Commentary by Lynne Christopher:
Doesn’t seem quite right that new restaurant owner, Terryl Gavre, continues to write restaurant reviews two local magazines. The conflict of interest is clear. This is not just about her breakfast joint downtown. She is now involved with celebrity chef Carl Schroeder who needs all the local and national media he can get.
A restaurant reviewer with any kind of professionalism, integrity and honesty would resign immediately and decide just exactly which job she is doing and follow the rules of good journalism.
P.S. There is a reason why high quality publications and especially newspapers have very strict guidelines about conflicts of interest and taking freebies.
Buzz settled in to an apartment in the 6th arrondisement of Paris and for its location, it was superb and something different instead of the usual hotel living. To experience the French way of life, one must be flexible, Tthe apartment was wonderfully quiet, so quiet the drip of the leaking cold water faucet in the bathroom could be heard in the night…even with the door closed. For a shower, it was necessary to turn on the hot water in the sink so that the hot water in the shower could flow. Small things, one can laugh about. Don’t assume that the WC (toilet) will be in the same room as the shower as many of the older apartments continue to have them separate.
The tiny kitchen had a glass cooktop, and in place of the small oven, the owner decided on a small dishwasher…amusing again, as it brings out the creative side of cooking with only a microwave and a toaster! Was it fun? Absolutely. Did I entertain 10 people at the apartment? You bet. Paris has good take-away places with all kinds of foods available. On my tiny street, I found pasta, potstickers and pastries, all from different tiny stores and all very good.
Only a block away from the apartment is the Bon Marche and you can buy everything from produce, wine, meat, poultry, Italian and French salami, breads, pastries, and food to go…Think of it as a food emporium similar to but larger than La Jolla’s newest market, Bristol Farms.
Buzz hopped a plane for Paris, France to spend a month enjoying all that is French. Weather is gorgeous and the food terrific in its simplicity and presentation. San Diego restaurants could take a lesson from the servers in cafes and brasseries…always top notch, unobtrusive and worth every euro (tips are included in the check, and one can usually leave an extra bit of change if desired).
The Sunday market on Blvd. Raspail is all organic, that includes flavorful roasted chickens and a dazzling array of fresh seafood and fish (scallops and oysters in their shell), meat, cheeses and of course produce. One can eat their way through the market, or shop to take to the apartment as I did. The roasted chicken made a few meals with friends and the eggs I bought along with the fresh mushrooms (yes, there are mushrooms beyond white ones we are familiar with) will be made into a simple omelet for a light dinner.
Addison at The Grand Del Mar, the latest Doug Manchester creation just off Highway 56, is quite simply, unlike any property here in San Diego. Massive in scale, the stand alone restaurant almost feels like a lavish hotel with its high and ornate ceilings, intricate stone and woodwork, archways, porticos and views of the golf course. Named after a 1920’s Florida architect, Addison Mizner, the restaurant and its decor encompass much of Mizner’s work in Florida according to a book on Florida architecture given to the media. Buzz does wonder what the big deal is with Florida architecture in southern California…how did “Papa” Manchester become so entralled with Addison Mizner?
While we’ve not yet had a meal there, the menu is short as the restaurant gets up to speed with five entrees and five pre courses ranging in price from $14 to $46 and a six course tasting menu for $95. Some menu items: prawns with lemon-lime jam, white nectarines and sweet garlic confit, and bass with bacon-lobster fricassee, arugula and preserved lemon.
Buzz loved the staff who are trained in the European style of attentiveness and knowledge without being intrusive to the diner. The wine selection of nearly 2000 bottles is run by sommelier Jesse Rodriguez who arrived fresh from Thomas Keller’s French Laundry. Management’s attention to details was noteworthy though the simplicity of the three page menu was marred by three glaring typos that we trust have been corrected. Addison, 5200 Grand Del Mar Way, 858-314-1900, Dinner only, Wednesday through Sunday.
A recent trip to the east coast found me asking a gentleman leaving his Oppenheimer office in Portsmouth, New Hampshire where to have a good fish dinner in a casual place where I could sit at at the bar in my flip flops and not feel out of place. He’s a regular at Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Cafe that fit the bill for me perfectly. I had a glass of Basa, one of my favorite Spanish whites while muching on fried calamari with smoked tomato and roasted chili sauce and lemon vinaigrette. My bill was $16 and it was terrific. There’s a full bar, and the place is comfortable with a slightly funky feel, but clearly a locals hangout for their raw bar with oysters, shrimp and littleneck clams and entrees including haddock piccata, fishermans’s stew and grilled or pan seared red snapper, Arctic char and others. The most expensive item is $24. 150 Congress Street, Portsmouth NH, 603-766-FISH. www.jumpinjays.com
For an enjoyable and very intresting evening–beyond the usual wine dinners that many restaurants offer–1500 Ocean at the Hotel Del Coronado offers something different in October and November. Their first one in September was great fun that included a buffalo milk mozzarella tasting with the owner/cheesemakers at Bubalus Bubalis (Latin for water buffalo) and the owners/growers of Crows Pass Farm Organic Produce.
