I think the old saying goes something like this...after 3 days fish and relatives start to stink...and that was certainly true today. After so much familial togetherness a little "me" time was in order
No breakfast out...no lunch out...only time to do our own thing and not have to worry about someone else. YEA!!
My first stop of the day was Iowa Meat Farms. Holy Cow! at 1:30 pm the place was bedlam. When I walked in they were calling for number 5, the next number out of the ticket dispenser was 25. Um...no...not waiting through 20 people just for 4# of pork butt. So off I went to BevMo! in La Mesa. Line of cars trying to get into Grossmont Center was enormous, thankfully far too many years in the area means I know how to avoid the usual routes. BevMo! was not too busy, an easy in and out.
I had purchased tickets for the Holiday Pops concert by the SD Symphony, so dinner before was in order. Off we went to Fogo de Chao. Holy Cow, squared...literally. This is the old Border's Books space at 6th & G. It has been tastefully redone. Loved the lighting installation above the salad bar and adored the ginormous sprays of flowers atop the salad bar. But, frankly, we just really loved and adored dinner.
Like the decor, the salad bar was tastefully done. Along with the usual lettuces were some very interesting choices (jumbo asparagus, taboule, hearts of palm, spinach salad, salami, pepperpaw peppers, proscuitto, assorted cheese and more), tastefully displayed and (thank you Fogo de Chao) clearly identified and marked as to what they were. The salad bar comes with the meal and you do need to put a little bit away because the rest of the meal is an Atkins dieter's delight. If you are a carnivore, this is the place for you!!
Like any Brazilian churrascurria, the premise is simple. Roving bands of attractive waiter (with equally attractive accents) offer diners a random and rotating selection of grilled meats. Each place setting comes complete with a small pair of ice tongs...the waiters carve and you use the tongs to pick up your selection when carved. I'm pretty sure that between the 4 of use we tried every meat offered.
The winners were the house special sirloin, tenderloin and flank steak. Also good were the rib eye and other sirloin options as well as the leg of lamb.
Good but noticeably less successful were the pork items...loin that had been rolled in cheese and ribs, lamb chops, chicken and liguica
Temperature on most of the carved items was good and you could specify the degree of doneness you wanted. We started with medium rare, although I moved to rare after the first item. Rare is not still moo-ing blood rare, and it ended up being the preferred degree of doneness for all of us.
They also brought a basket of pan de queso, made with yucca flour (and therefore gluten free) to the table along with some mashed potatoes (okay) and crispy polenta (so-so). The dessert menu is extensive, though we were so full we passed on it. This was not a cheap ticket...the meals, wine, coffee/tea, tax and tip was about $100 per person, but oh, so worth it.
We walked back to symphony hall and as we got closer I couldn't figure out why there didn't seem to be as much activity around it as usual on concert night. Could be because the concert was actually last nignt, December 22nd, not the 23rd...OOPS.
So still being early we decided to go somewhere for a drink and to possibly catch the tail end of Monday Night Football. We ended up in the upstairs bar at Tom Ham's on Harbor Island. It was, and still is, a fantastic view.
They have an extensive craft beer menu and will do pours in various sizes. This was enough to keep my nephew occupied. His IPA flight was okay but the real winner was the stout/porter flight he did. Did you know there is a stout called Zumbar and, you guessed it, it has a very pronounced coffee flavor. It was my nephews favorite of the night and probably my second fav. I was partial to the peanut butter cup Karl Strauss porter, which was pretty outrageous. Yeah, it is kind of like a Reese's in porter form but not as sweet.
Tom Ham's was recently remodeled and the stairwell leading upstairs is filled with old maps of San Diego bay. The earliest is mid 1800s, the latests 2012. It's easy to see the changes that have taken place over a 200 year period. It's even better when Tom Ham's grandson gives you a personal tour of the maps and explains what they are and puts some context to them. That happened to us tonight and it was pretty cool.
So, we all used our down time today to get some time and space from each other. We came back together for an absolutely fantastic meal at Fogo de Chao, we laughed at the ticket fiasco with the symphony tickets and ended the evening watching planes come in to land at Lindberg in a comfortable bar drinking weird beers and chatting with the founder's grandson.
All in all, not a bad day...only 2 more to go :-)