Tuesday, December 6, 2011

OK, I suck at blogging.

But one of my favorite bloggers is, apparently, trying to force me back into it by mentioning me on BOTH of her blogs last week. Which is a good thing. I have a bunch of posts needing to be written/edited/posted. And now I MUST go to Korean BBQ and let MV know how it was. Be back soon! :-)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Nooooooo.... El Buli

Possibly I am behind the times with this news but it's the first I have heard about it....

This is just depressing.

I will never get to visit the "best restaurant in the world".
It was on my life list.

Personally, I HEART Tony Bourdain, and I think this story/post is an excellent piece of writing. I honestly got a little teary eyed.

Was anyone reading lucky enough to eat there in the past?
What restaurant do I replace this with as a Life List item??? Suggestions welcome! :-)

Monday, April 11, 2011

SD Street Eats (Food Truck)

Most weekdays I don't eat lunch. I like to take as much of my lunch hour as possible to read, and going to get food just cuts into my reading time. But some days I am really hungry or I have to go get gas or run some other errand. In those cases I usually get some kind of fast food or gas station snack.

BUT, I've seen these guys parked near my place of business a few times over the past couple of months. Today I finally decided to give it a try. (Not only because I was hungry, but also because I had not been able to find the Food Truck festival I mentioned here, on the Del Mar Fairgrounds website, so I wanted to ask them if they knew anything about it. They did and it has been cancelled but they told me about other truck meet ups and they are also trying to put something together that same weekend so people aren't too disappointed.)

Sorry...back to lunch. So, this was the menu. Pretty impressive. They use FB and Twitter to get out their rotating locations and menus. Both guys, the chef and the...other guy (helper, order taker, money taker, etc) were really nice and informative.

Honestly, I had a really hard time deciding. Everything on that menu looked delicious. I finally picked the tri tip sandwich. The chef (Chef Andy) was right on it. Didn't take any longer than standing in line at AM/PM. :-) The have a good assortment of condiments in ice at the counter of the truck. I'm sure my boyfriend would have poured on some of the creamy horseradish and mustard, but I took mine plain. I would have added some honey mustard if they had any, but I am not a fan of regular mustard. It didn't matter. The pepper/onion/mushroom mix was juicy enough to soak into the meat and bun and it was really good! I only ate about half of it and my boyfriend just finished the rest, reheated and sauced up, at home. He agrees.

Yes, that's the hood of my car. :-) I am looking forward to catching these guys again and trying some more!! See their website, Facebook, or Twitter for details on their whereabouts.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pamplemousse Grille Chef Celebration Dinner

I am so happy I discovered the Chefs Celebration dinner series! And Pamplemousse Grille. The menu for the dinner was posted here and there were only a few minor changes when we got to the restaurant. This was another one of those restaurants kind of tucked into a little office park, but it's just across from the race track so easy to find. It seemed like a pretty busy place but I am not sure if that was for the dinner or if that was normal for a Tuesday night. The bar looks like fun, but we will have to come back another time to give it a try. The seating was a bit crowded but they were obviously booked full and we never felt rushed. The decor is kind of nondescript but elegant, and I did really like the few large paintings they had on the walls. (Pigs, guys in a bar, chefs in an alley?) They can be seen on the Pamplemousse Grille website if you click around. :-)

We were served a (fresh) bread basket with 3 kinds of bread - corn muffin, biscuit, and a regular sliced white something-or-other. All were warm and delicious. The amuse, a "galantine", was something new for us. I didn't love it, kind of strange texture and maybe too much chicken compared to the rest of the flavors? But overall it tasted good. My boyfriend enjoyed it. He's a meatasaurus. We both liked the "Frangelico citrus caviar". Very Top Chef style. :-) We ate them before I remembered the camera. (doh - also, I apologize in advance for my poor photo quality, I felt too close to the next table to be taking multiple shots of everything.)

In order to taste as much as possible we ordered both 1st course options and both 2nd course options. We both really enjoyed the mushroom bisque. It was VERY rich, with really earthy flavors, and a swirl of truffle oil on top. mmmmm... Perfect with a little bread toward the end to lighten it up a little bit. This was one of my favorite dishes of the night.

