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Dining in San Diego


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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.sdurbankitchen.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

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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

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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 (log)
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Just a quick report and thanks to those who helped. We stayed at the Marriot Marina Hotel down by Gaslamp. Excellent Margaritas at the Yacht Club at the hotel. We sat on the patio and watched the boats go by and ate Crabcakes and sashimi.

Rama is a beautiful white linen restaurant, very formal looking. The waterfall wall is the whole wall, I didn't expect that. It is great. The Nua Kem is fantastic. Beef that's air-dried in a tangerine sauce with a bite. It's not on the menu, but the hotel conceriage told me about it, and to ask for it. Also get the chili tray and play with your flavors.

La Gran tapa was very quiet and peaceful. We had the tapa sampler and about 4 others, and drank Sangrea.

And a shout out to the reason for our visit. The San Diego Wild Animal Park in Escondido. This is not a zoo, but an open air park with wild things and beer. A wonderful way to spend a day.

Da Captain

Captain Hongo

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  • 3 weeks later...

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!

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

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?).

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Hey guys,

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?).

Thanks for posting the link. My short list would include:

1500 Ocean

A.R. Valentien

Azul

Mr. A's

Cafe Japengo

Cavaillon

La Bastide

The Marine Room and Laurel both do nice menus for this week and I'm glad to see some of the better restaurants are doing $40 menus. Hopefully, that might lead to some better meals.

I may miss this year since I'll be in Mexico most of January.

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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.

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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

I have always loved visiting San Diego, but I’ve always been just another tourist. Still, armed with a list of what many San Diego experts consider some of the best of their best, I ventured forward. To my amazement, I found the cuisine to be state of the culinary art.
Food and wine prices in San Diego have ascended to the same astronomical heights as those in my megalopolis. Service may still be a tad less sophisticated, but one thing is certain: San Diego chefs compare favorably to any on the West Coast and, in many cases, to chefs on both coasts and all points between. The area’s restaurants deserve more attention, and accolades, from those who consider themselves arbiters of the culinary arts—namely, the national food press.
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FrogPrincesse, how did you find Thee Bungalow? I haven't eaten there after the changes in ownership and in the kitchen but have several friends who have. They were not pleased with their meals or the direction in which the restaurant appears to be going. I'd be interested in hearing your opinion too.

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Dining in La Jolla Village, Walking Distance

After much back and forth, it was agreed this refers to the village of La Jolla ( Girard, Pearl etc), rather than the La Jolla Village Square area.

Which leads to the question - is there dining in the La Jolla Village Square area?

Anyone been to Japengo recently? Donovans strike anyone's fancy?

I heartily recommend Aesops' Tables for greek food. Kid friendly, medium priced. Outdoor seating area has lovely view of the parking lot, but good conversation should take care of that problem.

"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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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.

Specialties of Thee Bungalow include our famous roast duck, rack of lamb, fresh seafood, quenelles, escargot Bourgogne, wild game, prime grade beef as well as incredible dessert soufflés. An annual award winner of the Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence,” Thee Bungalow’s extensive wine list features modestly priced wines from all regions of the world. A full service bar is also available.

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.

Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey folks, if you're in San Diego and have not yet been to MODUS, it's time for a visit. Had a really nice dinner there Friday night. It's sleek, elegant and sophisticated and that's just the room, the food is even better.

My dining companion started with the beet and avocado salad and I had the belgian endive with roquefort and pecans. Both salads were excellent. The presentation on the beet salad was visually stunning, but flavorwise, I think the edge went to the belgian endive. Two other popular starters are the pommes frites, and MODUS does them better than just about anyone in town, and the French Onion soup.

I had the pork loin which was served atop a bed of greens and pan roasted brussels sprouts and set off by a mild grain mustard sauce. Oh, and there were tiny cubes of ginger gelee (?) as a garnish. Loved it. My friend loved her duck confit and the red wine reduction sauce that game with it.

I had dessert, she had espresso. The S'mores dessert was fun, but more than a little too sweet. The espresso was a well pulled draw.

Service was quiet and unobtrusive and the dining room was well monitored by roving staff members. The restaurant is on a couple of levels with the bar being up a few steps from the dining room. And it's a fine looking bar, a great place to meet for drinks after work. This is San Diego, and it is 75* in December so sitting out on the patio is still pleasant and there are warmers if it every decides to get cold here.

2 drinks, 2 apps, 2 entress, 1 dessert, 1 espresso, tax and tip came to right around $115.

