January 29, 2013

It's Always Sunny... in San Diego

There's a reason why I'm so in love with this beautiful city of mine....
we get to soak in the sunshine almost every day of the year.
Last Monday was a perfect example -
while some of my friends were freezing their hineys off over on the east coast,
I was peeling layers off (alright, there were only two layers, a blouse and a light coat),
during brunch with some girlfriends.
Gotta love those three-day weekends!

Since it was so beautiful out,
we decided to head towards the beach.
It was my first time dining at Brockton Villa in La Jolla,
and it won't be my last!
The cozy restaurant remains a significant reminder of the architectural past alive in our La Jolla community:
it's "simple and lovely, blessed by the sea, the sun and the sand".
Oh, and then there's the coast toast...
rich and gooey, almost the consistency of bread pudding,
it's no wonder why this dish is "world famous"!
Nice Burrito - egg whites, broccoli, onion, feta cheese, brown rice, black beans, house made salsa
Cove Combo - two eggs, soy chorizo, breakfast potatoes & coast toast
Let's hope this upcoming weekend is just as nice as the last,
so you can enjoy this experience for yourself!


January 26, 2013

Irish Side-Tripping: Howth

The pretty fishing village of Howth is only 15 km from Dublin,
and in my opinion, definitely worth a visit.
Although it's not known as a major destination, but rather a residential suburb of the city,
Howth still has plenty to offer.

The easiest way to access it is by DART,
which will get you there in just over 20 minutes for a fare of €2.
Can't really beat that, right?
Grab a seat by a window and enjoy the beachy scenery on the way up.
Erik and I decided to spend a cool, balmy evening there one night during our stay in Ireland.
After walking around for a few hours and enjoying a romantic dinner,
we were able to catch the sunset on the train ride home... a view that I will never forget.
Upon the recommendation from our landlord,
we opted for dinner at Aqua, a restaurant that's known as a top contender for the best seafood around.
The classy joint serves dishes in its elegant dining room overlooking the harbour, in a building that was once home to the Howth Yacht Club.
As expected, the views were incredible,
and I'm pretty sure the oysters were tossed over from a passing-by boat, they were so fresh!
Pan Fried Fillet of Halibut - roast Mediterranean vegetables & sweet potato chips
Fried Fillet of Cod - green pea puree & white wine sauce
Hope I swayed you to make a quick detour away from Dublin.
I promise, you won't regret it!


January 18, 2013

Market Del Mar

So it happened.
I finally made it up to north county last night,
(it was a brutal 25 minute drive I tell ya)
for a much anticipated dinner date at Market Del Mar

Just as I suspected, the place was packed. 
And for good reason too.
Great food at Restaurant Week prices?
Sign me up!
Because I made reservations weeks in advance,
 we were able to waltz right in to our booth and enjoy a gourmet meal, hassle free. Snobs.
Let's get to it, shall we?
Amuse bouche, compliments of the chef.
It's always the little details that make the dining experience unforgettable. 
Crispy Skin Duck Confit & Organic Citrus - spiced croutons, citrus glaze, creamy serrano chile dressing
Prime Beef Carpaccio & Smoky Blue Cheese Wedge Salad - roasted tomatoes, horseradish mustard, farmer's market egg
Ok, so the picture seriously does not do this plate any justice... sorry about that.
This happens to be the chef's signature dish - Cabernet Braised Prim Beef Shortrib
Miso Glaze Black Cod & Mesquite Grilled Shrimp - sesame spinach-shitake mushroom saute, udon noodle salad
I'm totally not exaggerating when I say that this is the BEST cod I've ever tasted!
Cast Iron Grilled Beef Tenderloin - white cheddar-BLT souffle, forest mushroom roast, cabernet jus
Lemon & Vanilla Bean Meringue Tart - candied kumquats, frozen yogurt, tangerine reduction
So decadent and rich! I'm ashamed to say that I couldn't even finish it...
Together with wine pairings,
it's safe to say that this was one of the best meals we've had in San Diego in quite some time. 
Proud to say that my little boy of a husband was very happy with his birthday celebration. 


January 15, 2013

A Great Gatsby Kind of Night

If you follow me on instagram (@inlovewsandiego),
you probably saw that we were out and about again this weekend. 
On Saturday my friends and I got all dressed up for my bestie's Great Gatsby themed birthday celebration. 
We kicked the night off with dinner at Bice,
a super chic Italian restaurant in the center of the Gaslamp district. 
I've been wanting to try this place out for a while,
mainly for their cheese bar and salumi,
and I'm so glad that I got to come here with a large group, because it gave me a chance to sample from everyone's plate.
Capesante con Verdurine Croccante e Salsa allo Zafferano - seared sea scallops with crispy vegetables, saffron sauce and squid ink dressing
With the beautiful birthday girl!
Tortellini di Manzo alla Crema di Parmigiano Invecchiato 24 mesi, Prosciutto e Piselli - beef tortellini in a 24 month aged parmesan cheese sauce with green peas and prosciutto
After dinner and a few dirty martinis,
the gang geared up and proceeded to the Pussycat Dollhouse,
where we had a table with a few bottles waiting for us.
We danced into the early morning, and had an overall amazing night. 
How was your weekend?


