Category Archives: San Diego

Coops Barbecue @ San Diego

Coops is a family owned business in San Diego, and Jinxi told me about how it is the most authentic Texas barbecue she has ever eaten outside of Texas (not that it was AMAZING Texas barbecue, unfortunately). Being the meat lover that I am, this place was on the top of my list to visit. Again, I am not that familiar with good barbecue, but apparently this is amazing barbecue (excluding the South).

Front door

We ordered the knockout, which was 6 meats with corn bread and 2 large sides. We got brisket, ribs, rib tips, jerk chicken, linkers, and pulled pork. We got the potato salad (2nd choice, but they ran out of cole slaw ) and collard greens.

The sides

The collard greens were really delicious actually. They tasted like they were boiled in salted water, so there wasn’t much spicy taste and was well seasoned. The potato salad was very creamy, and had a sweet and tangy taste, which was delicious. I really liked the corn bread. It was sweet and fragrant, with a little saltiness to it. They provided honey, but I felt like it was good without honey as well.

All the meat piled up high

The meats, wow, THIS is good barbecue? What have I been missing through out my life? All of the meats were tender and juicy. The jerk chicken was quite spicy, which was good. The linker was very, very juicy. The brisket was probably my favorite, because it was so tender and soft but delicious. I was surprised by how good the pulled pork was, because normally I don’t like it (probably because it wasn’t GOOD pulled pork). The barbecue sauce came in a non-spicy and spicy variety. I went for the spicy one, which really isn’t that spicy. But it had equal notes of sweet and sour, with some sort of fruity tone to it as well. Overall this meal was so, so good. I would definitely ask to come back this place when I come to visit my brother again.

Close up of ribs, linkers, and jerk chicken (underneath)



Extraordinary Desserts @ San Diego

Extraordinary desserts really is extraordinary. Everything in the store looked delicious, and I was tempted to just get one of everything. Jinxi and I ended up with a French Apple Pie, Lemon Meringue Napolean, and the Creme Brulee Bun.

The lemon meringue napolean (not pictured) had two layers of puff pastry, lemon curd in the middle and a torched meringue on top. The lemon curd was very good, tart but sweet and of course very citrus-y. The puff pastry was already soggy because we waited until the next day to eat it. The meringue was weird… it was very dusty, and I could taste individual crystals of sugar. Not what I want out of my meringue. Also, it came with a mango strawberry sauce which was delicious.

French Apple Pie – amazingly declicious

I really enjoyed my French apple pie. I baked it in the toaster oven for a while before eating it, so the pastry was warm and crumbly. It tasted strongly of vanilla, which complimented the apples well. The apples weren’t granny smith apples, so it wasn’t as tart. The apples were soft but not mushy, and not over powered by the taste of cinnamon. The caramel sauce that came with it was buttery and not overly sweet and it definitely complimented the pie very well.


Las Cuatro Milpas @ San Diego

San Diego has really good Mexican cuisine, so we ended up at Las Cuatro Milpas for some of their tacos. Mexican cuisine isn’t a big deal or very good in Pittsburgh, so I don’t really have expectations regarding this place. Anyway, I ordered a tamale and a taco, Jinxi ordered the roll tacos and a taco for myself, while my brother ordered his own tacos. The tacos here only come in pork (apparently you can order chicken tacos though), and there are tamales, roll tacos, chorizo and eggs, and then beans and rice on the menu. I saw someone order beans with flour tortilla which made me really want to try, but I was much too full to do so.

Carnitas taco and tamale

The tacos had tender and juicy carnitas, with lettuce and queso enchilada (the cheese). The fried shells were delicious – crispy and fragrant. The cheese tastes like a milder version of Parmesan, and since I’m not fond of the smelly cheese a milder version was definitely good. The cheese really adds to the overall flavor. There were onions and cilantro on the side, and we added a lot into the tacos. Then there was the spicy pepper sauce, which was very good. It was not very spicy, but very fragrant and pepper-y which I liked.

