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Belgian style mussels in San Diego?

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Is there any place that does good mussels? I had some a few weeks back at Brouwers Cafe in Seattle that were insanely good. They were served in a Moule pot with Pomme Frites on the side. The Mussels were in a wittekerke cream sauce. Im looking for something similar.

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  1. You might check out Vagabond in South Park.

    1. Tried the mussels at Urban Solace this week. Excellent, served in a tomato saffron broth. All 4 at the table agreed we'd order them again.

      1. I had some great moules marinieres with a traditional herb, wine, cream sauce at Hawthorn's in North Park and the Lodge at Torrey Pines does a really good saffron cream version. Both spots have excellent fries. The mussels at Urban Solace were nice but they broth is cream-free, although you could have an untraditional version of moules and frites with that dish and their sweet potato fries! I haven't been lucky with the mussels at Vagabond.

        1 Reply
        1. re: candicew

          Frankly, I haven't been lucky with much of anything at Vagabond. But I did eat there a few months after it opened with a friend who had the mussels. They were pretty good at that point, but since one of the principles has moved on to other endeavors it wouldn't surprise a bit to hear the mussels have, perhaps, suffered.

        2. This post has inspired me to make a pot of mussels in belgian beer myself...

          I haven't tried many in SD, but the mussels at Cafe Chloe are decent, though a bit under seasoned when I had them (saffron wine broth). Like ramen soup, I like it when I can barely keep myself from picking up the pot at the end and slurping down the remaining broth that wasn't already sopped up in crusty bread or frites. Considering how easy mussels are to cook, that might be the way to go...

          4 Replies
          1. re: afinkle

            afinkle, that post made my mouth water. Got a good recipe?

            Some great recommendations. I didn't even think to try Cafe Chloe.

            1. re: naven

              My attempt at a recipe:
              Sweat some shallots and celery (+garlic perhaps). Add the beer (belgian or something wheaty, something not too dark) and let the alcohol evaporate. Check for seasoning and add the mussels, cover and cook until they open. Some parsley and fennel fronds at the end are a good idea. If you want more broth, you could add some chicken stock (I had a couple of cubes of homemade in the freezer). An optional splash of lemon juice brightens it up a bit, but not too much or the beer gets hidden - though the whole hefe weizen and lemon combo is classic.

              Make sure the mussels are clean (scrubbed and bearded) as to avoid the grit. Serve with crusty warm bread or garlic bread. Belgian fries are just not something I make at home - but a quick stop at In n' Out could fix that.

              1. re: afinkle

                Sounds good to me. It's essentially the recipe I had in my head. I think i'll be trying the same thing this week. Im thinking of using roughly the same recipe as you, but adding a little heavy cream to the broth.

                1. re: naven

                  Just make sure you add the cream at the end, lest it curdle. :-) You might also want to try creme fraiche - it's less likely to curdle with the acid from the wine or lemon. Sounds good!

          2. Go to Vagabond and ask for them the "old way" with the creme fraiche. I am told they still make them though they aren't on the menu - you might want to call ahead though to make sure.

            I also had some really good mussels recently at (don't laugh) the Napa Valley Grille at the top of Horton Plaza. They are pan roasted, not steamed, but they were better than the ones I had recently at Cafe Chloe. I'm not crazy about saffron though, to be fair.

            Another possibility that is pretty reliable is the Fish Market - I've never had a bad batch there. I am a big mussel fan, so I'd love to know what else you find!