As a way-upstate New Yorker, I have few friends who are familiar with California. Those who do know, often mention San dieog as a place they really like, and would revisiti on a dime. And now, thanks to the Food Network, I’ve become a member of this group!
The Big Kitchen is a place more memorable for the company than the food. That’s saying something, because the food is really good. In fact, it was in Big Kitchen that I had the only tofu I’ve ever enjoyed. The breakfast was tofu ranchero, a sautéed mélange of peppers, onions, mushrooms, herbs and spices, and tomatoes, with some tofu thrown in for protein. I was shocked to find myself saying, “this was delicious!” So the food is good, but meeting Judy, the owner of Big Kitchen, is worth a trip from anywhere. Judy is a walking, talking, warm and engaging, living encyclopedia of pop culture and contemporary American history. Talk about it all with Judy, after the morning rush, of course; politics, sex, drugs, rock-n-roll. No topic is taboo. She’s seen it or heard it all first hand and has her opinions, too. The walls are covered with autographed pictures and souvenirs from celebrities she’s known over the years. One star signed a wall in the kitchen where she used to work alongside Judy. Her name? Whoopie Goldberg.
* The Big Kitchen, 3003 Grape St, San Diego, CA, (619) 234-5789
“In fact, it was in Big Kitchen that I had the only tofu I’ve ever enjoyed.”
Recipe courtesy The Big Kitchen $40 A DAY
APPT – SOUP/SAL – ENTREE – VEG/POT – DESSERT – BEV
Vegetable oil, for pan
16 ounces tofu, diced
6 cups diced mixed vegetables (onions, green bell peppers, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms)
2 cups salsa
8 (6 inch) corn tortillas
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
* Place a large saute pan coated with oil over medium-high heat and saute tofu and vegetables until al dente, 6-8 minutes. Add salsa and cook until heated through. Warm corn tortillas and place 2 on each plate. Serve tofu ranchero over corn tortillas and top with grated cheese.
BEST EATS IN TOWN ON $40 A DAY
BY RACHAEL RAY