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.