Showing posts with label san diego. Show all posts
Showing posts with label san diego. Show all posts

Monday, March 10, 2014

Amaya (La Jolla, CA)

It's been almost a year since Amaya opened their La Jolla location (the first is at The Grand Del Mar). 
The fancy interior may seemed old school and stuffy, but the servers were very friendly and courteous, and the young female wine director walked us through a fun pairing throughout dinner.
Bread Bowl
The menu is quite promising, with a nice variety of seafood (lobster pot pie!) and game meats. We started dinner with an amuse of lobster bisque.
We ordered the half dozen chilled oysters, served with a carrot and ginger granita on top, which complemented the oysters very well. These were paired with an Alto Adige Chardonnay.
She told us that Chablis and oysters is a textural, while this Chardonnay is similar to Chablis but crisp. It brings out notes of apples and oranges.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Firehouse Subs, Now Open in San Diego, CA

By: guest blogger Narin Johns

Gourmet Pigs was invited to attend Firehouse Subs in Point Loma, San Diego to meet with founder Robin Sorensen and taste some of their featured subs. Robin brings a lot of passion to Firehouse Subs when he describes everything from the humble beginnings of the business to the quality ingredients he personally tastes and sources. Named "Firehouse Subs" because both Robin and his brother - co-founder Chris, started their careers as firefighters and have integrated their experience into the decor, sub names, and even the condiments.

We were treated to some of the most popular items on the menu. The first was the Hook & Ladder Sub.
This was my personal fave -  topped with smoked turkey breast, Virginia honey ham, and melted Monterey Jack served "fully involved" (another firehouse term) meaning loaded with mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion and a dill pickle on the side. In the first bite, I noticed the bread was fresh baked, slightly crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. I was really impressed by the smokiness in the turkey and sweetness of the honey ham - sliced fresh in the store every day, and the melding of flavors with their delicious deli mustard and mayo. Firehouse prides itself in preparing subs using unique steaming method that really brings out the taste - unlike other "hot" subs I've tasted.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Flavor Del Mar With Brian Redzikowski (Del Mar, CA)

I first encountered Chef Brian Redzikowski's talent at BondSt in the Thompson Hotel in Beverly Hills (the hotel has now relaunched the space as Caulfield's Bar and Dining Room). Redzikowski didn't have full freedom to serve the food that he wanted as there were "signature" dishes that had to be kept on the menu but he certainly had fun, creative takes on sushi and sashimi. After leaving BondSt, Redzikowski now joins Flavor Del Mar just north of San Diego. I hadn't realized that's where he had gone to until I saw his name and the restaurant recommended in a magazine article by a San Diego chef as the place to go.

At the entrance of Flavor Del Mar is the bar and lounge area, but thankfully we were then led to the spacious, quiet dining room in the back.


As we sat, they brought out an amuse bouche of Cherry tomato, pistachio, fried shallots and pickled radish

For the most part his menu caters to his new audience. Seafood is well prepared without the molecular bells and whistles that I've seen at BondSt. There are plenty of Asian flavors like the Sesame seared salmon sashimi, lemon soy, ginger, chive, hon shimeji mushrooms ($15) or the Thai coconut soup.
Every now and then you find some surprising and exciting flavor profiles, like in this Scrambled farm egg, charred broccolini, pine nuts, tomato confit, Humboldt Fog goat cheese ($12)
If you love the strong flavor of goat cheese, try this. The runny scrambled egg is a great vehicle for the bolder flavors of the tomato and goat cheese.

After the appetizers, Chef Redzikowski sent out a special dish! Locally caught California spiny lobster with green curry foam and kaffir lime.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Extraordinary Desserts (San Diego, CA): Pretty Ordinary?

Extraordinary Desserts was one of the places I was pretty excited about trying in San Diego. Finding out that they stay open late and close to my hotel, I drove straight there from LA.

Of course I had to try their famous Dulce de Leche cake, which had appeared Food Network's show "Best Thing I Ever Ate".

Extraordinary Dessert's Dulce de Leche Cake

It was great. Moist, decadent. Big. The caramel flavor came through even among the dark chocolate. Was it the best cake I ever ate, though? I don't think so. Still, I enjoyed sitting there reading while eating the cake and drinking tea.

But I also got some pastries to go, pointing things from the display case, and this apparently wasn't the best move. The pastries seem more expensive than the cakes, considering the portion size, but that's not a big deterrent if they are truly "extraordinary".
French Strawberry Pie

I ordered a croissant garnished with almonds, expecting a flaky almond croissant, but the back half of the pastry turned out to be brownie-like. Huh?
Pineapple Cream Pastry
The danish with pineapple and cream fared better. The pastry was flaky and the sugar-coated upper crust was crunchy. My first bite with the candied pineapple and the cream was delightful, but apparently they had only put pineapples at the ends while the middle filling was all cream.
I call that false representation.

One thing I was happy to find is their extensive list of Mariage Frere's loose leaf teas.

I tried the strangely-named yet quite delicious Tahiti-iti (vanilla beans blended with premium Darjeeling).
Mariage Frere Tea at Extraordinary Desserts

I would love to just sit by the window drinking tea and reading.

I think all the hype about a particular place just brings more disappointment when it doesn't live up to it. The cake was good but didn't seem all that special to me and the pastries were both disappointing and expensive. It doesn't warrant a special trip but if I'm wandering around San Diego and have free time,  I'd still come back here and have some tea and cake.
Extraordinary Desserts

Extraordinary Desserts
2929 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 294-2132
Extraordinary Desserts on Urbanspoon

San Diego, CA

Amaya (La Jolla)
Extraordinary Desserts
Firehouse Subs (Point Loma)
Flavor Del Mar (Del Mar, CA)

Nearby Breweries
Green Flash Brewery
Lost Abbey
Stone Brewery

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Stone Brewery (Escondido): Lunch, Tour, and Tasting

There are two reasons to visit Stone Brewery: their great beers and the fact that their tour (with beer tastings) is FREE!
(What is NOT a reason to visit, on the other hand, is the food at their bistro)

Actually, perhaps there are three reasons to visit. The grounds around the brewery is lush and beautiful, perfect for a walk or a picnic.
We decided to eat here because we had to wait for the brewery tour (it's free but you do need to get passes for specific times early on, since they fill up quickly). Admittedly, I loved the restaurant's space itself. It is spacious and bright thanks to the large windows.

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