Follow by Email

Monday, July 31, 2017

An experience that goes far beyond the plate: Debut at Pardon My French

Pardon My French Bar and Kitchen

3797 Park Blvd, North Park, San Diego, CA, 92103

645pm, Tuesday, July 25th

One cuisine I had neglected since my moving to San Diego back in March 2014 has been that of the French domain. Not that I did not want to look for it, try and review it, but rather because I did not really know of or hear about many places I had to go check out. As one who cannot do dairy and avoids flour as much as possible, it never appealed as a primary cuisine to look into. My myopic view of what French dining can be quickly shattered as you will see below.

As fate would have it I got wind of PMF (Pardon My French) from a French-Canadian member of the US consulate at the 4th of July USA vs Canada Rugby match of all places. A name was dropped, business cards swapped and the rest is what brought me to the doors of PMF for this debut visit of not only the venue but also French dining of any kind during my tenure in San Diego so far. Let me show you how spectacular this experience was for me and how it can (and should be) one for you as well.

Eric Fillion, co-owner with wife Lindsey have been in business for 16 months now but you would think far longer given how smoothly this place hums along and how rich the vibe is between patrons and staff. It's like they been here for decades with regulars that go way back when. Eric has done a magnificent job of creating a culture all its own at PMF. Its seen and felt, heard and tasted in the food, the decor, the ambiance and the flavors/presentation of the food. It feels part fine dining, slightly high end, but has no vibe of ostentation or pretentiousness. The food, decor, and service, provide that authenticly by itself.

Co-owner Eric Fillion and I posing for a shot after my amazing meal.

Eric seems to know every single person who walks in the door as he greets them, speaks to them and hugs them all on departure. They approach him to converse in native tongues as close friends and family at one another's home would do. An owner who regularly has this kind of face time and interaction with his customers is something I have not seen very often but can appreciate as one who seeks more than just a good plate of food when I dine out. I want an experience, a unique one of a kind experience along with some great food. That is just what I got here and then some.

Even my server "Goose" was an extension of what Eric and the venue strive for with their welcoming family feel of belonging, being cared for, treated as an equal even if the cuisine/menu is new and foreign (as it was to me). His knowledge of the menu and wine list down to the details was stellar. We spoke a bit directly about his role at PMF and he made it clear he feels a part of a team, a family, filling a purpose to please and exceed the customers experience every single time and not just through food but through service and experiences. 

These types of values are what I shoot to capture in my blog posts. I can post images and pictures of great food all day long but that's what Instagram is for (and I do use the hell out of it as well so go add me @NavyFitCVN) but to capture the rest of what a dining experience is, takes more than just great tasting and delicious looking foods. A story, purpose, and a mission that takes places well beyond the plate is what makes things fun, fascinating and insightful for me as a food blogger and hopefully for you as a reader as well.

Outdoor side patio area with fire pits and romantic lighting. THE place to be for Sunday brunch I am told!

Bottom line, Eric, his wife, his team and Chef Dariusz in the kitchen, are doing amazing things, whipping up amazing food and drinks that allow you to escape the daily hustle and bustle so "Pardon my French" but, slow the f%ck down and savor a meal, relish in an experience, bond with your fellow diners. Todays fast paced world of dine & dash has become all too common. Places like this need be known by all so that the essence of dining out as an experience vice consumption alone can be revived. And in the process, you may even learn some French along the way! Bring a date, bring the office, bring the kids, bring the darn dog! "This is your dining room away from home and everyone is always welcome here" as Eric so simply put it.

One thing the French have always done right, decor and wine! 

My only regret is not trying more foods, some of the more traditional items like French onion soup (my personal favorite), roasted duck, grilled lamb chops, tart flambee, fois gras, the charcuterie, and fromages board to name just a few. Dessert options all by itself deserve a visit based on what I saw coming from the kitchen all night! However, to keep within the new theme of "ABetterBite" I bypassed those items (but certainly will return for them) to show that even when eating for health and wellness, you do not have to sacrifice flavor one degree! The pictures below should make clear that I was not missing out on a thing with my selections. Until next time blog readers, bonne nourriture! 

Street side front patio area on Park Blvd.

One last note I felt I had to make here in that I hate to see food waste of any kind is the system put in place at PMF. The system allows for almost 95% of their food product to be utilized in production, donation or consumption in some way. They even make dog treats for fido on select days of the week to assure almost nothing is wasted. How cool is that!? 

Au Revoir! 

