Hollywood Casino Jamul-San Diego Opens

Hollywood Casino Jamul San Diego

After much contention and controversy, Hollywood Casino Jamul had its grand opening on Monday, October 10, 2016. To the dismay of many local residents, but the joy of the Jamul Indian Village, the 20-year, $400 million project has finally come to fruition. This 200,000 square-foot establishment features over 1,700 slot machines, 40 live table games, seven restaurants, and even some nightlife options (Jive Lounge and Loft 94).

Hollywood Casino Jamul San Diego

Most casinos follow a de facto formula in their dining options: a steakhouse, a buffet, a sports bar and/or pub, a Chinese restaurant, and a family-friendly option, hopefully with one of those being a late-night stop. Well, HCJ didn’t stray from this standard at all, and for good measure, they threw in a Mexican food joint; they know San Diego. Let’s dive in!


Arguably the best dim sum place in San Diego, Emerald Chinese Cuisine has lent its name and recipes to the new casino, and hopefully the chefs there do their dishes justice. While it won’t be the same dining experience and full menu that you’ll get at the original Convoy location, you’ll see the favorites like cha siu, roasted duck, braised pork belly, and more.

Final Cut Steak & Seafood


With 15 casinos across the nation and at least one Final Cut in nearly all of them, I can’t say it’ll be a truly unique experience. However, with each one scoring at least 3 of 5 stars (one location even has 4.5 stars), it’s a safe bet that this one will be good, if not great.

Loft 94

loft94-187x114Presumably named after the freeway upon which it sits, this is a trendy eatery by day and a lounge/night spot after dark. Cheryl Cruz is the Sous Chef or, according to her, the HBIC, and rightfully so. She was one of only four contestants in the Culinary Fight Club to gain entry into the World Food Championships. She placed 2nd, but that’s not bad in my book.

She’s serving up what looks to be a fun and trendy menu: items like sliders, corn dogs, yakitori, and poke as well as an impressive 48-tap beer bar. Smart move showcasing the frothy flair of our local breweries:

They’ve got love for out-of-towner favorites too:

A rotating tap, no doubt, but they’re off to a good start, and as a hop head, this will definitely be a stop of mine for my first visit here.

Pizza Port


No casino is complete without pizza and wings and whaddayaknow, Pizza Port has delicious options for both. They’re a huge local favorite with baked wings and great pizza dough, it definitely makes sense that they’re representing San Diego here. Even their veggie options are great. Serving their top suds in addition to Loft 94’s selection, I can see beer being the drink of choice at the new casino.

Ruby’s Dinette


A fast-casual version of the popular ’40s-style Ruby’s Diner, you’ll find a family-friendly space that serves hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, fries and onion rings, as well as their well-known milkshakes, morning, noon, and night.

Tony Gwynn’s Sports Pub

Before he passed, we named a street after baseball legend, Tony Gwynn as well as a beer, San Diego Pale Ale .394. Naturally, the next step would be his own sports pub. Not only will they have standard bar fare, they’ll also feature some of his favorite eats like chicken and waffles, pulled pork sandwiches, and lobster mac and cheese. Also, until his museum opens within the year, you can enjoy some of his memorabilia here. May he rest in piece knowing he’s still making people happy.

TRES Taqueria


A San Diego favorite, TRES Hermanos garnered popularity since its 2009 debut, enough to eventually expanded to become TRES Taqueria Mariscos Cantina in El Cajon in 2015. The majority will agree that their street tacos are key, but they’ll also mention their to-die-for nacho cheese sauce that can go on everything. It’s no surprise they were the choice for a Mexican food spot inside the casino.

I like to gamble as much as the person next to me at blackjack, so you might want to know that they’ve got an underground parking garage that’ll fit over 1,800 cars. Residents may be upset, but it’s a moot point by now, so look on the bright side:

  • Over 1,000 jobs have been created
  • The tribe will benefit from a much needed economic growth
  • Nearly $100 million in funds will go toward fire and public safety, and $23 million to nearby road and transportation improvements

Cars stretched for miles in all directions all day for the grand opening. I’m pretty sure the majority of the traffic caused on Monday, and undoubtedly for at least another week or two, was not due to folks excited about the food and drink, but they should be.

