Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lamb, Steak, and Snails

To celebrate The World According to Suz's birthday, my family ventured to a really nice place called the 94th Aero Squadron, located in Kearny Mesa, CA.  Situated beside Montgomery Field where air traffic is a regularity, this restaurant is quiet, snazzily decorated with WWI memorabilia, and really good food as well.

Rack of lamb and garlic mashed potatoes

The meal also includes bread, salad or soup, cream corn, and the stuff featured above.  The lamb was a little well done for my taste, but still good.  Also enjoyed were:

Dad ordered the prime rib

Normally I get the prime rib, but since I frequent the $11.75 buffet at the Oceanview Room, I decided to go different.  However, as was pointed out, this steak tastes better than the steak at the buffet.  My guess is that at the buffet they cook the entire rib at once and cut it into pieces whereas here they cook individual pieces.  Not that I'm complaining.  Both are ridiculously good.  Good for you, good for you. 

World According to Suz ordered the sirloin steak

Mom ordered the sea bass

And oh yeah, there was...snails...


I didn't have any of that.  There's something about eating gastropods that just doesn't hit the spot for me.  Onto more tasty things:

Chocolate mousse

Chocolate covered strawberries topped with whipped cream

And of course when there's a birthday there's always a cake nearby:

Chocolate cake

Unfortunately the cake...the cake just didn't get the job done.  It tasted as if something in the preparation wasn't done properly.  It also came from Vons so go figure.  

Happy birthday, Suzanne!  Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gourmet Models!

I'm proud to present the newest Gourmet feature to everyone: Greg's Gourmet Models!!!  These individuals, without much manipulation or threats of violence, agreed to let me photograph them wearing their Greg's Gourmet apparel.  Interested in getting your own?  Check out cafepress.com/gourmetgear to see what's available!

Amber sporting the classic Hawaiian blue logo

Mike from Twirl Radio taking a break with his Greg's Gourmet mug

Kentaro, winner of the July Giveaway!

Josh of Josh in Japan proving he's the man with the plan

Mike practicing what we preach

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Greek Gourmet

Last week I had dinner at a place called Cafe Athena in Pacific Beach, CA.  I have kind of a history here;  no one has ever said hello upon walking in.  In fact, when I walked in to get a menu, this girl, who I guess is supposed to be a hostess, stared blankly at me as if I was Daniel Tosh doing stand-up.  But this meal, courtesy of Bone Crusher, I was still looking forward to since Athena puts a lot of effort into plate presentation...oh, and that I was being treated, of course:

Riganato - roasted half chicken marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, and oregano served with Briami, lemon potatoes, and garlic Aioli sauce.

Wasn't bad.  Half of the half-chicken was good, the other half of the half-chicken was a bit dry.  Also at this meal:

An appetizer

There were so many big worded items on that plate, so rather than list the fancy names I'll just list the essential parts: grape leaves, rice, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, olives, feta, pita bread, and a gnarley yogurt sauce.  It was really, really good.  There was also this:

Another appetizer

That egg-roll type deal has really, really good lamb in it. 

Bone Crusher's entree

I'm actually not sure which entree this is but it looks good, right?  Right.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hall of Shame Inductee - Vons

Safeway (which owns Vons) is known for being a dirty chain.  They're also known for not having the freshest food in stock which, for a supermarket, is completely unacceptable.  That's like going to a Lakers game and getting the Clippers instead.  So here's why Vons (this particular one is in La Jolla) is being inducted into the Hall of Shame:

A bag of pizza rolls...

...better if used by January 23, 2011

This was discovered in the store last week.  In August.  To be clear, the Food and Safety Inspection Service states that "A 'Best If Used By (or Before)' date is recommended for best flavor or quality.  It is not a purchase or safety date."

Okay - so that doesn't mean this stuff is expired.  That's good.  But why in the name of Donald Trump's toupee would  anyone want to buy a product whose date of best quality was 7 months ago?  Or better yet - was this thing just sitting in a box in the stock room all this time?  There's no way a bag of pizza rolls was just sitting out there in that aisle for 7 months and no one bought it.  This bag (as well as a bunch of others) were probably sitting in the back for X amount of time before someone decided to move them.  

This is like buying a new car and then you discover it has 5000 miles on it.  Or going to a Van Halen concert and instead getting Daughtry.  Or trying to pass a Willard off as a Wizard.  It's bogus and shameful and ridiculous that no one in the business even seems to care (again, Safeway is known for this).

And no, this wasn't the only product that was past its prime.  There was also this:

Chicken sausage...sure...

Use or freeze by July 29, 2011...purchased in August...

The Food Safety and Inspection Service states: A "Use-By" date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality.  The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.  

