I feel like I’ve been eating out a lot lately and that may be due to the big batch of birthdays the past month. That and the fact that I keep hearing about these new foods/places that I can’t stop myself from trying!
I’m going to start with my mom’s birthday (03/20). She’s been wanting to try Great Maple for the longest time and so I took the opportunity to take her out for breakfast. Great Maple is an adorably cozy restaurant, that I can best describe as a fancy diner. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, have an open, bustling diner feel, but still so much nicer than any Denny’s or IHOP. Something that helped with this atmosphere were the friendly, happy strangers at the surrounding tables. I would say their signature item is the Maple Bacon Donuts – an order comes with 3 average sized maple donuts sprinkled with powdered sugar and bacon pieces. Mom and I split one and wrapped the rest up to go so that we would have room for our other food, but that half a donut was heavenly and I couldn’t wait til later to have more.
My mom ordered the Chilaquiles (Corn tortillas/chorizo/Salsa/Queso Fresca/Scrambled Eggs/Red Peppers/Cilantro/Avocado/Sour Cream) and I got the Fried Avocado Popover (English popovers/poached eggs/Hollandaise/Fried Avocado//Mushroom/Spinach/Roasted Tomato/Strawberry Balsamic). Be aware that in addition to all of this being delicious, portions are huge and worth your money, especially if you’re planning on sharing items! They also have an extensive drink menu that includes various types of Bloody Mary’s – my favorite brunch accompaniment Overall I had a lovely experience and definitely want to come back for more.
The next birthday was my friend Miranda’s, just a couple days later. She celebrated at Starlite, a cocktail bar known for their Starlite Mule (vodka/ginger beer/lime/angostura bitters), but that also serves dinner and one of my favorite desserts ever. Our large party was seated in the patio outside – I ordered a coffee (Caffe Calabria) and a veggie burger (lentil patty/goat cheese/pickled red onion). The coffee was delicious and didn’t need any cream or sugar, and came with complimentary refills. The veggie burger was tasty, with a perfect texture and didn’t fall apart at the seams like a lot of veggie burgers tend to do. My favorite style of thin, crispy fries was served with this and together it all made for a perfectly portioned meal.
After dinner I shared Starlite’s house made ice cream sandwich with a couple others (toffee cookie/vanilla ice cream/pistachio). I’ve tried this once before and absolutely adored it. My memory held a high standard for this little dessert and upon trying it again, I was not disappointed. One other notable mention from dinner — Starlite allowed the birthday girl to bring in a cake from Kona Kakes, and even cut and served it to everyone. Two thumbs up for service at Starlite, not to mention the cake was sooo good and I would love to have an excuse to buy a cake there sometime soon.
Next I want to veer away from birthdays and mention a delicious lunch spot where I am always trying new things that I end up loving. Homestyle Hawaiian is a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant very close to the Mesa College Campus. Sometimes I feel like the best food in San Diego comes from these tiny, family owned places! I’ve previously tried the kahlua pork, lava chicken and mahi plates – all delicious and filling. Their ahi poke is also my favorite in San Diego. Very recently I heard they started selling different styles of poke — spicy mayo and kimchi poke – so when I had lunch with my mom the other week I had to take her here.
I took this opportunity to explore the menu a little bit more. In addition to trying the spicy mayo poke, I ordered the korean chicken (Marinated chicken coated in a crunchy batter/deep-fried/HH’s signature Lava Sauce) and my mom got the garlic shrimp scampi (skin-on shrimps/garlic butter sauce). We also split a fresh squeezed mango lemonade and this made for a perfect mid-day indulgence. It was a lot of food but it was a lot of deliciousness as well. How is it that everything I’ve tried here is so good?! I don’t know but if you’re looking for a little bit of island paradise in San Diego, you don’t need too look far.
Lastly, my new favorite snack deserves some honorable mention. My co-worker showed up with some Honey-Sesame-Almonds one day and after she let me try a couple I was hooked! I drove straight to Trader Joes to buy myself a couple bags (~$6 for 16oz.). These things are extremely tasty and extremely addicting, with the honey providing just enough sweetness to satisfy my sweet tooth.
Do you guys have any favorite snacks? Favorite hole-in-the-walls? Favorite new restaurant finds? As always I’d love to see so I can try them too! Tag your instagrams #graciousdelights #eatsofeden and I’ll try to remember to do the same <3