Restaurants & Bars 4

Thanks for recs for La Jolla/SD

Andrea | Nov 28, 200511:02 PM

Special thanks to JS who linked me to the Union's recs for Thanksgiving dinner. Last year we had done the Del which was, of course, going to be a tough act to follow. We chose The Shores in La Jolla. Regardless of my petty complaints, having turkey while watching the sun go down over the Pacific courtesy of The Shores huge arched windows was no small pleasure indeed! I'd say the whole megillah was well-intentioned, but The Shores buffet was not up to the crowd. Running out of dark meat and pumpkin pie, and when it was replenished it was half-frozen, and having to ask service people to clear our plates after each course was disappointing. I will say that the trio of smoked salmons on the appetizer table was a standout, as well as a salad of gnocci, sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms. Stuffing was salty, but mashed potatoes and candied yams were nice. Good pecan pie, but weird birthday cake and other dessert "squares" were cafeteria-like.

Next up was where to get Chinese in La Jolla. Someone here, and every magazine, called Peking Palace "award winning" and so we passed up PF Changs, (especially given that I had been to one in Palm Desert, and when the server told me that the soy sauce on the table was used like we use salt, I thought I was going to strangle her!) But come on folks, Peking Palace sucked big time! The touted General Tso's chicken and Hunan Beef tasted exactly the same, like Worcestershire sauce and nothing else, no sweet, spicy, tang. The emerald shrimp was shrimp in salty green jello - gross. The Phoenix and Dragon was brown sauce 101. The portions were tiny and the place was empty. I heard that others in our party stopped for cheeseburgers later in the evening. Really, this was some of the worst food I've ever had.

Last time I was coming to SD, I recalled a bunch of chowchat about Vietnamese. I couldn't remember what place you all thought was da bomb, but when I came across the name Phuong Trang, it rang a bell. Was I right? In any case, it was killer! Obviously East University is way off the beaten track for visitors but I'd return in a second. It was too warm for cauldrons of hot noodles, so we shared an assortment of the "wrap it in rice paper" meats; the pork meatballs, sugar cane shrimp, and beef in grape leaves. It all tasted fresh and clean, and so cheap!

And at La Jolla cove, someone recommended Brockton Villa. Some dishes were good (the Coast Toast especially) and some not so good (the brie wrapped in some kind of undercooked floury goop - why did this describe itself as a napolean?) and the crab cakes, although tasty enough, were quarter-sized at $12.50 for two. But the baked goods were great and to die for "flan cake" - no flan really just a vanilla custard sauce poured over a marble cake made impossibly moist with tons of coconut - I'm still salivating over it. But mainly, we were a huge group with loud kids, and they kept up with us. And another view that's hard to beat.

So see you all again soon. Thanks for the help!

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