Post-Bar Exam Celebration – Brooklyn Girl Eatery

After three months studying for the bar exam, and existing primarily on coffee shop sandwiches, I am back…Kathleen and I have several posts to share with you. Enjoy!

The evening after the bar exam, Kathleen took me to the new Brooklyn Girl Eatery in Mission Hills. Brooklyn Girl has only been open a couple of months, but is already doing a booming business. There are several communal eating tables for which you do not need reservations, plus a bar area, and a dining room.

Our first court was clams casino. The clams were prepared wonderfully, and the broth was delicious. We did however get a small  amount of grit.

For our main course we shared the Roasted Duck for Two in a Ginger and Honey glaze. Even with a roasted preparation the fat was rendered pretty nicely. The glaze was delicious.

Perhaps the most successful dish (and I never say this) was dessert. Kathleen had the Key Lime Pie in a Jar, and I had the Brooklyn Bomb Shell Brownie with Salted Caramel and Creme.

All in all a very tasty first meal back from the bar.


Best Coffee Shops at which to Study – San Diego

There is dearth of internet postings on the best coffee shops at which to study in San Diego. So, in honor of my last day of law school classes ever, I have decided to post on something in which I have a great deal of expertise.

I have never been able to force myself to study at home, and I cannot stand the law library come finals time (due to the stress level of others and general odor), so I have always done my studying at coffee shops. I am constantly looking for new places to set up my books for the day (and often the night). I have probably studied in more coffee shops over the last three years than just about anyone in San Diego.

First, the criteria. I will rate on a scale of 1-10 (10 being a perfect score) the five things most important to me: Seating and Table Size (S&T), Hours and Location (H&L), Menu and Coffee (M), Crowd and Noise Level (C), and Other (O).

This list is, of course as is any list I make fluid, and I retain the right to change it on a daily basis. Additionally, this is based on my subjective likes and dislikes. For example, I do not like absolute silence and I weight table size as extremely important. So here is my list of the Top Five Coffee Shops at which to study:

1. The Living Room (Point Loma – 1018 Rosecrans Street)

S&T: 8 – Good tables downstairs, even better upstairs seating. The downstairs area has the best chairs around.

H&L: 8 – The Living Room is open until midnight, but will often stay open later, or even let you close the door behind you.

M: 6 – Food is just okay, coffee is decent. Great selection of teas!

C: 7 – If they did not play the music quite so loud downstairs they might get a 10. Upstairs is perfect. Crowd is mostly students.

O: 9 – I really like the feel here. Staff is very friendly (unlike the staff at the Old Town Location). Outdoor seating is great. Bathrooms are clean.

Total: 38 points

2. Lestat’s (University Heights – 4496 Park Ave)

S&T: 9 – Terrific tables. Great couches. Huge area.

H&L: 8 – 24 hours. Can’t beat that. Minus one point because sometimes you have to park around the corner. 2 minutes from the 163 Washington Exit.

M: 9 – Great lunch menu for studying. Fun selection of oddball beverage including Blueberry Soda and Chai Tea Soda.

C: 7 – It gets awfully busy. Sometimes you might wait 30 minutes for a decent-size table.

O: 2 – Would probably be my #1 selection if their internet was not so spotty. Bathrooms could be cleaner as well.

Total: 35 Points

3. Caffe Calabria (North Park – 3933 30th Street)

S&T: 7 – Great booths towards the back. If you don’t get one of those the table size gets much smaller.

H&L: 5 – It is in North Park and parking is very tough. It is also a bit of a hike from the 163 and 805.

M: 10 – Maybe the best coffee I have had in San Diego. The food is awesome. After 5 pm Wednesday-Sunday they have excellent woodfired pizza.

C: 6 – Busy. A bit loud. They play international soccer games on the televisions – and the fans get a bit loud. Bring headphones.

O: 6 – The main area is a bit small. There is a back room but it is cold. Staff is friendly, but the line for coffee gets long.

Total Points: 34

4. Filter (Hillcrest – 1295 University Ave)

S&T: 7 – Great tables. Lack of outlets. Chairs are clearly salvaged, some are much better than others.

H&L: 9 – 24 hours. They have a parking garage. Easy to get to.

M: 7 – The Ginger Tea is delicious. The food does the job.

