My first time at D Bar was with two lovely ladies from my old job – KF and LT, when LT who had left SD several years back, was coming back to visit. I had to catch up with two wonderful and extremely driven ladies. We had a great afternoon catching up and just seeing what everyone was up to since we were all tied up in life itself. That day, we had sampled several dishes to just get an idea of what D Bar could do – just desserts or food as well?
On the left hand side, from top to bottom:
Crue Fries – their signature starter of garlic parmesan fries (perfectly fried), mac sauce, melted cheddar jack, bacon, ranch, and chives. This appetizer is salty but so addictive!
Naan-Burguesa – kobe burger, grilled naan, black bean hummus, chipotle mayo, havarti, avocado, and a side of chips. Since I don’t eat beef, KF and LT both were a little underwhelm by this burger. In part, the use of a grilled naan didn’t hold everything together so when you bit down, everything tends to slide out.
Tahini Grilled Salmon – on a bed of mixed greens, grilled baby bok choy, tossed in a ginger soy vinaigrette, and topped with toasted almond and edamame. This salad was again only ok and slightly underwhelming.
Now the real reason why we were here: desserts!
Molten Cake Thingy That Everyone Has – just the name itself made us want to order it. Plus the three of us have had really good molten cake thingies before, so we had to try it and see where D Bar’s stacked up. Their version is comes with raspberry compote and Sicilian pistachio ice cream, but we wanted to try their salted caramel ice cream and so we requested the swap. Well we can say that their cake thingy was quite good. Was it the best? We were all hard press to jump up and exclaim this was the best version we’ve had to-date, but it is a darn good contender!
Ch Ch Ch Churros! – Made. To. Order. Those are the three words that almost always ensures that you are going to have a great churro. And boy, D Bar knows their churros alright! It was the best freaking plate of churros ever!!! And it comes with a little dish of melted dark chocolate for dipping which was more for scooping out and eating straight.
On my second visit with two other wonder ladies – LA and JW, I knew there were two items I couldn’t go without: crue fries and churros. Except this time, it was for dinner so ordered more items to try in hopes that it would turn out better, but first…some drinks!
Normally, I don’t drink so I wouldn’t be posting about drinks, but my gals do and one drink intrigued us all – the Fresca Picante (martini glass one). This was a strawberry jalapeno infused tequila with agave and lime. I had taken a sip and the jalapeno is this after kick that happens a few seconds after drinking. It was such an interesting taste and experience that it had all three of us just inspecting it as we waited for food.
Oh these wonderful babies again…come to mama! NOM NOM NOM!!!
Bacon Mac & Cheese – because we were all feeling like mac n’ cheese. Don’t question us! We wanted this ooey, gooey bowl of melted goodness. It’s a four cheese mac, with bacon and cheese nips and panko crumb top. It was as decadent as it sounded, but good for sharing!
Lobster Risotto – grilled lobster tail with rosemary butter, served with roasted poblano risotto and broccolini and pea tendrils. The lobster was sweet and tender and I could have eaten several more of that tail! So good…
And since we were ordering so many rich dishes, I felt we needed at least one salad to help balance it out a little. The Grilled Caesar salad, drizzled with balsamic glaze and topped with shaved parm, it help give us that fresh crunch we needed.
Oh the desserts…delicious, delicious desserts…I pretty much dictated this order:
Chocolate Souffle – 65% chocolate souffle, nutella filled beignets with chocolate sauce, and praline ice cream. The souffle was not as airy as I’ve had in some places, but still delicious and fluffy. The beignets were too thick and not fluffy enough. Beignets are suppose to be little pockets of fried heaven (as I have experienced before in NOLA), so I was a little sadden to eat these little guys here. As for the chocolate, we learned from our waiter that they “pay more for the chocolate per pound than we do for the steak”. Now that’s something to be proud of! If I do say so myself!
And those churros, I ordered it knowing what I would get, but my friends were both skeptical. I told them that I swear by them and upon their first bites, I just ruined their ideas of churros forever. LA was just peeved at me for making her taste a damn good churro and now other churros will never be the same. Job. Well. Done.
D Bar as a whole, I love – from the food, atmosphere, venue and the people working there. It’s a great place to gather, enjoy a few dishes and drinks. Although I did not have pictures of my take out desserts from D Bar, I did try their macarons and chocolates. The macarons were much too dry! I was quite disappointed, but at least their chocolates were superb! I really hope the restaurant will continue to do well, so that I may keep coming back and try everything on the menu (but always with the churros).