Edited by kalypso (log)
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Thanks kalypso for posting this review of MODUS. Your meal sounds fantastic. Sounds like elegant bistro cuisine which is really my favorite (French comfort food!). We need to try this place soon.

I had dinner at Zenbu in La Jolla last Saturday, with husband and friends, and had a fantastic meal. I love sushi and this place really has fantastic fish, with a modern twist (less traditional than Sushi Ota, which is our other favorite sushi restaurant). According to the restaurant’s website

Owned and operated by local restaurateur Matt Rimel, Zenbu is the result of a lifelong passion for fishing and great food. Rimel owns a commercial fishing boat and the seafood company Ocean Giant, which has a fleet of boats around the world fishing exclusively for his restaurants and clients.
which of course explains why the fish is so exceptionally fresh. A lot of the fish they serve is local and that makes all the difference in the world.

The restaurant is dark with a modern/Asian decor, red lanterns at the sushi bar, beautiful cymbidium orchid branches in large vases, and giant timber bamboo by the entrance.

We used to frequent this place regularly until my pregnancy last year when I was not supposed to eat sushi… torture! (yeah, I know, there is cooked sushi, but that’s really not what I enjoy eating the most in a sushi bar). We usually sit at the bar and make sure that Johnny prepares everything for us (our friends know him and the staff quite well). We asked him to prepare whatever rolls he felt like and we got two versions of his “Johnny roll” and a couple of other rolls, then had some fantastic nigiri (toro, hotate, local uni, halibut). The highlight of the meal was lobster sashimi made with live lobster (decorated with fish roe and gold leaf! quite spectacular), followed by lobster dynamite (I am not usually a big fan of dynamite, due to mayo being somewhat overpowering, but this one made with lobster and crab was very delicate and tasted fantastic!) and then lobster miso soup. A real treat! Love that place, even though it is on the pricey side (over $80 a person this time including tax and tip).

They have happy hour a few nights a week which includes drinks and a few specials. That’s what we usually do and it’s a lot more economical!

Happy Hour

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday: all night

Wednesday and Thursday: 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Made reservations for restaurant week at Tapenade (old favorite, has a great $30 menu that includes a recipe from Les Halles that I’ve always wanted to try, “petatou”, a dish involving potatoes, fresh goat cheese and olives) and The Marine Room. Cavaillon was also on the list but the $40 menu was not such a great deal I thought, and also 3 restaurants in the same week seemed like a bit much, especially right after holiday season. So we will try Cavaillon another time. And MODUS too!

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Made reservations for restaurant week at Tapenade (old favorite, has a great $30 menu that includes a recipe from Les Halles that I’ve always wanted to try, “petatou”, a dish involving potatoes, fresh goat cheese and olives) and The Marine Room.  Cavaillon was also on the list but the $40 menu was not such a great deal I thought, and also 3 restaurants in the same week seemed like a bit much, especially right after holiday season.  So we will try Cavaillon another time.  And MODUS too!

I will miss Restaurant Week this year since I'll be in Mexico.

I did the Marine Room for Resto Week a couple of years ago and it was excellent. I think they've got their annual High Tide Breakfast coming up at the end of the month, or sometime in January. The dates are always listed on their web site. This was always a big deal when we were growing up. My mom and aunt would get us dressed up and off we'd go to La Jolla and High Tide Breakfast. They ALWAYS got a window table and it was really cool to watch the waves come up, and ocassionally if it was kind of stormy a wave would actually hit the windows with a little force. If there are any High Tide Breakfasts before I go to Mexico I was thinking about making a reservation and seeing how it compared to the old memories. I love the Marine Room even when it sometimes makes a misstep, which thankfully, isn't very often :smile:

If was going to be in town for Restaurant Week I was looking at 1500 Ocean, Addison and A.R. Valentine. I will probably hit Tapenade in the next couple of weeks. My boss's Admin. Asst. birthday is right around the corner and she loves Tapenade and I was thinking about taking her there for her B-day.

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1500 Ocean was excellent, we made our reservations in advance on OpenTable for a Saturday night. I don't know what kind of reputation the place had when it was the Prince of Wales, but everything we ordered was very good and the server was very attentive and fun.

