Why Dogs and Food?

Why Dogs and Food?

It's simple. Write about what you love. And what is better than dogs and food? If you are anything like me - and millions of other people - you will relate to and understand the unwavering love I have for my dogs and my passion for cooking - and eating - great food. I hope you will enjoy reading about my day to day experiences with good food and a couple of very special dogs.

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

How much is too much?

How much would you pay to dine by the sea?

"Numbers written on restaurant checks within the confines of restaurants do not follow the same mathematical laws as numbers written on any other pieces of paper in any other parts of the Universe." ~ Douglas Adams

How much money is a fine dining experience really worth? Should we pay double or triple the price to sit on the highest roof in the city or next to a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the sea with a bird's view eye of the breakers at the shore?

Labor Day weekend was great because my dear friend Susan came for a visit. Although she got stuck in heavy traffic between L.A. and La Jolla and arrived almost 4 hours after her departure, it was so nice when she finally got here! We had dinner reservations at The Marine Room - a La Jolla restaurant by the sea. We were looking forward to a nice, relaxing dinner with delicious food.

When we arrived and handed over our car to the valet parkers, we entered the restaurant and were seated by a big window that provided us a great, up close and personal view of the ocean and the surf. It was lovely. Our waitress was a little over-solicitous but that seems to be the culture at this restaurant. I have eaten brunch here before with some girlfriends and our waiter literally stood by our table, hovering so much that we felt like inviting him to sit down. It didn’t allow us too much private conversation.

Anyway, back to the dinner. There were three of us – Susan, Brian and me. We decided to order a bottle of red wine and when we looked at the wine list, the least expensive bottle of wine was about $64. In reality, we knew it was about a $10 bottle of wine. Now we all know how much restaurants mark up the wine, but seriously - $64 for a bottle of $10 wine? Okay, now on to the salad. We ordered a Caesar salad made Gueridon style which we all agreed was one of the best Caesar salads we ever had and the man who prepared the salad at our tableside was delightful. Then, we ordered our entrees. Brian ordered the Sesame crusted Ruby Red Ahi Tuna served with Thai rice, mango daikon salad, crispy avocado and pomegranate hibiscus sauce. It was prepared very rare and was tasty but was not as spectacular as was anticipated with that fancy menu description. Susan ordered the Filet Mignon, medium rare which was served with hazelnut potato timbale, cremini mushrooms with a mustard seed garnacha reduction. I ordered the a leek-coated Halibut which was served over 3 very small fingerling potato wedges and topped with some prosciutto and a paper-thin slice of heirloom melon with a white port chervril emulsion. Susan and I each split our dish in half and shared. The presentation was beautiful - including the mini trees made from sprigs of rosemary and thyme. The food was good but again, was not as good as the menu descriptions. We ordered an after-dinner drink and even though Susan exchanged hers for another, they still charged us for the one she didn’t drink. Huh. That was not very accommodating. But then, they did give a slice of key lime pie au gratis in the end.

All told, the meal was $300. Outrageous? Maybe not for some. But for us – well, we were not that impressed with the dinner. And then we still had to leave the tip and the pay the valet parking charges.

Let’s just say that next time I want to take one of my guests to a dinner ala surf and sand, I will cook it myself or grab some yummy takeout and carry it down to the beach!

1 comment:

Susan Campisi said...

You captured every detail perfectly! I could never remember such specifics but then we did establish during my visit that you have an amazing memory and I don't. So I appreciate reliving the evening--except for the check. It was good, but not as good as you'd expect. Ceasar salad was THE best I've ever tasted (though I didn't know what Gueridon style meant, so thank you for teaching me a foodie term). And they charged for the drink that I returned? Those bastards! Sorry...

Liz, the brunch you made and those little French appetizers (the name escapes me, of course) were far more memorable than dinner at the Marine Room. Everything you cooked was delicious! I was so impressed with your culinary skills. You should write about those meals next. Please... I want to relive them.