Cabos San Lucas · Mexican · Patio · Seafood

Los Cabo – Day Three

L was in the mood for some Mexican food for breakfast. We picked Mamas Royal Cafe based on Yelp reviews. The restaurant looked like it would be a good place for breakfast. The interior was charming – particularly the wall of ivy plants and the colourful table and decorations. I noticed there was a picture of a gorilla sipping coffee on the wall. There was a cartoon bubble that showed the gorilla thinking “barbarians” and the image of tourists in the background. Mama, tell me what you really think!

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We ordered coffee (40 pesos), which came in tiny little cups. After I drank my thimble of coffee I politely asked for a refill. The server looked me up and down and reluctantly refilled my cup. No offense, but this liquid was not so precious that I should be begrudged a refill.

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L ordered the breakfast fajita filled with scrambled eggs and sausage and I ordered Huevos Divorciados. I liked L’s dish more than my own.

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My eggs were runny. I asked for medium and the egg yolk came out undercooked. The beans weren’t anything special and the flavour of everything was bland. Each dish was around 120 pesos and our entire meal with tip was under $24.00 CAD. I got a bad tummy ache after eating here. I didn’t get d as a result, just a queasiness in my stomach.

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We walked around the city after breakfast. The downtown core consists of maybe 6 blocks. We covered the entire area in less than three hours, including visits to the art galleries and checking out the menus of all the restaurants I recognized from my online stalking.

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What I found most interesting was observing lots in prime locations with unfinished developments. One looked looked like it ran out of money after building the foundation and another that looked like it was destroyed by the hurricane and neglected ever since.Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 9.29.08 PM.png

By lunch time, L and I were feeling peckish. We decided to walk back to the Marina to Captain Tony’s. With a name like that, I wasn’t expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised.

making-guacWe ordered guacamole and two ice-cold Pacificos. The guacamole was better than Anejo in Calgary, and cheaper too. This filling snack plus gorgeous view cost $15.00 Canadian, including tip.

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We people-watched while the tourists strolling by would in turn watch us. I wanted to lightly heckle them or at least tell them to come in for beers, but I knew L would be displeased. He hates it when I  make random conversation with strangers when I’m drinking. For the record, at this point I only had one beer (on an empty stomach).

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For our New Year’s Eve dinner, I suggested we get off the touristy area and get some real Mexican food. I picked Mariscos Las Tres Islas. I ordered a margarita, which was pretty bad. The flavour was one-dimensional and it lacked a freshness to it.

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I ordered based on what I saw the locals eating: fresh oysters, ceviche and fried shrimp. The oysters were large, warm and briny. I prefer my oysters chilled.

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I meant to order ceviche but I accidentally ordered the mixed seafood cocktail. The sauce was sweet and heavy. There was plenty of octopus, marlin, shrimp and sweet scallops.

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My fried shrimp was delicious. Large, crunchy and sweet. The batter was fine, like breadcrumbs. The rice didn’t look like it would taste good, but it was flavourful.

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L, who I will hereby call Mr. Round Eyes, thought his fish tacos were greasy and flavourless. He also didn’t like that there were no condiments to dress his fish tacos. He was disappointed with this restaurant. The total cost for this supper was about $55.00 Canadian.

After dinner, we walked around some more. I didn’t feel like drinking so we came home early to watch Back to the Future. What a classic. Marty and Doc are so likeable, even though their characters are underdeveloped.

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Highlights of Day Three: Theorizing on the urban ruins in downtown Cabo, changing L’s name to Mr. Round Eyes, and watching Back to the Future.

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Cabos San Lucas · Mexican · Pizza · Seafood

Los Cabo – Day Two

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L and I woke up not wanting a heavy breakfast. We opted for breakfast at Starbucks by the Marina. The second floor is much more tranquil  on the first floor, which is packed with tourists. The outdoor patio affords a view of El Squid Roe. L didn’t want to venture inside any of the clubs. I didn’t push him because the music blaring from each bar was too obnoxious for even me to enjoy.

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My friend Asian Persuasion told me that her friends almost got shot at El Squid Roe. I asked her what happened when I return to work. She said that some of her friends look and act gangsta. I asked her to elaborate. “You know, some are Asian and Spanish with tattoos and they walk around like are like ‘Brap, brap'”. Asian Persuasion gestured her arms in a short jerky wave. I asked her what “Brap brap” meant.  She said that’s the sound of guns going off and her arm gestures were that of pumping a gun in each hand. Apparently her friends were loud and a local man gave them a dirty look and her friend said, “What the fuck you looking at man?” The guy pulled his shirt back to show a gun. Asian Persuasion screamed at her friends that they were going to get shot and they ran out to the bar next door. She has the best stories.

