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San Diego Restaurants


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#31 Toliver

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 12:53 PM

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This is the Pork Broham sandwich. It's one of the least expensive menu items ($5.95).

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Oops. The Broham is actually $6.45. When I wrote my post, I had misplaced the paper menu I brought back from Phil's so I copied the price off their website, which, obviously, hasn't been updated to reflect current prices. :hmmm: Needless to say, I found the paper menu and $6.45 is the current correct price for the Broham.

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#32 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 06:25 PM

I am a longtime fan of Phil's barbecue and am a little surprised by Toliver's review. My understanding is that the meat at Phil's is not pre-cooked in the kitchen, but rather prepped in the kitchen using a dry rub marinade and then grilled on the barbecue in the front. Phil is at the barbecue most nights so it would be easy to ask him.

#33 kalypso

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 10:34 AM

From what I saw, the kitchen is filled with electric smokers.  :shock:  :angry:  I'm guessing they were smokers from their configuration (metal racks holding trays of chicken parts and ribs). They weren't professional convection ovens or even regular professional ovens since I know what they look like which is why I am guessing they were smokers.  It looks like the meat is pre-cooked in the smokers and then carried on a tray out to the front grilling area to be finished. In fact, everything is brought out from the kitchen to the front grilling/serving area, from buckets of sauce, to beans and coleslaw.

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I think what you saw were probably his Rationale Combi Ovens; a very expensive but versatile piece of kitchen equipment. You're right his meats are par-baked, cooled and then finished over wood. (My source is someone who knows Phil and has been in his kitchen literally thousands of time)

There are reasons it's done this way, not the least of which may be legal. It wasn't that long ago that Phil's was closed for 9 months because of complaints (potential lawsuits?) from his neighbors there on Goldfinch about smoke and other BBQ nuisances. Additionally, the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health (aka the Health Department) has long been one of the toughest in the State. The recent inspection changes now focus on the primary risk factors of temperature, handling and storage and the penalties for violations (even a first violation) are pretty stiff. So some of Phil's process may also be driven by having to comply with local health regs. Not trying to excuse it, just putting some possibilities on the table.

But...........there are some changes for Phil's coming down the pike. Nor sure when, and not sure how public these plans are, but there a relocation is in the works. Bret Harte said to "go West young man" and that's what Phil's doin'. Parking should be better and there won't be as many residential neighbors to complain or be bothered by odor, smoke and traffic.

Edited by kalypso, 16 June 2006 - 10:35 AM.


#34 kalypso

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 03:50 PM

Okay, so I made the mistake of trying to find a parking place in OB on Wednesday during the farmer's market. Parking karma was not in abundance, but persistence pays off and after 30 minutes of circling I scored a pretty decent space. And am I glad I did because had I given up, I would have missed The Vine a wine bar that opened up last year on the corner of Bacon & Niagara in what used to be Cucina Fresca.

What a comfortable spot to chat, have a glass of wine and eat some really well crafted food. The Vine concentrates mostly on small production, high quality wines and beers from around the world. There were 3 wine flights of 4-3oz pours for $17. Wines by the glass were numerous and in everyone's price range. I ordered an Argentinian Malbec and the friend I met, a Petite Syrah from CA. Both of these were in the $7-8 range if I recall.

We opened with the Olive sampler which consisted of 4 varieties of olives, 2 black and 2 green. All the olives were good and the nicoise olives very good, but we'd just tasted far better olives from the olive vendor at the farmers market (below).

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I'd never really considered chopped chicken liver sexy let alone super sexy, so of course I had to order Shannon's Super Sexy Pate to find out. I don't know that I'd call it sexy, but I might go as far as seductive. Silky smooth with no grittiness, it came with thinly sliced apple and perfectly ripe pear. Best of all it came with enough crunchy crostini to equal the amount of pate.

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The stuff was pretty good and we'd already dug in when I remember to take the picture :raz:

The Empanadas Verde were equally as good. The achioted flavored pastry crust for the empanadas was light and flakey, something I certainly wasn't expecting.

