del mar rendezvous / san diego restaurant week preview 2012 + giveaway

San Diego Restaurant Week is nearly upon us again – and one restaurant is putting together a sweet deal for San Diegans to get out and get a great meal this September. Del Mar Rendezvous is celebrating restaurant week over three weeks instead of the usual one week and it starts this Saturday, September 8th and runs until September 30th. They have a special $30 prie fix menu and a slew of wine, beer and sake specials to go along with your special meal.

In addition to the special menu, they’re also teaming up with Uber for a $30 Uber ride. Uber is a personal driver service that you use with your iPhone or Android phone to request driver service in a luxury vehicle. I tried out the service when I visited Del Mar Rendezvous last week – check out the end of this post for my recap (and a special giveaway)!

[peek at the SDRW menu – see full options here]

I was excited to be invited back to Del Mar Rendezvous for more delicious treats and offerings. Since I’ve visited in the past, I’ll try and just touch and recap on the newer items I tried this time around. For this visit I invited my dad to tag along with me to try all of the delicious offerings.

[steamed dumpling sampler – 2 ha gau (shrimp), 2 su jiao (veggie) and 2 xiao long bao (pork)]

I adore dumplings in all forms and sizes and couldn’t pass up trying out their Dumpling Sampler which is featured as one of the first courses on their SDRW menu. You get 2 of the shrimp, 2 veggie and 2 of the pork soup dumplings for tasting. Having recently had really excellent dumplings in Irvine, these kind of fell short of my exceptions. I thought they were just okay – maybe if I hadn’t so recently had such tasty ones these might have seemed better in my eyes, but they lacked in the flavor department just a little bit. I’d definitely try the Honey Glazed Spare Ribs if you’re coming for the first time here rather than the dumplings, were are just okay. They not as soft, supple and tender as other dumplings I’ve had but they’re also not the worst. They’re just okay.

[three-cup chicken – chicken thigh meat, sauteed with fresh basil, garlic, ginger and red chilies served in a sizzling clay pot]

The Three-Cup Chicken is a traditional Taiwanese dish that is a restaurant week exclusive dish. This is a dish that the chef usually prepares at home for his family and also served only to the staff at Del Mar Rendezvous. This special dish is cooked over high heat to release the bone marrow and then simmered over low to allow the dish to concentrate all of the flavor into the chicken and sauce, producing a rich and flavorful dish.

This dish reminded me very much of my mom’s chicken adobo. The long period cooking time allows the flavors to develop and deepen and creates a very flavorful dish. The meat is fall off the bone tender with pieces of whole garlic cloves and other intense flavors. I enjoyed eating this with bits of brown rice to help soak up the flavor. A very hearty and tasty dish!

[mongolian rack of lamb – with teriyaki glaze and served over sauteed green beans]

The Mongolian Rack of Lamb is another entree item featured on the SDRW menu – one that I would happily eat again and again. This was definitely one of my favorite dishes. My dad called these “meat lollipops” as we simply picked them up by the bone’s end to chew happily away on the lamb. Very tender with a nice sweetness from the meat and the teriyaki glaze, these lamb “pops” were a big hit with my dad and I.

[walnut shrimp – breaded jumbo shrimp in a creamy, sweet white sauce with caramelized walnuts and steamed broccoli]

The Walnut Shrimp was my one repeat item from last year (if you don’t count the dumplings…) and I just had to have it. It was as good as I remembered it from last year! I love how big the shrimp are – fried to a golden delicious brown with a lovely crunch, with just enough of the sweet creamy white sauce to top it off. The walnuts are also to die for adding another layer of crunch to this outstanding dish. I’m pretty sure I could eat this every time I came here.

[crabmeat mango salad – crab, diced mango, red bell pepper, celery, green onion, and white onion in a creamy sauce on a bed of lettuce with vinaigrette]

A few of the the other items were ordered are not on the SDRW menu, but totally worth noting!

My dad requested this one – the Crabmeat Mango Salad. It comes in a pretty, shaped scoop and is filled to the brim with sweet crab and ripe mangoes. It leans a little more towards the “mango” salad, but it has a refreshing and clean taste. It very light and tropical tasting. The mango dominated the flavor a little bit, but I didn’t think it was in a bad way.

[shrimp & scallop saute – shrimp and scallops sautéed with broccoli, carrots, baby corn, and snow peas in a Shao Xing garlic sauce]

Another dad-dish! Shrimp and scallops are something my dad and I definitely love, but the overall flavor on this dish was a bit bland. Dad thought this dish tasted rather “neutral” – no real distinct flavors seemed to come through here and we were pretty underwhelmed. Needed a bit more flavor and seasonings for our tastes.