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L and I walked over to the Marina after breakfast. Every few steps someone would try to sell us a tour, jewelry or Romeo and Juliet cigars (most likely fake). The guy would always start off by saying, “Cigars?” Then when L would shake his head, the guy would whisper, “Weed? Blow?”. I can’t believe how easy it is to get drugs in Cabo.

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For lunch, we picked Los Claros. The restaurant was filled with tourists and locals. The place was very clean and the staff were friendly and efficient. We sat in the outdoor section.

On Yelp, reviewers commented on the freshness of the seafood tacos and ceviche. The ceviche was awesome, the vegetables of cucumber, tomatoes and onions were crisp and the seafood medley of shrimp and octopus was fresh and light. I would order this again. This dish cost about six bucks (CAN).

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Man, there are a lot of condiments and toppings for our tacos. There was a tray full of fried onions and hot peppers too. I counted about 15 choices.

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I ordered one grilled fish, one scallop and one grilled shrimp taco. The scallop taco was the most disappointing, the tiny sized scallops were rubbery. L ordered a fried fish, fried shrimp and one meat taco.  Each taco was between $2.50-$3.00 Canadian.

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L and I enjoyed the food here. We planned to come again but there were so many options we didn’t end up eating anywhere twice.

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After lunch L and I headed back for a siesta. Naomi and her sister wanted to meet us at the Rooftop At the Cape, Thompson Hotel. Whoot! I was game. We ended up paying 20 US to take a cab to the hotel, which I thought was a major rip off. I asked three taxis and they all quoted the same price. I found out later that my friend Naomi only paid $14 Canadian.

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L and I arrived at 7:00 pm and we had to sit in the lounge area because when I went to the rooftop, the hostess said we couldn’t stay there unless we had reservations for the pre New Year’s Eve party. L and I sat downstairs and waited for Naomi and her sister to show up. L drank Pacificos ($10 US) while I drank a wicked cocktail ($16 US) and some average bubbles ($10 US).

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Naomi and her sister arrived and went upstairs to talk to the hostess. She told Naomi the same thing but then changed her mind and said maybe we could sit there for an hour. We came upstairs and I overheard the supervisor tell her to give us seats. The entire upstairs was dead until 9:30pm.

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There was a band playing that L hated. He said it was soft rock at its worst. I didn’t mind – the music just blended into the background. Naomi was more impressed with the Rooftop At the Cape in Playa del Carmen than the one in Cabos. L didn’t enjoy this place so much but he doesn’t like pretentious places. I do and I enjoyed the experience. The cocktails were top-notch and the view of the sunset was gorgeous. We also saw the actor from the 70’s Show, Danny Masterson with his wife.

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We wanted to get a bite to eat so we all headed back to the downtown core. Naomi insisted on treating us to dinner. I picked Da Vinci because 1) prices were reasonable 2) vegetarian friendly 3) no one would get sick 4) Naomi could get a cab easily after dinner.

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We shared two pizzas (180-240 pesos), which was plenty of food for the four of us. The pizza wasn’t anything special. If you ever check this place out, pick the pastas which looked much better.  I ordered a glass of red which tasted off to me. I asked for a glass of pinot gris instead. I could tell the server didn’t think the wine was bad,  he started to protest, then stopped and walked over to the bartender to get me another glass.

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Unfortunately, this was Naomi’s last night. She was already in Cabos for a week and stayed at RIU Sante Fe ($2,100 all-inclusive). Naomi mentioned she went on a tour and it was awful and a complete rip-off. She and her sister spent $100 US each to get shuttled to stores to taste tequila, watch glass being blown, and went for a short water taxi ride. She told me she bought Espada Azteca Tequila for $100 on the tour. I bet her that I could find it for cheaper. She told me to not bother and to visit her soon in Vancouver, so we could try it.

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Highlights of Day Two include: Enjoying the view and killer cocktails at The Cape, hanging out with Naomi and ceviche at Los Claros.

