5 of My Favorite Way North County San Diego Restaurants/HangOuts

I get a lot of questions about what are some of my favorite spots to eat, grab a drink, or grab a coffee in North County. Well here’s a good starter list along with links to some of my reviews (T-Money M) on Yelp:

Ironsmith Coffee Roasters: Tiny place, tough parking, but legit espresso drinks…their cortado is off the chain

Encinitas Ale House: Another place that isn’t easy to see, but killer burgers and fantastic beer on tap plus a nice inviting bar to curl up next to

The Land & Water Company: Pork Belly, Sushi, amazing drinks…somehow it all works. Don’t sit at a table, though, gotta sit at the bar and ask for whatever they’re firing up

ARA Lebanese Grill: Another tiny place that is really unassuming, but amazing meats and veggies…the kids even love this place!

Wrench & Rodent: 2 guys that look like me behind the sushi bar, punk rock music playing overhead, and skateboards on the wall. All that, and some of the best sushi I’ve ever had…a definite “Sit at the Bar” place.

For more of my reviews, here is my space on Yelp.

Foolproof Standing Rib Roast by Paula Deen

To this day, one of the easiest and most incredible recipes I’ve had a go at. The almost 1,000 reviews and 5 Stars say it all. It’s a lot of red meat, so make sure you have a crowd of hungry folks (it’s fantastic for the Holidays). I’ve adjusted the recipe slightly as the seasoning is WAY overkill (I’ve cut it in to 1/4 here…really that’s all that is needed) and tried to fill in a couple of blanks, but other than that all the same. Anyway, it is:

Ingredients
One 5-pound standing rib roast

House Seasoning:
1/4 cup salt
1 Tbspn black pepper
1 Tbspn garlic powder

Directions

Allow roast to stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degree F. Rub roast with House Seasoning. Pack it on! Place roast on a rack in the pan with the rib side down and the fatty side up. Roast for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Turn off oven. Leave roast in oven but do not open oven door for 3 hours. Turn oven to 375 degrees F and reheat the roast (just enough to warm it up). Here’s where I’d break out a thermometer…looking for about 130-135F for medium rare). Please, Please, Please, let it rest for at least 15-20 minutes before you cut into it to keep all the wonderful juices from spilling out of it. If you go with a bigger roast, I’d put more time on it on the front end…add about 5 minutes per lb for anything over 5 pounds (so about 1 hour and 45 minutes for 10 lb roast), so adjust anything in between accordingly.

Important: Do not remove roast or re-open the oven door from time roast is put in until ready to serve.

If you like, a nice horseradish dipping sauce goes nicely with this…just some sour cream with some prepared horseradish mixed in to taste and you are good to go. Enjoy!

 

Steak from Hell Salsa (courtesy of Steven Raichlen)

If you haven’t figured this out already, I am a massive fan of Steven Raichlen’s BBQ Bible book. So, I have hijacked that which I like and tried to make it my own. For this Steak from Hell recipe, the steaks are fine, but the salsa is amazing and easy. I’ve changed it up slightly below:

  • 2 to 4 dried chiles de arbol (I use more, but I like it hot) – they come in a bag at any Mexican grocery store and keep forever
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes (I use tomatoes on the vine, but whatever you like)
  • 1/3 medium-sized yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2-3 cloves garlic

 

Soak the chiles in a bowl of warm water about 20 minutes. Roast the tomatoes on the grill until the skin is charred and blistered on all sides, maybe 6 – 8 minutes. Drain the chiles and remove the seeds if you prefer a bit milder. Place all ingredients in a blender and process to a coarse paste.

I love this with the Sprout’s pollo asado and Costco tortillas I put on My Favorite “Holy Crap, That’s Good” Off the Shelf Items page and some avocado or just drizzled over some scramble eggs for breakfast…blam!

Law of Compound Interest

The more you save, the longer you save it (earlier in life), and the higher the rate of return (careful of that which is too good to be true), the bigger your pile…

compound interest

Notice the earlier you save at the same rate, the lesser the amount of money you need to put away every month. If you can get a higher rate of return (again, be careful of too good to be true…S&P 500 Index is just fine at 8-9%/yr), the bigger your pile as well…

rate of return

Still have your doubts, try this compounding experiment… fold a napkin on itself 50 times…when done, it could go to the moon and back 1,179 times! If you figure you can double your income every 8 years at 8-9%/yr, imagine the possibilities!

Blaze’s Shrimp and Sausage Creole

I got this recipe from an old Newman’s cookbook. It’s so good and relatively easy that I only changed it slightly (I love shrimp and like a little more spice) and I usually make twice what we can eat because it freezes down so well. It does take a lot of chopping, but the cooking is super simple. Also save a lot of time by getting peeled and deveined shrimp.

