Despite living in Southern California, my hubby and I have only been down to the
Last weekend, my friends Jeff, Yam and Valerie were visiting from out of town and we decided to spend part of the weekend exploring
So our group headed over to Da Kitchen – which was indeed small, hard to find, and a gathering place for the locals. The menu was printed on a white board and featured a selection of grilled meats (kalbi style), breaded and fried meats (katsu style), and teriyaki dishes, all served over rice or noodles with a side serving of fresh greens. Our server explained that Hawaiian cuisine is pretty much a mix of island flavors fused with Japanese, Korean and Filipino influences from early immigrants. I ordered a combination dish (pork kalua and pork katsu over steamed rice). The pork kalua is a traditional Hawaiian recipe of pork slow-cooked with lots of herbs and spices. Once cooked, it is hand-shredded and then cooked again until it becomes incredibly tender and flavorful. The pork katsu is a breaded and fried piece of boneless porkchop that was served with a sweet Hoisin-like dipping sauce. It was not bad, served hot but no longer crisp – which means the dish was reheated and not made to order. Happy with our individual orders, we all sat down to enjoy our meal. And although we were all hungry, none of us could finish the humongous servings.
Our next stop was the Fashion Mall to do some shopping. I know mall-shopping while sightseeing is kind of a cop-out, but we voted that it was too sunny to stay outdoors and since my friends were from out-of-town and needed to get their prerequisite shopping for pasalubong done, we gave in. We did attempt to be disciplined and not spend our entire day at the mall, so we agreed to regroup in an hour and a half.
Our next destination was
After mass, we drove to Old Town San Diego and visited one of the local Mexican plazas called Plaza del Pasado. The plaza was brightly lit, and had several shops selling a variety of odds and ends from Mexican housewares, costumes, trinkets to ceramics, candies and toys. There were several restaurants making homemade Mexican goodies and the smells of roasting tortillas filled the air. There was a mariachi band playing fiesta music and a few men and women were garbed in traditional Mexican finery and large sombreros. The night air had turned cool and the place was festive and alive. While waiting for Val’s cousins to join us for dinner we strolled to the nearby Bazaar del Mundo to browse their beautiful terra cotta pots and wrought iron artwork. I was tempted to buy a few colorful ceramic pots for our patio but was shocked to find out the smallest pot cost $32.00.
We had a late dinner at an open-air Mexican restaurant and shared a meal of carne asada, chicken taquitos, and cheese anchiladas, all served with rice and beans. My favorite part was the tortilla soup with creamy avocado slices and the baskets of warm tortilla chips and fresh salsa that started the meal. Of course, we also had to have the fried ice cream for dessert.
After dinner, we drove around the
The next day we had breakfast at the hotel coffeeshop and headed back to LA since my friends were leaving that night. Thus ending our 1-day tour of