Wich Addiction - Grand Opening

>> Thursday, April 12, 2012

Date of Dining: 4/12/2012 
Price: $3-4 sides, $8-11 entrees
Location: 6625 Flanders, San Diego, CA 92126

The Quick Bit:
+ Great technical cooking temperatures
+ Diverse menu of sandwiches and salads
+ Braised short rib flavors
Δ Seating can be difficult during rush hours

I previously covered the Wich Addiction soft opening, so it was only natural that I made my way back for the grand opening. When I first started covering food trucks, I mentioned that many of the early food truck pioneers entered the business because they wished to own their own restaurant, but otherwise did not have the money to do so. Those owners either made the food truck into their version of a mobile restaurant, or used it as the seed to eventually establish their own storefront.
As the bubble of food truck popularity begins to burst, the long term viability of food trucks will ultimately lie in the abilities of their owners to convert to brick and mortar locations. While a few more successful trucks may continue to always operate, the more secure path to a future lies in the establishment of a successful restaurant. 
Dyann and Mark Manning, owners of the Devilicious Food Truck, are the first in San Diego to make the jump from food truck to brick and mortar restaurant. In a little more than 15 months of operation, the Mannings have been able to use the seed money from the food truck to fund their own restaurant.While the restaurant isn't a huge Cohn monster in terms of space, it is the next step in a potentially larger future.
For those that don't remember Dyann Manning (or those who remember her as Dyann Huffman), she went to the CIA and honed her skills with Tom Colicchio at Grammercy Tavern. When I spoke with her, she stated that once the business gets going, she plans to hold some special events at the new restaurant where she may show off more of her fine dining skills. Stay tuned for some of these future updates. In the meantime, she is constantly adjusting the menu at Wich Addiction and gearing it up for both delivery and catering services to the surrounding Sorrento Valley area.
The concept of Wich Addiction is a casual American eatery; it will offer both sandwiches and salads and primarily focus on lunch and early dinner. All the meats for the sandwiches are roasted on site and everything is made fresh, including the chips that accompany each sandwich order. In addition to the salads and sandwiches, there are some "other" entrees including a poutine (which speaks to Dyann's Canadian roots) and a grilled penne.

fennel salad with crispy pork belly
The fennel salad had a nice flavor as it integrated the flavor of fennel with the manchego. The cherry tomatoes brought some sweetness and acidity that brightened up the dish. My only complaint with the dish was that the crispy pork belly didn't seem to integrate well with the other elements of the salad. 
panzanella salad with seared scallops
To this day, the panzanella salad I ordered from Devilicious was one of three best things Dyann has ever served me. It is with great pleasure that I can report the panzanella salad is back and to stay at Wich Addiction. In fact, this version of the panzanella salad is superior to the previous because it is made more freshly. However, the mix of the balsamic with the cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers and arugula is still a winning combination that carries the core flavors that I previously experienced at an even more elevated level. 
beet and citrus salad with seared sea scallops
Perhaps the biggest surprise to me came with how much I enjoyed the beet and citrus salad. The sweetness of the beets is really emphasized against the sweet acidity of the oranges in this dish, and I was really pleasantly surprised with the intensity of flavor. This is definitely a salad for beet lovers. I would never want to pick between this salad and the panzanella salad as they are both really good. However, if you are in the mood for scallops, I would advise more towards the panzanella as the sweetness of the scallops is lost a bit when held against the beets.

I previously covered the friend yummies that also fall into this category, so that really only leaves the deviled eggs.
deviled eggs
Note: I ordered the deviled eggs while they were fried, but I believe they have now been changed to not include the parmesan panko crust
The deviled eggs were very well done. This was the classic deviled egg with the twist of the small crunch when biting into the egg white. I really felt that the frying worked in heightening the flavors of the deviled egg, but it does seem labor intensive to make them.

Non-Wich Entrees:
I already covered the poutine previously (which is utterly amazing), and the only other item I've tasted is the penne:
short rib penne - grilled asparagus, cherry tomatoes, spinach, parmesan 
The penne uses the same brasied short rib as the poutine, but perhaps with less of the gravy. The savory braised sauce of the short rib really carries through,  but the stars of this dish was the perfectly grilled asparagus. The asparagus gave a textural contrast while also being cut in roughly the same sized chunks as the pasta, and really carried the dish to success. 

house roasted beef - lettuce, tomato, onion, sharp cheddar, bloody mary aioli
The bloody mary aioli really made this dish work - it helped the beef retain moistness and provided a seasoned contrast to the flavor of the beef. The beef was well roasted and tender. Perhaps the most important part was that the roast beef didn't contain any of the connective tissue bits that get stuck in between your teeth.
stuffed burger - angus patty stuffed with gouda, lettuce, tomato, onion, dill pickle aioli
This is Dyann's take on the jucy lucy. As usual, the patty was cooked to a perfect medium rare and the flavor was definitely in the patty despite it not being grass-fed beef. I was a little worried at first at the size of the bun, but the added thickness of the double-patty held up to the thicker bun (and the thicker bun looks way better for presentation).
house roasted turkey - provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion, jalapeno aioli
This was easily the best sandwich dish I enjoyed. The jalapeno aioli was the star of this dish - it made my mouth sing and complemented the roast turkey perfectly. The aioli was the perfect blend of flavor and spice, and really enhanced the flavor of the roasted turkey.

Dyann is off to a great start with Wich Addiction, and I can't wait to see how the menu evolves over the next few months. The quality of the sandwiches is really high as all the meats are freshly roasted on premises, and there is the added extra flair of a professionally trained chef cooking in the kitchen. As with any new restaurant, there are still some kinks to work out so don't expect a michelin starred experience if you go. However, I believe the Mannings have adapted their winning food truck formula into a winning restaurant formula. I also look forward to the special events that Dyann may have in her mind.
For the great food with excellent technical precision, Wich Addiction is awarded the kilobit award. 


Rodzilla April 12, 2012 at 11:18 PM  

Sounds like I definitely have to visit.

On the grass vs grain, I've read that grain fed beef is easier to deal with - it's also fattier which they may be looking for.

How were the chips/fries?

James April 13, 2012 at 8:03 AM  

I don't remember exactly, but I think she mentioned that she couldn't find a place to order cheese curds that met her standards.

Both the chips and fries were really good. If you go, try not to go between 11:30-1 because that seems to be the peak hours when they are trying to cope with a huge rush.

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gastro bits is a blog that juxtaposes the geeky with the foodie; it is an attempt to be educational about food, yet entertaining at the same time.
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