Tucked away in a residential golf neighborhood in northeastern San Diego is an outstanding restaurant led by a dynamic, exacting and talented young chef with immense culinary promise.
Most people don’t ordinarily think of a shopping arcade as a location for a gourmet dinner. And yet, one of the better gourmet meals I have enjoyed in California was at The Dining Room at Jack’s in a shopping arcade in tony La Jolla. Once inside, I forgot I was in a mall and focused on the menu, modern décor, and lively ambiance with subdued light. Although there was a constant flow of happy hour guests at the bar adjacent to the dining area where I was seated, the noise level was loud enough to be interesting without being bothersome.
Azul offered fine dining with a magnificent ocean view. Because I arrived extra early I was able to take my pick of seats next to the floor to ceiling windows that draw the eyes of everyone in the dining room. I chose a front row seat to the Pacific Ocean. From there I could see the dark ocean waters and the beautiful landscapes of the La Jolla Cove to the south and La Jolla Shores to the north. Although the sun had been brilliant a few hours earlier, by the time I arrived at Azul mounds of clouds had rolled in and the colors were gray and muted. Even so the vista was inspiring.
The Rancho Bernardo Inn was a short drive east from the coastal highway in San Diego and a world away in style and pace. Relaxed and verdant, the property’s golf courses and gourmet restaurant were the center of attraction in an otherwise quiet residential neighborhood.
Billed as “the nation’s longest running musical revue,” Beach Blanket Babylon®, an irreverent musical centered on Snow White looking for her prince (around the world) spoof, was the perfect entertainment for our jetlagged souls. All day travel and a three-hour time disconnect made us tired and sluggish; the Beach Blanket Babylon performance jazzed us up. We walked out smiling and ready for the scrumptious dinner we had planned.
After driving on beautiful mountain roads for several hours to Mendocino from Napa, we reached the Sea Rock Inn tired and bedraggled. Alayna at the reception desk and Susie, the owner, were so welcoming and friendly, making recommendations for local eateries and attractions, our hunger and weariness disappeared. The fog (uncharacteristic for April) we found when we arrived, cleared after a short while to reveal a marvelous white water view, more impressive than the photos we had seen before arriving, of the headlands and ocean which were across a narrow road from the Inn.