Bottega Italiana: 4445 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego, CA 92122
Perfect for a break while shopping at UTC is this gelato shop that my brother found with restaurant.com. You can buy certificates with $5 off $10 and $10 off $20. I ordered a small cup of opera (pine nuts, hazelnuts, pistachio, and almonds) and coffee ($4.50), and my mom ordered a small waffle cone of opera and coconut ($4.50 + $1 for the waffle cone). Opera and tiramisu are two of their most popular flavors. I liked opera more, and coffee was so strong and slightly bitter that it tasted authentic like coffee beans. The waffle cone was very crispy and worth the extra dollar to make our order exactly enough to use the $5 off $10 certificate. The scoops were so generous, our smalls had 2 big scoops of up to 2 flavors and looked like mediums on their picture for scale. Never has anyone complained about too much gelato, but this was a lot for only $5! What an awesome deal for gelato from restaurant.com!
Poki One N Half: 9353 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92123 (multiple locations)
After trying Poki One N Half, I can see why my brother says he has really good poke in San Diego and doesn’t need to try the ones in NorCal. This poke place is fresh and so generous because you can ask for 2 scoops of avocado and imitation crab at no additional cost! Their pricing is the same as other places – a small bowl with 2 scoops of fish is $8.99, a regular bowl with 3 scoops is $9.99, a large bowl with 5 scoops is $11.99, and a poke burrito with 3 scoops is $9.99. Everything else is standard in terms of the base, add-ons, fish, sauce, and toppings. I can see why Poki One N Half is my brother’s easy #1 choice for poke in San Diego! Now to find a poke place in NorCal that gives 2 scoops of avocado and imitation crab for FREE (I think most places charge for a scoop of avocado, let alone give you 2 scoops for free)… yums!
Cake de Partie: 4685 Convoy Street, Suite 110 & 120, San Diego, CA 92111
Green Tea Crepe Cake ($6.49)
Roti Parfait ($6.50)
While yelp-ing for dessert places in Kearny Mesa that didn’t only serve cold desserts like ice cream, shaved snow or frozen yogurt, I found 4.5-stars Cake de Partie. Their crepe cakes and colorful drinks looked good in pictures so I decided to try some place new with my best friend. We ordered the Green Tea Crepe Cake served with a side of chocolate sauce, which was creamy. I don’t think it is comparable to Lady M, which I tried in Hong Kong this past summer and thought was lighter, had more unique flavors, and the cake layers were thinner, but this was still enjoyable. We also tried the Roti Parfait, but found it too oily and wouldn’t order it again. Next time I would like to try their most popular Fried Banana Roti (if I went with someone who likes bananas more than my best friend and I do), Green Tea Lava Cake, and their craft sodas either the Lychee Rose or Mango Passion Fruit.
Alforon: 5965 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115
Chicken Tawook: marinated chicken, garlic paste, and pickles ($9.25) with cheese (+$1.25)
Alforon’s World Famous Falafels: 1/2 dozen served with Lebanese bread, tahini, and pickles ($7.95)
Ouzi Lamb: oven-baked leg of lamb de-boned and spread over ouzi rice cooked with meat then topped with roasted pine nuts and roasted almonds, served with its own broth / au jus and a side of house-made yogurt ($18.95)
Lahm Bajeen: fresh ground beef, fresh tomato, onion, spices on an extremely thin oven baked flat bread ($4.95) with cheese (+$1.25)
Authentic Lebanese/Mediterranean food that I haven’t had before! I didn’t know how to order, but thankfully my brother and sister-in-law have come here multiple times over the years and know the menu. We met the owner’s wife who gave us such a warm welcome when we arrived, during the meal, and before we left. I can see why people regularly come back with this service and delicious food. The flat breads were the best and one of the most popular items on the menu. Chicken Tawook was tasty since the chicken was surprisingly tender. Both Chicken Tawook and Lahm Bajeen were delicious with cheese. We asked what kind of cheese was so good and found out that it is a white Lebanese cheese called “akawi” which is similar to Mexican queso blanco. My brother says the falafels are the best he has ever had. The lamb was too lean, but the ouzi rice with pine nuts and broth poured on top was yummy. We saw other people order “kibbies” (one of the oldest and most traditional Lebanese dishes made with extremely lean beef, cracked wheat, special herbs and spices), which is something I can try next time. Alforon was a uniquely tasty experience!
One month late to post photos from a rooftop party to celebrate my 28th birthday! 🔥
After traveling for 5 weeks to Hong Kong, Thailand, and Tokyo and then coming home with an unconfirmed stomach ulcer, my summer flew by and I didn’t get to hang out with friends much. With my birthday on a Sunday (and not on the first day of school) this year, I am so thankful to have had some of my closest friends (including Nadia & Joby home from Milwaukee!) join me for my last summer hurrah before school started. Thanks to Albee, we were able to reserve the awesome rooftop at his complex for a BBQ dinner and a chill hangout. We busted out gold and silver star balloons, enjoyed steak that Peter grilled and yummy food my mom prepared, ate around a large dining table like family, watched the sunset, lounged by the fire, ate cheesecake with macarons, had a cupcake tasting of SusieCakes from Anita & Scott, and soaked in a nice summer evening with each other’s company. It was just what I wanted for my birthday!