So again we have Vons selling a product that's not the best quality and I'm sure there's bunches more.  Isn't there some sort of database this company has which records whenever food comes in and lists these dates in the computers so then when these dates are nearing the store will know to reduce the price to get the products out of there so this kind of junk doesn't happen?  Well, if this program I speak of doesn't exist then consider this my copyright on it, because it should exist.  

Seriously, what if Led Zeppelin got back together and you fork over hundreds of dollars for their first concert but then you learn that they replaced Robert Plant with some lame singer like James Blunt or something.  Wouldn't you feel a little deceived?  A little let down?  Why am I paying the same price for food that's not top quality and hasn't been top quality since frickin' January?  

Welcome Vons to the Greg's Gourmet Hall of Shame. 

Oh, and here's a steak I ate last week:

True quality control

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Phil's BBQ

There's a place in San Diego where the lines are so long they nearly step into a parallel universe.  I speak, of course, of Phil's BBQ.  Bone Crusher and I ventured here and since we're too cool for lines, we got ours to go.  And it was insane:

Bone Crusher ordered a turkey burger...yes there is a burger beneath that volcanic crater of an onion ring

Seriously...I swear there's a burger somewhere in there

It's an impressive item no doubt, albeit a little dry in the meat.  The sauce helps, though.  I ordered this:

A full rib dinner and fries...yes, there are fries under there

The ribs are good.  Quite good.  However, there is no way I would ever wait in one of those lines for any meal.  Not even the prime rib buffet.  Heck, not even the Great Plaza Buffet.  I think it's ridiculous that people will wait that long just for some pork.  It's a strange phenomena, kind of like when I was watching the remake of Land of the Lost on TBS and then as the end credits rolled I realized I was actually watching the remake of Journey to the Center of the Earth.  That was a weird few seconds.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Root Beer Float

While in Valencia this past weekend, The World According to Rich and I ventured into a candy shop called Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop.  Naturally, putting me in a candy store is like putting a politician in a bank vault; there's just no way I can go inside and not walk out with a big bag of candy.  However, I went for something different this time around.  While the store was covered with chocolates and other fruit sweets, I went straight to the arsenal of 20-something flavors of taffy.  The store was also lined with dozens of sodas, many of which are of the specialty type:

Root beer float and a stash of taffy

I did pretty well for this trip; a good sized bag of taffy and the root beer for only 6 bucks.  At an overpriced store like this I figured it would be way more, so I was pleasantly surprised.  Plus the float was really good.

Also for your enjoyment is a trip to Islands:

Two Northshore spicy chicken tacos


You know, I like Islands.  They provide terrific service and appropriately update their menu when needed.  The problem is you only really have two choices here: a burger of some sort or a taco.  That's about it.  I wasn't in the mood for a burger so by default I got the tacos and they were good, yeah, but I just wish they had a bigger menu.  That and the chicken wasn't spicy as advertised.

The other issue is that their drinks are lackluster, kind of like how Nicolas Cage is in like 103 movies every year and each one is uniquely awful.  This particular mojito had mint leaves in it which may have been good if they hadn't shoved the whole mint plant in there.  It was like I was drinking a garden that had been watered with fruit juice.  Not exactly what I was looking for.  

By the way - you know why I love Little Caesar's?


Because it's just so awesome.  


Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Denny's Double Cheeseburger - My Everest

You've seen me post tons of burgers on here.  Doubles, bacon, double bacon, double cheese, pastrami, peanut butter, government spending, etc.  But there's always been one burger that has been able to defeat me regularly on my eating conquests: the double cheeseburger from Denny's:

Holy cow!

I think I've had about 5 of these in my life and I've been able to finish it maybe twice and even then it was tough.  I finished this one but it was a battle in the last third of it.  Then I looked at the nutritional facts because in the biggest scam since printer cartridges, restaurants are now required to produce obvious nutritional information for their food.  So I check out the little brochure and see that this thing has three days' worth of fat in it (a whopping 87 grams.  You should have about 30 in a day).  Most impressive.  

Anyway, it was really good.  These things are okay to have once in a while but you gotta be pretty frickin' hungry if you're gonna take it on, and this is coming from a guy who brags about eating 4 steaks at a prime rib buffet.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Buffet Bonanza

It was another action-packed day at the Great Plaza Buffet.  Let's get right into it!  Leading off is a beautiful piece of art constructed by my Uncle Dan:

This...is incredible

Just look at the construction of this plate.  You've got a mountain-high salad there topped with ham and ranch, fruit, and a piece of fried chicken.  And it perfectly flows from one section to another.  A brilliant plate.

