Nom Nom Bento Pops Up in Pacific Beach

Nom Nom Bento Mural

Nom Nom Bento LogoFrom the creators of Sycamore Den comes their first food venture, Nom Nom Bento, Pacific Beach’s newest fast casual eatery. They teamed up with Craig Jimenez, executive chef of Supernatural Sandwiches, to create their four-combo, street-food inspired menu, and if you don’t fit in a box, you can build your own bento.

Yours truly was their first paying customer for their soft-opening Tuesday, August 15 at 1 PM. Correction: the owner’s cousin, my friend, Wallstreet, treated, so technically, he was.

Their menu is simple–pick one of their bento boxes (Singaporean, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese) or create your own. Options also include appetizers like egg rolls made by the owner’s mother-in-law.Nom Nom Bento Menu

Nom Nom Bento House Special Strawberry LemonadeWe decided on the Singapore Chicken, the Shibuya Pork Belly, and the pork and shrimp egg rolls. While I was photographing the venue, our cashier let us sample their lemonade. Made in-house using fresh ingredients it was delightful–not too sweet or tart, just the way I like it.

A beautiful mural (credit: Jared Black Lazer) splashes their wall outside while maintaining a minimalist look inside, complete with pop art wall decor and vinyl collectibles. Side note: I’m a huge Disney fan; my go-to karaoke song is “Part of Your World.”

Nom Nom Bento Mural

The egg rolls came out first and it smelled like mama’s cooking! They were packed full of meat, perfectly fried, served atop lettuce leaves, pickled daikon and carrots, with a side of sweet and sour. My personal preference is fish sauce, but I get it–some people can’t handle it nor the smell, so no complaints.

Nom Nom Bento Grandma's Spring Rolls (Fried)

Nom Nom Bento Chicken Bone Broth

It’s my first time hanging out with just Wallstreet, so I’m thankful for his patience for my photo session.

We started with the Singaporean bento, not wanting our chicken bone broth to get cold, a current trend in the workout world after Kobe Bryan swore by it during his 2015 recovery. You can either drink it or pour a little over your rice. I loved its richness, or bỗ as the Vietnamese say.

Nom Nom Bento Singapore Chicken Bento

I have little expectations for take-out I can make myself, and as JP likes to put it, the ceiling for chicken is really low. Well, I stand corrected; the chicken was juicy and tender, flavorful, and coupled with the crisp of the cucumbers, garlic, and shallots, created a well-balanced box of textures and flavors. The portion size is spot on for a meal.

Nom Nom Bento Nitamago

We move onto the Japanese-style pork belly bento, and I immediately eye the onsen tamago (a.k.a. nitamago, ajitsuku tamago, hanjuku tamago, ramen egg, molten egg, lava egg).

Few things get my gears going–90s boy bands, bacon, and a good soft-boiled egg–and this one was executed perfectly. The touch of furikake gave it the right texture for a melt-in-your-mouth delectable bite. Sure, the ceiling for nitamago is low, but it’s easy to screw up.

The chasu was also cooked well, and paired with the toasted sesame sauce and black garlic oil.

However, the train stops there. The edamame mash was tasty with a good, creamy texture, but two scoops was far too much when combined with a heavy protein and cream sauce (and this is coming from the girl who likes double mac with her Hawaiian meals). Wallstreet agreed that less mash is more, and that it’s missing texture as the sauteed green beans wasn’t enough. I suggested more seasoning for the chasu and selecting a lighter sauce, and he suggested adding more crunch to the meal along with some pickled ginger to tie it together.


I stand by the idea that a soft opening can be successful, that a business can be “grand-opening ready” during a soft opening, but most restaurants use them as a crutch. I’m happy to say that Nom Nom Bento did a great job on their first day. As a fan of Supernatural Sandwiches, I can tell the recipes were made with care, so great job Craig!

I’ll be coming back for the other 2/3 of the menu (oh yes, all the appetizers and drinks, please).Nom Nom Bento Nomtastic Day

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Raising Cane’s Comes to San Diego, Santee

Raising Cane's Logo

The phrase “winter is coming” now has new meaning to those in San Diego.

