Friday, September 25, 2015

Xi'an Kitchen

Biang biang noodles -- so tasty, so spicy, so hard to eat elegantly...
The Fresh Three Flavor -- the three flavors are eggplant, potato, and bell pepper.  And deliciousness.
We were surprised that the shrimp dumplings came out in a soup! 
But we liked the soup.  It was sort of smoky-vinegary.
Miko clutching her Coke, the only panacea for spicy food.

Rating: Two thumbs up (Gold star potential)
Date: 9/25/2015
Time in: 1:25 PM
Time out: 2:30 PM
Servers' recommendations: Fresh three flavor, handmade biang biang noodle
What we ordered: Fresh three flavor, handmade biang biang noodle, shrimp dumplings, two Cokes.
Number in our party: 2
Final check amount: $35.61
Price per person: $17.81
  • We had a feeling this place would be good when we walked in and saw that:
    1. The place was busy at 1:25 PM on a Friday. Everyone was happily eating from giant platters of food.
    2. The captions for the photos of menu items on the wall were in Chinese. No numbers or English translations.
    3. We looked around, and it seemed we were the only American-born people in the entire restaurant. Jenne was certainly the lone white person.
  • The server was excellent at giving recommendations. He listened carefully to our preferences and was decisive! We hate it when servers walk us through the menu or suggest the most boring item, e.g. "How about the broccoli beef? Or the orange chicken?"
  • I (Miko) am a giant wimp when it comes to spice, and the handmade noodle dish was pretty damn hot. But the noodle was so yummy that I kept eating anyway.
  • The seasoning on everything was excellent.
  • The portions were generous. We had a good amount of leftovers, and by making a pot of rice, we had enough food for dinner for three!
  • Two top-notch Convoy Conquest meals in a row! We are falling in love with Convoy once again. Thank you, Kula & Xi'an Kitchen.

Address: 4690 Convoy St Ste 109
Phone number: 858.571.2788
Noise level: 3 when it's busy, 2 when it's not
Accepts credit cards? Yes, but only 1 -- no splitting the check
Parking: Shared lot -- not one of the craziest ones
Ideal group size: Any
Available vegetarian options: Tomato and egg noodles with pepper oil, baked bean curd, eggplant dishes (but they might have hidden fish or meat in it).

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Kula Revolving Sushi Bar

We have reunited with our now dear friends from Convoy Recon for a joint expeditionary force!

Prepare yourself for a highly automated, tasty, and extremely kawaii experience.
Here we go:
When you show up, you log in here and they'll text you when it's your turn.  There's even a website you can go to on your phone to see what number they're on.  This is a good thing because the wait can be over an hour.  Try to go at an off hour if you can--we were there at 7pm on a Wednesday and we waited about 40 minutes.
Here's where all the magic happens!  They even give you a short introduction on how to take out the plates.

You gotta be quick!

Here's where you can put in special orders.  It shows you on the screen how much time it will take to get there.

When they arrive, they zoom down the upper conveyor belt and stop at your table, and a lady who sounds like a train announcement says, "Without further delay, now arriving!" in Japanese.

Andrew, Andi, and me!

Django, Miko, and Beston!

We think Andrew could have a lucrative career as a sushi model. Here he is demonstating the shrimp and avocado roll (Jenne recommends!)

Jenne and Miko recommend!  Seared salmon with mayo nigiri.

Spider roll

Jenne recommends!  Golden crunchy roll.

Salmon roe -- only Miko ate this one.

Real crab roll

Andi recommends!  Crispy rice with crab mayo.
 Special-order it, don't get it off the conveyor or it'll be cold and kind of hard.


Andrew recommends!  Special order -- crispy squid.


Crunchy roll
Spicy salmon
Django recommends!  Tempura Philadelphia roll.

Sunomono: pickled...stuff.

Rainbow roll

Miko recommends! Warabi mochi. 
Miko says: This shit is pretty hard to find in a restaurant setting.  Thrilled!
Daifuku mochi
Mochi ice cream
Django recommends!  Soy doughnuts.
Every 5 plates, you get a little animated movie.
Every 15 plates, you get a prize!

Apologies for the vertical video--despite Andrew's objections, it's the only way I could get the whole thing in the frame.  

Django was not excited about this one.

It's hard to tell, but this is a tiny sushi-go-round container thingy!

Rating: Two thumbs up (Gold star potential)
Date: 9/16/2015
Time in: 7:00 PM (seated at 7:39 PM)
Number in our party: 6
Final check amount: $124.42
Price per person: $20.74
  • This meal caused some fits of uncontrolled giggling and cheering.
  • Once you sit down, there is immediate gratification.  Endless food with no wait!  If you want something specific that hasn't shown up on the conveyor belt, you can special-order it, and it'll come in just a few minutes!
  • For every 15 plates you drop into the deposit, there's a prize!
  • Our favorites:
    • Andi: sesame balls, crispy rice with crab mayo
    • Andrew: wasabi, crispy fried squid
    • Beston: umami oil salmon
    • Django: tempura philadelphia roll, Japanese soy donuts
    • Jenne: seared salmon with mayo nigiri, golden crunchy roll
    • Miko: umami oil salmon nigiri, seared salmon with mayo nigiri
  • I (Miko) am fairly picky about raw fish, especially salmon, which I find has too strong of a taste unless it's very fresh. I liked the salmon here, probably because they had the sense to marinate it in various flavors rather than leaving it plain!
  • We were ENTIRELY CHARMED by the experience.  We had grown a little wary of Convoy, what with all the fancy hipsterish developments, not to mention the drop in quality at some of our favorite restaurants, but this has restored a bit of our faith in our favorite street in San Diego. 

Address: 4609 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111
Phone number: 858.715.4605
Noise level: 3
Accepts credit cards? Yes.
Parking: Shared lot, fairly crowded
Ideal group size: 2-6
Available vegetarian options: Dessert? It might have gelatin in it. Edamame, tamago nigiri, natto rolls, cucumber rolls.
Whom not to bring: Vegetarians who want a varied menu