In Bizarre Foods San Diego, part of the Delicious Destinations series featuring Andrew Zimmern, the host and his crew visited numerous restaurants in the city, showcasing a variety of unique and delicious dishes. Here is a convenient list of all the addresses and dishes highlighted in this exciting exploration of San Diego’s food scene.
ANDREW ZIMMERN SAN DIEGO DISH – California Burrito
WHAT IS IT?
The California burrito, a popular dish in surf towns, is made by filling a flour tortilla with carne asada, french fries, and a variety of toppings. The carne asada is made using arrachera, a thinly sliced cut of steak marinated in lime juice and a house-made cayenne rub. After grilling, the meat is sliced and added to the burrito with freshly made fries. Monterey jack cheese, pico de gallo, and sour cream are added before the burrito is folded and served.
The California burrito emerged in the early 90s, catering to on-the-go surfers and becoming a staple of Southern California cuisine. It’s a handheld, carb-heavy meal that’s often considered a crowd-pleaser. Nowadays, most taco shops in San Diego offer their own take on the dish.
DISH – Fish Taco
WHAT IS IT?
The fish taco is a delicious combination of fresh seafood and tortilla. The chef prepares mahi-mahi by slicing it into finger-sized pieces and dipping it into a batter made with flour, yellow mustard, garlic powder, baking powder, black pepper, salt, oregano, and water before frying it. The corn tortillas are briefly grilled to soften them and then filled with the fried mahi, fresh cabbage, red onion, tomato, cilantro, and the chef’s homemade habanero and red pepper sauce. A squeeze of fresh lime is recommended.
San Diego has been a fishing hub since the late 1800s and is considered the tuna capital of the world. Locals started serving the daily catch in a tortilla, borrowing the tradition from nearby Baja Mexico where street vendors grill or fry fish and load them into handmade tortillas topped with salsa and vegetables.
The Tostada de Pulpo is a classic Mexican dish featuring grilled octopus on a crispy tostada. The chef starts by boiling the whole octopus with white onions, garlic, and bay leaves, being careful not to overcook it. The octopus is then halved and tentacles separated and coated with a chipotle and red pepper marinade. After grilling for a minute, the tentacles are sliced and sauteed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and cilantro. The tostada is spread with Mediterranean dijon aioli and topped with the octopus, smoky caramelized onion compote, preserved lemon, and local seagrass. Raw sliced jalapeno and watercress add a kick, and the dish is finished with a drizzle of olive oil.
Romesco is a restaurant located in a humble strip mall in Bonita, a town nestled in the hills between San Diego and Mexico. It is known for its Mexiterranean cuisine.
ANDREW ZIMMERN SAN DIEGO DISH – Caesar Salad
WHAT IS IT?
The Caesar salad, a well-known blend of romaine lettuce, garlic dressing, and croutons. To prepare, the chef creates croutons by slicing French baguettes, seasoning them with garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and parsley, then baking them to a crisp. The salad is assembled tableside by a specially trained waiter who follows the original recipe from Tijuana, mixing anchovies, lime juice, garlic, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and yolk from a boiled egg. The dressing is whisked with black pepper, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. The romaine lettuce leaves are left whole, coated with dressing, and garnished with croutons and more parmesan cheese.
The Caesar salad’s origin may surprise some, as it was actually created in Tijuana, Mexico in the 1920s by Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant to San Diego who opened a restaurant across the border to attract Americans seeking alcohol and a meal during prohibition. During a busy night with an overflow crowd of Hollywood guests, Cardini improvised a dressing and tossed romaine lettuce into the dining room, creating a salad that became incredibly popular and was eventually served in San Diego, Hollywood, and around the world.
DELICIOUS DESTINATIONS SAN DIEGO DISH – Chicken Adobo
WHAT IS IT?
Chicken adobo is a Filipino dish made by braising chicken legs and thighs in a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar. The chef chops the chicken, sautés garlic and onions in a wok, then adds the chicken and white vinegar. Soy sauce, black pepper, crushed bay leaves, and MSG are added and the mixture is simmered for 30 minutes before being served.
WHERE IS IT?
Tita’s Kitchenette 2720 E Plaza Blvd E, National City, CA 91950, United States San Diego, United States
NOTES – DELICIOUS DESTINATIONS SAN DIEGO
Before the arrival of Spanish conquistadors in the Philippine islands, native Filipinos used vinegar and salt to preserve food in the hot and humid climate. Spanish settlers later transformed the marinade into adobo, a vinegar and soy sauce-based sauce, derived from the Spanish word “adobar.”
BIZARRE FOODS DELICIOUS DESTINATIONS SAN DIEGO DISH – Sea Urchin
WHAT IS IT?
Sea urchins are best eaten cracked open, cleaned, and served straight from the shell. The preparation process involves cracking and rinsing them, making it simple to eat. For those who may be intimidated, the chef offers an introduction to this acquired taste with sea urchin ceviche. The dish incorporates pico de gallo from Mexico and is finished off with a hit of salsa and cocktail sauce.
WHERE IS IT?
Poppa’s Fresh Fish Company 3227 Ocean View Blvd, San Diego, CA 92113, United States San Diego, United States
NOTES – BIZARRE FOODS DELICIOUS DESTINATIONS SAN DIEGO
During the 1960s, the fishing industry aimed to eliminate urchins, assuming that they posed a danger to the underwater ecosystem. However, by the 1970s, their value as a food item was recognized, and urchins were safeguarded and even cultured. San Diego is now a major supplier of sea urchins, known as “uni” in Japan, where they are hugely popular, particularly in sushi restaurants. The sea urchin trend is also gaining traction in San Diego. Unfortunately, this restaurant has closed its doors.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.