Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What's the Deal? San Diego's Best Restaurant Values

I'm going to be judging a cook-off this Saturday night with Sam (the Cooking Guy) Zien at my temple, Congregation Beth Israel. I was asked if I could fill the crowd in on five of the best values in local dining in San Diego. I've got some of my own ideas, but, of course, I wanted to reach out to my friends on Twitter and Facebook and already have been getting some great suggestions. You'll find a lot of the value is at the happy hour, but not exclusively.

Here's what I've heard so far from followers and friends (sorry PR folks, no good just giving me client names; what's the deal?). Please let me know if you have any favorites!

1. Wine Vault & Bistro's Saturday five-course tasting menu for $30.
2. Surati Farsan on Black Mountain Road: Four-course meal for $12. "Killer dosas for $4. Yummy belpuri chast."
3. Sunday lunch at Sakura on Convoy. Miso salmon and all the fixings.
4. Wet Stone on 4th for wine and small plates. Happy hour specials during the week.
5. The Marble Room downtown. "A relatively new spot in the Gaslamp that has an interesting variety of entrees and appetizers at reasonable prices compared to other upscale Gaslamp hot spots. They don't advertise as "Tapas Style" but it really is so it's fun and affordable good food."
6. Spices Thai
7. Cafe Sevilla is "right-sizing their menu in terms of both portions and prices, including many tapitas at $5 or under. And, their happy hour at the tapas bar includes 16 dishes, most of which are $4 and under along with daily drink specials."
8. Tender Greens. "It's a great value. You can get a great fresh from the farm organic meal for under $15."
9. The Pearl. "On Mondays we do a three-course meal for $25 with happy hour pricing all night."

To that I add:
1. Sbicca: Half-priced wine Tuesday and Thursday. No corkage Sunday and Monday. Half-price bar food nightly between 4 and 6:30.
2. Opera Cafe & Patisserie: An unlikely location in Sorrento Valley's office park area but wonderful French food priced very reasonably. Mostly breakfast and lunch, but they're now open Fridays for dinner and are serving wine.
3. Starlite: Come for early bird food specials during happy hour or stop by for a late-night meal.
4. Avenue 5: Another happy hour pick. Great prices for terrific food in Bankers Hill.
5. Tapenade: Authentic French food is very accessible at their happy hour and with their Bar-Tapas menu. Or try their Riviera three-course lunch menu for $21.95.
6. Laurel: 7 before Seven happy hour -- seven drinks, seven eats at $7 each. Plus, Mondays at the bar: Wagyu beef burger, truffle fries and beer for $14.95. Tapas Tuesdays at the bar: Chef comes out and makes tapas from 5 to 8:30. Mad Wednesdays selected bottles of wine are half price.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Say Cheese! At Taste. Again.

One of my favorite places in town to shop and enjoy good conversation is Taste Artisan Cheese in Hillcrest. I've written about them before, but this past week I stopped by to see what owner Mary Palmer had in stock and got samples of lots of interesting, some even astoundingly good, cheeses. Here are a few I wanted to share.

Roquefort Carles. This is, surprisingly, the last handmilled Roquefort that's made and made exclusively with Rye bread. This sheep's milk cheese is the specialty of Aveyron district of south central France. Crumble it on a salad or in pasta, add it to a sauce or, of course, eat it on its own. It pairs well with Sauternes or Port or even Sherry.

Rogue River Blue. I love blues and this one is simply spectacular. It's a domestic cow's milk blue cheese made by Rogue Creamery in Salem, Ore. What adds to its unique flavor is their technique of wrapping each wheel in local grape leaves that had been macerated in Pear Brandy. Not only does this add to the sublime flavors but it helps keep the cheese moist and creamy. Then, according to Mary, the cheese is aged at least a year in limestone. I took a wedge of this home with me. It's that irristible.

Five-Year Farmers Gouda. I'm a sucker for cheeses that give that little bit of crystalized crunch. Ten-year Hook's cheddar is one. Five-year Farmers Gouda is another. It's just a happy, sweet and nutty cheese that I don't want to pair with anything. I just want to cut in and nosh on it endlessly. This is what Parmigiano-Reggiano would taste like if it had a little butterscotch in it. I've been nibbling on it with little triangles of brown sugar shortbread I baked last week. Mary says it's great with dark chocolate. Try it with a glass of Port or Sauternes, a full-bodied red wine or dark beer.

