Thursday, April 23, 2009

OC's Visit to SD, Day 5: Cali Baguette and Pomegranate

Monday was the warmest day during the time OC was here, so we decided that we'd grab bahn mi from Cali Baguette Express to go for the beach.

I love Cali Baguette. It's close to me (in Rolando), and it's like a bahn mi place/mini-Asian snack mart. In addition to the delicious Vietnamese sandwiches, they also sell stuff like spring rolls, buns, desserts, bubble tea, and Asian candies and snacks. Plus they have a drive-thru!

One of the things I love about San Diego is the easy access to bahn mi. I love Vietnamese sandwiches, but in New York you pretty much have to venture to Chinatown to get one (although recently, according to this article, new "gourmet" places are flooding the market), and it's more expensive! Bahn mi here are like $2.50 a pop - cheap lunch!

Anyway, we both ordered a combo bahn mi -- for those not in the know, it's basically a French baguette with various meats, pate, a bit of mayo, chili, cucumber, pickled radish and carrots, and cilantro (though I usually take that out). And a little bit of fish sauce! Cali Baguette isn't necessarily the best bahn mi I've ever had (this time there was an apparent newbie in the kitchen who left off the fish sauce), but it's pretty solid and it's close! I still have yet to try K's, which I hear is the best in SD...

Combo bahn mi on the beach. Nums.

We also got two milk teas to go. Since we were driving to Del Mar, we needed a couple of snacks to tide us over -- so we got two Vietnamese spring rolls and this sticky rice with peanuts and green bean (like red bean but green - not like peas - I don't know the proper English term for this) mixed in. The first was a steal - 2 for a buck - the second was really yummy. A little salty, a little sweet. Really good.

One of the best things about takeout bbt is the cute Asian cartoon lids

After the beach, we decided to go to Pomegranate Russian-Georgian, which I'd been to with Moonrat and Cyn in February. It's a really homey place with writing all over the walls, haphazard decorations, and a waitress whose accent you can barely understand. Apparently, the exec chef is an Irish guy named Jon, despite the fact that I hear it's really authentic. Jon also sits outside on a bench in the back and told us to Yelp them when we were leaving.

The inside of the restaurant.

We started with the salad sampler, which consisted of a cabbage salad with berries, a carrot salad, a beet salad, a mashed bean salad, a cucumber potato salad, a veggie ragout salad, as well as some pickled button mushrooms and red peppers. Everything was really good. The carrot one was OC's favorite. I liked just about everything, besides the veggie one, which had a bit too much cilantro for me.

Salad sampler!

Next, we each ordered a soup. I got the Russian peasant soup made with cabbage and smoked sausage and meat chunks (very bacon-y) and OC got the Jon's special soup which was a kidney bean soup with chunks of cheese. They were really delicious, but also REALLY filling and hearty!

Peasant soup

Kidney bean soup

Lastly, we ordered a chakapuli, which was a stewed lamb with onions and tarragon. This was a little bit underwhelming. Although the flavors were good, together they didn't pull together as well as they could have. I felt the flavor could have benefited from a bit more acid. The meat was very tender though.


And one tiny random potato to accompany it. We mashed it with the herb butter!

By the way, they gave us some bread, and although we were too full to eat it, the butter was so good, we smashed it into our potato side.

In true Asian fashion, we included the bread and butter in our takeout container.

Oh, and to top it off, we text-harassed moonrat, who had threatened to unfriend me if I took OC to Pomegranate. All done out of love, my dear! :)

Cali Baguette Express
5125 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92115
(619) 286-8888

Pomegranate Russian-Georgian
2302 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 297-4007


Thien said...

very fun read and i like the pictures. gotta go try these places.

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