Best Things I Ate This Month: February 2018
Bread at Born & Raised, apple turnover at Moms, and the tasting menu at Nine-Ten
Bread at Born & Raised
For next month’s restaurant review, I headed to the new $6.5 million steakhouse in Little Italy. Some things work, some things don’t. But this is absolutely a must-visit for anyone within a few states of San Diego. First of all, the design is out of this world. It’s like dining on the Titanic. Second of all, this bread. It’s not free. And you should get over that, and order it anyway. The loaf comes in a scallop shape, with the tops crusted and the interior a soft, luxurious, buttery mix somewhere between a brioche and a Parker House roll. Take the soft butter with sea salt that’s served along with it, slather, and then just look at your dinner companions as you all get awkwardly emotional about how good it is.
1909 India Street, Little Italy
Apple Turnover at Moms
It’s that time of year. We may not have any snow, but it’s in my contract as a lifelong San Diegan to visit Julian at least once a year during the winter for apples, ciders, mountain air, hopefully snow, and pie. I’m not even a big apple pie fan. But it’s easy to be a fan of this ditty—dough wrapped around a whole, peeled and cored apple, spread with spices and butter, sprinkled with sugar, and baked. Eaten a la mode, it’s a reminder why this dessert made so many of those old timey patriotic love songs. Moms owner Anita Nichols, who started this in the 80s, is one of the town’s sweethearts, just a homey rainbow of a woman, nice as pie.
2119 Main Street, Julian
Tasting Menu at Nine-Ten
I make a semi-annual effort to ask all the top chefs in San Diego which local chef, besides themselves, is their favorite. And every year, a majority points to La Jolla and Nine-Ten’s Jason Knibb. I returned recently for a tasting menu and to see their newly redesigned dining room and patio. It’s a nice refresh, even if I’d love to see them blow out the front wall and make it completely indoor-outdoor (which will never happen, because the Grand Colonial Hotel is historic). But regardless, it was one of the best meals of my life. Just everything. An oyster with Granny Smith apple, tomatillo granita (basically flavored ice), and jalapeno oil. Hudson Valley foie gras with quince, star anise, pistachio, apple butter, brioche, and a citra hop gastrique. If food is your thing, I highly suggest picking a date and going in and saying “mercy of the chef, please.”
910 Prospect Street, La Jolla