Archives for category: Contemporary American

50% ground bacon and 50% ground beef. That’s right! Slater’s 50/50, located in Liberty Station (former navy base preserved but transformed into a shopping district), is the place for you if you love bacon! Actually, Slater’s 50/50 is the place for you whether you like bacon, or whether you like to try exotic flavors and nontraditional food items, or even if you prefer your food to be traditional (and they have a gluten free menu!). It’s also for you if you like beer, or if you like sports, or if you like bacon (did I mention that one?). You might be asking how all of this is possible in one restaurant… well Slater’s 50/50 is “burgers by design.” But it’s not just burgers, it’s also milkshakes (with an option to design your own with ingredient options like bacon or pop rocks®), mac&cheese, and other menu items. Mars and I have come here quite a bit. We love this place. The burgers are huge (we always take at least half home with us except this time someone ate my leftover burger! I was so sad when I couldn’t find it in the fridge the next day! I guess that’ll teach me not to label my food…) and the options seem limitless. We so far have only ordered burgers and the mac&cheese as an appetizer. We go when we’re in the mood for hamburgers so we’ve never ventured outside that area on the menu. Maybe next time… but we always say that…

Just one of the preserved barracks at Liberty Station

View from Slater’s: just one of the preserved barracks at Liberty Station

This last time we went, we ordered the jalapeno bacon mac&cheese, two burgers by our own design (I’ve only had the traditional burger patty and Mars always gets the “fire beef”), I got a s’more milkshake, and Mars ordered a beer. The burger is always good, but it’s not the best flavored meat around. It’s not really necessary though, when you have so many toppings to choose from! Their mac&cheese, however, is probably one of the best I’ve had at a restaurant. The jalapeno bacon is topped with a Cheez-it® crust and it just bursts with cheesy-goodness.

burgers & mac

Slaters_The RooOne of the many things that sets Slater’s apart from the typical burger joint (aside from their bacon fetish), is their “burger of the month.” They’re definitely not afraid to try new ideas! For example, for the month of September, they’re serving “The ‘Roo” — 50% ground bacon and 50% kangaroo meat. Unfortunately for you, neither Mars nor I was willing to try it. We are curious though! So if anyone ever has tried this burger or has had kangaroo meat, tell us how it is. We doubt we’ll ever try it, but we want a full description!

unique pics

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Ah the 70s! What comes to mind when you think of the 1970s? I personally think of Sanford and Son (of course its theme song is now playing in my head). Ever since Wing brought home a set of his mom’s General Mills/Betty Crocker recipe cards, dated 1971, I’ve been wanting to try a throwback dinner! And cheeseburger pie (on card #2, “Entertaining on a shoestring”) just plain sounds retro! But we decided to mix generations and make, along side the 70s dish, a modern version of “fries” – spinach and potato pancakes because we had an expiring bag of spinach we wanted to use. The pancakes are from a slow cooker book, Southwest Slow Cooking by Tammy Biber and Theresa Howell, that I bought on a trip to Phoenix. (My little sales pitch: it’s one of my favorite cookbooks! We have loved just about every recipe we’ve made from it. No, I’m not involved in proceeds in any way, shape, or form. I just seriously love it.) But with this recipe, we didn’t bother using the slow cooker. There’s just no need (except maybe to ensure that the flavors blend, but it was still great the way we made it).

Spinach Potatoes

Cheeseburger pics

I was slightly scared to try the cheeseburger pie because I’ve made some recipes out of an old cookbook that my mom has and some were, um, disgusting (I wasn’t worried about the potato spinach pancakes because Biber and Howell haven’t let us down yet). But I’m always willing to try new things and this was definitely new to both me and Wing. When we plated the food and sat down to eat, I dug into the pancakes first. Man, they were good. Crunchy outside and steaming cheesy potato inside. I let Wing try his cheeseburger pie before I did because if he doesn’t like it, I know I won’t. But he ate a bite and nodded his head with a smile. Safe! I tried a bit and it was bursting with flavor. The pie crust balanced the meat and cheese, and the chili topping gave it a small kick. We will definitely be making this dish again! The only thing that could have made this meal that much better would have been some Ripple! Below are our versions of the recipes (minus the Ripple).

