For those who did not get a chance to participate in the recent San Diego Restaurant Week Taste event, I’m giving away a pair of tickets to another upcoming taste event, Taste of Downtown. Details are at the end of this post.

As you may recall, I previously gave away tickets to the first annual SDRW Taste event, a kick-off before Restaurant Week started. I also received complimentary tickets to attend with the DH and I was quite curious how it would be like.

Like many, I was a little surprised by the price ($75 per person), since the other taste events I’ve participated in are usually around $30.  Once I arrived though, I soon understand the high price point. Unlike other taste events I’ve been to, the bites and drinks at this event were truly unlimited. In addition, every single food station was paired with an alcohol beverage, leading to one very boozy night. The quality of the bites were also a bit higher than previous taste events I’ve been to. My favorite part was that even though there was a large crowd, it was easy to sample each booth. There weren’t super long lines or waits at any station with the exception of Slater’s 50/50, which had a small line going most of the night because they were making their famous burgers on the spot.

The event took place at the Broadway Pier right before sunset, providing for some magnificent views. Half of the booths were situated inside and half outside. It was pretty impossible to have the stomach to consume everything offered. DH and I tried to hit most of the food ones and opted to skip most of the alcohol ones. I wisely let DH handle my camera early on in the evening.

Here’s a highlight of some of my favorites:


Tuna lettuce wrap from Marble Room; Beef tongue sandwich from Cowboy Star; Pretzel Rolls from Sadie Rose Baking Co., Caramel Panna Cotta from Cucina Urbana; Green papaya salad and Thai Tea from Chedi Thai Bistro; Hamachi from FireFly; Filet Mignon Wraps and Sandwiches from Donovans; Hubert’s Lemonade (mainly because of the cute bottles and you could take it to-go); Slater’s 50/50.

A few months ago, Taco Bell launched their Doritos Tacos.

I’m going to shamefully admit that I wanted to try it. DH actually looked at me with disgust. This coming from a guy who spent his college years eating canned Vienna sausages or boxed macaroni and cheese and used to ask for McDonald’s gift cards for his birthday. He’s become such a food snob.

Anyhow, I love Doritos and yes, I do like those cheap crunchy tacos from Taco Bell even though they have no semblance to Mexican food. So the idea of combining both sounded really really good.

Well when we finally tried it, I was disappointed. Perhaps it’s the Taco Bell I went to, but I found it to be too salty. The almost neon orange Doritos taco shell had even more cheese powder than a regular Doritos chip. Combined with the salty sauced meat and there was nothing to balance it out.

So we haven’t been back for more, but the other day I thought, why not make my own?

RakiRaki

RakiRaki, a new ramen place, recently had its soft opening.

It’s located in the plaza with the horrible parking that also houses restaurants like Red Moon, Tapioca Express and Tofu House.

According to the menu, the restaurant is part of a chain of ramen restaurants from the JYOSUI Group in Nagoya under Chef Takeo Araki. None of that meant anything to me really, though the one thing on the bio that caught my attention was that they use alkaline water to make the soup as well as serving it to customers.

As you may recall, I first noticed the RakiRaki sign while driving home from Apple Korean House. When I took a peek inside, it looked under construction. But Faye emailed me to let me know that it would be opening September 26. So two days later, I was there to check it out. In fact, I was so curious to check it out that we actually came here after dinner. I guess this was like a late night snack? The interior still has some work to be done and the grand opening will be October 25, but they are currently open for dinner with a limited menu.

Inside, there are seats at the bar, a communal table in the middle, along with smaller tables around the edges of the restaurant.

Right away we were impressed with the service. Usually the service is pretty spotty and inconsistent when a restaurant first opens. While there was a little bit of a lack of coordination here, all the staff were very attentive. Each one of them came over several times to check on us, ask us if we had any questions. Even when we got our check at the end, they told us to stay as long as we wished.

Original

I debated between the original, which is their signature ramen, or the premium which is supposed to be richer. I was afraid the premium might be too salty so I opted to try the original. The ramen here is actually made with chicken broth. I really liked the large bowls that the ramen came in, including a plate underneath the bowl as well.

I found the ramen soup to be a tad too salty for my taste. Also the broth flavor was quite light. I couldn’t really taste much beyond a hint of chicken broth and water.

The noodles were served al dente, still a tiny bit hard, just how I like them. One thing I noticed is that they offer oxtail as an additional topping. I will have to try that next time. I did really enjoy the chashu though. Light, tender, not too fatty.