Dija Mara ~ Opening Soon & Menu Preview, Oceanside

Dija Mara is putting the final touches on their restaurant as they prepare to open their doors ( I don’t know the date yet ). They have put up their menu, which they are calling “Balinese Inspired”. Most people I have talked to are happy to have something other than another pizza or burger joint coming in.

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Dija Mara 232 South Coast Highway, Oceanside. The former Bessie’s location.

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The menu.

Looking forward to trying it.

#food #foodie #foodporn #oceanside #northcounty #balinesecuisine #restaurant #indonesianfood

Great Dishes ~ September ’17

Near the end of the month I usually compile a list of dishes that did not appear in regular posts but deserve recognition. Sometimes it’s just a dish from a lunch I grabbed or maybe a restaurant that has already been covered quite a bit on the site. So, here are the ones from September that I think are worth trying if you happen to find yourself out and about and a bit peckish.

( No particular order )

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The House Burger ~ O’side Sports Bar and Grill.

Always great. I would put it up there with the burger at Red Rooster. Served perfectly medium rare and comes with a side of crispy french fries for around $10.

O’side Sports Bar and Grill, Oceanside

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Smoked Salmon Roll ~ Yoshino Japanese Deli, Carlsbad.

I can not say how great Yoshino is for a quick, no frills sushi fix. Fresh sushi, made every morning by the Japanese family who owns the restaurant. They do sell out by 1pm most days, so go early. A truly great, little gem in the Carlsbad Village.

Yoshino Japanese Deli, Carlsbad

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Seasonal Vegetables ~ The Flying Pig, Vista.

This plate of farm fresh seasonal vegetables packed so much flavor. The vegetables that day were green beans with garlic, bacon, and micro greens topped with a brown butter sauce. The kind of food that leaves you wanting more.

The Flying Pig, Vista

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Pork Loin Sandwich ~ Petite Madeline Bakery & Bistro.

One of Chef Marc’s weekly specials. Pork loin, cucumber, red onion, spinach, and stone ground mustard on a house made roll. Tender, flavorful pork and fresh bread are a hard combo to beat.

Petite Madeline Bakery and Bistro, Oceanside

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Summer Salad ~ The Privateer Coal Fired Pizza, Oceanside.

Dropped into the Privateer on a whim for lunch and had this amazing salad. Cyclops Farms cucumbers, mango, tomato, and greens with a spicy vinaigrette. It was a really clever play on a Thai green papaya salad as far as the flavor profile, with shaved and cut cucumber replacing the green papaya.

The Privateer Coal Fire Pizza, Oceanside

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Yaki-Udon ~ Huku Sushi & Robata, San Marcos.

I love Udon but have never had it prepared this way, I always get Udon soup. Udon noodles stir fried with chicken and lots of vegetables. I really enjoyed this, the noodles were perfect and still had bite. Also, great and attentive service, even though there was a Birthday Party with 15 people going on.

Huku Sushi & Robata, San Marcos

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Chicken Enchiladas & Carnitas Taco ~ Valerie’s Taco Shop, Vista.

A little Taco shop next to Starbucks on Emerald Dr. serving fresh, made to order, Mexican food and great salsas.

Valerie’s Taco Shop, Vista

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Hot Buffalo Chicken Strips ~ Wings-N-Things, Oceanside.

An admitted guilty pleasure of mine. Tender all white meat strips with a spicy buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing. No bread sticks, no carrots or celery, just down to business. I really like the spiciness and flavor of their buffalo sauce, making them my go to for this dish.

Wings-N-Things, Oceanside

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Kimchi & Pulled Pork Monk’s Bowl ~ East Village Asian Diner, Encinitas.

I love Kimchi and I think East Village Diner makes some of the best in North County. The Monk’s Bowls, or Clay Pots, come in a variety of options from all vegetarian to beef. I went for the pulled pork with a fried egg with kale instead of rice, it made for a great, tasty and filling lunch.

East Village Asian Diner, Encinitas

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Ceviche on Avocado with Chips ~ Primo Market, Oceanside.

Bought a small container of their fresh ceviche, two avocados, and a bag of tortilla chips as a take home dinner. I like their ceviche, it has a nice ratio of fish to the tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Also it is not too acidic. Paired with fresh avocado and chips it made for nice light dinner.

