I've lived in San Diego for about 10 years now but still love discoving new things about this beautiful city of ours. I was invited to spend a Saturday afternoon touring downtown Carlsbad along with a few local food blogger friends, both old and new, through the Carlsbad Food Tour.
Our gracious guide and the founder of the Carlsbad Food Tour is Cherimarie Poulos. She leads this easygoing journey through downtown Carlsbad and filled us with bites and fun little history bits throughout. I'll preview the places we visited but will leave the historic details for visitors to experience themselves!
The first stop of our tour was at Caldo Pomodoro, which means hot tomato. Their buttery garlic bread has won awards from SD magazine and can be dipped into a chunky flavorful marinara. I heard very good things about their sauces too. After sampling the famous garlic bread as well as their baked artichoke hearts, we settled inside to hear more history of the restaurant as well as some of the famous visitors who have stopped in for a bite!
Dennis emailed me about Urbane Cafe that recently opened in Mira Mesa and it sounded vaguely familiar... in fact I recall receiving a free sandwich coupon in the mail. Score! I also had a strange feeling of deja vu... finally realizing Dennis had taken me to "urban" cafe (as I incorrectly recall it) in Linda Vista a few years back. This means it's definitely time for a revisit!
We parked only a few spots away from the entrance. The parking lot to the restaurant is huge because it is shared with Fresh & Easy, Bevmo, and a splatter of smaller restaurants and businesses off Mira Mesa Blvd and Camino Santa Fe.
Dennis's little brother joined us for lunch that day. A foodie in the works! We suggested chicken and beef initially but he wanted something from the vegetarian section. I asked him if he had ever eaten a portabella mushroom before. NEVER he said with his eyes wide open. And that's what he picked!
At my day job, my office is relatively close to the kitchenette. Every time I enter that area, I eye the huge snack box by the microwave. It's filled with candy, cookies and other snacks for 75 cents but I typically resist the urge for sugary, processed food. Some days though, I give in because I'm going snack-crazy and I don't even know what I should be snacking on instead.
My eyes totally lit up when I found this email for doing a product review on Golden Island Jerky. Snacks are constantly evolving to meet the newest food trends and the addition of protein is one of those positives I can see myself agreeing to!
Golden Island pitches their products as handcrafted and gluten-free as well as individually sliced and marinaded. These are then fire-grilled or kettle-cooked to maximize their intense flavors and bring out a moist, tender texture.
The mother-in-law recently hit a big milestone birthday so the whole family got together to celebrate. We took her to Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar to satisfy her seafood craving. It was a large party of 9, once you add in the parents, sisters, their spouses, little brother and us. A big group means more food to try!
We had a reservation and were seated at a roomy table by the window. Plenty of natural light comes in during the day due to the huge windows. The lunchtime menu is only one page and does not have any options for kids. The waitress suggested sharing one of the sandwiches for the little brother.
As a starter, Dennis and I ordered the Clam Chowder. This was a chunky and savory chowder that included potato and bacon strips as well as the usual clams. It was seriously one of the best chowders we've had in a while. The little brother had never eaten this type of soup before and kept asking for more and more. It was also accompanied by these hearty cheddar biscuits that we broke into pieces to dip in the chowder. At least, that’s how I’d eat it.
We like a drink when we go out. Our drinks of choice are made with spirits. I love the girlie drinks (Taste N Tinis is one of my fav events) while Dennis loves the whiskey and tequila drinks... though I often take a sip or more. To each their own.
We also happen to have a well stocked bar at home, which turned out to be perfect for a package I received in the mail...
Such a pretty package for a book review made me giddy with excitement! Look at those red striped straws on the side!
Our new books included Cocktails for Cougars and Cowgirls and This Girl Minds Her P's & Q's.
It’s Taco Tuesday! Undecided of where to go? We wandered over to La Puerta in downtown San Diego to check out their Taco Tuesday specials.
Ask for the complimentary chips and salsa to start. These chips are fried as thick as pita chips and go well with the fabulous salsas here. The red salsa is almost like a V8 flavor and thickness (in a good way) but on the slightly sweeter side. The green salsa is of a medium consistency made with serrano and tomatillo plus you can taste a bit of the lime in there. I can't even think of another place I like better.
To celebrate Taco Tuesday, we decided to order every taco flavor available.
Our friends were in town visiting for a wedding and invited us to join them for a late dinner. We met them at Seasons 52 in the Seaport Village, a short walk from their hotel next door. It was also a special night because they just celebrated their 5 year anniversary the night before!
The hostess led us to our seats inside. It's dimly lit in the restaurant during the evenings. There's also an outdoor patio that looks quite comfortable with firepits and lounge chairs, but the nights have cooled down enough that it felt chilly wearing a skirt. I don't have any pics because it was a bit too dark around the restaurant.
We were handed a menu to browse. At the top it stated "Week of Sept 1" so suddenly it clicked how the menu and restaurant name fit together! The current autumn menu is attached at the end of the post. The menu is divided into sections and on the far right is the chef's recommendations if you need suggestions.
We ordered the Trio of Roasted Mushrooms Flatbread as an appetizer.
The biannual San Diego Restaurant Week is a promotion we look forward to due to our ever growing "to do" list of restaurants. This year we were invited to preview the SDRW menu at Sbicca in beautiful Del Mar. This restaurant has been around for almost 18 years so they are doing something right!
Sbicca is only a stone's throw away from the ocean. There's two main seating areas on the lower level plus an additional upstairs patio that provides a better view of the ocean.
There was still some natural light outside so we chose to sit in this cozy side area. We were welcomed by Danny, the bar manager/assistant floor manager, and Amanda, the managing partner of Sbicca.
We started the night right with the Strawberry Basil Lemonade cocktail, a drink special created for SDRW by Danny and Amanda.