sea and smoke / del mar, ca
Recently I was about to get together with a couple of other bloggers, Jinxi of Jinxi Eats and Faye of Faye’s Fork for a little blogger get together! It’s always fun to hang out with other bloggers and see their take on things. Plus it’s always fun to eat with people who love food just as much as you do!
Jinxi and I had been playing around with a couple of ideas and when she mentioned Sea & Smoke I jumped on that! It was the kind of place that I didn’t think Jake would be too super interested in and so I thought it’d be perfect to check out with other bloggers. The spot that Sea & Smoke is in used to be a restaurant called Paradise Grille that I actually enjoyed (and they had free birthday meals, so you know I was all over THAT). Sea & Smoke completely redid the space and it’s so much more airy and open – a really nice change! We sat in the upstairs area, but they also have outdoor seating down below.
Also: they totally have their own glasses. I kind of wish I could have one.
Here’s a peek at the menu. I love the font. Especially the font on their logo.
Also the menu for the meat/cheese boards. OF COURSE we ordered cheese. God, I can’t resist cheese. It just calls to my soul.
[artisan cheese & meat board – 3 items for $14]
We got two cheeses and one meat (black truffle). I believe we got the Leonora Spain (“delicate ash rind” caught my attention) and I’m not sure of the second one. All I remember is delicious cheese. Our board came with the house made bread, pecans, some very lovely apricot jam, and honey.
Here you can spy the honey plus the black truffle salumi. Also in the foreground are a couple of the squid ink crackers that are featured with the Smoke Dip appetizer. Jinxi and I had both read about the squid ink cracker’s on Kirbie’s blog and we totally dying to try these things. I think Faye thought we were a little nuts but our waitress said she would make sure we got some of the crackers to try.
I love all the board items – especially the creamy cheeses paired with a little honey or jam. I swear I could just eat bread, cheese and honey and be happy forever.
The squid ink crackers were good, but maybe not as exciting as I had hoped they’d be. But I loved the rustic look of them and the texture – it went really well with the cheese and meats.
[pacific mussels with garlic, ginger, cumin rouille, cliantro, chilies and grilled bread – $12]
We also ordered the mussels. I didn’t really figure out that I liked mussels until last year when I had them at the now defunct Anthology. The version at Sea & Smoke was good – though the broth wasn’t quite as deliciously flavorful as I had hoped. It was good but I felt like it was missing a little bit of depth in flavor. I actually preferred eating the mussels and broth with the house made bread rather than the grilled bread it came. The grilled bread was a little soft, but still tasty.
[cook pigs ranch double pork chop roast with honey mustard brine & jus – $25]
All three of us shared the entrees we ordered – lucky us! Faye ordered the double pork chop roast which I really liked. I was sad that it didn’t really come with anything else, but that’s how the menu is designed. The food is meant to be shared, with sides coming in at an additional fee (this approach reminded me of Fleming’s).
I thought the pork chop was really flavorful and juicy and had a nice crust to it. Excellent choice!
[cook pigs ranch pork belly with ginger-soy marinade, pickled fresnos and ginger – $16]
Jinxi ordered the pork belly which was actually really quite fatty. I mean, I didn’t mind it so much, but I might have if that was the only thing I had to eat. The fatty bits had the intense porky richness to it which I like but I still kind of missed having more the of the pork meat on the bottom. Admittedly, the porky fatty part is my favorite (just like I love love love the skin part of lechon and could just eat that even though it is totally and completely bad for you – who cares!) so maybe I didn’t miss it that much. I could have done without the marinade really – just put the pork belly goodness into my mouth already!
[slow baked sweet onion with white corn pudding, puffed farro, red pepper fritter and watercress – $17]
I decided to be completely and totally different and I ordered a vegetarian entree. I wanted to feel semi-healthy and have sort of a vegetable dish to go with all of the meats we were consuming. The white corn pudding is what caught my eye and the fact that I really love onions.
Again, if I had ordered this alone I would have been disappointed because at the end of the day… you’re really just eating an onion. But! It was a really good onion. It was sweet and had depth of flavor, the white corn pudding added a bit of creamy goodness to the onion and those crazy puffed farro things made it semi-crunchy and interesting.
[red pepper fritter close up]
You also got a little red pepper fritter, too, which for some reason I really liked (I don’t normally liked peppers, but I guess deep frying them makes them tastier).
[sweet corn skillet bread – $6]
Corn bread! I am always drawn to your siren’s call! I thought it was good, but not really knock-your-socks-off worthy. It had a nice sweetness that I liked but it wasn’t quite my “dream” cornbread.
[grilled peaches foster – $9]
Out of the dessert menu options, we opted to go with the Grilled Peaches Foster. It seemed pretty unique to me and even though I just think peaches are “okay”, I was willing to try it out.
The peach was cut up into sections with one larger part in the front. The peach was a bit soft from being grilled, with a little bit of char from the grill.
[more peaches plus crumbled short cake and a tiny peek of sour cream ice cream]
My favorite part of the dish ended up being the sour cream ice cream which was very smooth and creamy. The crumbled short cake was just okay – I don’t really enjoy just eating the crumbs, it kind of felt like we were eating leftovers. The peaches were okay, nothing really mind blowing to me. But this might just be because peaches don’t normally knock my socks off.
In any case, it was a totally fun dinner hanging out with Faye and Jinxi and exploring a new restaurant in town!
Sea & Smoke
2690 Via De La Valle, No. D210
Del Mar, CA 92014