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Date Night at Donovan’s: Justin McChesney-Wachs

The San Diego photographer and food blogger shares his experience at the La Jolla restaurant



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Justin McChesney-Wachs | Partner Content

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Donovan's Steakhouse

For this edition of Date Night at Donovan’s, we sent photographer and food blogger Justin McChesney-Wachs and his wife, Stacy Mahoney, to sample sophisticated cocktails and savory shareables from Donovan’s revamped happy hour menu on the hot spot’s renovated patio overlooking La Jolla Cove.

First up: cocktails. Justin ordered a classic old-fashioned, then followed up with a Kentucky mule: a house specialty made with Maker’s Mark, bitters, fresh lime, and Fever Tree Ginger Beer (a steal at $8). Stacy sipped on a robust red from Donovan’s award-winning wine list.

The table’s chic glass fire pit kept the couple toasty while they taste-tested small plates from Donovan’s lounge menu—ahi tuna poke served up in a martini glass, buttery bacon-wrapped diver scallops, a Philly cheesesteak done Donovan’s style, and a steak burger topped with Applewood smoked bacon, smoky cheddar, and buttermilk onion straws. But the standout of the evening, Justin says, were the New Zealand seared lamb chops. “They were spiced, perfectly cooked, and served with ranch dressing inside a hollowed-out potato.”

Between the couple’s two-year-old and Justin’s penchant for cooking (and photographing) new recipes, date nights are pretty rare. But when they do find the time, these foodies savor every bite.

“We eat at home most of the time, because I love to cook and am a food and recipe blogger, so I'm always testing new recipes,” Justin says. “We love food, so when we do go out on a date night it's great to get new inspiration.”

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