The Next Liquid Nitro-generation


N you just have to wonder how she comes up with these. =) There better be seven chemists out there who can back me up on this joke. Bueller?

I first saw ice cream being made as part of a science experiment: put all the ingredients together in a bag and shake so vigorously that the only thing that can cool you down is that creamy concoction in the Ziploc. Now, it’s evolved into, well, another science experiment, a la liquid nitrogen that instantly freezes the mixture into ice cream.

No longer is it the stuff Terminator dream are made of, but how we satisfy our sweet-tooth on a hot summer day. A trend that began in Korea has now reached our coasts and San Diego has two new places where we can play with our food and eat it, too.

Today, we’ll be comparing Creamistry and Bing Haus.


This California chain has grown to 30 locations in Arizona, Texas, and even India, with 12 more on the horizon, including one in Saudi Arabia. Pst, San Diego peeps, San Marcos and Carmel Valley will be getting their own soon enough.

I love the sterile, lab-like look and although the options are overwhelming, the instructions are simple: 1) pick a size and base 2) choose a flavor, 3) select toppings and upgrades, and 4) the staff instantly blasts everything with liquid nitrogen. I love how exact they try to be with their scales as I’m a fan of consistency.

They offer non-dairy, vegan, and gluten-free options for those who are conscious, with 31 flavors to boot (Coincidence? Probably…).

The Clairemont Mesa grand opening was on Thursday, July 28, 2016, so Cleveland, JP, and I thought we were being clever going in the middle of the day. Incorrect. The whole process from waiting in line to receiving your order took about 20 minutes, and although it was a little sweet, the creaminess and flavors were still on point.

Cleveland got the pistachio while JP got the Elemint, and I had the Cap’n Crunch on a waffle cone, which was proudly dubbed Game of Cones, and got a ton of hits on Instagram. =)

On another visit, a hat tip to Chavez for suggesting the green tea Kit Kat combo that very closely resembles the Japanese candy bar. He got the affogato which wasn’t bad and Ajay’s Fruity Pebbles was decent, but more nostalgic than delicious.

Overall, I’d recommend it, and have gone back several times, BUT take heed of the following tips:

  • Try all the bases with the same flavor so you can know the subtle differences.
  • The Creatiions are huge, so share if you know what’s good for you.
  • There IS a difference between mixing in the toppings and adding them after. Mixing slightly freezes them, so I don’t recommend that for the harder ones like nuts.
  • If you’ve come from dinner, a single is good enough to share, honestly, but if it’s a mid-day snack, eat what you want.
  • Yelp gives you 10% off your order once, but after that, every receipt is good for the same deal within a week of purchase.

Bing Haus

Their soft opening menu is quite tiny: four ice cream flavors, seven coffee options, and six tea ones. We’ll have to see how they expand for the grand opening day. With their fun designs and sayings on the ground, you can catch folks taking photos of their food on the ground. Yes, it is so spiffy, you can practically eat off it.

JP and I went after a whole day of celebrating his birthday, and although we were full, we each got one, green tea (mochi and strawberries on top) and he got the strawberry (cheesecake, circus animal cookies, and whipped cream on top), with the clear winner being the latter. We’re both picky when it comes to green tea-flavored foodstuffs. The ice cream was also too frozen to eat right away, which was bothersome, but waiting a bit was all it took.


This is my only visit, but it was subpar as it was a 45-minute wait, partly due to the trendiness and newness on a Friday night, but really, because they only have two ice cream stations where you pour their mixture onto an extra-cold surface. Luckily, we ran into some of my college friends, so we passed the waiting time playing cards.

The Verdict

To be fair, I’ll need to try Bing Haus again, but I think I already know my answer. Bing  Haus may have better, more interactive decor with a lot more seating, but those are only distractions for their inefficiency. Creamistry with its streamlined process, many flavors, and great taste, it’s clear the winner of this competition.


356 Korean BBQ & Bar Opens In San Diego


Everyone, please meat 356 Korean BBQ & Bar! Their soft opening was Monday, August 15, 2016 and their Grand Opening will happen in about two weeks (a little birdie told me September 1).

Cleveland and I arrived early and didn’t hesitate when they offered us a seat at the bar while waiting. Our sweet bartender with a less-than-innocent name, Sapphire, offered up the bar menu which contain items only available there, except for the spicy pork ribs.

