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Everything posted by FrogPrincesse

  1. My Costco had them last Friday. I sautéed them in olive oil with a little bit of garlic, and garnished them with fresh parsley. They were served as an accompaniment to seared venison chops from d'Artagnan and white truffle mashed potatoes. I still have 1/2 pound left so thanks to all for posting all these great ideas!
  2. I'm going to Kauai in a few weeks, and was wondering if anyone knew if A Pacific Cafe had reopened. I had a couple of wonderful meals there during my last visit about 3 years ago. I was also a bing fan of Jean-Marie Josselin restaurant in San Diego, 808. Thanks!
  3. kalypso, Thee Bungalow was fine, actually we did not think that it had changed a lot since it had changed hands. We arrived a bit early (our reservations were at 8:30). The restaurant was full, lots of people that seemed to be having a good time. Our table was ready a bit late so I guess some people were having too much fun! We started with the escargot which were prepared with the traditional garlic butter. They were very nice and tender, we enjoyed them a lot. Their bread selection (indispensable to thoroughly enjoy the garlic butter) was just ok though. Some kind of olive focaccia and baguette, a little on the soggy side. I was somewhat disappointed that they no longer offered quenelles in their appetizer menu, since they used to be one of their specialties, and something you don’t often see being offered. It seems that they may have forgotten to update their website, because the main page still mentions the quenelles. Now that I read that description again, I realize that I did not see any game on their menu, which was also disappointing. I guess that duck qualifies, but that is the only thing that comes close on the current menu. We had pre-selected our wine by studying the very extensive wine list at home before coming to the restaurant. However, we found out that the online list was not current, as our selection was no longer available (no wonder, it was an excellent wine at a surprisingly low price). We still managed to find an excellent bottle of red Burgundy out of their 20+ page wine list (!). My husband noticed that the waiter did not pour it properly (he poured too much for the initial tasting, beside other little details) and that, in general, their wait staff, although friendly and attentive, did not seem to have been properly trained. For example, someone at another table requested a steak knife that the waiter brought in his hand, rather than on a platter. We found their entrée menu a little boring, with things like pepper steak/filet mignon/New York steak etc that are classics but not terribly exciting or original. They still had their signature roasted duck on the menu, which my husband ordered with a Cumberland sauce (black cherries with currant), and the lamb shank (called “osso bungalow”) that I selected. Both entrees were on the generous side, with a lot of sauce. The duck was as delicious as we remembered and went fantastically well with the wine we had chosen. The lamb was cooked to perfection and the sauce, enriched with beef demi-glace according to the menu, very thick and satisfying. The style of cooking is not as sophisticated as a place like Tapenade for example. They are clearly not in the same league. But I feel that Thee Bungalow has a lot to offer, with a very cozy setting (small bungalow, fireplace, etc) and a great wine list. For dessert, my husband thought we needed to have the chocolate soufflés after seeing a few of them being served with great ceremony at the other tables. They were very large and served with a side of chocolate cream that the waiter poured on top after breaking the top of the soufflé. I found them eggy and not very chocolatey, but of course I still managed to finish mine. So overall, we had a very nice time. A few things could be improved but I think the ambiance which makes this restaurant unique and worth frequenting is still intact. I would still recommend it because I feel it is still special, despite the changes and the few errors noted above.
  4. I haven't had a chance to put together my review of Thee Bungalow yet, but I wanted to post an article from San Diego Magazine that I had read this week and found pretty accurate. The article is mostly addressed to the people who don't take the restaurant scene in San Diego seriously. I know that there are a few comments to that effect floating around on egullet or elsewhere, and that always bugs me a little (ok - a lot! it's probably what motivated me to join egullet in the first place). So I thought that this article was pretty much right on target. I am very familiar with the restaurants discussed in the review, and concur on the conclusion - yes, San Diego restaurants need more recognition overall! Compared to LA, I feel that we have nothing to be ashamed of. San Diego versus L.A. - A Los Angeles food maven compares some of our best local restaurants with those of LaLa Land Some excerpts
  5. You are welcome kalypso. La Bastide was also on my list until I found out that they had just lost their executive chef, Patrick Ponsaty... See under San Diego http://www.jamesbeard.org/dateline/ Longtime San Diego favorite Patrick Ponsaty has left his executive chef post at Scripps Ranch's Bastide. Ponsaty, who opened the restaurant, had a huge following for his simple bistro-style cuisine. He has not yet announced what’s next but plans to stay in San Diego.
  6. Hey guys, Time to revive this thread. I am dining at Thee Bungalow tonight and promise to post my impressions. I've dined there a few times in the past, but not since the restaurant changed hands and was acquired by the omnipresent Cohn group. Actually this is not the reason for my post. I just found out that the list of participants for Restaurant Week 2007 had been published. Last year, I heard about this event thanks to egullet (thank you kalypso for mentioning it and recommending Arterra!!!) and was able to secure a reservation at Arterra where I had a magnificent meal for a ridiculous $30 a person. Since then, their chef Carl Schroeder has left but that's another story. So here is the link to the participating restaurants and their menus for the third Restaurant Week, which runs from Sunday January 7 to Friday January 12 (hopefully this will work, I've never posted a link before). http://www.sandiegorestaurantweek.com/inde...&id=9&Itemid=11 I was a little disappointed to see that neither Vivace nor Asia-Vous were listed since there are still on my list of restaurants to try. I tentatively plan on dining at Cavaillon (their chef Philippe Verpiand used to work at Tapenade for Jean-Michel Diot), The Marine Room, and maybe Tapenade (my favorite - can you tell?).
  7. 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? - 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!
  8. 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.
  9. I just went to Just Fabulous last Friday and sampled a few of the desserts (I had the chocolate sampler). Everything was good and the Gianduja Crunch Pyramide was really outstanding. Here is the description of this pastry from the website: a luscious hazelnut infused milk chocolate base (gianduja) flecked with crunchy bits of tuile cookie. Dark chocolate mousse center, chocolate glaze. I loved it even though I don't particularly like hazelnuts (but I do love chocolate!). The cake was very moist and the crunchy tuile bits gave it a great texture. I'll have to go back because the selection is huge. Thanks kalypso for recommending it.
  10. kalypso, Thanks for the recommendation. I need to thank you twice because I already followed your advice a few months ago, and had a great evening as a result. When you posted about restaurant week, I had completely forgotten about it. I made a reservation at Arterra after reading your excellent review. My husband and I were not disappointed and had an excellent meal for only $30. We will definitely go there again. As for Extraordinary Desserts – I used to live just a few blocks away from its Fifth Avenue location, so I had quite a few occasions to try the various offerings there. I would say that, compared to most pastry shops in San Diego, it’s quite good, although a little bit on the “heavy” side. Karen Krasne was trained in France (Cordon Bleu/Lenotre) but I think that her style is more American than French in general. The portions are very large and the cakes that are on the regular menu are a little overwhelming, but the specials can be great. They often run out of the specials early in the evening so it’s better to come early. The tea pastries (scones, cookies, etc) are ok but can sometimes be dry and/or boring despite the beautiful presentations (flowers, gold leaf, etc). I’ve been disappointed a few times (a super salty chocolate cookie that I was served once comes to mind) and the service is always pretty poor (read – extremely slow, and definitely an “attitude”). It’s also expensive (I believe that specials run about $10). The tea selection is great and includes Mariage Freres. Champagne in Del Mar has good French pastries although they’ve slightly reduced their selection. I recommend it. I have not tried Just Desserts (is it the same place as “Just Fabulous”?) in Kensington so I am adding it to my list of places to try. Someone mentioned Venissimo on Washington Street – it’s a great cheese shop. It’s tiny but the selection is great, they’re super friendly and will let you try anything.
  11. mmm-yoso, Carlsbad, Kouign Aman - Thank you for the warm welcome! Kouign Aman – of course I am interested! Thanks for the offer. I may have a source for Breton cider… I need to check because that would be perfect with the cake.
  12. This is my first post on egullet. Please be kind! I joined the website a few months ago and have been greatly benefiting from all of the helpful advice, cooking tips, ideas for meals, restaurant suggestions, etc… It’s really a fantastic resource and now my time to contribute has come! I thought I should start by talking about Tapenade, a French bistro that also happens to be my favorite restaurant in San Diego. Tapenade opened in 1998, which coincides with my arrival in San Diego (I am originally from Paris, France). Tapenade’s chef and owner, Jean-Michel Diot, is well know for his work in New York city where he opened Park Bistro and also the famous French bistro “Les Halles”. I’ve had lunch and dinner at Tapenade many times and it’s always been a pleasurable experience. Now I will describe my most recent meal that took place a few weeks ago. I usually order “a la carte” but the restaurant was offering a tasting menu that seemed very well designed so my husband and I decided to go with that. The menu was as follows: ----- TASTING MENU $62.00 PER PERSON $86.00 with pairing wines $92.00 with premium wines Terrine de Foie Gras, brioche toastée, dry figs mousseline Duck foie gras terrine, toasted brioche Homard aux Truffes et celery remoulade Maine lobster medallions, celeriace remoulade, fresh truffle dressing Poisson du jour "Provencale" Fish of the day, fingerling potato, baby zucchini, tomato confit, favas beans, niçoise olives & fine herb emulsion Noisettes de veau de lait, rates, Champignons, Feves, Jus du Sautoir Veal tenderloin "Noisettes," fava beans, fingerling potato, wild mushrooms and veal jus Le dessert de votre choix Dessert of your choice Mignardises ----- My husband ordered the wine pairings (premium wines), but I decided to pass since we are expecting a new addition to our family in a few months. I won’t be providing details about the wines other than the region for each one since we did not take notes and I did not get a chance to try them. At Tapenade you are always served tapenade (of course!) to start the meal, which is a traditional paste made out of black olives, garlic and anchovies and eaten on bread. The bread served at Tapenade is from Bread and Compagnie (Bread and Cie), which also happens to be my favorite bakery in San Diego, and I have to be careful about not devouring too much bread so I can to enjoy the rest of the meal. The starter course, which was duck foie gras, was really the highlight of the meal. It was very rich and creamy, a generous slice of terrine served with brioche. In fact, the slice was so large that we also used bread as an accompaniment. With the duck terrine, a quenelle of fig mousseline (whipped mousse texture with small pieces of figs) was served, which was good but not as impressive as the foie gras. We’ve had the foie gras before at Tapenade and have never been disappointed. Compared to the foie gras we had a few months ago at Bouchon in Las Vegas, the texture is less dense, which I actually like better. The taste may be on the saltier side but still very well balanced. After this first course, we were already quite satisfied. The foie gras was served with a Sauternes. The second course was the lobster course, which was probably the least impressive dish of the meal. The lobster was served cold and had a sweet, subtle taste but was overpowered by the “celery remoulade” that was served on the side. I love celery remoulade which is shredded celeriac root with a mustardy-mayonnaise dressing, but I did not think this was the best match for the lobster (although it is often served with it or with cold crab). Also on the plate was a fresh truffle emulsion that was divine but best on bread rather than with the lobster because it was also more flavorful. A Chablis was served with this dish. The third course was fish (“poisson du jour”) and we were served a crispy seabass filet with a delicious mix of vegetables. I especially enjoyed the fava beans and the tomato confit. The light sauce sauce/broth was nice too and everything was well balanced. This dish was very well executed and paired with a Sancerre blanc. This dish expressed very well what I enjoy at Tapenade – fresh, simple ingredients, prepared in an elegant and delicious way. Similar to traditional French bistro food but more refined and with more subtle flavors. The upscale version of comfort food for me. I also enjoy more adventurous foods but this is what I always go back too. The meat dish, the veal, had the same qualities as the seabass dish. Great ingredients expertly prepared – the meat, extremely tender and flavorful, served in the (probably reduced/degreased) cooking juices with wild mushrooms. I could eat this everyday… The wine pairing was a Bordeaux. For dessert we went with crispy banana rolls for me and a warm chocolate “fondant” for my husband. The rolls were served with handmade ice creams (mango and banana), a rich chocolate sauce and a vanilla whipped cream. I was impressed with the presentation of the desserts – I understand that Tapenade now has a pastry chef who is apparently improving on the dessert menu that Tapenade is offering. This was not the first time we had the chocolate fondant but this time the presentation was more memorable. In the past it used to be served with mango ice cream but the coconut ice cream was a good match too. The chocolate fondant was served with a tawny port. Since we didn’t order coffee we were not served mignardises but these usually consist of homemade “pate de fruit” (fruit paste) in assorted flavors. Overall this was a great meal. Service was impeccable and the staff very attentive. JM Diot stepped out of the kitchen for a few minutes during our meal but I was too chicken to chat with him, so we sent him our compliments via our waiter who was also French. Tapenade offers a daily lunch prix fixe menu for less than $20 so that’s a great way to sample their dishes without breaking the bank. A few other signature dishes we’ve enjoyed in the past are the mushroom raviolis (they are served with a delicious Port wine and truffle oil-based sauce), duck confit, Burgundy snails, lamb loin, coq au vin. Thanks to Kouign Aman for starting this thread about San Diego restaurants (I wonder where to find a Kouign Aman in San Diego by the way, I haven’t had one in a while). And to those who still wonder, yes we do have a lot of fine restaurants in San Diego. I will try to review my favorites in the near future. To name a few: 910, Region, El Bizcocho, Laurel, Arterra, The Marine Room, A.R. Valentien, Fresh, Chive, and La Bonne Bouffe, Barbarella or Parallel 33 on the more casual side. Other restaurants I plan on going to based on great reviews are newer restaurants Asia Vous in Escondido (chef/owner Riko Batolome) and Vivace at the Four Seasons Aviara (chef Bruce Logue from Babbo in New York City); also Pamplemousse Grill which I’ve never had a chance to go to. 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?).
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