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Love Letter to San Diego


Restaurants & Bars 5

Love Letter to San Diego

teemo | May 21, 2011 12:29 PM

I am just returning to the south from a week in San Diego, and I would like to take a moment to remember all of the delicious things I ate while enjoying the beautiful city:

Currant- I stopped in here after exhausting myself from a walk around downtown and the bay. I had the croque monsieur and it was effing delicious. They told me they cook the ham fresh, and it came in big hunks that had caramelized edges (maybe they finished it in a pan? I don't know but I loved it)...on top of crunchy bread and covered with gruyere and bechamel---I had a really hard nap after this.

La Fachada- One of my friends was on the hunt for cabeza tacos, so we went here for dinner. I had the carnitas and really enjoyed them, lots of crispy bark pieces in the meat! I especially liked the bar full of sauces and toppings. My friend said the cabeza was very good, but wasn't as excited about the fish tacos. We proceeded to set off the rental car's car alarm, followed by pushing the car's panic button, on the way out of the restaurant, just in case anyone wasn't completely sure we weren't from around there.

Sushi Deli 2- Had lunch here with a friend. We had the rock n' roll (good), San Diego roll (okay), and a mango roll (surprisingly good).

Neighborhood- Here I had the animal and the sweet potato fries. I ate until I felt sick, and then mourned the fact that there were still fries left in the basket. Something about the crumbled cheese and the vinegar sauce with the sweet potato made them absolutely fantastic! One of my friends got a dish with mussels in it...he ate the whole thing and then proceeded to sop up the sauce with fries and bread, so I suppose he liked that, too. My two friends also raved about the beer menu, and continued to talk about it for the next several days (returning for another meal a few days later).

Bagel Club- A breakfast bagel with SALAMI on it!!! Enough said.

Quality Social- We went during happy hour so I got a plate of cured meats for half off (good) and the mac and cheese (very good). My friend had the fish sandwich (he said this was good), and half-off chicken pate. The pate was definitely the star (and only $2 for a jar full?!), this was really delicious!

Ghirardelli- I was killing time in the gaslamp area and stopped in to try the chocolate ice cream. I was disappointed. Shouldn't it taste like their chocolate?

Lion Coffee- Here I had the thai coffee (with condensed milk), which was okay (it didn't taste like there was condensed milk in it at all). I also had a macadamia nut waffle, which was crispy and crunchy and very good. I only wish I had brought real maple syrup with me, the sugary stuff they gave me sort of took it down a notch in flavor.

Little Italy Farmer's Market- I was very impressed with this market. I felt really disappointed I didn't live in SD, because I couldn't feasibly buy all of the berries and cheeses that I wanted. I had a panini for lunch (the "truck driver" with brie, apple, arugala, honey...YUM), as well as a goat cheese cheesecake (smoothest and lightest cheesecake I've ever had, so hands down to them), and a viva pop (raspberry lime, excellent)! I also purchased some dates (delicious), and date butter (which I have not seen in the US before, so far really good on english muffins), avocado honey (interesting flavor, really dark), and Spring Hill sage cheddar (two of my favorite things combined, it's like they knew I was coming!).

Cucina Urbana- Had the aquazul (strawberry, mint, lime, ginger, soda) which was really tasty and refreshing. I admire a restaurant with interesting non-alch drinks. We got the polenta with veal ragu, which my friend ate almost entirely on her own she loved it so much. Meanwhile, I inhaled the stuffed squash blossoms, which may be my favorite thing I ate the whole trip. We also had the short rib pappardelle (really savory and rich) and the truffle risotto special (by this point my friend was stuffed from the polenta, so I ate most of the risotto and it was divine. The surface was completely covered in large slices of truffles and it was only $18?!?). We had the zeppole dessert, which was sugar coated donut holes with blueberry and chocolate dips. My friend did not care for this. I liked the donuts with the blueberry sauce very much, but the chocolate sauce was too smoky or burnt (I love chocolate so I had high hopes for this, but it didn't taste right).