Raising Cane's Logo

Raising Cane’s, the popular southern franchise, known for it’s finger-lickin’ good chicken fingers, is crossing the road into San Diego (Santee) for the very first time. They made an official announcement last week on Facebook, and construction is already underway.

 

Raising Cane's San Diego

“We’re already golden but it never hurts to work on your tan! San Diego, we’re coming for you this winter! #BoxComboRoadtrip

My close friends know I have ONE LOVE, and that’s fried chicken (okay, also bacon… and KBBQ… and wings… and pizza… and mac & cheese…), so I couldn’t be cluckier with this news. I will also take this opportunity to defend fast fried chicken. Sure, quality sit-downs like Bonnie Jean’s are to-die for, or you can try yuppier stops like Crack Shack (honestly, not a huge fan), but the formula for fried chicken in the fast food industry is a winning one. KFC may have paved the way, but they bottom out my list (Popeye Louisiana Chicken, Church’s Chicken, and Chick-fil-A, in that order). *pause for gasps of horror*

Yes, the bowl is crave-worthy, and the people-who-don’t-like-coleslaw-will-only-eat-KFC’s coleslaw is great, but I was never a fan, and I’m no longer alone; their chicken has fallen in popularity in recent years. Maybe it’s time for an update.

When Chick-fil-A first came to San Diego (Chula Vista) in 2004, people took the day off to wait in line for their ‘First 100 Fans’ promotion: free chicken combos (and their divine signature sauce) for a year if you camp-out for 24 hours before the grand opening.

Even though Church’s has THE crispiest, most perfectly-fried chicken, Popeye’s still has better seasoning, especially on their spicy chicken; also, their biscuits and sweet tea can’t be beat. I buy a gallon of the latter each time I go, which, thankfully, isn’t often.

Raising Cane’s is chicken tenders, so it’s a hard sell against the bone-in, but I’m sure you’ll be pleased. The story of the founding has heart, so maybe that’s why their chicken is so good. Caniacs just can’t wait!

Fung Fung Yuen: Dim Sum Comes to Mira Mesa

Fung Fung Yuen Soft Opening

For many years, the only formidable dim sum joints in town were Emerald Chinese Cuisine, China Max (my preferred spots), and Jasmine Seafood Restaurant, all within a mile of one another on Convoy Street. Then Pearl Chinese Cuisine, sister restaurant to Emerald, opened in Rancho Bernardo with little competition nearby… until now.

Simon Lee‘s Fung Fung Yuen (yuen = garden) has taken over Hometown Buffet‘s 10,000 sq. ft. space in the Mira Mesa Shopping Center, armed with poached employees, including their new manager, Michael Tran, formerly with Jasmine (and Fu-An Garden).

Fung Fung Yuen Soft Opening

I recruited a team of six for their soft opening, Tuesday, August 8 at 10 AM. Vegas and I, worried about a line, went early before Olive, Seoulja, Scribbles, and Maple joined, but only one person was there at 9:15 AM, and roughly 50 when doors opened at 10:10 AM.

The entire staff welcomed the first guests inside with applause and an announcement that all orders within the first hour are 50% off. They herald their prices as lower than competitors by 50-80 cents (small, medium, large, and specialty items were $3.25, 4.25, 5.05, and 8.99, respectively); however, not exactly. Some of their dishes are smaller portions (i.e. deep-fried meat dumplings are 90c/ea. at Emerald; here, they’re 1.08). I’m not squabbling over 18c; just don’t take it for face value.

Anyway, the discount included items from their full dinner menu, and all-day dim sum, which until now, Emerald and Koi Bar & Lounge were the only ones to do so.

Since food was still being loaded onto the carts–yes, carts are back, folks–we spent the next 10-15 minutes looking over the menu, drinking tea, and taking photos; our server, Peter, the nicest man alive, also got us some water.