Cheeseburger Pie

  • 1 stick or ½ packet of pie crust
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Salt, dry mustard
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • Salt & pepper
  • Oregano
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumb (used garlic & herb)
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce (divided)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach
  • 3-4 tablespoons Sriracha chili sauce
  • Black pepper

Preheat oven to 425°. Prepare pastry for 9-inch one-crust pie as directed on package. Set aside.

In medium bowl, beat egg and milk. Stir in salt, dry mustard, and cheeses. Set aside.

In medium skillet, cook and stir meat until brown. Drain off fat. Stir in salt, pepper, oregano, bread crumbs, ½ the tomato sauce, onion, green pepper, and spinach. Turn into pastry-lined pie pan. Spread cheese mixture over filling.

Bake about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir together remaining tomato sauce, chili sauce and black pepper.

When pastry is golden brown and cheese topping is melted and bubbly, cut pie into wedges. Serve tomato/chili mix with pie.

Spinach & Potato Pancakes

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped spinach leaves
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • vegetable oil for frying

In a large pot, bring chicken stock to a boil. Add potatoes and garlic; cover and cook until potatoes are fork-tender. Mash and add remaining ingredients, except for the oil.

Mix potato mixture well with your hands and form into patties. Fry in hot oil until patties are golden brown on both sides. Remove from skillet and place on plate lined with paper towels. Serve with salsa and slices of avocado.

On a spur of the moment whim, Wing and I decided to have lunch at The Prado restaurant tucked away in the heart of San Diego’s Balboa Park. Although both of us grew up in SD, neither of us had ever eaten at The Prado. I’ve always seen it and wanted to eat there, I just never had. Well, I’ve finally eaten there, and I can now say, “What was I waiting for?” The food tasted good, the ambiance was laid back but nice with all of its art deco, and the service was friendly. We opted to sit inside in the AC since it was too hot to sit outdoors, but I’ve heard the patio dining’s view is elegant, and knowing the location, I’m sure that it is. Anyway, upon being seated, we were given flatbread with chipotle hummus. Now, I’m pretty picky about my hummus and this one was good. Maybe it was the chipotle or maybe it was the flatbread that I really liked. I’m not sure exactly, but I know I liked it.

Prado_drinks bread

Wing and I decided to splurge and we bought drinks. He ordered a Mai Tai and I ordered a chocolate martini that I put aside for dessert. I really want to go again so I can try more drinks. Some of them sound so good! Wing liked his Mai Tai, saying it was very fresh and refreshing. My drink was very tasty as well, but definitely a dessert drink. I liked it so much I almost didn’t allow Wing to try it (he ignored me when I told him he waited too long and the window of opportunity had vanished). We didn’t order an appetizer because none of them really suited my taste… calamari fries, shrimp cocktail (you can read in the about page that I don’t do seafood), etc. For our meals, Wing ordered the softshell crab BLT and I ordered the grilled ham and cheese sandwich with tomato soup. Wing liked his sandwich – it was panini-style and the crab was fried well, not too greasy but nice and crunchy on the outside with tender meat. My soup and sandwich were good, too. The sandwich was pretty typical (I guess there’s not a lot you can do differently with a sandwich) but the tomato soup was really good. It was chunky (which I like) and I’ve definitely had worse from places! But Wing and I agree that the star of the plates were the fries! There was a seasoning on them that we couldn’t figure out, but they were so good that Wing asked the waiter what was on them and, supposedly, he didn’t know. We didn’t insist on finding out, but we were a bit disappointed because we’re the types that would try to recreate them at home… and that’s probably exactly what the restaurant is trying to avoid.  Or perhaps the waiter just really didn’t know.

Prado_sandwich dessert

Then came the dessert… my favorite part! We ordered the very non-traditional tres leches (three milk) cake (but hey, that’s what contemporary American dining is all about, right?). The presentation was picture-perfect with a fried plantain resting on a bed of ice cream. The cake itself was pretty good. It wasn’t as moist as some I’ve had, but the crispy pistachio meringue that was nestled at the bottom made the dish. There were caramelized bananas in the middle of the meringue that gave it an extra sweet and delicious touch. Like the drinks, there are a few other desserts I would love to try. Maybe there will be another Prado post in the future!