San Diego’s 13th annual restaurant week starts Sunday, January 15, 2017.
For eight days, 180 restaurants across the county from South Bay to La Mesa and Oceanside to Fallbrook will roll out the red carpet offering their culinary repertoire. Prix-fixe menus allow indulgent rewards for a fraction of the usual fare. Three course dinners cost $20, $30, or $40 per person depending on the eatery. Two course lunch menus are $10, $15, or $20.
The theme this year is “Celebrating Girl Scouts!”
In honor of the 100th anniversary of San Diego Girl Scouts, restaurants are partnering with local troops to concoct crazy good desserts made with the iconic cookies we all know and love. The media were invited to taste-test ten of the chef’s creations at the local Girl Scout campus. I was one of the lucky ones on the list. I savored confections that are pinch-me incredible.
A Few Desserts on Restaurant Week Menus
Thin Mints are a fave with most people. That’s why Great Maple restaurant (http://thegreatmaple.com/) uses them in their Pistachio Chocolate Marquise. Dark cocoa mousse with a Thin Mints crust and pistachio dust zing brightly on your tongue, launching the urge to continue popping the bite size morsels in your mouth.
Numerous chefs indulge their passion for Samoas by incorporating the caramel, toasted coconut, and dark chocolate jewels into decadent desserts. Bali Hai restaurant ((http://www.balihairestaurant.com/) spins together banana mousse, feuilletine crunch, and orange zest resulting in a slightly citrus flavor reminiscent of the South Pacific.
Island Prime/C Level (https://www.cohnrestaurants.com/islandprime) put a new twist on a tried-and-true cheesecake. And Pacific Standard Coastal Kitchen wows the senses with a larger, more refined version of the cookie in bar form (http://www.pacificstandardrestaurant.com/).
For Peanut Butter Lovers
Tom Ham’s Lighthouse ((http://www.tomhamslighthouse.com/) executive pastry chef, Karina Godinez, reinvents Tagalongs into a chocolate cake one only imagines. A peanut butter crumble separates two stacks of fluffy, dark goodness topped with whipped cream, toasted coconut and a delicate flower. She accompanies the gastronomic art piece with strawberry sorbet.
A Mexican Flavor
Another rock-star is Puesto Restaurant’s (http://eatpuesto.com/) robin egg blue Caramel Coconut Crema! Your eyes feast before your taste buds. The custard sits on a bed of Samoas crujido crunch, a berry poised on the seamless beauty, encircled with a ribbon of dark chocolate. Divine!
In keeping with their consummate reputation, Blue Point Coastal Cuisine (https://www.cohnrestaurants.com/bluepoint) thinks out of the box, fusing sweet cookies with savory seafood for an entree. Their peppered shrimp rolled in Lemon Savannah Smiles, Asian slaw with Do-Si-Dos peanut sauce, and Ahi crusted with shortbread Trefoils and sesame trio is a five star winner!
This Year the Girl Scouts are Introducing a New Cookie
As if the gracious girls in green haven’t provided us with enough cookie choices, they have a new recipe this year. In the 1920’s troop leaders cooked marshmallows over a bonfire, put them with chocolate between two graham crackers, and voila, the s’more was born. In 2017 S’mores cookies have been added to the roster of tasty treats.
To see which restaurants feature sweet palate pleasers during the week, visit http://www.sandiegorestaurantweek.com/ and look for the Girl Scout badge logo. Make reservations. Bon appetit!