 

Cabos San Lucas · Mexican

Los Cabo – Day One

My husband L and I usually go somewhere hot and cheap for a week in the winter. Since we can only travel in the high season, I try to save wherever I can. I have a Westjet credit card, which meant my husband’s airfare, using my companion pass, was only $299 plus taxes. I booked a room through Airbnb, a one bedroom in the heart of downtown Cabo for about $70 a night including taxes and the service fees. For transportation, I paid about $160 CAN roundtrip with Cabo Shuttle Service, which included a drop-off to a grocery store.

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We landed and ignored the timeshare people as instructed by Cabo Shuttle Company. We found our driver easily, as he was carrying the sign of his company. We guzzled down two cold Coronas each in our Suburban ride, making a pit stop at Walmart for limes and water, then to La Europa for tequila and beers. I saw online that La Europa sold my favourite champagne, Piper-Heidsieck for only 550 pesos, which is roughly $35 Canadian, a steal considering it costs me about $60 in Calgary. Unfortunately, there was no Piper-Heidsieck in stock. Instead I bought ice-cold Pacificos for about $1.10 Canadian and Don Julio Anejo for $33, which goes for about $68 at my local Highlander.

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After we settled into our new digs, we went searching for tacos. A popular place near our accommodations is Tacos Guss. Yelpers raved about the homemade tortillas and the large selection of fresh toppings.

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I could really taste the difference eating homemade corn tortillas, which were hot, crisper and thinner than the store-bought ones. We ordered two al pastor (pork) two arrachera (skirt steak) and one asada (beef). The skirt steak tacos were my favourite. Mouth-watering, the delicious tender meat was smoky and flavourful. I didn’t get to try the asada because L accidentally ate it.

Guss.jpgL didn’t care for Tacos Gus pastor (pork) tacos, as he found the meat dry. There was only one server and he forgot to bring us our beers (twice), as well as our tray of condiments and napkins. When I went to pay, I had to ask for the cashier to take our beers off our bill, as we never received them. I would come back for the steak skirt tacos. Tacos cost between $2.00 – 3.00 Canadian.

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We met my friend Naomi and her sister at Monkey Business. Monkey Business is a small open air bar, located next to a shopping centre full of kiosks. It’s not fancy but the quality in the booze here shines. Free wi-fi is available.

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I would estimate about two full shots of tequila are put in each margarita. Monkey Business uses fresh fruit juices and herbs for their drinks. You can watch and see how much time and care is put into each drink. My favourite drink was pineapple on the rocks, with a request of “less sweet, more booze than juice”. The margaritas are about $9.00 Canadian.

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Our bartender gave me some coloured felts and a pin. I didn’t understand why we were given these until L snickered and pointed up to the ceiling. L said, “He wants you to put your underwear on the ceiling”. I responded to our bartender, “But I’m not wearing any!” I could feel L cringe with embarrassment (for the record, I was wearing an undergarment).

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Naomi asked for a napkin and provided her contribution. I made a dirty joke (quietly of course) and her sister thought I said, “I wonder if the underwear will fall on your head.” Naomi shook her head and said, “I don’t know what HittingtheSauce said, but I know it wasn’t that. She would say something much more gross.” Naomi knows me well.

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At this time, we were all ready to eat. I asked our bartender Christian where we should go to eat. He drew L a map and wrote “Four free margaritas” on it. He said the prices were reasonable, locals ate there and there would be options for vegetarians.

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Misiones De Kino is a nice restaurant, with an open air patio. We got our free margaritas too, and there was plenty of tequila in it. Naomi and her sister shared the vegetarian fajitas and guacamole. The selection of vegetables for her fajitas looked limited.

meal.jpgL thought his fish tacos were fine. I thought it was interesting that the salsa and guacamole were served in empty avocado shells. The beans were placed in a potato shaped tin foil.

fish tacos.jpgI I ordered the Fettucine with Scallops (230 pesos) in Misiones de Kino’s special cream sauce. The scallops were plentiful, plump and perfectly cooked. I could not believe the number of fat scallops that were on my plate. The pasta itself could have been a bit more al dente.

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Day one in Los Cabo done. Highlights included finding  Don Julio tequila for cheap and seeing my buddy Naomi, and making a dirty joke in public.

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Bars/Lounges · Happy Hour · Mexican

Anejo Restaurant – Happy Hour

I’ve heard good things about Anejo Restaurant. My boss Tread Lightly told me Anejo makes the best chili coconut margaritas and guacamole. I know What’s Up Hamsup frequents Anejo for happy hour. So when it was time to meet up with some of my husband’s work friends for drinks, we picked Anejo.

