Well I’m back from my weekend sojourn to Southern California for this year’s Drupal Camp LA held at the University of California Irvine. It was a great trip and I had a wonderful time down there. Overall the attendees at the Drupal Camp LA were surprised that Microsoft would sponsor this event as well as want to present sessions. Many wondered indeed why we were there at all.

It’s simple really. There’s a growing number of people who are really passionate about Drupal and are creating websites for their customers and for themselves. At Microsoft we are passionate about the web and we want to help the Drupal and all the other communities have the best experience using Windows as a both development environment as well as a web server. We want your stuff to run great on Windows and to do that we have to get out there to show you what we’ve been up to and also get your feedback so we can go make things better. So that’s why we were at this event and it’s why you’ll see more of us at events like this in the future.

My talk on our IIS SEO Toolkit was very well received. There weren’t many people in the audience. Maybe 20 or so, but it was clear that they were impressed with this little piece of technology we created. It works on any website built with any framework running on any web server. Indeed, the heart of it is a web site crawler much like what you’d see Google or Bing use to crawl websites to rank your pages and your site itself. If you have not seen this tool in action then I’d encourage you to take a few minutes to read up on the IIS SEO Toolkit.

 

My Life as a Food Critic

So during my travels this past weekend I only made it to two of the four restaurants I wanted to check out. I actually went to one of them twice (two separate locations). So here for your culinary pleasure is my review of Wahoo’s Fish Tacos in Costa Mesa, CA and San Shi Go in Laguna Beach, CA. In this segment I will be channeling James Lipton and Anthony Bourdain simultaneously.

 

My rating system is as follows:

200 OK = Outstanding

302 Found = Very Good

404 Not Found = Somewhat Disappointing

500 Internal Server Error = Stay Away At All Costs

 

Wahoo’s Fish Tacos:IMAGE_103

I wandered into the Wahoo’s Fish Tacos in Costa Mesa, CA on Sunday afternoon. This location is in fact their first store so it’s been around for a while and the place has lots of charm.

I ordered my regular, a #2, which is a two fish taco combo, char-broiled, with black beans, white rice and a Pepsi. Now a few things have changed in the past year since I’ve eaten there. A #2 used to be a two fish taco combo. They have since started serving chicken which boggles my mind since who the hell wants chicken at a fish taco restaurant? They’ve also started serving brown rice. WHY for God’s sake? Nobody wants brown rice as a Mexican food side. Besides their white rice is out of this world. If my taste buds aren’t deceiving me they cook it in a chicken broth and add either a tiny bit of oregano or maybe thyme and also some cilantro too. And they’ve also started serving white beans in addition to pinto which they’ve had forever and of course, black. the best bean there is.

IMAGE_106Ok, so I admit. I am not one who embraces change quickly. I like the #2 combo just the way I get it. I’ve been eating it that way for a very long time so don’t get your new fangled white beans and brown rice and chicken thing all up in my face. Flat out I don’t care. It’s perfect just the way I order it.

Anyway, after ordering I get myself a Pepsi from the soda fountain and sit down in the middle of their spacious and uniquely decorated dining room seated amongst a few other casually dressed but always hip and beautiful Wahoo’s crowd. It was a little chilly in there but then it always seems to have been in past visits. I suspect that this extra chilliness comes as a blessing when this place gets packed during the weekdays during lunch. Generally at this location and every other one I have been to the line goes right out the front door. A little extra cooling feels good when the place is packed with people. IMAGE_104

My order shows up in no time and I am face to face with a beautiful plate of food with the wonderful and tasty black beans on the left nestled gently against the rice which takes a commanding position in the middle with the two fish tacos riding side saddle off to the right. And of course a wedge of lime for your squeezing pleasure.

The tacos themselves are works of art. Char-broiled Wahoo fish with a small pinch of shredded cheddar cheese underneath some cool cabbage and topped with a dash of some wonderfully fresh salsa that compliments the fish, enhancing its flavor. All of this of course is lovingly double wrapped in two fresh white corn tortillas. Magnificent.