The second option for 1st course was a shrimp/scallop dish. It was served in a bowl of cream colored broth that was very light, which we assumed was the "ginger foam" but I couldn't be positive. In any case it was yummy. The flavor of the broth was very fresh and offset the heavy shrimp and scallop bites well.

For the second course we had two different kinds of saffron risotto. Yummmmy saffron risotto! Apparently I love that stuff. This course was produced by the Pamplemousse Grille team so I am hopeful that it is something on their regular menu. I would definitely order it again. The one I tasted first was with grilled quail and mushrooms. It made me laugh (quietly) when it arrived with a tiny quail leg and thigh (on the tiny bone). The mushrooms were delicious but super strong! I am, truly, a cooked mushroom lover but these were almost too many, or the flavor was just too strong. We had to leave a few mushroom pieces on the plate. But I scooped up all the risotto. The one my boyfriend started with had butter poached lobster (wow...just wow) and baby artichokes. It was just fabulous from start to finish. The lobster was amazing and the artichoke blended perfectly with the risotto and it was all just a delicious flavor party in our mouths. This was my FAVORITE thing of the night. (and the pic was horrible so I don't even want to post it, but trust me, DEEELISH!!)

My boyfriend ordered the Halibut entree. I am not a big fish eater but the bite I had, with some potato, was good. Mild and well cooked. He said it was a good plate of food but everything else we had that night was more interesting. I ordered the Beef Duo, which we both LOVED. The steak was SO tender and it really melted in your mouth. The short rib had a sweet/smoky sauce that was perfect. I was a little disappointed in the truffle cheddar cauliflower puree, I didn't taste much cheddar or truffle. Maybe I should have eaten some of it before and/or without the steak to get a better idea. There's always next time.

Dessert was a Plum Crisp, Warm Chocolate Caramel Cake & Tonka Bean Gelato. All three were excellent. The crisp had the right amount of pastry/crisp and fruit. The cake was rich and thick without being heavy, and the caramel (salted I think, maybe?) on the bottom gave it a little moisture and sweetness. The gelato flavor, Tonka bean, was new to both of us. Kind of a coffee/chocolate/cinnamon flavor. Really good also.

Overall we had a great evening and are definitely looking forward to coming again on a regular night to try out some other dishes and maybe hit up the bar.
Pamplemousse Grille on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Purple for Maddie

I have been following The Spohrs for a while now, maybe 3 years. I checked in with them on this day, April 7th, two years ago.... to find an unimaginable update. The sorrow is impossible to contemplate (especially for someone without kids, like me) but I still feel so much sadness and sympathy for them. I hope all the love flowing their way, from around the world, is some comfort to Heather & Mike (and Annie) today and for always. Their Maddie will never, ever be forgotten. I have changed my blog color in honor of that beautiful little girl and her family.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Past Cooking Experiences (A Rare Event)

Years and years ago (no joke) my boyfriend and I took a cooking class at a local cookware store that hosts classes in the back. I can't remember the theme, but it was really fun and romantic. Years later (but still years ago, yes we've been dating forever) my BF's mom (my "MIL" for all intents and purposes) and I took our nephew (her grandson) to a few of the kids cooking classes they offered there. Again, lots of fun! I even got some good and simple recipes from them. (Which I have made one time each, I really never cook) My favorite was the Tomato & Leek (& Cheese!!) Tart ..... So easy!

If kids can do it, I can do it. :-) It's basically a premade pie crust, filled with a layer of cheese blend, then sauteed leeks (which were surprisingly delicious - considering I am not a big onion fan - haha, get it? big onion?), and a layer of tomato slices.

Then you pile on more of the cheese mixture with some bacon mixed in, for good measure. (This was a Southern Food cooking class, no skimping on the bacon.)

THEN!! You take the rest of the "dry" cheese blend, mix it with some mayonnaise and Parmesan (more cheese!) and throw all that on top in big dollops.

As you can see from the green stuff there are other ingredients but I am typing this from memory. If anyone is truly interested I have the recipe in the menu drawer in my kitchen and will gladly pass it on. :-) Once the cheese mountain has been constructed, you bake it for like 20 minutes and TA-DA!!! Mmmmelty, cheesy leek tart on your table. I'm going to have to make that again soon, I forgot how delicious it is, and easy! Bonus for me.

