Archives for category: Mexican food

Searching for Wow is back! We took a long break because Wing and I just bought a house! So we’ve been incredibly busy moving and working on it to make it ours. We’ve finally come to a point where we can relax some, so that means better meals and blogging about them again.

During our move, Wing and I made the decision to start eating healthier. That means I’m planning to incorporate one vegetarian meal a week and reducing the amount of red meat. I had started putting this plan into action, but I hadn’t really thought about the blogging side of it until recently when I went onto Paul McCartney’s official site to check out concert information. I was clicking around and discovered Meatless Mondays

(Side note: Paul McCartney’s coming to San Diego for the first time in over 30 years! Woot! Too bad I won’t be going since I just bought a house and am now too poor. Oh well. Mars and I saw him live in Vegas so I’ll survive.)

Granted, I’m not becoming vegetarian. I’m simply too picky of an eater. Those so-called “replacements” for meat – eggplant parmesan, tofu “chicken,” Portobello mushroom burgers – all disgusting to me. Give me the meat over the vegetables. I may die earlier from the fat content, but I’m pretty sure the horrible taste factor would shave days off my life too, so I think I’m about even there. Anyway, in an attempt to be healthier, I’ve decided to jump on the band wagon with this “Meatless Monday” thing. And I’ll post my attempts on the blog as a recurring Monday theme.

This week’s “Meatless Monday” recipe is vegetarian stuffed bell peppers. These stuffed bells are reminiscent of Southern California’s love for Mexican cuisine. They’re delicious as the recipe is written, but they’re also incredibly versatile. Next time, I plan to try different cheeses such as cotija, maybe add some Mexican spices such as cumin, chipotle chile powder, or as a garnish cilantro. Mix and match according to your own taste!

Vegetarian Stuffed Bells

Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers

  • 2 Large bell peppers (we used orange, but you can use your favorite)
  • 1 cup Mexican rice (we purchased ours pre-made, but watch out if you’re a true vegetarian. You might want to make your own to ensure that it’s not made with chicken broth)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup chunky salsa
  • 1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed (I only used about half the can and saved the rest)
  • 1 (15-oz) can green enchilada sauce, divided
  • 1/2 cup water

Cut off the tops of the bell peppers. Remove the seeds and membranes. In a bowl, stir together the rice, cheese, salsa, and beans. Stuff each pepper with the mixture. Place in a slow cooker. Add 1/2 the can of enchilada sauce and the water to the slow cooker, so the bells are sitting in about an inch of liquid (depending on the size of your slow cooker, you may need to adjust the amount of sauce and water you use). Cover and cook on high for 2 hours.

After the bell peppers are tender, cover the peppers with the remaining enchilada sauce. Cover and cook for another 10-20 minutes.

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Over the past week, Wing and I found ourselves in East County — the cities in the eastern part of San Diego County. We went there a few times for varying reasons. I happen to be very familiar with East County so, when it was time to eat, Wing let me choose the restaurants. I picked out some that I like and wanted him to try, and now I’m sharing our East County dining experiences with you.

Downtown Cafe, El Cajon (pronounced el kah-hone; meaning the drawer due to the city being surrounded by mountains)

Our first night, we ate at a restaurant in El Cajon called the Downtown Cafe, located in the newly renovated and now quaint and semi-historical downtown area. The Downtown Cafe had a nice variety of food on their menu and their alcoholic beverage selection was huge, including beers from local breweries. But Wing and I ordered burgers and soft drinks. He ordered a bleu cheese burger and I ordered the Santa Fe. We were impressed with the amount of bleu cheese and guacamole that we received. Wing said that we will definitely be back to try their other menu items.

