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C Simril

Dining in San Diego (Part 2)

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this looks like quality food during restaurant week and presented rather nicely... I guess people in trailor parkes like this type of dining experience too though.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jajagapgirl/

Some restaurants don't want to spend the $1,000 it costs them to participate, $1,375 if they aren't members of the CRA.

Nine-Ten is a very nice, very good restaurant and presentation has always been one of their strong suits. However, the last time I was there for Resto Week (in 2007) the food was good, but not great, and certainly did not demonstrate what that kitchen is capable or producing. Worse was the service which was ATROCIOUS. Now, I happen to like Nine-Ten alot, but if that had been my only experience at the restaurant I would never return. The place was slammed and the staff could not cope or deal with it. The service was amatuerish at best. The abysmal service by inept and poorly trained high school students certainly detracted from the meal. Not to mention the noise level was so deafening that conversation at our four-top was impossible without having to yell at each other. I hardly think choosing not to support restaurant week because it doesn't show off restaurants well hardly makes any of us trailer trash.

Why should I pay $30 or $40 for okay food, horrid service and too much noise just because it's restaurant week and we're supposed to support our local restos. My non-restaurant week meals at Nine-Ten have always been quite good with a manageable noise level, though service can sometimes be uneven. They do a terrific and laid back breakfast.

"San Diego's "Restaurant week week is tailored to those folks who live in trailer parks."

I was simply commenting on this quote posted by chefsteban, The fact that the restaurant is not as intimate during this week is obvious. The point of this event is to get people in the door, alot of them. Weather me or you would choose to participate is dfferent, but the quote listed above is pretty narrow minded in my opinion.

I don't know where you may have gotten confused,.... I never implied that not participating in restaurant week made any of us trailor trash, I Just stated that 'participating' doesn't make us trailor trash. I just don't agree with this statement posted that all. I am actually suprised that I am the only one to mention this.

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"San Diego's "Restaurant week week is tailored to those folks who live in trailer parks."

I was simply commenting on this quote posted by chefsteban,  The fact that the restaurant is not as intimate during this week is obvious.  The point of this event is to get people in the door, alot of them.  Weather me or you would choose to participate is dfferent, but the quote listed above is pretty narrow minded in my opinion.

My bad, I misread your post.

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The only restaurant that seems to be getting any consistent mention is 9-10. From early threads, I'm surprised no one brought up Chive.

Restaurant week is over.

Who is interested in picking a restaurant with the goal that we all go there sometime during the next ?two? months (and hoping that the chef remains the same) ?

My thinking is that we'll all experience the same place, in 'normal' circumstances (not a huge group), and then we'll be able to place our comments into a common framework. For example, the person who's been to the top 10 in the US might find it 'enjoyable if cliched', while yours truely might be wowed by the creativity due to relative lack of exposure to what's out there. From that, we'd be able to calibrate our understanding of other posts, as we discuss the San Diego dining environment.


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

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The only restaurant that seems to be getting any consistent mention is 9-10. From early threads, I'm surprised no one brought up Chive.

Who is interested in picking a restaurant with the goal that we all go there sometime during the next ?two? months  (and hoping that the chef remains the same) ?

Didn't the chef from Chive recently move up to Laurel?

2 months is too long a time frame, why not say try Chive by the end of July and report back about the experience?

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The only restaurant that seems to be getting any consistent mention is 9-10. From early threads, I'm surprised no one brought up Chive.

Who is interested in picking a restaurant with the goal that we all go there sometime during the next ?two? months  (and hoping that the chef remains the same) ?

Didn't the chef from Chive recently move up to Laurel?

2 months is too long a time frame, why not say try Chive by the end of July and report back about the experience?

the chef from chive did move to laurel... But I think he is now manageing both kitchen menues.

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the chef from chive did move to laurel...  But I think he is now manageing both kitchen menues.

I had heard the food had improved substantially after he moved. I've always liked Laurel and, really, have never had a poor meal there, although I did think that the kitchen was operating at peak skill level the last time I was there and probably not capable of much more.

It's hard enough to manage 1 kitchen and 1 menu let alone two. The fact that he may be managing both Chive and Laurel concerns me. I wonder if he can sustain the quality at both over the long haul

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the chef from chive did move to laurel...  But I think he is now manageing both kitchen menues.