The dim sum menu only had 43 items, far less comparatively, so like my In-N-Out rule-of-thumb, if your menu is small, it better be mighty!

IMG_6391

IMG_6392

The rectangular interior has an open-layout, is modern, and the pending sushi and live seafood stations were shiny and spotless. The bar, which will serve beer, wine, sake, and soju cocktails, was not yet ready.

 

We also agreed unanimously that we won’t like the cart system; we were too spoiled by Emerald’s and China Max’s made-to-order system. Sure, upon eyeing the first cart, nostalgia and excitement washed over us, thinking back on times of screaming dim sum ladies, the anticipation of your favorite cart coming by, the wafting smell of turnip cake being fried. It quickly dissipated after the next cart was slow coming to us. Eventually, the pacing leveled out and we ate at a leisurely pace for the first hour.

Round 1: roasted duck, thousand year-old egg congee, chicken egg rolls, stewed ox, sweet cream buns, fish balls.

Round 2: BBQ pork rice rolls, deep-fried meat dumplings, baked BBQ pork buns.

 

We came to a screeching halt for round three. The line for a table seemed endless because in less than an hour, nearly all 360 seats were filled. Good thing we had the forethought to come early; some folks were waiting 1.5 hours to be seated, only to find that some dishes already sold out for the day.IMG_6423

When the staple dishes–shu mai, har gow, chicken feet, sticky rice wraps, etc.–were nowhere to be found–Olive took matters into her own hands and started waving down servers and carts to fulfill requests.

We also begrudgingly ate the broccoli Olive ordered to be “healthy,” and because we were so relieved when the shrimp rice rolls and har gow came by, we ordered three of each not knowing if we’d get another chance. Peter, bless his heart, snagged us some shrimp shu mai, turnip cake, and baked egg tarts. Unfortunately, the pork shu mai was on back-order.

 

Seeing as we were the last table from the first batch of customers (we don’t mess around), we finally called it quits. We were pleasantly surprised to find our entire check was half off. Maybe because credit card machines were down, or perhaps it was just easier, logistically. We left a hefty tip for our new friend and walked out at 12:30 PM.

tl;dr: Service was slow and disorganized, as expected for any soft opening; competitors are safe for now because despite low prices, the food quality isn’t there yet; it’s not a drinking destination, but nice options for a nightcap; wait for them to work out the kinks if you don’t like experimenting.

Roasted duck: luke-warm; mild seasoning; skin was slightly chewy; not too oily; good portion
BBQ rice rolls (3): plenty of meat, cooked well, but lacked flavor; noodles were too thick and slightly soggy; soy sauce should’ve been slightly sweeter
Shrimp rice rolls (3): good sized shrimp; well-cooked; noodles were too thick and slightly soggy; soy sauce should’ve been slightly sweeter
Chicken egg rolls (3): lacked flavor; fried well; I also don’t believe egg rolls should contain anything except for pork and shrimp =)
Stewed ox: flavored well; not tender enough; hefty portion
Thousand year-old egg congee: pre-made in a large pot, so uneven distribution of egg; broth was bland; serves 4-6
Fish balls (3): tender; zero flavor
Shrimp shu mai: filling cooked well; tender; wrapping came apart while eating
Har gow: filling cooked well; rice paper casing was very soggy/sticky; came apart while eating
Deep-fried meat dumpling: on par with competitors; balanced in crispiness vs. chewiness, sweet breading vs. savory filling; dough vs. filling ratio
Baked BBQ pork bun: plenty of meat; cooked well; lacked flavor; bread was soft and sweet; good size
Baked egg tarts: custard was really good; filling had just enough bite while still being soft; crust should’ve been more flakey instead of doughy
Sweet cream bun: bread was good and soft; filling tasted really good; ratio of bread to filling was hit or miss, some great, while some almost lacking

Fung Fung Yuen | 10660 Camino Ruiz, San Diego, CA  92126 | 10 AM – 10 PM, seven days a week

Phuong Trang Closed for Renovations

Sorry Temporarily Closed

Phuong Trang Logo

Local foodie favorite, Phuong Trang Restaurant, is closed for renovations for the month of August and will re-open for business September 1.

