Thursday, April 23, 2009

OC's Visit to SD, Day 3: Urban Solace and Whisk 'n' Ladle

On Day 3, our friend Margaret came down from LA to visit, so of course we had to find some really delicious places to go.

For lunch, I wanted to go to Hash House, because I haven't been there yet, but when I called, the wait was 45 minutes, and we were STARVING. Instead, I went back to a favorite, Urban Solace, in North Park. I wanted to save it for their Sunday brunch, but their comfort food is so good, it's worth it to go at anytime.

We started with a couple of appetizers to share - a butternut squash/goat cheese dip that came with toasted bread and crackers, and cheese biscuits with orange-honey butter. They were both really good, but OC practically had an orgasm at the table in reaction to her first bite of the cheese biscuits. Her words were, if I recall, "I need to know how to recreate this right now."

Delicious dip!

OC's most favorite item we ate her entire visit

For our main courses:
OC ordered grilled cheese with tomato. It came with a tomato soup and sweet potato fries. Margaret had an ahi tuna sandwich which also came with sweet potato fries. I had pulled chicken and dumplings with gravy, which was delicious, because it was like a chicken pot pie without the pastry!

Grilled cheese with tomato - classic!

Ahi tuna sandwich

Those big white mounds are the dumplings... swimming in gravy!

For dinner, the three of us got dressed up to go to my favorite restaurant in SD, Whisk 'n' Ladle, located in La Jolla. The restaurant, like many of the fresh food restaurants in SD, changes its menu constantly, so even though this was my fifth time at the restaurant, there's always something new for me to try.

While waiting for our table, we ordered cocktails, which Whisk 'n' Ladle does really really well. My favorite is the Lavender cosmo, which has some vanilla and blueberry notes in it as well, and is garnished with a real sprig of lavender. Margaret got a honey and cucumber mimosa which was really refreshing. OC ordered a New Fashioned, which was basically straight bourbon with muddled apples and oranges, which she found too strong to consume, unfortuantely.

Next we ordered four dishes to share: a mixed greens salad with goat cheese, mussels in white wine with fries, bone marrow with garlic toast, and herb and ricotta ravioli.

Bread with herbed butter and salad with goat cheese

Bone marrow topped with parsley. Mussels with fries in the background.

Herbed ravioli (we ate a couple already!)

As always, everything was delicious. The soup in the mussels is quite creamy and rich, and we were using bread to sop it up. The bone marrow is one of my favorites -- I love scooping out the fatty rich marrow and spreading it all over the toast. The salad wasn't anything special aside from the goat cheese, which was really creamy and flavorful, but it was fresh and not over dressed. And the ravioli was also quite good, in a sort of balsamic sauce.

For dinner we shared the rose-scented creme brulee with cardamom shortbread. The great thing about this place is that its desserts are as good and inventive as their mains -- I hate when dessert is pedestrian and a letdown. In this case, OC wanted the creme brulee, which I'm glad she ordered, because I rarely order it at any restaurant, thinking it's too rich or not that special. But I actually really liked Whisk 'n' Ladle's version, because it was light and creamy, almost more custard/pudding-like than a thick flan. Really good.

Rose creme brulee topped with pistachios!

It was just the right amount of food for three people -- before I've always gone with two people and over ordered, going home too full, but at the end of the night here, I was really satisfied without feeling like I should become a bulimic.

Urban Solace
3823 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 295-6464

Whisk n Ladle
1044 Wall St
La Jolla, CA 92039
(858) 551-7575


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