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Every day from 3-5 p.m., Anejo offers $5 margaritas and beers, and half off tacos. I don’t particularly care for Mexican food, but I do love tequila and a strong margarita.

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Trojan ordered the Guacamole ($14). Three avocado halves, diced white onions, tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro, sea salt and a squeeze of lime were all mixed up together at our table. L and Trojan enjoyed the guacamole. I thought the chips tasted stale.

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Trojan and I ordered our margaritas half sweet. Trojan was partial to the Mango Margarita, which is made with blanco, triple sec, mango pulp, agave, and lime. I tried the Guava Margarita, which was very tart. My favourite was the Coconut Chili. The coconut syrup was subtle and the heat from the habernero was intense. I could really taste the citrus.

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Trojan ethusiastically and authoritatively informed us that Anejo has the best looking customers and staff. He would know, he’s dated half the city. Trojan makes What’s Up Hamsup seem almost monk-like.

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Robin and Batman arrived late due to their work schedule. Our server came up to our table to warn us that happy hour was coming to an end. Both doubled downed on drinks and tacos.

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I tried the chicken, bison, pork and fish tacos. I thought the fish and chicken tacos were the tastiest. The bison was a little dry. Each taco was packed with filling. At $2.50, this was a great price. Sour cream is extra. I noticed we didn’t get the bottles of condiments, perhaps because ordered the happy hour tacos.

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Our server Chad should be commended. He was professional and offered excellent suggestions for tequila, margaritas, and tacos. I wanted to discretely find out his name so I looked at our bill, which stated our server was Estrella. I asked Chad if he is Estrella. He said no, that’s the automatic name which shows up on the bills and it means “upstairs floor”.

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If you love tequila as much as I do, the entire list is 50% off during happy hour. So if you want to try some premium stuff, there is a time and a place for it. Anejo, between 3:00-5:00 pm.

View my food journey on Zomato!

Anejo Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Japanese · Mexican · Pizza · Pubs · San Diego · Sandwiches

San Diego – Unfiltered

L’s best friend S and his wife E wanted to go on a couples’ trip, without their children. Okay with us, as we are childless. We picked San Diego because we heard there’s a lot to do and flights were affordable. Throughout the whole trip, L and E made references to Three’s Company, as the show was supposedly based in San Diego.

Come and knock on our door. We’ve been waiting for you.
Where the kisses are hers and hers and his, three’s company too.

Come and dance on our floor. Take a step that is new.
We’ve a lovable space that needs your face, three’s company too.

You’ll see that life is a ball again and laughter is calling for you.
Down at our rendezvous, three is company, too.

The Airbnb condo I picked was right under a plane route, located minutes away from the airport. Planes would roar by every five minutes. After a couple of days, we adjusted to the noise.

The local grocery stores around sold a six-pack of Leffe beer for only $10.00! Holy smokes. Back home, Highlander sells it for $20.00. I told L I couldn’t believe it was cheap. There must be something wrong with it, like maybe it was non alcoholic. I was wrong. It tasted just like the $20.00 beer I drink at home.

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Based on Yelp reviews, I checked out Artisian Bento for a late lunch. When I walked up to the counter, I asked for poke but I mispronounced it, as in “I will poke you” rather than “po-kay”. The youngish Asian American female stood there and looked at me like I just spoke to her in foreign language. I really wanted the po-kay and the silence was getting longer and more awkward, so I pointed to the dish on the menu and said slowly, “I want that one”.

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The complimentary miso soup was flavourful and packed with seaweed, soft bits of potato and other goodies. One of the best miso soups I’ve tried. The po-kay was cut up in small little pieces, silky in a light sesame sauce. The mixed grain rice was perfectly cooked, parts of the rice was covered with a delectable savoury sauce. The bowl was filled with greens, beyond the generic carrot and romaine genre, and garnished with ripe avocado slices. The chef behind the counter was nice (and a great cook) and said bye when we left. We thanked the disgruntled woman at the counter, but she didn’t look up from her iPhone. She’s really not helping stereotypes.

