Mother-in-Law gave us her timeshare for the weekend. It was rainy and gloomy all weekend so hubbie and I did what we like to do best - drink and eat!
Friday...Le Passage French Bistro, Vigilucci's Seafood & Steak
Upon arrival to Carlsbad, we lunched at Le Passage French Bistro. It was almost completely empty except for another couple. We got a bottle of affordable French white wine and split the soup of the day - Potato Leek. I was expecting it to be creamy, but it was chunks of potato and sauteed leeks in a delicious broth. I opted for the Lavender Chicken Sandwich and Hubbie got the Cordon Bleu Crepe. Both were tasty and filling. I especially enjoyed the crispy shoestring fries and garlicy-butter dipping sauce.
Dinner on Friday night was at Vigilucci's Seafood & Steakhouse. I was a little skeptical because reviews were mixed, but was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed the food. Agree with reviews that the dining room was loud, but it didn't bother us. We had a great table table in the dining room, right near a window. Patio was not an option for us as it was drizzling and cold outside. We split a generic Caesar Salad. I had the Penne Vodka with Spinach, Fresh Tomatoes and Langostini. I'm used to Vodka Sauce being more creamy (NY-syle) but I liked this version a lot. It was only served with 1 tasty Langostini and I would have wanted another, but the pasta was cooked perfectly al dente. Hubbie got the Prime Rib - cooked nicely medium rare and served with a cooked perfectly baked potato with all the toppings and some veggies. Wine of the evening was a half bottle of Borolo. Service was attentive and quick.
Saturday...Market Restaurant and Bar (Del Mar)
We went to Old Town San Diego during the day (had a decent lunch at El Agave - sampled some tequila - they have over 2,000 varieties of tequila). Had some drinks in Gas Lamp district - tried to get into Noble Experiment, but they were booked. Totally cool, underground bar and will definitely make a reservation there next time we visit!
We hit Market Restaurant on the way back to Carlsbad. We were seated immediately even though it was packed. Our server was awesome - friendly and knowledgeable about the menu. I started with the Blue Cheese Souffle - so decadent and not overpowering like I expected. It was served with fresh pear slices, candied pecans and micro greens. Hubbie started with Lobster and Arctic Char Chowder - this was amazing! It was so creamy and rich and had huge chucks of lobster and fish. For entries, I had Duck 2 ways (Breast and Leg Confit) and Hubbie had Short Ribs. Both dishes were excellent, very flavorful - Short Ribs were the winner though. The duck came with a sweet potato gratin that I found overly sweet, and in combination with the sweet sauce the duck came with it was a little over the top. I was happy to contrast the sweetness with the sauteed swiss chard it was served with. We were so full, so skipped dessert - but our server brought a little taste of huckleberry pie in a spoon. It hit the spot! I think we had a Spanish wine with dinner.
Sunday...Pizza Port, Paon
I'm pizza snob, so the pizza at Pizza Port didn't really do it for me. But they had a great selection of beer and hubbie was happy to be watching football (though they didn't have all the games).
Paon was definitely the highlight of the trip, but before dinner we stopped at Relm for a glass (or 2) of wine. We really enjoyed the selection at Relm - shared a white flight and red flight then settled on 2 glasses of red. We had the cheese plate also - nothing really special.
We loved the relaxing and soothing atmosphere at Paon, It was a Sunday night around 8pm, so I wonder if it is always like that. We decided to split a few things, as we weren't starving. We started with the Oysters and an awesome glass of Sauvignon Blanc that the server suggested. There were 6 Oysters and they were super fresh and delicious. I love that they were served them with fresh grated Horseradish. Next we split the Butter Poached Prawn Salad. The Prawns were succulent and tender and the greens fresh. Did I mention the service was amazing? They split everything we ordered on individual plates and plating was gorgeous. 3rd course was there homemade gnocchi - with a creamy sauce and vegetable rag-out. I couldn't stop eating this dish! They had a huge selection of steaks, but we were "meat-ed out," so we opted for the grilled chicken. It's hard to cook chicken this tasty and they definitely succeeded. It was moist and flavorful - served with mashed potatoes, variety of roasted veggies and lemony-caper sauce.
All-in-all, the food in Carlsbad and surrounding areas did not disappoint! Paon was definitely my favorite of the weekend.
P.S. The timeshare had a kitchen, so we didn't venture out for breakfasts.
301 N El Camino Real, San Clemente, CA 92672