Pan Roasted Salmon, charred fennel, green beans, sauce vierge

Mixed Vegetables dressed in herb butter (best roasted carrots I have ever had)

Charred Broccolini with shaved Almonds

Spinach and Arugula Salad with Smoked Salmon, grapefruit & lemon dressing, pomegranate seeds, cucumber, radish.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Great Seafood, Views and Service: The Bali Hai Debut

Bali Hai Restaurant - Shelter Island, Point Loma, San Diego

630pm Tuesday, July 18th

Pretty darn content at the moment I must say!

For someone who lives in Point Loma just a couple miles away from the Bali Hai restaurant on Shelter Island, it's just wrong that it took me 2.5 years as a resident here to finally get in here and check them out! I now see I have in fact been missing out BIG TIME on their dinner menu, views, stiff drinks and incredible service for far too long. Not the case anymore. I had known all about their famous Sunday brunch but even that never got me in the doors due to my Sunday morning schedule most weekends. But now I feel that may have to change having now gotten a true taste of what the Bali Hai is all about.

I arrived to find the place fairly busy but nothing crazy. Some JROTC event was happening downstairs and outside on the waterfront patio area. I dined in the primary upstairs dining room space which hit me with 3 things very clear right away. 1) The amazing and spectacular almost 180-degree window view of the bay and downtown but also 2) the seating with ample space between all the tables. This made for a very open and non-cramped feel which I really enjoyed. You could probably fit more tables in the dining area but that would certainly dampen the open and free flow of traffic the room has. 3) A clearly distinguishable feel of the Pacific islands and Asian fusion. I cant really describe it as its something that hits all the senses collectively. You really need to be there and see it for yourself. It's like Dorthy from the Wizard of Oz said, "Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

Lets get to business and show you the goods shall we?

The famous Bali Hai Mai Tai-               
One really is enough, pace yourself folks!

     The Hawaiian Tuna Poke - flavorful, fresh and simple. Prime dinner starter choice!

Steamed, stuffed whole market fish. The BEST I have ever had period. Melt in your mouth tender fish and superb flavor. The new standard to which I measure whole fish plates from now on. I love being able to eat well and truly savor every bite of a meal knowing its doing the mind and body good!

Szechuan style Vegetables - A simple and welcome pairing side dish to any entree. Gotta get your veggies in right?

Thai brussel sprouts with Chinese Sausage - has to be in the top 5 I have had in San Diego so far. Not swimming in too much balsamic, soy or oil/dressing. Just enough to allow the sprouts to explode with flavor. Char level was perfect as well.

Flash fried shishito peppers- also done just right. Not doused in soy, sauce, salt or vinegar any more than needed. Perfectly blistered and not overly done.

Chef Dion is working some genuine culinary magic in that kitchen let me say that much! Nothing I had was less than impressive. From the service I received, the wholesome and delicious meal I had and the stunning views I took in, Bali Hai makes for an experience as much as a dining destination. A healthy one at that! I cannot imagine too many other places in town offer the kind of unique experience one can have here. I can say right now, I will be making several return visits from now on, starting with a visit to the famous Sunday brunch everyone raves about! See you all there I hope!

View from my seat inside along the window seating. 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Better Bite SD goes back to its origins! 3 spot super-feature!

I am going to be taking a little return trip to the original concept of this blog which for the most part has actually been intact all along with now 84 blog posts in the 15-month existence of my blog.

The concept I had in mind is for "A better bite" to stand for "better for you" as well as what taste and looks good. The vast majority of the blog posts and featured venues I have done so far have been on par with this concept with the exception of two donut shops (Nomad & Marys Donuts) and a top 5 favorites list for San Diego carrot cake.

From this point on I will be looking to capture the full concept of "a better bite" in seeking out and sampling, reviewing, photographing and sharing the many new and unique places in and around San Diego that are of a more healthy, natural, wholesome, better for you theme.  In so doing I am also going to narrow down the coverage of which I take in and at one venue. My intent is to blog about the food first and foremost. So the pictures and reviews I do will be center around primarily just that. I'll still make comment to service, cost, value, unique features etc......but not as deeply as I have been doing lately. You're here to read and learn about unique San Diego food and food venues so thats what I''ll give you!

To kick off this "return to origins" concept, let's dive right into three recent places I dined in at. One for the first time and the other I have been to many times but never got around to blogging about it, till now that is. Here we go....

The Gourmet Bagger- Visited 4pm Monday June 3rd.
3357 Rosecrans St
In the Loma Square shops off Midway Dr.

