LivingSocial, I Love You (Fuze)

Earlier this week one of my friends notified me of a LivingSocial deal that was going on just for that day, which gave you $10.00 of food from selected restaurants with a promo code. For FREE. I was on that deal like white on rice, and found an opportunity to try Fuze, formerly occupied by Mr. Wasabi in Mira Mesa. The restaurant serves Korean fusion food along with more traditional noodle dishes and the like. 

San Diego Restaurant Week 1 (Davanti Enoteca)

San Diego Restaurant Week is such a great time. So many restaurants get the chance to lure in potential customers, and us hungry folk get to try different places for awesome prices. Last year, SDRW added lunch to their awesome lineup, and though I didn't have the chance to try anything out then, I did this year!

With so many affordable options, it was hard to narrow it down, but my best friend and I decided we'd go with Davanti Enoteca, because they had so many dishes to choose from. I'd been to the restaurant once before, for a quick snack (the ricotta and honeycomb vasi- it was super good), so I was even more excited to further explore the menu. 

I had some serious issues trying to choose my first course, but after noticing the dish at the table next to ours, I knew I had to get the roasted corn + walnuts + aged goat cheese + arugula + wild mushrooms. The mixture of smoky and sweet corn, the peppery quality of the arugula and tanginess of the goat cheese married so well. I only wish there were more mushrooms, but even still, l loved the dish.

It's Getting Hot In Here (Tajima)

Last week it was a gajillion degrees out, so naturally, I decided it'd be a genius idea to eat soup. Does it make more sense when I tell you I was already in the area and I got to use a coupon? Either way, I went to Tajima Noodle House for lunch because I wanted to avoid the dinner crowds that this place seems to always have. With good prices, a 10% dinner discount for students and a 10% discount for lunch, plus late night hours, I totally get why there's always a wait. 

I'm a pretty big noob when it comes to Japanese cuisine, but I wanted to get an appetizer and figured the Agedashi Tofu ($3.95) would be a safe (and healthy) bet. 

Pacifica Breeze Cafe

When I'm looking for places to eat, my first go-to is Yelp.  Seriously don't know what I'd do without the tool.. I'm one of those people who reads at least the first 5 pages to get a feel for the restaurant and to see what their "standout" dishes are. 

Yelp led me to Pacifica Breeze Cafe and once again, it didn't lead me astray. The cafe is located on the level below Pacifica Del Mar (they're both under the same ownership), and has tasty lunch fare without any crazy high prices.

I had the braised short rib grilled cheese ($9.50) and a small mixed green salad. With the sandos/burgers/wraps, you can get a choice to get a side of that or yam chips or pasta salad. 

Under the Sea (Boiling Crab)

Ever since I heard the news about Boiling Crab making its way down to San Diego, I've been waiting with baited breath. Okay, that's a lie, but I have been semi-interested to see what the big deal is (I've had friends tell me the ones up in Orange County are great and always have long lines). 

The Mira Mesa location opened up a few weeks ago, but I wanted to wait it out for a bit so they could get their newly opening kinks worked out. Their idea is strikingly similar to Crab Hut; cajun inspired seafood with an Asian flair. Think plastic bags full of steaming seafood and butcher paper covering the table to catch all the sloppy goodness. You get to choose between 4 seasonings: rajun cajun, lemon pepper, garlic butter, or the whole she-bang (all of the above), and 4 ranging levels of spiciness. I went with my family this past Monday around 5:45, with almost no wait. 


Date Night (Prepkitchen)

I had date night with the bf at Prepkitchen in Little Italy this past Friday and I totally forgot how crazy it can get to find parking on a summer Friday evening down there (well anywhere in San Diego, I guess). After looking for a solid 10 minutes, we decided to just fork over the $5 for a spot in the parking lot right next to Craft & Commerce. Well worth the money. 

Our reservation was for 6:45 and we didn't get there until almost 7, but our table was ready for us in a cozy corner by the kitchen. On a beautiful day like that (who am I kidding, most days here are beautiful), it would have been nice to sit by the open windows to people watch, but I'll just remember for the next time we go. 

We started with the stuffed braised calamari ($10.50). It was meaty and flavorful and even though it was sitting in a little pool of oil, it didn't taste the least bit greasy. The breadcrumb salsa gave it that extra crunch that made the dish really memorable. 

Where the Surf Meets the Turf (Flavor Del Mar)

I met up with some girlfriends for happy hour at Flavor Del Mar (4-7pm everyday and all day Sunday and Monday), and while we had a fun time catching up and laughing, I'm glad to report the food and drinks were also awesome. 

