whisknladle – san diego restaurant week preview / la jolla – san diego, ca
It’s that time of year again – time for San Diego Restaurant Week, a twice a year opportunity for meals from a ton of different restaurants from all over San Diego. September dates are from the 18th to the 23rd, giving you ample opportunity to try a new place or revisit one of your favorite haunts. This year’s they’ve added Restaurant Week lunches into the mix with $10, $15 and $20 two-course lunches. Dinners are still priced starting at $20, $30 and $40 menus for three-course dinners.
My choice for preview week this time around landed me at Whisknladle in La Jolla, CA. After getting a cancellation from my first choice, I opted to try out Whisknladle since I’ve been wanting to come here for quite some time. This was a perfect opportunity to see what they’ve got cooking up their sleeves and I was not disappointed! Whisknladle is offering up their whole menu for restaurant week, allowing patrons to sample anything off their menu for $40.
Let me not keep you in suspense and just tell you off the bat: everything we had here was deliciously, outrageously, awesome sauce. Please continue looking at the photos now. Thank you.
Just looking over the menu had me salivating at the possibilities for tastiness that night!
Also: I really dug that they had water in milk bottles. The water had a hint of cucumber in it.
Heather was my partner in crime for tonight and we started off the evening with a few drinks. For me, the White Sangria and for Heather, a crazy cocktail called London’s Burning.
My white wine sangria barely tasted like alcohol with the mix of fruit within it and it quickly went to my head since I hadn’t eaten since lunchtime. Oops. Total lightweight in the house!
Heather’s drink, London’s Burning, is an interesting mix of gin, jalapeno, avocado and lime (with a dash of black pepper with a floating pepper). Heather likes it spicy, what can I say? I did have a sip and immediately had to drink my water afterwards. She told me she didn’t think it was that bad, but obviously we disagreed there. My tongue told me otherwise. I loved the green color of her drink!
For our first course (of five… they spoiled us) was the Crow’s Pass Green Salad.
We scooped spoonfuls of salad onto our cute rectangle plates and proceeded to stuff our mouths with a combination of leafy greens topped with slivered black pepper almonds, roasted shallot, gorgonzola piccante (aged cow’s milk blue cheese from Italy) and a cilantro vinaigrette.
Now normally salad isn’t something to fawn over, but we were actually rendered speechless while eating this. No conversation. Just stuff more salad into mouth, repeat. Crunchy almonds. Creamy gorgonzola with a hint of tang, and very nicely dressed. Heather and I both though this salad was very well harmonized – no flavor dominated the other and it was a really nice balance of all of the flavors and textures.
We also shared a Cutting Board with House Cured Meats and Artisan Cheeses. Good cheese makes me do happy dances in my seat and this mixture was really excellent. I’m just going to quote from the chef what all of the cheeses were:
Blu del Moncenisio, from the Peidmont region in Italy, which is an aged cow’s milk blue, made with the strain that creates Roquefort cheese rather than the traditional bacteria, and cave aged for months in a mountain valley pass on the border with France. Honeybee Gouda, an aged goat’s milk gouda rubbed with honey and aged in wax, from the Netherlands. Finally we had the Secret du Couvent, a French convent cheese made by nuns in the Morbier style, it is a fresh cow’s milk cheese with washed rind.
And the meats?
The meats we had on the board were bresaola, a red wine cured, air dried beef, a Belgian farmhouse ale salami and a duck liver mousse with pork aspic, all made in house.
No messing around here. This is quality stuff – delicious and well made. And can I say that I really, really, really loved the toast they served? No joke.
We got a “Surprise! Another Course!” entree brought to our table from our waiter, Aaron. I think he was trying to stuff us with food. The plan worked.
This is one of their Flatbreads.It’s got melted cheese, pork (porchetta!), fresh tomatoes and a dribble of pesto. The pork is actually this AMAZING thing called “Porchetta”. They make the porchetta with a boneless pork loin wrapped with a pork belly (OMG) and it’s seasoned with rosemary, garlic, chile, salt and sugar and cured overnight, then slow roasted for 3-4 hours.
I started just eating the porchetta off the flatbread. It was so tender and flavorful – melt in your mouth good. Insane. I want to marry it.
Heather’s choice for dinner was the Tagliatelle with spicy pork sausage sugo, pepperonata, housemade ricotta and grated Parmiginao-Reggiano. Heather was starting to look wary about all of the food we had already had and knowing that dessert was on the horizon, but she powered through and ate a bit of this. I had one bite to confirm it’s goodness.
I was feelin’ meaty and I got this Prime Meyer Ranch Striploin with baby potatoes (pommes sarladaise), haricot verts (fancy green beans) and chanterelles (tasty mushrooms). The steak was cooked to a perfect medium and had a really wonderful seared crust. I got this perfect bite of the outside with that touch of salt and it was so tender. My sides were also very well done but the steak was really the star of the show here. I only ate less than half because I knew that my favorite part of the meal was coming up: DESSERT!
Stressed spelled backwards!
Our table service was really excellent – they were so good at clearing off our table quickly and redoing the plates and silverware right off the bat. Our waiter also kept all of our leftovers in the back for us instead of crowding our table with tons of boxes. For dessert, he gave us these awesome squared off spoons. I dug them. A lot.
We each ordered one dessert, so of course they had to bring out three. God, we were spoiled. After getting the desserts, Aaron suggested that we just “power through” and eat all of our desserts. We were full, but everyone has an extra stomach for dessert, right?
This was our “extra” dessert, the Apple Upside Down Cake with Rum Raisin Ice Cream and Walnut Streusel.
It was good, what can I tell you?
We also got Jojo’s Cookie Plate filled with house baked cookies. The one of the far left I don’t remember the name of, but it reminded me a bit of biting into a chocolate candy with rice crispies in it. It was crunchy and had a hard texture and a good chocolate flavor. Next to that is the Nutella cookies – chocolate shortbread with a nutella filling (yummy). And next to that? House made Nutter Butters. And next to that? Raspberry bars.
The house made nutter butters are my new favorite. Soft peanut butter cookies with a fluffy peanut butter cream and a little sprinkling of salt on the outside. As a peanut butter lover, this was my favorite thing of the whole night. And many of the things were really, really good.
If that wasn’t enough, we also had this Dark Chocolate Pots de Creme (with salted caramel and roasted banana cake). We actually finished this one! We couldn’t let that creamy chocolate with salted caramel on top go to waste. Oh no, no no. We ate every bite of that. We had to be committed to something.
Close up of the Nutter butter cookie. I love you.
After we were done eating, as a joke for Heather I picked up my napkin and waved it off to the side of our table and said, “We surrender!” We laughed. A couple of minutes later our waiter, Aaron, came by and said, “I saw you surrendering so I thought I should come over and see how you were doing.”
We were incredibly amused that he understood what I was doing. A+
The food was excellent. The service was superb. I hope you go here during San Diego Restaurant Week (or any other time of the year).
Disclaimer: I was treated to a complimentary meal. Thanks to Whisknladle for having us and to McFarlane Promotions for setting up the preview!
1044 Wall St.
La Jolla, CA