George's at the Cove in La Jolla was also very nice for a fine dining experience in La Jolla. The Loch Duart Salmon with Beet Risotto was perfect with a glass of the Chehalem Ridecrest 2000 Pinot Noir. Save room for the Mexican Chocolate Pot de Creme with Warm Churros for dessert at George's. :cool:

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I'm glad to hear that you liked 1500 Ocean; so far everything I've heard has been pretty positive. When it was the Prince of Wales Room it was pretty traditional fine dining; kind of old, kind of staid, appealed to an "older" demographic, the one with expendable income. The food was never bad, but it wasn't going to break any new ground either.

I had dinner at Laurel last night and it was wonderful. Only one dish really didn't work and that was the flat bread appetizer. It was just okay, not a clunker, but not great either, basically a missed opportunity. The foie gras appetizer, however, was outstanding. A perfectly seared piece of foie was perched on top of a slice of pumpkin bread and some quince and apple in fine dice. Really yummy, but get it now because the SD City Council is taking up the issue of a foie gras ban after the first of the year. For our entrees we had the black cod and duck confit. Both were good, but the confit was the better of the two.

Laurel has a special pre-theater dinner of soup or salad, choice of 3 entrees and butterscotch pot de creme for dessert for $30. They'll also provide free shuttle service between the Old Globe and the restaurant.

They also do something called Sinful Sunday's where they have a rotating selection of about 12-15 wines (more reds than whites) at half price. There were some good values. For a Sunday night our meal was excellent

Edited by kalypso (log)
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Molly's Restaurant

We ate at Molly's in the Marriott Marina last night.

A very pleasant meal, and accidentally a vegetarian one.

Stuffed squash blossoms, with micro greens

Chestnut-mushroom soup - More please. I'd be happy to have this for breakfast too.

A celebration of Autumn vegetables which included:

farro with black kale - lovely and chewy

tricolor cauliflower in something a bit peppery (the weakest part of the meal)

cheesy agnolotti - very good, my companion's favorite of the evening

butternut squash - simply roasted and very good.

This was very good. It didnt feel like "eating a meal" tho. We were full b agreed that some folks wouldnt be satisfied because there was no 'main course' in this main course. Those folks could order steak, pork, lamb or seafood instead.

Sides were:

polenta with mushrooms - excellent, creamy, (filling). I ate too much of this. I'd like some now, for lunch, please.

baby brussels sprouts - browned, crisp and tender. Very good.

somehow we forgot :sad: to order the chanterelles.

Dessert for us was the cheese plate, which came with a peppery quince paste, a fig/almond slice, semi-raisined grapes. the bleu was served with honeycomb and was our favorite of the selection, tho we very much enjoyed most of the cheeses, in particular one which was layered with the top portion tasting similar to chevre and the top reminiscent of camembert. I wish I could remember the names.

I had a glass of Viogner, and my friend had Pinot Gris. Both went well with the food. By the glass was offered in both a 3 and a 6 oz pour, which is a nice option for a lightweight like me who might want to try more than one. The waiter was kind enough to teach me the correct pronunciation for the wine varietal, patiently repeating it for me until I was satisfied I'd heard it properly and would remember it.

Service was very good. We split everything, in order to try more, and this was managed graciously. The main meal was served on a series of four small square plates. Cleverly, our individual plates matched them. Its a small thing, but it was fun and made us smile.

Tableware is interesting and functional. Sleek slender silverware, bright white china with interesting shapes. Coffee came with a small tray containing packets, loose sugar in the raw, sugar crystal stir-sticks, whipped cream, pouring half-half, and chocolate shavings: an unexpected build-your-own-dessert coffee.

If I were to nitpick - the conceit of running words together in the menu section titles was annoying.

We didnt expect such a meal from a hotel restaurant, so took no notes, no pictures, and cannot report with great detail. But we'd be happy to go back and try Chef Brian Sinnott's work again.

Molly's link

"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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Molly's Restaurant

We didnt expect such a meal from a hotel restaurant, so took no notes, no pictures, and cannot report with great detail. But we'd be happy to go back and try Chef Brian Sinnott's work again.

Molly's link

Molly's really is one of the better kept secrets in San Diego

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I'll be in SD in early January for a professional meeting. Some friends and I go out each year in whatever city we're in for a big dinner. Some preference for local cusine, but anything of top quality is fine. Price is not really an issue. Any thoughts?

Andrew

(btw, we'll be based near the Gaslight district [have I got that name right?], but are prepared to jump in a cab for a while)

Edited by ariggsby (log)

Andrew Riggsby

ariggsby@mail.utexas.edu

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