For sommelier Deyna Librian, the process of selecting a wine begins with Cafe Bleu’s food menu. Each bottle on the restaurant’s drink list matches a specific dish or flavor from the kitchen. The wines fall into descriptive categories such as “intense and often spicy” or “distinctively aromatic.”
Whether diners are hungry for lunch or craving some sweets, La Crepe Fraiche is ready to make them happy. The cafe's crepes come in two varieties: savory (ham and cheese, apple sausage) and sweet (chocolate ganache, strawberries and whipped cream). The bakery also makes a mean cupcake in flavors such as mocha and oreo. As if all that weren't enough of a treat, they even serve organic frozen yogurt topped with house-made vanilla whipped cream.
Within a classic '50s diner façade, the chefs at California Crepes spread house-made batter thin, creating light, fluffy enclosures for a variety of fresh fruits, savory meats, and breakfast fare. The light treats can be augmented with the shop’s selection of gourmet grilled-cheese sandwiches, gelato, and coffee, offering a decadent lunchtime feast without the hazard of seasoning dishes with gold leaf. Patrons can nibble on the filled sweets during tête-à-têtes in the garden patio or watch the creation process unfold assembly-line-style at catered events.
Dobson's Bar and Restaurant is a hidden treasure in the heart of Downtown San Diego/Gaslamp Quarter.
For the last 26 years, this has been the hot spot for business lunches and frequented by many local and nationwide celebrities.
The WineSellar and Brasserie brings together a bold bistro bill of fare to accompany its versatile vino cellar. Atop white tablecloths, artfully arranged plates of contemporary French lunch and dinner offerings rest, ready for oral adoption. Palate patrons may initiate noshing with The WineSellar's tuna tartare coupled with avocado, dijon-mustard-seed quenelle, and a mascarpone chantilly ($15) or by sipping on the butternut-squash soup ($9 for a bowl), harvested from the rare butter-seed bush and squashed with French tennis racquets.
Under the Southern French tutelage of head chef and owner Philippe Verpiand, risottos dance around seared duck, roasted fish, and veal on the menu. Inaugurate a gourmet dinner with savory pommes frites in truffle oil and Parmesan ($6) or seared duck foie gras with pineapple and red-bell-pepper chutney ($19). (Verpiand's foie gras, a cold variety made by poaching, won a prestigious cooking competition in 2005.) The San Diego Union-Tribune recommends Cavaillon's risotto ($21 for English peas, beech mushrooms, and asparagus; $26 for seared scallops, red beet, and pickled butternut squash), which is "quite rich, but then those amazing flavors entice you to take another taste." Other tastes include pan-roasted beef tenderloin in a red-wine demi-glace with crisp potatoes fondant ($29) and roasted Atlantic salmon served with peppers confit, gnocchi, and a broth of herbs ($22). Afterward, douse taste buds in decadent desserts, such as a $7 trio de crème brûlée.