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They were stuffed with a mince of beef and pork that had been seasoned with chiles, raisins and a bit of cheese. The drizzle on top is lime crema, along with a salsa verde. I would have liked a little more filling to even out the ratio of crust to filling, but since the crust was so good I didn't mind.

For me, the least successful dish of the evening was the Veggie Gratin, and even it was pretty good.

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The gratin was a layered affair of potatoes and leeks bound together by a Gruyere cheese sauce. Unfortunately, there was just enough too much nutmeg in the sauce so that it was too noticeable rather than just a pleasant accent. The sauteed veggies accompanying the gratin were outstanding. The asparagus, red peppers, red onions and mushrooms had been tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and not overcooked. There isn't a potato on the face of this Earth that doesn't have my name on it, but this is one time when the vegetables (alas) trumped the spuds.

Portions are small and can be shared. My friend and I shared everything. Prices range from $6.95 - 11>95 for the savory plates. There are also salads and a soup, as well as several varieities of cheese boards.

All the plates that we'd had so far had been good to very good, but the best was yet to come.............dessert :biggrin: And you'll have to use your imagination to get an idea of it because we'd eaten about three quarters of it before I remembers I should have taken a photo. Oh, well.

I had eyeed all the strawberries in the farmers market but hadn't purchased any. Lucky for me, The Vine had, and they had sliced and macerated them so that they were nice and sweet without being cloyingly sweet. The berries were used to fill a feather light biscuit, along with some house-made whipped cream that had been flavored with Pedro Ximenex sherry. The combination sherry and strawberries with the elegantly lush mouthfeel of real whipped cream was almost too good to be true. Strawberries are not my first choice for berries, but wow, if I could have berries like this everyday I might just change my mind!

If I lived in OB I'd probably end up being a regular here. They've got lots of interesting wine, and beer, imported Belgian beers even. So far, the food I've sampled as all been several cuts above average and clearly well prepared. The space itself if very comfortable and the whole vibe of the place friendly and welcoming, a neighborhood desitnation. As our govenator says........I'll be back.

#35 eigbok

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 08:37 PM

I'll be heading to San Diego next weekend. Is Sushi Ota still as good as I remember? Is the Omakase dinner still availible? How much and what can I expect to be eating?

Thanks in advance!

#36 Captain Hongo

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 09:52 PM

I haven't been down for a while. What's going on with Casa de Pico and Old Town?
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#37 Octaveman

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 11:39 AM

Casa de Pico is now in Grossmont Center next to BJ's.

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#38 Kouign Aman

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 11:36 AM

I did not know that about Casa de Pico. Oh my! Thanks.

Old Town is mostly the same, only Bazaar del Mundo (sp?) changed management. Its been made a tad more historically correct apparently. (I havent been to the Bazaar since the change over. Must remedy that).

Sushi Ota still very good, pricey. I think probably still the best in San Diego.
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#39 Octaveman

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 03:24 PM

I guess Sushi Ota is an acquired taste. I hate the place. Ate there once at the one in Hillcrest and the fish quality was aweful. I couldn't find anything I really enjoyed eating. Cream cheese does not belong in sushi. I was hard pressed to find anything where the flavors didn't mask the flavor of the fish. I even had the Mexican version of the sushi menu which was supposedly better. I was going to give it a 2nd chance at the place downtown but after looking at the menu, my wife and I left and ate somewhere else. I know many people like it but I guess I prefer quality to imagination.

Regarding Casa de Pico, now I'm unsure about the Old Town location. The Bazaar del Mundo webiste still lists it as a restaurant but the interenet brings up comments to the contrary. From the net...

"As of 18 May 2005 Casa De Pico will no longer be found in Old Town! However, two new locations are planned. Summer 2005 it will open up in the Grossmont Shopping Center along Grossmont Drive and in the summer of 2006 Casa De Pico will open in the New location of Bazaar Del Mondo which will be at the Old Police Station near Seaport Village!"


Here is another quote from the net...

One of my many favorite hangouts in San Diego is Bazaar del Mundo in Old Town, and I have been very fortunate to visit there many times over the past 30 years with family and friends. Located on the grounds of Old Town Historic Park, Bazaar del Mundo is the vision of Diane Powers, who leased the property from the state 33 years ago, and who converted the crumbling and boarded-up Casa de Pico Hotel into the thriving community it is today. It is also the most profitable state park in all of California.

In a decision that many have questioned, the state decided to award the lease when it came up for renewal to a New York corporation, which plans to convert the park to their vision of an Early California theme. Because of this decision, Bazaar del Mundo, as we know it today, is shutting down in May.



I haven't been down there so I have no clue what's really going on but it's a safe bet that Casa de Pico is not there.

Edited by Octaveman, 22 June 2006 - 03:29 PM.

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#40 kalypso

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 06:34 PM

I guess Sushi Ota is an acquired taste.  I hate the place.  Ate there once at the one in Hillcrest and the fish quality was aweful. 

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Two different places.

Sushi Ota is an independent restaruant located in Pacific Beach. It is considered by many to be the best sushi in San Diego. The Japanese baseball team that competed in the recent World Baseball Classic final at Petco dined at Sushi Ota frequently when they were in town.

Sushi Otta is a chain based out of Mexico City; Hillcrest is one of their branch operations. The sushi at Sushi Otta is not considered to be the best sushi in town, although some people really do like it, and as far as can be determined, the Japanese baseball team did not dine at Sushi Otta when they were in town for the WBC.

As for Old Town......there was a huge article in the business section of the U/T yesterday about fallout from the switch to Delaware North. Y-T-D business is down 60% over the same period last year. Business from locals is down even more. Last year y-t-d income was $21 million, this year it's just hitting $8 million. Anyone can do the math; it's not hard to see that both locals and tourists have voted with their feet and their dollars. You can now find parking in Old Town, something that was nearly impossible before.

No one is impressed with the makeover of the space. Delaware North committed $12 million in upgrades to Old Town and has spent only $3 million so far. They have had to make concessions because of the poor public reception to their conceptualizaion of what San Diego was like between 1820 and 1870. How a company based in New York would know about San Diego 150 years ago is still a mystery to me. The primary color scheme was khaki. They've had to add color because everyone hated the bland color scheme. They've had to pipe in Mexican Musiak because no one wanted to listen to their original sound track. The restaurants are very easy to get into, no waiting. Even the cadre of local resto reviewers haven't done much with the new eating places. The State Parks department doesn't care because they'll still get their guaranteed money this year and it was more than what they were getting from Diane Powers

Tourist are beginning to return, if only because Old Town is in every tourist brochure about San Diego ever printed. Locals are more unforgiving and are staying away in droves. The Gaslamp has been equated to San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf, but local San Diegans are more willing to frequent the Gaslamp than San Franciscans are the Wharf. I think the better analogy is that Old Town has become San Diego's Fisherman's Wharf attraction. It no longer has any resonnance or relavance with locals, old habits and old memories die hard.

#41 mmm-yoso

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 07:10 PM

Actually Sushi Itto is the Mexico City based sushi chain. ick........

#42 Octaveman

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 09:43 PM

Kalypso, thanks for enlightening me on the sushi ota/otta confusion. I wll have to try that place soon then. And yes, mmm-yoso, it's sushi itto that sucks big rat b****. Appreciate the correction.

It's really too bad about old town or rather bazaar del mundo. I enjoyed spending nary a nice warm summer night eating dinner there and leasurely perusing the shops. My mom also loved to go there when she was in town. She always tried to make sure she got to go. I'm really bummed about how it changed. Thanks for the info on what's happening with it. I hope the company loses their butt's on the deal and end up selling it to someone who cares about something other than making money.

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#43 kalypso

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 10:40 PM

Kalypso, thanks for enlightening me on the sushi ota/otta confusion.  I wll  I hope the company loses their butt's on the deal and end up selling it to someone who cares about something other than making money.

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Hmmmm....................The State of California is broke, the City of San Diego is broke, and disgraced itself in the process of becoming broke............big contract company from foreign territory - oh, sorry, the East Coast - comes riding in on their trusty kahki colored, buckskin steed with money in their saddle bags? Having once worked for an extremely large, multinational contract food service provider I can only tell you they will extract their gold no matter how hard they have to squeeze that turnip to get blood out of it. The State and Delaware North will end up winning in this contract, the consumer will not :angry:

OTOH, the indie restaurants in Old Town but outside of the State Park have reported seeing an uptick in their traffic from locals who wouldn't come before because of parking and the tourists.

Diane Powers still owns Casa Guadalajara which is right there on Taylor St. on the outskirts of the state park. She also moved some of her retail shops from the Bazaar del Mundo to the complex next to CG. She says her biz is down at CG and the retail shops. She's attributed this to the fact that most locals don't realize that she owns Casa Guadalajara or that she moved some of the retail next to that restaurant. I suspect the article in the U/T yesterday will help her a little with both operations. If not, Casa de Pico can help cover her losses. It's doing booming, land office business over in Grossmont Center. The wait can be 90 minutes to 2 hours on a weekend. I've been in the new restaurant and I can safely say that she did a bang-up job on the remodel of that old Chevy's. Somehow, though, I couldn't bring myself to wait 90 minutes for a table (on a Sunday night, no less), so I left for Por Favor in downtown La Mesa where I had a good, though hardly stellar, meal much faster and for far less dinero.

#44 mizducky

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 11:01 PM

Diane Powers still owns Casa Guadalajara which is right there on Taylor St. on the outskirts of the state park.  She also moved some of her retail shops from the Bazaar del Mundo to the complex next to CG. She says her biz is down at CG and the retail shops.  She's attributed this to the fact that most locals don't realize that she owns Casa Guadalajara or that she moved some of the retail next to that restaurant. I suspect the article in the U/T yesterday will help her a little with both operations.  If not, Casa de Pico can help cover her losses.  It's doing booming, land office business over in Grossmont Center.  The wait can be 90 minutes to 2 hours on a weekend.  I've been in the new restaurant and I can safely say that she did a bang-up job on the remodel of that old Chevy's.  Somehow, though, I couldn't bring myself to wait 90 minutes for a table (on a Sunday night, no less), so I left for Por Favor in downtown La Mesa where I had a good, though hardly stellar, meal much faster and for far less dinero.

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Ah... I was wondering about Por Favor. So Gayla, would you say that "good but not stellar" is a description that would cover that restaurant in general?

#45 kalypso

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 07:29 AM

Ah... I was wondering about Por Favor. So Gayla, would you say that "good but not stellar" is a description that would cover that restaurant in general?

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I think that's a fair assessment. Por Favor isn't terrible, in fact they do some things pretty well, it's an average to good purveyor of Cal-Mex food. My nephew had the carne asada steak plate last time we were there and it was very good, better than anticipated. Atmosphere is decidedly downscale, a little sprucing up would help.

La Torta a couple doors down from Por Favor is good too. My choice for Mexican in San Diego is probably Chilangos in Hillcrest.

#46 Octaveman

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 09:11 AM

Agreed, I almost didn't recognize it the first time I went. The time you go definately makes a difference. I went there on a Friday around 5:30 and the wait was only 25 minutes. I've eatin at Por Favor once and also agree, it wasn't bad. It served it's purpose which was to stuff my belly.

There is or used to be a small place called Mario's De La Mesa on the corner of Grant and La Mesa Blvd that looks like a normal house with a sign out front. It's a little further east of the downtown shops past Allison. I remember it being pretty good the last time I ate there a couple of years ago. Anyone else been there?

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#47 kalypso

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 10:01 AM

There is or used to be a small place called Mario's De La Mesa on the corner of Grant and La Mesa Blvd that looks like a normal house with a sign out front.  It's a little further east of the downtown shops past Allison.  I remember it being pretty good the last time I ate there a couple of years ago.  Anyone else been there?

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Been there/eaten there

Marios is still there and it's not bad either, definitely better than Por Favor.

It is a converted residential house with the rooms serving as small little dining rooms. I kind of liked it this way except some of the rooms get hotter than others because of the way the rooms are configured which aren't exactly conducive to great air circulation. If the weather is really nice there is a great little patio out back that probably seats about 30 or so. Since the East County can get so hot during the summer, it's more pleasant to sit on the patio than inside. The only drawback being you get a great view of their parking lot. :raz: I think Mario's claim to fame is supposed to be some of the seafood dishes he serves.

Hours can be sporadic, it took a long time for me to finally eat there because every time I went by it was closed. Definitely closed on Mondays.

#48 Captain Hongo

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 07:09 PM

Thanks, Octaveman and Kalypso for the Old Town update, I appreciate your help. I guess I'll eat at the Rockin Baja Lobster. I'll miss Casa de Pico, it was fun. Delaware North had the concession at Kings Canyon National Park, up near Fresno, but lost it for not doing that good a job.

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#49 Kouign Aman

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 06:54 PM

Rockin Baja Lobster is immediatly next door to Berta's Latin American place, which is a lot more interesting.

Casa Fandango, in the Old Town park, near the entrance to the old Bazaar del Mundo, is also decent mexican eats.
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#50 pnapoli

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 04:42 PM

On the casual side I would love to try the Linkery in North Park that opened last year and obviously specializes in homemade sausages (choucroute anyone?).

do try it, FrogPrincesse! my good friend Jay owns The Linkery and i can vouch for the quality of the sausages. you can read more about the restaurant and the sausages in particular at their great website :smile:

Edited by pnapoli, 13 July 2006 - 04:42 PM.


#51 Captain Hongo

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 06:46 PM

Rockin' Baja Lobster and the bucket dinners are a favorite of mine in Old Town. But, the Margaritas are overpriced. So, I eat there and drink at the Coyote Cafe.

I just had dinner at Pacifica Del Mar in Del Mar after opening day at the track and had a great time out on the patio watching the sun set thru the clouds. Takoshimi (peppered Ahi in mini taco shells) and the Kim Chee Martini (no longer in a martini glass) were very tasty along with a shrimp corn dog.

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#52 kalypso

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Posted 23 July 2006 - 09:10 AM

I don't think I've seen a mention of 3rd Corner here on this thread. I had dinner there Friday night.

3rd Corner used to be the Belgian Lion, across the street from Thee Bungalow on West Point Loma Blvd. in Ocean Beach. It's been the 3rd Corner for a few years now, but only within the last year or so has it morphed into it's current format as a wine shop and bistro. With more than 1,000 wines in stock, it really is more of a retail wine shop; one that just happens to serve up some excellent food.

The interior has been divided into 3 separate areas. One end of the white wine room contains a row of banquettes, and off of it is comfortable area for lounging. It's set up with deep, soft leather chairs and sofas. Through that room one reaches the patio. Unfortunately, though, it was too hot for patio dining Friday night, even at the beach. The red wine room has another row of banquettes and also contains a full service bar.

The menu is short and reasonably priced. The appetizers fall into 2 categories on the menu, small stuff and cheese. The olive sampler was bountiful, especially at $4. The three cheese souffle baked in a crepe was appropriately airy and light. The winner, however, was the stilton and goat cheese terrine with dried fruits (cranberries, apricots and dates in this case), nuts and an extremely good brown bread. I don't think I would have paired pistachios with stilton, but the combination is actually quite satisfying. Other appetizer options include a terrific baked Humbolt Fog goat cheese with wild mushrooms, charcuterie, shrimp skewers and smoked salmon. The small stuff and cheese are mostly in the $9 and $10 range.

I had the baked mahi that had been crusted with panko and then drizzled with a lime and jalapeno aioli. My dining companion had the gilled pork tenderloin with mustard sauce. Both entrees were done well, but the mahi was the clear winner. On a previous visit the short ribs were spectacular, but 100* weather just wasn't conducive to short ribs for dinner. The remainder fo the entree selections included mussels, salmon, chicken and a couple of pasta dishes, one with wild mushrooms the other with shrimp arrabiatta. Entrees are either $13 or $14.

The dessert menu contains only 4 items. Creme Brulee, a goat cheese napolean which is delectable, fresh berries and gelato and a richly deadent chocolate marquis with rasperry coulis. Desserts are all $6 with the exception of the napolean which is $7.

It's an interactive dining experience in that you can get up, walk around, check out the wines. You can select your wine first and then build your menu around it, or vice versa, pick your menu and then choose a wine to compliment it. I haven't decided yet if I like having wine shop patrons milling around while I'm dining, it creates kind of an odd dynamic, or at least it did for me. Not necessarily unpleasant, just odd. But the food is top notch and will keep me coming back.

Service is gracious, efficient and no intrusive. I also really liked the portion sizes. Most dishes are slightly larger than tapa size, but smaller than most entrees around town (and miniscule compared to Hash House a Go-Go). Corkage is free during happy hour. And 3rd Corner provides something San Diego has very little of, late night dining. It's open until 1:00 AM. A comfortable alternative to the bar scene and it even serves good food.

#53 Kouign Aman

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 05:40 PM

Oceanaire Linkie to Oceanaire post by Kalypso
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#54 Kouign Aman

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 06:46 PM

Has anyone been to Baci on Moreno Blvd?
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#55 drfokos

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 12:27 PM

Chive

I just ate at Chive this past Saturday and had a truly great dining experience. I think Chive may be my new favorite restaurant in town.

I hadn't been there since they changed their style from the usual ap/entree/dessert format to the current "grazing menu" so I was delighted when our meal turned out to be so pleasurable.

In summary: If I had to sum up the experience in a single word it would be "balance". Everything was perfectly executed. The flavors and textures were inspired yet chosen intelligently nothing ever overpowered anything else and the plating was beautiful. I really dislike chefs that start bringing together the weirdest (and poorly chosen) combinations of ingredients just to appear ultra-hip and trendy at the expense of the food. I am happy to report that everything at Chive was in perfect harmony.

The plates were on the small side, as expected, but not too small. After cocktails, two plates each and a dessert we were well-sated, but not overstuffed.

And speaking of cocktails... the bartender was also clearly skilled at his craft. All our drinks were perfectly mixed, well-conceived, balanced (there's that word again), delicious and beautiful.

Service was terrific too.

You can view the Chive menu here: http://www.sdurbanki....com/chive.html

Here is a more in-depth report of our meal from memory (next time I'll be sure to take photos and notes):

Our group of four started with cocktails, including:

Black Martini [grey goose, vanilla schnapps, kahlua, espresso, coffee bean]. Delicious coffee flavor, well-balanced, not overpowered by alcohol, beautiful presentation, foamy and beige with 3 coffee beans sitting atop the foam.

Blue Horizon [Bombay Sapphire, gorgonzola stuffed olives]. Great olives and those tiny, long, sharp ice crystals that I love floating on top.

Sour Blueberry [Stoli Blueberry, blue curacao, white cranberry, lime, blueberries]. Delicious, bright blue, sweet, fruity, refreshing, not owerpowered by either sweetness or alcohol.

Keylime [Stoli Vanilla, pineapple juice, fresh lime, graham cracker rim]. Tasted a lot like key lime pie.

Chocolate Cherry [Effen Black Cherry, Vermeer, creme de cacao, cherry, chocolate flakes]. Delicious and decadent like a Black Forest Torte.

With the food I had a glass of the Museum Real Tempranillo with which I was quite pleased. A tasty wine with medium body, well-balanced, but soft and light enough to go with most of the food.

For food, we sampled:

cheese plate [chef's whim].
We ordered 2 of these for the four of us. I'm not sure I would call it a cheese plate as such. It was really a small piece of crostini with a teaspoon of fruit compote covered by a couple of paper thin slices of Machengo cheese and garnished with some frisee. Each couple cut their crostini in half giving each of us a bite or two. Not very large, but the combination of flavors was excellent.

Crab Mac 'n' Cheese [boursin cheese, panko crust]. Served in a ceral bowl sized portion, this mac 'n' cheese was loved by everyone. The crab was mild and not at all "fishy". Being creamy and not too sharp, the boursin didn't overpower the subtle crab -- an inspired choice of cheese. Great comfort food.

Blue Prawn Spring Roll [english pea puree, mango coulis, ginger]. Two deep-fried spring rolls, each cut in half. Crispy, not greasy, with just a mild taste of ginger. Delicious.

Diver Scallops. Unlike what is currently on their website, mine was cornmeal crusted and served with small pieces of slab bacon, bacon foam, and frisee. I know that "food foam" is trendy now, and I'm not sure that the bacon foam added much to this dish beyond a visual component, but these scallops were really great. Two large scallops, perfectly cooked, with a crisp cormeal crust on top and meaty bits of slab bacon. Yum!

Braised Kurobuta Pork [black currant, onion, and apple cous cous]. The portion was about the size of my fist and the apple/currant cous cous was an inspired pairing (apple being such a classic match for pork). I want to make some of this cous cous at home!

My partner, Barbarella, had a chicken dish not currently on their online menu. Again, I'm sorry now that I didn't take pictures or notes. I do remember that it was cooked "en sous vide" [a trendy boil-in-a-bag technique] and plated so that the chicken, wrapped with bacon looked like slices of a sushi roll turned on end. I believe there were four of these pieces and a slighty-smaller-than-hockey-puck sized side of basmati rice with peas, red pepper and some other stuff I can't remember just now in it, completed the beautiful presentation. Very nice, harmonious flavors.

Kobe Beef Carpaccio. Our friend ordered this and though the website suggests that it is served with rye cracker, micro arugula and candied lemon. I think they have changed this dish up a bit. Regardless, it was a perfectly lovely carpaccio.

Beet Terrine [goat cheese, hazlenut,arugula, port gastrique]. Red and yellow beets, and the goat cheese were cut into round, silver dollar sized, 1/8 thick slices and stacked in alternating layers. One of the most successful beet and goat cheese salads I've had. Again, not only delicious but beautifully plated.

Duck Confit Flatbread [wild rocket, laura chanelle goat cheese, fried caper]. I thought the bread was sort of biscuit/thin foccacia-esque. Very enjoyable. [N.B. for a better duck confit, I recommend the duck confit with garlic gnocchi served at Chive's sister restaurant, Kensington Grill].

Everything we had was beautiful and delicious -- not a clunker in the bunch. We also ordered dessert which is handled by a different chef. We were a little less impressed with our desserts, though they were still very tasty.

The best of the bunch was their signature dessert:

"Kinda" Rice Pudding [crispy chocolate, creme brulee]. I could easily eat a vat of this. It was rice pudding topped with creme brulee (how can you go wrong with that!). Rice crispies, dusted in cocoa are served on the side. I also seem to recall some choclate bits underneath the rice pudding.

Study In Chocolate [chef's whim]. I didn't have any of this as each of the four 'studies' was a single bite served in a Chinese soup spoon. The report from my friend was "good, but not special".

Peach And Almond Galette [oat streusel, sweet corn ice cream, caramel sauce]. Oh, I had such high hopes for this! Sounds dreamy, doesn't it? Well, it was just o.k. The crust wasn't as flaky as I prefer and the alleged sweet corn flavor was imperceptible. The peach flavor too, was a bit muted. So, the result? Ice cream & pie without much character, but still sweet, cold, creamy and tasty in a comforting way. Just not "food of the moaning" as my friend would say.

One last caveat: we made a reservation online via Open Table. When we got there, they had no record of it, though it was no problem and we were immediately seated.

Well, we've been talking about this meal for a couple of days now, and can't wait to go back to sample more of the menu. I'll have to remember to take my camera with me next time. So,I guess it would be safe to say that I can happily recommend Chive.

David

#56 Swicks

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 03:53 PM

Interesting report David. I have eaten there twice but back when it was a more traditional menu set up. I really enjoyed it both times. I do think that the small plate type of deal has been done to death but that is obviously exclusive from the quality of the food which seems to still be delicious. The rice pudding dish is delicious, I remember it quite well also.
"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

#57 drfokos

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 09:40 AM

I am really enjoying the small plate trend. First, it allows me to sample more of the menu. I'm always frustrated when I want to try EVERYTHING but am constrained to just one item.

That's why I also like tasting menus, but unlike a 15-course tasting menu (which is a completely different sort of experience) if I taste something I really like, there is usually another bite or two of it to savor.

And secondly, it keeps portion size down which, for me, is a good thing. To my detriment, once I am eating something that tastes great I have a hard time pushing it aside no matter how large the portion. This has led to regrettable overindulgence, feeling like a bloated, beached whale, and once home, hitting the bottle of Amaro to relieve the discomfort.

Edited by drfokos, 01 September 2006 - 09:41 AM.


#58 Swicks

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 03:06 PM

hitting the bottle of Amaro to relieve the discomfort.

View Post



:laugh:


I'll definately give it a go when I am in San Diego again.
"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

#59 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 03:17 PM

It’s been a while since first posted on this thread, and I had promised to report on my next restaurant adventures, so here we go.

I went to Pamplemousse Grille for the first time a couple of weeks ago with my husband (first night out together since our daughter was born in June!), and we had a very nice evening.
I started with the smoked seafood appetizer (one of the specials)– it was a beautiful plate with cold smoked lobster, scallop, shrimp and salmon. My favorite item on the plate was the scallop that was slightly grilled and was extremely tender and flavorful. A revelation. I love scallop in all its forms (seared, raw, carpaccio style, etc) and this preparation really brings out the subtle flavor of the scallop. The only disappointment was the potato tuile/pancake under the salmon that was not crispy enough. But overall, this was an excellent way to start the meal. My husband had seared foie gras which was also one of the specials for the night (it’s not on the regular menu anymore; I guess it’s been banned from most restaurants’ regular menus in San Diego after a lot of lobbying by animal-rights associations – long story which I’d rather not get into but almost had us cancel our reservation at P Grille).
For the entrée, I had the mixed venison plate which was huge and included quail that was absolutely delicious and marinated with lemon and thyme, smoked duck breast (also delicious) and, my favorite, venison chop au poivre. The chop was cooked rare and was one of the best red meat entrees I’ve ever had. Each meat item on the plate had its own side dish of vegetables (wild mushrooms, green beans, etc), and its own sauce (separated by a little “wall” of mashed potatoes), so it was really like eating 3 separate entrees. Overall there was too much food on the plate, although I did manage to finish most of it. I think that I would go to P Grille again for this venison chop alone. My husband had the crispy half duck, which was prepared to perfection, but served with a ton of corn and gnocchi that was just ok and not so good-looking on the plate (more like a big mess).
Desserts were a complete let down. I had pear tatin which just tasted like a ton of un-caramelized sugar (the pear was tasteless). The chocolate truffle cake was also way to sweet. Next time, we will just skip the desserts.
Service was very good although we did get our first ½ bottle of wine late, well after the appetizers had been already served.

Overall, we had a very nice dinner but ended up spending well over $300, which is a lot I think. We had wine with the meal but were very reasonable with our selection, price-wise. Fantastic wine selection at this restaurant by the way! I feel that this restaurant is slightly overpriced. Entrees are $30 - $40. I enjoyed the experience but don’t feel the cost was completely justified. Also, the restaurant décor is so-so – it’s a large dark room with no view (the restaurant is located in a small business mall in Solana Beach, across from the Del Mar tracks) with farm-themed paintings. There is a particularly hideous mural over the bar by the way (that one is not farm-themed but involves unattractive women wearing shorts if my memory is correct? :blink: - don't ask...). Probably a good place for business meals, but not ideal as a “romantic” restaurant.

drfokos – I also like Chive a lot, very hip happening place, good food overall. It’s reasonably priced and we always have a good time when we go there (often before going to the opera). They have great cocktails too. My only complaints are that the restaurant is very noisy so it’s hard to have a real conversation, and also I feel that the food selection is somewhat limited. I last went before their menu changed from a traditional appetizer/entrée/dessert configuration to a “small plates” setup though. In the past, I’ve had their beet terrine but was not a big fan (I thought the yellow beets were tasteless). I used to like their duck confit dish a lot, and also the steamed clams that I can’t seem find on the online menu anymore.

One last thing to add… Region is going to close! The chefs are relocating to Arizona. It’s sad, I really liked that place, their roasted chicken was fantastic!

#60 Kouign Aman

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 03:05 PM

A thread discussing Ocean 1500 at the Hotel Del = Ocean 1500


<editted to correct dyslexia>

Edited by Kouign Aman, 11 October 2006 - 03:09 PM.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.