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Help! Last minute private event--10 people, Wed 6/4

Rappongi?

May 29, 2014
CampySD in San Diego

Which tasting rooms in Temecula have the best Red Wine?

Hart had a Barbera last year that was delicious. However, they have a pretty small tasting room and, unless you're there in the middle of the week, it could get pretty tight with a group of 15...
I don't think I've been to either Gershon or Foot Path.
You might also look in the Ramona area, as they have some up and coming wineries that may turn out to be gems. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to visit out there yet so I can't make any suggestions.

May 15, 2014
CampySD in California

Juniper and Ivy / First visit impressions

Thanks to a visit from the inlaws, we got to celebrate my birthday (a couple of weeks early) as a night out at Juniper and Ivy, on Monday.
Though we had an early reservation, partly due to availability on Open Table and our own personal scheduling, it worked out as the din was almost unbearable by 8pm when we left. I'm not adverse to noise, but the layout really doesn't lend itself to any escape from the crowd. Therefore, conversation, for a two-top, was almost impossible by the time we left.
Almost everything was noteworthy. I didn't really find any of the dishes too small, as some others have remarked (not necessarily here) and the price-point was in line with expectations.
We started with cocktails. My wife's "Ivy" was very pretty, a little sweet, but very good. I went with the "Pena"cillin. Though the description sounded good, it was a little too much orange juice-y for a scotch based cocktail.
We selected several starters and a couple of "mains" (one entree and one pasta).
- Chicken Oysters: tasty, but basically high-end chicken nuggets
- Beef Tongue Pastrami: probably one of our favorites of the night. Beefy and melt-in-your-mouth. The Russian dressing was a little too much, but easily avoidable.
- Corvina Cioppino: nice, playful and well executed. Very tasty!
- Meatball: a meatball. Good, but I thought it was a little salty
- Rabbit Terrine: good, but nothing that blew us away. Again, well executed.
- Abolagna: Really liked this. That they took the time to mimic mortadella to the point of including pistachios was pretty standout to me. (forgot to take a picture)
We had a very nice, and well priced, Zin from Von Strasser with the end of the appetizers, leading into the entrees. I've been to this winery a few times now and was very surprised at the price point ($40, one of the cheaper bottles on the list).
Squid Ink Rigatoni: The "fishy-ness" of the pasta matched very well with the lamb ragu, but I thought this was a little too salty as well,
Swordfish: Simple, pan-fried swordfish with olives, capers and spinach. Second favorite to the beef tongue.
We talked to our server a little about our good luck with free babysitters and were rewarded with a complimentary dessert of the Pine Needle Meringue (complete with candle for my early birthday and eaten too quickly to remember the picture). Though a little daunting in appearance, the dessert was very light and refreshing! At this point, we were really stuffed, having already put half of the pasta in a to-go box. However, I had read a lot of positive reviews about the Yodel and, since my wife is a chocolate freak, we added on an extra dessert. This held up to what I read in others opinions and, even though a little excessive, we made it through.
Our bill came with little sugar cookies for a finale.
I found the service very good at the start, but waned as the dining room filled and filled. The pacing was a little brisk, but we ordered in "waves" to take control and had no complaints from our server. I'd definitely go back, but would take advantage of the the small outside patio to avoid the noise and action inside.

Apr 16, 2014
CampySD in San Diego

JV's Mexican Food

Just ate there last night. JVs is one of my go-to's when visitors are here. Thanks to KirkK's blog, it was my first meal upon arriving in SD, nine years ago - that first burrito was bigger than my wife's head!
Since then, we have discovered a long list of items that you just don't find anywhere else. However, the burritos don't top my list.
Top picks: Sonora quesadilla, mole bowl, potato tacos (awesome), rolled fish tacos (have never seen anywhere else in SD). I also almost always get the roast pork burrito (in green tomatillo sauce) or the Al pastor burrito (not "authentic", but tasty for sure). We also always get the chicken tortilla soup - tastes like it was made by " mom".

Apr 11, 2014
CampySD in San Diego

List some of your fave lunch spots. .

Green Acres (Torrey Pines or Campus Pointe, both are good)
Board and Brew
Pacifica Breeze Cafe
Prep Kitchen (Del Mar)

Apr 11, 2014
CampySD in San Diego

San Diego New Places Opening Thread Numero Tres.

That sounds awesome! Last time I was there, it was little more than a couple of chairs and a pretty weak drink list.

Apr 09, 2014
CampySD in San Diego

Need Good recs for college students

Beach Chick knows her stuff! One addition, if you are beer aficionados, Coranado Brewing Company has a new tasting room, just across the freeway. Might be bike-able, maybe walk-able (2miles - Google says 30min on foot, 9min by bike!).

Apr 02, 2014
CampySD in San Diego

Great coffee in SD..?

Also recommend. Totally forgot about this place, but it got me through the birth of my son. So, kudos are warranted!