Hillcrest Farmer's Market- Here we got sage honey (my favorite honey variety, although the man didn't pull it out until I expressed my disinterest in his wildflower honey and started to move on...they cost the same, so I'm not sure why he was holding out on me?), along with several kinds of hummus (the pumpkin and avocado hummuses were amazing, along with their 3-layer dip), fresh blood orange juice, and one of each of the Cravory cookies (yum). My friend and I also split a sea urchin, which I found really interesting and sweet, but she did not like at all (I should never have pointed out the spikes were still moving, that did her in). We got a lot of really funny looks on our way to car carrying it.

R-gang eatery- Went here for Sunday brunch. Got the lobster tots (tasty) and the cap'n'crunch french toast (delicious). My friend had the french toast casserole, which I also found to be excellent, but she wasn't thrilled.

Urban Solace- Had the fries as an appetizer, the fries were okay but the blue cheese dressing was really good. I ate the duckaroni (pretty good), my friend had chicken and dumplings (she liked), and a third friend ate the meatloaf (excellent). Our service was poor (most likely because they were slammed from the arts festival) and another table's waiter had to help us twice while our server was MIA, so we skipped dessert.

HeavenSent- My friend got a red velvet cupcake here and said it was amazing.

El Take it Easy- Had sangria (excellent) and churros (good). I also liked the sage they put in the water bottle.

Broken Yolk Cafe- Ate eggs benedict (so-so), friends had various burritos (also just okay). Thought it was funny the name that shows up on my credit card summary is the "Broken YOKE"

Tre Porcellini- Had the meat and cheese plate (really good, the best part was the fresh ricotta). Friend ate the carbonara (good), I had the ravioli (excellent). We had cannoli and gelato for dessert (good but not great). Service here was worth noting.

Isabels Cantina- Had the coconut french toast and rosemary potatoes, my friend ate the avocado scramble. We also had mexican cocoa and a grasshopper (green tea and lemonate). Everything was very good.

Miguels Cocina- We didn't have a plan when we went to Coronado so we asked some people on the street, and they suggested we go here because of the "amazing" white cheese dip. We gave it a try and it was okay. It tasted like a mix of sour cream and queso dip, good but nothing to write home about. Friend had bacon covered shrimp (she said were very good), I ate the calamari poblano (bland).

Moo Time Creamery- My friend got the dessert nachos, which were really impressive. The ice cream here was good.

Cafe Calabria- Had a chai (ok) and my friend had a coffee with spices and honey (excellent). I wish we could have tried the pizza!

Lapperts- Had the white chocolate macadamia ice cream (delicious), friend had coffee something (good). They were sold out of several of their more interesting sounding flavors, so that part was disappointing.

Chuao Chocolatier- Had a gelato with a winter hot chocolate (really delicious, and especially good together). Also purchased a box of chocolates which I am still working my way through (there was a macadamia nut praline in there that was just amazing, as well as a really tasty rosemary caramel). I still have a lot of really interesting sounding chocolates to go that I am very excited about.

Eclipse Chocolat- I wish I wasn't full from dinner when we visited here, because I would have been able to enjoy so much more from their menu. I ordered a white hot chocolate with orange and homemade marshmallows. I was already stuffed, but I couldn't stop drinking this---it was really tasty. I had a coupon from the Mercato for 2 free truffles with a $10 purchase, so I proceeded to spend four times that much in chocolate bars and truffles. I'm still working on all of these, too. My favorites so far are the macadamia ginger bar, blackberry sage bar, and coconut caramel truffle. We don't have any shops like this in Birmingham, so it'd probably be a good business move to open up a store over here by me. Just an idea...

Overall, this trip was fantastically delicious. Thank you, San Diego, for the extra five pounds I am toting on my belly. You were worth it.

Urban Solace Restaurant
3823 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104

Chuao Chocolatier
3485 Del Mar Heights Rd, San Diego, CA

La Fachada
20 25th St, San Diego, CA 92102

Sushi Deli 2 Restaurant
135 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101

Hillcrest Farmer's Market
San Diego CA, San Diego, CA

Lion Coffee
101 Market St, San Diego, CA 92101

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