Downtown Cafe

Casa de Pico, La Mesa

The next time we found ourselves in East County, we decided to go for Mexican. I knew of a great place called Casa de Pico, a local favorite ever since it was located in Old Town. Wing tried the cranberry mango chicken off of the seasonal menu and I ordered the chile poblano fresco off the vegetarian menu. Both were very good. The flavors in the cranberry mango chipotle chicken blended together perfectly and were subtle, not overpowering the taste of the chicken. The chile I ordered was packed with seasoned vegetables, topped with a creamy and delicious jalapeno sauce. We couldn’t resist ordering dessert, so we ordered the fried ice cream — a battered and fried ice cream scoop that rested on top of a bunuelo. Yum!

Casa de Pico

Anny’s Fine Burgers, Santee

The final trip to East County led us (and Mars) to Anny’s Fine Burgers. Its original store was in Santee, but it became so popular and crowded that it expanded and opened a second store in the Kearny Mesa area of San Diego. I’ve only been to the Santee location so my pictures are from there. Anny’s has a large variety of unique burger options. Since its opening, it has expanded to serving hot dogs and chicken wings. The burgers are huge so Wing and I split one. We ordered the hickory BBQ burger and some garlic Parmesan chicken wings. The burger didn’t disappoint. I was a little disappointed with the wings when they first put them on our table. I don’t really like the powdered Parmesan cheese which was sprinkled on them, but I ate one anyway. I ended up loving it despite the powdered cheese.

Annys

Mars, the parentals, and I (Peanut) went to Old Town in San Diego for dinner (Wing had to work so he couldn’t join us). With its historical buildings and its rich culture, nothing beats eating authentic Mexican food in the exact spot that is considered California’s birthplace:  http://www.oldtownsandiegoguide.com/history.html

CdeR Casa de Reyes

There are many great, authentic Mexican restaurants (and other great restaurants that aren’t Mexican) in Old Town, but we decided to dine at a restaurant called Casa de Reyes (house of kings) located in the plaza known as Fiesta de Reyes. The restaurant has outdoor dining only, but in sunny San Diego, this isn’t much of a problem. The concern we had for this time of year, was that it wasCdeR chips too hot, but luckily the hostess seated us at a table in the shade. We ordered our drinks and enjoyed perusing the menu with a nice basket of chips and salsa. The chips were sprinkled with a type of chili powder that gave them a nice taste that was not spicy but out of the ordinary from your regular chips. Mars seemed to think they tasted the same as normal chips, but our mom and I thought they tasted better than the traditional. None of us ordered anything extravagant (if you wonder why, please refer to the About page and note that our parents are not foodies at all), but there’s nothing wrong with going back to your favorites. I ordered the chicken Suiza enchiladas, Mars ordered cheese enchiladas, mom a beef taco, and dad the chile relleno. I thought the chicken Suiza enchiladas were very good. They were served with a white cheese sauce that is a nice change from the typical red or green sauces. The chicken itself was shredded and wasn’t too dry as some restaurants can cook their chicken til it’s dry and flavorless. But this was good and flavorful. The rest of the fam liked theirs well enough also. Dad even said his was good, which is a compliment to the restaurant since he’s becoming a grouch these days. So consider the chile rellenos a ‘wow’ from us from him… Dad’s chile rellenos came with housemade flour tortillas (literally made on site in a little area where people can watch the workers making them). I stole a bit of one (because fresh tortillas are always worth stealing from your dad) and they were nice and thick, just melting in your mouth. Yum!

chicken suiza enchiladas, tortillas, chile relleno

chicken suiza enchiladas, tortillas, chile relleno

After dinner, we walked around Old Town a bit, looking through the shops and letting our food settle before we headed back to the plaza area to buy churros from our favorite little panaderia (bakery) aptly named La Panaderia. Our parents used to take us here quite a bit when we were kids and we’d always get the churros. To this day, I compare my churros from any other place to the churros made at this Old Town bakery. We love them!

La Panaderia Churro 2

Overall, the little outing was a good one. Food was good and company was good. We definitely recommend Casa de Reyes (or any of the other restaurants in or near Old Town) as a place to eat if you’re ever in the San Diego area. And make sure to stop by La Panaderia for a taste of delicious Mexican pastries!