Mary also sent me home with a container of shredded cheese. It's kind of a mystery as to what's in it, although it definitely includes some of the wonderful Farmers Gouda.

I wanted to see how it would melt, so yesterday I took the last "everything" bagel one of my LA cousins brought me from the great Western Bagel company, sliced it in half and did a preliminary toast in my toaster oven.

Then I sprinkled the cheese on the bagel and put it back in the toaster oven. It did a lovely melt.

It was wonderful on the bagel, but now I know I can add it to pasta for a creamy melt. It'll be great in an omelet or scrambled eggs, incorporated in risotto, sprinkled on a salad or tostada or in a taco, or melted over polenta. And, let's face it, it's got the fabulous flavors that the packages of shredded cheese you can buy at the supermarket are sadly lacking.

Along with the cheeses, my friend Diane and I sampled some olive oils Mary and her husband George are considering stocking. You can also find a selection of chocolates, Rey Knight's salumi, baguettes from Charlie's Best Bread in Pacific Beach and an assortment of condiments that marry well with cheese. If you've got any questions for Mary about cheese, twitter her @shreddedblend. She's a kick and will enjoy chatting with you.

Taste is located at 1243 1/2 University Ave. in Hillcrest.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Breakfast Surprise at Hillcrest Farmers Market

I haven't stopped thinking about these little pancakes since I tried them a couple of Sundays ago at the Hillcrest Farmers Market.

These little half-dollar gems, coconut pancakes sold for a whole 25 cents apiece at the Saranya's Thai food stall, look as gelatinous as poached egg whites but, in fact, there's no egg in them. Instead, they're a rich, even sumptuous, sweet made of coconut milk, rice flour, white cane sugar, salt and sweet cut corn. Known in Thailand as kanom krok, the pancakes are pretty common Thai street food. They're cooked on a stove-top griddle reminiscent of a Danish Ebelskiver pan before being tossed onto a warming tray. At the Hillcrest market, they don't stay there long, not with market shoppers patiently lined up for this tantalizing breakfast dish. And, while you're there, you can pick up soups and noodles to take home.

Want to make them at home? Kasma Loha-Unchit's marvelous book, "It Rains Fishes: Legends, Traditions and the Joys of Thai Cooking," has a recipe:

Coconut-rice pancakes (Kanom krok)

3 14-oz. cans coconut milk, or 1 3/4 cups coconut cream
with 3 1/2 cups lighter coconut milk
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. sugar
2 1/2 Tbs. tapioca or arrowroot flour
3 Tbs. uncooked white rice
1/3 cup finely shredded fresh coconut, or 1/4 cup dried,
unsweetened shredded coconut
2 cups rice flour
2 tsp. sea salt
2 to 3 Tbs. peanut or corn oil

Optional filling ingredients:
1/4 cup green onions, cut in thin rounds
1/4 cup fresh corn kernels
2 Tbs. cilantro leaves

If using canned coconut milk, spoon into a small saucepan 1 3/4 cup of the creamiest part from the top of three cans of coconut milk. Heat just enough to melt and smooth out the lumps. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Allow to cool before mixing in 2 1/2 Tbs. of tapioca or arrowroot flour. Stir until smooth. Set aside.

Combine the remaining coconut milk from the cans and stir until smooth, heating if necessary to melt the coagulated parts. Allow to cool. Grind the uncooked white rice in a food mill or clean coffee grinder as finely as possible. Do the same with the shredded coconut. Combine the two with the rice flour, salt and coconut milk. Stir and mix until well blended and smooth.

Heat a well-seasoned kanom krok griddle (or substitute with an Ebelskiver pancake griddle) on the stove, in a hot oven or over a small round barbecue kettle with medium-hot charcoals. When the griddle is hot, brush the surface indentations with peanut or corn oil. Wait a few seconds before spooning the salty rice mixture into each indentation to about two-thirds full. The batter should sizzle when it hits the hot metal. (If you have a teakettle with a spout, you may find it helpful as a container from which to pour the rice batter onto the griddle.)