Mar 30, 2014
CampySD in San Diego

Great coffee in SD..?

Though I love Bird Rock's roasted coffee, for home brewing, I find their shots lacking. Something, I just can't put my finger on, is off... Zumbar, on the other hand, is just spot on. Time and time again.

Mar 30, 2014
CampySD in San Diego

Bachelorette dinner with vegetarian options near ocean beach

I'm surprised that no one mentioned 3rd Corner... The menu isn't packed with veggie options. However, most items seem like they could be vegetarian-ized.
I'd also second Bo Beau. Sessions Public is nice, but I find it a little stale on atmosphere - btw, they do have a full bar (not just wine and beer).
OB is hard place to find anything "upscale". It's best at being just what it is - a sunny place for shady people!

Mar 02, 2014
CampySD in San Diego

San Diego Hamantaschen?

Can't speak for the taste or quality, but the Morena Costco had them yesterday (not in the bakery, on an end-cap in the main aisle).

Feb 28, 2014
CampySD in San Diego

Sunday Morning Sports Bar for Gold Medal Hockey

Game starts at 9am. I've been looking around online and everything close (PB/Point Loma) doesn't seem to open until 11am...
PB/La Jolla area would be ideal, but don't mind traveling a little further. Chow-worthy would be great, but I'm there for the game above anything else!
Thanks.

Feb 22, 2014
CampySD in San Diego

Can you buy SD microbrews in the supermarket?

From a beer lover (and homebrewer) who lives in PB:
Believe it or not, VONS actually has a good selection of local beers at a decent price. Second choice (price + selection) would be Sprouts. Trader Joe's has a limited selection, but very good prices. Albertson's is ok... and Ralph's finishes in last place. Again, this is only for PB locations - for example, the Sports Arena VONS (only 2mi south) has a really crappy local brew selection).
Costco also has the best prices on local beers (in volume, obviously - though they now have a couple of 22oz in rotation). Little tip - CA law prohibits member only sales of alcohol, so you can buy alcohol without a membership at Costco!
For a bottle shop, imho, the best PB has to offer is PB Express (Ingraham at La Cima). Some of the less appreciated beers go past their lifetime, but, if you stick with the local brews, there's a good turnover and some gems you won't find elsewhere in PB (Russian River's Pliny, Firestone Limited Releases, etc).
If you do venture north to the La Jolla BevMo, ask for Alex, he won't steer you wrong - tell him some Canadian guy sent you!

Jan 29, 2014
CampySD in San Diego
1

Super Bowl Take Out Thoughts

Waters (Bay Park Location) is open 11am-3pm on Sundays. Is also, relatively, easy to get to from PB.

Jan 28, 2014
CampySD in San Diego

One Beer dinner

Just an extra 2c - will you have a designated driver? If not, count on a $20-$30 cab ride (each way), assuming you are by the ocean, and not the freeway. Or, you can lazily saunter down the boardwalk, pre- and post-dinner/drinks, all the while spending your gas/cab money on more beer!

Jan 27, 2014
CampySD in San Diego

One Beer dinner

Seconded. For everything above. Also the service at the Tap Room is always atrocious. Puts Cali Kebab at the top of the list from my point of view.

Jan 27, 2014
CampySD in San Diego

Old Timer Coming Back...

Skip the Catamaran tomorrow morning and hit up La Playa for a breakfast burrito or, better yet, huevos divorciados.

Jan 24, 2014
CampySD in San Diego

Sweetbreads?

Not to sway you, but Piatti's sweetbreads serving is really generous. I can't remember if it was an app, but we've brought home leftovers on more than one occasion.

Jan 24, 2014
CampySD in San Diego

San Diego New Places Opening Thread, Part Deux

Maybe you just need one of these guys to steer you in the right direction:
http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/bartend...

Jan 24, 2014
CampySD in San Diego

Old Timer Coming Back...

Just to add to your comment. Cali Kebab has many local microbrews, as well as non-locals and imports - one of the many reasons to like it.
The onsite microbrewery is Amplified Aleworks (http://www.amplifiedales.com/). They normally have 2 of their own brews in the rotation of the other beers on tap. Their own beers are pretty solid, too!

Jan 10, 2014
CampySD in San Diego

Work Luncheon Suggestions

I like Isabel's Cantina and, if they can handle your group size, it's right in your price point. Nice ambiance as well.
You could also consider Cafe Athena...

Dec 09, 2013
CampySD in San Diego

new restaurant to take our hosts?

It may not be sufficiently "upscale" to pay back a week of hospitality, but I would recommend California Kebab in Pacific Beach. Particularly during the daytime, the space is open and fun, kids are welcome, the beer selection is great, and the view off the patio is fantastic. This is likely more appropriate for lunch or an early dinner (catch the sunset!).
I have yet to try anything I haven't enjoyed, but it is by no means fine dining. There is validated underground parking (for 2h, I think), which makes it easy to find a space in an otherwise hard-to-park area.

