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Best dish in San Diego?

About a month ago I had dinner at Crescent Heights on Broadway in downtown San Diego. I enjoy everything from fine dining to street tacos and everything in between. For me, one litmus test of the quality of a particular preparation or dish, is how long I remember its particulars: when and where I enjoyed it, the ingredients, the preparation.

The best dish I've had in San diego in recent memory is the Crescent Heights Salad, a deicious concoction of fingerling potatoes, frisee, a poached egg and a complementary vinaigrette. I'll go back soon just for that dish. Granted I've always liked this type of salad; my first was at Brasserie Royale in the Gaslamp ten years ago (now Lou and Mickey's), when it was a French restaurant. There it was called Salade Lyonnaise. But the C.H. version is better.

Curious as to others' single dish fav's from S.D.?

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  1. Bacon, brie, walnut, honey panini at Bread and Cie.

    3 Replies
    1. re: nessy

      Fromage plate at Nine-Ten. It is probably considered by many as an appetizer, but for this cheese foodie, it is most definitely a meal. Paired with the perfect glass of wine, of course.

      1. re: ginael

        so what wine do you pair with it?

        1. re: ibstatguy

          Depends on my mood and the type of cheese. They change the fromage somewhat frequently. I've been obsessed with Zins lately, and believe it or not, they go pretty well with many of the cow's and sheep's milk cheeses. I am far from being an oenophile, so maybe my palatte is way too nascent to know any different. Cheers.

    2. Interesting.

      How was the rest of the food at Crescent Heights?

      Any other tips on what to order?

      4 Replies
      1. re: stevewag23

        See, that's the point. It was a month ago, I recall everything as being well-prepared and delicious, but the only specific dish I remember is the C.H. Salad. I can recommend the restuarant. Both the Exec. Chef and Chef de Cuisine worked under Wolfgang Puck and it shows.

        1. re: mcgrath

          I can highly recommend their lunch menu -- at least the salads and sandwiches. I have eaten there a few times and pick up take out pretty regular. Everything is about as fresh and well-prepared as it can be. I guess the Chef opened Cut in Beverly Hill (which is amazing) for Puck. www.crescentheightssd.com. Nothing is inexpensive but the quality probably supports the price.

          1. re: eatemup

            the food is particularly good when eatemup picks up the tab! I'm ready for another trip.

            1. re: ibstatguy

              I'll pick one up at least once a year. Thank goodness I'm clear until May Day 2010.

        1. I can't tell you the "best" but some of my fave:

          Pho # 33 from Siagon
          Carne Asada Burrito from Super Sergios on Convoy
          Lamb Doner from The Kebab Shop
          Huevos con Chorizo from Las Quatros Milpas

          Ok, everybody jump in and tell me why I'm so wrong. Tell me about the CAB place in Encinitas, how Cuatros Milpas is not real mexican, and the Pho is much better at some other Pho King place. Readyyyyyy GO!

          6 Replies
          1. re: Fake Name

            You cannot be wrong. There can be no disagreement. You were asked your personal favorite. Anyone who would argue another's personal favorite is not conversant in English. As for me, I'll take Serrano Ham, some olives and a couple of Sangrias from Costa Brava. Or I'll take an armored vehicle to the Ensenada harbor for fish tacos.

            1. re: Uncle Lefty

              "Best in San Diego" doesn't equate to "personal favorite". One of my favorite things to eat in San Diego is the baba ghannouj wrap from Mama's Lebanese. In no way would I ever cite that as the best dish in San Diego.

              1. re: Josh

                Ha! I should have paid more attention to the title. But here is the challenge from the original post. 'Curious as to others' single dish fav's from S.D.?' I never claimed to be conversant in English.

                I was also going to mention Mama's baba ghannouj, as well as her garlic paste and those pink and white pickles on the side.


                1. re: Uncle Lefty

                  Too many good ones to single out one. Some that come to mind:

                  Chupadores at Super Cocina
                  Barbacoa de chivo tacos at El Comal
                  Albacore tataki at Sakura
                  Kalbi at Buga
                  Prime outside skirt at Tsuruhashi
                  Burger w/ fried egg at Farmhouse Cafe
                  Grilled seabass sandwich at George's
                  Lamb flautas at Aqui es Texcoco
                  Smoked salmon sandwich at Bread & Cie (new favorite)
                  Steak frites at Cafe Chloe
                  Omakase at Kaito
                  Lengua carnitas tacos w/ habanero & onion at Carnitas Estilo de Michoacan

                  Looking at that list, it makes me realize how much I'm missing out on by avoiding CAFO meat. Oh well... :-)

                2. re: Josh

                  Dude, I'm going to have to second this baba ghannouj which is the finest I've ever had. And you know, at times, at certain moods, it very well might be one the best things to eat in San Diego...