More recently (maybe 3 years ago?) we took another "grown up" class and it was about Raclette and Fondue. Super fun again! Learned something new (raclette) and fondue is actually something we do cook once in a while so it was good to get new ideas for that. We were very tempted to buy the raclette grille, but haven't yet taken the plunge. They look like this...

and you melt your cheese on the bottom in little individual trays, and cook meat/veggies up top, to later be mixed/served with the cheese. Sadly, no pics from this class. I suggest exploring raclette to anyone who enjoys fondue and the social aspect of eating fondue. Raclette is same idea, just different kinds of cheese, not as melty. :-) (yes, melty is - despite the blogger spellcheck's insistence that it is spelled wrong - a word, since I have used it twice in my post.)

Coming soon....my Top Chef Cookbook recipe attempts! haha

Friday, March 25, 2011

Yay for Food Events!

First I saw (ok, read about) ALadyinLondon attending not one, but TWO! amazing travel conference/trade shows over in Europe. Then, after finding out about eat.drink.read. from another SD food blogger, I decided to look into other food, travel, book related events around town to see if I can get some blogging motivation going. And, you know what? There are quite a few! The first one I found is for a travel trade show. I am not sure how exciting it is going to be since they don't seem to have an exclusive website, all I can find is this and then this, which doesn't seem very promising. BUT, if I have nothing else to do that day, I plan to check it out. Unfortunately I can't remember who it was that inspired me to look into the San Diego based Chef Celebration Dinner Series. Someone on the blogroll of this awesome SD food blogger, I am sure. He's my best source for new people to read. The website gives more details but I got the idea from "whoever's" blog... a few local chefs get together at one anothers restaurants and cook a fixed price dinner. Sounds so fun! AND - bonus - one of the restaurants this year is Harney Sushi, celebrating their 10 yr anniversary. As I have mentioned before, we know the owners (or one of them) of that establishment! :-) I'm really excited about getting to at least one or two of these dinners over the next couple of months.

The 3rd event I found was inspired by a show I "marathon watched" one rainy Saturday a few months back, The Great Food Truck Race. I was reminded of it by Andrew Zimmern's recently aired visit to San Francisco, where he cooked in a truck at a "meet up" of food trucks, which moves around the city. And guess what?? San Diego is having a "Gourmet Food Truck Festival"!! Best description I have found is here, and there are a few other links to buy tickets - although I am sure you can just go to the fairgrounds and buy a ticket on the day.

Anywhoo.... hopefully these events will be fun and worth my time and give me something to write about!

UPDATE: it's these two who went to a bunch of the SD Chef Celebrations last year. :-)

UPDATE #2: Looks like 2 of these events (travel show and food truck fiesta) have been cancelled but I found more! Info to come....

Monday, March 21, 2011

At Home Cheese Plates!!

We've been buying all kinds of cheeses and trying to drink up some of the wine we have been collecting over the last 10 years! We've yet to finish our pantry/wine storage in the new house kitchen so...it's all sitting on the counter and we realized some of it has probably been aging TOO long!! Oops. A lot of the wines are from Napa and our wine tasting trips of years past, and for some reason we always put off drinking it for more "special occasions". We've realized we don't have that many special occasions so we might as well start drinking them now. Plus, it gives us a good excuse to take another trip up to wine country. :-)

One of my favorite (available in your grocery store) cheeses (right now/so far) is Dubliner cheese, from Kerrygold, an Irish dairy. It looks like they have 10 cheeses, but we have only tried 3 so far. I am going to try a different grocery store, maybe Whole Foods, to look for some of the others.

We usually have bread or crackers, an apple or some other fruit, some jam or honey, and (recently) walnuts! There are so many combinations and they are all delicious! So far we have been going with fairly mild cheeses but when I make it over to Whole Foods I'm planning to be more adventurous! I've been browsing this blog, It's Not You It's Brie, and considering buying her book when it is released. Knowledge is power. :-)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Eat. Drink. Read.

