So, this is more just me writing for therapy, be warned 🙂
So, this post is about the North County food scene in a very round about way. I guess my big challenge is to convey that the way I see it after my little jaunt down to San Diego.
First off, love the Coaster. it is not only is a great inexpensive way to go down to San Diego ($11 dollars for a round trip for all you $5.50 for me..heart disease for the discount:) ) I mean that has parking and gas beat. But it is great that it works both ways,bringing me downtown and bringing people up to North County.
My trip down, my first since the last day of Comic-con, was spurred on by time to spend with a friend and her fiance. I arrived 4 hours early, so I could walk around, grab lunch and enjoy myself.
Three blocks up from the Santa Fe Train Depot lies Bracero – Cocina De Raiz. A very important restaurant for a multitude of reasons. Chef Javier Plascencia basically had a huge hand in making Tijuana a culinary destination promoting Baja Med cuisine at a time when people were pulling back from traveling to Mexico due to a false media promoted image and a self imposed stigmatism of the area. Similar to..”I don’t know how in Oceanside you can not cross Coast Highway without being run over” or how the cops go hotel to hotel and that is when you know “the good drugs are in town” …that was actually written ( though I’m paraphrasing, but not much) about Oceanside by a very respected food journalist in a San Diego media article on Masters Kitchen. Really dude? I’m not going to call you out by name, but I would say the same thing to your face.
Anyway, arrival of Javier Plascencia in San Diego is great on many levels, and yes I am aware actually this is his second San Diego County but this one is the flagship.
Refocusing…de-ranting, So anyway Bracero.
Albacore 2 Ways ~ lime salsa verde / crispy rice cakes / burnt onion crème
fraiche / crispy eggplant / jalapeño infused leche de
Great dish, both a play on textures and flavor. This reminded me so much of what Davin does at Wrench and Rodent and Lauren does with The Sushi Bus, not so much in exact flavor profile but in the creative twist and execution. You know what? It made realize how lucky Oceanside is to have people like that throwing down.
MEXITERRANEAN (GYRO STYLE) ADOBADA ~
flour tortilla / jalapeño tzatziki / olla beans
This was really good as well.
All that being said, for an App. a taco and 1 cocktail the price was pretty high. It was a third of our full dinner tab at my next stop.
Speaking of that stop, Blush Ice Bar. So, Blush is interesting. Just from a concept status. It is hard to explain, it is laid out like a large bar, that serves serious food. I don’t know,you have to see it.
Blush~ That is pretty much the dinning room as well. this was at 7pm by 9pm the place was packed ..and I mean packed every chair every table full.
So, when Blush opened They brought on board two great Chefs Executive Chef Daniel Baron and Stephen Gage both from La Valencia in La Jolla. Exciting News, Stephen is starting next week as Executive Chef of Under Belly’s new North Park location.
So, we just ordered stuff that was suggested to me by Davin and others a few other dishes based on instinct. We shared everything family style.
OCTOPUS KARAGE ~Honey aioli-Lime Vinaigrette
Nice but kind of the calamari version of Octopus ( I have a very high standard for Octopus) Still very tender and flavorful.
COLD GREEN TEA NOODLE ~ Asparagus-Roasted Pepper-Ginger Vinaigrette
This was one of the heroes of the night…such a great dish.
SMOKED DUCK LEG BAO ~ Guacamole-Pickled onion-Garlic Sauce
Another winner, they nailed the dough.
HUDSON VALLEY FOIE GRAS RAMEN ~ Bacon Dashi-Duck Egg-Crispy Chicken Skin
This may have been the dish of the night. luxurious but not heavy.
14 OZ UMAMI BOMB NATURAL ANGUS RIBEYE ~ Porcini-Smoked Soy-True-Bone Marrow.
Again a winner, perfect crust and perfect medium rare. you could also it was rested properly.
PAN ROASTED MARY’S FARMS HALF DUCK ~ Red Curry-Pineapple-Cognac Reduction
A very tasty dish, but honestly If I was there and just ordering this as a main it would have been returned to the kitchen. Duck should never be cooked above medium rare and there was no pink on any of the meat. It was still tasty and moist but could have been so much better.
Jenice and soon to be Hubby. Great people to hang with.
So it may sound like I’m being harder than I usually am to Blush but I wouldn’t be if I thought they were not good on the verge of being great. Also they are catching me after some great meals. So take that into account.
and I know I have run long but the reason I’m really sharing this post is because it just reconfirmed what is going on in North County.
Random thought…while walking around, guess which restaurant was the most busy in the Gaslamp…Fucking Dick’s Last Resort.
There were a lot of places shuttered…there are some people doing things right like Blush, Cowboystar, and others.
Before I go I want to mention Werewolf, first off because someone named their bar Werewolf (+10,000 bonus points) second because if you just want great cocktails, they are the place to go and staff was on point.