Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Heart of Pacific Beach Restaurant Walk

After nearly two months of eagerly anticipating the Heart of Pacific Beach Restaurant Walk, the day finally arrived. Micah and I attended the other Pacific Beach Restaurant Walk in the spring and loved it! We could hardly wait for this day to arrive so we could gorge ourselves on delicious food while enjoying a nice stroll through P.B. This time, we weren't alone. Our friends Angie and LeeAnn joined us for the culinary adventure. Here's the story of our journey.

We arrived in Pacific Beach shortly after 6 p.m., which left us with about three hours to complete the 19 restaurant tour. Despite the unorganized crowd waiting to pick up their will-call tickets, it only took a couple minutes to get our passes. Since we were right in the middle of the walk, we decided to head east on Garnet first to make sure that we made it to Pure Cupcakes, which closed early at 8 p.m.

Our first stop was Cafe Bella Italia. I've been intrigued by this cute Italian restaurant for years now and comment on how I want to try it about every other time that we drive into P.B. Tonight I finally got to try a sample of their food. They served us pasta with bolognese sauce, a breadstick that looked like a donut hole, margherita pizza and what I believe is crispy risotto balls. While I skipped the latter, everything else was delicious and this was a great place to start our meal.

Costa Brava, a restaurant with an I-can-only-imagine authentic Spanish feel, was our next stop. This lively restaurant offered samples of sangria with a twist. Everyone passed the pitcher around and poured it directly into their mouths. Why I didn't capture a photo of this is beyond me but I think I was simply to entranced by the craziness around me. This seems like a great place to go to have fun! 

They served us samples of paella, which included practically every kind of seafood and meat imaginable. We found chicken, sausage, mussels and shrimp. I've never tried paella although I remember learning about it in my high school Spanish class. While this one had a few too many ingredients for my liking, the rice and chicken were wonderful!

Paella sample

The paella is served from a giant skillet.
We continued our journey with a stop at The Fish Market. After waiting in line, we were served samples of beer and shrimp. As a non-seafood fan and non-beer drinker, I passed both along to Micah.

Me and Micah waiting at The Fish Shop.
Shrimp and beer.

The Fish Shop in the late afternoon sun.

At the far eastern end of the walk, we visited The Patio on Lamont. I've heard great things about this spot, particularly how dog friendly it is, but their Restaurant Walk offering of a seafood ceviche-like dish was too intense for me. Micah described it as being quite acidic, which I believe is how ceviche usually tastes.


We began to circle back and visited Yogurt on the Rocks. We received a small sample cup and were instructed to chose whatever and as many flavors of frozen yogurt that we would like. I couldn't decide and ended up with a squirt of berry, graham cracker, cupcake and red velvet. It's impossible to pick a favorite. Everything was delicious!

The girls with our fro-yo.

My quadruple selection of flavors.

La Cosa Pizza offered us slices of pizza and Cafe Athena served up a chicken pasta, rice pudding and spankopita. I enjoyed the chicken dish but skipped the other two.

Greek food from Cafe Athena.

After grabbing a meatball from the Great News! Cooking School, we hustled over to Pure Cupcakes. Hidden at the back of the shopping center, this cupcake shop is wonderful. We had a choice of four mini cupcakes: chocolate, carrot cake, lemon and red velvet. I ended up trying the chocolate and red velvet. Delicious!

Red Velvet and Chocolate mini cupcakes

Mr. Frostie's ice cream shop continued our mid-dinner dessert with hand-dipped chocolate cones. I'd likely prefer their cherry dipped cones, which I noticed on the regular menu, or even just a plain cone, but then, I'm not a huge chocolate fan.

Angie just couldn't wait for a bite!
PB Cantina was serving pork tacos and as a non-pig eater, I bypassed this location.

Sugar and Scribe bakery was more my speed with another mini-cupcake sample. Again, I had chocolate but not by choice. They were just randomly handing out the cupcake flavors and I would have preferred a different flavor.

Chocolate cupcake
Papa Luna's Empanadas is a place that I've been to before and the Dulce de Leche Apple empanada is delicious. Unfortuantely, they were only serving dinner empanadas tonight and the spicy corn, butternut squash and one other option that I've forgotten were not my cup of tea.

Tavern, which has recently been remodeled, looks wonderful and I fell in love with their pig bookends on the table. Sadly, their adorable mini hot dogs were actually pork too and I was unable to eat it. If only they were beef hot dogs...sigh! Micah enjoyed this stop though as it was another beer tasting location and none of us girls wanted our samples. Score for Micah!

Awesome pig book ends.

Mini hot dog wrapped in a pretzel bun.
The last leg of our walk took us to sister restaurants, Typhoon Saloon and Fred's Mexican Cafe. Typhoon served chicken wings, which were okay but I really prefer my meat off the bone. I wasn't a big fan of their cumin ranch either. Fred's offered a choice of shredded steak or shredded pork tacos. Everyone in my group raved about the steak tacos and the avocado sauce but shredded meat just weirds me out. I have issues, I know. :)

Trader Joe's served a Caprese salad, pasta and macaroons. I don't believe that I've ever had a macaroon before but it was soft and sweet. 

Although I'm a regular at Woodstock's for its Thursday night trivia, their pizza selection tonight left me disappointed. I was hoping for some Garlic Bird, my favorite, or at least something simple like cheese. 

Our final stop was Tap Room and we ended with some pizza and pasta, just as we had started the night.

Pizza and pasta at Tap Room.
With about 30 minutes to spare, we completed the tour of 19 restaurants. Angie was the only one who actually tried each of the spots as Micah passed on the cupcakes. 

All in all, it was a good night. Slightly less hectic than our last walk, which featured over 30 restaurants, but we still left full, fat and happy!