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Monday, August 28, 2017

Nearing the end: The last two weeks of SD Reviews

So these two reviews are from my second to last week in San Diego. I have one week to go before departing for good on Sept 2nd. The reality is sinking in and the days are getting short now. I can't help but think of all the many places I never got to but wanted to in my five years in this city. I stop and check myself however. I have done 90 blog posts in 2 years since this blog started. That's only 90 I have covered here, not the many, many others I have not posted here. Given that, I try and see what I did accomplish in my five years spent in San Diego and that makes me feel like I got a pretty good "bite" out of this cities amazing food scene from every level, style, cuisine, ethnicity and place of origin. This week ahead will hopefully, as it stands now, net me two more venues to wrap up my blog with. Where they will end up is for me to know and all of you to find out! Until then, check out where my taste buds took me last week. Enjoy.

Romesco Mexiterranean Cocina (Little Italy)
Tuesday August 22nd, 7pm.

Chapulines (grasshoppers, pretty sour compared to crickets which I love!)

Tostadas De Pulpo (grilled octopus)

Smoked Salmon Carpaccio (melt in your mouth goodness!)

Shrimp & Bone Marrow Sopa (loved this!!! I could at 10 easy)

Albacore Two Ways 

Grilled Octopus (bomb!)

On Tuesdays, they have 1/2 off ALL their tapas menu items so this is truly the best day of the week to go and try a bit of everything. Bring a group and share. You could hit the whole tapas menu with 4 people easy. Do it! Thank me later. Very nice upstairs dining space overlooking the corner of Kettner at Beech. 

Common Theory Public House (Convoy)
Friday August 25th, 7pm

Beets by CT salad (super refreshing and very flavorful!)

Glazed Rainbow Carrots (killer ginger-citrus glaze!)

OG Fried Brussels (they do it right here every time!)

Market Fried Fish (sole) with carrot chips. Tasty and flake tender but fish had very little actual meat on it)

What I really like about coming here besides the great food and service is the swagger this place has. It lives up to its concept of being a true public house. It's open and inviting, has a welcoming appeal to it. The corner sofas, couches, chairs and shareable tables. The long picnic style tables in the middle of the place and the booths in the back. It offers a very open and communal feel. You come, sit, and want to stay, talk, socialize, feel like a regular the first time you're there. Being a solo diner on this visit I enjoyed a good hour and a half stay on one of those cushy corner chairs and savored meal start to end as well as the peculiar vibe. If I could only bring places like this with me to St. Louis!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A true farm to table experience: Dickinson Farm & Epicurean San Diego

This past Sunday I was lucky enough to be able to knock out yet one more of my top bucket list items I have wanted to do here in SoCal in my 5 years as a resident. In my final 10 days as of this writing, I am still looking for a few more uniquely San Diego activities, places, things I MUST do before I leave town for good.

So far I have completed the following items from my bucket list: (bold are those yet to be completed)

1. Ghost Tour
2. The SEAL's Tour
3. The Trolly Tour
4. Balboa Museums (several)
5. Patriot Jet Boat
6. Harbor Cruise Tour
7. *Experience a real farm-to-table dinner*
8. Coronado Bay Bridge Run
9. Surf
10. Vist a SoCal Winery
11. Sky Dive

Without further delay, let me take you right to the 7th item on the list and show you all about that amazing experience of which I now want to experience again in other places with other farms.

click below for a complete photo slide show of the event and the amazing meals we got to learn about and eat as part of our experiences. 

Huge Thanks go to Stepheni Norton of Dickinson Farm, Josh Kemble of Urban Life Cafe and Stephanie Parker of Epicurean San Diego for this debut experience and educational insight.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Making my exit: The final "Better Bites" of SD with some heavy hitting Chef's and amazing plates.

In the coming weeks, I am counting down my remaining time left in this great city. I depart for good September 2nd to relocate to St Louis for a new job I have taken. The local SD food, of course, is one major thing I hate to part with. 5 years of eating great food in San Diego and 2 years blogging about it with all of you. Bittersweet does not even describe the torn feelings I have. In the time I have left I am looking to go out with a bang and hit some of the top tier places in town that the local people, the media, and my own preferences guide me to. So far it's been pretty amazing. Take a look below to see why that is. 


Thursday, August 10th, 7pm

Bites: Whole grilled Branzino- herb relish, campari tomatoes, grilled lemon 
Sides- None
Sips- Kaiden, Chardonnay

Notes: Been looking to hit up Trust for a long time! Finally made it in. I was eager to try the whole fish entree as I had heard it was one of the best in town. Having now tried it myself I must say, yes, it's up there in the best in town. Simple and straightforward, nothing too complex. A perfectly grilled fish accentuated with the right herbs, garnish, and citrus. I love being able to eat a meal like this where you savor every bite and yet you know its darn good for you at the same time. One reason I love fish entrees, almost always delicious and nutritious. Michael was my server and bar staff for the night and he was amazing. He knows the menu inside and out and can pair a good wine with any entree you're looking at. Another place with an amazing outdoor seating area with couches to enjoy their daily happy hour. Inside also has a truly impressive decor. Great place for group drinks or a date night!

