Mystic Grill, San Diego
Went out to Mystic Grill today in La Mesa. Read a rave about it from Naomi Wise, and we were quite happy with our experience. The falafel blows Mama's away - light, crispy, not heavy and dense. They have a hot sauce they'll give if you ask, which adds a great kick to the falafel.
We also sampled the spinach pie and the grilled trout. Spinach pie was reminiscent of Mama's in seasoning, but was wrapped in a thicker crust that was a bit more bread-like than the flatbread wrap at Mama's. The trout was seasoned with lemon, garlic, and sumac, with turmeric-seasoned rice, hummus, and a small salad w/ veggies and feta. Salad was meh, but the rest of the plate was very tasty.
We also tried the free samples of house-made baklava and farina cake. Both were very good and fresher-tasting than Mama's. I know this sounds like Mama's-bashing, but there's no denying the greater freshness of the food and the superior cooking chops. Prices were very reasonable, too. We'll definitely be back.
6990 University Ave, La Mesa, CA 91941
Got food from here for a second time tonight and had a really good meal. The pasta with white sauce and shrimp was really good. Better than 90% of italian places that I had tried except that the shrimp got overcooked sitting on the pasta. Sauce was not overly gummy or cheesy and the shrimp were nicely seasoned.
Baba Ghanoush was a little too sweet this time, not sure what was in it, but lacked the smoky flavor it had the first time. The lamb kafta sandwich was excellent and the falafel is my wife's favorite in town.
Which Baklava did you try? We tried the almond and pistachio - the almond was smooth and flaky while the pistachio was chunky and looked like peanut brittle. Both were excellent, not overly honey-ed or too sticky. This will definitely be in our rotation as we work through the menu.