5 San Diego Restaurants to Take Your Kids

No matter if you’ve lived in the San Diego area for a while or if you are just popping into town for a visit with the family, you may not be familiar with all of these kid friendly establishments. If you are looking to appease the kids and try something fun yourself, give any of these a whirl:

Donut Bar: this place is downtown and is donuts on steroids. Not necessarily a fun filled adult establishment, but if you want sheer joy from your kids, this place is it. There is a bit of a line, so grab a coffee and prepare to wait a bit.

Hash House: this place is in Hillcrest (close to downtown) and takes care of everybody…BLT Bloody Mary’s + Hot Chocolates as big as your face. The food is great and the plates are as big as anything I’ve ever seen…the Andy’s Sage Fried Chicken is a must. There is a wait for this one too, so prepare yourself for hanging out for 45 minutes or so.

Corvette Diner: this one is close to downtown and is excitement for the kids all the way…straws in the hair, dancing servers, video games, but a decent bar makes it not too painful on the adults.

Draft Republic: there are 2 of these…one in La Jolla and one in Carlsbad. It is great for kids and adults with a full bar and more adult type food. It has lots of video games, ping pong, pool, etc and will keep the kids entertained for hours while you watch sports on any of the multitude of TV screens.

Urge Gastropub: there are 3 of these: one is in San Marcos, another in Oceanside and another in Rancho Bernardo. I’m speaking more to the one in San Marcos as this is the one I’ve frequented the most, but it is extremely adult friendly with more adult type food, like Draft Republic. It has bowling, outdoor games, and is a huge place.

These are the ones we find our kids enjoy the most, but if you know of something I missed, hit me up.

 

Coleslaw 3 Ways

When I’m thinking about tasty bites to combine, the one thing I try more and more to think about is how do I bring more senses into the food I create without making a crazy hodge podge…there is a delicate balance…as the saying goes, sometimes less is more. The one thing thing that I’ve added to a multitude of different bites that adds crunch, some vegetation, and sometimes a little sour or creamy texture depending on what version I go with is coleslaw.

Shredding up cabbage is painful, but there are a plethora of store bought versions that you can use for instant dry slaw that you then just need to add something to. Depending on what I’m making and who is eating it, there are 3 recipes that I’ve stumbled on that I think are fantastic.

If I just want want a simple vinegary slaw, this one from Steven Raichlen’s BBQ Bible is my go-to…great on pulled pork or with ribs, etc.

If I want something creamier, this slaw from Tyler Florence is great as more of a side for brisket, burgers, etc. I did add some celery seed and swapped the red wine for apple cider vinegar.

And, lastly this Mexican slaw from Foodie Crush is fantastic if you want a topper for tacos, tostadas, etc.

Here are the ingredients for each (you can see how different they are just by what is in them), but for technique, please see the links:

Steven Raichlen’s BBQ Bible Slaw Ingredients:

  • Cabbage or coleslaw mix
  • 5 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tbspns sea salt, or more to taste
  • 3 tbspns sugar
  • 3 tbspns black pepper
  • 2 tbspns hot red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 3 tbspns hot sauce (he used Tabasco, but I like Cholula as it doesn’t change the flavor the way Tabasco does, just adds heat

Tyler Florence Creamy Slaw Ingredients:

  • Bag shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or pinch
  • 1 store-bought bag shredded slaw mix

Foodie Crush Mexican Slaw ingredients:

  • Packaged coleslaw mix
  • 1/4 small red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 limes juiced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic pressed
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 6 dashes hot sauce
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

All of them are pretty quick to make and add a little something extra to whatever your main course is. Enjoy and if there are any other variations you like, let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irish Maid Cocktail

I’ve gotten to become a fan of cucumber juice over time as it is a great way to bring a really fresh taste to any cocktail. I finally found a good way to extract a good quantity of juice and then I had to come up with some good ideas of what to mix it with. Then, I thought, why not whiskey. After putting whiskey + cucumber juice in Google I got a number of hits for an Irish Maid…never heard of it, but tried some combinations and became a believer. Here’s what I did, and it was lovely:

  • Knob Creek – 2oz
  • Cucumber Juice – 1oz
  • Mint Simple Syrup – 1/2oz (you can use a bunch of mint leaves and little sugar if you don’t have the time)
  • St. Germain – 1oz (this stuff is gangsta if you’ve never used it before and can almost replace using any sugar)
  • Juice of 1/2 a fresh squeezed lemon

Don’ get much better than this on a hot Summer afternoon or a cold Winter one for that matter!