Here’s the original link and here’s the recipe I go with:

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp butter or margarine
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3/4 pound kielbasa sausage, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ cups clam juice
1 cup Newman’s Own Sauce (or whatever your favorite)
1 1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and rinsed (I usually cut these into bite size pieces)

Spice mixture:
2 bay leaves

1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 tsp dried basil leaves

Directions:

In a large pot, heat butter or margarine over medium heat until hot. Add celery and pepper, sauté 8-10 minutes until softened. Remove mixture from skillet and set aside. To same skillet, add onion and kielbasa and sauté 10 minutes. Stir in garlic; cook 30 seconds.

Add spice mixture, clam juice, and pasta sauce. Simmer, covered 5 minutes. Add shrimp and cook about 5 minutes. Add celery mixture, and heat through until shrimp have turned pink. Discard bay leaf.

Serve over rice in a large shallow soup bowl and enjoy!

Additionally, this goes particularly well with my “Slap Yo Mama” cornbread…pair away!

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My Favorite “Holy Crap, That’s Good” Off the Shelf Items

These are some of my favorite things that other’s make that I can’t do myself near as well, so why not…

Trader Joe’s Bulgogi : Korean BBQ that cooks in 5 minutes and slays

Sprout’s Pollo Asado : Best Mexican chicken ever at $3.99/lb…super moist

Cardiff Seaside Market Cardiff Crack : Crazy Tri-Tip…even if you cain’t grill!

Costco Uncooked Flour Tortillas : Heat up a pan and cook and as good as hand made

Deep Eddy Ruby Red Grapefruit Vodka : No mixer needed, but it will jump up and bite ya

Lizano Salsa : Costa Rican salsa in a bottle…kills on eggs!

My Favorite (non Fiction) Books

There is a little bit of everything here, but these are my most referred to (still) and favorite books (non Fiction) w/ links to each on Amazon:

BBQ Bible by Steven Raichlen : Amazing grilling recipes from around the world

The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss : Shortcuts and hacks for life…lots of good stuff to think about

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl : A book that puts the meaning of life into perspective

The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin : What the process of learning looks like for just about anything

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene : Whether you like it or not, these are the laws of power that make the world go round

If you aren’t in the mood to read an entire book, this link is great from Derek Sivers to just be able to only read the notes that he took vs. the entire book…lots of good quality stuff here including some of the ones above.

Killer, Creamy Black Beans

Ingredients:
1lb bag dry black beans
Chicken Stock
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
Olive oil
Directions:
Soak black beans overnight. Drain. On medium heat and in a large deep pan, heat olive oil, then add onion for a couple minutes, then add garlic for one more minute. To garlic and onions, add: beans, bay leaf, enough chicken stock to cover and bring to a boil. Season with cilantro, cayenne, and seasoned salt. Drop heat as low as you can and simmer until you like ’em (give ’em an occasional stir)…the longer they stay the creamier they will get (3-4 hours should do it).

Education

education“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever” -Gandhi

Let’s start with how we learn
Education theory says that to learn anything new we must hear it at least 200 times. In learning anything, first you imitate, then you identify, and then you internalize. Exposure is more important than knowledge

Don’t just learn… apply

There’s a great quote from Napoleon Hill, “knowledge is only potential power. It becomes power only when and if it is organized into definitive plans of action and directed to a definitive end.” “If we aren’t careful, ‘learning’, becomes endless avoidance of the work in front of us.” Ramit Sethi, “learning and changing are two different things… it is better to apply one book than read 20”

Some better ways to go about it

Read as little as feasible about the last 20 years… time can act as a cleanser of noise of overhyped work.

Before choosing something that requires you to dedicate years of your life to school for training (like a doctor), volunteer (at a hospital if a doctor) and see if you like the atmosphere/people first. I personally know many people who got their law degree only to hate being a practicing lawyer and give it up after spending years toiling away.

Combining disciplines can make you more unique/creative.: Software + biotech, EE + MBA, etc. there is also less competition when you combine disciplines… you can be an expert with only 500 hours of work instead of 10,000.

If you want to learn French, you will learn 10-20X faster if you move to France and get a French girlfriend…motivate yourself to learn.

Use the 5 Why’s to continually ask questions and learn more deeply.

To avoid just having a 40 year gap between college and retirement with nothing to show, work on: skills, relationships, character, hustle… these will always translate to something new.

Instead of teaching kids to suppress natural urges (aggression, sex, etc.) teach them how to better deal with them. If you suppress them they usually come out later even uglier.

Think about your 20s as you being in charge of your own education system

A few stats

At one point, 80% of Americans were farmers… now that number is 2%. Always keep learning as jobs of today will be replaced by jobs of tomorrow.

By about 8th grade kids start saying they aren’t good at this or that (I can’t draw, I can’t do math, etc.)…always be learning!

Other ideas

The Future Project” is a program that puts a “Dream Director” in schools… kids dream it and then they help them try to achieve it. I’ve never worked with these folks, but heard about it through someone else and really like the idea…helping kids make their dreams come true.

Looking for some inspiration for something greater? Hear are some good YouTube videos to learn from with Richard Feynman and Elon Musk…fun stuff (I guess that depends on your idea of fun, but to each his own.)

Keep after it, kids!