Thursday, March 20, 2014

Last week in Southern California - the food, part two

I need to wax a little less rhapsodic about the food I ate on my recent trip to CA.  I'll try to speed this up:

Thursday morning, we still weren't very hungry after the huge dinner the night before.  So, for breakfast, we just got some coffee and got into the car to go into San Diego proper.  We looked at several venues there, and one provided us with a luncheon, to give us a sample of their food.  We ate on the terrace (did I mention the weather was spectacular the entire trip?) and enjoyed a tasting plate of whipped red potatoes, roasted local vegetables, barolo-braised short rib, lamb sausage, sea bass marinated in white miso and ginger, and a truffle oil potato salad.  Later, we also had a little dessert of rocky road/chocolate malt ice cream with a shortbread cookie.  Everything was tasty, though not of the superior quality of the food the night before.  I'm not a fan of truffle oil, so the potato salad wasn't all too pleasant for my palate, but the other dishes were fine.   Not great.  Fine.

We drove to a couple more hotels, had some more snacks and drinks (from my brief visit, I conclude that Marriott serves better hummus than Hilton. Very scientific, I know. Maybe I'll put photos of all the snacks at the bottom, so you can get an idea of how much we were being wooed.).  We ended our evening in La Jolla, which is just so scenic and gorgeous, it's not right.  So beautiful, from the hotel, to the main drag, to the restaurant where we had our dinner: George's at the Cove.  We got a fantastic table on the terrace, right in the corner, with an amazing view of the sunset on the ocean.  There really aren't any words for how beautiful it was.  I'll put more photos of the view at the end.

The dinner was also as lovely as the view - for appetizers, we got the crispy calamari and the bruschetta.  Sorry, no photos.  Both were delicious.  The bruschetta was topped with butternut squash puree, fried sage, goat cheese and roasted grapes.  When you combined all of those tastes into one bite: WOW.  It was wonderful.  For my entree, I got the spaghetti with clams, roasted tomatoes and roasted garlic.  Yum yummy, from start to finish, though I was a little unhappy to have gotten a plate with an unopened clam on it.  They should've checked that a little more carefully.  But the dish was delicious.  And for dessert, I got (and shared, thankfully) the Meyer lemon cheesecake with blueberries.  Delicious.  So light and lemony, it was the perfect creamy finish to dinner.  Thumbs WAY up for George's at the Cove.  WAY up. 

Friday, we were feted with breakfast at another venue looking to gain our business.  We ate on another gorgeous terrace - the breakfast was delicious and fresh.  It seemed like it would be heavy, but it was light yet filling.  They served grilled french toast with a blueberry and tequila compote, quiche lorraine, chicken sausage and roasted potatoes.  They also served bloody marys with crab legs and shrimp (I passed - it was a little early for me).  But it was a nice breakfast to start our long day.

After driving to Newport Beach and taking a delightful boat ride around the harbor, we ate at a new Rick Bayless restaurant, Red O.  SO good, with stunning architecture throughout the building design.  I love Rick Bayless and his food.  Our table tried the guacamole sampler (sorry, no photo), which was wonderful.  My favorite was the guacamole with pomegranates.  Terrific.  For my lunch, I got the soft taco platter, which had three soft tacos, filled with grilled white shrimp and mango salsa.  Is there anything in life that can't be made better by mango salsa?  I don't think so.  The dish also came with earthy rice and beans.  Again, a delicious meal that looked like it could be heavy, but was instead just right and very satisfying. 

More snacks and more cocktails were thrown at us at other venues - we were approaching food coma and stomach overload.  We finally drove down to Hollywood for our final destination and considered skipping dinner.  Then, of course, we were feeling a tad peckish around 9pm, considering we'd been eating every fifteen minutes or so on this trip, so we went to The Counter, near our hotel.  The Counter also has a restaurant in my work neighborhood, but I've never been there before.  It was all new to me.  I liked the 'build your own sandwich' thing.  I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich, with cheese and BBQ sauce, alongside shoestring french fries.  Just exactly what I wanted.  The brioche bun was very nice, the BBQ sauce was smoky but not spicy, and the chicken was very juicy.  All around, a very nice sandwich.  Now I'll have to go try the one by my office.

Saturday brought another business breakfast, but I didn't get any photos.  I wish I had taken pictures of the doughnuts filled with ham and cheese!  Seriously!  That could be my favorite combination ever!  If they would just send me a box of them, I might force my work chums to decide on that location.  :)  The rest of the breakfast was tasty, but hello. Ham and cheese doughnuts.  There's nothing more to say.

I'll save my Saturday night dinner tale for when I post about the new musical I saw in L.A.  You can wait, right??  :)





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