3930 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
My SD Restaurant Week restaurant number 2 was with a coworker of mine, JT (and no, it’s not that JT). Since she was working during the MLK holiday (in lieu of another holiday), we choose a place closer to the office. Our selection was because of the number of choices the restaurant had for the pre-fixe menu, and here were our choices for La Bastide Bistro in Scripps Ranch:
I have to say, this was our favorite course of the meal. According to JT, the crab cake was loaded with lumps of crab meat. She loved it and it did look pretty darn good from where I was sitting! My salad was absolutely delicious! The best part is the highlighted item – warm goat cheese, drizzled in the lavender honey. My goodness, I could have eaten TEN of these croutons! Paired with a fresh salad, it made me feel like I was eating something healthy and good. Althought I would have to say that those mushrooms were a bit out of placed. Had they been marinated mushrooms, that would have made the dish twice as good.
Our entrees was not our first choices, because they ran out of the Cassoulet (White Bean Stew with Duck Confit, Bacon & Sausage). 😦 JT enjoyed her stew, and it smelled nice, but it was not what I would want either. My Duck Confit was sadly under seasoned and a little dry. Also, my fries should have been crispier too. There’s nothing worse than a limp fry!
JT and I both ordered the Tartin, but again…much to our disappointment, the apple filling was too sweet for us. It felt like canned apple pie filling to me, but I cannot confirm that this was the case. The best part of this dessert was the ice cream.
Overall, La Bastide Bistro completely failed my expectations and they were not even set high to begin with! That was probably the worst part for me. Would I come back? For the prices they are charging both in their lunch and dinner menu, I think I’d rather opt for a different option.
La Bastide Bistro
10006 Scripps Ranch Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92131
After a LONG week of eating in Atlanta, we were all pretty worn down. We were all just very tired and I don’t think we fully digested the first week’s food from our stomachs. Hence, week 2 was much “lighter”…though the highlight of week 2 was on Monday when we visited:
South City Kitchen
After this basket…I strongly believe ALL restaurants should only serve (especially to me) one of the 3 options for a “bread basket”:
- Cornbread and/or biscuits
- Popovers (see Island Prime post)
- In-house made herb bread
And all these options must be FRESHLY MADE and served WARM! Delighted Palate has spoken!
In the words of my colleagues, “The smoke flavor is intense! I don’t know how they got this much smoke flavor into this…I still have the smokey flavor in my mouth after eating!” In other words, this was one kicka** pork chop.
Though this was not my entree, I had wish I had a second stomach so that I could have ordered this as my second entree!!! This was one of the most flavorful, juiciest, piece of fried chicken I had ever tasted. The chicken, which you can see is primarily breast meat, was so tender and juicy that it boggled all of our minds! I’ll never look at a fried chicken the same ever again (sadly :(…).
Ok, there is no doubt that South City Kitchen knows how to smoke their food. This shrimp and grits was heightened by the tomato gravy to ridiculous levels. The gravy was smooth, tangy, spicy, and smoky. I don’t know how they did it and the only think I could think of was one of two possibilities:
- They intense, smoked the tomatoes before pureeing them for the gravy, or
- They add liquid smoke into the gravy
One way or another, I want this gravy slathered all over everything I eat now! The pieces of tasso ham added saltiness perfectly to each bite, and the shrimps were cooked just right. The grits? Well my friends, they made one smooooth vehicle for all the awesomeness that I had just ranted about.
Let’s just say if there was one overall theme to each dessert at SCK – they are sinfully rich and packed with flavors as advertised.
We all walked out of that restaurant with painfully full tummies, and despite the groans and insistence that we will NEVER eat like that again, we were all very, very happy customers.
As for the rest of the week? We revisited Fat Matt’s, then the next two days, we decided that we all needed a break from the eat-a-thon and truly attempted to eat “moderately” again. Thus, I am sad to report – SCK was the true encore of our ATL exploration.
I would just like to thank Atlanta for bringing out the fatties in us, and making us all a little softer, a little rounder, and a lot more of a nightmare for physical check-up at the doctor’s.