Primo Market, Oceanside.

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Fish Ham ~ Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub, Oceanside.

From the ever creative mind of Chef Davin Waite. Yellowtail, brined like ham and then smoked. The name is pretty spot on as to its taste. Think smoked fish crossed with ham.

Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub, Oceanside

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Big Mouth Burger Combo ~ Angelo’s Burgers, Oceanside.

Guilty pleasure for the month. A tasty double patty bacon burger with all the toppings and fries.

Angelo’s Burgers, Oceanside

Hope you had a great Month! Enjoy!

#food #foodporn #foodie #burger #lunch #dinner #oceanside #encinitas #carlsbad #san marcos #northcounty #seafood #mexicanfood #asianfood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Chefs Eat.

So, recently I was thinking about the places I frequently find myself eating when not going out to review a restaurant. My go to places I visit at least once a month. I decided to ask a few local Chefs the same question.

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Chef Willy Eick ~ 608 Restaurant.

” Wrench and Rodent of course, any chance I get, like all of us.”

“I also go to Punjabi Tandoor in Carlsbad with Chef Davin Waite, Chef Ramiro from Belching Beaver Tavern, and all our kids.”

What is your go to dish at Punjabi Tandoor? ” The usual, Chicken Tikka. My wife really likes their eggplant.

I also like Enzo’s BBQ for their ribs. They use U.S. Kobe beef ribs.” ….and of course any number of taco shops for late night grub.

Wrench and Rodent

PunJabi Tandoor

Enzo’s BBQ

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Chef Marc Santos ~ Petite Madeline Bakery & Bistro

“Pollos Maria, obviously for their chicken.” “There is one near my house and their chicken is so tender and flavorful.”

“I love fish and chips, so Harbor Fish and Chips or Harbor Fish Cafe in Carlsbad.”

“I also love freshly made sausage, there is a little European deli in Escondido that makes wonderful blood sausage.” “It is called Continental Delicatessen.”

Pollos Maria

Harbor Fish and ChipsHarbor Fish Cafe

Continental Delicatessen

 

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Chef Davin Waite ~ Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub / The Whet Noodle

Davin also mentioned Punjabi Tandoor. “Its a good place to meet up with other Chefs and all our kids.” “It’s good honest food and the outside seating works great, Chef’s kids can be little Hellions.”

“The Miller’s Table, Stacy is great and they have a lot of Vegan options for my wife.”

The Miller’s Table

 

Figured I would mention a few places I regular find myself visiting when I am not “working” as well.

Primo Foods in Oceanside. I go here at least once a week, before or after my beach walks, for inexpensive and great tasting Mexican food. They have great weekly specials.

Pho Oceanside. My go to comfort meal. $8.99 for a large bowl of happiness.

Petite Madeline. I usually eat breakfast here about 5 times a month. I pretty much order whatever “Chef Specials” Marc has made up for the week.

About once every two months I give in and eat a Gyro from Angelo’s Burgers in Oceanside. I have to keep it on a longer cycle because they are huge and probably over 3000 calories. Plus I have to get extra sauce, I mean I am already committing.

Primo Foods

Pho Oceanside

Angelo’s Burgers

Petite Madeline

 

#food #foodie #northcounty #Oceanside #restaurant #guiltypleasure

 

 

Coming Soon ~ New Ramen & Beer Places ~ Encinitas

Really excited about both these projects. The first is Rooster Ramen from Chef David Volk. Rooster Ramen used to be a nightly pop up at the Encinitas Bull Taco. David pulled out due to factors I won’t get into with the owner, but I am happy to see some of the best ramen I have had in North County coming back. You can read about the concept here, though I do not think this location will have outdoor seating.

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Rooster Ramens new home at 914 South Coast Highway, Leucadia. Right before Leucadia Blvd.

Also, Modern Times got approval (barley) to open their new tasting room at 470 South Coast Highway. The location is across from the La Paloma Theater between Ironsmith Coffee and Filberto’s.

#beer #craftbrewer #ramen #food #chef #encinitas #tastingroom #food #restaurant

Gourmet Artisan ~ Oceanside

Gourmet Artisan is a prime example of me coming up with a pre-formulated notion about a restaurant and then having them prove me completely wrong. While I have a pretty good radar based on years of experience and research applied deciding if I am going to check out a place it, as I am about to admit, it is not fool-proof.

