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!