Immediately add a dab of the sweet coconut cream mixture over the top to fill and sprinkle the center of each cake with a little bit of one of the toppings, or leave plain. Cover with a round lid and allow to cook for a few minutes, or until the pancakes are firm and crispy brown on the bottom. Remove gently with a rounded spoon. Re-grease the griddle before making the next batch. Because rice flour tends to settle, stir the coconut mixture well before pouring onto the griddle.

Serve warm.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

San Diego Gourmet Has a Sweet Tooth

Who else would we have on for our Valentine's Day show but Michael Antonorsi, chef and owner of Chuao Chocolatier. He brought some dreamy chocolates by for us to taste and talk about, including his "Love Feast" for two and assorted ChocoPods, miniature chocolate bars in a variety of Chuao flavors that--get this--are only one Weight Watchers point.

Have a listen:

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Valentine's Day in San Diego

Next Saturday is Valentine's Day and San Diego is brimming with places to take your special person and sweet treats to surprise them with. I've compiled a list of restaurants and other places with V Day edibles. At the bottom of the list is yet another list of websites with wonderful Valentine's Day recipes.

I'll be on KPBS radio's These Days with Maureen Clancy to talk about Valentine's Day foods on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 10 a.m. In San Diego, you can listen at 89.5 fm. Otherwise, go to to listen live or podcast later.

Valentine's Day Offerings in San Diego

Acqua Al 23-course menu at $65 per person (does not include tax and gratuity). Seatings at 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Complimentary champagne toast at the 9 p.m. seating. Acqua Al 2 will be giving roses to all of the women that evening. The menu can be viewed online.

Avenue 5 Restaurant and Bar:

$65 per person. Reservations: 619-542-0394; 2760 Fifth Ave. between Nutmeg and Olive Streets.

First Course Selections:

Apple and Rutabaga Soup

crème fraîche, caramelized apple, chives

Baked Camembert Salad

candied pecans, balsamic reduction, citrus

Wild Mushroom Tortellini

grilled sweet corn, Champagne grapes, Madeira broth

Second Course Selections:

Sea Scallop

poached pear risotto, candy stripe beets, saffron essence

Black Cod

tomato gratin, wild greens, champagne beurre blanc

Third Course Selections:

Braised Short Rib

herb gnocchi, root vegetables

N.Y. Steak

whipped potatoes, blue cheese, onion rings

Dessert Selections:

Chocolate Decadence

orange berry compote

Whipped Brie with Mascarpone

port poached pear, pistachio


Valentine's Festival Menu Tuesday - Sunday, February 10 - 15, 2009, 5:00 pm - 9:30 pm; $56 per adult, tax & gratuity not included; for reservations Call: 858.433.0483; 14701 Via Bettona, Suite 200 in SantaLuz.

Amuse Bouche

Choice of Appetizer:
Ahi Tuna Tartare, Passion Fruit Gelee, Micro Rainbow Mix

Warm Goat Cheese "bûche" dusted in Pistachio, Organic Beet Salad

Diver Scallop Carpaccio, Celery and Leek Veloute, Spanish Chorizo

Award Winning Duck Foie Gras "au torchon", Black Mission Fig Mousseline, Toasted Brioche

Choice of Main Course:
Beef Tenderloin, Winter Vegetables Mousseline, Port Wine Demi-glace

(ROSSINI - add $10)

Pan Seared Barramundi Fish, White Bean and Tomato Ragout, Basil Froth
Wyoming Pheasant wrapped in Foie Gras and Savoy Cabbage, Shaved Black Truffle

Sweet Valentine Dessert


Chuao Chocolatier:

Chuao is offering a limited edition chocolate gift called the Love Feast: a chocolate flight for two. This is a truly luxurious chocolate experience created to be shared with someone special. The exotic aphrodisiac ingredients arouse your senses and unveil the ultimate chocolate seduction.