Big thanks to these so cal foodies for mentioning this great event on their blog. I love food, wine and books so this is totally right up my alley! The San Diego Council on Literacy is hosting Eat. Drink. Read. on May 18th,to promote literacy in San Diego. I'm planning to buy my tickets after my next paycheck! The website says: Noted chefs are quoting their favorite books to concoct literary inspired dishes for a delicious event... How fun!! I remember my AP high school English teacher gave us a similar assignment once and we all had to bring in food based on a book we had read that year.

I'm really looking forward to it!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

25 Forty Bistro and Bakehouse

(advance apologies for how squished all the text is, i kept getting html errors - whatever that means- when i had line breaks)

We LOVE this new restaurant!! OK, first...rewind - A few weeks back I got a random email (I think somehow linked to/from groupon) that was advertising 80% off restaurant.com gift certificates. Anything 80% off has to be worth looking into! The website basically sells discounted gift certificates ($25 for $10 for example) so I snatched up about $300 worth of certificates for under $40!! It has all kinds of restaurants, casual to fine dining. We got one for our local 24 hour diner, one for Cavaillon (yay! can't wait to go again!!), and 5 or 6 other (new to us) restaurants. They have these big "sales" all the time (I have since found out) but it's still a great deal.

So, back to 25 Forty Bistro, found it on the website, checked it out on Yelp and UrbanSpoon...and was very pleased with what we discovered! It's located in Old Town San Diego, on a quiet street back from the main tourist area. It's also right around the corner from the awesome Harney Sushi, which is owned by a previous neighbor of ours! Finding it was easy, parking not TOO bad, but a little difficult, which is to be expected in that area.

It was a chilly night and Oscar night, so we were only 1 of 2 parties the whole time we were there. Fine with us! The decor is all black and white, kind of "hip" modern casual... with one half of a large wall a chalkboard map with their featured wines highlighted near their country of origin. I thought that was cool. The kitchen was partially visible, allowing diners to see the chefs, and chefs to keep an eye on the pace of the meal. Chef Mark Pelliccia has worked for years in Italy and his fresh ingredients come together to make great food.

To start, I ordered a glass of sparkling Montecchia Moscato, more of a dessert wine but my
experience at Nine Ten had taught me that sweet wines go well with all sorts of dishes. I REALLY liked it and am hoping the have it at BevMo. While we were checking out the menu an amuse bouche of tuna (salad) on still warm toast arrived. It was light and tasty.

We ordered the cheese plate as a starter. It was composed of 4 cheeses, apple wedges, walnuts, celery, and homemade raspberry (if I remember correctly) preserves. Excellent combinations!! We are totally loving this whole cheese thing! We have even started doing cheese plates at home a couple of times a week.

As an appetizer we ordered their pork belly special which came with potato salad. The pork was covered in a sweet/spicy coffee (if i remember correctly!) based BBQ sauce. It was DEEEE-LISH! My boyfriend claims he would eat pork belly every night if we could. The creamy, mild house made potato salad was a perfect compliment to the flavor smackdown of the pork. The serving size could have easily been an entree. Luckily we were sharing everything!

For our main courses I had the pork chop (pork chops-fuji apples-sauteed spinach) and my boyfriend the duck pasta (homemade fettuccine-braised duck). The pork chops were served with the cooked apples and spinach in an excellent sweet sauce. Again, it was a great sized portion. We though the pasta would be like a bed of noodles with pieces of duck on top and some kind of sauce. But it was more like a nest of cut up noodles and duck, all sauced and mixed together. (not easy to describe but see pic!) It was a very different flavor (smoky, rich, gravy-ish) from both of the pork dishes so we weren't so sure at first, but it grew on us. In fact we ate the rest of it (leftovers) the next day and it was even better than we remembered.

On to dessert!! I read online that the pastries are great since they are a "bake house" but we decided to go with the suggestion of the waitress, and ordered vanilla custard crepe. Wow. She served it to us hot out of a pan with the custard all warm and melted and it was just amazing. I love sweets, but my boyfriend agreed that it was just as amazing as I was thinking. :-) I also ordered a hot chocolate.... and that is exactly what I got. A large cup of melted chocolate with fresh whipped cream on top. Holy cow! Even I had a little trouble finishing it at the end, it was that rich. Like drinking out of a chocolate fondue pot. But I won't complain and will probably order it again next time we go!

