The worst XLB in San Diego is at

Facing East Noodle & Bar.

Where does one begin?

The XLBs we tried, the truffle, foie gras and basic pork, were shriveled and reminded all of us “XLB raisins” Gives new meaning to the word “shrinkage” – George would be proud.

As to taste? The truffle ones tasted bitter, and had a weird aftertaste that reminded all of us cigarette ash. And visually they looked like dog droppings.

The foie gras dumplings were dry and oily, if that’s possible. The filling was dry, but the broth was like sipping a bottle of Canola oil. Oh, and they looked like soiled diapers.

How about the standard pork XLB? Too salty. Skin too tough.

And while I’m by no means a vegetarian, this is one of those times where I wished the menu offered a few greens as appetizers or entrees. The closest thing were string beans. They were tough and chewy, just like the XLB skins.

Do yourself a favor, if you want passable XLB go to Tasty Noodle next door, or just walk across the street to Dumpling Hut. Or just head to Ranch 99 and buy some frozen ones to reheat at home. Thank yourself later.

Facing East Noodle & Bar
4647 Convoy
(858) 277-1477

how do you dry out foie gras, ugh

Whoa! Well, my list of places to try just went down by one more. Thanks for taking the hit.

While I’m no XLB expert, I have enjoyed them at Facing East on several occasions.

Wow, Ipse, I don’t mean to sound contrary or “take sides”, but I just was over to Facing East (which actually faces south – joke) where I had some of the best XLB I’ve had in SD. I’m nowhere near as experienced as you with these, but that was my impression. I was motivated to run out and see for myself because of the 180 degree difference between you and FN, another person whose opinion I value.

Let me back up a bit. This moderate-sized place has a nice layout IMO, tastefully simple furnishings, subdued lighting, and an acoustic ceiling (a big plus). The only mildly distracting thing is the on-the-wall projection video, a minor quibble; it didn’t really bother me.

Today is a Monday and I went in the middle of the afternoon, sometimes not the best day of the week or time of day to sample a new place. They don’t close down for two hours mid-afternoon here like so many other places on Convoy.

I ordered the green beans with garlic, and asked that they be served first, given that according to the menu one should allow 20 minutes for the XLB to be prepared. The beans came out quickly and were delicious. Perfectly fresh, perfectly cooked, they made for a great appetizer.

Not long after I finished with the beans, the basket of XLB came out, along with an Asian-style spoon and some ginger slivers. I’m quite sure that 20 minutes hadn’t passed, but I wasn’t watching. Nevertheless, the XLB were hot and (initially) puffy, but not so scalding that I couldn’t start eating them right away. Maybe the server thought I wanted to finish my “appetizer” first and, trying to oblige, left them in the basket for a couple of minutes? Whatever, they tasted very fresh.

I got the pork option. Every one of the ten (relatively small) buns was loaded with “soup” and excellent. I didn’t think the skins were tough at all, just nicely chewy and strong enough that I had no trouble picking them up out of the basket with chopsticks. Not a single one “failed” on the way to my plate. The pork inside was tender and flavorful and I chowed all ten of the little gems down in short order.

I will most certainly be back for more. Now my “to try” list of restaurants is once again down by one, but for much nicer reason.

I also thought the pork XLB were decent although the flavor of the meat wasn’t quite right. On par with Tasty Noodle. I’ve been following ipse for years and trust his/her but maybe it was just a bad day.