Includes six pairs of exotic bonbons and truffles:
Parchita: Fresh passion fruit* blended into a soft caramel inside a heart shaped milk chocolate* bonbon
Miel: Sweet honey* almond hazelnut praline in milk chocolate*
Modena: Strawberry* caramel with balsamic vinegar from Modena in dark chocolate*
Pucker Up: Tangy and sweet pomegranate* "pate de fruit" filled dark chocolate* bonbon
Picante: A Napa Valley cabernet* caramel spiced up with Pasilla chile* and cayenne pepper* in a dark chocolate* bonbon
Firecracker: Caramel fudge with chipotle chile* and salt, enrobed with a layer of popping candy and dark chocolate*
*aphrodisiac ingredients

Cohen Restaurants:

All menus can be viewed at on the web site.

333 PacificThe Cohn Restaurant Group’s newest restaurant, located at the Oceanside Pier

3 course surf and turf menu for $49.95 per person (does not include tax and gratuity)

Blue Point Costal Cuisine

3 course menu at $69 per person (does not include tax and gratuity)

Thee Bungalow

3 course menu with a champagne toast at $49.95 per person (does not include tax and gratuity)

Corvette Diner

Sweetheart Burger Basket for Two, chose two burgers and share the fries, a cherry coke and banana split to share

$29.99 for two (does not include tax and gratuity)

Mister Tiki

3 course dinner for $39.95 per person (does not include tax and gratuity)

Chef Deborah Scott’s Kemo Sabe

3 course menu at $44.95 per person (does not include tax and gratuity)

Chef Deborah Scott’s Indigo Grill

3 course menu at $49.95 per person (does not include tax and gratuity)

Gaslamp Strip Club

Grill Your Own Steak Package includes a Shrimp Cocktail shared appetizer, choice of entrée (grill yourself) and a side dish, and cocktail

$49.95 per person (does not include tax and gratuity)

Chef Deborah Scott’s Island Prime and C Level

3 course menu at $65 per person (does not include tax and gratuity)

The Prado

3 course menu for $69.95 per person or with wine pairings for $89.95 per person (does not include tax and gratuity)

The Cookie Chew:

New truffie pop bouquets! Available in all truffie flavors! Call to order - 619-549-8852, order online or stroll on in to Pleasant Surprises now open retail store. Available only through the 14th. 325 West Washington St. in Hillcrest

Con Pane:

The bakers at Con Pane are baking up something special for Valentine's day - Chocolate Bread Teddy Bears. These unusual Teddys are adorned with a red bow and nestled in a white box with red tissue and paw print tissue. It's unique way to ask, "Will you be my Valentine?" Chocolate Bread Teddy Bears will be available Friday and Saturday, February 13th and 14th. 1110 Rosecrans St., Ste 100 between Avenida De Portugal and Canon St. in Pt. Loma. 619- 224-4344

Crescent Heights:

$55 per person, plus 19% service fee and 7.75% sales tax. Optional wine parings $22 per person; 655 West Broadway, Suite 150; for reservations, call 619-450-6450.

Cupcakes Squared:

Cupcakes Squared, on Voltaire in Pt. Loma, will be offering their new Chocolate Raspberry and Strawberry cupcakes for both Friday and Saturday for Valentine’s Day. Their lovely rich chocolate cupcakes are baked with fresh raspberries and topped with chocolate buttercream and raspberry buttercream. Their fresh strawberry cupcakes are made with fresh strawberry and vanilla buttercream. They're decorated with hand-made sugar hearts and rose petals.

So for anyone planning to stay at home… for $5.50 you have a romantic sweet treat for two and with a red ribbon too.

Eclipse Chocolat:

Parisian Sweetheart Valentine's Chocolate Tasting Dinner: For $65 per couple, guests will enjoy four courses of French-inspired cocoa-infused fare complete with live violin serenades. Of course we have plenty of options such as an Artisan Cheese or Charcuterie Platter and a full wine menu with course pairings. Essentially, all you need do is find a sweetheart and enjoy an immersive experience.

Here's the line-up:

Cocoa-buckwheat crepe with Wild Mushroom Ragout
French Onion Soup with White Chocolate Olive-oil Crostini
Pink Peppercorn-crusted Pork Tenderloin with Cocoa, Cherry, and Shallot Jus
Baked Fromager D'affinois with Cocoa, Cherry, and Shallot Jus
Rose Petal Creme Brulee


Seatings on both Friday night (at 6:30 and 8:30 pm) and Saturday (at 4, 6, and 8 pm). You can make reservations by emailing or calling the cafe direct at 619-578-2984.