[chow fun with chicken and beef – sautéed with bean sprouts, green bell pepper, red bell pepper,green onion, white onion, and flat, wide rice noodles]

Wide, flat rice noodles are were it’s at! I love the texture of this kind of noodle, which sort of looks like a fettuccine. The noodle is tender and soaks up the flavor of whatever dish its in – I love it! I liked their Chow Fun dish with the medley of flavors, veggies and two kinds of meat.

[mango sorbet – a fresh mango shell filled with all-natural, fat-free sorbet and topped with powdered sugar, whipped cream and raspberry sauce]

Last year I tried the Mile High Mud Pie, so this year I went for the Mango Sorbet. They also have a cinnamon banana eggroll, but seeing as I’m not a huge fan of bananas, I figured I’d like the mango dessert better than that one.

The mango was stuffed into a frozen mango shell. Very creamy and sweet! It was maybe just a hint too sweet, but I still enjoyed gulping the frosty treat down. Love the presentation on this one!

[raspberry cheesecake]

My dad eyed the cheesecake early on and was not deterred when our waiter gave us the restaurant week menu’s dessert. I was glad he ordered this because I ended up liking it a whole lot. Incredibly rich with a dense cookie crust, this raspberry cheesecake is not for the faint of heart. A nice little white chocolate disk sticks up from the creamy cheesecake and is decorated with swirls of raspberry sauce. Decadent and delicious, I helped my dad polish this dessert off even after all of the food we ate. Yummy!

Uber Ride

Luckily after eating this crazy amount of food, we had a ride to come pick us up at the restaurant to take us back home. Thanks to folks at Uber, my dad and I rode in luxury to and from the restaurant, taking comfort in not having to think about how to get where we were going and not having to worry a bit about traffic.

The Uber application is quite easy to use and is available through iTunes or Google Play. You simply download the application and create a new account. You link up your credit card to your account – that’s how you pay for your ride. No money is exchanged with your driver – you simply say “Thanks!” when you’re dropped off and you’re automatically charged after the ride.

You go into the application to request a pick-up by dropping a pin on your location about 20 minutes before you want to leave. This gives a driver plenty of time to get over to your location for pick-up. If you’re in a more populated part of town, you could probably snag a ride quicker. The application shows you exactly where your driver is and their approximate arrival time. You get a text confirmation when your driver is on the way and another text when they’ve arrived. No awkward waiting around and looking out for your ride. Sweet!

While on your drive, you can see exactly where you are and track your ride’s progress. After the ride is over, you rate your driver and tip is automatically added to your fare. We rode in a Chrysler 300 on the ride over and came back in a Lincoln. Very sweet and very comfortable rides with friendly drivers.

Dining at Del Mar Rendezvous during restaurant week will earn you a $30 credit to try out Uber for yourself. You can check out base fares and prices on their website.

San Diego Restaurant Week Giveaway

Want to win dinner for 2 to Del Mar Rendezvous? I’ve got the hookup for you! Even though I mostly blogged about delicious meaty and carb filled eats, Del Mar Rendezvous also has a vegetarian/vegan menu and gluten free menu for those with special dietary needs – there’s something for everyone here!

Enter below to win a gift card good for dinner for 2  during their celebration of San Diego Restaurant Week – September 8th until September 30th – plenty of time to get in and check out this delicious food for yourself! Here’s how to enter:

1. View Del Mar Rendezvous’ menu for San Diego Restaurant Week and tell me what item you’d most like to try if you win. (Good for 1 entry)

2. Like “This Tasty Life” on Facebook! (Good for 1 entry)

3. Tweet about this contest: “I’d like to win dinner for 2 at Del Mar Rendezvous during SDRW! @kyten” (Good for 1 entry)

4. Add this site to your RSS Reader (Good for 1 entry)

Please leave a separate comment for each entry. Contest ends Monday, September 10th, 2012 at 8:00PM PST. Winner will be picked on September 11th and the gift card will be mailed to the winner. Certificate is only valid during San Diego Restaurant Week (until September 30th, 2012).

Disclaimer: My meal, my Uber ride and the gift card giveaway are all complimentary items. I was not paid for this review or post and all opinions are my own.

42 thoughts on “del mar rendezvous / san diego restaurant week preview 2012 + giveaway

  1. I’d like to try those lambchops (i’ll be adventurous since I normally don’t eat lamb).

    Bert and I went here earlier this year for my bday and we loved our crabmeat mango salad and the honey walnut shrimp! 🙂

  2. Definitely would love to try the lamb and three cup chicken based on your review. And I we will be using Uber now vs a taxi…. sounds much more reliable and easy to use. Thanks for the info!

  3. The Mongolian rack of lamb would be my must-try dish! It sounds incredible, and I don’t think I’d ever splurge on it on my own– great giveaway!

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