Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Last Play Day in SD: Mama Testa's, 1500 Ocean, and Alchemy

It was my "last" day in San Diego this past Sunday. I put that in quotes because I'll be back a few more times this month to pack, move, and clean, but it'll be a lot of business (though I'm hoping to fit in quite a few more meals). So this Sunday was my last day to play with my "BFF" and partner in crime here in SD, CM.

In the morning, I dragged him to Mama Testa's so I could have one more taste of that salsa bar, their amazing guac and some tacos. I got the three taco combo, which has a carnitas, an alpastor (with pineapple!), and a my favorite yucatecos tacos. So good.

Later, around sunset, we decided to stop off at the aptly named Sunset Bar at 1500 Ocean in Coronado for drinks and some light bar food. This was my yummy blackberry julep.

I then went on to order two oysters. They were British Columbia oysters, and that's all I remember. It didn't come with any horseradish, but the mignotte was nice enough, and they had the most peculiar limes (the flesh was a light grapefruit color) that made it nice.

CM, who loves olives, got a plate of mixed marinated olives. This plate was HUGE.

We hung around for a couple of hours. The restaurant food that was passing by looked fantastic and we made a pact to come back one day when we were a little more well-off, and have dinner out here instead of sitting out by the bar.

Believe it or not, after that, we went to dinner. At Alchemy (yes, after our aborted attempt the day before). Immediately, I really liked the ambiance of the place. Very low key, cool. They were showing silent films in fact when we got in.

CM loves absinthe and so had to get it when he discovered the served it. It was cool to see the water carafe thing so that you could control how diluted you wanted it.

The menu was really enticing, with tons of small plates and seasonal ingredients. Reminded me a bit of Whisk n Ladle, though seemed to be much more low key than that. We ordered a bunch of things:

Peppers stuffed with Berkshire pork (shredded). It was very tender and good.

Grilled asparagus. We couldn't figure out what the sauce was but it was good.

Cabarnet soaked olives. Of course we had to get them!

Corn and avocado salad. I was so excited by this because I love corn and avocado. It had toasted pumpkin seeds, a "green goddess" sauce (whatever that is), cucumber wrapped around it, some lettuce and red onions... The flavors were fantastic.

Spiced chickpeas. So good. I think there was some cardamom in it that made it taste like Christmas. Haha.

More oysters, believe it or not, with a green gazpacho in a shot. The gazpacho was nice and light and the oysters were sweet.

I was kinda sad we'd discovered this place so late, because it was seriously good, and definitely some place I'd like to revisit one day. It's got a great ambiance, interesting menu, and cocktails, without being overly pricey. All the things I like for a restaurant on a fun weekend night.

I'm coming back to SD in a week with my mom and sister, and am hoping to squeeze in a meal or two more before I go. It went by so fast! So much left to eat, but ran out of time...

Mama Testa
1417A University Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 298-8226

1500 Ocean
1500 Orange Ave
Coronado, CA 92118
(619) 522-8459

1503 30th St
San Diego, CA 92101


Little Miss Contrary said...

Mama Testa has been one of my favorite restaurants in San Diego for several years. However, they were featured on Food Network's Throwdown with Bobby Flay last year, and have attracted a lot of new customers. So, unfortunately, the crowd has been ridiculous, and their food hasn't been as good as they used to be. I guess, that's what happens when a neighborhood gem gets too much press :(

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