Wednesday, June 19, 2019

San Diego Highlights - May 2019

Last month, I took a semi-spontaneous trip to San Diego to visit friends (hiked up Black Mountain in the morning, board gaming in the afternoon/evening) and see Jenny Lewis perform at the House of Blues (absolutely loving her "On The Line" album, btw).

Of course, I managed squeezed in a bit of sightseeing and some tasty stops as well. Some of the highlights from the trip include:
Ramen @ Menya Ultra
Menya Ultra's Negi Miso Ramen w "Braized" Chashu - this has been on my to-try for a while after hearing about its numerous regional, national & global accolades. And sure enough, it did not disappoint. Their housemade noodles were toothsome yet tender, the broth was incredibly complex and rich without becoming greasy or heavy, and the thick-cut slices of braised-then-grilled chashu (limited to first 10 orders of lunch & dinner service) were a wonderful meaty addition to an already solid bowl of noodles. I only wish I was able to order fewer slices of the limited edition chashu or just upgrade the regular chashu for this one... just adding three extra thick chashu was a bit of a pork overload!
Porchetta Tacos
Speaking of porky, I also indulged in the porchetta tacos at Porchetta Shack (evolution of the former Carnitas Shake Shack spot in North Park); despite a little skepticism, the herb-flavored pork works well in a taco and holds it own against the creamy guacamole & guajillo chile salsa. Definitely a consideration for future SD visits if I'm looking for something a little different than California burritos & seafood tacos.
Cheese Plate + Beer
Having recently read Liz Thorpe's "The Book of Cheese"; I was eager for any opportunity to explore & sample more cheeses to broaden my palate - and Venissimo Cheese was a wonderful spot to make that happen. Besides the picture perfect cheese plate, I loved that its North Park location is co-housed with Bottlecraft Beer Shop - which made for some interesting cheese-beer pairing possibilities. (My favorite of this quartet was Noce del Piave, an Italian cow's milk cheese that's wrapped in walnut leaves and oak barrel aged for two months, giving it intense umami & nutty notes blends beautifully with Enegren's Maple Baltic Porter)
Lobster Roll + Fries @ Wicked Maine Lobster
Wicked Maine Lobster's lobster roll is one of my favorites in the West Coast, so a re-visit is almost always in order when I dive down to SD. (And I'm beyond ecstatic that they're planning a LA shop soon!!!)
Gin Old Fashioned @ You & Yours Distillery
You&Yours Distilling for their Chai Maple Old Fashioned using their barrel aged gin, which tastes remarkably close to the whiskey original with a delightfully subtle boost of florals & spices. I absolutely adore You & Yours' gins (which I encountered on the regular at SD cocktail bars) and can't wait to add their Winter or Sunday Gins to my collection soon.
Parfait Signature @ Le Parfait Paris
For my sweet jaws tooth, I return to the reliable Le Parfait Paris for their Parfait Signature, with crispy almond praline topped with dark chocolate mousse & glaze. Though you really can't go wrong with any of their patisserie creations.
Painkiller @ Kettner Exchange

The only downer of the trip, foodwise, was missing Kettner Exchange's dinner service (like most upscale-ish sitdown places, kitchen closes approx. an hour before the bar/restaurant does), but at least I got to enjoy their KPK, their painkiller variation using a blend of 7 rums + passionfruit juice. Fingers crossed that I come back to enjoy this alongside some food next time!

8141 Mira Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92126
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2632 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

3007 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104
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2820 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106

1495 G St, San Diego, CA 92101
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555 G St, San Diego, CA 92101
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2001 Kettner Blvd. San Diego, CA 92101