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
While traveling for work the last two weeks in Park Ridge, New Jersey, wasn’t exactly the most thrilling and exciting trip ever, it wasn’t the worst. There were some real gems in the surrounding area (especially Ridgewood) and here were my best of Northern New Jersey!
Best List / Must Eats
Fire & Oak – come Monday night and you can get $1 oysters and I’m talking about BIG, good oysters. However, skip the sushi and the seafood entrees. The sushi was terrible and the entrees were so bland that my coworker were passing the salt between us throughout the meal. So after you down as many oysters as you can, order yourself a slab of their chocolate peanut butter pie. It comes ala mode (but you can’t see it due to the mountain of whipped cream) and it is ridiculous how rich this dessert was. I had to pull myself away because it was just that good, yet I knew I shouldn’t polish it off on my own.
Sushi Village – Do NOT be alarmed by the fact this restaurant is in a strip mall, nor it’s exterior outlooks. Once inside, you’ll be completely transported to a modern, fresh feeling restaurant. The reason this place made it on my list is not because it was the best sushi I’ve ever had. The sushi was good (far, far better than Fire & Oak’s), but there were two things that got me:
- All you can eat sushi dinner for $19.99! It is a freaking deal no matter how you swing it.
- The “Spicy Seaweed Salad” – this concoction is pure genius! Take the usual seaweed salad, but add spicy krab and mix it in with some tempura crunchies…it becomes a mouth of happiness. So simple, yet so addicting and delicious.
Brooklyn’s Pizzeria – straight up good, wood burning oven, pizza in the area. I personally enjoyed our pie and I know how strongly people feel about pizza in that state and it’s neighboring one too. However, I found it to be delicious and I had to stop myself from devouring the whole thing. (Note: it’s cash only business)
Bricklane Curry House – my gawd…this place was the place that gave me one of those food-awe-haze moments. The Butter Masala was incredible to the point where I would say it comes close to my fave at Punjabi Tandoor’s Makhani. And their paneer pakora (which my friend has coined as “pan-pak”) was amazing too. I don’t know if I like Village Indian’s pan-pak or Bricklane’s more! AHHHHHH THE DILEMMA! (Oh! Don’t forget to order yourself a mango lassi – thick, creamy, and packed with mango goodness!)
Organic Tofu House – when I think of middle of nowhere cities in the woods…I don’t automatically think amazing Korean tofu stew. Who would?? However, this Korean tofu house was a real diamond in the rough. It’s in a strip mall and on the other side of the main street through Ridgewood. Complete unassuming and yet, for those who venture in, they are met with a quaint little restaurant that whips out a pot of bubbling, scathing hot, organic tofu stew! Man oh man…my coworker and I dove into our bubbly pots with little care for our tongues because we wanted the stew!!
Fire & Oak
2 locations in New Jersey
Westwood, NJ 07642
15 Oak St
Ridgewood, NJ 07450
Bricklane Curry House
Multiple Locations – NJ and NY
Organic Tofu House
88 Godwin Ave
Ridgewood, NJ 07450
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
Restaurant Week has all of San Diego out and dining about the city. CP and I was part of the Sunday evening crowd, for the first day of Restaurant Week. Although we both have been to this establishment, I wanted to return because I thought that our first visit was not the best representation of what the restaurant could offer. Therefore, our first restaurant was a return trip to The Red Door in Mission Hills.
So CP did not go with the pre-fixe menu, but still had a starter. His choice – the Crab Cake, with fresh lump crab and no fillers. It is paired with roasted red bell peppers, kalamata olives and sun dried tomato with sweet basil dressing. Now the order actually comes with TWO crab cakes, and as you can see that was not the case. However, they quickly realized their mistake and added the additional cake (with all the fixings) immediately. They also took off this order on the receipt because of the mistake, which I found to be a nice touch of customer service. Kudos!
My first choice in my three course meal was the Shrimp Creole, which I had the first time I came here and fell head over heals for it. The dish was presented in a skillet rather than a composed plate, but still as delicious as I recalled. I couldn’t get enough of the sauce again!!
CP’s entree of choice: the Red Door Burger – char grilled ½ lb meyer natural ground beef, buttermilk bun, American cheese (but CP didn’t want it), caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, and house burger sauce (aka thousand island). The shoestring fries were crispy, just the way I like it.
My entree, my second choice, was the Lamb Meatballs – ground Colorado lamb with roasted garlic, feta, pine nuts, home made gnocchi, tomato, spring raab, and chimichurri sauce. Um…how could I describe my thoughts? Let’s see…THIS is one of the MANY reasons why I am finding my personal desire to give up lamb to be SO hard! It was great dish as a whole, but one area of improvement – the meatballs could be a little more tender. After that, you have achieved perfection my SD friend.
Last time, I tried their fruit cobbler (which is one of two choices on the RW menu) and it was not that good. So I tried something different this time!
For my finale, I chose their signature dessert: the Banana Cream Pie with graham cracker-walnut crust, and chocolate & caramel sauces. I think this could be a good dessert if: 1. tone down the whip cream a little, and 2. increase the pastry cream filling.
I still love the restaurant and this time around, the service was much better. It’s a perfect time for you to try The Red Door during Restaurant Week to sample some of their signature items. The menu will be available through the end of the week on Friday (1/20). Bon Appetit!
The Red Door
741 W. Washington St
San Diego, CA 92103
Now that I have time again in my life, I find that I am slacking off on things! I have to exert extra effort to do things and that kind of enthusiasm quickly declines after one day. Allie of Hyperbole and a Half did a wonderful illustration that pretty much depicts this…in comic form actually!
Over the weekend, I attempted to organize my memory card’s ridiculous crap-load of pictures and realized, “Sh*t! How did I let it get this bad?? I haven’t even uploaded minuscule percentage of it for my friends!” Because some of the pictures actually have people in them! And it’s not just food! They know that it takes me forever to upload pictures for them, but because they love me (I hope), they allow for me to continue on with my ways. However, this weekend was to make up for it! For almost a year’s worth of photos, I planned on organizing, backing up, and uploading them for all to see!
…………….yea that didn’t happen. *sigh*
AND to add salt to the wound – I am falling behind on my weekly posts! *double sigh*
Well I did promise myself and you, that I would tell the rest of my New Orleans Adventure! Here goes!
NOLA – Part Deux!
So as you can see…my first official NOLA beignets were NOT from the famous Cafe Du Monde. I was tired, and still reeling from the whole event of the previous night (see Part 1), so I was in NO mood to stand in line for a beignet. Hence, this little cafe on Bourbon Street was our savior – Cafe Beignet.
Now, I had enough sense in me to know NOT to eat only sweets (and nothing else) as a meal. That is why you see an order of jambalaya and a shrimp po-boy. They were mostly to coat CP’s and my stomachs before the main attraction…
The FRESH beignets! Oh man…even though our actual food was sitting there, I dug into one of these puppies immediately. And honestly, it was good…yet at the end of the day – they are powdered doughnuts. Don’t get me wrong! I have nothing against it! Or hate it!!! I loved every bite of it, that I came back with CP the following day for another round. However, for me…it wasn’t something that made me go: this is genius! It’s simple, done well, tastes good…there’s nothing wrong with that at all.
That evening was done in high style and tradition. CP had made dinner plans for our last evening in NOLA. He wanted to keep it as a surprise from me (which is a hard thing to do!) and I must say, he did extraordinarily!
Just all around amazing restaurant. Sitting in the main dining room on the first floor, you can feel the history. That place has seen it’s fair share of faces, lived through disasters, survived through wars, and still manages to show up every night with its bells and whistles on. I loved Commander’s Palace and I would come back again. Although it isn’t cheap, it’s worth every penny for the experience and great food.
So going from the blazer type restaurant, to the down to the basics simple but still delicious, the following day…
This was our last official meal of New Orleans and we wanted something simple, but still good. The Gumbo Shop delivered us just that:
Simple, delicious, and warmed our stomachs to a state of blissful contentment. What more do you need?
So that wraps it up for CP’s and my first trip to the Big Easy. There were extreme highs and extreme lows in this trip, and not for the reasons most people associate this town with. Our time there was short lived, but the memories of the sounds, smells, and sights are forever with us. New Orleans…you are one H*LL of a city! As they say, “Laissez les bons temps rouler!
630 Saint Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116″