Extraordinary Desserts:

Skip the expensive dinner for two this Valentine’s Day and head straight to Extraordinary Desserts for a special Valentine’s quartet of decadent delights entitled ‘Be My Valentine’. Designed to be shared by two people, the limited-time ‘Be My Valentine’ dessert special will be available February 13, 14 and 15 at both Extraordinary Desserts locations (Little Italy and Balboa Park) and affordably priced at $25. The delectable quartet will be presented on an oversized plate for two and feature the following collection of romance inspired Extraordinary indulgences:

· L’Amour Chocolat - Raspberry crème brûlée and raspberry milk chocolate mousse layered between a raspberry chocolate cake. Each slice is “kissed” with a lip-shaped chocolate truffle and served alongside raspberry ice cream served in a mini tart shell and topped with fresh raspberries.

· Passion Brûlée - Passion fruit curd with tropical fruits and a coconut cream.

· Toasted Mini Caramel Macadamia Nut Cheesecake - Decadent caramel cheesecake and toasted macadamia nuts over a mini shortbread tart shell and topped with whipped cream. Served with vanilla and caramel sauce.

· Two Mini Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies - Double dipped in milk and dark chocolates.

Guanni Chocolates:

Gorgeous truffles, mini bars, flourless cupcakes and more made in Fallbrook from certified organic Peruvian cocoa beans. American technique inspired by Peruvian flavors, with no preservatives. To get your Valentine chocolates in time for Valentine’s Day, you can go to these regional farmers markets:


Escondido Farmer’s Market
Grand Ave
and Juniper
Summer: 3:30 to 7:00 pm.
Winter: 2:30 to 6:00 pm.


Riverside Farmer’s Market
Arlington St – Sears Parking lot, from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm.


Vista Farmer’s Market
325 South Melrose, Court House parking lot from 7:30 am to 11:00 am.

Del Mar Farmer’s Market
Between 11 and 10th St. Camino Del Mar, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

Harbor’s Edge at the Sheraton San Diego:

3-course, fixed menu for $65/person featuring foods deemed "heart healthy" by the American Heart Association. Guests can select from items such as the persimmon frisee salad, halibut sangria and buffalo tenderloin while gazing out over the peaceful San Diego Bay marina. 1380 Harbor Island Drive. To make reservations, please call (619) 291-2900.

Hotel del Coronado:

Valentine's Sunday Brunch/ Hotel Del Coronado- 2/15- 20% off adults/ kids-free .Reserv. 619-522-8490. Mention special brunch offer.

1500 OCEAN, The Del’s signature ocean view restaurant, is an intimate dining option to take your special someone. On Valentine’s Day, Chef Brian Sinnott will create magnificent “just for two” menu options utilizing fresh, regional food and wine selections from Santa Ynez to Cabo San Lucas (prices vary).

The perfect setting for romance, ENO Wine Room focuses on the three most delectable indulgences in the world — fine wines, rare cheeses and gourmet chocolates. For a special Valentine’s Day treat, join Wine Director and Sommelier Ted Glennon on February 14 from 4pm to 5:30pm for a chocolate and wine tasting, featuring phenomenal confections by Jack Fisher and Isabella Valencia.

Joe's on the Nose:

If you're roaming the Little Italy Mercato on Saturday, pick up a coffee drink at the big orange truck otherwise known as Joe's on the Nose and enjoy the cutest little heart-shaped foam these barristas can create -- along with a great cuppa (organic) Joe!


Valentine’s Day Prix Fixe menu $49pp; 616 J Street at the corner of 6th Ave. Call for reservations: 619-531-8744.

