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Jan 21, 2002 12:09 AM

SD Report

  • l

Thanks to all for the wonderful response and suggestions. Here's where we ate, and brief comments:

La Gran Tapa for lunch on Friday. Interesting chicken livers in a light cream sherry sauce - the cream part was not mentioned on the menu. Sweetness of the onions and mushrooms balanced the fried chicken livers. Moros y cristianos (black beans and spicy rice) very tasty. Chicken caesar salad very ordinary.

The Fishery on Cass & Opal in Pacific Beach for dinner. My companion thought the oysters were the best he'd ever had. Chilean sea bass in a light soy-ginger sauce was succulent, and perfectly done, garnished with a lightly seasoned rice pilaf and delicious roasted zucchini - cooked, yet still slightly crisp and fresh. Blackened swordfish sandwich was perfect, with excellent cole slaw and good french fries. Very reasonable prices. This place is a fish market, and has only about ten tables. The bread was terrific, too - a light wheat with wheatberries (whatever they are). Absolutely irresistible. Thanks to the chowhound who recommended this one!

Lunch Saturday was on the recommendation of a local friend who insisted we try Karl Strauss' Brewery in La Jolla. We tried the beer sampler (a good deal at $7.95 - they bring a healthy sized sample of each of their eight current beers). Unfortunately, the beers were nothing special - there were only two that appealed out of the eight. Food very ordinary.

Dinner Saturday was at Kemo Sabe on 5th Street in Hillcrest. My duck was perfect, crisp with a tangerine finish on the skin, and juicy inside. The presentation was almost breathtaking: half a duck, quartered, surrounded by a long slice of tempura yam (another perfectly done item), skewered to two fresh brussels sprouts (okay, so they missed on this one), and a small salad on the plate, with a sweet and sour dipping sauce for the duck which tasted more of mango than anything else. My companion had "Skirts on Fire", a spicy marinated skirt steak, sliced into strips and served with mounds of rice noodles and a fresh fruit salsa. He gave this good reviews (I was too absorbed in the duck to try the steak), but as good as it was, he helped me polish off the bird. Drinks were good, also. We ate on the outside patio, although the inside decor was very inviting. Definitely one I'd visit again.

On the way home we stopped at the Original Pancake House on Convoy (there are two other locations, I understand). The German Pancake was huge, light, and delicious, served with whipped butter, lemon, and powdered sugar (on the side). The blueberry pancakes were the lightest pancakes I've ever had, and were served with a sweet blueberry compote/syrup, full of blueberries to add even more fruit to the ones already in the pancakes. The bacon came crisp, as ordered, and looked fairly meaty. After tasting this breakfast, I felt the half hour wait was worth it.

Burke & Wells, SD seems not to be a gastronomic wasteland. You have nothing to fear! Again, thanks to all for their comments.

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  1. If you return to San Diego and you like Italian, you should try Arrivederci on 4th, in/near Hillcrest. It's a charming little restaurant, solidly Italian, not the Americanized stuff. Even the wait staff is Italian, to one degree or another. Generous portions, all well done. I'm big on beef, so I whole-heartedly endorse their preparation of carpaccio: a large dinner plate covered with wonderful, paper-thin slices of beef (raw, of course), drizzled over with fine extra-virgin olive oil, then covered with a layer of arugala, and then covered with shavings of fine Parmasan. It is a meal all by itself, despite the fact that it's listed as an appetizer. Wonderful stuff.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Daniel C

      Can you tell more about Arrivederci, please? Like what part of Italy it specializes in, if any?

      1. re: Fine

        I found Arrivederci to be just okay. The pastas was a little on the salty side. They were good, solid comfort food, but nothing exceptional. (I had pasta with green beans and pesto, my husband had gnocchi). The restaurant is really cozy with nice atmosphere, though.