January 13, 2013

The Blind Burro

The restaurant business is a tough one,
especially when you're trying to make it in downtown San Diego. 
Sometimes serving great food just isn't enough. 
Us natives have our standards set pretty high,
which means we like to eat and drink well, all whilst being entertained with good music and an even better ambiance. 
No pressure. 

This week I attended the grand opening for The Blind Burro,
the newest kid on the blocks of East Village. 
I think this one is going to be around for a loooong time!

My friend and I were thoroughly impressed from the minute we walked into the busy party.
The decor took me straight back to Mexico,
and the food was honestly better than I could imagine. 
Standouts of the evening were the steak tacos and the ceviche (perhaps the best I've ever had)!
It wasn't long until things started getting a little hazy... 
a typical side effect of one too many tequila tastings and free flowing margaritas.
What doesn't "te-quil-ya" makes you stronger.... I always say. 
The Blind Burro is now open for lunch and dinner,
and I highly recommend that you check it out. 
My prediction is that this place is only going to get bigger and better. 
In the next few weeks, the folks from Good Time Design will open up the Cat Eye Club,
a 60's  style lounge, located right next door. 
Can't wait for that.. might have to have a Mad Men marathon to get outfit ideas. 


January 9, 2013

San Diego Restaurant Week

You guys.
One of my favorite weeks is on the horizon.
You guessed it, San Diego Restaurant Week is finally here!
Lucky for us, this annual foodie celebration typically coincides with Erik's birthday,
so I get to spoil him (and of course myself) at a reasonable price.
I've already started making reservations for a couple of restaurants that have been on my list for a while,
and if you're going to be in San Diego January 13th-18th,
I recommend you do the same because the best time slots book up fast!
Below are a few of my top choices:
We have reservations at the Market Restaurant for Erik's actual birthday,
and I may or may not be more excited than him to check it out!

Have you ever been to any of these places?
Am I missing something truly amazing?
I'd love to hear your recommendations!


January 7, 2013

Dublin Yummies

I'd like to go on the record and say...
that whoever claims that there is no decent food in Ireland is a damn fool. 
Yeah, I said it, and you want to know why?
Because the few places we dined at while in Dublin served some of the best meals not only during our trip, 
but possibly... ever! 
Bold statement, I know,
but let me offer you exhibit A:
Foie Gras Parfait, Fig Jam & Chutney, Toasted Brioche
Roasted Rabbit Saddle, Braised Leg, Wild Mushroom Gnocchi, Artichoke Puree
Confit of Duck, Cumin Spiced Lentils, Fennel Puree
Goat's Milk Panna Cotta
Vanilla Cheesecake, Mango Jelly, Toasted Granola, Creme Fraiche & Lime Sorbet
One Pico may look a bit inconspicuous from the outside,
but inside is a kitchen that has earned countless awards,
including, but not limited to the Michelin Bib Gourmand (several years in a row) and a title as the Restaurant of the Year according to the Food and Wine Magazine and the Georgina Campbell Guide

We kicked off the night with a bottle of Urban Malbec,
clearly a favorite of ours, if you've been keeping up with some of my foodie posts.
Choosing the courses for our pre-set dinner was really tough,
because practically every selection sounded beyond delicious.
Foie Gras is an extravagance that I rarely get to enjoy these days since it was outlawed in California,
and I was delighted to find that it was prepared exceptionally well at this restaurant.
All the dishes were not only delicious, but also beautifully plated,
and the service left us feeling like pure royalty.
If I had to recommend one place to dine in Ireland,
I'm pretty sure One Pico would be it.

Although.... let's take a look at Exhibit B:
Parfait of Foie Gras en Gelee au raisin sec.
Told you I love this stuff..
Cheesin' it!
I fell in love with Marco Pierre White the minute I laid eyes on him through the lens of the TV, 
all whilst he was chatting up my other lover, Anthony Bourdain, during one of the episodes of No Reservations.
We were supposed to dine at one of his restaurants in London,
but after missing our reservation (oops) I was sure my opportunity was gone for good.
Until... I spotted his face on a menu of a chic steakhouse, a few blocks away from Trinity College.
All other plans were immediately cancelled,
as we ducked inside to enjoy two of the most tender cuts of meat our taste buds ever had the pleasure of meeting.

I hope that by this point I've convinced you that there are some extraordinary dining establishments in Dublin,
but just in case, here's another little gem..
The Bank on College Green is located in a historic Belfast Bank Co building. 
Very reasonably priced, the restaurant offers plenty of traditional favorites that left us full and happy for an entire day. 
Definitely a must visit if you're looking for a fun place right in the center of the city. 

So what do you think?
I bet you just can't wait to check out the restaurant scene in the capital of Ireland!