Assenti’s Pasta

Assenti’s Pasta is one of our favorite spots.  It is a straight forward pasta shop. There is typically a selection of 10-20 different types of pasta that are laid out on trays for you to look over.  This is the freshest pasta we have found in the San Diego area.  They are consistently good and there are some fairly unusual pastas like the squid ink black pasta, along with others.  They also have a little deli counter with a small selection of salami and cheese along with a few shelves with various Euro/Italian style of condiments such as EVOO, capers, arborio rice, etc., etc.  They carry a great Tuscano Salami that I like to pick up when I am there. There is not a lot to say, just that if you want the best pasta in San Diego, this is your spot.  Oh, one last thing to point out; CASH ONLY!  They do have an ATM but it charges you a small fee.  I’ve learned but messed up a couple times in the early days. They are located in the north end of Little Italy, across the street from Mona Lisa, 1731 India Street, San Diego, CA 92101

Mona Lisa Italian Foods

Mona Lisa Italian FoodsMona Lisa’s is located right across the street from Assenti’s Pasta.  What a great duo!  They have a number of things that we love to buy.  First off, they have some great home made sausage.  They are wrapped continuously so you can buy a sausage that is a couple of feet long.  For a nice presentation, we like to coil them into long coils and pan sear them until done.  The plain mild Italian sausage is the bomb, we love it.  They also have some awesome Provolone balls, rich and authentic stuff, like you won’t find almost anywhere else in town.  Pick up a can of the tuna belly if you like canned tuna.  It will ruin all other canned tuna for you.  Amazingly great.  Salted capers and salted anchovies are always on hand.  I had an espresso soda that was actually delicious.  There sandwiches are quite good and they have a solid selection of Italian wines that are not your typical brands.  Looks like someone there knows a thing or two about Italian wine.

Northgate Market: Favorite Grocery Store for Mexican Food

Northgate MarketFirst off, let me say that I shop at the store located off of 43rd Street in National City.  It’s hard to do this place justice without just going there.  This is an awesome store!  I found it when I was on a search for fresh Chilauca Chili’s.  They ALWAYS have them in stock.  I love to add these in strips to my homemade chili, especially when they are ripe.  They are hard to find ripened, even here, but I get them here and am happy to find any at all. The butcher shop and deli areas are massive and they wrap around the whole shop.  This is a big store, as big as a Super Ralphs, if that helps you scale it.  They have so many good things here.  Their prepared meats, especially the carnitas, are incredible and relatively cheap compared to many places.  Fresh salsas, soups and tons of prepared dishes are available to eat there or take home. They have a tortilla station and are more than happy to let you have a bag of freshly cooked ones if you ask.  They have some unusual versions as well.  Pretty cool. If you like to cook Mexican styled cuisine, you owe yourself a visit.  It’s one of our favorite places to shop in all San Diego.