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Archive for the ‘restaurants’ Category

I got some lovely presents for Christmas this year – the aforementioned cookbook, a beautiful necklace from my aunt and uncle, the movie Bubble Boy (I haven’t seen it yet, and my aunt thought that was unacceptable) – the list goes on. Chris gifted me with a lovely evening out – a cooking class at the new Cafe One Three in Hillcrest. It’s located in the former Indulgence Bakery space on Park Avenue, right next to Henry’s (where we stopped beforehand for a gummi worm fix – ha!). It’s a lovely little neighborhood place, and its layout with a large open kitchen lends itself to this kind of event. I had brought my camera, but due to the small group, I felt a little strange about taking pictures. I should have, because they’ve found a way to recreate that thing that makes us gather in the kitchen during a dinner party. We arrived to a beautifully set bar that overlooks the prep area. There’s something about nibbling and sipping while anticipating the dish that’s coming next, and this class was exactly that.  We were greeted with olive tapenade, pepper-rolled goat cheese, and a glass of well-matched wine.
The class, titled “Try It Healthy: Resolution Support”, was taught by Deborah Shubert. She’s a feisty broad, in the best sense of the term. She got right to it, and started preparing our first dish, a Chopped Vegetable Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette. From that lovely opener, we moved on to Grilled Lemon-Dijon Chicken Paillards and Indian Spiced Tomatoes and Greens, each accompanied by a carefully selected glass of wine and the most lovely garlic-studded crusty bread.
The staff (Deborah was flanked by the cafe’s manager and sous-chef) was lovely and very attentive – you can sense that they all are passionate about food, and just couldn’t help but participate and offer suggestions. It was fun to see them admiring one another’s skills – no trace of competition, just an honest shared passion.
We finished the meal with an interesting dessert, Roasted Grapes and Cherries topped with Greek-style Yogurt and Toasted Pistachios – I wouldn’t have picked this one off a menu, but after such a decadent evening, it hit the spot in such an interesting way. Speaking of decadence, I don’t know that this health-themed class was the best use of their talents as, like most chefs, they couldn’t help but throwing in a spoonful of butter here and there, or offering another swig of walnut oil to top your dessert. We didn’t mind – Chris chose the class purely because it was the first one offered this year, so we weren’t as interested in healthy options as we were in having a lovely evening out. Cafe One Three delivered.
Anyway, after all this blabbering – highly recommended, y’all. Great idea for a girl’s night out, a gift for a food-loving friend, or for a romantic evening. Everyone loves the kitchen.

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Fancypants Sunday

If you happen to be in San Diego this winter and you have a lady to impress, may I offer the following:

marineroom.jpg

Chris surprised me with this amazing meal last week at the Marine Room in La Jolla – you may have seen the restaurant when snorkeling at La Jolla Cove, because it’s literally sitting in the water. Every high tide this winter, they’re hosting a special weekend brunch.  The high tide provides the most beautiful perspective, as long as you can get past the fact that the place has been hit by waves that have busted through the windows (check out the pictures in the lobby).  The brunch itself was decadent without being obscene, delicious, romantic and beautiful. I felt like a fancypants queen every time the super attentive waiters came by to clear a plate or to top off my coffee and oj. We started with the seafood bar – fresh crab legs and shrimp, caviar and lox. Yum central. Moving on to the entrees (pictured here), I found my personal favorite in the Grand Marnier-flavored French Toast. Dessert was next, and we each enjoyed a bite of everything. Yeah, man. Dessert before 10am? Now we’re talking. Pace yourself – brunch is served until 10, so take your time and enjoy the view.

You’ve still got two more chances: December 22nd-23rd (for a pre-Christmas stomach-stretching exercise) or January 20th-21st (for those of you who are gearing up for a New Year’s resolution to eat more caviar. By the way, I salute you). Need more convincing? Here’s the full menu. Yowza.

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