My dear friends Tony and Beth visited me from Dallas. That was not only fun but heartwarming as well. They know Woody pretty well too, and we spent a long spell reciting our favorite memories of Woody whom we all miss! Mina took a while to warm up to them, but by the time they were gone, she was saying “Tony, Besh” looking for them.
Since we are foodies, we hit up a bunch of restaurants. They hit up more than I did, including George’s at the Cove. Dallas has a reputation for having the most restaurants per capita in a big city, and I do miss some favorites there including Babe’s, and Texas De Brazil, but San Diego ain’t too bad in the number of quality, affordable or otherwise, eats.
On Friday night, we ate at Cucina Italiana, which is the only place where we ended up taking pictures of the food. It’s Zagat rated, and considered one of the top 100 Italian places in the country.
Pros: Affordable, nice atmosphere. Good, attentive service.
Cons: To be honest, I wasn’t that impressed. The bread wasn’t warm, nor was the sauce and that would have improved them considerably. The calamari was ok; nothing remarkable about it. My pasta with clam sauce lacked salt or at least other flavorings. I admit I like things salty, but my husband made pasta with clam sauce with lots of infusions of other flavor like capers, earthy mushrooms, and other secret ingredients (he wouldn’t tell me). My friend Tony’s filet mignon and risotto…talk about peppery. I like pepper as much as the next person but let’s have other flavors too. The pepper really overwhelmed everything else. His risotto, again in my opinon, lacked much flavor. My friend Beth’s lobster ravioli was a bit better, but nothing I would go all the way to Clairemont for. Our canolis were ok.
Afterwards we went to Ghirardelli in the Gaslamp Quarter. If you ever get yourself to San Diego, it’s a worth a visit. I think it’s more enjoyable than the Ghirardelli in the chocolate maker’s hometown of San Francisco. I went to the one in Ghirardelli Square in SFO. If you’re asking whether we had two desserts, one at the restaurant and one at Ghirardelli, yes, yes we did.
And after that we went to The Grape, an intimate wine bar. I love this place! The wine menu says it all when it says “no screeching music”. The Gaslamp Quarter can get really loud, and this place is a little oasis from all that. You can get wine flights for as little as $9.50. In this place though, I notice that the more expensive you go, the better the quality of the wine gets. Anyone who thinks that wine is what you like, and price has nothing to do with it, may want to keep that in mind when visiting The Grape.
We had a late lunch at possibly the best Mexican restaurant I have ever dine in, Old Town Mexican Cafe.
Pros: The queso, the soups, the fajitas, the house-kneaded tortillas, the carnitas, fish tacos, the quacamole, uhm, pretty much everything?…it’s all very, very affordable as well. In this economy, I’d say it’s cheap eats. Woody and I have eaten there for less than $25 with Mina in tow. The other pros is the location; you’re in the historic part of town, where San Diego first settled and they have a lot for tourists to see. Friendly service to boot.
Cons: Don’t order their rotisserie chicken, it’s a bit tough after you get past the succulent skin. Sometimes the wait can get really long. It’s a very popular place. We got there at 2 pm and still had to wait 20 mins. or so.
For Dinner, we went back to Gaslamp Quarter for a 9 pm reservations at Blue Point Coastal Cuisine.
Pros: Order the scallops. It melts in your mouth, it’s buttery, flavorful, and just so wonderful. I didn’t order this unfortunately. I did order their potato leek soup, which was creamy. I didn’t plan to finish it but it was so good I ended up cleaning my soup bowl. Beth’s sea bass was very, very good too. Service is impeccable; dress up, it’s kind of an upscale place. You better make a reservation.
Cons: The lobster. Pass on it and order the scallops instead. Disappointing. I expected the lobster to melt in my mouth like the scallops, but it didn’t. I just expected it to be very tender. The price can get up there. Our bill came up to $92/person with a bottle of wine.
Their last day here! We kept it simple by going to Pat & Oscars. It’s a family-friendly place where you can get anything from sandwiches (I got the Avocado Turkey Club, thumbs up), to soups, pizza, pasta. Self-service is emphasized at this place. Expect a lot of families with kids. It’s not expensive, and the items we ordered satisfied cravings for simple fare like pizza, soup and breadsticks.
So that’s it. I’m slowly finding my favorites in this place with regards to restaurant and other hang-outs. If you ever find yourself here, and you enjoy eating, let me know!