Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Eating San Diego Travelogue Returns!

When I got back from Southern California in late February, I didn't much feel like rehashing the experience. Despite spending some awesome time in LA with one of my good college friends, Scully, the trip was a mixed bag.

But, with the experience behind me, I feel I owe it to everyone I bothered by constantly snapping pictures to at least post some pics and descriptions of the some of the awesome grub I had while I was on the West Coast.

Corvette Diner
2965 Historic Decatur Rd.
San Deigo, California
(619) 542-1476

The "Elvis" milkshake -- peanut butter, bananas, and marshmallow fluff.

It's wacky! It's zany! It's 50's themed! It's cliched! But so what, the food was good. This is about as Disneyworld as they get, folks, but lunch was grease-tastic. I normally get nauseous around this kind of restaurant, and the Corvette Diner is no exception. Lots of 50's sock-hop music, wait staff that look like they needed a few black beauties to get through their shifts, and lots of chrome.

The "Rory" burger: bacon, lettuce, and peanut butter. Yeah, it was pretty darn tasty.

The "Garbage Plate" of appetizers, with sliders, O-rings, potato skins, zucchini strips, chips and salsa, with the Corvette Diner signature dipping sauce, which is essentially mayo, yellow mustard, and pickle relish.

Galco's Soda Pop Stop
5702 York Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90042
Not so much a restaurant, but still deserving a mention, since owner John was so kind to us during our visit. 483 varieties of soda at any given time, and that number is steadily increasing.

One of the seemingly endless aisles of pop

I'm not sure if I have any absolute favorites from Galco's, but I will say I loved the Cucumber (especially with some searing-hot Sichuan take out), the Chocolate Egg Cream, and the Cheerwine. What wasn't so tasty? One word: Moxie.

Annie, who originally hailed from Michigan, shared in my disbelief of the gorgeous SoCal weather compared to the negative-windchills I had left behind in Wisconsin.

Galco's was absolutely awesome, and... let us not forget... they also feature a deli, and a healthy selection of very cool, very rare nostalgia candies. Please, do youself a favor... if you ever have about two hours to kill in LA, take a swing over to Galco's. It's like a candy store for adults.

Ocean Beach Pier Café (AKA WOW [Walking On Water] Café)
5091 Niagra Ave.
San Diego, California 92107
(619) 226-2262

It kinda looks dumpy on the outside. That's okay. It looks dumpy inside, too. Pay no attention to the decor. Look out the windows, that's the view you're there for.

I'm not even sure what this restaurant is actually called. Some say WOW café, some say OB Pier Café, some say Niagra Ave. Pier Café. I don't really care what the name is, the food and the view were both incredible. Keeping in mind it was mid-February, I was sweating my tukis off when I sat down for lunch in the very close dining room which, it needs to be mentioned, is suspended some dozens of feet over the roaring Pacific ocean below.

I ordered an obligatory Lobster Taco:

Which was a little messy, and just a smidge light on the lobster meat, but very, very flavorful, and the "Captain's Plate:"

Which included shrimp, fries, a plank of breaded white fish (Halibut, Cod, Pollock... it was the kitchen's choice, apparently), "Chowder on a Bun," and a home-made Chile Relleno called something like a Ocean Beach Boat Anchor, or an Ocean Beach Bomber, or Ocean Beach Sea-faring Death Squad, or something equally intimidating. The Chowder was FANTASTIC, the fish-fry was nice, flaky and tender, the shrimp was a little iodine-y, but otherwise a fantastic lunch.

Sapporo Sushi
5049 Newport Ave.
San Diego, California 92107
(619) 222-6686

I suspect some scenes from Surf Ninjas was filmed in Sapporo. It has the sort of museum-exhibit feel, where you think nothing of the small, ex-Woolworths glass cooler case filled with fish parts, the cloying, almost comical Koto music, and the kimono-clad waitresses running around in small steps, giggling at bad pronounciation, and slinging sushi like they were truck-stop short order cooks.

The sushi was okay.

I really wish I knew the lyrics to Stuck On You

To be honest, I don't even remember what we ordered. I know, by my pictures, that there was some Octopus action, and I'm fairly sure some Spicy Tuna, Mackerel, and Shrimp Tempura. They were all okay, with none of the fish being particularly fresh, although nothing past its prime. If you're in OB, you have a hankering for sushi, it certainly wasn't the worst you could do. But I guess I wasn't jumping up and down with joy as we left...

Gong! Welcome to Sapporo!

Bob Morris' Paradise Cove Beach Cafe Malibu
28128 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, California 90265
(310) 589-4869
Flash-heavy Website Here

This picture makes it look like a shanty-town, but trust me, this is very much Malibu Barbie.

Lunch, in Malibu. Sounds a bit idyllic, doesn't it? Well, it was. Is. Can be, for you, if you decide to go there. Or, if you're Cher (I know you read this!), in which case you already live there. Whatever. 

The Paradise Cove Café is gorgeous, and just an eensy-weensy bit pretentious, which I love, because once in a while, it's fun to abandon the fact that I'm a total blue-collar plebe (fancy-schmancy, semi-useless Liberal Arts degrees aside...), and live like a movie start.

On this particular outing to Malibu, I played the part of the paparazzo, stalking and thwarting Scully's every move. Scully soaked in the Pacific sun, while I snapped away, much to the entertainment of the guests dining around us...

Scully plays coy, but you have to watch her... she's fox-sly.

Scully got a cheeseburger, which I'm told is phenomenal:

But I needed to do something a little less... pedestrian. I opted for the "Sandwich In Soup," which is a Dungeness crab and shrimp "Melt" on sourdough, arranged around a literal TROUGH of clam chowder. Now, the menu says this one is big, but I had no idea exactly how big their portions really were...

The sandwich was cheese-y, crabb-y decadence, the home-made oyster crackers were actually really taste, but the chowder... omg, the chowder.

It was so buttery, so rich I'm not even sure that it was legal. HUGE slices of fresh, sweet clams, only a few small cubes of potato, and an absolutely stellar stock. It's been months, and I still shiver a little bit when I remember that soup. Paradise Cove Café says their clam chowder is "award-winning." No doubt. Book a flight. Get a hotel. And get a bowl of this soup. Now. I'm waiting.

This was one of my favorite memories from the trip... feet in the sand, awesome company with Scully, a stupendous meal, and the view wasn't terrible:

This is another one of those gotta-go-back kind of places. And not terribly expensive, to boot! Pull up a chair, get a frosty cocktail, and enjoy all of those scantily-clad, bronzed and slightly botoxed Malibu natives as they frolic across the beach in front of you...

Birds Café-Bar
5925 Franklin Ave.
Hollywood, California 90028
(323) 465-0175

Finally! A theme restaurant I can get behind! It's all-poultry, all the time! THIS makes sense in my lizard brain. 

I actually laugh every time I think about it. A chicken restaurant. You'll never have to wonder what a dish tastes like, because the obvious answer is...

In all seriousness, Scully knew about this place, as it was just down the road from her chic Hollywood Hills penthouse, and within walking distance. We had been stuffed from our lunching activities in Malibu, so this was the perfect way to end a crazed day. I loved the very pretense-free, almost devil-may-care atmosphere, and the wink-and-nod to Hitchcock. Besides, Scully said she had a very nice conversation with Justin Long here not so long ago, so I was thinking, maybe I could run into Peter Krause? I mean, we're allowed to dream, right? 

I had chicken. Scully had chicken. It was all tasty. 

Of course, we ate outside, and there was no natural light. I mean, none. I had no ceiling to bounce my flash off of, and wanted to start flashing like Tom Cruise likes gay rumors, since some of these folks really do have to worry about paparazzi. So, no pics of the food. But an awesome pic of Scully contemplating when our dinners would arrive:

So, that's about all for the Cali trip, a few months late. It certainly had some rocky points, but I wouldn't trade it. And, a big shout out to Scully, who is so famous I can't actually reveal her identity. But bonus points for figuring it out, and sending me the link to her IMDB page... and yes, she does have one!