IMAGE_107I start right in to the fish tacos savoring every bite. The fish, cabbage, cheese and salsa each in culinary harmony. A masticular delight to be sure. After I finished the fish tacos I then take the rice and beans and mix them together thoroughly into something akin to a casserole. Most people would say that I’m just mashing them together, but no. This is art and you have to ensure that the beans are completely mixed in together with the beans. You also have to use any of the salsa left on the plate and mix that in as well to create an unseemly looking but completely tasty mush.

After I finished my plate I refilled my drink with some more Pepsi. One of the Pepsi fountains was out of syrup so I dumped that out in the ice trap and refilled my cup with the other Pepsi dispenser. Marvelous.

Overall I give this Wahoo’s experience a 200 OK. Absolutely Magnificent.

 

San Shi Go:

IMAGE_102

My visit to San Shi Go was on a Saturday evening at about 8:30. I was lucky as I was expecting the place to be packed and might have to wait. Generally though over the years it is pretty easy to get in at the Sushi Bar as a single and this evening was no exception. As I walked in I see two of the sushi chefs that have been there forever. That’s Joe on the right and Yugi on the left. Both are incredible sushi chefs and artists.

As i sit down I am greeted by a friendly server who provided me with a hot towel and a choice of drink. Normally I enjoy sushi with a large Sapporo lager but this evening I was not in the mood for beer so I ordered a Coke instead. The sushi chef quickly gave me their traditional greeting appetizer, a small bowl of noodles swimming in a sweet soy broth. It’s very tasty and refreshing too and cleans your palate so that IMAGE_095 you may enjoy your fish a little better.

After my beverage arrives I made my first order. Toro Sushi. Now normally when a sushi place has Toro I order it sashimi style and when this place has Toro you better believe I do, but I was not very hungry so just a little is perfect for me this evening.

The Toro San Shi Go has is often Chutoro and very often Otoro grade. If they can’t get high grade they won’t buy it and to be honest nothing is more disappointing than ordering Toro and getting crap. Their Toro literally melts in your mouth. Tonight’s was no exception, Otoro this evening. Absolute perfection perched atop two perfectly formed pieces of sweet sushi rice with the perfect amount of wasabi between the two.IMAGE_098

The next thing on the menu is their Spicy Scallop Roll. Now I know what you’re thinking. So what? It’s a stupid roll and you can get that anywhere. Well yes you can. However,  you can’t get one made as good as these guys make one. Their recipe for the scallop, mayo and spicy sauce is excellent and when combined with their incredible sushi rice it really is an incredible dish. Besides, I can’t tell you how many times I have had terrible spicy scallop rolls. They either don’t make it spicy or flavorful enough, or they simply take some some scallops and squirt spicy sauce on it and smash it into a roll and serve it to you. It’s so spicy that I can’t feel my tongue!!! I swear to God. Sushi chefs should lose their sushi license for that.

IMAGE_096My final order tonight and the one I have been waiting to have since the last time I was there and have been thinking about non-stop since I booked this trip is their Cajun Seared Tuna. A masterpiece. This is one of the most incredible sushi dishes you will ever have in your lifetime (if you’re Buddhist like me, your next lifetime too). First, they prepare the fish by first applying a seafood cajun rub over the top and bottom of the fish. If I remember the name of this rub I will let you know but you can find this on your specialty seafood store shelves. Next they sear the tuna on both sides as you would normally when making seared tuna for sushi. Once prepared, after you order it, they slice the fish as normal for sushi and then put a drop of spicy sauce on top of the sushi, a little big of Negi (thinly sliced scallions) and then drizzle it with some low sodium soy sauce and serve. It truly is a masterpiece is it not? On my scale of HTTP Response Codes again I am giving out my coveted 200 OK.

Well that’s it for my Drupal Camp and So Cal Restaurant Review. I hope you enjoyed it. If you are interested in having me come and speak at your local Drupal Camp about the Microsoft Web Platform and our SEO Toolkit and how you can use it to improve the SEO for your or your customer’s websites please do drop me a line. If my schedule permits I’d be happy to and I’d be happy to come and enjoy in some of the local restaurants in your area as well.

 

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