Rolling into Spring
Cool and crisp yet filling, Vietnamese spring rolls, or goi cuon, are a perfect portable snack or light lunch. They’re typically made with rice paper and filled with clear vermicelli noodles, shrimp, pork, mint, and cilantro. But at Goi Cuon in Hillcrest, the first brick-and-mortar restaurant for the farmers’ market vendor, the options are dizzying. Goi Cuon’s menu has about 30 rolls, ranging from traditional to a beef pho roll. Can’t decide? Order Combo No. 2 (pictured), which comes with three rolls, dumplings, and crispy tofu, plus a cup of soup and iced jasmine tea. The price rings up to just over $10—what several fast-food chains charge for a combo—but if you love Vietnamese food, this meal is a much happier one.
Pop-Ups & Pop-Ins
The best new spots around town
The Southeast Asian lunch menu at Angkorian Pikestaff in East Village changes every day. @angkorian_pikestaff
Chef William Eick’s progressive Japanese tasting menu at Matsu might be the toughest table to get in Oceanside.
Surf and Soul Spot just moved from a church in Mountain View and is serving Southern seafood at its new home at 7229 El Cajon Boulevard. @surfandsoulspot
Hidden Menu Item
Take the Plunge with a Whiskey Luge
We heard that Starlite Lounge in Mission Hills has an off-menu item, a “whiskey luge,” where you guzzle a shot through a hollowed-out bone after eating the marrow. It was made popular years ago at high-end restaurants throughout the country, including Bestia in LA, because the marrow “washes” the liquor in fat and umami. We tried it and have some pro tips.
1. Order the bone marrow appetizer, either by itself or as an add-on to a charcuterie board. Then select the shot of whiskey you want to get ready for Step 3.
2. Scoop the meaty butter out, spread on toast, and enjoy. Make sure you get all the bits out of the bone, otherwise the whiskey won’t flow properly when it’s time for the shot.
3. Hold the bone flat, then pour the shot in before you start sipping. If you let someone else pour it for you, chances are you’ll spill whiskey everywhere. Instead, have them take the photo of you doing the shot. ¡Salud!