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San Diego/North County Report (long)

smogqueen | Oct 17, 200408:06 PM

My folks live in Del Mar and I grew up there, but I live in LA. I've grown tired of the same old places, so we went to a few discussed on the board among others:

Lunch at the Solana Beach Pizza Port. Decent pizza, but you come here for the beer. We had ridiculously well-crafted Honey Ale and cask-conditioned ale.

Dinner at Chilango's in Hillcrest. Had a lovely patio table. Once I got over my sadness about the lack of tequila in the margaritas, we all had some nice sangria and quacamole. The house chipotle salsa is also extremely & smoky! We had Chicken w/green mole, Pork with green chile sauce, pork with a rich poblano sauce and a chili stuffed with all sorts of crazy stuff - raisins, nuts and topped with strawberries and cream. All of the food was imaginative and expertly prepared. I especially liked the very tender pork dishes, but the parents were nuts for the stuffed chile. Service was friendly and the food was reasonably priced. I would definitely go back and try the muletas and enchiladas.

Breakfast at Beach Grass Cafe in Solana Beach. I've been eyeing this place for a little while, but never made it in. The space is cute with a sweet patio, which is a little off the 101. I had the turkey hash, with house smoked turkey. I was worried that this would be boring when I ordered it, and had some Seinfeld-like thoughts about ordering poultry combined with eggs, but the dish turned out to be delicious. I would go back and have it again. Huevos rancheros were also really tasty, though could have had a bit more kick. Huge order of french toast was pretty good, but a tad overcooked & therefore chewy. Excellent coffee. On par with Americana with better service.

No lunch...stuffed from breakfast!

Dinner at Arterra in Del Mar. The room is nice, but feels a bit too hotel-y for me. Service was extremely friendly and knowledgeable without being stuffy. We brought a nice bottle of wine, but I was extremely impressed with their list. It is all American wines, but the selections are informed and mark-up is really fair. I was especially impressed with their NW selection which includes some of my hard-to-find favorites. We shared the kubocha squash soup, the cassoulet and 6 hama hama oysters. The soup was delicious - very smooth & rich with pancetta and pecans. The cassoulet was incredible - super decadent comfort food with lamb, beans and confit. I wanted to eat it all. Oysters were very sweet and fresh. Served with the standard fixings.

We had the scallops three ways and the roasted mero for mains. Both were sublime. Scallop preparations included a chanterelle viniagrette, creamed corn and a sun-dried tomato puree. The Mero came with a dungeness crab spring roll and this eggplant puree that was insane.

We finished with the chocolate sampler. This has a tiny milkshake, a little molten cake, bittersweet choc sorbet and some other wicked thing. Had a glass of ice wine and a cappucino. All delicious. We were extremely impressed with Arterra and rank it among the best meals we've had in SD county.

Lunch next day at I Trulli in Encinitas. Super friendly service and a sweet room. The food is decent, but uninspired except for their tri-colore salad, which is a great balance of flavors and textures. A good neighborhood place, but nothing more.

Whew...I am never going to eat again!

Pizza Port
135 N. Highway 101
Solana Beach, CA. 92075
(858) 481-7332

142 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 294-8646

Beach Grass Cafe
Plaza 101, 159 South Hwy 101
Solana Beach, CA 92075
(858) 509-0632

Arterra - in the Del Mar Marriot
11966 El Camino Real
San Diego, California 92130

Trattoria I Trulli
830 S. Coast Highway 101
Encinitas, CA 92024
(760) 943-6800

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