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.

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Nine-Ten Again and Again

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."
~ Fernand Point

It was my birthday on October 12th. I usually love my birthday and all its fanfare. But this year, for some reason I was a little down when I woke up on October 12th. I don’t know why. It wasn’t a milestone birthday or anything exciting like that but I like to think that every birthday is a celebration of life and so I should be celebrating. So, I tried to lift up my chin and smile.

My coworkers wished me a happy birthday and sent emails and came by my desk to bestow their best wishes for a happy day. I so appreciate that. Then, I started getting a bunch of wonderful birthday wishes on my Facebook page and my spirits lifted a little more. My coworker and friend Erin, brought in breakfast AND took me to lunch at a nice little Thai restaurant. She made me feel special. Some of my dear friends called me and left happy birthday songs and loving birthday wishes on my voicemail. How fun this was and I can’t tell you how much it lifted me from my earlier funk.

When I got home from work, Brian had a lovely birthday present and several cards from Walter and Henry and Mac and we enjoyed some champagne on the patio. He had made reservations at the Nine-Ten restaurant in La Jolla – located in the Grande Colonial Hotel on Prospect Street.

The Nine-Ten is a small, cozy restaurant with a limited menu. That may be a problem for some if there is nothing on the menu of interest. But not for me. If the menu is too long, with tons of choices, it’s overwhelming and takes me forever to order. And so, I looked at 4 salad choices and the 6 or 8 dinner entrees and made my decision rather quickly. And for some reason, I knew it would be good. I just knew it. The pastry chef, I read, was a world-class chocolatier and even though I am not regularly a dessert eater, when I dine out, I will indulge. Especially if it is a specialty of the establishment.

The Nine-Ten has this wine-pairing option with all of their dinner choices. What this means is that the waitress will ask the diners their preference in wine and she will pair a complimenting wine with each of the courses. So, with your salad, you get a glass of wine; with your dinner - a glass of wine; and then even with your yummy chocolate dessert, you get a glass of wine or cordial. Each course has its own little ceremony. It is great fun and a great deal. And if you happen to get a good waitress who is spot on with the pairings, you are in for a fabulous dining experience!

And we did. To all of the above.

Brian ordered the Farmers Market Peach & La Quercia Prosciutto Salad that included arugula, burrata cheeses and Australian black truffle vinaigrette. I ordered the Heirloom Tomato Salad which consisted of very tasty sliced heirloom tomatoes, a mixture of melon and plums and a rice wine vinaigrette. Delicious. Then for our entrees, Brian had the grilled Rib eye steak with chanterelle mushrooms and smoked paprika aioli and I had the Port Wine braised beef short ribs with sweet corn puree. These meat dishes were so tender and so well-prepared that they melted in our mouths. We were in heaven. Both the salads and the entrees were paired with some full-bodied and spicy Cabernet and Pinot Noir.

Our desserts just had to be of the chocolate kind since it was Pastry Chef Jack Fisher’s specialty. But they even have a list of tasty cheeses and fruit if you prefer. We ordered two to share: the half-baked chocolate cake with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream and another chocolate mousse with a crispy, crunchy topping. All I can say is they tasted as delectable as described! Another glass of red wine to compliment the chocolate and we were well fed and deliriously happy with our restaurant choice.

I wrote about our very expensive less-than-perfect dinner at the Marine Room in a previous blog entry. The Marine Room may have the ocean view down pat, but they can’t hold a candle to the Nine-Ten when it comes to service, food and value. In addition to paying only half of what we paid at the Marine Room, the food was better and we didn’t even have to valet park. We will go back again and again.

Happy Birthday to me!


Susan Campisi said...

Yum! I'm glad you had such a fabulous birthday dinner, Liz. It sounds fantastic. Next time I visit we have to go there!

Liz Berry said...

Sue! Thanks for always commenting. You are the only one who ever does! And yes - next time we will go to Nine-Ten - you would really enjoy it!