Despite making an online announcement and posted signs, people who casually drove by feared the worst as they saw a vacant Convoy Plaza parking lot.

It’s long overdue, really. Being a native of Linda Vista, knowing they put their roots down there in 1988 gives me great pride. After moving to their current location in 1992, they created a voice and cured many a-palates for the Vietnamese community and cuisine. This year marks their 25th anniversary, so it’s only fitting they give it a new face, but still maintain their traditional menu of 200+ dishes.

Have no fear, their return is imminent, so you’ll have to do without their mad delicious garlic butter chicken wings for a few weeks.

Sorry Temporarily Closed

Comic Con Guide 2017: Badgeless in San Diego

SDCC Logo

My 2016 guide to San Diego Comic Convention did so well last year, I’m going for a repeat! If this is your first venture here, this list is full of fun events and specials that don’t require a badge.

The Comic Con’s official blog has populated their list of 2017 off-site activities for this year’s event, so check that often for updates, but mine is quite a bit more complete. Sorry, Toucan. For the “invite only” parties, get creative. It happens. Good luck!

Event Legend | Drink = Drinkie | Food= Foodie| Party = Party

Before Comic Con is the monster it is today, badge-holders were king. Now, most places know they have a lot to gain if they allow everyone a piece of their Comic Con deals, so check out the official restaurant guide.


Tuesday, July 18


Crossover: Where Comics and Science Meet Drink

Crossover logoA regular series from the famed science center, attend this special SDCC special event speaking engagement. All ages are welcome, and all attendees will receive a free comic book; however, if you are of age, you will also receive two free beers from Aztec Brewing Company. Guest speakers include:

  • Kevin Eastman, co-creator Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Jonathan Maberry, New York Times Best selling Author and creator of V-Wars
  • Dr. Ronald Colman, Research Associate, The Scripps Research Institute
  • Dr. Sharon Schendel, Technical Writer, The Scripps Research Institute

Fleet Science Center | 1875 El Prado, San Diego, CA  92101 | 6:30 – 8 PM | $15


 Wednesday, July 19


Hop-Con 5.0 Drink

Stone Brewing’s self-proclaimed “annual celebration of nth-degree beer geekery” is back with a beer in celebration of Drew Curtis, Wil Wheaton, and Greg Koch, the Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout quinquennial. All five versions will be on tap (full vertical!) with three custom casks of this year’s w00tstout. The price might seem steep, but it includes quite a bit:

  • Fifteen (15) 3oz. beer samples (includes five of this year’s w00tstout)
  • The opportunity to sample the full five-year vertical
  • A commemorative Hop-Con 5.0 glass
  • Gourmet food stations with unlimited tastings
  • Unlimited plays at Mike’s #HopCade
  • Photo Booth
  • Churros for dessert
  • Lots of geeky good times!

Hero Initiative will once again be partnering with us to bring you this year’s bottle art in a lithograph signed by the bottle artist Walt Simonson! Lithographs can be purchased for $20 during the event. There will also be a very limited number of previous years’ artwork for sale. ALL proceeds go back to comic artists from yesteryear!

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens | 2816 Historic Decatur Rd., San Diego, CA  92106 | 7 – 11 PM | $40 – 75

Alcon Entertainment Blade Runner 2049 Party Party

Even though the highly anticipated Blade Runner 2049 doesn’t come out until October 6, 2017, that’s not going to stop them from starting the party early.

[ABM Parking] Lot 1035 | 450 2nd Ave., San Diego, CA  92101 | 7 PM | Invite only | RSVP required

Game of Bloggers Party

House of Blues San Diego | 9 PM

San Diego Comic Con Unofficial Blog | 2 Blog 2 Furious

Who needs Preview Night when you can hang with the minds behind UBlog and their fans? They’re trying to extend the all-ages end time past 9 PM, but for now, it remains.