I had heard the food had improved substantially after he moved. I've always liked Laurel and, really, have never had a poor meal there, although I did think that the kitchen was operating at peak skill level the last time I was there and probably not capable of much more.

It's hard enough to manage 1 kitchen and 1 menu let alone two. The fact that he may be managing both Chive and Laurel concerns me. I wonder if he can sustain the quality at both over the long haul

I also was thinking that. A good menu can always be written but exicuteing it is the challange. But I haven't been there so I will give it a try...

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After having the opportunity to work at 910, Georges, Jack's La Jolla and opening Addison. I feel compelled to put in my opinion. Without a doubt, having a consistant front of the house staff who care about service and have the knowledge, is what keeps San Diego dining down. Except for Addison where the service and the wine program are top notch (yet the food lacks????) evrey other place hasa serious lack of good staff and managment to oversee them. Also the lack of good pay for cooks, because the same bozos who work FOH get $8.25+tips, most are drawn to bigger markets that pay more. The lack of credible food writers doesn't help either. I'm not sure how to fix these things, because if I could I'd be the richest guy in town.

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why not say try Chive by the end of July and report back about the experience?

Ok, its said.

Any takers?

Report back on:

overall impression

service

food - preparation, creativity, presentation, __________, _____________

We're from all walks, trying to develop a standard by which to communicate.

Me, I just like to eat, so please dive in and make suggestions. Thanks!


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

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This has nothing to do chive but I thought I would report anyway. Just went to Jacks because of convenience and had some really tastey Italian food. I recommend trying it, can't say I had better pasta in S.D. Try the tuna bruschetta for an APP. and also the poached egg with chantrelle mushrooms, an APP as well. All pasta is made fresh in house. Reasonable priced and very good food.

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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


"Cogito Ergo Dim Sum; Therefore I think these are Pork Buns"

hvrobinson@sbcglobal.net

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I'm not sure this really fits the profile of this thread because the restaurant certainly doesn't fall into the category of fine dining :rolleyes:

BUT...

I think this article does a remarkably good job of explaining very clearly, and in plain English, the affects that the worsening economy in San Diego and rapidly escalating fuel and food costs are having on indenpendent restaurant operators.

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I'm not sure this really fits the profile of this thread because the restaurant certainly doesn't fall into the category of fine dining  :rolleyes:

BUT...

I think this article does a remarkably good job of explaining very clearly, and in plain English, the affects that the worsening economy in San Diego and rapidly escalating fuel and food costs are having on indenpendent restaurant operators.

interesting article. I like that it pointed out that when times are tough, it is even tougher in California.

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It's tough to be in any business these days, let alone one in CA. I thought the reporter did an awfully good job of quantifying all the factors that are affecting food businesses these days. I've said it before and I hate to sound like a broken record, but I think we're in for a pretty good shake out in the restaurant industry (not only in SD) before the economy turns around enough that operators aren't walking the fine line as much.

As for Lucha Libre, the place is a hoot. The fact that the U/T ran the article on the front page - above the fold, no less - is probably going to generate some business. Their food is pretty good, loved their salsas, decent food quality overall, prices are a little on the high end for a taqueria. It's one of the few places in SD that you can get a quesataco. The interior is a lot of fun and the lucha libre theme and decorations are pretty funky, they were even running it on their TV.

It's about a block away from El Indio, but way better than EI.

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San Diego's "Restaurant week week is tailored to those folks who live in trailer parks. As was stated earlier, the food presented during that week does not reflect most restaurants usual fare. I will go to those eateries on my own time of choosing. This must be a new ploy on the old Entertainment card scheme.

well then, thats a bold statement. chefsteban, where do you work so I don't go there.

Oh my...a card caring member of the politically correct squad. My opinion is just that...MY opinion.

So you don't want to come to my restaurant because I dared to speak my mind.....I'm crushed.

You just might be one of those folk who go to a discounted dinner affair and order water as your drink of choice.


"We do not stop playing because we grow old,

we grow old because we stop playing"

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Okay, I'm not going to post about trailer trash or drinking water. I am going to post about brunch at the Better Half in Hillcrest. They started doing brunch a few weeks ago. This is their opening brunch menu.

I had the house-made pastrami hash & eggs and my dining companion had pork and duck confit monte cristo. Complimentary biscuits with honey butter and cranberry and mustard chutney/preserves are served along with a couple of complimentary beignets.

I loved my pastrami hash. It was very lean and the large portion was nicely flavored without being overpowering. I ordered my eggs over medium, and that is exactly how they arrived.

I am not a fan of the monte cristo sandwich; I've always thought Monte Greasto was a better name. It's too rich, too dense and all too often too fat-laden and a heavy, sodden mess. I do, however, have 2 friends and a parent that adore this sandwich, so I've had ample opportunity to taste different versions. It seemed to fall out of vouge when attention turned to trendier and healthier food preparations, but I've noticed a ressurgence on menus around town. Cafe 1-3 on Park Blvd. does a perfectly acceptable, and perfectly traditional monte cristo. The updated and trendy pork and duck confit monte cristo at The Better Half (wth foie butter, no less) is also exceptionally good. And, mercifully, it is not a leaden grease bomb. Make no mistake, it is a very filling sandwich but it is not overy greasy. My friend managed to polish off the whole thing in quick order.

We enjoyed the chocolate and raspberry beignets with mellow French press coffee. The flavor combination of the beignets changes weekly and the chocolate and raspberry was outstanding. They could have benefited from a little bit longer in the fryer as they were just every so slightly gummy inside, but they were so light and crispy on the outside we were inclined to forgive the interior. Also noteworthy was the honey butter with the biscuits which was not as cloyingly sweet as most versions I've had.

2 brnch entrees and 2 french press coffees, tax and tip set us back $43.


Edited by kalypso (log)

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We had a very good dinner at Via Italia Trattoria in Encinitas on Saturday night. Very good pizza and pastas, and an interesting menu.

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There is a small little strip mall on the corner of Lake Murray and Navajo that comprises of various business offices, donut shop, recording studio and a space for a restuarant. In recent past there have been a few that came and went and currently the space is occupied by a Thai restaurant called Basil Thai Bistro.

My wife and I were having a low key anniversary the other night and we decided to try this place out. Nicely decorated, nice table settings, friendly staff and a typical Thai menu. Neither of us were super hungry so we got the hot pot of Tom Kha with chicken, chicken larb and spicy basil beef with peppers. My wife got a Thai ice tea and I drank water. Her drink was super sweet. More so than I've tasted at other places. My water was actually refreshing and didn't taste like it came from the local lake and fortified with chemicals.

Now on to the food. First up with the Tom Kha. It was very rich compared to other places I've been. I liked it but I think it was somewhat overpowered with sweetness (trend?). I thought the balance of stock and coconut milk was very good as were the ingredients in the soup. I told my wife that this soup warms the belly. I don't feel that way too often but it really did. Had that down home cold weather cozy up to the fire with a bowl of hot soup feel to it.

Next up was the Chicken Larb. It was delicious. Chicken was not cut up as fine as I've done at home but wasn't an issue for me. The flavors were well balanced and they were not scared to make it spicy as it had a good bite to it. Finally the main item came. The sauce was tomato based (had it without a tomato type sauce before) and was very tasty. I asked for medium heat and I found small slices of probably 3-4 thai chilli peppers. Again, this place is not afriad to turn the heat up for you. I had a problem with this dish though. The beef was tough and dry...IOW, overcooked. It tasted like the beef has already been well cooked way ahead of time then thrown in the wok and cooked some more to make the complete dish. Dissapointed me.

All in all, I wouldn't mind going back to try other things. We both kinda liked this little place. It's not as good as Tamarind Thai in La Mesa but it was decent enough to try again.


Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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We had dinner at The Better Half back in september. The place itself is nice, service is good and one can sense that they try to find a way between "fine dining" and "casual bistro".

Unfortunately the food is not very good, though. Many dishes were way too sweet, due to some stuffing or some chutney or some side. Some meats were overcooked and the fish on the table next to us had a heavy smell to it...

Even the tiny sorbet that came between starter and main (nice gesture!) was way too sweet.

The actual dessert was announced as "creme brulée with berries" - well, the "berries" were exactly 1/2 strawberry on top of the creme...

The wines (by 1/2 bottle, thus the name of the place) were rather expensive - barely something under 25$ (for 1/2 bottle at a bistro...).

Our lunch at George's in La Jolla was very good, though!

Nice pasta with lamb and very good sandwiches (and a very charming red-headed-waitress from germany :wub: ). The view on the terrace is magnificent.

greetings

kai


Edited by kai-m (log)

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There is a small little strip mall on the corner of Lake Murray and Navajo that comprises of various business offices, donut shop, recording studio and a space for a restuarant.  In recent past there have been a few that came and went and currently the space is occupied by a Thai restaurant called Basil Thai Bistro.

My wife and I were having a low key anniversary the other night and we decided to try this place out.  Nicely decorated, nice table settings, friendly staff and a typical Thai menu.  Neither of us were super hungry so we got the hot pot of Tom Kha with chicken, chicken larb and spicy basil beef with peppers.  My wife got a Thai ice tea and I drank water.  Her drink was super sweet.  More so than I've tasted at other places.  My water was actually refreshing and didn't taste like it came from the local lake and fortified with chemicals.

Now on to the food.  First up with the Tom Kha.  It was very rich compared to other places I've been.  I liked it but I think it was somewhat overpowered with sweetness (trend?).  I thought the balance of stock and coconut milk was very good as were the ingredients in the soup.  I told my wife that this soup warms the belly.  I don't feel that way too often but it really did.  Had that down home cold weather cozy up to the fire with a bowl of hot soup feel to it.

Next up was the Chicken Larb.  It was delicious.  Chicken was not cut up as fine as I've done at home but wasn't an issue for me.  The flavors were well balanced and they were not scared to make it spicy as it had a good bite to it.  Finally the main item came.  The sauce was tomato based (had it without a tomato type sauce before) and was very tasty.  I asked for medium heat and I found small slices of probably 3-4 thai chilli peppers.  Again, this place is not afriad to turn the heat up for you.  I had a problem with this dish though.  The beef was tough and dry...IOW, overcooked.  It tasted like the beef has already been well cooked way ahead of time then thrown in the wok and cooked some more to make the complete dish.  Dissapointed me.

All in all, I wouldn't mind going back to try other things.  We both kinda liked this little place.  It's not as good as Tamarind Thai in La Mesa but it was decent enough to try again.

My wife and I have gone to Basil Thai a couple of times. The setting is very cozy but a little dark for our taste, but would be good for a romantic night out.

The food was good the first time. We had ordered the Pad Thai with duck, which was actually very well cooked. The duck was really tender and flavorful. We also got the Mussaman curry with beef. While the curry sauce was good, the beef was overcooked and tough (a recurring theme? :hmmm: )

We went back a few weeks later, mainly because that duck was so good...but were disappointed when it came out tough and dry.

So, there may be some consistency problems with the kitchen.

We may go back, but probably not without one of those two-for-one coupons from the Reader.

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Early December, looking for recommendations of tasty sites--either near Convention Center/ Marriott or a short cab ride -- possible 3 nights of dining. From Philadelphia.

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Good dining downtown can be tough. The downtown "gaslamp" area is geared to major tourism. I would suggest a little place called the Wine Vault and Bistro in Mission Hills, just a short cab right. One suggestion downtown is a Mexican place in Barrio Logan called Las Quatras Milpas, excellent authentic Mexican.

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Early December, looking for recommendations of tasty sites--either near Convention Center/ Marriott or a short cab ride -- possible 3 nights of dining. From Philadelphia.

Take a look at the existing threads. There had been many recommendations on San Diego restaurants, many of which are in the Gas Lamp District.

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=116023

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=85638&st=0

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=117001

If you want to Google and find more, use this string:

site:egullet.org california forum "san diego" restaurant


W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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Early December, looking for recommendations of tasty sites--either near Convention Center/ Marriott or a short cab ride -- possible 3 nights of dining. From Philadelphia.

Cafe Chloe - 9th & something, Market?

Oceanaire - 4th & Island

JSix - 6th & Island (local, sustainable, organic as much as possible)

Molly's - fine dining in the Marina Marriott and very good

Laurel - 5th & Laurel

Mr. A's - 5th & Laurel, 14th or 15th floor, best view in town and the foods awfully good too

Nobu - Hard Rock Hotel

Cowboy Star

Starlight Lounge - India St. north of Little Italy. Creative drinks

Chive - 4th & something

La Puerta - Mexican, next door to Chive

You're basically in the Gaslamp district where there are more restaurants than sand on the beach. Just start walking until you find something that suits you fancy.

The recco for Wine vault & Bistro is excellent, well worth the short cab ride, or take the Blue Line trolley to the Middle Town stop and walk east up Washington St. a few blocks and you're there, but take a cab back.

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