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What's the highest corkage fee you've seen in San Diego?

It was a few years ago at the French Laundry in Napa Valley. Haven't really cared what their corkage policy is since then.

I'm just pointing out that sometimes, even $50 corkage can be a damn good deal.

Feb 26, 2013
mikec in San Diego

Caroline's at Scripps Institute of Oceanography - what a VIEW!

Happened to be walking around La Jolla Shores a week ago and noticed this restaurant at the south end of SIO. This place has the most spectacular view in all San Diego! And the food is not bad (brunch and lunch) and it's relatively inexpensive (about $10 for brunch items, burgers, sandwiches, salads). It's order at the counter and then delivered to your table, so service is minimal (and to get coffee refills you have to go back to the counter, which is bizarre...).

I had the braised shortrib hash and eggs ($10.50), my wife had the Mediterranean scramble ($9.50), both were very good. Very acceptable coffee. Brunch at Barbarella is probably a bit better for about the same price, but the view makes up for it.

Feb 25, 2013
mikec in San Diego

What's the highest corkage fee you've seen in San Diego?

It really depends on the establishment. I have no problem paying $50 at the French Laundry, since I know whatever I bring in is going to be better than anything that's on their list for less than $200 and the food is good enough to make up for that annoyance.

Around San Diego I think the most I've been threatened with is $50 for the second bottle ($25 for the first), but I forget who that was, I was arranging a wine dinner where we were going to bring in 6-8 wines and I just went: "Thanks, we'll go elsewhere". I think the most I've ever paid in San Diego was around $30, and was happy to pay it, since it was a bottle of 1990 Clinet that was properly decanted and they had decent stemware.

Feb 25, 2013
mikec in San Diego

UTC adding another restaurant - Seasons 52

Just tried this for lunch and thought it was very solid, not great. Nice ambience, good service. We split a garlic flatbread that was a bit cracker-ish for my taste. Wife had the shrimp and penne pasta with a side of slaw, I had the steak tacos, all good. And two of their mini-desserts which were also good.

Not awesomely great, but solid with decent atmosphere and service. Much, much better than Tru Food in Mission Valley.

Feb 14, 2013
mikec in San Diego

Beachfront Dining in San Diego for a nice Birthday Dinner?

Ugh, just went to George's Bar about a week ago and it's now on my "don't bother to ever return" list.

Plus, the smell from the Cove is really, really bad.

Nov 29, 2012
mikec in San Diego

Tea leaves

I strongly second Upton, though it's been a couple of years since I've ordered anything from them...

Oct 24, 2012
mikec in San Diego

San Diego Region Wines

Edwards Winery in Ramona consistently makes a very good and reasonably priced Syrah and Petite Syrah. Adobe Guadalupe in Baja's Guadalupe Valley makes a very good Syrah-dominated wine (Kerubiel, IIRC), their other Tempranillo and Nebiolo dominated wines aren't nearly as good though (why anyone the Guadalupe Valley grows Nebiolo is a mystery to me, they all suck...). And Adobe Guadalupe's wines are not imported into the US, so you pretty much have to buy them at the winery. Menghini winery near Julian has made some decent red wines in the past, but it's been a couple of years since I've tried any.

Sep 28, 2012
mikec in San Diego

San Diego New Places Opening Thread Numero Tres.

I think signonsandiego gives each IP address a certain number of "article views" per month, about 10, IIRC. If you've gone over that limit, you get asked for your subscription.

Aug 29, 2012
mikec in San Diego

Any up coming " good bye to foie gras dinner around town?

Went to Cavaillon Sunday night, they have a foie menu ($79 for four courses) available until 6/30. It was solid, but not spectacular, I think I'd rather just get the foie appetizer at Kitchen 1540 if they still have it. And surprisingly dead for Father's Day dinner (though we left before 8PM).
http://cavaillonrestaurant.com/farewe...

Jun 20, 2012
mikec in San Diego

Does anyone know the law on BYOB?

Disclaimer: Not that I'm recommending anyone break the law...

Primarily enforced by the State, specifically the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (typically referred to by ABC).

