Monday, November 24, 2008

After I got back from Vegas, I barely had any time to breath and I headed down with my Mom to meet Ms. Lin in San Diego. I basically spent ALL DAY in a car. We didn't get there until late at night because I took my sweet time in getting back in a car to head down through the traffic. So what is there to do in the Gas Lamp district in San Diego late at night? Well Ms. Lin looked up Mangu, a Caribbean restaurant, to try. They are suppose to be known for their happy hour and late night dining.
Man was the service SLOW! I mean they were really nice and we were seated immediately but the server informed us that the kitchen was slow that night... boy were we in for a surprise! Everything really did come out slowly and my hunger was growing. We did order a cocktail for happy hour and sat there drinking it on an empty stomach... not the best idea. Eventually we got the Caribbean Wings that are Cinnamon Rum Spiced Chicken Wings with a Habañero Cilantro Lime Mayo. Ever since Breezes in Vegas we have been craving for some awesome wings but these were definitely not it. They were sweet and on the wet side. I was hoping for some dry rubbed wings that are cooked to perfection. The flavor was not too bad but it's not the jerked wings that I craved for.
My favorite item of the night was the Carne Frita (Tradicional). It's marinated Fried Pork Chunks topped with Red Onion. Be sure to squeeze the lime to add that extra kick. The only beef (or should I say pork) I had with this dish was that the meat was not cooked well. I think I was eating some raw pork, but I didn't really care enough to send it back as it might take 5 billion years for it to come back out! At first I really wanted to get another one because it was pretty flavorful and juicy, but the wait was just too excruciating and it was getting late. They were out of a few things on the happy hour menu when we arrived and that made me sad. I really wanted to try some of the ceviches that people rave about. Actually they might not have been discounted but I really wanted to try them and it didn't matter how much. Unfortunately, any of the ones that actually sounded tasty were all gone! =*(
We decided to get the Hamburger & Fries and an Empañada that was offered on the happy hour menu. Sadly, these dishes fell super short of execution. The meat in the hamburger was tiny and didn't taste anything special. I would rather get a Whopper than eat this. The fries were crispy and good to munch on but nothing impressive. I was not a big fan of the empañadas. The crust was decent but the ground meat on the inside wasn't anything memorable. These two really wasn't anything special. It definitely was not worth the wait.
All in all the place was nice but the food wasn't anything special. I would describe this place like an Americanized, hip, modern joint that wants to claim it has Caribbean influences. For a late night snack, it's fine and they offer some decent deals. I would probably go back one more time to try their ceviches but after this experience, I wouldn't expect much.

Mangu

524 Island Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 233-3166
Mangu on Urbanspoon

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