Cucumber Juice

Well, first, why? The answer – I’ve had cucumber in a few drinks over time and always found that it added a really refreshing touch to whatever it was in. So, I thought I’d do it myself and then see what kind of fun cocktails I could come up with.

So, I tried to make it a couple of times in different ways and didn’t get much juice. Doesn’t seem that hard, so I tried doing it a little different. The below worked great and I got a lot of juice out of it.

First, I cut the ends off 2 cucumbers and peeled them. Next, I blended them down as much as I could. Then I put the blended cucumber through a strainer and the remainder became fantastic cucumber juice.

What to do with it? You can use it for lemonade or a whole assortment of cocktails…great w/ Vodka, Kentucky Bourbon, even Mezcal. One warning is it doesn’t keep very long, so make it and use it within a couple of days. Cocktail recipes on the way…

Mango Habanero Salsa

Whenever I want a salsa with some more fire to it, I look to habaneros. They are super hot, but I find it doesn’t linger and really gives a great flavor to a salsa. They are now one of my favorite peppers.

So, my go to used to be this salsa chiltomate from the BBQ Bible. Basically it was roasted tomatoes and peppers and then blend them down. Then I found this recipe from Chili Pepper Madness and I found it had even more flavor…the difference being that it is basically cooking down the tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic, really melding the flavors.

The only difference when I make it is I like to add a little mango to the recipe right at the end which cools it off a little bit and freshens it up I think even more…enough that you can even eat it as is just with chips and not completely scorch your mouth.

Anyway, the ingredients are here:

  • Tomatoes
  • Habanero peppers
  • Yellow Onion
  • Garlic
  • Cilantro
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar
  • Lime Juice
  • Orange juice
  • Salt
  • Oregano
  • Black Pepper
  • Mango

For the how to, follow the Chili Pepper Madness recipe and then right at the end add in some mango (don’t cook it down) and give it all few pulses on the blender…not too much, so you leave some decent chunks of mango in it. Or change it up…peaches or maybe even pineapple might work.

Jardin de Puebla Cocktail

There is a fantastic restaurant that we visited this Summer in Bend, OR called Spork. They had some of the most fantastic foods and drinks that it was too hard to decide on just one thing. However, my favorites were their Carnitas Sando and to wash it down this beautiful bright orange Jardin de Puebla cocktail. I gathered up some ingredients to re-create it and this is how it went:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz Jose Cuervo
  • 3/4 oz Ancho Reyes VERDE (not regular Ancho Reyes, the Verde has a whole different flavor to it)
  • 1/2 oz Celery Drinking vinegar…couldn’t find this, so had to make it, and this recipe worked well
  • Lemon juice from half a lemon
  • 2 oz Carrot juice
  • Salt and pepper on the rim

It was a bit challenging finding the Ancho Reyes Verde, but now that I have found it and tasted it all by itself, I get it and will use it much more often…it adds a wonderful poblano chile flavor. Just the color alone of this drink makes it different than anything else you will probably make and should be added to your arsenal as it’s divine. Enjoy and if you get a chance try the real deal at Spork…it’s worth it!

On Giving Advice

“Wisdom is the ability to take your own advice” Sam Harris

Realize that giving advice from your own personal experience or autobiography will create much better engagement. Speaking from a pedestal never turns out well.

If asked for advice, you really need to gauge how serious the requester is. Are they just asking in hopes of getting some validation or in opening up a complaining dialogue? Do they really want detailed, specific advice? A great question I saw from Ramit Sethi was this…”How serious are you?”. Then listen closely to the answer. Anything short of “I’m ready and will do anything you say” means they aren’t ready…just tell them they are doing great and move on.

The flip side of this is to also be careful with requests for help to others. Some say, “It never hurts to ask”, but this isn’t true. If you ask someone for a favor and put them in an uncomfortable position, they may not help you and may avoid you at all costs to avoid being further “uncomfortabilized”…new word! If you must ask, follow the “Give, Give, Give, and Give Some More” policy.