San Diego is very green, and you forget how close it is to the desert:
But this guy is a reminder:
Up until recently, I am told, the city was not noted for its food. I went one evening to a Mexican restaurant named Candelas, and found out why. The food here was good, the wine-by-the-glass excellent, and the service elegant. But I was depressed by a party of six, who ordered enormous plates of food and scarfed it all down before my soup came. I don't know if they were military or athletes or what, but the mere sight made me feel slightly queasy. And they're the customers. No wonder the plates are full of food to the point that you face the main courses with apprehension in your heart.
I ordered two primi: a black bean soup made with beer, which was terrific -- lots of complex flavours -- the black beans, pretty much as expected, and then a nice dark beery finish. Then, an avocado and shrimp concoction that tasted more of lime than of the seafood or fruit.
The next night, Jonathan and I tried The Linkery, a restaurant that advertises single-source everything, and having been to Chez Panisse and Cowbell recently, I thought it would be interesting. Jonathan even had a coupon for a free main course.
The Linkery turned out to be an industrial looking restaurant, which had just moved into new quarters:
Single sourcing is at new heights here. They even tell you how the paper is made and where it comes from:
We ordered a charcuterie plate to share, and then lamb. The charcuterie itself was very good -- from top to bottom, landjager, bresaola, copa -- but it was the accompaniments that made this plate:
Each carrot, date, walnut was full of flavour and it was all that I could do to leave Jonathan his fair share. And a wonderfully inky, deep tasting Nebbiolo from Mexico. The main was breast of lamb with merguez, the former tasting milky and the latter perfectly spiced with pepper (but no turmeric that I detected). A great Bordeaux-style blend called Chukker accompanied. (It's wonderful being in California, where one regularly drinks wine of quality that one would go broke for in Canada.) Like Chez Panisse, the vegetables were terrific; unlike CP and Cowbell, the meat was good enough, but not memorable.
With dessert, another first: a dessert beer. An edifying end to a most enjoyable evening.