This also another interesting one:

Four food groups here: fried chicken, strawberries, green beans, and what looks like a fish item

Definitely well crafted.  Now then - onto my adventure:

Shredded pork and mashed potatoes

Four types of chicken: honey, orange, spicy, and Teriyaki

Strawberries, kiwi, banana, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew...and Hawaiian chicken

A salad and desserts


A scone!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Wedding Surf n' Turf: 2.5 Filet Mignons and Swordfish

Last week I attended a wedding.  While the bride and groom hired high-end photographers to document the ceremony, they still needed someone to cover the food.  First up is a surf and turf deal with filet mignon and swordfish.

Filet mignon and grilled swordfish

I wound up having 2.5 of the filets that went uneaten from family/friends at our table.  At first I thought 2.5 filets was a lot, but then I thought...wait...I'm a jerk who can down 4 prime ribs at the buffet every other Wednesday.  While 2.5 filet mignons sounds cool, the actual volume isn't that much.  But still - how often have you wanted to have multiple filet mignons at a restaurant because one is so small?  I can now say that I've done it.

The swordfish was interesting.  Never had it before but it was pretty good.  It's funny because since I've started this site I think I've softened my stance on seafood.  I mean, a seafood dish won the shirt giveaway and here I am glorifying swordfish.  Who knows - maybe seafood will regularly appear here...but still unlikely.

Also from the meal:

Koby beef slider

A salad that oozes of excitement

A slab of the wedding cake

"Duo" may be one of the best words to see on a menu

So that was the wedding.  Immensely happy for the newlyweds!  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Kentaro Miake - July Giveaway Winner!

I'm pleased to announce that the winner of the July Giveaway and recipient of a free Greg's Gourmet t-shirt is Kentaro Miake!  He sent in the following picture that leaps off the screen with textures and colors:

This is a soba galette, described as having smoked salmon, cheese and egg with boba tea.  Kentaro describes it, naturally, as very good.  

Kentaro currently lives in Yokohama, Japan.  He spent a year in San Diego where he was part of the infamous Kart Krew (a group of guys who play Mario Kart 64 and yell and cuss a lot) as well as the currently on-hiatus Murray Crew (a group of guys who frequent a particular restaurant and yell and cuss a lot).  His favorite food: Rip Rolls Yakiniku, which is basically Japanese BBQ.  If you plug that into Google you'll get some pretty cool pictures.  Kentaro is going to receive a free Greg's Gourmet t-shirt.  You can get your own by clicking here.

Kentaro with a pear tart

Thanks to everyone who submitted photos for the first Greg's Gourmet Giveaway!  I received a lot of entries that looked absolutely amazing.  Another Giveaway will be announced before too long, but in the meantime I still love to see pictures sent in from readers and I'd be happy to feature them (as well as you) on the site.

Thanks for reading and congratulations to Kentaro!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dog Gone Good Gourmet

On Sunday I got to pig out at a place called Fred's Mexican Cafe in Pacific Beach, CA, courtesy of Just a Dog Pit Bull Rescue.  I'm not going to start you off with the main course, the appetizer or the horny grandma margarita but rather the dessert.  Check this out:

El Luchador

This is 8 churros with cinnamon and sugar, 8 scoops of vanilla ice cream, ancho chili chocolate sauce, coconut caramel sauce, strawberry puree, and a generous topping of whipped cream.  It was inspiring, kind of like hearing that the government actually came to an agreement on whatever it was they were arguing about for the past month.  

So let's bounce back to the beginning.  After a day of pitching the breed to thousands of people at the Doggie Street Festival, it was time for some grub.  Naturally, a good alcoholic beverage seemed perfect and, naturally, how could I resist a drink called Horny Grandma?:

Seriously, what did you think a horny grandma was?

Next up: Appetizers.  Check out these beauties:

Grande Nachos featuring black beans, melted cheese, diced tomatoes, and jalapeƱos

Everyone knows of my love affair with jalapeƱos and these were actually mild enough that you could eat them one by one pretty comfortably.  Not too overpowering and had just enough heat.  

Main dish:

Pollo asado tacos, refried beans, rice, and corn

Good stuff here.  Good texture and flavors and it tasted fresh, so that's always rockets.  I always love it when the food takes over the whole plate like above.  Everything has its own section and there's absolutely no plate peeking through except for the rim.  Solid presentation.  It's kind of like a really good music album, say Led Zeppelin IV, where every song is awesome and you don't have any of that filler junk seeping through.

And of course the dogs had some good grub as well:

If the bone had meat I would be right there on the ground helping him out with it.  Or not.  That's kind of gross actually. 

If it was medically OK for dogs to eat whatever then I think Benny would be the perfect assistant.  His section of the blog would go something like "Me ate lots today.  Me eat chopped liver and tennis ball.  Tennis ball taste good.  Me steal food off owner's table.  Me very happy."  To learn more about Benny, click here, or look up JAD on Facebook. 

Thanks for reading!