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
I think there has been enough time since we came back from New Orleans that I can look at my pictures again. A little more than a week ago, CP and I headed off to New Orleans for the Bowl game. We had our hopes high and we were excited for not only our first visit to this infamous city, but for the game. Let’s just say…it still hurts to think about the game itself.
Instead, I’ll focus on telling you about the food we had. Shall we start?
Our first stop was off of Bourbon Street. CP and I had been traveling practically all day and we hadn’t gotten lunch thus, we were famished. This dinner was a little later than we would have liked because we wanted to go to the “pep rally” for the Bowl game! Hence, we practically walked into the first decent looking place off the street.
CP and I both wanted Jambalaya and Red Beans n’ Rice. Hence, I suggested we both order each and split our dishes, welcoming us to this great city. Though the restaurant isn’t the well-known type and those that get hyped up, but it was delicious. Both dishes were flavorful and made you wanted to lick the plates clean. Also, the Red Beans n’ Rice at the Cajun Cabin was my favorite from the entire trip.
The next morning, we had a late start and went to one of Emeril Lagasse’s restaurants – Nola, for lunch!
The space was modern industrial and gorgeous, with an open kitchen and woodfire oven where they made their pizza appetizer. However, we weren’t here for the pizzas…
To start – warm herbed roll and bell pepper cornbread, served with room temperature butter. This was a great start!
CP and I both had the gumbo of the day as our appetizers. It was pretty chilly outside and this warmed us right up. The gumbo that day was andouille and smoked pork. I could use some right now!
Our entrees: Grilled Atlantic Salmon with black bean-sweet corn succotash, chimichurri butter sauce and tomatillo salsa (top), was CP’s choice. My entree was the Shrimp & Grits – grilled green onions, smoked cheddar grits, apple smoked bacon, crimini mushrooms and red chili-abita butter sauce.
The salmon was cooked wonderfully to the point where even I liked it! Cooked salmon is not my choice of fish most of the time (unless it is sashimi grade) since it tends to be a little “fish” for me. However, Nola’s was just perfect and we both loved it. The shrimps in my dish were huge and perfectly sauteed, keeping its juicy and tenderness.
You see that? You see it?! ‘Cuz I did!!! Pumpkin Bread Pudding!!!!
Mmmm…this bread pudding, though small, was packed with the flavors of the season! It was moist, spiced, warm, and melts in your mouth. The gingerbread-molasses ice cream that was paired with it, complemented it so well. Oh man…so good!
After our lunch, we walked along the river walk, did some shopping, and made our way to Mardi Gras World! We took the tour of their warehouse, looking at all the floats that had been used and will be used for Mardi Gras parades!
As part of the tour, they also serve you some King Cake!
Unfortunately, neither CP nor I got the baby so we were not royalty after all :(. Oh well, still had a delicious piece of cinnamon swirl pastry.
After the tour, CP and I just walked more around town sightseeing, before going back to the hotel to rest up for the game! Now…just looking through a few pictures, I feel immense sadness still, but I must continue!
The Mercedes-Benz Superdome is truly an amazing venue. The place was enormous and just trying to imagine the conditions of the place during Katrina…it was hard. Anyway because I had to give the food vendors a little nod because they didn’t just serve the standard stadium fare:
Food choices included Jambalaya with hush puppies (which were dry as rocks…sadly) and alligator sausage with some remoulade sauce. The best of the two?…Alligator Sausage by a LONG shot! However, to make it better – ditch the cold bun and mix with the rice…perfection.
After the game…CP needed some more food…as part of our “drown out the sorrows and frustration”. Therefore, we found ourselves in a quite little bar at the end of the hub of downtown – Coop’s Place.
Simple order of Red Beans n’ Rice with smoked sausage, plus a side order of fries. Worst plate of food from our trip. The beans were cold and tasteless. However, we were both so tired and dejected that I didn’t even bother voicing the fact it was cold. Saving grace – sausage was good and the fries were good too.
That is part one of New Orleans, part deux will be later this week! :).
