Miguel’s Cocina


I was just in San Diego for the first time, which was an amazing break from the NYC frigid temperatures. I was only there for a bit over a day, but still found time to stop for some Mexican food at Miguel’s Cocina in Carlsbad. 


For over thirty years, Miguel’s Cocina has been serving authentic Mexican cuisine, including their handmade tortillas, fresh salsas, and colorful crispy chips made daily right in their kitchen. And speaking of these chips and salsas, a full basket of Chips, Salsa and Queso are dropped off at your table upon sitting. Yeah, free queso, when does that happen? At Miguel’s, learn about it. The chips are warm, crisp, and addicting. The salsa is fresh and has a really nice heat to it, which you can cool down with the smooth and creaminess of the queso. 


I started with a beverage, and chose their Hibiscus Margarita (Bracero Blanco, Monin hibiscus, lime juice, cinnamon). I really enjoyed this, it was sweet, but not overly sweet or floral. It’s a really pleasant and light cocktail that actually carries a bit more potency than you’d suspect from the smooth taste. 


For my entree, I ordered the Sesame-Seared Tuna Salad (Pink grapefruit salsita and ginger-habanero vinaigrette). I loved this salad. The ingredients are fresh and abundant, and dressed with a spicy ginger-habanero vinaigrette. Caution, it is definitely on the spicier side, so, if spice isn’t your thing, take the dressing on the side. The tuna was perfectly seared, just giving it a kiss on the outside and rare in the center.

The Shorts:
Name: Miguel’s Cocina
Location: 5980 Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad, San Diego
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Yes, the atmosphere is bright and airy, the service is great and the food is super tasty.
Would I recommend it? For sure, all the food looked amazing, and it’s right by the beach. So, stop by for a drink, a meal, a snack, whatever, and walk it off with a stroll in the sand. 


Empire Diner


Almost eighty years ago, Empire Diner made its debut, but more recently, it was reopened, revamped, and about damn time I went. So, I was off to Chelsea for brunch to check it out. 


As a genuine boxcar diner, it made me a bit nostalgic of the late Relish Diner in Williamsburg, one of my old favorite spots (RIP). Inside, the aesthetic is clean, crisp and modern, but still pays homage to the old school diner vibe. 


Everything on the menu sounded amazing, but I had to start with the Bruleed Grapefruit (toasted brioche and cinnamon cream cheese). I’ve had a grapefruit brulee before, but this one was a bit different. Both delicious, but this one had a bit of a different play on it, incorporating the brioche and cinnamon cream cheese. I really loved this, the different flavors and textures compliment each other so wonderfully. The tartness of the grapefruit is offset from the crisp, sweetness of the sugar, the savory, buttery brioche, which is pretty unreal, and the creaminess of the cinnamon cream cheese.


Then, for my entree I had to go for the Buttermilk Pancakes (fluffy pancakes, maple syrup, blueberry compote). Man alive, these were some incredible pancakes. They were light, pillowy, but still rich in flavor, and the blueberry compote was totally clutch. You can taste the simple freshness and flavor of the blueberries, unlike some of these overly sugared, artificially flavored versions at your run-of-the-mill diner. Pour some maple syrup on this bad boy, and you’ve got a slam dunk, right into my stomach. 

The Shorts:
Name: Empire Diner
Location: 210 Tenth Avenue, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Absolutely. The atmosphere is awesome, the food is delicious and the service was excellent. 
Would I recommend it? For sure, you won’t be disappointed. It’s also located right by the High Line, so, go have a great meal and take a stroll to then think about how awesome your meal was.