Overall - GREAT food, EXCELLENT service!! and the price was reasonable, even without a certificate. We shall return!! Hopefully when it is warmer and we can take advantage of their super cute porch seating with fire pits.

25 Forty Bistro and Bakehouse on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oh, and...I'm a Jeopardy! Geek

And this? This was AWESOME.

We watched all 3 days of it and I was just amazed at what this computer can do.

Beef, It's What's For Dinner

We've been low on funding and motivation for going out lately. My boyfriend hurt his foot and then his knee so we have been laying low at home. That means plenty of cheap take out and a few steaks thrown in. He sure can grill a mean tri-tip, even with one gimpy leg!
It sat for a few minutes more than we would have preferred but still delicious and made GREAT steak sandwiches. Yummmmmy-yum-yum!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hawaii Aloha

We actually took this LONG awaited vacation in November of 2009. Brainstorming ideas for the blog, I came across some of the pics from our trip and remembered...We ate a LOT of good food when we were on the islands!

One of the main reasons we took the trip was to visit my aunt who lives on (The Big Island) Hawaii. She has a restaurant and coffee shop there, The Holuakoa Cafe and Gardens. (They don't have a website but the reviews kind of say it all!)
We flew in on Thanksgiving day and were able to share (their 2nd helping, our first!) some turkey and other traditional items with my aunt, her boyfriend (the chef) and a couple of their friends. The homemade pumpkin pie was a perfect ending. The conversation was pretty interesting as well, as one of the visitors is also a chef and was in Hawaii to scope out a possible new restaurant location.

The restaurant has only outdoor seating, which is really all you need in Hawaii! It is covered and shaded though. As with most island locales, everything is very casual and friendly here. But don't let that fool you when it comes to the food. It was definitely "fine dining" caliber!

Holuakoa Cafe is proud to be a "slow food establishment". Everything (and I mean everything) is locally sourced, organic, hormone free, etc. They get their proteins for local fisherman and farmers. No quick fixes here. Just fabulous fresh food cooked with lots of passion!

Unfortunately for my blog, I wasn't blogging then so I didn't get pictures at every meal. (Boo-hoo.) We had all 3 meals there more than once and were never disappointed. We had pork, fish, pastas, sandwiches, desserts....pretty much tried to have everything. And it was all delicious! I wish I could remember more of the details of some of the dinners.

On the day we went down into Kailua Kona we both had eggs for breakfast. (The french toast is awesome, too.) My boyfriend had the "Hawaiian Steak & Eggs" with a gorgeous Ahi steak. I had my favorite, traditional eggs benedict, and it was as good as I hoped it would be. The egg was perfect, ham and (locally baked) english muffin in perfect proportion, potatoes yummy and crispy, and the sauce...oh the sauce was soooo good, my mouth still waters every time I see the picture.

We explored the island, the town, the volcano road, the coffee fields,the southern most point in the USA! Blue Mountain Coffee Company is actually right down the alley from the restaurant.

On Saturday there is a small farmer's market that they hold in the "yard" behind the coffee shop (and next to the restaurant). There were maybe 10 stalls there, a few people selling crafts and artwork and such, but mostly people with awesome looking food! I have never seen so many fresh, exotic fruits! Some of them I had never even seen before.

We also met the baker who makes all the bread and pastries for the restaurant and the cafe. We took a loaf of his fresh bread with us to make turkey sandwiches for a picnic on our drive to the volcano! It was, of course, yummmm.

After spending 3 great days on the Big Island, we took the quick hop to Maui. While we were there I managed to crash on a bike ride and put myself out of commission for the last 2 days of the trip. BUT...we had some pretty damn good take out a couple of those nights. One night we had Maui Taco, which has a few locations on the island. It was REALLY good! We had fish tacos and a bean burrito and it was all delicious! (Being from San Diego, we know good tacos, and these were good.) One day rushing around we decided to stop in at an L&L Hawaiian shop. We have these in San Diego but for some reason the food was MUCH more tasty over there! The meat seemed better quality and the mac salad was really creamy and fresh. Maybe we were just high on being in Hawaii but I swear...

