So, taking a little break from the Egypt talk, I was recently in San Diego a few days after my Arabian adventure. Although it was a work trip, my colleagues and I were able to see some of the sights of the town. I won’t talk about seeing the things that most people visiting San Diego would see (San Diego Zoo, U.S.S. Midway, which is AWESOME by the way, etc) even though all those sights are very well worth checking out. I’d just like to quickly mention a couple places to eat if you’re out and about downtown.
The first place is Currant American Brasserie. This restaurant is just south of the Gaslamp District (a fantastic bar and restaurant scene in San Diego), near Petco Park. The menu is simple; it has your typical sandwiches, salads, and deserts. There is also a pretty good brunch deal with $8 all you can drink mimosas. We ate on the outdoor patio, so I didn’t get a real good look on the inside, but when I went in to use the restroom, the interior had a sort of New Orleans architectural style.
Despite the vanilla choices on the menu, the food was extremely good. We started off with an appetizer of taters tots with a spicy habanero ketchup. The tater tots were nice and crispy on the outside, but the inside was more buttery mashed potatoes than the shredded potato Napoleon Dynamite/Ore Ida style tater tots. Three of the four of our group all ordered the Chicken Club sandwich. I’d have to think really hard to come up with a place that made a better chicken sandwich. The chicken was juicy and grilled to perfection and was smothered with a chipotle aioli that gave it a nice chili-garlic taste. The key though was the avocado. Southern California is known for the fruit and the sandwich had a generous heaping of it. And finally the french fries were the perfect compliment to the sandwich. They were pretty close to the McDonald’s style fries, but with a nice thyme seasoning. Currant is a great place to eat if you want to get a bite to eat without having to have to deal with the hustle and bustle of Gaslamp, but still want to be close enough to head to that area for a drink afterward.
140 West Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101
Open Weekdays 11:30am-12am; Weekends 9am-12am
The second place I’d recommend checking out is Fillipi’s Pizza Grotto. From what I understand, this restaurant now has several branches, but the original is in the Little Italy district of San Diego. The Little Italy district’s main road is India Street (not sure how that happened) which is where Fillipi’s is located. From the outside, the restaurant doesn’t look like much, especially being next to the shi-shier venues on the main drag. In fact, we walked right by the main entrance at first because there were some local, old Italian guys sitting outside the market which makes up the front of the restaurant; its very a nonchalant looking entry way. Once we went it, and walked through the small little market, we were seated in the back.
The restaurant is very much an Italian mom and pop restaurant. Nothing fancy, nothing flashy. The menu was really, really simple – pizzas, pastas, soups, and salads and that was it. The lamanted white menu didn’t even have any descriptions or many varieties of pizza and pasta. The menu simplicity actually admittedly made me not expect much from our meal for some reason. But once we took a bite into our food, there was nothing cheap about it. The pizza I ordered was excellent. The crust had a little more thickness than what you’d expect from a New York style slice, but was nice and crispy unlike a Naples style pizza (where the sauce and cheese sometimes makes the crust soggier). The pizza was delicious; and that was the least impressive dish on the table. The pastas were by far the favorite of the group. The homemade pasta on all the pasta dishes tasted really fresh (if you haven’t had fresh/homemade pasta, go to a local Italian store or even Whole Foods and get the pasta from the refrigerated aisle. You’ll be able to tell the difference immediately from the raw, uncooked box pasta you get normally). The linguine with clams had a nice creamy taste, and the bits of clam weren’t too overbearing on the dish. The bolognese sauce on the ricotta lasagna actually melted in your mouth with savoriness was easily my favorite of the entire meal. And you get a good amount of food. Admittedly the portions aren’t as big as a Maggiano’s or Buca di Pepo chain size, but be prepared to share.
Now I’ll get back to Egypt in the next post.