What San Diegans Eat – Local food writer Candice Woo

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Graffitti Range - not Candace Woo

FYI - This is a graffitti range, not Candace Woo

Candice Woo

needs little introduction. She is the food writer for the (ed. “similar, competing local publication”). Her scope of restaurant reviews spans all that San Diego has to offer, from fine dining on the cliffs of La Jolla, to mom and pop taco stands on the border. Candace is an active member of Slow Food San Diego. She knows about cooking, and she knows about the raw ingredients used in cooking as well. If you go to any fun and exciting food, beer and wine event around the city, there’s a good chance Candice Woo will be there. And one of the best things about Candice, she’s open and friendly, and she loves to talk about food!

List everything that you consumed in the past 24 hours:

I started the day at the ungodly hour of 3 a.m. with a giant mug of coffee, in preparation for a field trip to the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Food is the only reason I’d get up so early! Once there, I snacked on awesome in-season stone fruit, Blenheim apricots and Rosa Pluots – also tasted my first fresh garbanzo bean straight from its pod. Couldn’t resist a few bites of Bienenstich (Bee Sting) cake from Rockenwagner Bakery‘s booth; it’s a hot milk cake filled with vanilla cream, topped with caramelized almonds.

On the way home, our group stopped at the Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles on W. Pico for a comfort food chowdown. I had a chicken thigh and a waffle with both maple syrup and Louisiana hot sauce. Oh, and a few fried chicken livers.

After I got home and recovered from my food coma, I had a little Gruyere cheese, more apricots and iced green/white tea with mint from Trader Joe’s.

I woke up the next morning with coffee from Bird Rock Roasters and some steel-cut oatmeal sweetened with raisins and agave nectar.

Your top five restaurants, favorite meals to cook, or your “rotation”:

I find cooking very relaxing but I don’t have time to do it as often as I’d like. I love braising meat or making soups and stews; it’s cool to see the transformation of humble ingredients into a dish really worth eating.

If I want to go out to eat and I’m not working on a place to review, I’ll usually choose an Asian or Mexican restaurant. Afterwards, I can probably be found at one of San Diego’s fantastic craft beer bars, drinking something sour.

Tell me your favorite grocery store:

Zion Korean Market in Kearny Mesa. It’s smaller and less hectic than Ranch 99 and I can get many of the same ingredients I need here. People complain about the parking, but there a semi-secret lot across the street that always has spaces. Their selection of pickled and marinated salads is wonderful; I’m addicted to radish kimchi. And I love the little bakery annex where they make fresh-baked cookies, pastries and bread. I always buy something sweet to munch on in the car.

Tell me your favorite meal you’ve eaten in the past month:

I had a great meal with friends at Sang Dao, a Laotian-Thai restaurant on El Cajon Blvd. I get to try a lot of wonderful food but it’s rare that I will experience a completely new flavor sensation. We had a Laotian raw beef salad that is traditionally made with beef bile. I can’t say that I will be now using beef bile as a frequent condiment but it was cool to try. I love hanging out with food-obsessed people; it’s always fun to share food while talking about food.

I also had a lardo ice cream sandwich at The Linkery recently that was a new-to-me innovation; I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the “how” part of it, although it was so delicious that I totally get the “why”.

What is one food item you could not bare to live without ever eating again?

Cheese, glorious cheese, in almost any form except processed. The runnier and stinkier, the better. Pork ranks high on the list too.

What do you want the readers to know about yourself? Give a biography, funny anecdote, tell us who your favorite top chef is and why, what’s your favorite cooking show, what do you do for a living, anything interesting about you!

Candice Woo is a freelance food and drink writer who is currently the food columnist for the (ed. “competing local publication”). In her ongoing food adventures, she has made bread in a bakery, cleaned sea urchin, judged sausage competition and killed a chicken; next up, milking camels at a local dairy. Candice is on a constant quest to find the next great dish and thinks about what to have for lunch when she’s eating breakfast and makes plans for dinner while she’s at lunch. She also packs a mean picnic basket.

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