Friday, July 29, 2011

Mistral: Romance and Sunsets and Of Course, Food!

My sister recommended that we eat at Mistral which is located at the Loew's Coronado Bay Resort, where we stayed. I checked out the menu and it seemed like a perfect idea. Chef Patrick Ponsaty came by our table and with my request, I asked him to recommend our menu based on his favorites. With the sunset overlooking the San Diego Bay, this couldn't have been more romantic. Here's the scoop:

Amuse bouche was a cold asparagus cream soup with duck confit and a garlic crouton. It was in a cute mini mug and eaten with a spoon. A pretty great start to a nice meal.

This appetizer has to be one of my all time favorites. It was just beautiful when presented. The bright colors really struck me and I almost didn't want to touch it. Almost. It was a split blue prawn on a bed of truffle ricotta cheese stuffed canneloni. It was topped with heirloom tomatoes, artichoke, sliced fennel and a light tangy sauce. 

Next came the entrees. My husband's entree was a daily special. It was bacon wrapped monkfish on a bed of green lentils and topped with a chick pea cake. I of course had to taste it. The texture of monkfish is like a shellfish, firm and full of flavor. With the bacon, a perfect combination.

My entree was sea bass. It was sauteed with a carrot-orange emulsion on top. It had lavender honey braised endive and an orange blossom mousse. The flavors were fresh and the mousse was delightful. Despite the sea bass being a bit overcooked, I was really impressed with this dish.

And then there was dessert. I was so full but dessert was necessary. I opted for a lighter dessert vs something chocolatey.  Roasted Peaches.  Peaches weren't very sweet, but they nicely offset the very sweet meringue and sauterne aspic. Served in a mason jar was lavender-rosemary ice cream, topped with a peach type jam (sauterne aspic- which is typically meat based and a gel. I believe this was termed loosely) and topped with a flambĂ©ed meringue. Eaten with the peaches, it was delightful.  
I'd love to go back every week and try something off this menu. It was so interesting.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Great Food, Great People Watching

We had dinner reservations in the Gaslamp District in San Diego on Saturday. One small problem; the restaurant was right where Comic-Con was and driving there was not going to happen. So, we took the Coronado ferry across to Downtown San Diego. We missed the ferry which would take us directly to where we needed to go and ended up at Seaport Village on the other side of town.

Ah, but then there was Pirate Pat the Pedi-cab driver that took us to the Gaslamp. An experience in itself. A mini tour of San Diego with history and stories by Pirate Pat. And then there was his butt-crack. We had full visual of that too. Giggle.

When we arrived at our destination at Market and 5th ave, we came upon a zombie parade. It was endless and another source of entertainment,  not to mention all of the people dressed up. Spiderman climbing on poles, and other people watching.

Brian Malarkey in the hat.  Photo by Alex Purnell

Destination Searsucker. A restaurant owned by Top Chef Brian Malarkey. I met Brian at a Top Chef event this year and was really interested in trying his food. Perfect. This restaurant will be opened 1 year this month and it was not only delicious but visually appealing as well.

Romantic, rustic, and fun with an open kitchen that reminded me of a diner counter in the back corner of the restaurant.

Appetizer: We shared the bone marrow. Came with an onion jam you spread on the bread, add bone marrow and sprinkle with sea salt. If you haven't had bone marrow, it's the butter of the cow. Believe me. Delicious.

The menu is very adventurous and humorous as well. This was my husbands entree. Tongue and Cheek; beef tongue and cheek with cactus. Next to the item on the menu, instead of a description it just says "yes". How could you not want to try it. Tender cheeks with dried tongue pieces. Great flavor and texture.

My entree was scallops with a blackberry sauce, brown butter and foie blanc. Succulent and colorful. I loved the creaminess of the foie blanc but it wasn't overdone. I was surprised they served 4 as typically 3 scallops are what I see served in other restaurants. It was quite a treat. The only thing that was strange was whatever the herb was on top of the scallops. It didn't taste like oregano and I needed to take it off, because it disrupted the flavors. If it's garnish and it's on my plate, I usually like to try it. Not this one.

We shared a side dish which was fennel, fingerling potatoes and a small yolk. There was a cheese. Not sure if it was feta, but something like that. Served in a cast iron pan. Loved the yolk and roasted fennel is one of my faves.

This trip is one of a few small trips to celebrate our 20th anniversary this year. So here's an anniversary flourless chocolate cake with a caramel sauce and these little round chocolate covered crunchies that were   just the best. It's not on the menu.
So far so good with the food. Tomorrow, another mouth watering dinner at Mistral. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Everything Revolves Around Food

This weekend was a rare getaway for my husband and I. No kids. We stayed in Coronado for 2 nights at the Loew's Coronado Bay Resort. My husband and very different tastes when it comes to hobbies. He enjoys long distance cycling; I like to shop. Very different. However food is really what brings us together. That's probably why we eat out so much. Ah revelation. And we did just that this weekend. In the next couple blog posts, I'm going to be sharing our food excursions with you. Too much for one post.

Here we go. When we arrived in Coronado around noon on Saturday, lunch was priority. We parked and walked. Boring little deli's, Panera Bread, a diner and a Mexican restaurant. And then there was Leroy's. It had just opened last Tuesday and it just drew us right in; with clean modern lines mixed with old exposed wood and a menu that looked incredibly interesting. The concept is farm to table, local food. Yes please.

Sliders are sliders, but these scallop sliders were on Hawaiian bread rolls. A little sweet with the Napa slaw and a Harissa aoli. Oh and the truffle fries. Truly the best truffle fries I've had.

My dish was the Mussels that had fresh roasted roma tomatoes and a slightly spicy sausage. There was enough juice to dip that toast. That's my favorite thing about eating mussels.  My dish also came with a side of truffle fries. 

Leroy's also had an extensive wine, beer, and cocktail menu. Here's my husband happy with a flight of Belgium's. The only regret I have about this restaurant is that I didn't get the Naughty Ding Dong for dessert. The perfect start to a fantastic weekend.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Roasted Chick Peas

I've been addicted to Pinterest lately and run across pictures of food that I have to try. These roasted chick peas really appealed to me but even more so after I went to a local taco restaurant called Taco Asylum and they have these most wonderful roasted chick peas on one of my favorite tacos; the wild mushroom taco.
I wanted crunchy roasted chick peas so my recipe is adapted from this one  I mixed the canned ones in some olive oil, salt, balsamic vinegar and chervil to taste.  I roasted them at 450 for 15 min, then 400 for 10 min, and 300 for 15 more min. I'm no pro. I just didn't want them to burn but I wanted them crunchy. They are a great snack