The Endless Road Trip — San Diego’s Top 10 Eats: 10. Scrambled Eggs, Meet Rice and Beans

Obviously ES couldn’t leave San Diego without eating tacos. And by “eating tacos,” of course I mean trying every last tortilla-based product our hungry little mouths came across.

One place in particular, Las Cuatros Milpas, a hole-in-the-wall in the far-flung Barrio Logan neighborhood, came highly recommended. The line stretches out the door, the wait is 20+ minutes, and there are only five things to order. Surprisingly though, we were less-than-wowed by the tacos, which came out of the deep fryer dripping in grease. Off day? Unclear. But it didn’t matter, because most of my attention was focused on the other item we ordered—chorizo con huevos:

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The Endless Road Trip — San Diego’s Top 10 Eats: 2. Tostada Loca

As has been mentioned many times previously on ES, I have a crazy addiction.

Because I am so obsessed with bringing you, dear readers, news of the outrageous and over-the-top food world, I always, always, always have to order the craziest thing on the menu. If the item actually has the word “crazy” in its name, it’s just over.

The well-reviewed Mariscos German Taco Truck (that’s pronounced her-man, they’re Mexican, not some kind of weird Bavarian taco truck) in San Diego had tons of exciting, classy menu items on the day that I went. There were smoked marlin tacos. There was shrimp ceviche. There was calamari. There was also something called “tostada loca,” so I pretty much had no choice.

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Cornerstone Cooking: Crunchy Black Bean Tacos

We love us a good blog-to-book success story (hellooooooo, agents — what ver happened to Friday Fuck-Ups, the novel?) So I was excited to get my copy of Cornerstone Cooking, the new cookbook from Nick Evans, sometimes ES contributor and the man behind Macheesmo.

Of course, leave it to a blogger to come up with the first cookbook I’ve seen in eons that is actually useful. The concept behind Cornerstone is one we can get behind: “learn to love your leftovers.” In each of his eight chapters, Nick offers up one “Cornerstone recipe” — the simple things that you should just know how to make perfectly (roast chicken, spicy black beans, grilled flank steak, baked potatoes, marinara sauce, lentils, homemade bread and vanilla ice cream). Then for each one, he gives you about a dozen more directions for how to use that cornerstone dish up over the course of a week. For example, how to turn those spicy black beans into black bean burgers, black bean soup, huevos rancheros, black bean salad, and our favorite — fried tacos!

Check out Cornerstone Cooking on Amazon, or keep reading for the recipe.

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Mojo Cubano: The Most Garlic You’ve Ever Eaten

When you love something, really love something, you can never have enough. I feel this way about a lot of things — primarily food and alcohol-related, of course — and I definitely feel this way about garlic. So I was obviously thrilled when my friend, Vanessa, who was giving me a Cuban cooking lesson (! best night ever, and there are more recipes where that came from) mentioned, “You like garlic, right? I bought plantain chips and I really wanted to make this dipping sauce for them…it’s basically just pure garlic and it’s one of my favorites.”

Turns out this is one of the easiest recipes ever, and yeah, it does pack a punch. If you’re one of those people who is averse to “smelling like garlic” (personally, I never understood those people) this is probably not the snack for you. I’ve been cruising the Cuban recipe sites (normal) and it looks like many of them use a version of this as a marinade or sauce for all kinds of dishes. Whatever, we like this as a straight-up dip for our fried plantains. Hardcore eaters.

Mojo Cubano Dip

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Welcome to Austin: Thai Breakfast Tacos

As I’ve mentioned many times, I am from Seattle. Exciting news, though — I got offered a restaurant media job in Austin last month! So guess who’s a Texan now?! Yee haw! This means one thing for Endless Simmer: Tons of AMAZING Texas/Southern food coverage! You’re welcome. I do it for you.

It’s no big secret that Texas is full of great Mexican food. I mean, hello, we’ve all heard of Tex-Mex! There is one delicacy special to Austin, though, that I find especially appealing: the breakfast taco.

Sure, you can find Mexican-inspired breakfast entrees everywhere. Huevos rancheros and fast-food breakfast burritos are not exactly culinary revelations. But there is just something about the Austin breakfast taco! Ask anybody in this city. The concept is simple: head to your local taco stand in the morning (Austin is teeming with them, and they’re all delicious), but instead of your average choices of fillings, you can choose from eggs! Potatoes! Cheese! But don’t worry; the usual suspects (chorizo, avocado, refried beans, etc…) are also available.

Today is my first work morning and naturally I needed to find the perfect “welcome to your new food life” breakfast. Luckily my offices are very close to a little coffee shop called Thrice, which is connected to a Thai cafe/market/culinary school. This means not only does Thrice offer Austin breakfast tacos, but they are Thai-fusion breakfast tacos! WHAT. Just to reiterate, that is a combination of Mexican and Thai. My two favorite ethnic cuisines.

A fluffy, slightly spicy Thai omelette mixed with tomatoes and grilled onions, perched atop a fresh flour tortilla and served up with a smoky-sweet Thai chili hot sauce. I think I’m gonna like it here.

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Throw This Party: Progressive Dinner Caravan

Ugh, I am so sick of dinner parties!

Actually, that is a complete lie, I will never be sick of dinner parties. BUT I am always looking for a way to make the traditional dinner party even more exciting. My friend Dayna was inspired by an episode of Top Chef in which the cheftestants were challenged to throw a progressive dinner party; basically, they each had to host and serve one course before moving on to a different location, where a different chef would host and cook. Well, if they can do it, why can’t we? And so the posse of progressive dinner party friends was formed.

We suggested our idea to friends who live in our neighborhood. The rules were simple: pick a dish and a drink to go with it, and prepare most of it at home ahead of time, with decor, music, etc…selected to enhance the dining experience. We would caravan from apartment to apartment, spending an hour in each kitchen while we took turns hosting and serving our creations. At first our friends were a bit hesitant about the complicated nature of this party, but we promised it would be a worthy endeavor, and it was.

How it worked, plus my dinner party veggie recipe, after the jump.

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2012: The Year of Fideo?

I rang in the new year with a brand new food I’d never tried before! Way to start 2012 on a decidedly culinary note, huh? Okay, in full disclosure, I ate this at about 11:00pm on 12/31/11, but I actually started 2012 at a house party in which all I consumed was warm Cook’s “champagne,” so I’m just gonna count this. I mean, I was still digesting it after the clock struck midnight.

At this point, you are probably sitting on the edge of your seat, gripping the front of your desk, thinking, “What, Emily? What is this wonderful mystery food you consumed to kick off your amazing year?!” Well, my friends, it is called fideo, described as a Mexican dry soup with a spaghetti-like pasta.

My group was enjoying a leisurely, festive dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle — Poquitos — which I have mentioned in the past. One of the owners, Matt, was bartending, and he suggested we try their new appetizer. Matt is so charming that you can never resist anything he suggests, so we eagerly agreed. He brought over a piping hot bowl. “I like to eat mine with chips,” he remarked with a smile.

Wait, noodles you eat on a fried tortilla product?

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