Trip report--San Diego food experiences

Jun 16th, 2017, 07:39 AM
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Trip report--San Diego food experiences

Ate several meals in San Diego, ranging from excellent to terrible. Experiences below, with restaurant name listed first and neighborhood location following:

Old Town Mexican Café, Old Town. Chowhounds and almost everyone else seem to hate this place, but the experience here was fine. A chicken mole enchilada special was surprisingly tasty, though some may not like the slightly grainy sauce texture. This was paired with nicely executed refried beans and rice. Old Town pollo was a Mexican style rotisserie chicken, not fancy but cooked well, with no shortage of sides. Our shuttle driver from the hotel said it makes a big difference who’s doing the cooking when you go; maybe luck was in the air this visit, who knows?

El Prado, Balboa Park. Pleasant patio style seating outside, with just okay food. A Portobello salad was pretty good (mushroom was marinated but not especially distinctive), while a Caesar salad was generic with large romaine leaves you had to chop up.

Hash House a Go Go, Hillcrest. Not bad, though this was enough food to feed a medium-sized army. Chicken pot pie was smooth and tasty, while mushroom hash and eggs saw the hash mostly in large deconstructed chunks with a boatload of scrambled eggs. Tasted fine, though.

The Spot, La Jolla. Essentially a pub, with comparatively reasonable prices in this ritzy neighborhood. A summer salad mixed greens and fruit, all scrupulously fresh with a nice vinaigrette dressing. A lamb burger was perfectly cooked, pleasantly flavorful and not greasy or gamey in the least. A pleasing surprise.

Broken Yolk, Pacific Beach. It doesn’t get any worse than this. The food at this breakfast/lunch spot was at Denny’s level and below, with a longer wait than usual for such fare. Chicken enchiladas were nothing special. A veggie open face egg white omelet was bland, accompanied by a side plate of badly undercooked home fries cut in rounds instead of the usual cubes. But the meal came to an abrupt end when a cockroach ran onto the table and decided to sample the potatoes. Needless to say, the meal was comped, and the offered gift card was tossed in the trash after beating a hasty retreat. Yuck!

Mimmo’s, Little Italy. This is one of many restaurants in Little Italy, and a good option. Pasta dishes, one cappellini with pomodoro and veggies, the other whole wheat spaghetti with pomodoro and a meatball, were cooked just right and delicious.

Phil’s BBQ, Point Loma. Good for non-Southern barbecue. A mix of rib-less and chick-less (boneless versions of the usual BBQ fare) were tender and delicious with decent smoke flavor and sauce with a bit of bite, accompanied by baked beans (generic, but good) and potato salad (excellent, with skins on and minimal mayonnaise), though an additional side of steamed veggies was unevenly cooked and tasted a little off.

Tea Pavilion, Balboa Park. Better than El Prado for my money. Tried teriyaki and curry rice bowls with chicken, both fresh and tasty.

Casa Guadalajara, Old Town. Food here was just okay. Guacamole and chips made a decent appetizer, but fish tacos and chicken mole enchiladas were nothing special, the latter better at Old Town Mexican Café. The best part of this was the strolling mariachi band providing pleasing entertainment.

Berta’s Latin American, Old Town. A welcome change from Mexican food in this part of the city. A Costa Rican plate of slaw, plantains, rice, and beans was nicely and subtly spiced, while a Brazilian spaghetti dish with a peanut and chile sauce had some zip and plenty of flavor – an unusual combo for sure.

Lucha Libre Taco Shop, Mission Hills. It’s a little hole in the wall with a Mexican wrestling theme, featured on “Man vs. Food,” but they make a really top flight burrito. Got ones with beans, rice, and guacamole in whole wheat tortillas, with one adding pico de gallo and the other zucchini. The flavors melded really well in both, extremely nice in texture and flavor. Really glad to have taken the chance on it.

El Indio, Mission Hills. Another humble Mexican spot with counter service, this one appearing on “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.” This was arguably the best Mexican place gone to. Potato tamales were had twice around, with one addition of a vegetarian taquito, the other as part of a plate with a chicken enchilada, rice, and beans covered in a deliciously spicy red sauce. Cooked and spiced perfectly, really nice textures and flavors all around. A must.
bachslunch is offline  
Jun 17th, 2017, 12:23 PM
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Thanks for the recommendations. We'll be there in about a month for a family wedding.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Jun 18th, 2017, 08:20 AM
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I never see El Indio appearing here and you're right, it's excellent!

