Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Donut Bar - Downtown San Diego

Donut Bar - Downtown SD Oh, Donut Bar...  I had such high hopes for you.  I hoped you would deliver something on the same level as Dynamo Donuts in San Francisco, or Doughnut Plant in New York City...  but  alas...
March 2013On my first trip, I will admit I might not have picked a very good day to visit.  Every single doughnut offered  was brown.  There were creme brulee ones filled with pastry cream, chocolate and maple with bacon, chocolate cake doughnuts and apple fritters.  You can see the full selection above.  The creme brulee was interesting because of the hard crunchy caramelized sugar top but the pastry cream inside didn't taste like creme brulee.
March 2013Maple bacon is a stellar flavor combination but the flaccid pieces of bacon draped over the top of these doughnuts were anything but appetizing - not to mention hard to eat.  (Great Maple is killing these, by the way.)
March 2013
The rest of the doughnuts I tried that day were no better than anything you'd find in an ordinary doughnut shop.
March 2013
On a second visit, I tried the blood orange, the "birthday cake" and a peanut butter and jelly bar. The blood orange was by far the best, with good strong citrus flavor in the glaze and a fluffy tender texture.  I'm not crazy about the thick glaze they put on their old fashioned doughnuts, but the doughnut itself was fine.
Donut Bar The "birthday cake" flavor was plain a vanilla cake doughnut with colored sprinkles.  The peanut butter frosting was pleasingly salty, but I was chagrined to find the doughnut filled with artifically flavored and colored bulk quality "jelly."
Donut Bar
 Donut Bar If you're going to charge $3. for a doughnut you should really do better than that.

Donut Bar
631 B St
Downtown San Diego
check their Facebook page for their daily menu and updates.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fathom Bistro, Bait & Tackle - Point Loma

March 2013 Are you a fan of both craft beer and the Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou?  Well then, I have just the place for you.  A bait shack and beer bar located on the west side of Shelter Island, overlooking the San Diego Bay.  Not only is the tiny paneled dining room smartly turned out in dark blue with a collection of undersea themed movie posters, a bookshelf full of National Geographic back issues and vintage diving equipment - but the craft beer selection rivals any other establishment in town.  That is not surprising considering the owner, Dennis Borlek, was one of the original cooks at the Liar's Club and managed Hamilton's before moving on to the Monkey Paw and ultimately landing here.
Fathom Bistro, Bait & Tackle When we walked up we were greeted by Dennis, dressed in an elaborate pirate outfit - who stamped our hands with a squid logo.  We entered the dimly lit space and felt like we were on a submarine - it's about the size of an RV, with the only light coming from a picture window overlooking the bay and one large yellow industrial light fixture hanging from the ceiling.  The bar in front of the window is a perfect place to enjoy the view - especially at sunset - but there are a few blonde wood tables too.  Very few - in fact I think three is the exact number.  There are a few tables outside as well with a view of the city - and yes - an actual bait  shop opening onto the pier.  
Fathom Bistro, Bait & Tackle I'm guessing it gets crowded on weekend nights, but on Sundays they close at 8, so it was pretty low key with just one or two other tables occupied. We sat by the window and enjoyed a Russian River Damnation and a Bear Republic Red Rocket with a classic blue cheese wedge salad, a burger and an Italian sausage sandwich.  They make the sausages in house, and I think they are probably what they do best - though the pulled pork sandwich with housemade kimchi sounded promising too.  They also do Baja style hot dogs, including a loaded version with kimchi and pepperjack.
Fathom Bistro, Bait & Tackle
I had a burger craving, so I ordered the Fathom Burger - it was a good traditional burger - but it was a little bit difficult to eat since it was served on a sausage roll.  The Italian sausage with marinara and provolone was fantastic and the wedge salad was a classic specimen - chilled and crisp with tangy dressing and chunks of bacon and cherry tomatoes.  It would be nice if they offered a few nibble style things to go with the beer - maybe some nuts, pickled vegetables or olives, or even a good grilled cheese.  As it stands everything on the menu includes meat, so bear that in mind if traveling with vegetarians.
Burger at Fathom BistroAll in all though, the best thing about Fathom is that it feels special. It reminds me of one of those tiny ski chalets on the mountain that feels like a secret spot.  They play great music, they have a killer beer selection and serve good food in a cozy atmosphere.  It's a great spot for a date (it was in fact part of a "date day" that I had planned for James) particularly considering you can walk along the water before or after you stop in for your beer.  It would also be a fun place for out-of-towners since it kills two birds - the view of the city and the craft beer scene in one swoop.  You could even stop by the Bali Hai afterwards for Mai Tais - assuming you have nowhere to be the next morning...

Fathom Bistro, Bait & Tackle
1776 Shelter Island Drive
On the fishing pier toward the west end of the Island
across from the Best Western.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Because Everyone Loves a Good Sandwich

Clockwise from top left:  lobster roll at B&G Oysters, Boston; the Sam at Stein's Deli in NOLA; Steak Sandwich at Gjelina in LA; Bahn Mi at Out the Door in SF; Grilled Cheese at Hog Island Oysters in SF; the Schnitzelwich at Tabor in Portland; the Lobster BLT at B&G Oysters; Turkey and swiss with avocado and tarragon mustard at Rubicon Deli in SD, the Tabor cart in Portland.

IMHO, nothing but nothing beats a good sandwich for satisfaction. Inspired by Bon Appetit's latest issue, here is my own top ten list of favorite (non burger) sandwiches both outside and inside San Diego. What are some of yours??

 1. The Shrimp Toast at Son of a Gun in LA
 2. Momofuku pork buns in NYC
 3. Hog Island Oyster grilled cheese in SF
 4. Fried Chicken at Son of a Gun
 5. The Sam at Stein's Deli in NOLA 
 6. Bahn Mi at Out the Door in SF
 7. Schnitzelwich at Tabor in Portland
 8. Roli Roti Porchetta at the Ferry Building Farmers Market in SF
 9. The lobster roll or lobster BLT at B&G Oysters in Boston
 10. The steak sandwich at Gjelina in LA

 Favorite sandwiches in San Diego: 

 1. Triple Threat Pork sandwich at Carnitas’ Snack Shack
 2.  Fried Chicken on a Cream Cheese & Chive Biscuit at Tiger! Tiger! (Sunday only)
 3. Crab sandwich at Point Loma Seafoods.
 4. Turkey with swiss, tarragon mustard and avocado on a dutch crunch roll at Rubicon Deli
 5. Roast beef with goat cheese and red onion at Con Pane.
 6. The No. 9 (bbq pork) bahn mi at K sandwiches (ask for double meat & extra pickle.)
 7. Porchetta at Ariccia Italian Market in La Jolla
 8. Provencal vegetable sandwich at Cafe Zinc
 9. ABLT at Prep Kitchen in Little Italy 
 10. Chargrilled fresh fish torta at El Pescador.

Edit:  Great minds think alike I guess - Candice also posted a list of the "Iconic Sandwiches of San Diego" on Eater San Diego today, and we had many of the same ones on our lists!  Here's to good taste  ;)

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