503 Bourbon St.
New Orleans, LA 70195
534 St Louis St
New Orleans, LA 70130
1109 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA 70116
On Valentines Day, CP and I had originally planned on spending the whole day together but we both had too much work to get done. So we both begrudgingly went into the office that day. However, CP had planned a wonderful dinner which was a surprise until a couple weeks before when he told me. I don’t know who broke down first: me in asking and curiosity taking over, or him because he really wanted me to know. Either way, he was able to get an early dinner reservation at one of the restaurants with the arguably best view in San Diego: Bertrand at Mister A’s. The reservation was much earlier than I would normally eat dinner, 4:45pm, but it was just perfect to watch the sun set!
It was our first time at the restaurant and apparently, according to CP, he had been trying to get a reservation here for other Valentines Day which fills up quite quickly. Once we step foot into the dining room, we both knew why. The whole west and south side of the dining room had a panoramic view of downtown San Diego and the harbor. It was absolutely gorgeous. The restaurant must definitely factor in the view into their prices because you are getting superb food and the best view of the city.
For Valentines Day, Mister A’s had a separate pre-fixed menu:
Once we decided on the items for the night, we moved to the bread:
The selections for the evening were sliced sourdough and baguette. This came with room temperature butter. It was perfect for spreading onto the soft and tasty bread. I normally refrain from eating too much from the bread basket, but the fact that the nice, warm bread with soft butter melting just right…it was hard.
The amuse bouche helped me break away from the bread. It was a small, savory pancake topped with a slice of smoked salmon, creme fresh, and capers. A nice play on lox and bagel. I really enjoyed it and wished we had more, but then…I suppose that the amuse bouche did its job! 🙂
First course, my appetizer was the House Made Maryland Blue Crab Ravioli with Crawfish Tarragon Sauce And Leek Fondue. The appetizer was actually quite generous in portion. There were 5 decent size raviolis stuffed with blue crab meat and no fillers! It was straight up blue crab and the sweetness of the crab played wonderfully with the crawfish tarragon sauce. In the middle was a pile of chopped, sauteed leeks. A perfect bite had a little of everything together and it was absolutely delicious. The raviolis were cooked just enough and the shellfish as well.
CP’s appetizer of Crispy Baby Calamari And Fresh Black Tiger Shrimp drizzled with Roasted Pepper Oil. This came with a side of Basil Aioli Sauce. Ok…first off, this dish looked great! However, it goes against 1 of the 2 rules I have with eating which is that I cannot eat something that is still staring back at me. I’ve said it many times that if it wasn’t for the fact that I love animal proteins so much, that I would be a vegetarian. I don’t like to see how the animal that is on my plate was once alive. I know they were once alive, but when I want to eat them…that’s the last thing I want to think about!
Anyways…back to the dish! CP loved his appetizer. I tried the calamari and loved it too. However, I wonder why they pair it up with this aioli sauce? I think it would have been just as good without the sauce, but that doesn’t mean I did not think the sauce was not good either! I was just wonder…
For my entree, I had the Pan Seared Maine Diver Sea Scallops with Saffron Emulsion and Bell Pepper Polenta. I apologize for the bad photo…I realized it doesn’t really do much for this dish as I was cataloging my pictures. Let’s just go from the main to the supporting players: The scallops were seared and cooked perfectly so it was not tough or chewy (nothing worse than that, it gets me real angry when I get an overcooked scallop). However, the downfall to this wonderfully cooked shellfish was that it was over salted!! I was so sad that I kept hoping it was just one scallop that got over salted, but alas it was not! Also, I think the foam topping it was made from basil or parsley and it was not necessary in my opinion.
The supporting polenta on the other hand actually the unexpected surprise. It was smooth with just a little texture from the grains of cornmeal, mixed with the saffron emulsion, it was absolute, pure delight! I wanted to pick up the plate at the end to lick it right off the plate. The subtle sweetness danced like merry little lambs across my tongue! Loved, loved it!
