Sunday, November 05, 2006

Forgot the Camera...

...and damn, it’s nice to have pictures when doing restaurant write-ups. What do they say? A thousand words becomes a photograph or picture can be mentioned with a thousand words. Something like that. Anyhow, except for the normal lunch spots (take and eat) and work lunches at the normal chains (PF Chang’s, Red Blobster, Chili’s if you can believe it and Rock Bottom (I liked the Brown Ale but the bar appetizers? – ehh and overpriced.)), eating out has been happening pretty rarely. There is something about those $100+ dinners that doesn’t seem worth it. But, I know there are a lot of relatively inexpensive gems out there to try…

Yet, I’ve got a couple to mention: First up, La Bastide Bistro in the old Vons shopping center in Scripps Ranch. Looks like that old Vons is getting a makeover. So someday soon we’ll refer to it as the new old Vons in Scripps Ranch. I read on Chowhound that the chef that started things up there has moved on. I guess that doesn’t really matter for lunch. We stopped in on a recent Saturday to enjoy lunch on their patio (yes, overlooking that Vons parking lot) to have their crêpes: Chicken Breast, Tomato, Basil Pesto and Cheese ($9) and a Smoked Salmon, Dill and Lemon ($11). These come with a green salad so at that price you definitely get a delicious and filling lunch. We also started off with a cheese plate ($12) that was just so-so. I wouldn’t bother with it again. Hopefully this place draws in a good weekday lunch crowd (there are a lot of office buildings nearby), but the Saturday lunch crowd wasn’t a crowd at all. They only had 3 other tables occupied when we were there.

Things are equally as slow in Encinitas on Sunday nights – specifically at Meritage Restaurant. (Smooth segue accomplished!) Why Meritage? Well we had a gift certificate burning a hole in our pocket – plus we liked that tasty Shrimp and Lobster Bisque at the taste of event a couple of months ago. The fact that it was bitterly washed down with a 7-11 slurpee did not deter us.

The menu looks great: we started off with a bowl of that famous bisque (yum!) for The L (which is that annoyingly cute way I refer to my dining partner and wife – Oh how I ate that when I see Chowhounders do that) and now back to the food, we also got a starter plate of Chicken Goat Cheese Spring Rolls (either $8 or $10) which weren’t quite as expected, but really good (wrapped with a pastry type wrap and served up with a plum sauce.) I washed these down with a glass of Stone IPA – I guess you can take a brewery tour in Escondido.

After that bisque the desire for saturated fat was at an all time high, so The L got the Seafood Mac and Cheese (about $21) that came with good-sized pieces of lobster, large shrimp and small scallops. I was in the mood for steak so I passed up some other interesting options for the 8 oz filet mignon with garlic-mashed potatoes ($29). Yum – hey it’s steak. I think it had gorgonzola cheese and then came with some asparagus wrapped in bacon.

We weren’t full yet, and the gift card wasn’t used up so we finished with a chocolate dome cake filled with chocolate mousse and since I was driving I got an espresso chocolate martini. A great way to end the dinner. Overall, a good meal – I’d say Meritage is a nice neighborhood spot – service was friendly, prices weren’t out of this world (and much cheaper if you stopped in for lunch – mostly salads and sandwiches with a few low priced lunch entrees). They do a few deals during the week: 50% off select bottles of wine on Monday and Wednesday and then all bar food is half off 4pm - 6:30pm every night of the week.

Taste of?
Did anyone go to any of the “Taste of…” events last month? I missed them all. And damn, those free tickets to that wine and food fest next weekend didn’t come through either.

Jack’s in La Jolla
Next up a report on Jack’s Grille. I guess I signed up on their email list and they say: “Jack's VIP Members dine Sunday through Wednesday at Jack's and receive a 20% Discount. In addition, they enjoy our VIP Half Priced Wine List on Sundays and Mondays.” Just email them to become a VIP member and they give you a card the next time you are there. Sweet!

1 Comments:

Anonymous Captain Jack said...

Hey Scott,
I am looking forward to your report on Jack's Grill. I realy dig the dining room.

November 05, 2006 6:41 PM  

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