! That was yum-O! Todd tried the chicken with onions, but I was getting full.

16. Ortega's Mexican Bistro - they expanded their restaurant to twice the size it was before. They served up carnitas tacos with gaucamole and pico de gallo. It was fair but not great. However, Todd and I have been there 2 or 3 times before, and we loved the filet medallions and Baja lobsters there.

At this point we decided to take a break from food by clothes shopping at American Apparel. Bad idea. A fitted cotton-spandex polo dress just doesn't seem quite so attractive when your tummy is bulging out from eating.

17. Pizzeria Arrivederci - thin-crusted pepperoni pizza was pretty good.

18. Afghanistan Khyber Pass - the three of us actually ate here for the first time one week before Sept. 11th, 2001. At that time we thought it was delicious. Afghani food is similar to Indian food, with curries and basmati rice. They served up the Afghan version of chicken curry (kinda orangish) and spinach saag on basmati rice. It was fairly yummy.

19. City Delicatessen - Todd looks forward to this every year. They serve up brownies, lemon bars, and chocolate mousse cake. Well, you can only choose one. Todd & Sally went for the brownies and I went for the lemon bar.

20. Whole Foods - the deli at this health food grocery chain is actually really good. They served us vegan tempeh curry with nuts (very yummy) and cabbage salad.

21. Chipotle Mexican Grill - yes the chain - we were stuffed by then, so we each got a different kind of taco and Sally put them in her purse to eat for dinner later. Sally got a barbacoa taco, and she said "barbacoa" in a very spanish accent.

22. Robeks - a smoothie shop - we each got a small cup of passion fruit smoothie.

23. Ben & Jerry's - the last stop in our whirlwind international food tour - Todd had "Turtle Soup", I had "Triple Caramel Chunk", and Sally had "Cherry Garcia".

We ambled back to Sally's house with big smiles on our faces and vows to skip dinner.


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