356 Bar Menu

Olive and Shades arrive shortly after and we didn’t wait long to get started. Olive wanted me to have the best photos for the first blog post about this place, so she brought a DSLR and snapped away. Isn’t she cute? Another reason why I love her.

Olive the Photographer

I don’t know how I feel about the seating, but it definitely caught my attention. They use denism and jean bottoms to pad them. Do they make me look skinny by sitting on skinny jeans?

Our server, DK, like Donkey Kong, but instead of throwing barrels, will cook for you. We asked him for the largest combo (10 cuts), all the sides, and the minute our banchan arrived, we never looked back. Below you’ll see the soft opening menu, but I’m not sure how much of it will change after the grand opening.

Already, I love the place because they brought out 12… TWELVE… banchan dishes. Yes, that IS dukbokki you see below! Below that, you can see our whole spread. Notable banchan: sausage and egg patties, gobo (burdock root), and did I say dukbokki?

356 Banchan

356 Table Spread with Banchan

The first to arrive were the Spicy Pork Ribs (4 pcs.), which are the only items that come already cooked. I thought they were good, but nothing exceptional; however, I do love the added touch of almond slivers with the crunch making a nice and subtle difference.

356 Spicy Pork Ribs

Then, what we were all waiting for… the meats! From top to bottom: jumalook, beef belly, brisket, pork jowl, pork shoulder, pork belly, finger meat, and ribeye.

356 Prime Combo 4

DK saw the hunger in our eyes and tossed on the brisket, which, by the way, is only available in this combo and a la carte. Smart.


I had several favorite parts of the meal, one being how they scored the thick cut pork belly, a nice touch, indeed!


Second favorite? The sauce dish, especially the dry herbs (garlic, salt, pepper, and…?). It went well with EVERYTHING, and just a few crystals will provide all the flavor; otherwise, it would be too overpowering and salty. Dip gingerly and at your own risk.


My third favorite part of the meal was the cheese fondue. YES! They give you a ramekin of cheese to melt down atop the grill while your meats are cooking away. It goes best with beef and it’s glorious making me wonder where it’s been all my life. The second photo is of a cheesy ribeye, worth it!



Halfway through the meal, they switch to a different kind of grill, which I’ve only seen at Gyu-kaku for their s’mores dish, and at the very end, they put the bulgogi, already on its own mesh grill, atop the new grill. Nice presentation.


Here are photos of the rest of our meal for those interested.

Any other tips and tricks for the lay of the land?

Yes! Straight from Olive herself (and some from me):

  • They won’t typically cook for you, especially when they’re slammed, but if you look clueless, they’ll lend a hand. *hint hint*
  • Order the fondue first so it can start melting before your meat comes.
  • The fondue goes best with beef, not pork.
  • The egg custard refers to the steamed egg. Don’t make my mistake and look forward to dessert.
  • They DO have sesame oil and soy bean paste, but DO NOT have rice paper, mookeunji, or radish paper. Instead of radish paper, they have julienne radish.
  • For your first time, go with five and have a drink. You’ll thank us later.
  • The 356 refers to the perfect temperature (°F) for cooking meat.
  • Prime Combo 4 is perfect for a group of four; we were pretty full, but not uncomfortable. If you order more sides and/or drinks, a party of five can still eat to their content.
  • For those who heard this was affiliated with Quarters in LA, what really happened was that they had a name similar, but were asked specifically to change it and now we have 356.

Tl:dr: It’s a spacious venue, trendy, perfect for its corner mall location, catering, visually, to American palates (nothing exotic was on the menu like intestines, etc.), the flavor is very much Korean. Service was great, but it was slow, so we’ll see when they get slammed. I would definitely come back, so check it out!

Aww, Shucks! National Oyster Day 2016

Calling all bivalve lovers, Friday, August 5 is National Oyster Day and I’m here to shell out some pearls of wisdom on how you can celebrate. Enjoy and happy shucking!