We also managed to make it to the Old Lahaina Luau (the night of my accident...before we realized how injured i was) that we had already scheduled and prepaid for! That was also REALLY fun and the food was not bad either, for a buffet. The large variety of drinks were yummy, had decent amount of alcohol, and they just kept coming. Watching the "ceremonial" unveiling of the pig was really fun. I loved all the dancing and music, too. This was our first trip to Hawaii and I am really glad we did the luau.

Overall the trip, and the food, was EXCELLENT! I really can not wait to go again. Aloha!

Holuakoa Cafe on Urbanspoon

Old Lahaina Lu'au on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cavaillon - San Diego Restaurant Week!

After getting over our two week holiday flu bugs, we decided to try a new restaurant during San Diego Restaurant Week. This is the first year we have taken advantage of this chance to try new places at a fixed price. I was hoping to hit a second new place before the week was done but we ran out of time.

I wanted to try something new and "Top Chefy", so all the standards (Ruth's Chris, Mortons, other downtown steak places) were out the window. I returned to the food/restaurant edition of The Reader from back in the fall. After debating the menus of the 3 "finalists" for two evenings, we decided to try
Cavaillon Restaurant. Chef Philippe Verpiand was another of the top chefs featured in the Reader, so I was glad to see Cavaillon as an option for Restaurant Week.

The restaurant location was strange, as people mentioned on Yelp. It is in the Carmel Valley area of San Diego, a few miles inland, in a small strip mall smack in the middle of a planned community. We actually parked in front of someones house! The drive seems longer than it really was, since you come through a lot of empty space which seemed to be hiking/jogging/horse riding trails. It was actually kind of relaxing and made us feel like we had gone "somewhere".

The dining area was surprisingly small, although there is outside seating available as well. We chose to be inside. There were numerous tables for two set up, a little too close to each other for my liking, but I understand it can be crowded during Restaurant Week. The decor was sort of a European, old-world style. Rich golds and reds, and dark woods.

Even though there are only 3 options for each course, they all sounded interesting so it wasn't anything to be concerned about. (fall 2011 RW menu here, looks to be the same offerings)

Our dinner...

Appetizers - I ordered the cheese tart. This was one of the best dishes I have eaten...well, ever! I told my boyfriend the next time we eat here I could order 5 cheese tarts and be happy. The tart itself was a little small but it combined so well with the small salad. The flavors were perfect. (fourme d'ambert blue cheese tart, poached anjou pears in red wine, wild aragula)

He had pre-chosen the pheasant when we were sifting through the menus. Neither of us knew what "terrine" meant though, so the dish was not exactly what we had expected. Luckily it was still yummy! It was sort of like a small loaf or roll of the ground up meat mixed with spices etc and then sliced and served with complimentary accompanying items. . (pheasant terrine, pickled winter vegetables, celery root salad)

Mains - I had the beef. I knew my boyfriend would have the fish and I didn't feel like going for duck. The beef was extremely tender and flavorful, and the veggies were delicious also! It was a comfort food kind of dish. (braised beef flat iron, pommes mousseline, carrots, red wine demi-glace)

He did order the fish, and it was really good, too. Personally I am not a big fish eater but the bites I stole were great. Cooked well, nice flavors, another hit. (petrale sole, almondine in brown butter, roasted cauliflower, fingerling potatoes and broccolini)

Desserts - Of the three options the chocolate actually sounded the least interesting, but after seeing other people eating it, I now know better for next time! I ordered the Floating Island. It was, beyond a doubt, DELICIOUS, but too light for my dessert needs. It was kind of like a meringue island sitting in the middle of a very light (and maybe a tiny bit too thin) vanilla custard. Still... YUM! Honestly, I can't complain about dessert! (Floating island, Tahitian vanilla custard, caramel sauce)

He had the Profiteroles. Basically 3 small cream puffs (minus the cream), with different types of ice cream spilling out! (pic below) Again, yummy, but nothing very exciting. Next time the chocolate will be on order!!

(full dinner menu here)

Cavaillon on Urbanspoon

Food, glorious food!

