Sunday, April 22, 2007

Lot 81

Our copy of Uptown magazine has expired before our new magazine has arrived. In desperation therefore of somewhere new to eat, and a coupon to help us out with cost we turned to another coupon publication: Get1free . Browsing through the pages we discovered a restaurant/bar that we had noticed a few times on Morena blvd called Lot 81. That part of Morena really is an ugly area of town, and yet the place looked interesting and on more than one occasion we had thought of stepping in to give it a try- here was our chance.
Driving up to Lot 81 Morena Blvd looked sadder than ever, a dreary gray of concrete and chain stores, our moods lifted however when we chanced upon parking right outside the entrance to the Lot 81, and brightened even further when we stepped inside this tasteful, brightly colored restaurant that was as airy and light as the street outside was dreary and gray. Orange furniture filled the small little space, and each table was adorned with striking floral arrangements- sounds a little extreme- it was not and the place felt extremely comfortable and welcoming, complete with a hostess who screamed with excitement when we entered, being her first customers of a very slow Saturday.
Browsing through the menu I chose a burger with pineapple and a glass of beer whilst my wife got a spinach pear and Gorgonzola salad with a glass of white wine. A few more customers came in whilst we were waiting, but the service remained very prompt and attentive and our food arrived very swiftly.
Biting into my burger I quickly discovered that this was the most tasty burger I had yet eaten in San Diego. The quality of he meat was wonderful, and cooked to perfection. The bread was a wonderful combination of toasted and fluffiness and the addition of the pineapple was really delicious. If I had to complain at all it would be simply that the burger was a little tricky to eat- but who careas about that really!
My wife's salad was equally delicious, with a fantastic raspberry vinaigrette that was not at all too sweet, as berry vinaigrettes can often be. A couple of pear slices on top had been sauted to perfection, caramelizing around the edges. The cheese was creamy and delicious and the spinach very fresh- we were impressed!
So, first of all, a big thumbs up to Lot 81 for managing to brighten up this sad corner of Linda Vista. But then I must add a hearty congratulations for serving such great food, I have to admit we weren't expecting the quality to this high and we were very happily surprised. Lot 81 is very close to my wife's work and will make a great alternative to Old Town, particularly once tourist season starts, for an after work bite.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Brunch at Cafe One Three

Trying to be a little more adventurous we journeyed out to a new brunch place this Sunday- Cafe One Three, which describes itself as an eclectic eatery and is located in University Heights on Normal Street, just by Henry's.

The menu, although a little lacking in vegetarian options, was certainly intriguing. everything from herb potato pancakes topped with American caviar, to coconut oatmeal- it took us a little while to pick what we most wanted. In the end I chose some wholewheat pancakes with blackberry syrup and sage sausage. My wife chose an omelet with Kalamata olives, feta cheese and mushrooms, which came with cottage cheese, fruit and breakfast potatoes. To drink we had some freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and a couple of cups of coffee. Everything was excellent!

Cafe One Three has yet to gain a great audience, (we certainly weren't complaining that there was no wait for a table, and indeed at 10.15 am we were the second lot of guests in the restaurant.) However the atmosphere, being so quiet was a little lacking, and the window seat table looked out at nothing more exciting than a Chevron station. Still, the service was very nice, and the presentation of everything very nice. Most impressive was, as I mentioned , the wonderful menu options, which certainly lived up to the eclectic claim- we will be excited to come back here for dinner.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


Visited Basic last night and had a lot of fun. It was a friends birthday party and she introduced us to this awesome space, right across from the ball park. The main draw of the bar is the layout - an open faced brick building, - an excellent addition to the urban Kitchen scene put together by Graham Downes Architecture (think Laurel and Chive), which makes me think of giving up thoughts of culinary school and heading into interior design instead! So much of eating out is made wonderful by the setting.
Anyhow- the bar was a lot of fun- with this almost paper-thin pizza which comes out looking way too big, but is so thin that one large pizza between three works out just fine and makes a great addition to the many beers on tap. The atmosphere was great at first- very chill and relaxed but became a little manic after the ball game got out. Suddenly 30 guests became 300 in a matter of 5 minutes- a great game and victory however led to a fun excited crowd.
Basic is said to have a great happy hour, with cheap drinks and free pizza- we will be back to check it out very soon.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A Love Affair with Spelt

Another Trader Joes product I have fallen in love with: Spelt... I just can't get enough of the stuff it is really fantastic. High in protein and fiber spelt is a healthy alternative to rice or couscous and it just tastes so great.

The first batch I made rissoto style, mixing in vegetable broth spoon by spoon, then added some dried cranberries, broiled portabellas and asparagus, garlic and goats cheese topped off with some slices of oranges- delicious!

The second batch I made in a similar way, mixing in some olive oil and balsamic vinegar along the way. I then stuffed the spelt into some pre-baked peppers and threw them in the oven for 25 minutes, topping the dish off with a little strong cheddar. Served with a simple side salad you can see the final concoction below.