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We walked around Balboa Park and then headed to Little Italy. We stopped by Bolt Brewery as it was busy and seemed like a good spot with the breeze flowing through the open windows. L found the freshly brewed beer flat. I ordered white wine by the tap, which was only $7.00 for a large pour. The pizza we ordered ($15) was freshly made, but bland. The chicken was dry and tasted like it was the pre-packaged sandwich meat. Still hungry, I ordered the baked wings. Some of the wings were meaty, some small, but all soggy. I heard you can’t find a bad restaurant in Little Italy. I wonder if they have tried the food at Bolt.

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When L’s friends finally arrived, I picked ALTITUDE Sky Lounge for the view of the city. I didn’t mind the crowd but S and L didn’t like it. There were people dressed like they were going to prom and pretty much everything in between. The age group varied from junior prom to middle-aged.

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I ordered a Redbull with Titos vodka and our bartender free poured. Truly a wondrous thing. M ordered a a Moscow Mule, which was off-the-wall good. M couldn’t finish her drink so I gulped it down. I would have stayed longer but L and S did not care for the scene.

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E were hungry at this point and want something to eat. We wandered over to Underbelly in Little Italy, based on our Uber driver’s recommendation. We all ordered bowls of ramen and bao sliders. I found the sliders bland. The meat in the baos weren’t particularly tasty either.

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The noodles in the ramen was a little soggy, but I found the pork tender and the broth flavourful. The ramen did it’s trick, our bellies were full and soaked up all that alcohol.

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The next morning we Ubered over to Pacific Beach and walked along the long stretch of beach. We checked out Mission Beach Coffee Break. I noticed all the customers were ordering acai bowls. I think acai is an “it” food in San Diego. We waited 15 minutes for our bacon, cheese and egg bagel. I found the egg omelette overcooked, but a couple of packets of hot sauce livened up the sandwich.

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We stopped by a local bar for beer and then headed back to Little Italy to another brewery, Ballast Point. At this point, I had a raging headache and I was so hungry I walked over to a 7/11 and bought Advil and a $2.00 chicken burger. I should have known better, the chicken burger was vile. The chicken and bun was mushy and tasted like soft foamy plastic. I took two bites, threw it away and headed back to the pub.

I really liked this Ballast Point. You walk up to the front and order from their large selection of beers. The place was packed the entire time.

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We ordered duck nachos, fries and pretzel bites. The food is delicious and incredibly fattening. The fries were triple cooked, the exterior battered and crunchy. The duck nachos were drenched in a cream sauce and blue cheese. I would have returned again, but S said he didn’t want to go to the same place twice.

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That night we went to Cornado Island. Our Uber driver was more like a tour guide, giving us the history of San Diego. The Americans really value their military. All along the streets, houses were decorated with their national flag. E told us in Dallas, people will get up and give their table away if a solider is waiting for a table. At functions, the MC will often announce the arrival of soldiers.

We waited over an hour to get into a Mexican restaurant our Uber driver recommended, Miguel’s Cocina. You would think that a long line-up would indicate the food at the restaurant is good. The food was what you expect from a buffet at a four star resort in Mexico. Our server was pretty bad. You could tell he did not want to be there. When S started alpha dogging our server, we knew it was time to go.

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The next day was the best. We Ubered over to the Hillcrest Farmers Market. It’s an open air market filled with craft stalls, produce, baked good and ready to eat food. I opted for uni ($10) from Poppas Fresh Fish Company. The uni was cracked open and washed right in front of me. The sea urchin was quite delicate, foam-like and tasted a bit like oysters. Other people kept coming up to ask me if I liked it. This also happens when I’m at a Chinese banquet with other non-Asians. Everyone asks me questions like I’m an expert, as the food is exotic to them. I like the attention and even if I don’t know, I’ll make up an answer. The one time people listen to me. I’ll take it, I’m not proud.

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One of the best things I ate on this trip was spicy tuna pokay from the San Diego Poke Company. The tuna tasted super fresh and the spicy creamy sauce made my hair tingle. It wasn’t a large portion, but it was filling. The seaweed, the seasoning and the rice was perfect.

We walked around the city, checking out Balboa Park and museums. We dropped into a cafe to drink a pitcher of $10 mimosa. I couldn’t believe it was so cheap, I figured it had to be non-alcoholic prosecco. I’m wrong again, it was real! I could feel my face turning pink.

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S picked the restaurant for our last night, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens-Liberty Station. We sat at our table for hours, drinking and eating the night away. Highlights include the duck tacos and that delicious, sweet corn salad.

