We eat with our eyes! Extraordinary Desserts, OH MY!
As a huge foodie, enjoying food is essentially important and a part of that involves appearance. As consumers, we surely eat with our eyes first. This could not be more true when I took a visit down to an eatery in one of my favorite cities across southern California, San Diego.
There had been so much hype about Extraordinary Desserts that my good friend and I decided we had to give it a try. Of course even before entertaining the idea, I had to YELP! this place first and boy, photographs blew my mind right out of the water. I was a little skeptical about it at first because I wanted to be sure that the desserts tasted as good as they looked.
Extraordinary Desserts has two locations and is situated conveniently in downtown
San Diego. We stopped in on the location off of Union Street near Little Italy.
My friend and I came in on a late afternoon around 2:00pm for a quick lunch and of course desserts had to follow. When you enter the eatery, you immediately notice the modern/artistic/urban feel with a sense of openness and style to it. It is definitely not a small/quaint place at all.
My friend Michelle and I were greeted in a very polite manner when we walked in. I could not take my eyes off of the dessert case, the first thing that caught my attention. This by the way is a very clever idea! You’re too inclined to not resist!
This view is directly the opposite side of the coffee/dessert counter
We didn’t have an extremely huge appetite so we opted for a Panini in which she and I split, followed by a dessert, each (of course we shared the desserts). We decided to go with the smoked salmon Panini, served with a side of dill potato salad. Service was mediocre. The food took a little less than 15 minutes (longer than I’d expect considering they weren’t that busy). The Panini contained smoked salmon, avocado, miso mayonnaise and a hint of lime. First bite into the Panini was amazing, I thought. I wasn’t a big fan of the dill potato salad, however. My only change to the salad is to omit the dill. The tanginess of the dill takes away from the salad. Other than that, I absolutely enjoyed the combination of texture and taste.
My favorite part was of course-DESSERT! We couldn’t decide what we wanted because they had an incredible array of desserts! What was nice is that desserts change on a DAILY basis, which means that patrons are able to walk up to the case, point at what they want, and the waiters take it to the back to prepare and serve! After 15 minutes of perusing, we went with the banana cream custard and a blackberry pie. Let me tell you- they don’t call it extraordinary desserts for nothing!
BANANA CREAM CUSTARD BLACKBERRY PIE
I can’t begin to put into words how delicious these desserts were. They surpassed my expectations- they tasted even better than how they first appeared.
My overall expectations were definitely met. The ambience of the eatery was very subtle. The openness of the restaurant did not create intimidation at all. Cost-wise..You’re paying for the location, ambience, cleanliness, and extraordinary desserts. I would say it’s a ($$ out of $$$$$) and give it a 4 out of 5 stars. I can’t complain. I would definitely give this place another try and recommend those in the neighborhood to check it out.
In the 1920’s Duke Kahanamoku brought surfing to California from his home of Hawaii. Now, there is a restaurant that embraces that same spirit of aloha. Duke’s restaurant, located at the entrance to the Huntington Beach pier provides a taste of the islands that will leaving you satisfied and saying, “Mahalo”. There is a full restaurant and bar serving great food and drinks with a Hawaiian flare for all palettes. The walls are adorned with surf boards and memorabilia from Duke’s life and the local surf culture. Patrons are serenaded by the music of Hawaii while watching sun setting over the Pacific Ocean.
The menu is full of Polynesian inspired dishes and lots of fresh sea food. Appetizers such as Kumu Nui Muscles and Spicy Sugar Cane Shrimp bring feelings of pleasure and joy to your taste buds. Entrees include such delights as Scampi Kealoha, Huli Huli Chicken (my favorite, it is the same classic recipe used in the islands) and Chinese Style Beef Short Ribs. There is also a Sunday Brunch well worth experiencing. For those who are looking for a snack and a drink there is the Barefoot Bar. Smaller items are offered at smaller prices. Mango BBQ Burgers, Huli Huli Sandwiches and Island Fish and Chips are just a few of the island style items offered.
