Archive for August, 2007
Nothing makes our lunch break so sweet. We’re referring to sinful pralines and cream Butterbars by Upper Crust Crumbs. The recipe calls for generous amounts of sweet butter and brown sugar, smooth vanilla buttercream and praline topping. The different varieties are baked fresh daily in small batches with wholesome premium ingredients such as sweet butter, unbromated flour, and fresh-squeezed lemon juice. We’re just wishing we’d discovered these sooner as they really make the work day fly by.
San Diegans know good Mexican food and margaritas (when you live so close to the border, this is inevitable). That’s why Alfonso’s is a foodie fave. Allow us to whet your appetite by mentioning a few menu items: Imagine lobster enchiladas smothered in sour cream and verde sauce; steak ranchero sautéed with onions, bell peppers and tomato in a mild sauce; shrimp burritos; or quesadilla Alfonso with melted cheese, mild green peppers and zucchini folded in a flour tortilla and topped with guacamole. Order a margarita on the rocks and say olé!
Nihon is the ultimate whiskey lounge with more than 100 varieties from which to choose, 80 of which are single malts. Izakaya cuisine, otherwise known as Japanese small plates, is served here and colorful platters look like true works of art. Come for the sceney crowd and highly texturized atmosphere (think faux cobblestone floors and beige brick walls), but be sure to bring plenty of fellas as this hot spot has an unmistakably masculine flair.
When ordinary simply won’t do (which is pretty much every day for folks like us), cook with these polka dot fry pans. They make preparing eggs and the like so much fun. These particular 11” designs are heavy gauge and won’t stick, with a porcelain finish that comes in blue, yellow or pink. Best of all, they look too cute when hung on the wall for display (in an all-pink kitchen, perhaps?).
For familiar munchies with modern flair, make your way to Town Hall. High ceilings and brick walls make the ambiance as comforting as the menu, which features a sinful fried chicken served with mashed potatoes and bacon gravy. Also worth sampling? Warm jalapeno cornbread with honey butter and slow braised lamb shank. Here it’s tough to book a table for party of six or more, so plan ahead if you’ll be dining with your entourage.
X Bar lifts the spirits: we came, we saw, we left in a very good mood. On one (perfectly manicured) hand you have the interior, done up with refreshing lime accents and soaked with natural light on sunny days. On the other, you have a decadent cocktail menu that will leave you feeling all light and twinkly toed. In a booth near the bar, we spotted a group of out-of-town ingénues coyly sipping on X-rated Flirtinis (made with X Rated Vodka, X Rated Fusion, Cointreau, cranberry juice and fresh lime). The L.A. locals typically stake their claim outside by the fire pits where you can soak up views of the skyline. We suggest heading here straight after work, ordering a ginger mojito and settling into a cozy booth. As for nibbles, the fiery chicken morsels with Roquefort and celery never fail, and grilled Fontina sandwiches are lovingly prepared with mushroom, sage and pancetta. The bar is popular around 6 p.m. and gets its second wind later on. The best part? You won’t have to reckon with a bouncer or weasel your way past a velvet rope. That said, you can expect an unpretentious, albeit, cool crowd.
Williams Sonoma makes some darling little corn husk-bound cocktail tamales that will delight your party guests. The best part? Hard labor is not required, although you can certainly claim them as your own works of art. They’re inspired by Native American pueblo recipes and handmade from fresh, high-quality ingredients (that means no lard or preservatives, which is music to our ears). Shredded beef and California chile, barbecued chicken and smoked gouda, pork with green chile, and blue corn green chile and jack cheese will spice up any occasion.
These maple pecan nugget shortbread cookies should be eaten in bed where you can simply roll around in the glorious crumbs after you’ve devoured them. Okay, so we’re not really that gluttonous but that’s no reason you shouldn’t be. When it comes to such buttery-sweet maple yumminess, you’re allowed to throw all etiquette to the wind. Ah, sweet surrender. Just look at the shape of ‘em: so convenient!
Nuevo Latino Bistro Destino does exquisite empanadas with Caribbean pork (think sweet pork picadillo, pimiento stuffed olives, and cinnamon mojo) as well as Peruvian Chicken (grilled with queso fresco and Andean). However, it’s the famed alfajores, South American butter cookies filled with dulce de leche, that has put this darling place on the map. Devour the chocolate covered ones with reckless abandon. A few crumbs on that designer shirt aren’t gonna hurt you (insert big grin here).
This idea is simply too cute to pass up if you love tea. Bauer Potter’s Aladdin teapot holds 32 piping hot ounces of your fave tea and it’s believed that if you rub the pot when it cools, your wildest wish will come true (we’ve yet to find out if we can actually milk three wishes out of the darn thing). At five and one quarter inches tall, it makes a dashing display piece in the kitchen.