So between my mother still being very ill and the holiday family drama that is now including eating out at nearly every meal, I thought I'd recap where we've been in the last 18 hours
Bo-Beau La Mesa - Friday night, walked in at 7:30 pm without a reservation. They were busy but had an open table upstairs. I had forgotten that Malarkey & Crew had added that feature. Brussels Sprout appetizer is truly awesome. Crispy sprouts, lots of thick pieces of pancetta, generous amount of parmesan, all set off by a delicious port/balsamic reduction. We added the pork belly flat bread which we devoured and then got a couple of braised pork shanks that were truly delectable and falling off the bone tender. The pork shanks were accompanied by a bacon/date chutney (good but a little too sweet), garlic mashers (standard) and a whole grain mustard sauce (good, needed more). We ended up meeting the 2 tables seated next to us and by the end of the night we were all trading dishes and wine glasses back and forth. Definitely facilitated a sense of community.
One of the guys at an adjoining table made the following observation - "you know, Gingham was fun but after the first time I never felt compelled to come back". We all want to see this incarnation of this location succeed and I think the Cohn's have made a good start. (4Wino...our waitress pretty much left us alone, no sense of rushing us through the meal. Perhaps because we were dining later?)
So after an episode of family dramatics this morning, my nephew and I, being both pissed off and disgusted, headed out for breakfast. 1+ hour wait at Snooze in Hillcrest so we just went next door to dBar. I've been to dBar several times for dessert and like it, so I was reasonably confident breakfast or lunch would be pretty good, and it was. We split a Breakfast Sammy and the Short Rib Hash and like both of them. The Breakfast Sammy contained a generous amount of meaty pork belly, and scrambled eggs on a brioche roll. It came with a nice side salad. The short rib hash was pretty substantial. I liked it at first but it became a little one-note for me the more I ate of it and it was rich. It too came with scrambled eggs, some healthy sized potato cubes that had been nicely browned and a cheesy waffle that was really, really good.
The AM drama meant that dinner had to be out and where can you snag a Saturday night reservation at 3:30 pm. Turns out Alchemy had a table. I haven't been there in about a year so I was delighted to return and see how it was. We had a lovely meal. The steak with bone marrow came out just as ordered, as did the 2 burgers that were ordered medium rare. This is my style of burger...grassfed beef cooked medium rare, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and a few shreds of raw onion. Good ingredients, good burger The fries were pretty good too, even if they were too skinny.
The fish of the day was dover sole cooked in parchment with spinach, heirloom cherry tomatoes, capers and lemon I think. It was very, very good but the fish filet was about the size of a guppie. Thankfully, we had ordered a couple their sides. The grain salad was a nice combination of bulgar, quinoa, tomato, cheese, herbs in a light lemon vinaigrette. But the real hit of the meal was the green cauliflower in mornay sauce to which added bacon. All washed down with a good bottle of Mouvedre (Ventrux)
For dessert we headed up the street to Eclipse Chocolate. This is the first time I'd been in their new location. We had the Blueberry Cobbler flavored with thyme. The Apple Pie Cobbler with the chile burned caramel and cheddar. And the sundae made from a cinnamon roll, chocolate and some more of the chilied caramel sauce. Some hits and misses here. I thought the thyme in the blueberry was too overpowering, 2 of my dining companions did not. The little cheese cubes didn't work too well with the apple pie cobbler. The cinnamon roll sundae was pretty awesome. But both the apple pie cobbler and the cinnamon roll sundae were marred by the chile burnt caramel that was a few degrees beyond spicy and into the realm of "omg, that's hot". Love the new space, love the energy in it, but not in love with the desserts. They were good, but I can make better myself.
So tomorrow we'll be having breakfast at Great Maple (been there, done that, and liked it) before going to the zoo, and who the heck knows where we'll end up for dinner for dinner, but a reservation should be a lot easier to come by on Sunday. Hopefully, we can make it through the day without another meltdown.