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Normal Heights

Hi, any recs for Normal Heights? Staying for a week with my sister. She's vegetarian & I'm adventurous. Especially interested in ethnic places, i.e. vietnamese/oriental cuisines, russian/polish, greek/mid-eastern plus unusual venues.

I've heard about the mexican popsicle place across from LeStats & Mariposa for ice cream. Any other interesting treats in the neighborhood?

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  1. This doesn't exactly fall under any of the food categories you listed, but since your sis is vegetarian and you are adventurous, I'd recommend a meal (probably lunch) at Jyoti Bihanga. The Neatloaf is great!

    Jyoti Bihanga
    3351 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116

    2 Replies
    1. re: srk

      My sister's one of the long-time regulars at Jyoti's & I've been there a couple of times. Most meals there are delicious! Just on the lookout for something that she's probably overlooked cause she's a creature of habit.

      1. re: pgsmama

        How about The Linkery? I've not been, but I read their blog regularly. It seems like they've got some "adventurous" meats going on, while still managing to serve vegetarians, too.

        The Linkery
        3794 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

      1. There's a new Thai place, Pinto's, near the Olde Soud, that's not bad, though I think Bankok Spices Thai on El Cajon is a bit better. Private Reserve/Rosie O'Grady's has surprisingly good Mexican food (not sure about veggie options there, though). And Cantina Mayahuel on Adams near 30th. If she eats shellfish/seafood, there's the Mariscos German taco truck at 35th+University. For middle eastern, there's Mama's on Alabama just south of El Cajon Blvd. And I think Pomegranate on El Cajon Blvd near Texas has many veggie dishes.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mikec

          While my sister won't eat seafood, I DO & the overwhelming feedback about Mariscos German taco truck make this my first stop!

        2. There is anew Asian restaurant on Adams Street called Tao next door to the Viva Pops, (which I think is the Popsicle place you mentioned). It is operated by the Chef of Dao Son, an inexpensive Vietnamese/Japanese restaurant on El Cajon Blvd.

          I had read that they make their own tofu there. We tried a sample at a recent food festival and while I usually do not enjoy tofu, I thought theirs tasted very good.

          1 Reply
          1. Mariposa will hit the spot on these warm days.

            We have a new el Zarape on Adams, owned by the same people as the El Zarape on PArk Blvd. They offer a different dining experience. There are no combo plates or fast food style dishes. They have a full bar and menu. I recently had the mole and wife had the Enchiladas. We were very pleased and their prices were under 14 per plate.

            In Kensington you should also check out Blue Boheme. It is a very nice French Bistro.

            1 Reply
            1. re: normalheightsfoodie

              Thanks for all the great suggestions. I'm really looking forward to this trip. I am going to forget all about watching what I eat & enjoy EVERYTHING!

              My 13-year old son is has declared his theme for this trip to San Diego (his fourth) to be Strange Foods. I have a separate post for that &, other than the insects & fermented squid guts, it all sounds fabulous. Can't wait.

            2. So, we came home to NY on Tuesday &, now that I'm settled back into the grind, I wanted to say thank you for the suggestions on local eateries.

              We started every morning with my sister's coffee klatch at Le Stat's on Adams Ave. After the 2nd day I was awarded my own seat, like one of the regulars.

              Jyoti Bihanga was closed for their yearly trip to NY, so we didn't eat there this year, although we did get to say hi.

              We visited 2 of the mariscos taco trucks & sampled fish tacos, marlin, scallops, clam (concha?) & shrimp cocktail. We asked for the octopus, but they didn't have any.

              We visited Zia Pizza on Adams Ave. & had a delicious eggplant pizza on crispy whole wheat crust. Very friendly people. And Viva Pops, also on Adams Ave., is GREAT & we visited them every day, trying new flavors daily & sharing tastes. We got thru almost the whole menu. The best were ruby red grapefruit, nectarine basil & blood orange....yum!

              We went to Pecktopah (a/k/a Pomegranate) which my sister & her friend had been wanting to visit. We started off with khachapuri (a cheese pie), which was pretty tasty. My boy had pork shashlik with a pomegranate glaze. Sister & I shared a cold yogurt/herb soup (took the leftovers home for breakfast) & a combination platter of 6 salads (potato salad, cabbage salad, beet salad, carrot, bean & green bean salads). Oh, & there was a very, very spicy ginger ale that the boy loved. The meal was ok, but not one of my favorites.

              We planned on dinner at the Linkery but it didn't quite work out. My sister said she'd have some vegetarian appetizers for dinner & we stopped to look at the menu, That place is really over-priced. I would have been happy to try the hot dog wrapped in bacon with lots of fix-ins (I guess it's what you call a Tijuana dog), but darned if I'll pay $14.50 for a hot dog ANYWHERE.

              Instead we decided to try Tao, the new Japanese/Vietnamese restaurant across from Le Stat's on Adams Ave. They're particularly known for their tofu. They have lots of vegetarian choices but do serve meat & fish. Delicious. They start you off with a complimentary salad with a bit of tofu. Then we all shared the vegetarian tofu rolls. They were wrapped in rice paper with tofu, lettuce, mint, bean sprouts & rice noodles with a nice spicy sauce. It was a very generous portion & 1 person could make a meal of it. I had the chicken ramen noodle soup which, after a week of eating, was rather comforting. My son had vermicelli with shrimp & pork. My sister's dinner was delicious, a rice bowl with "chicken" tofu. Even better than the vermicelli. They offered complimentary ice cream after dinner, lemon or green tea. Good meal.

              Our last morning was spent as were all the others, at Le Stat. My son was even invited by one of the guys to go out for 1/2 day fishing on our next trip. He accepted the invitation. So we’ll be back.