There is no need to think about going elsewhere. Sushi Diner is easily one of San Diego’s best-kept secrets, well I guess until now. Extremely underrated, Sushi Diner is a broke college student/sushi connoisseur’s best friend.

Image

The atmosphere evokes the coast with wall decoration covered with surfboards, Bob Marley memorabilia and breathtaking photographs of local beaches. Reggae music throughout the restaurant and awesome surfing and wildlife videos on the television bring the tiny diner to life.  Sushi Diner owner, Daisuke, simply describes the reasoning behind the decor best. “My favorite country is Jamaica, my favorite music is reggae and what I like to do is make sushi, ” he says.

 Sushi Diner represents a family atmosphere where patrons can feel at home and welcomed by the chefs and servers. There’s a wall of about 200 pairs of personal chopsticks for their regulars. From the restaurant’s ambience down to the menu names, Sushi Diner vibes a tribal feel with a Rasta touch and pinch of Dachshund.

From nigiri and sashimi to specialty rolls and bento boxes, Sushi Diner has all of your Japanese favorites. Lunch combo specials range from $5 to $10 depending on the amount of food you want and include miso soup, rice, salad and edamame.

 Image

Tried everything on the menu? The chefs will make your dream sushi roll. My favorite part of the restaurant, however, is their roll and nigiri combo menu since I’m incapable of keeping my sushi selections to a minimum. This menu is every indecisive person’s dream because it combines various rolls throughout the menu into one order so you get your favorite rolls without breaking the bank.  I usually order the 18-piece “Ziggy” roll combo that comes with four rolls: Seared-Ahi, Bruce Lee, Tempura California and Crunch Roll. Oh yeah, it is also served with Miso Soup.

Image

The only downside to this wonderful restaurant is its small size, not because it gets crowded but because it may require a wait since only a few people are able to dine in such little space. “People think it is very small, possibly the smallest restaurant in San Diego,” says Daisuke. Hence, don’t plan on having a large party here. There are four tables inside, a handful on the patio and a sushi bar that is every claustrophobic’s nightmare.

When the restaurant gets busy, they have a waiting list outside for patrons to fill out their name and the number of guests dining. Although there has always been a wait every time I eat at Sushi Diner, it surprisingly does not take long. The restaurant has the ability to turnover tables quickly without making the patrons feel rushed. Once you take your first bite, it becomes worth it. All it takes for me is a look at their menu and I’m fine with however long the wait is.

Lets talk about the food. The fish is fresh, the rolls are flavorful and the dishes are simply delicious. “One of the most popular rolls is the Smile Jamaican roll,” says owner Daisuke. It has eel, crab and shrimp tempura inside and seared smoked salmon, cream cheese, crunch flakes, eel sauce and spicy mayo on the outside.

“It was definitely the best sushi I’ve had for its price. I pass by all the time but never got a chance to try it out,” says Liliana Thomas, “It’s my new favorite place.”

As if their affordable prices weren’t great enough, their happy hour is amazing. You can get a choice of a sushi roll, small appetizer or sake for only $0.99 when you purchase one large beer or large house sake. Sushi Diner features a monthly special menu where they the pick items from the menu and list them for 30% off. Definitely a bargain since their prices are already low.

How could sushi be this delicious at such a low cost? “The reason why it is inexpensive is so people can come more than once a week. I want people to enjoy my sushi and if it expensive then people won’t come very often,” explains Daisuke.

When we think of inexpensive, we automatically think bad quality and small proportions. Not at Sushi Diner. The restaurant uses fresh ingredients on their phenomenal dishes and well thought of rolls. Don’t worry about size “you can’t move after two sushi rolls,” asserts Daisuke.

Although tiny, Sushi Diner speaks volumes. The restaurant’s eclectic personality and yummy food are what makes the overall dining experience exciting.  Without a doubt, Sushi Diner is a win-win for those with profound taste buds on a tight budget.