Gourmet Artisan is one of those places whose exterior does a great job of masking the calibre of the food served within. unassuming, it does not stand out amongst the surrounding store fronts or display the offbeat character hinting at the potential of a hole-in-the-wall hidden gem.

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Gourmet Artisan ~ 409 Mission Ave. Oceanside. ( Downtown Oceanside in the Regal theater plaza.)

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Nice simple interior.

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The Menu ~ A nice range of sandwiches, salads, pastas, flat breads, pastries and smoothies. Due to the breadth of the menu, its location, adjacent to the theater and the beach, it is a perfect place for family outings or groups, as everyone should be able to find something that suits their tastes. What sets Gourmet Artisan apart from the other surrounding food options near by, is the quality of the ingredients they use and the fact they have a Chef constructing and executing the menu.

“It’s a restaurant of course they have a Chef”. No, there are plenty of restaurants, some a stone throws a way, that while they may have cooks, and may have very talented ones, they do not have a chef. It is even more rare in a fast casual setting.

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“Owner’s Favorite” Sandwich ~ Prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, marinated artichokes, confit tomatoes, fresh basil, and olive oil with a side salad.

I ordered this on my first visit and it is what brought me back for my second. The bread is delivered fresh daily from (funnily enough) Gourmet Artisan Bakery in Mira Mar (no relation) and is wonderful. The chibata had a crisp and flakey crust with a soft interior that is found in truly well crafted fresh bread. All the ingredients in the sandwich were of the highest quality, from the fresh mozzarella to the olive oil. It was a joy to eat.

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Chicken Marsala with rice.

After my first visit, having realized the error of my ways, I went back a second time to try more food and write an article. Originally, I was going top go with another one of their great sandwiches or a salad but the owner steered me to a new dish the chef had just added to the menu and was quite happy with.

It’s been a while since I have had Chicken Marsala but this is easily one of the best examples I have had of the dish. The rice, chicken and mushrooms were perfectly cooked but the sauce was the real star. The sauce had a great depth of flavor, a silky texture, and just enough acidity from the wine without being boozy.  It left me satisfied without being too full, which was great because I was surprised with a crepe for dessert.

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Crepe ~ Chocolate, fresh berries, ice cream, and whipped cream.

Though not a sweets person normally, I enjoyed the crepe and ice cream.

Gourmet Artisan is owned and operated by Adrien Cotto and his wife with the kitchen being helmed by Chef  Andrew Pinzon. It is definitely worth checking out and will be added to my normal downtown rotation.

Gourmet Artisan

409 Mission Ave. Oceanside

#food #foodporn #foodie #oceanside #sandwich #lunch #sandiego

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan Sushi @ Wrench & Rodent ~ Oceanside

Sushi ~ a Japanese dish consisting of small balls or rolls of vinegar-flavored cold cooked rice served with a garnish of raw fish, vegetables, or egg.

Davin Waite has been regarded as one of the best sushi chefs in San Diego for quite some time now. Not only is his culinary skill recognized by the diners of his restaurants ( previously the Fish Joint and now Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub) but also among the Chef community in San Diego. He has, just through recognition of his talents by others, become an example of the strong culinary scene that has developed in North County over the last 5 to 6 years. I’ll stop there because you do not have to look hard to find similar accolades in various publications and websites touting his virtues and those of his food.

Lately, he has been expanding his efforts in creating increasingly diverse and complex vegetarian and vegan dishes. He has always had these options on his menu, or made dishes off the cuff for guests if requested, but I feel lately it is becoming more forefront.

With this in mind, I stopped in for a vegan omakasi meal, though a few fish dishes made their way to me as well as I am an omnivore and will eat anything he puts in front of me.

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Black pepper burnt cabbage nagiri.

A ton of flavor in these little guys. The preparation of the Cyclops Farms organic cabbage gave it a smokey flavor, making it a very savory dish.

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Dulse (seaweed) and tomato.

Another savory bite. The Dulse has a flavor that some compare to bacon, and while I did not get that 100%, it was a nice contrast against the sweet tomato.