I recommend the Aloha Hour between 3:30 and 6:30PM on Tuesdays thru Fridays when items on the Barefoot Bar Menu and drinks are specially priced. I highly recommend trying the Hawaiian Ice Tea. It is a combination of Vodka, gin, rum, banana and fruit juice or an island favorite the Mai Tai.
Whether you’re looking for an excellent meal or drinks and a bite of food Duke’s cannot be beat. For events and contact information visit their website at http://www.dukeshuntington.com/.
Located on Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach, Cucina Alessá is almost hidden. I travel along PCH a couple of times a week to get to work, and most of the times, I can’t recall seeing the restaurant amid all the other signs. However, the OC Register stated a few months ago, «Cucina Alessá stands out in the Italian crowd» and gave the restaurant a 4 star rating. When this blogging project arrived, I decided to finally try out the place.
Finding Cucina Alessá along PCH is not very difficult once you know you’re searching for it and their brightly lighted sign helps. However, pulling into their parking lot created a problem. Cucina Alessá has a rather small parking lot, only fitting around 10 cars. By the time I arrived there at 6 pm, the parking lot was already full. This was solved by parking in a neighborhood at the next street and simply walking to the restaurant. Along the street there are also meters for parking, however I opted for the free route.
Seating was prompt and although all the tables are closely situated, it was more cozy than cramped. The restaurant itself is on the smaller side and dimly lit.
Glancing at the menu, I was bombarded with a lot of delicious options. It was really difficult to choose, but in the end, I narrowed it down to an appetizer, two entrées, and a dessert in order to review the each aspect of the menu. I ordered a caprese salad, ravioletti, bistecca al ferri, and a slice of ricotta cheesecake. After ordering, the waitress brought out bread and dipping sauce created from basil and olive oil. I might be biased as I love basil, but the dipping sauce was amazing and the bread was toasted very well.
The food didn’t take long to come out, and within 10 minutes the caprese salad came out. The caprese consisted of the standards: mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil; but Cucina Alessá added kalamata olives to the dish. I first took a bite of the dish without the olives and it tasted a bit bland, but with the olive added, it made all the difference. I wouldn’t say this was the best caprese I’ve ever had, but average.
Next up was the two entrées, the ravioletti and the bistecca. I usually go for pastas with cheesy sauces such as alfredo, but I was trying for something new. It was a good idea. The bolognese sauce for the ravioletti was amazing and the little raviolis were cooked perfectly. This dish was my favorite for the night.
I ordered the rib-eye to be medium rare and it was a little more cooked than i liked. Nonetheless the steak was grilled well and tender. I’m a steak person, but the little roasted potatoes won me over. They were perfected roasted, crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside with a hint of rosemary. If I wasn’t full by that time, I would’ve ordered a side of these wonderful little potatoes. The spinach was cooked well, not overcooked or under, and the little arugula salad on top of the steak was a nice fresh contrast to the rest of the dish.
After finishing the entrées, the waitress cleaned our table in preparation for dessert. Cucina Alessá has no solid dessert menu, but the waitress listed off the desserts of the day. After choosing the ricotta cheesecake, I waited in anticipation.
I was expecting a little plate with a slice of cheesecake, but the presentation of the cheesecake was so unexpected and pretty. The cheesecake was good (I’m not a big fan of sweets), not too sweet and the ricotta taste really showed through. The texture of the cheesecake was awesome, creamy and melted in my mouth. All in all, I would say the cheesecake was a good ending for the meal.
In conclusion, the food at Cucina Alessá was amazing. I enjoyed every dish and was very satisfied at the end of dinner. I think all the food is fairly priced ($$ out of $$$$$) and the waitress was very attentive. She checked up on us a multiple of times to make sure everything was going alright. However, the parking really took away from the overall experience as I had to walk in the cold to and from the restaurant. Overall, I would give Cucina Alessá a rate of 4.5 out of 5.