Starters (Choice of)

Organic Mixed Greens

roasted pear, blue cheese, spiced candied pecans,

cognac-honey vinaigrette

Warm Laura Chenel Goat Cheese Salad

Cara Cara oranges with grilled radicchio, pistachios, and citrus vinaigrette

Duck Confit Salad

parsnip risotto, cherry reduction, and pine nut relish

Entrées (Choice of)

Seared Local Scallops

brussels sprouts leaves, smoked bacon, pomegranate seeds, and beet carpaccio

Grilled Petite Filet of Beef

balsamic roasted portobello mushroom atop of creamy mashed potatoes with herbed butter and red wine sauce

Vegetarian Butternut Squash Raviolis

Crow’s Pass Farm butternut squash, crispy chestnuts and pomegranate brown butter

Entrées to be Shared

Slow Roasted 24oz Boneless Ribeye

Brandt Farms best cut of all-natural beef with sea salt roasted potatoes, spring onions

and Béarnaise sauce

Whole Roasted Stripped Bass

crispy bass over radish gazpacho with almond cream and kaffir lime oil

Dessert (Choice of)

Valrohna Chocolate Decadence

ultra rich chocolate cake with rose petals, raspberries and vanilla reduction

Vanilla Panna Cotta

Sweet vanilla, cardamom cream, orange gelée, and a shortbread cookie

Lael’s Restaurant:
Lael’s is in the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, One Market Place (Harbor Dr. @ Market St.) Reservations: Taken By Lael’s Restaurant 619.358.6735. Parking: Validation is offered for either complimentary self-parking for three hours or $3 for three hours valet at the Adjacent the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego.

Choice of Chef Jevic Acain’s Three- Course or Four-Course Pre-Fixe Menu. Three Course Menu: $48 per person plus tax and gratuity. Four Course Menu: $58 per person plus tax and gratuity. Full a la carte menu also available.

Duck Confit Salad
frisse, Belgian endive, Asian pear, poached quail egg
pomegranate dressing


Seared Sea Scallop and Foie Gras
celery root and apple puree
apple cider gastrique

Apple Wood Smoked Filet Mignon
Humboldt Fog goat cheese, wild mushroom creamy polenta
port wine reduction

Flourless Chocolate Cake
tangerine anglaise, white chocolate gelato
pistachio tuiles


Couples enjoy Mistral’s vibrant Mediterranean menu highlighting organic fruits and vegetables from nearby farming communities, locally-caught seafood from the Baja coastal waters and a variety of herbs from the resort’s own organic garden. On Valentine’s Day, Executive Chef Timothy A. Ralphs will offer a special four-course menu for $75 a person, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are available from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and can be made by calling 619-424-4000 ext. 6300. Mistral is located in Loew’s Coronado Bay Resort. 4000 Coronado Bay Road.

Choice of:

Roasted Parsnip Soup with Amontillado Sherry Drizzle

Baby Greens
Bosc Pears, Candied Walnuts, Roquefort Cheese
Walnut Vinaigrette

Bacon & Brie, Baby Arugula, Warm Tomato Vinaigrette

Diver Scallop
Wilted Sorrel, Lemon Oil
Caviar Sauce

Wild Mushroom Ravioli
Black Truffle Cream Sauce

Brandt Beef Tenderloin
Celery Root “Latke, Roasted Vegetables
Zinfandel Glace

Arctic Char
Braised Baby Fennel, Tomato Confit, Calamari
Lobster Sauce

Roasted Red Beets, Goat Cheese, Tarragon
Micro Greens

Raspberry Souffle
White Chocolate Crème Anglaise

Devil’s Food Cake “Bread” Pudding
Candied Mango, Strawberry Sauce
Serves a “Perfect Pair”

Tarte Tatin
Carmelized Apples, Cinnamon Gelato
Serves a “Perfect Pair”

Manchego Cheesecake
Blackberries, Port Syrup, Graham Cracker Ice Cream

Opera Café & Patisserie:

Valentines Prix Fixe Menu: Feb. 14 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Two-course dinner: $19.95, Three-course dinner: $24.95. Reservations required, cash only. 858-458-9050.