Dec 05, 2013
CampySD in San Diego

Downtown St Pete's with a group

Thanks! I had added Cassis to my shortlist (based on just searching the map and looking at menus), but will add Bella Brava.

We're from all over the States, but mostly California and Georgia. Some people had their hearts set on Cuban, but, that particular cuisine seems limited to mainly sandwich shops in St Pete's.

Nov 15, 2013
CampySD in Florida

Downtown St Pete's with a group

In St Petersburg for a conference, at the Vinoy, this coming week. One of the bosses wants to spring for dinner on Monday night (Nov18). Everyone is healthy and able to walk several blocks to avoid the crowd that the conference will bring, but we'll definitely be car-less. Should be about 10 total, so we could take a few cabs, but walking distance would be preferable.

I fly into Tampa quite a bit, but always head immediately to Sarasota, to visit my mom.

Help!?

Nov 13, 2013
CampySD in Florida

Montrealers in SD - the best of what we don't have

I don't use the bus, if at all possible - been there, done that. However, Google says it's an easy trip from the Green Line to the Old Town Trolley Center and then the 44 bus (1h trip)...
If it were me, I'd just rent the car and be done with it!

Nov 06, 2013
CampySD in San Diego

Montrealers in SD - the best of what we don't have

I just returned from a trip to the motherland - I had a new baby in tow so I didn't get to even half the places I wanted to in Montreal, but it was great to be home all the same.

One thing I think is lacking in Montreal is a variety of Japenese cuisine. Sure, there are lot of "Japanese" places, but not so many that are only ramen, or only izakaya, etc... Most of these are located on the Convoy corridor and you could make an easy afternoon-into-evening, hopping from place to place (and finish up with karoake!). Places to consider would include: Izakaya Sakura, Santouka or Tajima (ramen), Yakitori Yakyudori or Hinotez, Otan and/or Okan ("homestyle" japanese). Many places are open quite late on the weekends and can get pretty hopping.

On a "been-there-done-that" side, you might consider a poutine stop at Alchemy in South Park (only on the brunch menu) and then a trip to Hamilton's, next door, to go beer crazy.

I don't really know downtown or the marina, but, if you go back to PB, I've got a few recommendations...

Nov 05, 2013
CampySD in San Diego

Sushi - Kaito vs. Ota vs. Tadokoro vs. Hane

You've already made your reservation at this point, so this is only for reference value.
I've only been to Kaito and Ota - Tadokoro is new to me and Hane has never held any interest to me (descriptions always sound like "supper club" vs sushi bar).
I have never known what I was going to pay at Kaito. There is no menu with prices, for sushi, and what you are being served (maybe the experts know) has no distinct price point. Point in fact, my last visit, with a Japanese colleague; we negotiated a price point and, halfway between being served the next portion, we were told we were "at the limit", and then were served several shots of sake (without being charged extra) - such is the essence of Kaito.
In contrast, at Sushi Ota, I always know what is coming. I'd say SaltyRaisins' comment about "cold"-ness is somewhat accurate. The service has always been precise, well-timed and professional. However, I have been able to order from the bar and table-side, price point omakase and individual (a-la-carte) selections - the a-la-carte option is not do-able at Kaito.
As I said above, I really like the anti-pretension atmosphere at Kaito! One of my top 10 meals ever was there, celebrating my mom's birthday. However, one time too many, I have recommended Kaito for outstanding sushi to have people come back to me, put out by the atmosphere, to recommend it for a special occasion.

Aug 21, 2013
CampySD in San Diego

Sushi - Kaito vs. Ota vs. Tadokoro vs. Hane

Kaito, in my most recent experiences, has been a hit on the food and miss on the atmosphere. I love the no-nonsense attitude of Kazu, but some of my dining partners found him off-putting to downright rude. The fish, knife-skills and presentation are always spectacular though.
However, were I looking to impress a date without taking any chances, my vote would be the corner counter spot at Ota.

Aug 20, 2013
CampySD in San Diego

San Diego identified by TripAdvisor Community as "Best U.S. Destinations for Pizza" Really?!

^^For the win!^^

/thread

Aug 20, 2013
CampySD in San Diego

Best or Favorite Local IPAs?

I'd forgotten about the Port Carlsbad's bottle shop - they have always had some treasures in my few ventures, very worth visiting on a trip north to LA.

Despite the hype/popularity of Sculpin, I've heard from more than a few people (one of them a brewer at Societe), that they only break even on the selling price, due to the insane hop bill in the mix... Don't get me wrong, I'm not paying $16 for a 6-pack myself, but, if you do the math for a homebrewer, it's not really a crazy price (based on "clone" recipes).

Aug 08, 2013
CampySD in San Diego