The Patio on Lamont

Monday August 14th, 7pm

Bites: Whole grilled striped sea bass- roasted tomato, roasted bell pepper, salsa verde, lemon
Sides- none
Sips- Pinot Noir, Italy

Notes: As a first timer at this location I was impressed. I hope to come back here before I scoot off for good. The foods I saw coming out to other tables was worth a double take. My choice was solid as I really enjoyed my entree. Flavorful, tender, flaky fish meat as it should be. The garnish was perfect and the wine pairing out it all down even better yet. Bar staff are super kind and informed about all menu items as well. Great place for a small group dinner out. All day happy hour Monday night as well! 

Herb and Wood

Tuesday, August 15th, 7pm

Bites: Roasted Half Chicken- Smokey Braised Kale, Pickled Mustard Seeds, Caper Herb Salsa 
Sides: Roasted Cauliflower- Garlic, Parsley Vinegar, Mama’s Lil Peppers 
Sips- Malbec, Italy

Notes: A nice change with something different from fish (not that it really ever gets old for me) but to take a classic poultry dish and bring it to this that is a treat! Perfectly roasted half chicken, slightly crispy skin, moist and flavorful meat packed with flavor. This was a nice reminder of what really good chicken is meant to taste like. The roasted cauliflower is not to be overlooked either. A great pairing to any entree as I see it. Ask for Ty as your waiter, the guy is awesome! The decor and ambiance here really is truly stunning just like everyone says it is!

Kettner Exchange

Wednesday, August 15th, 7pm

Bites: Niman Ranch Pork Chop, scallion, roasted carrots, burssles, Peruvian sauce
Sides: Shishito peppers
Sips- Pino Noir, Tolosa Vineyards

Notes: Amazing service from all staff. Special note to Matt Nosse. the assistant GM. Guy is way awesome and super friendly. Well aware of the menu and what chef Brian is doing to make it so darn amazing! The chop is super flavorful and tender. The shishito peppers here may be the best I have had so far in SD. be sure to take a look around this place. I sat upstairs where half the lounge is wide open with ceiling and the other half closed in but still with great views of Little Italy. A great place for date night indeed!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A Fish Frenzy 3 Ways

I am going to take you all on a quick but worthwhile rapid-fire rundown of three amazing places in town I have recently made debut visits to. The following venues offer some serious (and healthy) seafood fare of which I would highly recommend to anyone with a gastronomic fish-fix they need to satisfy. So let us begin!

Little Italy
Sunday July 30th 6:45pm

Entree: Red Snapper whole fish- Ajo Blanco, melon, smoked almonds, citrus curd.
Side: Blue Lake Grilled Green Beans
Sip: Bolt from the Blue cocktail (smoky campfire aroma captured in a cocktail!)

Notes: This was the entree that kicked off my continued craving for more whole fish dishes. I came for a good plate of fish and left with an experience beyond the plate. This is how I like to experience a meal out, with notes of decor, vibe, flavor, aroma, service, and others. I got that in spades here. The bar staff, servers and even the GM on staff Kim were all amazing. My meal was amazing and even my cocktail (non-drinker here) was amazing. The place is pricy but then again seafood, in general, is pricey. But at Ironside, you get what you pay for down to the penny. Now to come back in for this epic happy hour I hear so much about!

Point Loma
Tuesday, August 1, 6:45pm

Entree: Daily special of Whole Rock Fish- 
Spicy garlic, chili and tamarind sauce (a bit sweet and sour) topped with sautéed mushrooms and crispy Thai hens. Served with steamed Jasmine rice. 
Side: Steamed veggies and fresh summer shrimp rolls   
Sip: None

Notes: This is THE fish to get if you like whole fish entrees with a unique sweet and sour hit to them. The combo of sauces and the flash friend technique used to prepare this dish locks in the flavor and keeps the fish meat super tender and flavorful. Never had Thai style fish before this and now I know just what I have been missing! The looks I got from the other diners when this puppy came out were priceless! I will note as well that the summer roll I got along with the peanut sauce and sweet and sour plum sauce were some of the best I have ever had period. A must get appetizer!

Ocean Beach
Friday, August 4, 6:45pm

Entree: Sizzling Fish Plate-  Fresh water Vietnamese Basa topped with caramelized ginger, scallions, garlic, and cilantro; served with rice.
Side: Garlic Edamame and Shrimp Spring rolls
Sip: St Louis Brew Co. Cinnamon Pumpkin Sour Gueze (I do not drink much beer but I really did love this!)

Notes: A smaller portion of fish than I would have liked but what I did get I did enjoy very much. A sweet flavored fish cooked to perfection. Edamame was on point while the spring rolls were good they were not the best I have had. Service was super friendly and the bar staff was very helpful. Busy night but they kept right up! Plates kept on flying out of the kitchen and dang did they all look good!