Delighted Palate & Crew
(See Week 1’s post here)
South City Kitchen
1144 Crescent Ave, Atlanta, Ga 30309
1675 Cumberland Pkwy, Smyrna, Ga 30080
This past week was my first full week back home, so I finally had the chance to take a look back on all the food that I had partake in during my tour of China, and visit back to Hong Kong. Although I am sure there was much more to try in China, unfortunately the food I ate was all geared towards “tourists.” We were in a tour group, but it still makes me sad that there could be amazing food out there that I never got my hands on. In my recap, I think I want to focus on the items that stood out above all the rest and mediocre.
When I browse through my album and relived all that I ate in the 16 days away, I must say that the one that caught me completely off guard was this:
This simple, hot, sticky, delicious, hot mess was something that I thought I should have thought of…SO WHY DIDN’T I?!?! The snack before you is a sliced, fresh roll that has been toasted and slathered with butter, natural, chunky peanut butter, and drizzled with sweet condensed milk. Yes my friends…this is totally NOT part of ANY diets out there, but it was part of my diet of orgasmic food experiences.
The bread was perfectly toasted on the sliced side, soft on the insides, and natural crust to the outside. It was a perfect vehicle for all the extra goodness to be piled on top!
Now that I know this is a GREAT combo, I plan on making this my special Sunday brunch at home :). I just need to find the right natural chunky PB to match it. Any suggestions?? (or if you know a place in San Diego that serves this, let me know too!)
Tsui Wah Restaurant
All over Hong Kong, Kowloon, and New Territories;
Shanghai, China; Macau
We woke up to clear, blue skies and pristine, crystal waters. So what else would we do, but go swimming!
Trust me…I was very high strung when we arrived, but after going through this routine: dip into the crystal blue waters, lay on the warm sands, soaking in the sun, and repeat – one can see why you can easily get swept up in the lazy attitude. Basically, the only reason we finally decided to do something was because our stomachs were growling. So…it was off to find a late lunch!
PUKA DOGS!!! It is basically taking a Chinese bakery item, that is quite common, and give it a Hawaiian twist. A loaf of slightly sweet bread, pierced by a “puka” or a hot, iron poker, which toasts the bread from inside out. They offer both white and wheat bread and then you get the choice of a polish or veggie sausage. Next comes the hardest part: the choices of many relishes and mustard. I had gone on a store worker’s suggestion (when we asked for directions): mango relish and guava mustard, with Hot garlic lemon sauce, on my polish dog with wheat bread. CP had gone with a polish dog in white, with Mild garlic lemon sauce, and dijon mustard.
Simple and delicious. With the bread toasted inside, it gave it a nice little crunch when you bit into it. My puka dog was salty and sweet, not that spicy (as my spice level is pretty high). It was a mouthful of the tropics and not exactly what I would normally go for, but it was something I had to try and did not regret doing so! CP was equally happy with his choice.
After that snack, we returned to the waters and continued our day with the amazing weather. Eventually, we needed another snack and I needed some shaved ice!! (After all, we were in Hawaii!)
Under not only 1 visitor’s suggestion, but also a local who I work with, I avoided the “tourist trap” and headed to where the locals do:
This place was literally on the corner of a neighborhood. It isn’t a place where you would “drive by”, nor give a second thought had you driven by. However, under the guidance of fellow foodies, CP and I had ourselves some great shaved ice:
Our respective treats: my azuki with mochi shaved ice, topped with a little condense milk. And CP’s lime and pink lemonade shaved ice. I loved how finely shaved the ice was because you would just put a little in your mouth and before you can even close your mouth, the ice was melted. Next best way to cool off after dipping into the water.
Basically, after this side snack, we took a drive around the island to see the rest of the island:
After we made it back to the hotel, we clean up and by that time, it was dinner time. Where did we head to? Yet, another suggestion by the same 2 foodies:
The best way to describe this place is a Chinese cafe style restaurant with big family portion dishes. We ordered the signature Side Street Inn fried rice and the Miso-yaki chicken. The fried rice was loaded with char siu, bacon, and Portuguese sausage…aka: it was pig with some rice.
The chicken was sweet, savory, and tender. It is what you would want for a good, grilled chicken. The secret: marinating and cook with skin. Mmmm….
It was another great day in paradise!
Puka Dog (2 locations)
Island of Oahu
Waikiki Town Center
2301 Kuhio Avenue # 2
Honolulu, HI 96815
Island of Kauai
Poipu Shopping Village
2650 Kiahuna Plantation Dr.
Koloa, HI 96756
2135 Waiola St
Corner of Paani St
Honolulu, HI 96805
Side Street Inn (2 locations)
1225 Hopaka St.
614 Kapahulu Ave.