We love Phil's BBQ, but I don't care too much for their potato salad or beans so we usually get take-out BBQ and do our own thing with the sides. I do like their macaroni salad.

I'm shocked at your review of the Broken Yolk. Sorry you had such a bad experience there.

Also surprised about the Prado restaurant.

Thanks for posting.
Barbara is offline  
Jun 18th, 2017, 09:37 AM
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Barbara, I understand there are other branches of Broken Yolk -- perhaps those are better? This one was the proverbial pits.

El Prado certainly looked nice (pleasant outdoor patio seating), but the food was definitely underwhelming. There's always a chance such a place does better with dishes other than salads -- but on a warmish day, that's what sounded good. Oh well.

Thanks for the feedback.
bachslunch is offline  
Jun 18th, 2017, 01:00 PM
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You're right! The Broken Yolk is PB is horrible. They don't have to be good. You're there, you're hungry and they have you. That's probably true about many popular destinations for tourists. Obviously, you had a car and could get around a bit. Visitors have only so much time to get to the attractions and often the attractions are surrounded by mediocre restaurants. Maybe they start off with good food but with so many people, things happen.

El Prado is one of the better places to eat at the park. You would have been really disappointed had you eaten anywhere else. The Lamb Burger at the Spot sounds good. We may have to stop by next time we get to the museum over there.

BTW, what else did you do in LJ?
LSky is offline  
Jun 19th, 2017, 02:03 AM
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LSky, good to know my experience at the PB Broken Yolk appears not to have been an isolated incident. For other things done in La Jolla, see my trip report, Day Three:

Didn't use a car, just public transit and hotel shuttle to get around. Re Balboa Park eateries, preferred the Tea Pavilion at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
bachslunch is offline  
Jun 20th, 2017, 04:27 AM
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excellent reviews bachslunch!!

Lee Ann

Here are some of our favorites in La Jolla (breakfast and lunch) (breakfast and lunch) (lunch and dinner) (breakfast and lunch) (breakfast and lunch) a local hangout and favorite (very popular but crowded and limited seating) (coffee and some pastries - the best!) (lunch and dinner very expensive but very good) (in Pacific Beach near Bird Rock --
lunch and dinner wonderful for fish)
nanabee is offline  
Jun 20th, 2017, 05:27 AM
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Oh and my new favorite is Galaxy Taco in La Jolla Shores.
nanabee is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2017, 04:21 AM
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I forgot about this place until yesterday when we went to Barrio Logan for real Mexican tacos/burritos/rice & beans.

It is so good. For anyone who is interested and coming to San Diego in the near future. Take cash only.
nanabee is offline  
Mar 4th, 2019, 04:08 AM
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Thanks so much for this. El Indio and The Spot jump out at me, as I'll be with a "fussy" eater but may others look OK also, like Tea Pavilion
taconictraveler is offline  
Mar 6th, 2019, 04:11 AM
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Hi taconictraveler,
DH & I had dinner at The Spot a few years ago and the ambiance was nice - very casual and local. The location is good for a after dinner walk to Scripps Park and to view the sea lions at the La Jolla Cove. For desert if you like gelato/ice cream (organic and he uses local farms and fruits in season) I recommend Bobboi at 8008 Girard Ave (across the street from The Spot if you are heading down the hill to the Cove).

A long time favorite of ours is in La Jolla Shores called Piatti's. Piatti La Jolla Italian Restaurant & Bar - Italian cuisine and friendly service in La Jolla

Bobboi Natural Gelato
nanabee is offline  
Mar 31st, 2019, 04:15 AM
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Bumping to keep on site.
bachslunch is offline  
Apr 5th, 2019, 01:47 PM
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Broken Yolk in Carlsbad is awful too, forget about it! La Jolla: Carolines, Piatti, The Cottage (B & L only), Brigantine on Coronado, La Jolla, & Delmar is very good also.
aliced is offline  
Apr 18th, 2019, 11:04 PM
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Thanks For Sharing.
missurat is offline  
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