I was running on empty for hours at work. My stomach was growling, telling me it’s time to eat. All of a sudden I heard a voice saying, “OMG Donut Bar is having a buy one get one free special before 1 p.m.” It was as if angels were singing all around the office. My coworkers and I immediately got into a car and sped off to Donut Bar hoping to make the deadline. There were 20 minutes left.  We got to downtown San Diego and desperately tried to find parking. Nothing. Ten minutes go by and we snatch a spot three blocks away. My heart was beating so fast. We speed walked to the location, hoping there wasn’t a line formed outside of the door. My coworkers and I turned onto B Street relieved to see no line. It was like logging into Blackboard and finding out you didn’t fail that one midterm. Our worries were gone. We entered the bar and inhaled the marvelous smell of fresh donuts. We made it.

I scanned the counter filled with beautifully glazed donuts. My jaw dropped when I saw several Maple Bacon Bar donuts left. You know that feeling when you unexpectedly find $5 in your pocket? This was that moment, except in donut form. One by one, we each ordered two donuts. Image

I’ve been eyeing the Donut Bar and shamelessly stalking their Facebook and Tumblr page since they’ve opened.  I ordered the Maple Bacon Bar, of course, and the crème brûlée donut. Where do I start? The maple bacon had the perfect amount of bacon on top and didn’t disappoint my motto of, “too much bacon is not enough bacon.” The sweetness of the donut complemented the saltiness of the bacon, creating an impeccable relationship. The crème brûlée glaze was perfectly caramelized. It was filled with custard that harmonized well with the light and airy donut.

In March, San Diego was graced with the presence of Donut Bar, a shop serving up artisan donuts.  Owners Santiago Campa and Wendy Bartels brought new meaning to the classic donut. Their donuts have never seen a glazing table and are individually handmade to ensure quality. Before opening, Campa went in with a goal. “If we are going to open a donut shop we are going to use the best ingredients, down to the type of oil,” says Campa. “We use soybean and cotton seed oil. We don’t use animal fat in our shortening, like most donut shops do.”

The ingredients may be expensive to use but the line that forms every morning outside Donut Bar proves it all. Donut Bar makes between 1,000 to 2,000 donuts a day.

Their menu changes daily where they introduce new masterpieces, making it hard to resist taking a Donut Bar trip everyday. Donut Bar experiments with different flavors and creates inventive recipes. They announce what goodness they’ll bring that day on the chalkboard menu and post it every morning on their Facebook page for fans to drool over before they open.

Their donut flavors include German chocolate cake, lemon glaze and roasted pistachio, maple bourbon, Piña Colada and Nutella just to name a few. “Everyday around three in the afternoon, my executive chef and I sit down and look at the comments made on our Instagram and Facebook page. We get a lot of inspiration from our feedback,” says Campa. Donut Bar interacts with its fans and listens to what they want to see on the menu.

The smiles Campa gets from patrons is his favorite part of the job. “I get 25 to 35 people daily from business offices. They shout like they are seven years old when they come in,” says Campa. “The donuts bring out the kid in them. We all have sweet tooths but when you see grown men and women excited for donuts, it makes me happy.”

“We are definitely going to be a killer in the community. We have a long sting power,” says Campa. For only being open for a few months, Donut Bar has created quite the buzz. The shop is open Monday thru Friday at 7 a.m. and on Saturday and Sunday at 8 a.m. They close when they sell out of donuts, which has happened as early as 11 o’clock in the morning.  Looks like I’ll be camping outside tomorrow morning.

 

I’ve seen this cookie several times around the web and have been salivating over them but never got the chance to make them. Jenny Flake created this wonderful recipe. For the holiday season, I figured I could use mint Oreos instead of the original and incorporate mint chips together with the chocolate chips for the cookies. The method was easier than I thought it would be. Nonetheless, the concoction of both cookies together should be illegal.

