Yakitori Taisho is an intimate Japanese yakitori restaurant that opened towards the end of last year, operated by the owners of Yakitori Yakyudori and Hinotez. It’s gotten a lot of positive feedback from my fellow San Diego blogger friends (links to their posts at the end) and is also on Eater’s 38 Essential San Diego Restaurants.

Mr. K and I finally had a chance to visit for an early dinner a few weeks ago. The cozy restaurants seats about 15, with most of the seating around the bar area.

Tsukune (meatball)

The meatballs were tender, moist and flavorful. This was one of our favorites of the evening.

Butashiso (pork belly, shiso leaf)

This was our absolute favorite item from our dinner. The slices of pork belly roll resemble pinwheels with a dollop of pale pink shiso paste in the center. (Shiso leaves come in two varieties, the green ones which are often used with sushi and the purple ones which are used for pickling and create a natural pink dye.) The pork was tender and only lightly seasoned. When you reach the middle, you’re hit with a burst of salt, sour and minty sweetness from the shiso paste, much resembling the flavor of umeboshi (dried plums). It’s a pleasant surprise that works very well with the belly.

Crispy cauliflower bites are drizzled with an addicting bang bang sauce.

I’ve recently become obsessed with bang bang sauce, a creamy sweet and spicy chili sauce that is easy to make. It tastes great for dipping chicken,seafood, vegetables, just about anything really. So I decided to apply it to cauliflower.

I’ve got a couple more healthier recipe ideas to share and then we’re moving onto sweets, baked goods, chocolate and more chocolate.

The other day, Mr. K and I were in the car when Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” song came on the radio for the billionth time (you know the one with the chorus of “maybe we found love right where we are.”) For those unfamiliar, the song is about a potential love lasting until they are old. Mr. K commented that it was one of his favorite songs and then he started singing out loud and sang this lyric:

And, darling, I will be loving you ’til we’re 17

Sultan Baklava

One of our favorite restaurants used to be Sultan Baklava, so we were quite sad when they decided to leave their restaurant in El Cajon. Towards the end of December, while walking to the Horton Plaza parking garage, I noticed an opening soon sign for Sultan Baklava and immediately wondered if it could really be. I didn’t get my hopes up because it was the Gaslamp which seemed like an unusual spot to reopen. However, sure enough, a few weeks later, I read on Eater that Sultan was indeed back.

A few weeks ago, I had a lovely lunch there with CC. It was such a nice day that we chose to sit outside. The inside of the restaurant is quite roomy, much like its previous location. The menu is almost exactly how I remembered, and they also still make their own baklava as well.

Patlican Salatasi (eggplant, onion, sweet pepper, tomato, parsley)

I remember really enjoying this salad in the past. On this visit, the eggplant puree seemed to be in need a little more roasting time and seasoning.

Lava Bread

Appetizers come with complimentary lava bread, which you break off to eat with the puree.

Fıstıkh Kebab (ground beef, pistachios, house spices)