CP went all out and order the surf and turf: Grilled Prime Angus Beef Tenderloin “Rossini” with Cabernet Sauvignon Sauce and Maine Lobster. Ok, even I had no idea what “Rossini” was and had to research this one. Turns out that it’s a style of cooking that includes foie gras, truffles, and a demi-glace sauce. This now makes perfect since as you can see, front and center: a beautifully grilled tenderloin, topped with foie gras and shaved black truffle. Talk about decadence! I’ve never tried foie gras and CP just couldn’t get himself to eat it, so I wasn’t going to let it go to waste! I knew it was rich, so I grabbed a slice of baguette and ate it with that. I was expecting myself to be torn by the taste, but found myself really liking it! So instead, I was torn on the fact that I liked it! Well…it is not like I will be getting this everyday so I just let myself enjoy the fatty, smooth, goodness.
I really did not try most of CP’s dish, so I took his word that he told me the lobster (all 1/2 pound of it) was sweet and delicious. The beef was cooked to medium just as he likes it. Oh! I did try the mashed potato stack that was with the dish. It was mashed potatoes mixed with (oh look..) more black truffles, and sitting on top of little hash brown crisps! At first I thought it was Parmesan, but to my surprise, it was potato! It was seasoned just right and I really liked the idea of how it was presented. Maybe I’ll use this one in my next dinner party ;).
Finally, as all good things must come to an end, our dessert courses were shared between CP and myself:
By far, the biggest disappointment of the whole meal. So we had the Red Velvet “Napoleon” with Cream Cheese Mousse and Sweet Cream Gelato, and the Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches. Where should I start with my sadness?…The “Napoleon” was just 2 slices of dry red velvet cakes with a not so stellar cream cheese mousse, topped with meringue. The cake was much too dry and the mousse could not save it at all. The best part of this dish? The sweet cream gelato and even then I’ve had better.
The Macaron ice cream sandwiches came in 3 flavors (left to right): chocolate, pistachio, and raspberry (with vanilla ice cream). Ok…first off, the macaron shells were way too thick and cakey to be a proper macaron. A macaron should be light, airy, and moist. Yea…these were none of the above. It was the right vehicle for the ice cream which was too icy! UGH! The dish kept failing at every turn! Even the flavors of each ice cream tasted artificial and I was just over it by then.
Thank goodness for these views to save the evening!
I had a wonderful night with CP and with views like that, I can overlook little things that brought me down during the meal. Since I had my love with me, I was literally on top of the world that evening! Thank you love XOXO
Bertrand at Mister A’s is a great restaurant, romantic feel, impeccable service, and…hm, what was it? Oh yea! BEST VIEWS EVER! I would highly recommend the restaurant for very special occasions because they will treat you right. I think this will also be a great place for lunch or brunch during the weekends! Maybe I’ll come back later this summer to try it out again (skipping desserts this time).
Bertrand at Mister A’s
(on the 12th Floor)
2550 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103
For lunch one afternoon, I met up with CP to head to Bud’s Louisiana Cafe. I had heard of this little cafe serving up a taste of New Orleans and had it on my ever expanding list of places to try out. It was actually CP’s idea to go for lunch when I could not for the life of me figure out what to eat and I couldn’t have picked a better place!
We arrived at the restaurant just a little past 11:30 am and there were plenty of tables already seated. The restaurant is a small place and tucked in the business area hidden in the forest of Kearny Mesa. I can see why this place would get filled up quite quickly at lunch and even dinner time.
After being seated by the window, CP and I dove into the menu which was small but had a good sampling of New Orleans. There was the usual suspects of Po Boys, Jambalaya, Gumbo, Red Beans and Rice, Fried Catfish and Étouffée. I did my research and read up on what other customers liked and I knew what I wanted before even setting foot in the restaurant.
People insisted on others getting the Jalapeno Cornbread muffin and from just all the great reviews, I had to order one to try. Also, considering that they were just only $0.50 a pop didn’t hurt either! The cornbread was not bad at all, but it wasn’t life changing. It was not one of those dull, dry, hard as a rock cornbread that I could use as a paper weight. The muffin was soft, not too dense, and it crumbled away in your mouth as you bit into it or pulled it piece by piece. I can see this going very well with the Seafood Bisque (that I didn’t get to try this time around), but I wouldn’t get it again on its own.
For my entree, I ordered a sample of 3 classic Cajun dishes: Red Beans and Rice, Jambalaya, and Gumbo. Bud’s offers either a cup or a bowl for their patrons and if you were like me, never had set foot into the restaurant before, I would highly recommend ordering a cup of everything to try!