Join their Octoberfest beer dinner on October 3. Quaff samplings from local breweries, Karl Strauss and Stone Brewing Company, while you enjoy Chef Jason Shaeffer’s favorite family recipes in a menu that matches well with the beers. To go with the spirit of a beerfest, food will be served family style at the table…No oompah music however, just the sound of the waves at the beach and some very good food.
On November 7, the farmer, the vintner and the chef get together for an evening of tastings and special menu. Shaeffer, along with one of his local farmers who supplies produce to him, and winemaker Chuck Carlson of Curtis Winery will be on hand for the evening.
Both dinners are $75 with limited seating. Reservations are a must at 619-522-8490, www.dine1500ocean.comhttp://www.dine1500ocean.com
Buzz learned that well-known U-T food writer, Maria Hunt recently spent a weekend in a wine exam at the Napa Valley Culinary Institute of America. We know she easily distinguished the Bordeaux from the Burgundy….
And if you’d like to hone your wine skills, check out the programs offered at the CIA, http://www.ciachef.edu/california/wines.asp.
Zensei in North Park is a favorite among the locals. Here you can sit at the sushi bar and listen to the chefs speak Spanish as they create nouveau fusion rolls (many with cream cheese–too over-the-top fusion for me). This restaurant, in 2005, was a finalist (along with winner Café Japengo) in the First Annual California State Sushi Competition where fusion reigns in the presentation and ingredients.
At this comfortable corner restaurant two of us found a menu with everything from oysters on the half shell and tempura jalapenos filled with crab and cream cheese to standard nigiri and quirky rolls such as pizza (baked smoked salmon, avocado and dynamite sauce) and yellow submarine (eel, crab, cream cheese, avocado, golden tempura and eel sauce, with a slice of jalapeno if you desire). Imitation crab is used, though the real thing can be substituted. Not your purist place.
We enjoyed crunchy roll with shrimp tempura, crab, cucumber, cream cheese (avocado substitutes for the cream cheese). Also pleasant was the crunchy salmon roll with cucumber, gobo and bonito flakes. These rolls run $ 9 to $11. If fish isn’t your thing, the kitchen produces a multitude of noodle, chicken and meat dishes with unusual twists. Service is attentive and the room is hopping most of the night. Monday through Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. is happy hour. 3396 30th St. at Upas, North Park, 619-546-6171. www.zenseisushi.com
Good fresh sushi can dent a budget so a couple of enterprising guys, grads from UCSD, Andrew Berlin and Gino Thiers, figured they could serve innovative sushi by deleting the customary sushi bar, thus saving on overhead. They created Sushi-Fix, in Carlsbad, a mostly take-out and delivery place, with a small sit-down area, in the Vons shopping center, just a few signals away from La Costa and the Forum shopping area. Thiers sold his share to Berlin and moved to San Francisco leaving Berlin solo. Their second location in Little Italy at the corner of Cedar and India Street is larger and perfect for the urban neighborhood.
A couple of things I really like about Sushi-Fix: you can order half rolls (4 pieces instead of 8) so you’re able to enjoy a greater variety of flavors; though they use surimi (imitation crab), you can substitute real crab for an additional $1.25 per roll; and they present many of the rolls a bit differently by putting some main ingredients on top instead of in the rolls. For example: the Red Head roll is shrimp tempura with crab and topped with spicy tuna and tempura shavings. The Cobra roll has spicy tuna and avocado with unagi on top and a slather of eel sauce. A salmon skin handroll is crunch with the skin, cucumber, avocado and spouts and a simple salad of peeled, seeded, halved and thinly sliced cucumbers with a light vinegar dressing makes a good counterpoint to the various rolls. Two pieces of hamachi (yellowtail) sushi are fresh and buttery…the rice under each piece is without the dab of wasabi, which is served on the side with pickled ginger so you can add your own level of heat. Most of the specialty rolls run $6.50 to $9.50 for 8 pieces, figure about half that for 4 pieces. Nigiri for 2 pieces runs $2.25 to $2.95. All the food is very fresh and made to order–just in the kitchen–not in front of you. If you do eat in, it’s on paper plates. 7720 El Camino Real, Suite B, Carlsbad, 760-632-8787, 1608 India St., Little Italy, 619-237-7878 www.sushi-fix.com.
Ibis Food Mart in Mission Hills is a neighborhood market with homemade hummus laced with sesame seeds. The lunch crowd gets sandwiches or my favorite, a garlic-laden tabbouleh. I found their baba ganoosh a thicker version with lots of tahini. The store also stocks ingredients for Middle Eastern cuisine. 1112 Fort Stockton Drive, 298-5081. Open daily from 9 a.m.