This will no doubt be just another of the hundreds of blogposts that will be filed about this day, but I need to get this down since:
- CIM 2012 was my first-ever marathon.
- 2012 will be remembered as the year of the epic rainstorm.
Warning. This is waaay too long for to be of interest to anyone except myself, really, but - for what it's worth…
On Friday, though I was still checking the weather every couple of hours, hoping beyond hope for some change, I was pretty much resigned. Yes folks, all indicators pointed to a deluge of not-insignificant proportions in the beginning, middle and most likely by the end of the marathon.
So that was that. My goal – of finishing anywhere from 4-4:15 -- did not change drastically because of it. I figured that I’d start running, and adjust goals from there. Having never run a marathon before, and certainly, having never run long in pouring rain before, left lots of things up in the air. I kept telling myself that ultimately, the true goal was to finish, and finish strong. A good time would be icing on the cake. Also, beating Oprah would be icing on the cake.
Saison’s website proclaims that there is no dress code, and urges folks to “come as you are.” While the food is elevated, there’s a nice dichotomy between the white-tablecloth cuisine and the service and warmth of the staff. We had finally made it - after a couple of years and one pop-up when Chef Skenes was away.
How to describe Saison with words of praise that have already been said in a style far better than mine? DD and I had a wonderful meal here, full of beautiful and delicious moments. Sometimes, it might be better to just let the food speak for itself.
If ever there was a space that could inspire dreaming, it would be the inside of Outerlands.
It’s gorgeous, with walls, chairs and countertops made out of reclaimed wood. A slanting driftwood mosaic covers part of the kitchen counter. Proprietors David Muller and Lana Porcello initially started by feeding friends out of their ocean beach abode; soon the initiative blossomed into a full-fledged restaurant. And indeed, they seemed to have captured the feel of Ocean Beach perfectly. It’s moody, but warm, the grey light from typically overcast Outer Sunset filtering in via only 3 windows. There’s a sense of escaping to the end of the earth, and its distance from the rest of the city out on Judah and 45th may be both curse for some and a boon for those of us who live relatively close by.
You’ve got to respect and honor a chef who, so entranced by the offerings of his sous for family dinners, opens up another restaurant just to highlight their cooking. Nopa’s been a favourite of ours for some time, serving great, well-executed, responsibly-sourced and sustainable food, fantastic cocktails; a bright and airy convivial space that boasts a gorgeous mural by local artist Brian Barneclo… my personal favourite is their hefty pork chop, brined just so, about an inch thick, well-marbled, hugely taking up the size of the serving platter… but that’s for another post.
Of late, I've been able to resist temporary temptations. For over a year since it opened, I made scant little effort to get to Plum until I heard visiting Southern chef Sean Brock was coming to town and would be cooking special dinners at Coi and Daniel Patterson's outpost in the East Bay... I hastily made sure we had a spot then. The same applied for Saison. In all fairness, we had been trying to get here since Chef Josh Skenes was only doing 2 dinners a week in the Stable Cafe space - we'd make reservations and then have to cancel them. But this week, we stuck to our Wednesday 9pm timeslot for Smith@Saison - Chef Jeremy Fox's 4-day installment while Skenes is off accepting his shiny Best New Chef award at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.
Whenever I'm able to visit San Diego, I take the opportunity to get together with my family - my sis and her husband live there, near USD, and my parents usually make the 2-hour drive to have dinner with us as well. I have to admit that I didn't know much about Cucina Urbana, or the Urban Kitchen Group before I decided to make a reservation here - San Diego has always been somewhat of a black hole for me in terms of dining. But, thanks to a couple of local blogs (Alice Q Foodie and Capt'n Jack's San Diego Restaurant Reviews), UrbanSpoon, and yes, I'll admit it -- Yelp -- as well as confirmation with my sis that C.U. was an establishment she and Paul had wanted to check out - I booked it for a Tuesday night dinner.