Friday, March 20, 2009

The Yogurt Cup- San Diego dessert

May your cup runneth over…but you'll have to pay extra
For some reason, I lose total control over my motor skills whenever I enter the Yogurt Cup (440 W. Washington St.) It’s self-serve and I guess the last time I had that advantage was at Morrison’s Buffet (big chain in FL) when I was a kid. So my technique was the same, filling as much as I could into the cup – Belgian chocolate, pistachio and coffee- big loopy swirls of all three. I was clearly blinded by my power as I manhandled each shiny lever and ended up with about 7lbs. of yogurt.

But you must have toppings! So I hit one of two topping stations. The lengthy island counter in the center was lined with shiny plastic vehicles containing treats. I also had trouble working these modern mechanisms (as if I had just been reintroduced into society after a lifetime of living in the woods), but finally managed to get a few crushed almonds on top. Besides a variety of nuts, they offered multiple delights from chocolate bits to Captain Crunch. The second station was adjacent to the register and contained fresh fruit (not mutilated bits from the can, but the real deal) with blueberries, blackberries and strawberries.

When I got to the cashier, I saw the folly of my ways - they charged by weight. My gargantuan yogurt towered over me (and my wallet) as a pricey lesson to learn, but a necessary one in self-control. The next visit I took it easy with wisps of raspberry, Georgia peach and Belgian chocolate (so good and non-fat!) This was a more realistic portion size and I guess the whole point of “fro-yo” is to enjoy a somewhat healthy snack. So, thank you Yogurt Cup for teaching me that*:

When the weight is light in the cup
The weight stays light in the rump

(*I also learned that I shouldn’t operate any types of heavy or not-so-heavy machinery.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Buon Appetito- San Diego Restaurant

Ciao Boun Chow
Hey-a, do ya want a spicy meat-a-ball-a? Buon Appetito (1609 India St) is by far my favorite Italian restaurant in San Diego with its authentic staff and ability to transform simple ingredients into a Rubik’s cube for the palate.
A cup of crushed tomatoes, basil and garlic arrive with a basket of bread and I think they must put heroin in this mixture- a clean and strong finish that coaxes me back again and again like a struggling addict (a minimum of two cups necessary.)

Duck salad: MUST ORDER!! I’m not usually someone that remembers salad as a favorite entrĂ©e, but this one has me thinking green. Their stand-out, balsamic vinaigrette sinks its kung-fu grip into the leaves with distinct thickness from the syrupy, aged vinegar. Sliced duck, lumps of goat cheese (in no way do they scrimp) and roasted pine nuts only up the ante to make it an official winner.

Homemade cheese ravioli: MUST ORDER!! The difference between homemade vs. storebought pasta is like fishsticks vs. fresh sushi. There's no contest and these raviolis exemplify what pasta should be - filling warmth that remains light. It amazes me every time how something so simple can make my mind do cartwheels. Memories of their pink sauce won’t be forgotten.

Meat lasagna: an edible high-rise arrived front and center with layers of ground beef, pasta and cheese. Though delicious, my scorecard still rated the salad and ravioli as the heavy hitters.

Things can get a little pricey here with pasta dishes around $20 and wine about $10 a glass, but well worth it when in need of a true Italian fix. Sidewalk seating, window tables beneath the wine case and expressive Italian dialogue amongst the wait staff instill a feeling of dining abroad while only minutes from home.*

*They also have a market next door that sells the pink sauce, "tomato heroin" and even the duck salad to-go.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Update- San Diego worthwhile deals

In reference to the "Brother, can you spare a dime?" post

Unfortunately, some of the deals I mentioned in my 2/4/09 post have now changed. I guess everyone is starting to have faith in the economy again? I don't know, but either way, The Wine Vault and Bistro have raised their Saturday 5-course tasting menu from $25 to $30.

The Better Half has also bumped up the price on their Blue Plate Economy Special from $15 to $20. For the extra fee they've added an amuse bouche and a mid-course palate cleansing of lemon sorbet (served in mini-cones,) but I don't know if it was worth $5. The worst part of all is that they finally changed their ridiculously low corking fee from $5 to $15.

Guess I'm back to searching the city for the next best deal.