Sunday, December 31, 2006


Happy New Year everyone. Or, if you prefer, Happy Nude Bear.

With this extra time off from work, I am finally getting around to the post about the December blogger meet up at Hawthorn’s in North Park. This all might seem a little familiar to you if you read the recent blog post at Oh So Yummy.

I’ll just post about a few of the food items:

Ahi Tuna Tartare with Capers & Olive Tapenade $12: This was the winning appetizer.

Stuffed Roasted Chicken Breast with Goat Cheese & Artichoke Stuffing $18: I think this is what they refer to as the “old” favorite recipe from the previous Fifth & Hawthorn restaurant.

Jumbo Diver Sea Scallops with Corn Polenta, Portabello (bello or bella?) Mushrooms & Truffle Jus $27: Seared just long enough – this was tasty but at this price point I’d expect a little more.

The place is a nice addition to the neighborhood and was busy for a weeknight. We did share a couple of desserts – I understand that they come from Heaven Sent Desserts (just a block away) so you could just have your final course there (and have a lot more selection.) All in all, I’d give the edge to The Linkery in the same neighborhood and would choose to return there before a return to Hawthorns.

Of course, stopping in for drinks and appetizers for happy hour in the bar is always possible! They do offer a “couples” menu for $65 a couple which includes entrees, a shared appetizer and dessert plus wine. I think they only offer this on slower nights.

Sidenote: Service was a little funky at first. It’s my understanding a Hawthorn's staff member invited Brunch Master Jim (Thanks Jim, we own you a meal!) to gather up interested bloggers for a "Meet & Eat" to come out and try their newish location and that they would offer some extra specials and complimentary items. Things didn’t quite work out in that regard so the wait staff didn’t operate as smoothly as they could have.

And thanks to Dennis for the photos.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Trader Joe's Saves Christmas!

I'm just going to goof off tonight.

Sure, we all want surf and turf meals for Christmas but what do you do when the stock market has brutally stolen all your money and you hate to cook anyhow? Well, you go for the cheap at Trader Joe’s. Grab the ready to go salad in a bag, some marinated beef and some microwaveable shrimpers:

Then you left your oven or the microwave do some damage and ta-da you have a meal! Pop in a movie like Little Miss Sunshine, throw up your TV dinner trays and eat a classy Christmas dinner in front of the warming glow of your TV.

This salad is actually a real winner. For around 4 bucks you get it all, the baby spinach, the dressing, the blue cheese, pecans and cranberries.

The beef and the shrimp were just okay but officially qualify as SURF AND TURF!!!

Oh, and Little Miss Sunshine is a really good movie. And Trader Joe's, you are truly a Christmas miracle!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone! I've really been lazy with new posts. I really don't have anything in the works either except that Hawthorn's write-up I've been meaning to do. We haven't seriously considered any Christmas weekend eating out - seems like many do a (overpriced?) holiday menu. If we can find something that is just doing a regular menu we may go out. Naturally we have a bag of Trader Joe treats to keep us busy.

If you haven't been out to Poway to check out the Christmas lights - here is a hint for a couple of nice blocks: Take 15 to Poway Road, go about 4 miles to Carriage Road, take a left then just follow the cars a half mile to Saddlewood Drive. It's worth the drive! They really go all out complete with driveway karaoke. Park the car and just walk around and take in 100,000 watts of holiday. We just went last night and it was the busiest I've ever seen it.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Linkery

We ate recently at The Linkery. At last. This spot has long been on my list to try – plus it is the only restaurant in the world that is vaguely aware that this very blog even exists. (The Linkery blog has links to all San Diego food blogs.)

Again, no pictures so lets just have at it with the eats: we started off with their herb salad: mixed greens, mint, cilantro, clementines and pine nuts, dressed with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and topped with cotija cheese. ($6.50) Really good and a large size for a small.

My wife got the pan-seared wild Mexican huachinango (aka Pacific silk snapper) with fresh organic cranberry, grilled organic sugarloaf squash, and greens in a tangerine vinaigrette ($15.50). It was okay but we thought…

…that my entree was a real winner: I got the grilled pork tenderloin with sautéed crosnes, snap peas, and red beets, and a goat cheese and quince puree. ($13.50) That puree was Excellent with a capital E! The pork was medium rare so damn to you trichinosis! Actually, it isn’t much (if any) of a problem anymore so I’ve read. (And as a sidenote: What the heck was a eating? A crosne? Now I know!)

So then dessert: we had a piece of their Mexican chocolate mousse pie and their strawberry something cheesecake (I don’t quite remember the fruit combo). Both were delicious. ($5.50 each.) Obviously, a big thumbs up to The Linkery. We’ll be back!

(There is a great little blog post on The Linkery from Josh at FoodGPS with lots of pictures.)

I can’t think of another restaurant at this price point (a simple neighborhood restaurant) that cares so deeply about the food they serve, that uses regionally grown ingredients, small farm raised meats, that has an always changing (and interesting) menu to feature what is fresh that week. Maybe there are some, but owner Jay (Hi Jay!) does a great job of promoting this philosophy at his website, on the menu and in person.