Best Things I Ate This Month: May 2017
Smoked Tuna Fries at TJ Oyster Bar, Bison Tartare at The Farmer's Table, Senor Croque at Crack Shack
Smoked Tuna Fries @ TJ Oyster Bar
In Chula Vista, TJ Oyster Bar is an institution. Best tacos in the nearby land. It’d been over a year since I’d visited, so I had to get reacquainted. The pulpo (octopus) taco was as good as I remembered it, slathered in cream sauce on a fresh corn tortilla with serrano-cucumber hot sauce. But those smoked tuna fries, oh jesus. A bowl of fries is slathered in crema, smoked tuna, onions, and cilantro. If smoked tuna sounds a little fishy for you, it’s understandable. But this smoked tuna tastes more like a chorizo, perfectly smokey and meaty. The price is rather astronomical—$13 for a bowl—but absolutely worth it. A dish that just kind of floors the glutton in all of us.
601 E Palomar St, Chula Vista
Bison Tartare @ The Farmer’s Table
We’re reviewing the Farmer’s Table for next month’s issue of San Diego Magazine. It’s located in La Mesa, which is a heck of a cute neighborhood gem in East County. I wasn’t expecting too much on our first visit, but those low expectations were proven unjust. The roasted half-chicken was excellent, tender, juicy and with crisp skin. But it was their bison tartare that was the star of the night. Bison is a meat with a high note, almost like pastrami. It’s a great flavor profile, but also a tough one for most chefs. Farmer’s Table nails it with finely cut avocado, garlic, capers, and a mango-pomegranate salsa, all brought together with the yolk of a quail egg.
8141 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa
Senor Croque @ Crack Shack
Well, looks like a treadmill’s in my future. The Crack Shack has been a huge success for chef Richard Blais and owner Michael Rosen who brought Juniper & Ivy to San Diego. They just opened their second location of the fast-casual fried chicken joint in Encinitas. If you’re wondering what to order, there are plenty of great options, including the chicken oysters and the Continental sandwich. But it’s the Senor Croque—a sort of bordertown take on a croquet monsieur—that blows people away. Fried Jidori chicken breast with miso maple butter, bacon, white cheddar, and an over-medium local fried egg all on a brioche bun from Bread & Cie.
407 Encinitas Blvd., Encinitas