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks of softened butter
  • 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of pure valilla
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 bag of chocolate and mint morsels (seasonal from Nestlé Toll House)

Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix butter and sugars well
  3. Add in eggs and vanilla extract until well combined
  4. In a separate bowl add and mix your dry ingredients: flour, salt and baking soda
  5. Slowly add the wet ingredients as well as the mint and chocolate chips and mix altogether
  6. Using an ice cream spoon, take a scoop of cookie dough and place one on top and bottom of the Oreo cookie
  7. Seal the edges together  by pinching and cupping the dough so that the Oreo cookie is fully covered
  8. Place onto a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until the cookies are baked to your desire
  9. Cool then EAT

IMG_2833 IMG_2807

IMG_2821

 

 

IMG_2773 

I love how miso soup can be prepared several ways and altered to your personal preference. The ingredients I use vary and depend on what I have in the fridge. Udon miso soup is my go-to for a fast yet satisfying meal.

Ingredients

  • One 14-ounce package of fresh udon noodles (found in the refrigerated section)
  • 5 cups of chicken (or vegetable) stock
  • 7 ounces of extra firm tofu cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup of snow peas, sliced diagonally
  • 1/2 cup of green onions
  • 2 tablespoons of white miso (shiromiso)
  • Optional: seaweed

IMG_2769

Steps

  1. Boil water and cook the udon noodels according to the package’s directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, bring the stock to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a medium and add the carrots
  3. Add the snow peas and cook until they change bright green (about a minute)
  4. Add the cubed tofu and turn the heat off
  5. Take some of the broth into your miso bowl so that it completely dissolves. When it becomes a liquid, add it to the pot of soup. Make sure not to cook the miso because doing so alters its flavor.
  6. Stir in the noodles and add the green onions

IMG_2776

 

 

 

 

IMG_2670

Curry is one of the most popular dishes in Japan. It was introduced to Japan during the Meiji era by the British, during a time India was under their rule. Cooking Japanese curry is very easy. Curry sauce is actually made by frying together curry powder, flour and oil, as well as other ingredients. This combination makes roux, a thickening mixture that gives the curry a gravy consistency.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of Panko
  • 1 pound of boneless and skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 baking potato
  • 1 cup of diced carrots
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • Instant Japanese curry roux (available in Asian supermarkets)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Steps

Panko-crusted chicken:

  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper
  2. Set up three dipping stations. One each for the flour, Panko and scrambled egg
  3. Generously dip both sides of the chicken into the flour, shake to remove any excess
  4. Dip the floured chicken into the egg, covering all of the chicken.
  5. Coat both sides of the chicken with Panko
  6. Fry with vegetable oil on a pan on medium heat for about 4 minutes each side
  7. Set aside

Curry:

  1. Heat Vegetable oil in a pot on medium heat and add carrots, potatoes and garlic
  2. Add 3 cups of water and let it simmer
  3. Add the curry roux to the pot while stirring. Make sure it is mixed and blended well
  4. Let the curry sauce thicken until it reaches your desired consistency. For a thick curry sauce, simmer for about 10 minutes

 

IMG_2617

Remember, dip the chicken into the flour first then the egg and lastly the Panko. The flour gives the egg something to stick on. The egg is essential for the crust and the crust, well, do I even have to explain?

IMG_2632

IMG_2633Let the curry sauce thicken to your desire. IMG_2682It goes well over rice which then creates Japanese style curry rice. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

IMG_2751

There is something about Breakfast food that never gets old. It’s timeless, classic yet evolving. These cups keep your favorite items in one neat bundle.

Ingredients

  • 4 precooked strips of bacon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1.5 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3.5 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of white sugar
  • 1.25 cups of milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter

Steps

Pancake mix:

  1. In a large bowl, sift flower, baking powder, salt and sugar together
  2. Pour in milk, egg and butter then mix until smooth

Egg Bacon Pancake Cups:

  1. Grease 4 molds from the muffin pan
  2. Put a very thin layer of pancake batter at the bottom of each mold
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake the pancakes in the oven for about 4 minutes. The batter will almost be completely cooked.
  4. Take your precooked bacon and line it inside of each muffin mold
  5. Crack an egg and pour it into the middle of each mold
  6. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes or until your desired taste

IMG_2835  IMG_2753

Garnish your favorite seasonings on top. I used basil and rosemary. IMG_2757

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 206 other followers