Thursday, October 16, 2008

Still alive...

Just a note to say that I'm still out there. In the last 6 weeks, I've started the application process for a doctorate in chemistry. This Saturday, I will confront the demon that's been consuming my soul since.

The Chemistry GRE.

Imagine 4 years of undergraduate study crammed into 140 multiple-choice questions. If anyone out there has taken physical chemistry, you know that p-chem was never meant to be multiple choice.

Once the test from hell is over, I will be back. Not doing a lot of cooking or good eating, since I'm still on this blasted diet. There have been some great projects, too, including a very successful stab at pho.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Urban Solace: JL's visit and Goodbye MT

I've written about Urban Solace several times and it's become a regular in our rotation. Nice enough for entertaining guests and celebratory occasions. Unfortunately, it's also a fitting place for send-offs and I'm rather melancholy. Since 2005, friends have been slowly trickling away from San Diego and we're down to a small little group. While it's awesome that my friends are finding new jobs, going to grad school, and pursuing new lives, I'll have to channel the father from My Big, Fat Greek Wedding and wail, "Why you have to leeaaavve meee?!" Because Michael Constantine totally rules.

One of our old friends, JL, left SD for Philly and returned for a visit. When he left, Urban Solace hadn't opened yet, so it was one of the first places we headed to. I had just started my weight-loss project, so I attempted to have a light meal.

Warm spinach salad with bacon-sherry vinaigrette, Sonoma goat cheese, sauteed red onions, and boiled egg. Paired with their tomato-fennel soup, it's a healthy, yet filling, choice.

Then, it was time to say goodbye. MT was moving back to his home state and we headed to Urban Solace's bluegrass brunch. One tip: show up at 10am and skip the wait entirely. We settled on the patio and the band started up. I don't know much about bluegrass, but this sounded really good to me.

The guest of honor had the hangar steak benedict with a smoked ancho chili hollandaise, while I oscillated between sweet breakfast items and savory lunch items. Finally, I settled on a sandwich, the first I'd ever had at Urban Solace.

Roasted pork loin, fresh arugula, grain mustard, and caramelized fennel served on a fresh egg bun. It was perfectly done. The sweet potato fries, which are legendary, were amazing.

As always, a great setting for all occasions as we bid adios and good luck to an old friend.

Read about past visits to Urban Solace here.

Urban Solace
3823 30th Street
San Diego, CA 92104

Friday, October 3, 2008

Mmmm... bread.

Why Bear can never be on the Atkins Diet.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Jeong Won Korean BBQ

***Within an hour of this posting, we made another visit to Jeong Won and the quality has gone considerably downhill from our previous visits. Before today, our most recent visit was three weeks ago. Since the change is quite sudden, I feel it is worth noting. The panchan and the quality of the meat are not the same. I strongly suspect some of the meat was kept past its prime. Portions have gone from small to downright skimpy.***

When I started working with my personal trainer, she asked me what I usually ate for lunch. I had to sheepishly admit that I occasionally indulge in outings to all-you-can-eat restaurants with my carnivorous, all-male company.

Trainer: "Well, first off, stop eating with the men."

In terms of metabolism, this makes perfect sense. I'm a woman, smaller in stature, and formerly more sedentary. There's absolutely no need to consume as many calories as an average-sized male and it would only mean more excess weight for me. On the other hand, I really didn't want to be the one who begged off an eating contest in favor of a salad. Hey, dignity's (or is that machismo?) important.

Anyway, Jeong Won Korean BBQ is new to the Convoy St. area of San Diego. Since its opening, it's become a company favorite. For about $18 (including tax and tip) per person, one could eat as much meat as possible from a menu of 10 dishes. Six of the dishes are marinated or unmarinated pork, beef, or chicken. Cow's stomach, squid, shrimp, and pork belly made up the rest.

Speaking of pork belly, some of you out in the great interweb might have noticed that Garrett
and I know each other offline. That's because he's part of the crew that my trainer doesn't want me to dine with. Pork belly's his favorite.

Pork belly, better known as very thick slices of bacon. Anyone want to guess Garrett's cholesterol count?

The panchan is extensive and replenished often. It's one of the better panchan sets I've seen in San Diego. Service is excellent and they keep our motley crew watered and fed.

Meat on the grill. Mmmm... picture's a bit blurry because of steam and smoke. The portions are not large, allowing plenty of mixing and matching. For six of us, we can easily go through the menu once with two or three extra dishes.

There's no way I'd turn this down in favor of something healthier. Apologies to my trainer.

Jeong Won Korean BBQ
4690 Convoy St. #104
San Diego, CA 92111