Best Things I Ate This Month: November 2015
Pork Ribs at Thai Papaya, Mexican Bowl at Café Gratitude, Yellowtail Crudo at Bracero
Pork Ribs @ Thai Papaya
Now that Sab E Lee has moved across the street to a bigger location, San Diego’s top Thai outpost has spun off Thai Papaya in its original little cubby hole in Linda Vista. Focusing on street food, there are so many gems at Thai Papaya (and the kitchen is getting creative with fermented fish, meats, etc.). But the one that stands out is the fried pork rib appetizer that’s fermented for three days in soy, and served with a fish sauce, cilantro and roasted pepper sauce. Crispy on the outside with a slight fermented tang, and then sweet pork meat in the middle, it beats any wings joint in town.
2405 Ulric St., Linda Vista, 858.279.6868
Mexican Bowl @ Café Gratitude
The era of healthy food that doesn’t taste like hopeful air is here. Café Gratitude, the L.A. transplant that landed in Little Italy recently, is serving up a nearly total plant-based menu (the only thing that keeps them from official vegan designation is the fact that they use honey), and a large portion of it is good. One of the best is the “Mucho” Mexican bowl with black beans, guacamole, pico de gallo, nopales, salsa verde, cashew nacho cheese, spicy pepitas, romaine lettuce and quinoa (or you can sub sprouted probiotic brown rice). Lunch on the go doesn’t have to be a burger and an appointment with your personal trainer to be delicious if you order this.
1980 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy, cafegratitude.com
Yellowtail Crudo @ Bracero
OK, I’ll stop writing about Bracero soon. The new showroom for top Baja chef Javier Plascencia and chef de cuisine Claudette Wilkins just demands repeat visits. And at a recent dinner at Rancho La Puerto in Tecate, Mexico, the chefs recreated their yellowtail crudo from the Bracero menu. It, was, delicious—so simple, highlighting top-quality seafood, with just the right amount of creative flash. The raw fish is served with coconut aguachile, tomatillo, cured pineapple, avocado, chiltepin and Serrano. Go, now.
1490 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy, bracerococina.com