I have decided writing about the house is no fun. In fact, the house is a jerk.
It sits here with tons of unfinished projects and no money tree in the back yard.
Mocking us. Punk.

Moving on...
Three things I truly, madly, deeply love are books, travel, and food! So I'm going to focus on what I love. :-) yay!

I came across this world traveling lady a few years ago when I was browsing travel blogs. Based in London, she travels (and EATS fabulous food) all over the world! Also these girls have some pretty amazing experiences. (their food blog is here)

Who - me? Green with envy? 100% yes

So, inspired by these (and a few other) blogs, their wonderful photos and posts, I thought I would take a shot at some food blogging, myself. I may also stumble into travel (when/if i can ever afford to go anywhere again!) and BOOKS!! Are there book blogs for rabid readers? I'm gonna check that out.

I can't claim to be very knowledgeable about food. In fact, I never (really, never) cook. Once every couple months we make a big batch of salsa. (actual evidence seen here!)

My only qualifications are that we (my boyfriend and I) LOVE to go out to eat and I also love to watch shows like Top Chef to try to expand my knowledge. I have been a picky eater for a lot of my life but I have tried to keep an open mind lately, and it is paying off! New posts to follow with details of the last 2 great meals we have had!

Or right here...since, apparently, there is no cutting and pasting on Blogger and I don't know how else to keep the stuff I already typed before deciding it needed it's own post!
ughh...learning curve! I guess there is no question I am still new to this blogging thing!

After poring over the "restaurant and chef" edition of The Reader back in the fall, and then perusing Yelp for a few days, I settled on a restaurant in La Jolla for my birthday dinner back in October. (yes, it was that good, we still talk about it)
The chef, Jason Knibb, was touted as one of the new stars of San Diego cuisine. The restaurant, Nine Ten (named for it's street address) was located at The Grande Colonial Hotel in the old village area of La Jolla. Honestly, I don't remember a whole lot about the restaurant, except that it is small and seemed busy. We had a FABULOUS server, whose name I don't recall. Her husband is a chef (did not think to ask if he was THE chef at Nine Ten) and she was very helpful in making recommendations and answering our questions. We both ordered the Three-Course Market Dinner Special, and I got mine with wine pairings. (pics stolen from NineTen website, I didn't know then that I wanted to blog about it!)

Appetizers -
I ordered the foie gras (one of the specials). It was my boyfriend's first time having it and we both LOVED IT! (seared foie gras w/fennel salad, cocoa nibb syrup, tangerine froth, coffee oil powder, crostini) It was paired with a sweet wine (which are my favorite), Sauterns from Chateau Graves. I loved the combo.

He ordered the Jamaican jerk pork belly. It was amazing! This was our first time having pork belly, after seeing it on Top Chef quite often. We were not disappointed. (jamaican jerk pork belly, sweet potato puree, baby carrots, swiss chard, plantains, black eyed peas, spicy jellies). W-O-N-nderful!

Mains -
I ordered the beef short ribs. With a creamy and rich mushroom puree, it was melt-in-your mouth deliciousness. (port wine braised beef short ribs, roasted baby veggies, smoked shiitake mushroom puree) It came with La Cartuja Spanish Red blend. My boyfriend enjoyed it, I am not a huge red drinker.

He ordered the prime "cap" ribeye. Another hit, though not what we were expecting. We thought "steak" would be...well..a steak! It was closer to the ribs in that it was extremely tender and falling apart. We learn every time we go out! The figs were awesome with the meat. (grilled prime "cap" ribeye steak, grilled figs, brocolli, blue cheese potato foam, soubise, red wine reduction)

Dessert -
I, of course, ordered the "half baked" chocolate cake. Wow...yum! Similar to the volcano style cakes at some chain restaurants, but lighter. He ordered the cheese plate, which we shared, and loved! Our waitress gave us some other cheese recommendations to take home since we enjoyed it so much. Dessert was accompanied by a 10yr Tawny Port. Rich and sweet and just right.

We are looking forward to visiting this restaurant again. Maybe get the "Mercy of the Chef" dinner special! That would actually be quite brave of me!

(menus can be seen here)

Nine Ten on Urbanspoon