Starting off the meal was the cup of Red Beans and Rice. My, my, my…I sure do enjoy my beans and rice! The dish was hearty, rich, and flavorful. Even from my picture, you can see the creamy beans was a nice and thick. The stew was cooked with ham hocks to give it a rich and salty flavor (got to love anything cooked with pig!). For the cup serving of Red Beans and Rice, you get a slice of the spicy Andouille pork sausage. I love Andouille sausage, but the beans was so well seasoned that I didn’t even miss the sausage!
Next up for me was a cup each of the Gumbo and Jambalaya! Yums…(I am actually really hungry right now staring at the pictures).
The Seafood Gumbo was jam packed again with flavor! The gumbo was spicy from the Andouille sausage and sweet from the chunks of shrimp and crawfish. The gumbo is more like a soup and is not as thick yet nevertheless hearty and hits you straight at your inner core. Maybe this is the true idea of “soul” food. When you eat something that can warm you inside and out without having someone complain about their mouth being incinerated by spices. Yet, this was actually the least favorite of the 3 for me.
Since CP ordered the Jambalaya entree (which comes with a salad starter), I’ll show and talk about his plate:
Gorgeous right? As if the other dishes were not good enough, this Jambalaya stood out for me because it was the spiciest dish out of the 3 and for everyone who really knows me, I am a fiend for spicy foods! The rice was cooked just right since you could pick up one grain at a time. However, that would take way too long to eat and I could just hold up the plate and devour it without even utensils! The Jambalaya was packed with Andouille sausage, Tasso (Cajun smoked ham), caramelized onions, celery, green peppers, and Creole seasoning. The fact it had both Andouille and Tasso, the smoky, spicy, and peppery tones were the most forefront flavors of the dish!
Bud’s Louisiana Cafe was basically an overload of your tastebuds and senses! “Flavor town” would be the best way I can describe it. Next time I’m in the area and it’s cold and I’m wondering what to eat, I think I will know the answer to my question!
Bud’s Louisiana Cafe
4320 Viewridge Ave, “A”
San Diego, CA 92123
(In the Balboa Business Center)
When I looked in my photos folder today, I realized how backlogged I am on posting. This realization hit me earlier this year when I had looked at the date of my last post, which was already over a year!! Actually, once I started analyzing my posting patterns, I saw that essentially my postings became less frequent when I started my current job. Then at some point in my sea of work, I just stopped posting all together and a year had gone by. Yet, during that year, I never stopped taking pictures where ever I went. Thus, I was (and still am) up to my EARS in backlogged pictures and I knew I had to start writing again.
Upon having this epiphany, I decided to make a resolution to start posting again and keep it up! However, given the fact that when I had this epiphany, it was almost half way through the year so I couldn’t make it my New Years resolution. What’s a gal to do? Well if you are as entrenched into the business world as I am, you make (*drum roll*) a NEW FISCAL YEAR RESOLUTION!! Problem solved. I surprised even myself :).
Here was my resolution: I will post at least ONE entry, once a week, regardless whether or not it is food related. I will not let myself waiver! And so, ladies and gents, here is this week’s post! (Since I don’t always have a great story to tell everyone with every meal I have, I decided to tell you why I have been writing more! Devious aren’t I? ;))
A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine was moving to Boston for med school and was going around, getting together at least one last time before she left. We had gone with another friend of ours to Dumpling Inn on Convoy for lunch. The small restaurant is always packed and that day was no exception. However, it is one of my favorite places to go for Chinese fair and back in the day, my mom, sister, and I used to come here at least twice a month. We so rarely come now just because of busy schedules, but we still love it!
That day, all I really wanted was Xiao long bao and since I had never tried Dumpling Inn’s before, I decided to give it a shot.
Each order comes with 10 little dumplings for $6.50 (I believe) and you can order a side of Szechuan hot sauce or spicy soup for a $1 more. I decided to get the hot sauce since I love to slather hot sauce/chili oil on everything I eat. The dumplings were fine. The wrappers were not too thick, nor too thin. I could have used a little more soup in them, but the flavors were all there and delicious.