The next day, we took Uber one last time to the airport. Surprisingly, I enjoyed my last meal at the airport. Hello Calgary, are you paying attention? Get your act together so I can stop bringing my own meals when I fly out of YYC.

I drank champagne from Bubbles Seafood and Wine Bar. The gentleman serving us was old-school cool. He paused dramatically and told us to “wait for it” as the cork popped high above our heads. Then we headed over to Phil’s BBQ. The BBQ Broham sandwich was delicious. The pulled pork was tender and had the most deletable sauce. Next time, I want to try the onion rings, which everyone else was ordering.

I like San Diego. The city is clean, safe and walkable. The only thing I’ll complain about is the exchange rate, but that’s not the city’s fault. I’m planning a trip to Seattle with my best friend Beep Beep this summer. Hopefully by then, the Canadian dollar will pick up. I don’t want to eat at McDonald’s the entire time.

17th Ave · Bars/Lounges · Happy Hour · Mexican · Patio · Restaurants

Blanco Cantina – Big Taste

I picked another Mexican restaurant for L to try. I read posts on Zomato that Blanco Cantina makes a bad ass burrito and a wicked cocktail. Plus, this cantina is super close to our house, so coming here was a no brainer for Big Taste week.

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Blanco Cantina has this American rock and roll vibe. The restaurant has a big bar section, and throughout the night, the turnover was constant. Add in the fact you can make reservations on Opentable, this is a place you can easily drop in for a drink and appies or stay for a longer dinner.

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For drinks, L ordered Pacifico ($7) while I tried a speciality cocktail, the Watermelon Margarita on the rocks ($16.50), made with 3 ounces of tequila, triple sec, agave nectar, and fresh watermelon. I normally avoid cocktails as I suspect a lot of bars water down their drinks. The cocktail had a nice blend of tartness and an undertone of sweetness from the watermelon.

I had an interesting conversation with L during dinner. He said, “You know that pseudonym you use for Office Daddy, don’t you think its  kinda sexual?” I said no, I didn’t think it was at all. Chi sin (crazy)!  L said that unless you are under five, no one uses the word daddy, and if you do, it has a sexual connotation. Well, this was news to me and I’m no ham sup (pervert). This is a PG rated blog! I asked L why he took so long to tell me. Apparently, he gets around to reading my blog once in a blue moon. For the record, I’m not ham sup so I’m going to rename my buddy Office Dad.

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For Big Taste, diners can pick from Chili Con Queso or Guacamole, any taco on the menu and Tres Leches or Crispy Banana for $25.00. While the special looked good, L and I preferred to order what we wanted: Pescado Tacos ($14), Small Chicken Burrito ($15 +$3 for cheese), Medium Picante Hot Wings (half order) with creamy jalapeño sauce ($9) and a side order of fries ($5).

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The hot wings I ordered weren’t spicy or hot even though I ordered medium hot. The spice is blended in the dry coating, and you can pour hot sauce from the condiment tray. I preferred this method, as the wings remained crispy and the Mexican hot sauce you put on yourself is awesome.

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The basa in the tacos was tasty stuff, particularly the breading on the fish which remained crunchy throughout our meal. I still like Mikey’s fish tacos more for value and flavour.

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The chicken burrito was messy in a good way. Stuffed with soft chicken meat, sour cream, tomatoes, poblano, refritos, rice and red onions, everything tasted fresh. I liked the the burrito was neat and clean tasting, despite the number of sauces in and on it. The guacamole is solid, thick and chunky and definately worth ordering. The rice tasted like there was lime in it, but the rice itself didn’t taste like it was the best quality.

The fries were really good and well-priced at $5.00 for a side dish. Fresh and hot, crispy and perfectly salted. Reminded me of New York fries, with the little bits of potato skin still left on.

Next time when we return, because there will be a next time, I think L and I will share a one pound burrito and try some of the speciality main dishes. I alway hope to get Leng Lui and Playboy out for happy hour. I have my eye on Zacapa 23, my favourite rum and a few other tequilas.

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BLANCO Cantina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mexican

Native Tongues Taqueria

My husband has been working extra long hours, so I thought I’d be nice and get him to take me to Native Tongues Taqueria, as I know he loves Mexican food, particularly tacos. I’m thoughtful like that.