                3. re: Uncle Lefty

                  "armored" vehicle? Unless you are a narcotrafficante - you wont need this. People need to go and see for themselves rather than falling for media hype - look at the swine flu, thanks sanjay gupta

              2. oxtails at Bonnie Jean's
                mole at SC
                sauteed Foie Gras at Tapenade
                beef bourguignon at Cavaillon
                burgers at Rocky's

                1. As the originator of this post, and a person with apparently way too much time on his hands, I'm going to make it my personal mission to seek out and try most of the dishes listed. I've already had the lamb doner at Kebab Shop (the original owner, the tall guy, sold out to less skilled doner-makers) and the foie at Tapenade, but not the others....Thanks for all the suggestions.

                  1 Reply
                  1. not the "best" and I agree with Josh but I'll toss in a vote for the lamb tacos and quesadillas at El Borrego.

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: kare_raisu

                        not yet although I've raed the posts about it. I would appreciate your thoughts on the merits (or lack thereof) of both. thx!

                    1. gosh, lots of places come to mind but the latest was us all sitting in a dirt parking lot..a thing of beauty..a food truck called Mariscos German..chowing down on some of the best marlin tacos and ceviche tostadas...going to get a tall boy at the liquor store next door to go with it...Priceless!

                      1. Alice Q Foodie has this list of 100 Good things to eat and drink in San Diego.


                        1. I have to add the burger at Alchemy. Still have a great burger buzz, and it's been an hour- better than Burger Lounge, Neighborhood-even Linkery (sorry, Jay!) and Farmhouse. Excellent frites as well, for the value price of ten bucks.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: Fake Name

                            Interesting. I have almost the exact opposite opinion. I thought it was just OK. For me, Farmhouse is tops.

                            1. re: Josh

                              I suppose it's possible one or the other had a bad or good night.

                              Or you're simply wrong.

                              ^^^that's humor!^^^

                              1. re: Fake Name

                                I'd like to add the Farmhouse burger to this list. (That sound is Josh laughing hysterically) Returned there last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm unwilling, however, to remove Alchemy's burger. They are very different experiences, both quite worthy of the list.

                                1. re: Fake Name

                                  You want a real treat, get it with a fried egg on top.

                                  1. re: Josh

                                    I think they do that as well at Urban Solace

                              2. re: Josh

                                You might want to try Alchemy's burger again, Josh. I've had it a few times and found it consistently great. The only place I've enjoyed a burger as much recently was Neighborhood.

                                1. re: juantanamera

                                  I've had it more than once. I think it pales next to Farmhouse Cafe. Unless they've changed it within the past couple of weeks, I haven't been back in a while.

                                  They use cheap rolls, IMO, and that really detracts from the experience.

                                  1. re: Josh

                                    Fair enough, just a difference of opinion then. In my visits there, the meat has been flavorful and cooked perfectly (I prefer rare burgers), and that alone can be tough to find in San Diego. I also like the cheese, a manchego, if I recall. Can't say that I specifically remember the roll, but it obviously didn't detract from my enjoyment.
                                    To speak to the original topic, for me Alchemy's burger is a dish I crave and one of my favorite SD meals.

                            2. Personally, the best dishes are the ones I could not find anywhere else (or have never seen anywhere else). My faves:
                              Fish Taco - Taco Motion (PB)
                              Avocado Curry (w/ Beef, for me) - Thai Village (PB)
                              Breakfast Burrito - La Playa (PB/Mission Beach)
                              Rock Cod w/ Miso Glaze - Tajima (Mercury location)
                              Carnitas (by the pound) - Porky's (La Jolla)
                              Sonora Quesidilla/ Mole (split) - JV's Taco Shop (Morena)
                              Dry Fried Beef/Lamb - Ba Ren (Clairemont)

                              Baby Beet Salad - Market (Del Mar)
                              Dessert (take your pick) - Nine-Ten (La Jolla)
                              Chopped Toro - Sushi Ota (PB)
                              Fresh Potato Chips - Whisk'n'Ladle (La Jolla) [not pricey on it's own, but I've never just ordered the chips...]

                              Second - Mariscos German, Mama's Lebanese

                              1 Reply
                              1. Lobster burrito, Bahia Don Bravo, Birdrock.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: pickypicky

                                  Boat noodles, Sang Dao, 5421 El Cajon blvd. I really mean it this time.

                                2. I keep craving the cebiche at Latin Chef. Best I've ever had.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Ed Dibble

                                    E.D.--if you make it up to San Francisco, La Mar's cebiche is even better than Latin Chef's!

                                    1. re: daantaat

                                      I was not impressed with the ceviche at Latin Chef. It was just big chucks of fish without too much flavor. Chilango's does a good ceviche and I have heard it is good at Blue water but the last time I was there they were out of it.

                                  2. Better Half is starting to change their menu to have more "New Orleans Style/Cajun" influences (e.g. they are also planning to have a regular crawfish evening). The most recent gumbo (duck and andouille) was outstanding.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: honkman

                                      Keep us updated on this.

                                      Sounds interesting.