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Barbecued beet with eel sauce.

Looking and tasting very close to eel nigiri, the texture of the beet was firmer differentiating itself and making this an interesting and tasty treat.

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Avocado, chili garlic, and chili oil.

lightest of the bites the avocado contrasted perfectly with the spice from the chili components on the dish.

All these dishes were interesting, exciting, and delicious. Wether part of an all vegan dinner or strewn throughout a regular omakase meal they will not disappoint.

As I had said, Davin threw in a fish dish before I even had a chance to order and I ordered a cooked dish from “The Whet Noodle”, his adjoining sister restaurant to Wrench & Rodent, just to bulk up the meal.

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Opah ~ Beet mash, kale kraut, lemon grass glaze, and lemon grass ash.

Opah is one of my favorite fish. This dish, especially the lemon grass glaze, made the fish shine. It does not look bad either:)

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Yellow Tail ~ Hatch chili romesco, herb quinoa, and fried okra.

Perfectly cooked yellow tail, a great sauce, and the best okra I have tasted. Another winner.

 

Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub

1815 South Coast Highway, Oceanside

 

#food #foodporn #foodie #seafood #sushi #vegan #vegetarian #oceanside #wrenchandrodent #organic

 

 

 

A Taste Of Oceanside 2017 ~ October 7th

Get your tickets early as it will sell out.  This is the 4th Year and has grown from 400 to 1000 attendees, thanks to the hard work of Mainstreet’s promotional committee, the great restaurants, and of course the attendees.

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Get tickets here.

#oceanside #tasteofoceanside #food #foodie

Re-visit report: Panca Peruvian Cuisine & Rotisserie ~Oceanside

So, while it has only been about a year since my last visit to Panca (that’s pretty good for me with my schedule.) I wanted to stop by and try some of the dishes I have passed over during my previous visits. The thing I love about Peruvian food is that it truly is a “fusion” cuisine. In addition to the variations of flavors and ingredients based on geography and family tradition, you see the influences of Peru’s diverse cultural make up. “Peruvians view themselves as a racially mixed people: a “half indigenous, a third European, a sixth African and one part Asiatic”. Add to that the creativity of a talented Chef like Ioli and you get great Peruvian staples through an exciting lens.

I dragged my friend Chef Beau Bonham along for the meal. I learned he had not been to Panca so, this was going to be a treat for him to experience it and me to have someone along with another strong pallet to “food nerd” out with.

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Tiradito ~ Fresh fish slices with a Peruvian yellow pepper lime sauce, Rocoto and Aji limo.

This along with the Wonton scallops are a must have dish when visiting for me. Unlike Ceviche the fish is not marinated in citrus. It is raw with the sauce added right before service. The freshness of the fish is highlighted against the citrus and heat from the sauce. It is quite spicy and will quickly catch up with you.

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Aji De Gallina ~ Chicken in creamy spicy sauce made with Parmesan, Peruvian yellow pepper, and walnuts, served over a bed of potato and a side of Peruvian white rice.

This was my first time trying this dish and both of us agreed it was the star of the meal. The sauce, while reminiscent of a curry is something unique. It has a body to it which we guessed was probably from slowly introducing parmesan into it while cooking.

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Ocopa ~ Homemade Peruvian spicy sauce, Ocopa is made with Huacatay (black mint), peanuts, animal crackers and Peruvian yellow pepper, over a bed of potato.

Another fantastic interesting sauce. Thick with a mild bitterness or earthy quality. The closest comparison would be a mole sauce. The dish is Served chilled over boiled potatoes. This is an appetizer and like all her appetizers is easily sharable.

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Alfajores ~ Two short bread cookies with “manjarblance” (dulce de leche) in the middle; then topped with powdered sugar.

Beau insisted on getting their famous Alfajores. If you want a perfect example of how a text-book short bread is supposed to be, this is it. Perfectly light and flaky.

What a great meal, I’m glad I took the time to re-visit them. I whole handedly believe Panca is the best Peruvian food in San Diego County. Q’ero gets more attention (and is good) but Panca is a notch above and slightly less expensive.

Panca has future expansions in the works Here.