2 Blog 2 Furious McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon | 731 Fifth Ave., San Diego, CA  92101 | 7 – 11 PM | All ages until 9 PM | Free, first-come, first-served


Thursday, July 20


Dark Tower’s “Dixie Pig” DrinkFoodParty

IGN and Sony Pictures is transforming The Tipsy Crow is into the “Dixie Pig” for all Dark Tower fans, leading up to the nationwide release of “The Dark Tower” on August 4.

Join us at The Tipsy Crow for SDCC’s largest fan party, featuring a full venue transformation in to the ‘Dixie Pig” featuring ‘baby’ ribs, music, drinks and live entertainment along with the IGN team, this is the ultimate party you can’t miss!

The Tipsy Crow | 770 Fifth Ave., San Diego, CA  92101 | 21+ | 8 PM – 2 AM | Free with RSVP

The Laika Experience Party

Oscar-winning animation studio LAIKA, creators of “Coraline” and “ParaNorman,” is bringing props, puppets, monsters, sets from its films and fun activities to an exhibit during Comic-Con.

11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. 520 Fifth Ave., San Diego. laika.com.

FXhibition Party

FX Networks will bring several interactive experiences inspired by shows like “American Horror Story” and “Atlanta” to San Diego for Comic-Con. This includes a mixed-reality experience based on “Legion,” which will use Microsoft’s “HoloLens” to bring the show to life.

Noon to 6 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Hilton San Diego Bayfront, 1 Park Blvd., San Diego. Free.

AMC’s DeadQuarters Party

“The Walking Dead” and “Fear The Walking Dead” will be featured at AMC’s “DEADQUARTERS” experience. Test your swing at the “Negan Batting Cages,” meet cast members and more.

11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Martin Luther King Promenade, in front of the Hilton Gaslamp Hotel at Fourth Avenue and L Street. Free.

Adult Swim at Comic-Con Party

One of the more popular (read: crowded) off-site events, “Adult Swim On the Green” returns with carnival games, free personalized t-shirts, a tarot card reader, an over-sized claw machine, celebrity appearances, and more. The “Meatwad Dome 4D Experience” is also back, but honestly, it’s not my favorite. Worth a go at least once, though.

Their “Nighttime On The Green” will offer free screenings for fans who want to see the latest series and pilots beginning at 7 – 10 PM Thursday and Friday.

Saturday, head into Petco Park at 7 – 11 PM to see Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, the creators of “Rick and Morty.” Use the East Village Gate. #AdultSwimSDCC

5th Ave. & Convention Way | Thursday – Sunday, 1 – 6 PM | Free with Registration

Skydance Interactive’s Gamers Lounge FoodParty

Maryjane’s Diner at the Hard Rock Hotel | Thursday – Sunday | 9 AM – 10 PM | Free

FANDOM Fest with Pepsi DrinkParty

Petco Interactive Zone | Thursday – Saturday| 10 AM – 6 PM | Sunday, 10 AM – 3 PM | Free

Viceland Bus Party DrinkParty

Corner of Island & 6th | Thursday – Saturday| 10 AM – 6 PM | Free

FANDOM Party, featuring a Big Boi performance DrinkFoodParty

Float at the Hard Rock Hotel, 7 p.m. (invite only)

“Sharknado 5: Global Swarming” Party DrinkFoodParty

Sycuan Casino Sports Bar, 7 p.m.

Fandango Kickoff Party, featuring a performance by Elle King DrinkParty

Omnia, 8 p.m. (invite only; invitees are requested to arrive early, as entry is not guaranteed)

Rave of Thrones, featuring a DJ set by “Game of Thrones” actor Kristian Nairn (Hodor) DrinkParty

Omnia, 9 p.m.