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We waited over an hour for our table. The hostess was friendly and accommodating, letting us stand by the door and order drinks. I requested a tequila cocktail ($14.00), something “strong and serious” while L stuck to Pacifico. The bartender asked me if I enjoyed the drink. Yes, I did, thank you for asking. It tasted like something Donald Draper would approve, smokey and potent. Our server was also customer oriented, helping us with the menu and suggesting to order a little bit at a time. I also noticed that despite the long line-up, none of the servers were rushing any of the customers. There were people who were eating when we arrived and were still there after we left.

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L and I shared the Hamburguesa al Carbon ($14.00) and the Chilaquiles ($10.00). The hamburger consisted of two  Wagyu beef patties covered in a warm, velvety layer of orange cheese. This was like a gourmet version of a Big Mac. The sesame bun was homemade, and I liked that proportionally, the beef and toppings were larger than the bun. The homemade chips were thin and fragile, drizzled with hot sauce. L and I noticed that though the burger and chips were yummy, both were so salty.

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The chilaquiles made for a filling appetizer. The chips were already wet with the juices of the salsa. It was like the salsa was built into the chips. We enjoyed this dish, the toppings of crema, quesco fresco and cilantro was delightful. The cheese melted like snow on my tongue.

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We ordered Lengua ($3.95); Carnitas ($3.95), Pollo ($3.95) and Hongos ($3.95). My favourite was the bongos, locally cultivated mushrooms with kale, cream, queso fresco and cilantro. The mushrooms were silky smooth, absolutely luxurious. L’s favourite was the pollo, spicy braised organic chicken. The lengua, beef tongue, was our least favourite as the texture was a bit mushy and again, over salted.Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 8.42.40 PM.png

Later that night, both of us woke up several times as we were so thirsty. I should note that I’m no salt wimp. I really hope the heavy handedness of the salt was a one off as we really enjoyed the ambience, service and food.

I can see why Native Tongues is such a hit with the locals. It’s a great place for a date or a night out. The service we received on a happening Saturday night was excellent, from the hostess, bartender to the server. Kudos to the staff for a fun date night.

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Native Tongues Taqueria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

17th Ave · Cheap Eats · Mexican

Tubby Dog

My sister-in-law Maggie spends quite a bit of time drinking beers and hanging out at Tubby Dog.  So, it was only natural for her to have her work going-away party there. Plus, she is friends with the owner.

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Inside and at night, it’s quite a cool place to hang out. Old school arcades line the walls.  A DJ played that night as well. I haven’t played an arcade game since I was in high school.

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L and I ordered two tacos each. One beef and one chicken ($3). Each taco came with two wrappers and a generous amount of meat. I think we got more meat than usual, as I heard the owner say to the person who was making our tacos to add extra, as we were friends of Maggie. Tee-hee. I felt special. Dressed with cilantro, the tacos were plain but filling.

L ordered the Tubby Dog ($7). As you can tell it was a loaded dog, covered in cheese, homemade chili, onions and mustard with a whole load of warm bacon bits. The chili was tasty. I should have ordered the Sumo Dog, which had seaweed and wasabi mayonnaise, as I heard from someone else that it is delicious. However, I was too full from the tacos.

The staff were friendly and were quick to keep up with the steady stream of orders. Tubby Dog is a fun place to stop by for a hot dog and a beer. Next time I’m in, I’ll try the Sumo Dog. After I work up an appetite playing Pac Man.

Tubby Dog Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Cheap Eats · Fast Food · Mexican

Fresh-Adilla Fresh Tortilla

Damn and double damn. Fresh-Adilla makes some freaking awesome tortillas and sopes. I go to Mexico pretty often and I have my share of delicious street tacos, everything from marlin to brains, tongue and lip. However, Fresh-Adilla makes something I haven’t tried before – deliciously fried stuffed tortillas and sopes.

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For $15.00, I ordered a beef sope, a chicken tortilla and a tamarind drink. Though it was after 2:00pm on a Sunday, this little Mexican stall was pumping out orders like mad. The little tables around the kiosk was full of families devouring these savoury pockets of deliciousness.

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The sope had this thick, lovely crusty bottom, like a deep-fried quiche. I personally preferred the beef over the chicken. The mixture of melt in your mouth meats, cheese, beans all in a crispy, delicate vessel was a taste sensation.  I would recommend the liberal use of the complimentary side toppings, particularly if you want to add some spice your dish.

