Searching for music is like searching for God. They're very similar. There's an effort to reclaim the unmentionable, the unsayable, the unseeable, the unspeakable, all those things, comes into being a composer and to writing music and to searching for notes and pieces of musical information that don't exist. ~ David Bowie

There's a magnetic engagement that takes place when you merge the worlds of festivity, music and art into a single social space.  Especially when celebrating someone as spectacular as David Bowie.

During this tasting event at Hess, as I was walking through the space and looking through the exhibitions, every so often, through the clouds of conversations, I would hear a familiar lyric or melody and I'd stop to see if anyone else caught that same tune.  Sometimes, I would find someone and get a smile and a nod, other times I would catch storytelling soundbites from people sharing significant life moments surrounding that song.

I may be the last person in San Diego, let alone North Park or Hillcrest to finally experience Hess, but even though I was late to the party, I'm glad I showed up on the right night.

My favorite beers from the evening:
Ficus Saison
Grapefruit Solis:

big thanks to Amanda from Passion Roots for the invite and to Hess for the fun event and company.

Like that trusted friend you can call to, in good times and in bad, finding that late night hideaway with great food and drinks is priceless.

We discovered Rakitori one late evening after the gym, when not many other places nearby were still open.  From that night on, it's been a frequent favorite. (** 3 visits within a week type favorite).

The humble exterior, facing the busy and bustling University ave, leads into a cozy and ambient hybrid between a stylish uptown bar hangout and an intimate eatery.

The people are fun and friendly, the specials are on point, but what really really made me adore this place is their salmon skin salad.  Served in a wooden box, this dish has quite the generous portion of crispy salmon skin (that has a sliver of meat still attached), a mix of seaweed salad, fresh greens, roasted garlic, roe and just the right amount of dressing.  Somehow this salad is filling, satisfying, bright, savory and delightful all at the same time.  I have yet to visit Rakitori and not order this dish.

Other favorites:
Chicken heart yakitori.
Baby octopus yakitori
Pork belly yakitori
Spicy seafood ramen
Oxtail ramen in Tonkatsu soup (if the menu doesn't show this soup avail, ask for it, and they'll let you know if they have it that evening)
and quite a few others.

I'd also like to highlight that I really adore the consistency/texture/bounciness of the noodles they use in their ramen and their black garlic oil with roasted garlic addition is a flavor party!

I often trek up to the Convoy area when craving yakitori, so I'm so stoked to have this place in Hillcrest, close to home and the gym.

We'll be headed here again soon and if any of you happen to try the green tea fondue, let me know what you think!   I really like the butterscotch pudding.

Till next time, happy eating!

"The best comfort food will always be greens, cornbread, and fried chicken." ~ Maya Angelou

In the heart of Hillcrest, right after the sun has set, you can start to hear the flickers and pulses of the neon lights turn on and feel a different energy flowing through the neighborhood.

Whatever your night is calling for, a romantic stroll, an indulgence in delectable tastes, a night you want to toast to and never remember, a place to find mr/mrs right now, dinner and a film for one, or in my case... comfort in fried chicken and a cozy conversation with friends, this neighborhood will open its arms and welcome you in.

Crest Cafe with it's South Beach Miami'esque flare,  elephant mural and vibrant neon sign, has been iconically lighting up Robinson ave, for as long as I can remember.

My good friend Amanda invited a group of us out one night, to her event at Crest Cafe, to catch up,
have a couple drinks and try a bunch of things on the menu, while getting to know the owners and the history behind the long rooted neighborhood restaurant.

The food is familiar, the portions are hearty, the prices are great and there is an abundant variety of almost anything imaginable.  But even now, weeks later, though the other tastes were good, I have trouble painting a picture of anything else but that fried chicken (which also came with waffles, more on that in a second).

Like how the restaurant so vibrantly stands out against many of the other surrounding buildings that come up and go over time, this fried chicken was unexpectedly delightful.  I'm usually not a fan of boneless style chicken, but the crispiness, sweet flavor and texture of the meat was quite good.

While always good with butter and syrup, the waffles felt like a novelty pairing to the chicken, as opposed to being a standalone item, that I would order individually.  If you're looking for the Belgian style, deep square, light crispy outside and fluffy inside waffle, this isn't it.  But if you're into something that's better than eating your chicken with a biscuit, this definitely is that.

While the menu has healthy alternatives, as a few of the friends were looking for, it's very apparent that the steamed veggie and salad concoctions satisfy more so the sustenance aspect of eating, and not necessarily the comfort or enjoyment side.

I always feel the answer to most food predicaments lies in a pan with more butter, but I also understand that's not everyone's kinda thing :P

Crest Cafe is like that friend you don't often think of or see, but on that late working night, or catching up, they're there like a warm hug.

It's almost like tradition, that once December with its holiday dressings are in sight, we begin to marvel in astonishment at how hastily the year has come and gone.  This year, oddly and splendidly feels a little different.  Maybe it's the modest alcohol consumption, in comparison to years past, that's allowing for a better recollection of 2015's adventures, but this year's pace, though busy, felt steady :P

I spent a month, early in the year, visiting family and friends through Canada, starting in Edmonton, then to Calgary and then to Vancouver.  Since I'm headed back there for the holidays, for this Throwback Thursday, in absolutely no particular order, I wanted to share highlights from some of new places that we ate at.

Cafe Bicyclette  - adorable place to catch up with a friend, or read while enjoying coffee and a croissant.
RGE RD - the people are awesome, I loved the variety in meats and they make great drinks.
Won Jung Gak- Not new, but absolutely one of my favorites in Edmonton.  Get the Jajangmyeon noodles and nothing else :P

Mercato - this place has everything! But the carbonara pasta (i'm a simple person) and espresso were perfect for lunch.  GET THE DONUT in the deli section!!!
500 Cucina - definitely a new favorite!!! They make an awesome Bloody Mary.
L'Epicerie - not new, but I LOVE this place.. I usually spend hours here eating the pate, foie gras, and many other goodies.  I've written about it before here ""
Mango Shiva - Go here during a weekday off hour and sit by the window.  I really enjoyed eating here alone, having a variety of their small plates and a beer.
Charcut Roast House - the bison with chimichurri is so good.  Pricey place though and only a couple star dishes.  I did however enjoy their house made Mortadella.

Bao Down - I don't care if the food snobs scoff at me for putting this down. The "2 world's collide" bun and their beignets are the bees knees!
Guu Garlic Izakaya  - Really REALLY great food and I love that they had Monkfish liver.
Salmon n' Bannock - this place is so cozy and lovely, the people are so warm and the food really is simply delicious.
The Flying Pig - bone marrow!!!!
Cuchillo - very cool decor, the pork belly was my favorite thing there

A big thank you to everyone who took the time to come out and noms with me ♥ For those of you that know me, you know that my stomach isn't just a way into my heart, it practically is my heart!

It's off to NYC and I have butterflies of joy, as I love that city in the winter and during the holidays, then it's to Canada to see snow and ketchup chips.