Panca Peruvian Cuisine & Rotisserie

1902 South Coast Highway, Oceanside

#food #foodporn #oceanside #peruvian #southamerican #peruvianfood #restaurants

 

 

New Plywood Report W/ Updates ~ Oceanside

A couple of additions to what is coming soon, plus an update.

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The space next door to Dairy Queen on Mission Ave and across the alley from 608 is under construction and the space is divided in two. The owner is reportedly building out a pizza restaurant attached to a brewery. Not sure if beer will be brewed on site or it will be more of a tap-room.

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Panca Peruvian Cuisine and Rotissery is expanding just two doors down from their original location in South O’ with “La Bodeguita De Panca”. Based on the name and liquor license it seems it will be a small Peruvian based market selling Chef Ioli’s great desserts with Peruvian beers and wine. Maybe some Peruvian staples as well. “Bottled Aji sauce please”.

Lastly, as mentioned by a follower, the new “Tequila and Mexican street food spot ” Jalisco Cantina  will in fact be next to Barrel Republic on Coast Highway..

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Thanks, have a great weekend.

#food #foodporn #restaurants #oceanside

Restaurant Re-Visits ~ Oceanside Privateer & TBG BBQ

So part of what I wanted to do this month was do a couple of restaurant re-visits. These are places that I have covered before, but it has been a while. In that time they have gone through changes or are on the verge of expansions. Plus with a lot of new followers since I last covered them, I though it would be a good idea.

First up is Privateer Coal Fired Pizza. Since opening The Privateer has been a staple in South Oceanside, not only as a great restaurant but as a champion for local Oceanside culture.

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Recently, The Privateer went through a Chef change. Original Chef Stephen Reyna left to work with his father in the kitchen of Roosevelt Pizzeria in Carlsbad. Hopefully we will soon see a solo project from this talented Chef.

Not missing a beat, the Privateer brought on a new Chef and has continued to deliver the excellent food they are known for.

I went in and wanted to try dishes that were recent additions to the menu and would give me a glimps at how the new Chef has influenced the food.

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Coal Fired Corn ~ Smoked chili butter sauce.

A beautiful dish, perfectly sweet and tender corn with a great sauce.

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Spice Rubbed 1/2 Chicken ~ Arugula, and lemon.

Perfectly moist chicken with a flavorful spice rub that worked perfectly with the freshness and slight bitterness of the arugula. Spice rub, chicken, fresh arugula, and lemon..all that is needed.

Like the Privateer in South O, TBG BBQ (That Boy Good) has been around in downtown Oceanside since the early days of the North County Restaurant movement. In-fact Friday the 4th marked the 5th year of operation for the Louisiana style juke joint. In that time they have developed a strong consistent following of people who love Chef Mark Millwood’s BBQ, which is based on his family’s recipes, and the restaurants funky and casual feel.

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Within the last year TBG has added a full liquor license expanding on their already established craft beer list.

Poised for an expansion that will add a second location at the top of Pier View Way at 326 N. Horne St. in conjunction with Northern Pine Brewing Company, later / early next year, things are looking good for this Oceanside staple.

The new location will differ in concept, though still focusing on southern food. In the mean time my friend Alex and I headed in for some old staples.

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BBQ Chicken Wings. Mark makes some of the best wings IMO. The secret is they are smoked, par fried, and then finished in the fryer on order. This gives them a depth of flavor and nice crunch, while retaining their moisture.

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Half rack of ribs, fries, coleslaw, and their signature corn bread.

Everything you want from ribs, smokey flavor and fall of the bone tenderness.

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Fried Chicken Thighs ~ Coleslaw, their awesome mac and cheese, and cornbread.

This is my go to, either in platter or sandwich form. I love the use of thigh meat and the slight spiciness to the crunchy batter.

If you have not been to either of these Oceanside staples, go check them out. If like me it has been awhile, go see an old friend for dinner.

Coming up ~ A Panca re-visit and their goings on, new vegan fast food in Encinitas, and hopefully good Chinese and Italian in North County.

Privateer Coal Fired Pizza

1706 South Coast Highway, Oceanside

That Boy Good BBQ

207 N. Coast Highway, Oceanside

Northern Pine Brewing Co.

326 N. Horne St. (upcoming)

#food #foodporn #southernfood #privateer #tbgbbq #fsdm