Monday, July 16, 2007

Uvas Bar

I have family in town right now and so we are doing a mini trip of California, Disney, Yosemite, Big Sur and Santa Barbara, I will aim to keep updating with our culinary encounters along the way.

Disney, as I have posted before has pretty terrible eating in the park itself (although the new Pirates of the Caribbean Restaurant did look rather exciting, if not perhaps worth the wait. We decided to go out to Disney Village for our dinner and settled on the Uvas bar which has outdoor seating in the center of the Downtown Disney area. For a party of six with certain requirements this small menu did really well at fitting the bill- let me tell you what we have to contend with:
Two vegetarians, one pretty fussy eater, one person who doesn't like pasta and two people who really like their meat- this can be pretty tricky to accommodate everyone and not eat pizza every night. The Uvas bar was perfect however and we ordered- mezze platter and a wonderful manchego salad for the veggies, margharita pizza for the fussy and then a steak and a burger for he two two meat lovers, with the remaining two getting roast chicken and fries. The food was actually really very good - and although the price tag was a little high, it was not outrageous for Disney, and certainly had the quality to go with it. Best of ll was the atmosphere, sitting out surrounded by the many fairy lights of Downtown Disney and feeling quite the tourist- it was the perfect start to what should be a wonderful holiday.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Mc P's Irish Pub

I don't know why, but wherever one lives one inevitably gets into certain routines and forgets about some of the great places nearby to visit. For us this is the case with Coronado- for some reason we almost never make the trip across that spectacular bridge although it really is only 5 minutes away down the I-5. This is one of the great things about having guests - you take them to places you might often brush over.
We recently had a guest in town for 10 days, and as such most of the tourist spots got hit, including Coronado. I felt so awful that we had neglected this great place for so long- the beautiful long beach with sand so soft and fine, the irresolute Hotel Del and the sidewalk cafes that pose a reasonable imitation of Europe.
Walking along the main strip after a moseying around the Hotel Del's shops and ice cream parlor
we came upon Mc P's Irish Pub, which seemed like a nice place to sit out in the sun with a cold beer (why there are not more beer gardens in our sunny San Diego I will never understand) , so we stepped inside. There was live music playing, and the pub although not really being very Irish was one of the better imitations I have seen. The service was slightly brusk and disgruntled (making my wife feel at home) and the beer was great. Most importantly the chips (french fries) were really very good. We have searched long and hard for good chips in San Diego and the pervading scent of malt vinegar told us that these were ones we should try. Thick cut, very moist and squishy, these were getting close to the perfect British (or UK-ish) chips we are so fond of. Mostly however, Mc Ps was just a very pleasant place for a drink, sitting in the semi shade of the over head trees, listening to the live guitar music we were glad we had guests and glad we made the trip to the island.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I usually try to keep this blog relating to all things culinary- we do restaurant reviews, post recipes and talk about awesome food purchases (plus review our own home cooked meals). So keeping with the culinary theme, here is a movie review, on the awesome new Pixar movie Ratatouille.
The film, for those of you who don't know, is based around a rat, who has a burning desire to be a chef- and was absolutely hilarious (and quite touching). It is definitely my fave of the animated movies to date (partly perhaps because although I am not a scuba diver - Finding Nemo- I am a cook, love food and have worked in a kitchen. The depiction of the kitcehn with the evil master chef and other side characters was spot on (well as spot on as a movie about a rat who can cook could be). There were lots of little side foodie jokes (I love the fact that the villain was a guy who wanted to manufacture frozen foods), and most importantly the culinary parts, pairings, recipes etc all seemed to make sense. In fact the ratatouille that is the climax of the movie really did look quite delicious.

I urge all of you food loving readers to head out and see this great movie soon!

Saturday, July 07, 2007


We recently went to try out the new Hillcrest eatery 'Bite' located where the Living Room used to be and right next to Baja Betty's- in fact they did such a quick turn around I didn't even notice the Living Room had left (although perhaps I am not very observant). The menu is tapas and a sharing philosophy ( although don't be expecting the cheap prices of Apertivo).

The first thing of note was the decor- which had been previously described to me as 'very graphic designy', this seemed about right, and indeed our graphic design dinner partner seemed fairly impressed. The lighting was dim, with a small light in the center of each table illuminating a floating gerber daisy- nice center piece, but not so practical, the light being electronically placed we couldn't move the flower vase which is perhaps not the ideal design in a restaurant that advocates sharing several plates of food amongst your party.

Next thing up was to order our food- we went for a cheese plate, eggplant with beets and boursin, a grilled cheese baguette with mushrooms and a pizza with peaches and proscuitto to share between the four of us. Something which I found interesting was that unlike other tapas restaurants I have been to, the plates all arrived separately, one after the other (in no particular order), this was actually a nice touch and lead to a long enjoyable meal, trying nibbles of a variety of dishes without getting too full.
The food was all excellent, with the cheese baguette and the eggplant dish being our two favorites (the boursin was so creamy and perfect). The mini pizza was a little disappointing as where our champagne cocktails- a specialty of Bite, who in fact hosts a champagne cocktail happy hour nightly. Each of us tried a different cocktail, one with Rose, one elderflower and one raspberry- none were impressed and we quickly switched to wine. The other major lowlight of the evening were the bathrooms, these were very clean and beautifully designed, and the mens bathroom seemed great to me. However in their bathroom the girls found a large fish tank with three fish in, one of whom was definitely dying, swimming around the bottom of the tank with scale rot. This depressing sight (coupled with the lack of plants, and pebbles in the fish tank) really put a downer on the girls evening and they returning to the table one by one more than a little sadly.

Bite was a fun night out, the food was top quality, but the prices still seemed a little high for tapas. I hope that if we do come back we can avoid the spectacle of dying animals.