Davwud Invades The Valley of the Sun (and San Diego)

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2011/11/03 19:33:24 (permalink)

Davwud Invades The Valley of the Sun (and San Diego)

Howdy food fans.
Time to post another trip report. This time to Phoenix and San Diego for a memorial for my uncle. My first trip to anywhere west of Dallas and it was a huge hit. Especially on the food front.
First things first I had a layover in Dallas and decided that I'd give Fuddruckers a try. With one right in the airport I figured it would be hard to say no. After much searching (and asking) I finally located it. Let me tell you, it was......okay. I've heard tales of how great Fudd's was but in the end, it was just okay. 5 Guys (specifically University Ave in Huntsville) is still the best chain burger.
I arrived in Phoenix just shy of noon. My cousin picked my up and told me he hadn't eaten and had selected a place from my list of options. The Grind.

This upscale burger joint has a coal fired oven wherein the burgers are cooked. To a perfect medium in our case. The BLT burger is pretty self explanatory.

Later that night my cuz took me to his favourite place. The DD&D featured Chino Bandido.

This place combines Chinese, Mexican and Caribbean foods. As odd as it sounds this almost seems like a natural fit. Chinese food favourites stuffed into burritos, etc. So I had Emerald Chicken Quesadilla, BBQ Pork Burrito, Pork Fried Rice and Cuban Black Beans. It was unbelievably good.

So the next morning I was on my own for breakfast and opted for another 3D featured place, Matt's Big Breakfast.

Modeled after a mid west coffee shop Matt's is very busy. The one good thing was, through waiting and then eating I was only in for a 45 minute investment time wise. I had seen on DD&D and on the menu the salami scramble and was all set to order that.

Pork Tenderloin, Ham and Sausage with Scrambled Eggs, Cheese and fresh jalapenos with a side of home fries and a fresh tortilla. It was excellent.
Lunch on day two was a neat little Bar and Grill type place that has chicken cooked over Mesquite. Chuy's wasn't the plan but it worked out well anyway.

The grilled chicken breast was great. I had it with some salsa and Baja sauce on a tortilla. The beef tacos were fabulous though.

Grilled Tri Tip with Cilantro and some Pico. The sides were good but not mind blowing.
We had stopped at a local place called the Tamale Store. They sell frozen tamales that you take home and nuculate.

They have meat, veggie, vegan and desert tamales. They come in pairs and the heating instructions are printed on the take out menu.

The Chipotle Chicken and Red Chili Pork tamales shown are outstanding. They best my cuz said he's had. We ate their tortillas three different meals.
So off to San Diego the next day to scatter my uncles ashes in the harbour. We met at the Harbor House right at the edge of the water.

The terrace we ate on had a great view looking out on the water and the USS Carl Vinson (aircraft carrier) was docked at the Naval Air Station. The menu was full of seafood and the fresh oysters were very good of course.
I've never had Fish Tacos anywhere other than my house. I either roast seasoned fish or grill it. These were deep fried talapia and terrific. The guac worked really well and I like that they used cabbage. The provided Ring of Fire Hot Sauce was killer. Good heat and great taste.
We had dinner that night after the "Booze Crooze" at Joe's Crab Shack. It was unfortunate that a local indy fish restaurant couldn't seat us for a couple hours so we ended up at Joe's. I split an Orleans Steampot with another guest. Shrimp, Crawfish, sausage and corn in Cajun seasonings and served in a bucket. Taste wise it was quite good but sadly overcooked. The beer was good though.
The next morning I opted for a liquid breakfast. Coffee and Coke Zero. Lunch however afforded me the opportunity to sample the wares of the legendary In-N-Out burger franchise.

I probably should've gone with a Double Double but my cuz suggested two singles, one regular and one "Animal style."

They were good but really nothing all that great. A step up from McD's but still couldn't knock 5 Guys off the block. The fries weren't very good.
So back to Phoenix and dinner at a local Greek place. It was good but my camera had crapped out on me so I didn't bother with pix. My Big Fat Greek Restaurant is fine if you're in the area but I don't think I'd drive across town.
So the next day I ate my first of two meals at the place at which I wanted to eat more than any other. Carolina's Mexican Foods. I wanted to eat at a great divey Mexican place and Carolina's delivered.

Just incredibly good. A breakfast burrito and tamale the first day. The burrito was great but the tamale kinda fell apart. It tasted really good but there really wasn't enough masa to hold it together. Carolina's is hailed as having the best machaca in the city.

OMG. This stuff was incredible. I had it in a burro, enchilada style with extra red sauce. The red enchilada sauce was great but more importantly, extremely addictive. I couldn't stop eating it. I all but picked up my styrofoam container and drank the left overs. The interesting thing is it had a strong beef gravy flavour. It was like nothing I'd ever had. Everything I was hoping it would be.
So a little hockey and then to a small, local chain name Corleone's Authentic Phillysteaks.

Having never been to Philly I can't really attest to the authenticity of these sandwiches.

Beef, onions and "Wiz wit" on a hoagie roll. It was running down your arm juicy. Very tasty and filling.
Well anyway, that's a look at my trip to the desert.
I'll post reviews on my blog and link to them here as I get them up.
Hope you enjoy it.

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