Lobster Bisque with Croutons
Warm Asparagus Salad with Poached Egg and Hollandaise Sauce
"Tarte Fine" of Salmon Gravlax with Cream Cheese and Spring Mix Lettuce

Main Courses
Petra Sole "Duglere" with Shallot and Tomato White Wine Sauce
Salmon cooked "Sous-Vide" with Saffron Sauce
"Coq au Vin" slowly cooked with "Lardons", Mushrooms and Red Wine Sauce

"Steak au Poivre", with Black Peppercorn and Cognac Sauce
The Main Courses are served with "Pommes Croquettes" & Arugula Salad

"The Sweet Heart"
Heart Shaped Raspberry Mousse on a Chocolate Moelleux Biscuit

Plus, Opera Café & Patisserie is selling mini truffle bags filled with one dozen hand-made dark chocolate or hazelnut praline truffles ($6), a chocolate mousse heart cake for two ($11.95) and a truffle ballotin—gold boxes filled with dark chocolate and/or hazelnut praline truffles ($30/1 pound, $18/half pound). Pre-order gift by Thursday, Feb. 12.


Five-course dinner with choice of appetizer, entrée and dessert for $75. 1125 Rosecrans in the Village of Point Loma, 619-450-6800 for reservations.



fennel confit, chive crème fraiche & caviar



Smoked rhubarb jam & hazelnut macaroon crumble


Half dozen with champagne mignonette


5 pea ragout, red pearl onion & apricot-sauternes glaze


Ruby grapefruit, avocado relish & mint pistou



Smoked paprika-honey glazed marcona almonds, port soaked figs & cabrales



Toulouse sausage & swiss chard farce, chestnut puree & madeira reduction


Olive oil-basil crushed sweet potato, butter poached maine lobster & saffron nage


celery root-fennel puree, herb salad & passion fruit compote


Maitake mushroom, roasted butternut squash & tarragon



Frozen bittersweet chocolate soufflé, rosewater white chocolate truffle,

honey lace & rosewater mousseline


Fresh strawberry tart with crème fraiche filling

champagne sorbet & champagne macerated strawberries


Con pane walnut bread & accoutrements

Sally’s Seafood on the Water
Choice of Chef Sarah Linkenheil’s Three Course or Four Course Pre-Fix Menu Saturday, February 14, 2009 5:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Three Course Menu: $48 per person plus tax and gratuity Four Course Menu: $58 per person plus tax and gratuity $20 optional wine paring Full A la carte menu also available. Reservations: Taken by Sally’s Restaurant at 619.358.6740. Parking validation for either complimentary self-parking for 3 hours or $3 for three hours valet at the adjacent Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego. Market St. at San Diego Bay.

Pre-fix menu

Appetizers: mini crab cake and chef kaz’ sushi special or broccoli and kaffir lime soup

Entrée: seared Hawaiian snapper - sweet corn cream, English pea greens, grapefruit, chili oil

Dessert: apricot yoghurt mousse / sesame tuile


At Sbicca couples cuddle up by the cozy fire or relax on the ocean view terrace while they indulge in Chef Susan Sbicca’s special menu (attached) for Valentine’s Day, including a slice of seduction with the Chocolate Cherry Tango Cake with Coconut Crème. This divine dessert is to be shared by two; a decadent cake that is as provocative as pastry gets with its warm molten center, black cherries, coconut cream and caramel sauce all melted together. Couples will also enjoy extraordinary wines, fine spirits and great food in the romantic seaside village setting. 215 15th St Del Mar; 858-481-1001

Sea Rocket Bistro:

On Saturday, February 14th, Sea Rocket Bistro will be offering reserved seatings for a special 4-Course Valentine's Day Prix Fixe to help you celebrate this romantic occasion. This is the menu we plan to offer, which is comprised almost entirely of new dishes not on our everyday menu, created by chef Christy. The menu will cost $45 per person and includes a complimentary glass of our house champagne but excludes tax, gratuity and other beverages. 3382 30th Street. Although they usually have a no-reservation policy, they will be taking reservations for this special night. 619-255-7049 or e-mail

Creamy Fennel & Spinach Soup
Pickled Local Farm Vegetable Salad
Chilled Citrus-Marinated Baja Diver Scallop Salad (like a ceviche)
Chicken Pate served with caper berries, citrus rhubarb chutney and Cardamom Cafe ciabatta bread
Seared Local Fish with sauteed Sage Mountain greens and Temecula avocado honey glazed carrots
Da - Le Ranch Pork Roast, slow roasted, with BBQ piniquito beans, brown rice, and kumquat glaze
Portobello Mushroom Focaccia- a house made flat bread with portobellos, caramelized onions, and goat cheese
Chocolate Truffle Cake
Sweet Tangerine Soup


Accepting reservations for Valentine's Day. Please email: to make a reservation for dinner. For the single people out there...we'll be offering our tasty pulled pork sliders for $2 each at the bar only. Come treat yourself to a tasty snack and who knows who'll you'll meet at the bar, right? Or just come with some friends to have a drink. 3175 India St.