I call myself "the sultan of sandwich" for a number of reasons but mainly because I am an expert of the club sandwich. It's (IMO) the best of the best when it comes to deli sandwiches. As Jason Statham would say...."cant beat a classic." Here we have 2 Killer Clubs. Whole grain wheat on the left for my dining partner and sourdough for me on the right. We both got mustard over mayo as well. Ham, turkey, bacon, avocado, and LTO round out this staple sando. Being just a miles walk from my front door in Point Loma, it's no wonder this place has a line inside from open to close weekdays. Tip for you; do as I do, call in your order ahead and just pick up and pay. By its nature a deli can be healthy and wholesome or down right sinfully "naught." shall we say. What you get and how you get it made makes all the difference as seen right here.

Elvas Bowls & Wraps-  Visited 7pm Friday June 7th.
5664 Mission Center Road #402 San Diego, CA 92108
Across from Hazard Center

Shown here is 2 large sized BYOB (build your own bowls) for $8 each. They offer 10% military discount as well so keep that in mind SD armed forces folks! Pick a protein, grain, vegetable, and sauce. Comes in small and large sizes. For the BIG appetite like me, I go with 2 large and love it! Simple, fresh, wholesome customizable food that's fast and affordable. I only wish I knew of this place sooner! I got the chicken, mixed veg, brown rice (right) and Jasmine rice (left) with ginger garlic sauce. Both very good and filling!

True Food Kitchen- Visited 7pm Saturday June 8th.
7007 Frias Rd Suite 394 San Diego, CA, 92108
In Fashion Valley Mall across from Cheesecake Factory

Shown here is the ancient grains bowl. $15 without protein added. I went with double chicken to hit my meal macro needs of protein so that tacked on $8. The kombucha (one of my favorite drinks lately) comes with the house pomegranate juice. ($7) and is a wise beverage choice to pair with any meal. This was my 5th or 6th visit in my nearly 5-year residency in SD. It would be far more often but with price tags at $30 for a drink and entree, it's a little steep in my opinion. Very much worth it as you get some of the best quality food you will ever find when dining out. Organic, natural, unprocessed, well prepared, scratch made meals that taste far better than "health food" ever should. I crave the meals I get here lets put it that way.

So there you have it. Summary of where I am going (back to) with th blog and a 2 for 1 edition of A Better Bite SD. Just in time for summer so you can find out where to eat out and eat well, stay fit and enjoy delicious meals all summer long in this great city of San Diego!

You stay healthy San Diego! Eat well, live well, be well!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Wednesday's gone wild for the burger lover! Cold Beers and Cheeseburgers


Cold Beers and Cheeseburgers, 322 5th Ave, San Diego, CA, 92101
7pm, Wednesday June 28th and July 5th.


BYOB Deal for $13 unlimited toppings! How do you stack your burger?

Visit 1 creation of goodness + the best side item to any burger....sweet tater tots!
Grilled chicken, ham, bacon, avocado, LTO, pickle, and mustard on a white bread bun.

Visit 2 monstrosity + more sweet tater tots!
Double grilled chicken, ham, bacon, LTO, pickle, and hot sauce on a wheat bun.


View from outside bar seating down 5th.....
and a view up 5th ave....


  • Great daily happy hour drinks and food
  • Official burger challenge and wall of fame
  • 12 perimeter TV's and 10 bar TV's all 55" and in HD, never miss the game!
  • Great indoor and outdoor seating options
  • Daily specials such as the byob night and a build your own mac on Mondays!

If I ever come back to the big eating game this would be where I do so!


As for these 2 visits on back to back weeks, I can say for certain that on Wednesday's there is no other place I will be found for burgers let alone dinner, than right here at CB&CB. This coming from the guy who is a self-proclaimed burger JEDI! Anyone who follows this blog or who knows me at all is aware of my love affair with BYOB joints, most of all Slaters 50/50 in Liberty Station with my 45+ check-ins and counting. It helps I live 15 minutes walk from their place vice a drive downtown for CB&CB but its worth it as I can rock out a workout over on 4th and Horton Plaza 24 Hour Fitness and scoot on over for dinner right after to devour some burger greatness as shown above. I can't reflect on anything outside of this Wednesday BYOB special but as far as that goes, it may be the best burger deal in town for the quality, value, and consistency I have found so far. Service is fast, food is on point and the price is fantastic. Any other burger fans in San Diego want to make this a routine know right where to find me on Wednesdays! And maybe, just maybe, if you wager a bet, I might even take you on for the burger challenge they have! Takers.......??