Technically, a restaurant without a liquor license is not allowed to allow BYOB, but since the primary punishment is to lose their liquor license (or have it denied), it's typically winked at by restaurants that don't intend to apply for a license. Plus, as long as the patrons/owners are discreet, it's really hard to even detect, much less prosecute. A restaurant would have to have an explicit corkage fee on the menu or have some other blatant indicator (one restaurant I used to go to had "For beer and wine, visit the Liquor Store next door!" on its menu), otherwise the owner could just shrug his shoulders and say "I didn't know they were BYOB'ing". The only time a restaurant is really vulnerable is when they've applied for a license but it hasn't yet been granted. But someone has to specifically complain to the ABC for it to even notice, and then its power is mostly in being able to deny a liquor license.

There's also a very, very small number of ABC investigators (IIRC, four for the entire state), most of whom are busy investigating sales of alcohol to minors by convenience/liquor stores. I've never heard of the ABC staking out a restaurant without a license that allowed BYOB.

Jun 13, 2012
mikec in San Diego

Best San Diego Mexican Food?

There's a new place on Broadway near H in Chula Vista that does guisados, next to de Fillipi's steak house (Comida something?). When I was there about a week ago, they were still having startup issues and some of the dishes were more successful than others (the Mole soup and the lingua were very good). The owner has owned restaurants in Ensenada and is still getting used to American food service. It has promise, but it's pretty rough around the edges...

Apr 17, 2012
mikec in San Diego

seeking loud loud restaurant

"two for table L"...

Apr 11, 2012
mikec in San Diego

Any good deli in San Diego?

You're probably thinking of Blumer's at 54th and ECB. Closed in the late 70's, IIRC.

Apr 09, 2012
mikec in San Diego

seeking loud loud restaurant

Definitely not the best food. More commonly called: "P. F. Wang's" by most people I know.

Loudest restaurant I've ever been in is Buca de Beppo in the Gaslamp on a Friday night. Relatively small rooms with low ceilings and all hard surfaces seating about six large (10-20 people each) parties all striving to achieve chemical parity. Painfully awful with food to match. You'd have to put a gun to my head to get me to ever return.

Apr 05, 2012
mikec in San Diego

West Coast BBQ and Brew

Never tried Wood Ranch, but I'm skeptical it will satisfy BBQ purists, since it says on its menu:
Slow-roasted then finished over a mesquite fire (i.e. essentially what Phil's does, except Phil's uses Oak). FWIW, there's a Mo's (originally started in San Luis Obispo) in Huntington Beach, that does do slow smoking (at least they did in their SLO location), and I think it's better than Coop's, but probably not good enough to be worth a special trip from SD.

Mar 30, 2012
mikec in San Diego

Dining room with a fireplace?

Kitchen 1540 has a few tables by an outside fire ring.

Mar 28, 2012
mikec in San Diego

West Coast BBQ and Brew

OK, not great. Going in with the right (low) expectations would probably help.

Mar 28, 2012
mikec in San Diego

good eats near Sheraton/airport?

C level, despite being a Cohn restaurant, is within walking distance and isn't bad with a nice view of the bay and acceptable basic burgers and salads. I'd pass on their more expensive restaurant in the same building.

If you don't mind a bit of a walk (probably a little over a mile one way), you can walk to the restaurants in Liberty Station by the fake "Recruit" ship (go through Spanish Landing by the in-progress Spanish ship-building exhibit, then under the overpass to the old overpass). It may not be well-lit at night going under the overpass, though (but there are usually some pedestrians). Sushiya is not bad for inexpensive sushi, haven't tried any other restaurants in that cluster. IIRC, there's Thai, Greek and Mexican Taco shop restaurants there - and a Subway. A bit more of a walk from there (probably another 1/2 mile) gets you to the big retail complex in Liberty Station (Tender Greens, Con Panne, Slater's 50/50 are all OK).

Mar 21, 2012
mikec in San Diego

Who's familiar with 'old' San Diego restaurants?

Aspen Mine Co. was mostly a steak place (at least that's mostly what I remember ordering there). Decent steaks. Though they didn't have to be that great after a couple of Zombies... Don't remember any Toga Parties, but those were probably right after "Animal House" came out (1978) and that was right around the time I stopped going regularly.

