John Greenleaf Whittier 9 p.m., Nov. 22
BLAH 2.0: Tiger! Tiger!
T!T! (yes, I'm immature enough to have laughed, don't tell me you didn't) reminds me of an old Polish beer hall from my grandparent's neighborhood in Milwaukee, complete with picnic benches for seating. There's a nice wood-burning oven, with a beautiful copper canopy, but the specialty of the house is not pizza, it's sandwiches, oysters, and beer.
The setup is just like BLAH, you go to the middle of the bar and order your beer and food, get a number on a stick for identification, and grab a seat.
I've been on something of a sandwich kick lately. They have a small but interesting selection, including vegetarian and vegan choices. I got a Wood Fired Banh Mi ($9), which comes with homemade potato chips.
It's not on a traditional baguette, but the roll is darn fine, with a crispy crust that still lets you get a bite without all the fillings shooting out the end. The fillings are fresh and good, a bit of chile aioli, thinly sliced cucumber, and julienned jalapeño, tart, funky house-made pickled vegetables (red onion, daikon, and carrot), cilantro (nicely trimmed of tough stems) three decent slices of pork belly, and a good smear of house-made paté. The pork belly had been well rubbed with Chinese spice, slow cooked to melting tenderness, then finished up in the wood oven to get the fat layer crispy and crackling. It played well with the earthy paté, the tangy pickles, and the crisp fresh cuke and jalapeño. Very nice.
John got the Oyster Po' Boy ($10), also with chips. Now, I love raw oysters, but cooked ones don't really float my boat. I don't hate them, but, well, I don't really like them either. I keep trying, though, hoping I'll grow into them. These were well cooked, crispy outside and creamy inside. They were topped with good remoulade, cabbage, pickled chilies, and thinly sliced onion. It was a nice mix of hot and cold, crisp and soft, tangy and smooth.
The chips were good, too, a mix of Kennebec, Idaho, and yams, sliced ultra-thin and fried golden brown.
We wanted to try the persimmon cake, but they were out. I like when places use ingredients that are a bit different, so it's enough excuse to go back, with an empty stomach.
3025 El Cajone Blvd.
San Diego, CA
Need to know: The kitchen closes at 10 pm every night.
Tuesday - Thursday - 5:00 pm - midnight
Friday - Saturday - 11:30 am - 1:00 am
Sunday - 11:30 am - midnight
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