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Dec 31, 2007 01:38 PM

Best of San Diego 2007

End of last year we had a discussion where everybody mentioned the highlights of eating in SD in 2006. I thought that was a nice idea and we could do it again this year. So what are your highlights of 2007 in San Diego ?

For my wife and me we had many good restaurant visits this year in SD but nothing that was outstanding. So our choice as best of San Diego 2007 is that we have Cafe Chloe, The Linkery and Urban Solace on our rotation (at least one visit a month each, often two or three times a month) and they all didn't disappoint us over the whole year.

Outside of SD we had several outstanding tasting menues at Spago (LA), Blend (Palm Springs) and Rosemary (LV).

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  1. Our best high-quality breakfast find for 2007 is Cavaillon. Best deal for $10-12/person. Even better, there's no wait and it's blissfully quiet out there on Sunday mornings.

    2nd best breakfast find was not in SD, it was at Payard at Caesar's in Vegas. Think of having dessert options for breakfast and that describes my pain perdu w/ berries and chocolate waffle w/ Nutella and sauteed bananas. If Payard and Cavaillon were next door to each other, I would gain 5 lbs/wk. :-)

    Best Indian find is Surati Farsan. Lots of things on the menu that we have not seen at other Indian places and good quality and value to boot.

    Buga Korean BBQ is still on our regular rotation. As a matter of fact, I am stuffed from their kalbi, bulgogi and panchan from earlier tonight. And kicking myself b/c I forgot to bring home our take-out container of an entire order of jap chae.....

    Little Sheep Mongolian BBQ for the newest find along the Convoy environs.

    We've always enjoyed Nine-Ten and got to have lunch there (finally). They have a 3 course lunch for something like $27. A real steal, all year round and you don't have to wait for SDRW.

    Izakaya Sakura has spoiled me for most other places for sushi.

    Market has not disappointed us once, all the times we've been this year (at least 6-7).

    Best local bakery find, thanks to the board, is Elizabethan Desserts. Every time I go in there, I end up with 1-2 boxes full of cupcakes, buckles, pies, cookies and everything else that looks good. I have trouble keeping to the "list" of things I went to get b/c all her stuff is SOOO good!

    Best frozen yogurt (disclaimer: I have not tried all the Pinkberry wannabees in SD yet) is Yogurt World, noise and crowds notwithstanding. So far, I like their variety and flavors better than Pinkberry and Frutti Yogurt (in UTC) and keep going back when the craving hits.

    I'll post more if I think of more places. I'm still comatose from Korean BBQ and dark chocolate pudding pie.

    1. in no partiuclar order: Addison, Market, Cavaillon, Tapenade, Guild, Cafe Chloe.

      1. Lunch on the terrace at A R Valentien with Rosemary Harris, in town performing at the Globe. Fish sandwiches at El Pescador served by the yummiest guys in San Diego. Baguettes hot from the oven at Bread & Cie (Thank you, Charles!) Bless the coffee at Cafe Calabria! The Hillcrest Farmer's Market, the Mexican Market on Imperial, the lobster burrito at Bahia Bird Rock. RIP Chilango's and Delirio's.

        1. As a San Diego newbie, I find that my contributions are a bit limited. However, as a San Francisco and LA foodie transplant, I've made it a bit of a mission to get out and try new things. Here are some of my favorites from the past 6 months. Ichiro's on Convoy for sushi ---particularly on Tuesdays and Fridays. There is a sushi chef, who's name escapes me, who has a following of customers. He's been a sushi chef for the past 20 years and worked at a lot of the usual hot spots in SD. Thai House across the streed from the SD Union Tribune offices in Mission Valley, Tajima's on Convoy for pub style Japanese, Gringos in PB when the students are out of town, K sandwiches and Pho Pasteur on Linda Vista, and the Mission Cafe in North Park for breakfast, and C Level (outside part of Island Prime) near sea world. Dumpling Inn on Convoy.

          Runner up: Rendezvous in Del Mar (owned by the same family that own Dumpling Inn on Convoy). 1/2 price bottles of wine on Sundays. Service is a bit spotty though.

          3 Replies
          1. re: bclum1974

            Wow, I never would have thought someone would recognize Ichiro on Convoy -- I thought I was the only one who liked this place. The sushi at Ichiro is top-notch -- almost up to par with Sushi Ota. The chef whom you are referring to is Yasu -- He'll do a wonderful Omakase (chef's choice sushi menu) for you and he's got a unique charm and personality that'll bring a smile to your face (definitely not the prototypical stern and serious sushi chef). Oh yeah, Yasu introduced me to the joys of Uni (sea urchin) so definitely try it there.

            1. re: Esqo

              Most of the top Sushi places in SoCal all get their sea food from San Diego's Catalina Offshore Products. San Diego has a wealth of fresh local sea food and our local sea urchin is even supplied to the dinner table of the Emperor of Japan.


              1. re: Esqo

                Yasu definitely makes the experience worth the trip. He's now doing Sushi Wednesday -Saturday.

            2. Best Meal: The Dining Room Jack's La Jolla - The flavors here were just perfect and spot on. I'm a huge fan of acid and a hint of sweet, and this is exactly how Tony DiSalvo (because of his mentor Jean Georges Vongerichten) cooks. I would be hard pressed, I think, to find a better meal here.

              Best Under-$50/person Meal: The Better Half technically I ate here in 2008, but I would be remiss not to note this place. The food was exceptional, the inclusion of amuses and intermezzos in the meal is a great touch, and the service is outstanding, warm and friendly. My only complaint is that it's all very heavy and the portions are a bit large (but I don't know many people who would complain about that).

              3 Replies
              1. re: bagwhat

                I should also add that my biggest disappointment of 2007 was Market, where I had an outstanding appetizer (the tempura prawns with cabbage, spicy peanut sauce, and grapefruit slices), but a very boring main course (a lamb duo with ribs and sausage) in which the best component was a pretty good apple-cheddar gratin. The dessert I had was also not so great, with the best component being the tiny dollop of "pretzel" icecream (great sweet-salty flavor) that was flanked by standard chocolate cakes/tarts

                1. re: bagwhat

                  If that was your biggest disappointment, you must have had a great year! :-) I do think this place is somewhat overhyped at times. It's very good, but not particularly innovative and certainly not transcendent. It kind of sounds like the food you received was what it was supposed to be though, unless there's something you're not telling us?

                  1. re: Alice Q

                    It actually was a great year for eating here, considering how little time I spent in San Diego (I go to school in Philadelphia). Yeah the food was exactly what it was supposed to be, which I guess would be great if it was my style. I guess the real disappointment was finding that Market wasn't my favorite kind of food. But those tempura prawns...I could eat those forever.