The tamale had some carnitas with a salty red/salsa(?) sauce on the inside. The outside was smooth but not crumbly, and tasted a lot like polenta which I liked. The sauce was a little too salty though unfortunately.

5 Taco Rolls

The roll tacos are basically rolled up fried shells with carnitas on the inside, with sour cream, lettuce and queso enchilada on top, and the rolls were sitting on top of a bed of salsa. I really liked the salsa. It was simple, sort of like tomato puree but with a texture. The sour cream and salsa made this dish subtly different from the tacos. Overall, another great meal and cheap too.


Sushi Diner @ San Diego

I’m someone who usually likes my food or cuisine authentic, but maybe I shouldn’t be quite so snobby about it, given that Sushi Diner is completely Americanized sushi, but damn its good sushi. I would have never walked into this place before, but since my brother and Jinxi recommended it, I was curious to see what it was.

I think it looks like one of those Japanese summer beach restaurants

Interior – the owner obviously likes Bob Marley a lot

We ordered a spider roll, seared albacore roll, and protain rainbow roll.

Seared Albacore roll on the left and Spider Roll on the right

(From their menu: Spider roll – In: Soft Shell Crab, Crab, Avocado, Eel Sauce with Spicy Mayo Sauce, and Seared albacore roll – In: Spicy tuna, avocado, cucumber / Out: Seared albacore, Green onion, ponzu sauce)

The spider roll was delicious.  I love fried soft shell crab, and it was good and crunchy which was a nice texture in contrast to the smooth avocado and rice. The crab was imitation crab, shredded, and mixed with a whole ton of mayo. Overall, the mayo wasn’t over powering, but also complemented the sweet eel sauce. Oh, it was interesting that there was a soy curd wrapper surrounding the whole thing instead of saran wrap. I think this was my favorite roll out of the three.

I loved the negi on top of the seared albacore roll, and the seared albacore was good. However, I’m not a fan of chopped up raw fish (I find the texture horrifying). I think the ponzu really brought the flavors together, but because I didn’t like the spicy tuna (it wasn’t even spicy) I wasn’t so fond of this roll.

Protain Rainbow Roll – In: Crab, Spicy Tuna, Cucumber / Out: Tuna, Salmon, Yellowtail with ponzu, masago and green onion

This roll had no rice, but it certainly had lots of everything else. Honestly… I wasn’t sure what I was eating because there were so many different things in this roll, and any bite you take out of it meant a little of everything. It was interesting, and I think once again the ponzu brought the flavors together. It also had a soy curd wrapper to keep everything together.

Roll, on the side

I think some of these other rolls might have tasted amazing, and I’m sad that I wouldn’t have a chance in the near future to try it again. It was definitely an interesting but also yummy experience.


Santouka @ San Diego

For lunch I went to Mitsuwa, a local Japanese grocery store with two Japanese fast food stores on the side. One served ramen while the other one had things like gyudon, curry rice and other simple Japanese meals like that. Jinxi recommended the ramen there, and my brother told me to get shio (salt flavored) ramen, so I did. I got the Chashu Shio Ramen.

Chashu Shio Ramen, small

The broth was a thick, creamy broth which was delicious. Obviously a lot of butter went into it, but I’m not sure what else. I wonder how they make creamy shio flavored broth? Creamy shio broth is like an oxymoron to me. Anyway, the ramen bowl came with a generous helping of kelp (or mu er, a fungi?), chopped negi (scallions), and bamboo. They were all great additions, especially the kelp/mu er which added a crunch to the texture. The chashu was more like salted pork belly though. I’m not sure if this is how Japanese people make chashu, but I felt like its different from what I’ve had before. However, it is very good chashu: tender, juicy and pork-y. The noodles are firm but chewy. There also a marinated plum (ume) in the bowl. I was slightly confused, but the sharp sour taste of the ume went surprisingly well with the bowl of ramen. Overall, great ramen.

Also, what I like about this place is that you get to choose your portions. They also had ikura rice (fish roe on top of rice) that I kind of wanted to try, but didn’t.