Taste of Downtown San Diego 2007 Part2/2
Our Taste of Downtown adventure continued as we trekked down 5th St.
Henry's Pub - The same dish as last year was served here. Dennis liked the salmon, saying it had a nice brush of lemon on it but the internal temperature of the fish was cold. We skipped out on the mashed potatoes because we've already had them before and we had a long night of tasting ahead of us!
Aqua Blue - This was a seafood wanton with shrimp and scallop inside. The wanton was boring and the yucky sauce didn't add anything to it.
Bella Luna - Dennis tried the samples here, which was just spaghetti and sauce. The servers were very stingy on the portions, by giving only THREE pieces of noodle and hardly any sauce. It was hardly enough to sample but since it tasted bad anyway, it worked out so that we didn't have to waste food by throwing the rest away.
Alambres - We thought this was one of the worst samples of the night. The chicken in the fajita mix was very dry and bland and overall it was oily. If this was an example of the type of food this place serves, we'd never come there again. The beans and rice were normal, ordinary side dishes so we didn't try them, especially after tasting the chicken.
Dakota Grill - This was another favorite of ours! Even though the rich pizza was a little bit cheesy on top, the sweet onion flavor really made this dish stand out to us. I don't remember what else was inside but the perfectly cooked crust and the overall taste were hard to put down! We should have grabbed another but we'll do that when we dine here in the future!
Mai Tai Tiki Hut - The chicken and rice portion was not very appealing and the taste reflected that. On the other hand, the sauce for the dumpling was quite nice and complimented the dumpling. I heard from other tasters that the food was good, but apparently the samples didn't live up to their reputation for that night. Though, a few of us have eaten here before and the food is usually very good.
Gaslamp Tavern - Even though the right wing was flavored with teriyaki, it had a tinge of spice on it. The buffalo wings were definitely more spicy and we had to get water after eating it. Between the two, the meat on the buffalo wing was better but that's more likely the fault of the wing used, not the flavor and cooking.
Belo - What a disappointment this year! Last year this macaroni dish was very good but this year, it seemed like all the flavor was forgotten and the pasta sauce had been drained from the dish. That was puzzling to us!
Yard House - We thought this eggroll was very memorable. It had a perfect blend of ingredients inside, with just the right amount of meat and veggies. The outside wasn't as crisp as it should have been but that's due to the serving bins and the fact that it was already 3 hours into the night. I'd definitely recommend trying this fresh out of the kitchen.
Ra Sushi Bar - Like last year, this sushi roll was awesome. A new sample this year was the chicken wing sprinkled with sesame seeds on the left. The chicken wing had a great subtle sweet flavor and quite a bit of spiciness... we had to run off to grab some water to cool off the flavor but we did enjoy it!
House of Blues - This dish was a lot better than the awfully seasoned cajan catfish from last year. The shrimp was paired with cornbread and drizzled with sauce. The overall taste was decent. The dessert was a banana nut kind of cake and was very good. It was a moderate sweetness and the scattered nuts added a touch of crunch. Dennis couldn't stop eating it!
Stout Public House - The shepherds pie was fresh out of the oven when we received ours. It was extremely cheesy on top and the insides were very meaty, without much, if any, vegetables. I like shepherds pie with more ingredients so this one didn't fall in my favor. Also, we were getting full by this point of the night so we may not have been able to enjoy it as well as we should have.
Sixth Avenue Bistro - The jambalaya was decent at this restaurant. The tomato-based sauce was flavorful and the vegetables were tender. Despite rapidly converging into full stomachs, I couldn't resist the chicken pieces because they were succulent and perfectly cooked!
Le Cake Chateau - More desserts! Both were like normal pastries with a difference of toppings. The lemon flavor was decent but the strawberry one was much better. The pink cream was very fluffy though and it would have been nice if the strawberry were bigger. ;)
------------------- LITTLE ITALY -------------------
After this last location, we rejoined our group of friends to head out to Little Italy. Unfortunately, we didn't look at the map too carefully so we parked very far away from the center of the Little Italy tastings and had to do much walking.
Karl Strauss - This was the beer tasting place for this year's Taste of Downtown. The Karl Strauss beers were on tap for sampling. A few in our group liked the Red Trolley the best.
Petrini's - The meatballs here were fabulous! Even full, we couldn't stop munching on them. They also served cannoli, which is a sweet italian pastry shaped like a mini tube with a cream filling. Both ends were accented with a cherry.
Indigo Grill - It was a creamy buttery thing with fish on top but we didn't really like it all that much. It looks interesting though!
Buon Appetito - The pasta here was not that great but we did let the dish get a little cold before tasting.
It's a Grind Coffee Shop - Neither of us are coffee drinkers so we didn't have much input here. Our other group didn't mention anything special about this place either. Vincenzo Once again, very bland red pasta. It was minutes until 9pm so they were about ready to close up for the night. The pasta wasn't that fresh to begin with. Another friend of ours had tried it when it was fresher but he commented that even then, it was awful.
Chi Chocolat - Not much of a sampling at this place. We were hoping there'd be some of their specialty chocolates available to sample but there were only chocolate covered strawberries. The strawberries were nicely presented though, with the lighter chocolate wrapped around the dark! It did taste great in the mouth!
-------------------FINALLY DONE! -------------------
In the end, we hit up over 30 participating restaurants this year. Not too bad since there were only two reviewers and we almost always traveled together.