Each sope or tortilla is under $5.00. Two is enough to fill you up. Definitely make your way to this gem of a food stall. There will be a line-up but the food is worth the wait.

On a side note, Billingsgate at the Stadium Shopping Centre burned down due to a fire. L and I headed over to support their second location on Market on Macleod. Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 4.55.45 PM.png

I ordered a dozen oysters and picked up a bag of langostino meat. I cooked the langoustino in bacon fat and tossed it with some pasta, cream sauce, and a load of freshly grated parmesan. Yummy. If you want to support Billingsgate, check out their location Thursday to Sunday or check out their GoFundMe account.

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Fresh-adilla Fresh Tortilla Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bars/Lounges · Mexican · Pubs · Toronto

Toronto – Day 3: Carousel Bakery, Under the Table, Clinton’s Tavern, Tacos El Asador, and Corso

Our last day in Toronto. We woke up and walked over to the Carousel Bakery in the St. Lawrence Market. The set-up reminded me of the Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver, except St. Lawrence had zero vacancy and was filled with vendors selling gorgeous and high-end cuts of meat and seafood. The floor below was filled with food stalls and gourmet kiosks, selling caviar, smoked salmon and international goods.

peameal bacon

L and I shared the Peameal Bacon Sandwich ($7.00), as we knew it would be a food heavy day. The meat was hot and salty, nicely crisp on the outside. The Portageuse bun was the soft squishy type that allowed our tastebuds to focus on the bacon.

under table

We took the subway to Cabbage Town, as I wanted to see the neighbourhood and L wanted jerk chicken. I picked Under the Table based on Yelp reviews. I am happy to report that the food is worth seeking out.

jerk chicken

We ordered a couple of beers and shared a plate of Jerk Chicken ($12.99) with rice and salad. Though it wasn’t busy inside, it took about 30 minutes for our food. I didn’t hear a microwave in the background, and from the way the food tasted, I’m guessing a lot of care goes into the food. The chicken was succulent, subtly spicy and delicious.

beers clinton

We went back to our hotel to pack and called Uber to take us to Korean Village. By the way, I love Uber. It’s way cheaper than taking a taxi, faster and you can track where and who is picking you up. With the exception of one driver, all were professional and helpful.

clinton

As we were early meeting my friend Phoebe, we stopped into Clinton’s Tavern. Beers and wings were cheap on Tuesday. L and I shared an order of hot wings ($6.00) and Steamwhistle beer ($5.00). The meaty wings were burn your hands hot, the skin had a nice crackle to it. I also liked that the hot sauce was served on the side, so the wings remained crispy and we could control how much sauce was on it.

seperate hot sauce

When Phoebe arrived, we headed over to Tacos El Asador for tacos and pupusas. Tacos are made fresh for you and if you eat inside, there’s hot sauce and onions you can add to your dish.
taco store

tacos sauces

The food was so tasty, I forgot to take some pictures. Good thing we ordered seconds. We each ate a fish, shrimp and pork tacos and a mixed pupusa. The pupusa was really tasty though a little oily. I preferred the seafood tacos over the pork. The fish was light and flavourful while the shrimp was richer noticeably more of of that pink cream sauce.

fish taco

Without drinks, L and I paid just about $28.00. Soft tacos are about $3.70 and pupusas are around $3.00 each. The burritos looked good and very filling.

tacos supreme

L and I still had time to kill before our flight, so Phoebe took us to Tallboys. I love this place. The drinks are so cheap and the servers are so nice. Though it was busy, we never felt rushed even though we just sipping on our happy hour beers ($4.40) and wine ($5.00). The food we saw other people ordered looked good, such as the burgers and tacos.

tall boys

peronit

At the airport, we made one final pit stop at Corso. Our experience at Corso was the exact opposite of Chili’s

The prices of beer are listed in the menu (crazy, I know). Our food came out quickly, which is much appreciated as you don’t want to miss your flight. The prices of booze and food, selection and quality of food were far superior. I don’t understand why the Calgary airport cannot have a place like Corso. Does the Calgary airport want to punish locals? I don’t get it.

calamria

The calamari wasn’t just the generic ringlets, but also contained the lovely squid legs. The batter was light and melted in your mouth. There were lots of left over fried batter bits on our plate, which I scooped it up to eat.

I’m glad we only spent three days in Toronto. I ate and drank way more than I should. Toronto is a destination for any Canadian foodie.

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Corso - Toronto Pearson International Airport Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato