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HVRobinson

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    San Diego, CA
  1. HVRobinson

    Dining in San Diego (Part 2)

    Okay, I'll bite. Last night my wife and another couple went to Vigilucci's in La Jolla. We've been to the one in Encinitas many times, and have have several good meals and some badly overpriced meals. Last night was an exceptional experience. The front of the house was attentive and accommodating without hovering. The specials were well thought out and beautifully presented. The caprese used a fantastic buffalo mozzarella on heirloom tomatoes with a fresh organic basil. My bride and the other couple all ordered one of the specials, a petite fillet to order with a single prawn and a single (huge) scallop presented on spinach and roast potato circles with a rich Bearnaise sauce. The plating was magnificent, the fillet was prepared exactly neither undercooked nor overcooked, and the entire dish was a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth. I ordered the paperdelle with scallops, mushrooms and a brandy cream reduction sauce. I received 3 scallops roughly the size of hockey pucks, but the consistency of butter -- beautifully seared and plated atop wide noodles with a well constructed sauce full of wonderful fresh mushrooms of many varieties. I shall return for this again. Because this was a birthday dinner we had a gift from our server (David)... he promised not to sing. We did have creme brulee and tiramisu as desserts. Both were well done, with the tiramisu not being too cloyingly sweet. The space is open and done in muted earth tones surrounding a tasteful center bar. This is upstairs in the former "Moondoggies" location. While we ate early on Saturday evening (6:00 reservations), by the time we left at 8:00 the tables were mostly full. Vigilucci's has a habit of bringing staff from one location to the next... so we recognized some of the maitre'd staff and some of the waitstaff from other locations. This evening we did not indulge from the wine list, but a cursory inspection showed a respectable (not deep, but respectable) cellar and prices that aren't out of line for San Diego. I plan on returning, at least once I find employment once again. Vigilucci’s Seafood, Steak & Chop House 909 Prospect St. Suite 290 La Jolla, CA 92037 (858) 454-9664 hvr
  2. One more for the San Jose area... When I lived in Santa Clara county I loved the heck out of Armadillo Willy's Real Texas BBQ, and would go there any time I could. The Brisket was always to die for. Worth taking a look at. http://www.armadillowillys.com/ hvr
  3. HVRobinson

    Dining in San Diego (Part 2)

    Sigh--- I haven't been on the forums since mid April and I get to open by putting my foot in my mouth. San Diego is not a terrible food city, but compared with the good food cities, it (plainly said) leaves much to be desired. There is good (but not excellent) food to be had here, but there are few true values. By that I don't mean that the food should be cheap. What I am saying is that for a $100 meal in San Diego you will get --at best-- an experience that rates "feh" on the food and ambience meter. For this same money you can have the experience of a lifetime in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Denver, Austin, New Orleans, Miami, Nashville, Houston, Boston, or... shall I go on? I have lived here for 5 1/2 years now. I've had limited money to spend on dining-- and realize that you can't eat like a Czar if you can't spend like a Czar. But IF you spend like a Tsar and get fed like a peasant... there's something wrong. There are easily two dozen places worthy of acclaim in this metro area. But I still contend that they would have a tough go of it in Manhattan or San Francisco, and the value for the dollar would probably leave them out of business in 6 months. Just my two cents. hvr (and happy birthday to me.... nyah!)
  4. HVRobinson

    Food Resolutions for 2008

    In 2008, I will eat more in line with my diabetic needs (heavy sigh). I will make smoked trout for brunch. I will find a butcher who will supply sweetbreads! I will learn how to do bread in a dutch oven when camping. I will teach my Lutheran wife what Kosher means (I should live so long....) I will read the proofs of my cookbook. hvr
  5. Wow--- fair question. When I'm in production mode... short sleeves. When I'm frying long sleeves turned back two folds. When I'm doing grilling or hi-temp wok work- frequently long sleeve cotton tee shirts all the way down and soaking wet. When doing butchering.... I've been known to just wear an apron and old short pants. Go figgure. The real question is more along the lines of... what keeps you safe, comfortable and keeps the food from getting contaminated? One thing is sure... I don't wear a toque... it's a flame hankie/hat that's been bleached a couple thousand times. hvr
  6. HVRobinson

    The greatest food quotes ever

    "A egg salad so good you could PLOTZ!" --- Woody Allen's What's Up Tiger Lily hvr
  7. HVRobinson

    Cash only restaurants

    Cash only? No problem. My favorite BBQ place has a cash only policy too. I paid in loose pennies. They now will take my check. Actually, they'll take anybody's check. This brings up an interesting question... just how much cash do you carry? I will rarely have more than $40 to $50 in cash on me unless traveling by air. Even then I won't carry much more than $100. I carry ONE credit card and ONE debit card. I haven't had a problem I couldn't solve yet. hvr
  8. HVRobinson

    Recipe Usage

    When it comes to baking ... that's black magik. You follow the incantations and do it EXACTLY as you're told or turn into a newt. For everything else... it's a lot like sex. There is no right way. You want to understand the theory, the don'ts and the taboos. After that--- it is all what makes YOU happy. And when you're in unexplored territory... then you get the thrill of being your own Magellan and get to bury the mistakes... deep in the trash ... of the medical building down the street... with biohazard stickers all over the trashbag. (And you don't tell anybody-- ever.) Dozens and dozens of cookbooks, google searches and other tools for learning theory. If you still don't feel right-- Ouija Julia Child or kidnap Alton Brown. But that's my thing. hvr
  9. There isn't much I don't eat... and my large waist seems to show that. But the one thing that I just can't seem to get by is UNI. I've wanted to like uni for over 30 years. I've tried eating it (I can choke it down) dozens of times (at least 50 times)... but it still tastes awful. My wife was able to convert me to brussel sprouts, and I now ask for them. I still don't drink gin, but that's not a loss to me-- I drink everything else, and just don't care. As for sea urchin--- anybody who wants mine can have it, with my blessings, cause I've tried it more times than I ever required my kids to try other foods. And as a full grown adult I get to have dessert even if I don't finish my dinner, so there! Pbfffffft!!!!!
  10. HVRobinson

    First meal with your partner...

    I met my beautiful bride ten years ago on a flight from Oakland, CA to Burbank, CA. She noticed that I drank cranberry juice and on our first date made sure to have a supply of said juice ready at hand. She laid out a spread of everything wonderful, pate from Marcel et Henri, a half a dozen cheeses, several different types of crackers and breads, nuts, fresh fruit, all kinds of wonderful stuff! And what did I do? I was on my first date after separating from my wife of 14 years and was terrified. I couldn't eat. I could barely talk. I drank a little bit of juice. I nibbled a few crackers. I think I tried some pate. Five years to the day later I married this fine lady. On our honeymoon we spent $100 on illegal (unpasteurized) cheese... but on that first night... I didn't acquit myself very well... and I'm the real foodie in the couple. Sigh... ain't love great? hvr
  11. Just got home and discussed this with my loving wife. We will probably have Alaskan Dungeness crab for New Year's Eve, but alas... it appears that this season will truly be == sucky == for our favorite local type crustacean. My heart goes out to the fisherfolk from the bay area... it's hard enough to make a living when things are good. May they catch a break somehow. hvr
  12. HVRobinson

    Mandatory Gratuities?

    I don't mind the 18% for service. BUT... if the service really sucks... you better believe that the manager will get a visit and a serious chewing. I will expect comps, a reduction or I'll write a letter to my credit card company for a disputed charge on that 18%. I usually tip 20% in most major markets... and 15% or more in most minor markets. (A minor market is a town of less than 5,000) Heck-- even on a $4.25 lunch I leave a buck. But at least make sure that there's some water in my glass and that I have a clean set of utensils before you disappear forever? hvr
  13. HVRobinson

    Cheap Good Eats in SF

    Another one of my old favorites from my old neighborhood that will fit this bill is Izzy's Steak & Chop House on Steiner between Chestnut and Lombard in the Marina. They do a creamed spinach to plotz for. With the exception of the Veal Chop you should be able to meet your dollar goal and do well. Here's the link: http://izzyssteaksandchops.liveonatt.com/ hvr (Edited for the link)
  14. You know that you're a foodie when you're looking for a recipe for bread and butter jalapeño peppers... just because you want that sweet and hot zest ... for a kick at a holiday table. You know you're a foodie when you throw the cook away from the grill at the company BBQ for murdering the meat. You know you're a foodie when you go to the Asian market and don't know the English name for what you're in need of. You really know you're a foodie when you iPod has a "chopping the vegetables" mix and a "doing the butchering" mix --- right next to the "kneading the dough mix". You know that it's terminal when you have an excellent meal out and you hug the owner of the restaurant for making you so very happy. hvr (You get the heebie-jeebies to see Wine Sonoma smiling from the grave when you read a topic that is resurrected after a long pause...)
  15. HVRobinson

    Interesting Turkey Cooking Ideas

    This year it's low and slow. 15 pound bird is in the oven already at 79 degrees. Will roast until Thanksgiving to an internal temp of 185. (GD&R) Well --- it sounded good in theory.... hvr
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