I was wondering if by "Hamburger House" the OP meant "Hamburger Hamlet" which was in front of Hoover High on ECB.

I think George Pernicano is still lucid enough that his family can't sell off that property and George doesn't want to let go of it for less than an absurd amount (about 3x what it's worth). That was what I'd heard from a friend who made a serious inquiry about two or three years ago.

Mar 12, 2012
mikec in San Diego

Javier Plascencia at El Take It Easy - March 5

All the passengers in a vehicle in the Sentri lane must have individual Sentri cards. There's also a special pedestrian lane for Sentri cardholders, but if you don't personally have a Sentri card, you have to go to the back of the (very, very long) regular line. We found this out the hard way when we went to Casa Plascentia with a couple that had Sentri cards....

Mar 07, 2012
mikec in San Diego

Ba Ren

I was there for lunch today (and pretty much once a week for the last several years) and didn't have a problem. They're closing March 1st , and it wouldn't surprise me they lost focus. And no, there's not really any place better. I guess it's time to revisit Dede's, Spicy City and Spicy House, but none of them have been nearly as good in the recent past in my experience.

Feb 21, 2012
mikec in San Diego

The Super Diners do East County

I was a "starving student" at SDSU in 1975. A group of us tried it then. It was far, far worse than even the "Happy Steak" restaurants I grew up with in Fresno (which were no great shakes, maybe a tad better than Sizzler). And the Kitcsh of the tie thing didn't really impress us.

Feb 20, 2012
mikec in San Diego

The Super Diners do East County

I beg to differ. Pinnacle Peak sucked 40 years ago.

Feb 16, 2012
mikec in San Diego

Los Pueblos - Clairemont Mesa (Chilangos)

The menu isn't Chilangos (at least what I remember), it seems oriented towards more regional Mexican specialties rather than being a "Mexico City Grill".

Feb 09, 2012
mikec in San Diego

Los Pueblos - Clairemont Mesa (Chilangos)

This is a new fast-food/regional Mexican restaurant by the former owner of Chilangos that took over the spot next to Niban in the shopping center on Clairemont Mesa Blvd just east of 805 (McDonald's and Souplantation).

My wife and I have eaten there three times in the last week or so, and everything has been very good, we've had:
Chicken Pibil plate
Carne Asada plate
Chicken Adobada on Huarache
Fish on Huarache

The Carne Asada is flank steak and lightly marinated. The refried pinto beans are the best I've had that don't include lard. Of the dishes above, my favorite was the Chicken Pibil. The fish was grilled Mahi-mahi. And they have a salsa bar with some very good, fresh salsas. Haven't had a chance to try their mole dishes.

Feb 09, 2012
mikec in San Diego

Davanti Bringing its Iowa Italian to Del Mar

I can't see the three dishes I suggested as being uncreative or uninspired.

Dec 30, 2011
mikec in San Diego

Davanti Bringing its Iowa Italian to Del Mar

Yeah. And for the record, I was pretty underwhelmed by their pizzas, pastas with red sauce, tri-tip and roasted chicken. Their lemon cake desert was good.

Dec 29, 2011
mikec in San Diego

Davanti Bringing its Iowa Italian to Del Mar

There are certainly things on Davanti's menu that are underwhelming, but I'd go back for:
Foccacia di Recco
Truffle egg toast
Riccio di Mare

Dec 27, 2011
mikec in San Diego

San Diego CLOSED Restaurants - Replacement for old board.

Not one of the originals. Fio's, Morgan's, Dakota, Golden Lion and a few others predated La Strada by at least 3-4 years.

I keep trying to remember the name of the restaurant that was just off 5th on Market, it had a tiny upstairs (maybe 4 2-tops) with a bar and fairly large seating area downstairs, glass block, gray and mauve decor, california-cuisiney very mid-80's.

Dec 22, 2011
mikec in San Diego

Old Gulf Coast Space?

Wouldn't take much. A couple of vines in pots trellised over the wires or even some light strands would give a different suggestion...

Dec 22, 2011
mikec in San Diego