Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Weekend Trip: San Diego

You don't realize just how great we have it in Los Angeles until you actually go out of town. We have so many amazing restaurants in this city and I am a little guilty of taking them for granted.

This past weekend, my wife and I drove the mini cooper down the 5 freeway to San Diego. We wanted to take in the sights, visit the world famous zoo and try some new restaurants. We stayed at the W Hotel which was comfortable but the place was trying painfully to be fashionable and hip...the two things San Diego definitely is not. We needed a wrist band to get into the hotel bar after hours and the clientele was a bit on the jocky guy/midriff girl side.

Upon our arrival at the hotel, we made reservations at a place called Chive, but when we arrived, there was no one eating there and it was gone 7:30pm. Not a good sign. We abruptly left and wandered around the gaslamp district which we soon discovered was not the place for fine cuisine. We happened upon a place called Osteria Panevino which we recalled was recommened by our bartender at the hotel. Osteria Panevino serves a nice mix of homemade Italian dishes. I had the chicken parmesean which was served with a layer of eggplant. My wife tried the homemade spinich ravioli dish. The food wasn't spectacular, but it was decent and we were pleased to be eating in a place where other people were.

On Saturday, we drove up to La Jolla. As soon as we stepped out of the car, we could smell the sea air and the money. La Jolla feels very GOP. We wanted to try the best of San Diego, so we hot footed it over to a French restaurant called Tapenade, a very impressive establishment created by renowned chef Jean-Michel Diot. We didn't have reservations, so they plunked us at a table between the bar and the hostess desk. As soon as we were seated I ordered a bottle champagne (It was Saturday night after all). We shared an ounce of Russian Ossetra Caviar and then ordered our entrees. I had the filet migion topped with a layer foie gras while my wife tried the lobster risotta. Her risotta was cooked with Vanilla. Stimulating. Our meal was great. We skipped dessert, but we still spent well over $200. I was please with Tapenade and would highly recommend it. But, having said that, I've paid far less for much better at many places Los Angeles. My wife even commented that she much prefers the lobster risotta at Blair's in Silverlake.

Other highlights from our trip. We had brunch at the Hotel Del Coronado which is definitely a place you should visit. Oh, and that's me with a giraffe in the picture. If you closely, you'll see that I'm saying the word "GIRAFFE."


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