Recently I was invited by the PR rep for Maryjane’s Coffee Shop at the Hard Rock Hotel to come down for a special media dinner to showcase their new chef and some new additions to their restaurant’s menu. Jake and I went down on a Thursday night with a bunch of other media guests for a lovely 5 course dinner to sample and try out. We usually don’t dig going Downtown for much, but our visit to Maryjane’s was pleasant and the food was excellent. Check it out below!
This is the menu that we had to look forward to that evening. Since I knew we were having FIVE courses, I had to pace myself.
And drink plenty of water. This picture cracks me up because Jake is showcasing the water like one of those girls on the Price is Right.
Our first course was the Hummus and Pita Bread. This came with two kinds of hummus – the traditional (back of the photo) garbanzo bean and garlic hummus along with a Southwestern Black Bean Hummus. Jake, who doesn’t like hummus, preferred the black bean version. While I thought the black bean version was a nice twist, I preferred the more traditional one just because I loved the punch of garlic that really seasoned it up. The pita bread was very fresh and warm from being grilled. The black bean hummus had a bit of a different flavor – more southwestern seasonings with none of the garlic kick that I enjoyed from the other hummus, but both were quite good, especially with the warm pita bread. The chef informed us that they make both of the hummus’ fresh from scratch for the restaurant – very impressive.
Course 2 was the Buffalo Chicken Salad. This wasn’t a new menu item, but the PR rep wanted to feature a salad with the courses and decided to showcase something a little different than the traditional salad. This salad featured some spicy buffalo chicken, carrots, celery, blue cheese crumbles and a blue cheese dressing – all of the components you’d get in an order of buffalo wings, but within a salad.
As soon as the dish was set down in front of me, the smell of the buffalo chicken wafted up and tickled my nose – definitely spicy! The mix of flavors were quite good here – the creamy blue cheese dressing helps to knock down some of the spiciness of the buffalo chicken as you eat the salad. Jake totally loved this and kept saying, “If you don’t like your chicken, I’ll eat it…” I ended up giving him most of my chicken because A) he kept asking for it and B) it was actually pretty darn spicy.
Course 3 was a sampling of their La Bamba Burrito – spiced chicken carnitas along with guacamole, queso fresco, pico de gallo and cabbage wrapped up in a crispy warm tortilla. Again, Jake really liked this (he liked all of the courses to save you the suspense) but for some reason I didn’t dig it as much. I think I didn’t like it because it wasn’t all smooshed together like a regular burrito and I wasn’t into the chicken carnitas – they tasted a little dry to me, but Jake didn’t think so. I did really like the side with this one – the refried black beans – and I don’t like beans. The refried black beans had a really nice, home made flavor and were creamy. The overall flavor I just dug a whole lot and it didn’t taste “beany” to me – I don’t know if that makes sense or not – but it just tasted like a creamy, delicious side dish with a lot of flavor.
Next up (Course 4!) we got to “Build Your Own Burger” – we had a checklist with a TON of different options – from your kind of meat (Angus Beef, Chicken Breast or Veggie Burger?) to your kind of cheese (a TON of different types) to the kind of sauces you wants and any extras. See mine above? Doesn’t it look towering and frightfully large? Well, it was. I ended up getting beef with 2 kinds of cheese (fontina & cheddar), an herb mayo sauce, avocado, bacon and onion rings. I had to take the onion rings off just to put the sucker in my mouth.
The burger itself was quite juicy, tasted fresh and was well seasoned. I didn’t dig the herb mayo that I got but the rest of the burger was pretty darn good. I think I went a little overboard with the toppings (did I really need two cheeses and those onion rings?) but it was fun to check off everything that you wanted to get. If you’re ordering this regularly you start with the base burger and each topping costs extra.
Jake got one just about as tall as mine (but with more toppings) and he could barely fit it into his mouth! He’s kinda crazy.
We both agreed that the fries were just kind of “eh”. Nothing really exciting about them. They had a sort of crispy exterior to them, kind of like the ones at Burger King but weren’t really impressive as far as fries go. By the time we got to this course I was feeling full so I took most of my burger and fries home.
The fifth and final course was one of their breakfast menu items served to us for dessert: the Bananarama’s Foster French Toast – brioche french toast topped with bananas with a spiced banana caramel vanilla rum sauce with whipped cream and a touch of powdered sugar. I feel my blood sugar rising just thinking about this dish again.
I liked the french toast itself – good choice of bread! It was crispy outside and soft on the inside. The sauce on top was a bit too much for me though – very sweet but it has a good flavor. I wished that the sauce was on the side so I could put just a little on myself the same way I do with pancake syrup. Otherwise this was a good, if sugar coma inducing, way to end the meal.
Here’s a couple of shots of the inside on the restaurant – this in the back of the shop, which faces 5th Avenue.
The bar with their fun, retro looking bar stools. I also love the chandelier/light fixtures in this place – they remind me of those retro 50’s looking star bursts.
All in all Jake and I enjoyed our experience at the Maryjane’s at the Hard Rock. We even took some time to stroll around the corridors to look at some of the “rock” items that had (you can see one at the end of the hall above – I believe it was one of Janis Joplin’s outfits from when she toured around). A fun experience for any music fans and some good eating if you’re Downtown.
Maryjane’s at the Hard Rock Hotel
207 5th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101