This restaurant is located on the top floor of the Del Mar Plaza and has some great views of the ocean (though the happy hour was limited to the bar and lounge area, so I didn't get to enjoy the sights). I was slightly worried about the parking situation, as it can get a little hairy trying to find a spot on the street (especially during summertime), but I was pleasantly surprised to find the restaurant would validate parking in the garage beneath it.  

Some places have limited happy hour menus, but Flavor Del Mar has quite the selection, for both cocktails and food. In addition to a Karl Strauss summer draft for $3, they have 6 different cocktails for a solid $6. I started off with my go to libation, a sangria. Even though there wasn't any fruit in it, minus the obligatory maraschino and orange slice off the glass, the sparkling acai sangria was still good and had just the right amount of booziness for me.

We also ordered the pickled fingerling potatoes ($6), which were SO good. We definitely went through the small pot of creme fraiche before the potatoes were gone. If you enjoy salt and vinegar chips, this is like a grown up version of the snack.

After we polished off these potatoes, we ordered some more, in the form of duck fat fries. These were just as good, and there was enough to feed 4 girls with some serious appetites. Did I mention these guys were only THREE DOLLARS? Man I love happy hours.

Picnic Table (Gingham)

Brian Malarkey, who apparently was a finalist on Top Chef (sue me, I could never get into that show), has opened many a restaurant in San Diego, because of the huge success of Searsucker. That place, by the way, kicks ass. Okay, so I've only ever been for lunch because it's so expensive, but their lunch definitely kicks ass! Does anyone else think it's a really clever idea to name your restaurants after garment materials? Love it. 

About Gingham: it's a laid-back restaurant with dishes (think bbq) that are all under $20. I'm a fan of the chef there, Ryan Studebaker, who used to work at Del Mar's Prepkitchen- will someone plleease get that place up and running again? Seriously though, back to Gingham. 

I went there with the bf for happy hour (Mon through Fri 5-6pm and Fri/Sat 10-11pm), not knowing exactly what to expect. Before we made our orders, our server gave us complimentary cornbread. They were light and a great way to start our meal!

We started off with some drinks, the bf got a beer (can't remember what one), and I got an infusion cocktail (regularly $9, happy hour $7). I got the best berry press of your life, thinking that it'd be sweet. That, unfortunately, was not the case, as I could barely taste the berry flavor. The bf said his beer was good, though!

Onto the apps.. the smoked salmon chips (reg. $10, happy hour $5) were straight up plain potato chips with a healthy amount of smoked salmon with capers and red onion. The chips were forgettable, but I really enjoyed the smoked salmon. This is a definitely a dish to share, since there was so much.

That Food Network Challenge Judge (D Bar)

D Bar has been open for a few weeks now and I wanted to give it a whirl (and hopefully get a glimpse of Keegan Gerhard, of the Food Network Challenge fame). It's in a prime location next to Snooze Eatery in Hillcrest and the decor is bright and spacious.

Like most restaurants I want to visit, I checked to see if they had a happy hour, and it appeared that they did (3-6pm on Tuesday-Saturday), so being the cheapo that I am, I went to try it out with the bf. 

What's cool about this place is how you can view the desserts being made in front of you, so its some added entertainment to your food to see the pastry chefs perform their craft. 

While we didn't get see Kegan, we did get the chance to talk with one of the pastry chefs, who was quite nice and definitely knowledgeable about all the desserts. She was quick to answer any questions we had, and it was a treat to watch her do her thing. Those pastry chefs are quite meticulous! 

Au Revoir, Foie Gras (Cavaillon)

I suck at consistently writing posts (clearly). Trying to get back into it.. 

So when I heard last year that foie gras sales were going to be banned in California in July of 2012, I made a mental note to at least try it before I lost my chance. Fast forward months and months later, a Bloomspot deal caught my eye, for $60 worth of dinner at Cavaillon for $30. I'd been to this restaurant once before and loooved it, and I knew they had foie gras on their menu, so I figured I'd go back and see what all the hoopla was about. 

The restaurant is located in an upscale residential neighborhood of Santaluz, right next to a hair salon and orthodontist's office, so if you're looking for a French restaurant with a great ambiance, this isn't really it. It's also a really tight squeeze inside, so parties of two can expect to overhear their neighbors' conversations pretty easily. If you have a small party, I suggest sitting outside for a little more room. The chefs have also changed, to mixed reviews, but since I'm not a regular, I couldn't say if it has gotten worse or better. 

Like any fancy French restaurant, they served us an amuse-bouche of some sorta cheese crostini with truffle shavings *insert Homer gurgle here* and some greens. Definitely the right way to start a meal. 

And they had some truffle infused butter to go with their complimentary bread, which was also awesome.

But let's get to the important stuff: the foie gras!