Also, a word of advice if you have never been here before: either get here EARLY to beat the lunch/dinner crowds, or prepare to wait for a table in the teeny, tiny restaurant.
4619 Convoy St, Ste F
San Diego, CA 92111
Opera Patisserie Cafe
On another day, I met up with CP for lunch at my favorite cafe: Opera Patisserie. Don’t let the name fool you. This place does turn out great savory food and not just pastries and desserts. The cafe has weekly specials that are featured and are not on the regular menu. That day, they had the Duck confit panini and I was suddenly in the mood for duck.
The special comes with a side salad with their dijon vinaigrette and a drink for $9.50. The panini was made a really good ciabatta bread, with pesto slathered on both sides, and stuff with generous chunks of duck meat. The whole thing was held together by the melted provolone.
There are other great items on their menu, but I was sad to find they had taken down my favorite salad: the Chevre Salad with bacon. It was simple mixed greens salad with cherry tomatoes, crispy bacon bits, and a toast with a giant slab of goat cheese. Oh man…it was my favorite salad of all time and yet, they had to take it down. *Sigh* Maybe one day they’ll bring it back or I will demand of them to make it for me!
I love Opera cafe, but I do wish it was open for dinner since there are times that I want to pick up dinner from here after work. They are only open Monday through Saturday, and for breakfast and lunch only. However, given their new location here in Sorrento Valley, it makes the most business sense for them to operate the hours and days that they do. The business side of me would have done the same. The foodie in me wishes they were open more often. Oh well, I will just have to find more reasons to lunch here then!
Opera Patisserie Cafe
9254 Scranton Rd. Suite 101
San Diego, CA 92121
I have failed tremendously as a blogger. As such, I hereby consider myself an n00b once again in the food blogging world. Please be nice to me.
A year has come and gone as it always does. However, this year I do not have a big trip to look forward to. For the past 2 years, I have made a summer trip overseas to Europe on both occasions. My first trip was back in the summer of 2008. The trip was my graduation present to myself and also, my last real BIG trip before I started my career (aka being an adult).
In 2008, I made my first trip off of the North American continent since I was like 4 or 5 years old? I don’t even remember the last time I set foot off of this continent because I was so young. On top of that, I was setting out on my 25-day excursion on my OWN. Well…technically, I wasn’t completely by myself since I was joining a tour group.
For 25-days, I let the good people of Contiki decide where I should be, where I would be staying, and where I would be exploring in general. My gosh…25 days of non-stop traveling, carrying my 45 pound luggage on my own (I would get a little help occasionally) and going around foreign countries with little to no knowledge of the native tongue. However, it was one HELL of an adventure!
I don’t even know where to start to describe my very first trip to Europe. So instead, I’ll give a reader’s digest version and let the food pictures document my trip!
During my 2008 trip, I visited the following countries and cities:
- UK – London
- France – Paris, Beaujolais Wine Region, French Riviera, Nice
- Barcelona, Spain
- Italy – Verona, Venice, Pisa, Florence, Rome, Pompeii
- Greece – Corfu, Athens
These were the main cities we had visited during our trek through Europe. There were other cities that we had made stops in between our destinations, but they have since been lost on me. However, as you can see here, I had my wide range of sights, sounds, and cuisines!
Please do keep a few things in mind:
- I had just graduated and left my part-time job about 2 months before the trip and I had spent majority of my savings on the trip.
- My choices were limited at times and thus, I ate a lot of bread and anything to keep me from starving.
- Yes, I did more than just gelato (you will see a lot of it). However, when I was in Italy, it was the end of June and the heat plus humidity was KILLING me. All I wanted during the day time was gelato and ice cold water. That’s all I needed honestly.
For the record: I was well fed and never did I once go hungry for long. And I am sure there’s the question of weight gain. The honest answer is I had no idea. I stayed away from the scale after my trip and the whole summer for that matter because you know what? I was about to start my working life and I was going to have as much fun as I possibly could in those two and half months!
Let the reminiscing begin!!
Beaujolais Wine Region:
The amazing market right off of La Rambla – La Boqueria
Pisa & Florence, Italy:
Corfu & Athens, Greece:
Misc Snacks throughout the trip: