Monday, September 30, 2019

Weekend Getaway (Biking Ocean Beach and Mission Beach)

Tori and I took a short weekend getaway and stayed at The Dana on Mission Bay. The resort hotel is a short distance between Ocean Beach and Mission Beach so we took our bikes with us to ride around and explore the two beach communities on either side of Mission Bay.





After parking at the hotel at 11am, we biked over the San Diego River into Ocean Beach and had lunch at OB Surf Lodge across the street from the beach. Heading south on our bikes, we followed Sunset Cliffs Boulevard all the way to the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park at the far end. The overcast sky began to turn burn off as we explored the dramatic cliff face for the first time. It was low tide but the natural arch entrance to the cave was still blocked by waves as we circled around the large hole in the ground.





We rode back to the hotel to check-in and relax for a bit. After chips and guacamole with margaritas by the hotel pool, we rode back into Ocean Beach to watch the sunset from the Ocean Beach Pier. Afterwards, we went to dinner at Bo-beau Kitchen. Since it was Restaurant Week in San Diego, we ordered their special 3-course dinner. Tori loved the Mushroom Ravioli as her starter and I thought the Boeuf Bourguignonne was delicious as my entree. I requested extra bread to sop up the remaining sauce. We both ordered the Flourless Chocolate Cake for dessert which was very tasty.





The clouds returned on Saturday morning. After the hotel's breakfast buffet, we checked-out and rode into Mission Beach, except that we went the wrong way and ended up on the long jetty between the San Diego River and the Mission Bay Entrance Channel. After our interesting detour, we back-tracked over the correct bridge and rode into Mission Bay and walked out on the South Mission Beach Jetty to check out the Graffiti Shack sitting on the rocks. The abandoned structure used to be the electrical box for the fog light at the end of the Jetty.





Leaving the rocky jetty behind, we slowly cruised up the boardwalk until we reached Pacific Beach and stopped for drinks to people watch. We rode all the way to Palisades Park at the north end of Pacific Beach. After snacking on some fries at Biggie's Burgers to get out of the light rain, we headed back to our car and headed to Aerial Revolutions for the Saturday AcroJam.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Michelin Star Dining at the Addison Restaurant

Last night, I finally used all my OpenTable reward points and splurged on a wonderful dinner with my wife at the Addison located in the Grand Del Mar resort.  (It ended up covering about 20% of the tab.) The French Restaurant received their first Michelin star this year, the only one awarded in San Diego.

Michelin Review - Among other luxuries, an evening at the Addison is like wrapping yourself in culinary excellence. A lengthy drive through the exquisite grounds of the Fairmont Grand Del Mar resort sets the scene. Inside this much-celebrated space, arched ceilings stretch overhead, while a roaring fireplace sends light dancing off the marble. Glossy windows overlook the golf course greens, and guests settle in for one of San Diego's most coveted meals. Critically acclaimed Chef William Bradley spins out one long dinner every evening, which is brought to you at the hands of gracious, polished and effortless servers. His French-influenced compositions are downright gorgeous, brightened up with a touch of southern California sparkle—and every resulting morsel is nothing short of revelatory.

Except for L'atelier De Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas, this is only my second meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant. Addison has also received 5 Stars from Forbes and 5 Diamonds from AAA. After dropping my vehicle off with the valet, we were seated by the window overlooking the golf course in the half rotunda. Since it was a week night and had to work in the morning, we only ordered one glass of wine each. Tori had the Pinot Noir and I ordered the Cabernet / Merlot Blend. Even though we decided to order the five course option instead of the Chef's Ten-Course Tasting Menu, we were more than full by the end of our 3 hour stay.


Amuse Bouches - Kiwi Granita, a refreshing iced sorbet topped with yogurt cream and foam.


Petites Saveurs (Canapés) - Queen Beluga Caviar Bites with Cheese Gougères, tiny biscuits filled with a liquid bacon. This was my first time having caviar and it was delicious! Tori has eaten caviar before and she thought this was way better. Our favorite was the local inspired canapé that resembled a tiny gourmet taquito, filled with an avocado puree and topped with pickled peppers, onions and carrots.


1st Course - Alaskan King Crab (Coconut, Thai Basil and Passion Fruit) served with Prawn Crackers. While I have seen this type of crab caught on "Deadliest Catch" many times, I have never tried this delicacy from the Bering Sea before and I enjoyed every bite.


2nd Course - Artichoke Au Gratin (Whipped Parmesan, Potato, Thyme) was a perfect dish! Like they did all night, the servers set down our plates and poured the whipped Parmesan around the artichokes in perfect unison. It was just the two of us at our table but it was impressive to watch the swarm of servers descend upon the bigger groups.


Intermezzo Snack - Curling Potato Chips and Rosemary Dip. These were simple but fun!!!


3rd Course - Wild Arctic Char (Roe, Chanterelles, Sauce Vin Jaune).  Tori's special request before the meal was no red meat, but it wouldn't have changed anything since our five regular courses contained only fish and poultry anyway.


Before our 4th course, we were presented with delicious Parkerhouse Rolls served with Fleur de sel Butter, Honey Butter and a Tarragon Herb Butter. To save room, Tori skipped her 4th roll which I happily ate for her.


4th Course - Barbecued Squab (Red Cabbage, Beetroot, Blackberry, Mustard, Liver Mousse). I almost broke down and paid $80 extra for the Wagyu Beef instead, but I am glad I tried squab (or pigeon) for the first time. It reminded me a bit of the pheasant I ate at Maude in Beverly Hills. I enjoyed pairing the squab with the different flavorful items on the plate.


We skipped the Cheese Course because we were almost full but I did order the Tea Service. To avoid caffeine so late in the evening, I had Peppermint instead of Black Tea.


Dessert Amuse Bouche - Gooseberry Sorbet with Cantaloupe Melon and Elder Berry was a refreshing palate cleanser for desert.


5th Course - Variations of Praline, Chocolate and Coffee (Caramelized Banana / Meringue). Tori enjoyed it but the coffee flavor was too strong for me.


Gormandises - The desserts kept coming with a small selection of Petit Fours, Cherry Truffles and Cognac Caramels. They were all great but the smooth caramels were my favorite.


It was an awesome meal and as we were escorted out, we were presented with the printed menu of all the dishes and gift boxes filled with Pistachio Toffees that we ate over the next three nights for dessert.