C: 6 – People are there to study which is great. But about half the time there are no available tables.

O: 4 – The unisex bathroom is dirty. They leave the sliding doors open even on cold nights.

Total Points: 33

5. Milano Coffee Co. (Mission Valley – 8685 Rio San Diego Dr.)

S&T: 5 – This used to be a 10, but they moved the big long tables out of the way. Now they are smaller.

H&L: 6 – Mission Valley can be a traffic nightmare, but they will give you a parking pass to stay as long as you like.

M: 5 – Coffee is good. Food isn’t bad. Other restaurants across the street as well.

C: 7 – Its usually pretty empty. Its pretty quiet.

O: 9 – The owners are terrific. A really nice couple. Staff is very friendly.

Total Points: 32


(Other Spots Considered: The Living Room/SDSU, Panera/Liberty Station, Village 631/East Village, Influx/Little Italy, Cafe Italia/Little Italy, Twiggs/University Heights)

(Special Note: My vote for the best Starbuck’s at which to study is the Starbucks at 691 Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach)

Stogsdill’s Pickles

Wandering around the Hillcrest Farmer’s Market last weekend, we stumbled upon Stogsdill’s Pickles. Wow! I am completely obsessed. I think I tried just about every flavor he had. I even got Kathleen to try the Kimchi (not a pickled food fan). I walked away with two jars: Pickled Brussel Sprouts (Amazing!!!), and Apple Kraut. I also highly recommend their Fusion Kimchi. So tasty.

All of their pickles are naturally fermented, containing raw live cultures. Check them out:

Pizza Port – Ocean Beach

Saturday night Gabe joined us at Pizza Port in Ocean Beach. We had Beer Buddies to start of course, and then had the Pizza Carlsbad (pesto, mequite grilled chicken, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and feta). We may have sampled a half-dozen or so Pizza Port original brews as well…Image

Bo Beau

A few weeks ago we went to the newest in the family of Cohn Group Restaurants – Bo Beau. All together, some major highs and lows…

The restaurant is adorable. The small space is laid out perfectly with traditional french farmhouse decor. The menu has french roots, but is all over the place.

First Course: The reason to go to Bo Beau, if nothing else, is for this dish — Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta, Parmesan and Balsamic. I have had brussels sprouts in all forms: roasted, fried, sauteed, even raw…this is the best brussels sprouts dish I have ever had. Simply phenomenal.

Second Course: Kathleen and I shared French Onion Soup. A decent rendition of the french classic, but nothing special.

Main Course: Kathleen had a pretty good Beef Bourgogne while I had the Chipotle Rigatoni (which was not bad either).

Desserts: This is where it all fell apart. Kathleen had an average attempt at Tahitian Vanilla Creme Brulee. I had one of the worst desserts I have ever been served in a restaurant. The menu described the dish as a coconut rice pudding with butternut squash and golden raisins; it tasted like rancid coconut milk soup with a few raisins tossed in.

Early on the meal was terrific. We will definitely make another trip, however we will certainly skip dessert. Also, be ware, Bo Beau DOES NOT take reservations and gets very crowded Thursday-Sunday evenings.

Valentine’s Day Dinner at Marine Room

For Valentine’s Day this year we went to the Marine Room at La Jolla Shores. The food was very good, the views spectacular.

For appeteizers we had a Cypress Grove Purple Haze Goat Cheese Brûlée with farmer’s

market greens, rye crisp, cassis coulis carob honey vincotto and the Lobster Bisque. For the main course I had Sea Salt Crispy Skin Market Sea Bass with celeriac puree, boudin blanc , baby brussels sprouts preserved tomato, and hazelnut pesto. Kathleen had Pistachio Curry Crusted Rack of Lamb with leek st andre brioche torte, mission fig compote, and harissa oil thyme infused madeira.

A Hidden Gem in Kearny Mesa

Hidden in an unassuming strip mall next to a Korean grocery store we found Dumpling Inn…This tiny family owned restaurant is packed from open to close…The restaurant, which only seats approximately 30 people, serves traditional Chinese fare, but boy is it done well!

We started with the Corn Soup and Pork Scallion Dumplings…Then we shared Shanghai Pork Shank and Lemon Chicken…it was enough food to last us three meals, and only cost about $30. It is also BYOB!