Syfy Party DrinkFoodParty

New Children’s Museum | Thursday – Saturday | 9 PM

Wired Cafe DrinkFoodParty

Omni Hotel Palm Terrace | Thursday, 11 AM – 6 PM | Friday, 12 (noon) – 6 PM | Saturday, 11 AM – 6 PM

“Wynonna Earp” Party DrinkFoodParty

F6ix Nightclub | 9 PM 


Friday, July 21


Gotham Group Luncheon DrinkFood

Monkey King | 1 PM


Buzzfeed and The CW’s SRSLY the Best Damn Superhero Party DrinkFoodParty

Marriott Gaslamp Quarter’s Altitude Skyline Lounge | 5 PM | Invite only


Universal Cable Productions Reception DrinkFoodParty

Omnia Hotel | 6 PM


“Dragon Ball” Super Fan Bash DrinkParty

McFadden’s Restaurant | 7 PM


Fox TV’s Cocktail Party DrinkFoodParty

The Skybox | 7 PM


MTV Fandom Fest DrinkFoodParty

Petco Park | 7 PM


Warner Bros. TV Mixer DrinkFoodParty

Float at the Hard Rock Hotel  | 7 PM | Invite only


IMDboat Party, Presented by XFINITY DrinkFoodParty

Fifth Avenue Landing | 7:30 PM | Invite only


“Future Man” Party, presented by Hulu, Nerdist, and Geek & Sundry DrinkFoodParty

Oxford Social Club | 9 PM


“The Gifted” Party, presented by IGN and Fox DrinkFoodParty

The Rooftop by STK, 9 p.m. (invite only)


The Nerd Party, presented by Syfy and Zachary Levi DrinkFoodParty

New Children’s Museum | 9 PM


Viceland’s What Would Diplo Do? Party, hosted by James Van Der Beek DrinkParty

Fluxx Nightclub | 9 PM | Invite only


After-Con, presented by NVE/ Nylon Magazine DrinkParty

Omnia Rooftop | 9:30 PM


Saturday, July 22


Heroes Brew Festival Drink

I had a free ticket to last year’s event and had a wonderful time, but this year, they’re changing things up a bit — it’s pay-per-taste compared to the AYC-drink in previous years. You may opt for unlimited tasters for an extra fee. With over 50 breweries, it might be worth it to spring for the latter. Also enjoy a costume contest, live music, augmented reality exhibits, and much more.

Waterfront Park | 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA  92101 |  4 – 8 PM | 21+ | $20 – 99

The Largest Lightsaber Battle in the Country Party

The Underground Lightsaber Fighters of San Diego are hosting “the largest lightsaber battle in the country” during Comic-Con at Balboa Park. Dress up, bring your lightsabers and battle it out. All cosplayers are welcome, not just “Star Wars” fans.

8 p.m. Saturday. Meet at the large fountain in Balboa Park, 1549 El Prado, San Diego. Free. ulfsandiego.com

“Impractical Jokers” Block Party FoodParty

Cast members from truTV’s “Impractical Jokers” are throwing a big block party with a White Castle food truck, a DJ, a virtual reality experience, sumo wrestling, a mechanical bull and more. They’ll be there signing autographs and fans can watch a never-before-seen episode of the show.

Petco Park | 100 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA  92101, 7th Ave. Entrance | 11:30 AM – 8:30 PM | Free

Red Planet/Blue Planet, presented by Nat Geo and Nerd Nite DrinkFoodParty

Solamar Terrace & Pool at Hotel Solamar | 7 PM

NBC Party DrinkFoodParty

Oxford Social Club | 7 PM

Entertainment Weekly Comic-Con Bash DrinkFoodParty

Float at the Hard Rock Hotel | 9 PM

Red Wedding Afterparty DrinkFoodParty

House of Blues | 9:30 PM


Sunday, July 23


Super Hero Pool Party DrinkFoodParty

The Lafayette Hotel | 12 PM

Adam West Remembrance Gathering Party (It’s definitely not a party, but for the joy he brought to the world, let’s call this a celebration of life.)

What a way to wrap up the convention, but with a remembrance event in honor of the late Adam West, our first and arguably, best, Batman, to date. May he rest in piece in a place where wham, bams, and kablams are aplenty.

Convention Center steps | 7 PM


  1. Bleeding Cool
  2. The Hollywood Report
  3. Pacific San Diego
  4. SDCC Unofficial Blog
  5. Sidequesting
  6. Variety Magazine

356 Korean BBQ & Bar (Update)

Since attending 356 Korean BBQ & Bar‘s soft opening, I’ve been back four more times, but still had complaints. My friend, Tennessee, suggested I do an updated post. Ready?

The single, most significant change since last August is the addition of AYCE KBBQ that began in January 2017 with three options: 355, 356, and 357 costing $25.99, 29.99, and 36.99, respectively, with a $21.99 weekday lunch special.

There was a random beef tongue shortage (read: price hike) that caused a shift in some KBBQ menus, placing it in the more premium options. Manna BBQ had the worst response, in my opinion: they stopped serving it without changing their menus, but later re-introduced it with a limit of two orders per sitting.

I got my monthly fix this past Monday with JP, his co-worker, Tenk, and my friends Maple, Vegas, Boi, and Beyunce. We opt for the mid-range option (yes, it has beef tongue) because seafood at KBBQ isn’t a priority for us.

Now, the ultimate pro for coming here: the quality of meat is one of the best for AYCE options. Order thier galbi, one of our favorites, and don’t order the green tea pork belly.

Oddly enough, I didn’t take any pictures during any of the visits, so the one below is courtesy of TripAdvisor, my favorite travel resource.

green-tea-pork-belly

The single, most significant stagnation since the beginning is the pace of their service. For some reason, they’re just slow and inconsistent. In the beginning, it was permissible as new restaurants are still working out kinks, but nearly a year later, and they’re still sluggish.

On the one hand, their business has increased, so maybe they’re faster, but cannot keep up with increased patronage. On the other, they’re not providing quality service to make up for it. Orders are missed, menus aren’t given upon seating, water glasses stay empty, the list goes on.

The neutral observations:

  1. Their order limit per round increased from three to four.
  2. The banchan is no longer given out automatically; they must be ordered individually. The only items you start with are kim chi and green salad.
  3. They do their last call at the 100-minute mark.

Next, the complaints (from just this visit):

  1. We were standing by the front door, and they didn’t come outside to call our name before crossing us off the list.
  2. We were sat without menus or service for several minutes.
  3. They said they’d give us a five-order limit as we were a large group, but it quickly became irrelevant when, each time, our orders came out incomplete.
  4. Not only did we not get our last call announcement, our last order was forgotten completely. The server did us a “favor” and put in an order for us.

Overall, I think it’s disappointing their service does not match the quality of their product. For now, the taste is good enough to suffer the imperfect service, but if they don’t improve within the next six months, there are slightly cheaper options that offer great quality meat with consistently better service, like Kogi BBQ.

K Sandwiches Is Rebuilding!

K Sandwiches has finally started rebuilding! Nearly two years after a kitchen fire burned down the beloved Vietnamese sandwich shop, construction is finally underway.

The action was pending approval since November 2016, but on March 6, they announced the start of construction. It’s on my work commute route, so I quickly pulled over to snap this pic of it about a month ago during the early stages of the rebuild.

K Sandwiches Rebuilding Construction

And this one was taken earlier today! COMING SOON!

K Sandwiches Construction (5.31.17)

Hailing from Linda Vista myself, it’s really nice to see our little community rally behind this local business, including starting a GoFundMe page. It’s delighting to re-add this spot back onto the slowly-growing list of must-have gems like Sab-E-Lee, Thai Papaya, Homestyle Hawaiian, Sushi Diner, Pho Hoa #2, and another favorite banh mi place of mine, Avian Fresh Drinking Water. Just… just trust me on that last one. =)

There is no set date yet, but word on the street says late this summer. So begins the waiting game.

Although it won’t necessarily be bigger, the newer 2.0 will undoubtedly be better. Can’t wait! Meanwhile, keep checking this post for more updates!