Special gift available only on Friday, enjoy a complimentary Kir Royal. $ 75.00 per person. 7612 Fay Ave., La Jolla. For reservations call 858-551-7500 Ext 1
or log on:

For Madame and Monsieur:

For Madame:
Maine Lobster Salad with Mangoes, Lime
and Olive Oil Dressing

For Monsieur:
Ahi Tuna "Tartar" Dressed with Sevruga Caviar

For Madame and Monsieur:
Wild Stripped Bass, Organic Baby Spinach, Vermouth Sauce

For Madame:
Veal Tenderloin Medallions, Valencia Orange Peel and Basil Sauce

For Monsieur:
Braised Short Ribs, Perigord Black Truffle Sauce

For Madame and Monsieur:
Valentine Dessert "Des Amoureux"


Urban Solace:

Planning special Valentine’s Day menu inspired by aphrodisiac foods proven to arouse the lust in us! (oysters, asparagus, figs, anise seeds, avocado and honey!); 3823 30th Street; 619-295-6464.


Warm Cheese Biscuits with Orange-Honey Butter

Pacific Oysters on the Half Shell, Lavender Lemon Mignonette

Pork Belly “Napolean”, Shredded Braised Pork Belly Stacked with Toasted Sesame Seeds, Grated Apple and Pickled Onion on House Made Cormeal Crisps

Mustard Crusted Veal Sweetbreads, Sherry Sauce, Fennel, Beet and Hazelnut Salad

Sonoma Goat Cheese/Butternut Squash Dip, Cornmeal Crackers, Pine Nuts and Crispy Baguette

Sassafras Marinated Skillet Shrimp and Chili Infused White Corn Grit Cakes


Crisp Belgian Endive Stuffed with Smoked Jidori Chicken, Cow and Goat Cream Cheese, Spicy Pecans, Minced Beet and Blood Oranges

Classic Caesar Salad

Warm Spinach Salad, Bacon-Sherry Vin, Boiled Egg, Grilled Red Onion, Sonoma Goat Cheese


Prime Tenderloin of Beef with Roasted Bone Marrow, Cabernet Reduction, Parsnip Puree, Asparagus Salad

Fig and Pine Nut Stuffed Porkloin, Sweet Potato Mash, Braised Rainbow Chard

Herb Rubbed Rack of Lamb with Pomegranate Demi, Cauliflower Gratin, Braised Fennel

Pulled Chicken and Smoked Tomato Mac n’ Cheese

Cormeal Crusted Arctic Char, Roasted Sweet Potato, Apple/Fennel/Arugula Salad

“Not Your Momma’s Meatloaf” with Figs, Pine Nuts, Feta, Fig Jus, Sweet Potato Mash

Quinoa Terrine with Grilled Sheeps Cheese, Cumin Scented Baby Root Veggies, Tangerine Gastrique


Ginger Crème Caramel, Dark Cherry Reduction

Warm and Gooey Chocolate Cake, Basil-Mint Syrup, Cocoa Crème Fraiche

Artisan Cheese Plate: Three Cheeses with Spiced Honey, Apples, Candied Pecans

Recipe suggestions and resources:

Culinate’s Chocolate Midnight Fondue

My Recipes’ 10 Sweet Treats That Say, I Love You

Epicurious’ Foods of Love

Kalyn’s Kitchen’s Flourless and (almost) Sugar Free Cookies with Peanut Butter and Chocolate

Simply Recipes' Chocolate Truffles

Panini Happy's Valentine's Monte Cristo Panini
Recipe Girl's Chocolate-Dipped Brownies

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