Blue Point Coastal Cuisine (Gaslamp): $1 oysters during happy hour (5-6 PM)

C Level/Island Prime (Harbor Island): $2.75 oysters, or $17 for a Rockefeller

Ironside Fish & Oyster (Little Italy): $1 oysters between 3-6 PM

Herringbone (various locations): $1 oysters all day

JRDN Restaurant at Tower23 Hotel (Pacific Beach): $1 oysters (and $6 glasses of rose) starting at 4 PM

Rockin’ Baja Lobster (various locations): $2 oysters all day; one of my favorites as it’s a tamarind-rimmed shot glass gives you the perfect kick

Sea180 Coastal Tavern (Imperial Beach): $15.95 for Rockefellers

Solace & the Moonlight Lounge (Encinitas): $1 oysters until 6 PM

  • Their regular special is $1 oysters every day of the week between 3-6 PM.

Stake Chophouse & Bar (Coronado): $1 oysters

Want more even after the day is done? Here are some places that have oyster specials year-round. Check them out!

[Insert Area] Fish Shop

Face it… there are TONS of fish shops all around San Diego (some owned by the same folks), and many of them are actually good. They’ll all have oysters-of-the-day on the menu, so take a chance and head on in, or call ahead to find out their selection. Notable ones I’ve tried and recommend:

If you’re feeling zesty:

  • Sirena Cocina Latina, Little Italy (say that three times fast)
    • It’s not listed on their online menu, but supposedly they have a crafty raw bar and two of their oyster specialties are the Angelmo Oysters (salmon caviar, chimichurri, smoked paprika air, and iceplants) and the Latin Oysters (lemon curd, tabasco, house seasoning, and greens).

If you’re feeling boozy:

  • The Sandbar, Mission Beach
    • They do $1 oyster shooters and for just a little more, they’ll top them off with vodka for an ultimate Sunday Funday

For the outdoorsy:

  • Pacific Beach Alehouse, Pacific Beach
    • Enjoy San Diego for what it has to offer, so dine out on the new upstairs deck and watch the waves come rolling in while you throw a few beers and oysters back.
  • Pacific Beach Shore Club, Pacific Beach
    • In addition to a classic oyster on a half shell, you can try their pepper vodka oyster shooter.

Comic Con Guide: Eat, Drink, Play, Repeat

There is such a thing as Christmas in July, and it’s called San Diego Comic Convention, or affectionately, Comic Con, The Con, SDCC, CC; the list goes on. This is my first year not getting tickets to any of the days, but it’ll be fun to explore what the ever-growing list of off-site festivities.

After you get your sexy nerd on, a person’s gotta eat, drink, and play, right? Haha, please… we don’t sleep during these four days.

Anyway, here’s your ultimate guide to where, when, and how. Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor.


There is an offical restaurant guide, and though they say deals are reserved for badge-holders, it really is a crap shoot depending on the employees, how busy they are, etc. As always, it never hurts to ask. YMMV, or better yet, bookmark these coupons as they’re good for everyone through the year-end.

Most deals in the East Village are included in that guide, but check their site for the most up-to-date listings.

Love steak? Love cooking steak? Join the Forbidden Panel for their  Annual Comic Con Dinner between 7:30-10 PM at our Gaslamp Strip Club. The cost to attend is free and what you pay for dinner.


There are plenty of official and unofficial parties happening all over town, and you don’t have to be a VIP to attend some of them.

Wednesday, July 22

In true Comic Con fashion, people are probably already lined up for a chance to get into the world premiere of Star Trek Beyond, but for those who either didn’t succeed or just want to eat and drink, come to the Pre-SDCC Star Trek Beyond Party at Fox Sports Grill at the Hilton Bayfront from 2-6 PM.

One of our local comic book stores, Comickaze, is throwing a Cocktails, CosPlay & Con party from 6–9pm.

The MTV Fandom Awards are back for their fourth year in San Diego, and once again, badgeholders you can free food, drinks, rides, games, and the filming of the actual show, all on Thrusday, July 21 from 6:30-10:30  PM.

However, for those sans badge, you’re in luck! Attend Fluxx’s Burger King Pre-Party and catch Tyga or DJ Michelle Pesce, between 8-11 PM, but plan ahead–it’s first come, first served.

This is HitFix’s 7th year throwing their Comic Con Kick-off Party, so join them at Hotel Solamar’s rooftop bar and get a little crazy before the craziness of Day 1 begins.

The ticketed event, Enchantment Under the SDCC, returns for another night of food, drinks, raffles, and more at Analog Bar from 7-11 PM.

Thursday, July 21

Hit up one of San Diego’s favorite barcades, the Coin-Op Room, for the Pure Fandom Party happening from 6-10 PM. Sorry, young’ns… 21+ only.

Catch a free live performance by the cast of Archer aboard the Hornblower Yacht from 6:30-10:30 PM! It’s in waitlist status right now, but it may re-open the day of, so keep an eye out!

Come to one of San Diego’s most popular museum’s the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center for their Comic Con After Party. Your ticket includes two (2) beer tasters and one (1) souvenir tasting glass provided by Wavelength Brewing.

Join National Geographic as they host Nerd Nite hosted at Hotel Solamar’s beautiful rooftop between 7-11 PM. It’s free to attend with hosted food and drinks, trivia and prizes, and other fun goodies.

National Geographic's Nerd Nite

It’s not San Diego without its rooftop bars and the Fandom Party Powered by Wikia is hosting a free rooftop party at Hard Rock Hotel’s Float from 7-11 PM. Feel like a celebrity and walk to the red carpet like you own the place, and look like one by getting your make-up done once inside. Then, enjoy some Cajun-inspired food and drinks while Freedom Fry performs.

The popular toy line, Munky King, is hosting a party at one of San Diego’s great NY-style pizza joints, BASIC. They know what they’re doing since this is their ninth year doing it, and the best part? It’s free and open to the public, so come early. Party starts at 9 PM.

This open invitation Boom! Studios Drink Up event begins at 9 PM and goes until closing at the Hilton Bayfront Odysea Bar.

Boom! Drink Up

Did you know Hodor can DJ?! Well, he can (20+ years and counting) and will be at San Diego’s newest club, Omnia, for a Rave of Thrones After Con party. There’s also an open bar once you’re inside. What a talented man–he can hold a door AND drop a beat, and lucky for us fans, not the other way around.😉 Party starts at 9 PM.

Omnia After Con Party a.k.a. Hodor Can DJ!

We all love the free, no hassle parties, so check out ScreenJunkies Central Party starting at 9 PM at Moonshine Flats. Just RSVP here for free entrance.

There’s a Nerd HQ Fan Party for 18+ starting at 10 PM at the New Children’s Museum, the site of many panels and special events for them.

Friday, July 22

San Diego’s House of Blues will be hosting the Sonic the Hedgehog 25th Anniversary Party from 6-10 PM. Some of you weren’t even born yet when that game debuted, but you can still come to the party. Maybe you’ll find something enough to your liking to put a ring on it.

Another rooftop party, this time at Altitude Sky Lounge, for BuzzFeed and CW’s “Srsly Super Power Hour” starting at 5 PM. The casts of “Arrow,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” “The Flash,” and “Supergirl” will be present!

To continue this trend of rooftop parties, find your way to one of our newest ones, Rustic Root for Starz’s “Ash vs Evil Dead” and “American Gods” Party from 6-8 PM. 

If you’re not a night owl, you’re in luck! This all-day Ghostbusters Mass Hysteria Party will have themed food, drinks, prizes, and more. You can even take a picture with Ecto-1! It’s all going down at Werewolf, a great eatery here in San Diego.

Ghostbusters Mass Hysteria Party

Looking for something your kids can attend? This all-ages event at Mission Brewery‘s Mission: Comic Con event, complete with some DJ sets, a cosplay contest, and food trucks, and best of all, it’s free! Party starts at 7 PM.

Mission: Comic Con

Parq Restaurant & Nightclub, which replaced the beloved, or maybe infamous, OnBroadway, is hosting All-American Rejects Official After Party with their frontman, Tyson Ritter, playing guest DJ.

Enjoy hosted Effen Vodka drinks from 9-10 PM, no cover until 11 PM, and drink specials until midnight. Just RSVP here and PM the hosts your full name..

Party at Parq

The world is abuzz with the premiere of SuicideGirls on the horizon. Even more excitingly and sexily, you can check out the Blackheart Burlesque Tour, SuicideGirls style. Sorry kids, this is an adult-only event, starting at 10 PM.



Saturday, July 23

The brand new Waterfront Park is a great location for tourists and locals alike, but from 2:30-6:30 PM, it’ll be for beer-lovers. The Heroes Brewfest will host several breweries to try and also a superheroes costume contest.

Heroes Brewfest

Fluxx is throwing a party for the last night of Comic Con, complete with a CC-inspired surprise DJ set. Ooo, so mysterious! Tickets are affordable at only $15 a pop starting at 9 PM.

Fluxx Comic Con After Party

All the EDM venues are getting their Comic Con on, and Bassmnt is no exception. Check out Nuke the Fridge’s After Party, starting at 9 PM. It’s a superhero costume party and you’re invited! The kids will also have to stay at home for this one, but if you’re at least 18 years old, come on down! Buy a ticket for $15 or be one of the first 100 costumed guests to arrive and get in for free.

Catch a sneak peak at a new episode of Impractical Jokers at their Petco Park Block Party. There’ll be a corn maze, of all things, a tightrope, sumo wrestling, and other fun games, all free and all starting at 8 PM.

Finally, if I missed anything, here’s a grid of nearly all events going on the next few days. Good luck, and have fun!




17 Food Phrases That Sound Dirty… And Probably Are

Finger Foods

With enough effort, one can make any topic sound dirty, and on today’s list: food!

My friends and I were having Japanese BBQ (thanks, Olive, for organizing!), and the server asked, “May I oil your grill?”

There was an unmistaken pause as we held back our Beavis & Butthead giggles. We eventually said yes, and as he walked away, Roulette and I gave each other one final look before bursting into laughter. Yes, we are acting our age, thankyouverymuch!

Because I’m not a night owl, I figured I would spend it for your amusement. Enjoy!

  1. May I oil your grill?Oil My Grill
  2. Would you like your muffin buttered?Buttered Muffins
  3. How about some hot fudge on your sundae?Hot Fudge Sundae
  4. Breasts are nice, but I’m more of a thigh man myself.Breasts and Thighs
  5. Fish sticks.Corn Flake Fish Sticks
  6. Are my balls too salty?Chocolate Salty Balls
  7. Want to be fork buddies?Fork Buddies
  8. You can either spit or swallow.Wine Tasting Etiquette: Spit or Swallow
  9. It’s so warm going down.Warm Beverages
  10. It’s hard on the outside, but has a gooey center.Cannoli
  11. Will you help him toss his salad?Tossed Salad
  12. Help me frost my cake.Frosting A Cake
  13. Shuck me, suck me, eat me raw.How to Shuck An Oyster
  14. I love sausage.Homemade Sausage
  15. Two tea bags is better than one.How To Fill Your Own Tea Bag
  16. Finger food.Finger Foods
  17. And as an ode to George Lopez: “Lick it and pass it.”Churros

If you don’t know the reference, here’s the audio to the bit in his “Why You Cryin’?” stand-up.


Links to photo credits AND recipes. You’re welcome.

  1. How to Oil Your Grill, 2. Popcorn Muffins, 3. Classic Hot Fudge Sundae, 4. Chicken Fried Chicken, 5. Corn Flak Fish Sticks, 6. Chocolate Salty Balls, 7. Forks, 8. Wine Tasting Etiquette, 9. Warm Beverages from Around the World, 10. Cannoli, 11. Santa Fe Salad, 12. How to Frost A Cake, 13. Homemade Sausage, 15. How To Fill Your Own Tea Bags, 16. Finger Food, 17. Chocolate Churros Recipe

Liberty Public Market


The last time I was excited about a public market, it did not end well. Despite immense community support, the San Diego Public Market folded after just two years, but since then, another has reignited that fire–Liberty Public Market! You can find an updated list of shops here.

But first…

When JP asked how a public market differs from a farmers market, I realized I never had to vocalize it, and went on to do a pretty poor piecemeal job. To avenge myself:

public market: n.; a year-round, carefully crafted, intentional and diverse medley of owner-operated shops, stalls and/or “daytables.”

“Year-round” is probably the most important distinction because it creates a sense of permanence for the former that the latter lacks. Now, back to the program! I went three times opening week and each visit was very different from the last. I have to say that it was semi-disappointing that not all the shops were ready and open, but it’s great that ALL of the shops are local.


Visit #1: Tuesday, March 22

JP and I went for dinner and it was semi-busy, but the items we tried were sub-par. Granted, there are some growing pains and hiccups during grand openings, so I’m willing to give each another go-around. I mean, Pike’s Place didn’t become what it is today overnight, right?

bottlecraftlogoBottlecraft Beer Shop

What will undoubtedly be the most frequented shop, it offers the majority of the seating in the market aside from the patio. By far, of all items that we tried, this was the most delightful, as expected. With over two dozen taps, it’s hard not to find at least one flavor for your fancy. JP and I order two beers, enjoy it while walking around the shops looking for our meal. There’s something classier about walking around with a plastic cup when it’s not red.

IMG_20160322_180038Crafted Baked Goods

The most disappointing experience was here. I order a Parmesan pretzel and say yes to having it toasted. I wait a few minutes and nothing. Trust me, I’m a very patient person, but I just know when something goes awry. I want to be proven wrong, so I wait even longer. Eventually, the cashier looks at me apologetically and grabs my pretzel… untoasted… without my dip. At that point, I am already over it so I choose to fight only one battle. I grab my deli mustard, squeeze bottle for sure, and leave. The pretzel tastes stale, dry, and for the first time, I didn’t finish it. I left food behind! Yes, this is serious!

Liberty Meat Shoplibertymeat-logo

NTC’s very own butcher shop serving all-natural meats, but we try their slow-roasted pork sandwich. The bread istough and the meat, though tender, is bland when it isn’t too sweet.

Mess-Hall-logo-1024x1024Mess Hall

There is a full-service restaurant adjacent to Bottlecraft that serves a daily-evolving menu made with only items found at the market. It’s a neat concept and the menu that day looked fantastic. If only I had seen it before I made my choices–some meat and cheese boards and an array of flatbreads.

IMG_20160322_174343Paraná Empanadas Argentinas

Now, you no longer have to wait for them at your favorite farmers markets. We try three of their empanadas–beef, margherita, and chicken–and the filling of the first is the best. The rest was decent, less because of the filling but more because of the crust–it is slightly dry and overcooked. They have three sauces and, by far, the best one is the cucumber one.

I do like how they brand each empanada with initials so you know which one you’re getting. BF no longer stands for Best Friend; it now stands for beef. Or maybe beef came first. Hmm…

Visit #2: Friday, March 25

GTL and I haven’t had our regular lunches together in months, so it was nice to do that and give the new market a second chance. It wasn’t even my idea! The universe works in mysterious ways. =)

westbean-1West Bean Coffee Roasters

If anyone  knows me, they know one of my vices is caffeine via the coffee bean. I try the cold brew on nitro and am not disappointed. Even the guys have banter, so I can get two fixes in one visit. There’s good flavor and they have other offerings like tea as well. Most notably, they have liquid sugar on the side, an exciting alternative to the packets.

IMG_20160325_130244Wicked Maine Lobster

This is what I really wanted on Tuesday, so today is the day! GTL gets the tacos (comes in threes), which are excellent, but I have always been a fan of the lobster roll. However, even though I have only tried the cold with-mayo version, today, I feel like venturing out, and try the warm with-butter Connecticut version. It’s quite good, but I now know I prefer the cold version. We both go for the mac and cheese and agree the lobster is great, but the pasta isn’t special. I am expecting the meat to be mixed in, but instead, it is just a healthy topping, a saving grace.

Eating here does come with a hefty price tag with market price meat, but I think it’s well-worth the try.

Visit #3: Tuesday, March 26

An old friend, QT, came into town whom I haven’t seen in a year, so of course I said yes to meeting up! The public market has quickly climbed the ranks in places to show out-of-towners, so luckily one of her friends recommended it too.

After throwing back some beers at Stone Brewing, we took a lap around the market. She had a big dinner, so we just perused and I bought myself a regular coffee this time. This gave me an opportunity to check out the other shops, take pictures, and see what else opened that week.

Their display went from whimsical to stocked. I don’t know which I like better. You? [Fishbone Kitchen]


I don’t know about you, but fresh pasta makes me so happy! [Pasta Design]


One of the more aesthetically pleasing displays, naturally, and what do you know? My favorites! [AE Floral]


It was all I could do but resist these scrumptious snacks. [Le Parfait Paris]


They’re still putting finishing touches on the market. I love how he’s doing it by hand. Kudos to you, sir!


I thought this was neat: a digital wall of trending local and public market news.