Sunday, June 11, 2006

A Night Out in North Park

Yet another gorgeous weekend in San Diego has come to an end! This past Saturday night we headed out with some friends to check out Ray at Night, the "art walk" style gallery event that occurs on the second Saturday of every month on Ray Street in North Park. One block of the street is blocked off South of University and people mill around looking at the artwork, drinking wine and soaking up the atmosphere. We parked in the brand new multi-story garage that has just opened on 30th (very convenient and only three bucks!) The event feels like a "happening" and it's fun to take it all in.

After moseying through the galleries, we went over to see Jay at the Linkery for dinner, just a few blocks away. We hadn't been there in a while, and they have added a few items to the menu. Everything sounded delicious - we chose the Choucroute, the Picnic Plate, the Ahi and Culotte Steak. My husband was in heaven with his picnic plate of cheese and sausages and I really liked the Choucroute. It was a bowl with saurkraut seasoned with bacon, a sausage link, and a toasted roll. We also shared a starter plate of house-made hummus and artichoke dip, served with just-fried tortilla chips, croutons and garlicky olives. The guys shared a bottle of a yummy dark beer called "Wee Heavy" - a Scotch style Ale from AleSmith. We also shared a bottle of Origin Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma, and L.A. Cetto Petite Syrah from Baja - both of which were excellent - and a bargain at around $22.00 a bottle (the Origin was on a half price special). The sausages have always been good here (go figure!) and last night was no exception. The one I ordered with my choucroute was seasoned with cayenne and gouda. My husband had the Weisswurst, which was unusually spicy but very good. Jay was a gracious host, recommending and serving our wines, and filling us in on the latest goings on at the restaurant. They are currently hosting all of the World Cup games, and are planning an interesting sounding chef's dinner on June 19 featuring different cuts of pork.

After dinner, we headed back up toward University to Heaven Sent Desserts. I wanted to give it another try before writing about it. On the last visit, a friend and I ordered three items to get a wide sample (we had plans for the leftovers!) - the Grapefruit Poppyseed Cake, the Kahlua Brownie, and the Sarah Bernhardts (two to an order). I loved the Sarah Bernhardt (an almond macaroon cookie topped with a chocolate ganache and dipped in chocolate) but the Kahlua Brownie was as dry as particleboard, and the grapefruit cake had too little tart grapefruit flavor and a slippery greasy frosting. This time, having read Naomi Wise's review, I opted for the Green Teaser - a chocolate cake with Green Tea frosting served with black sesame ice cream (which is what I was really after).

Props to Guest Photographer Brian
The chocolate cake was moist, but the frosting had that same texture and no clear green tea flavor. The ice cream was pretty good - it had an unusual flavor and was probably the best thing on the plate - it didn't really go with chocolate though. My husband ordered the Sunset, described as a butter cake with apricot and raspberry fillings. It sounded great, but it was dry and strangely tasteless. Another in our party had the key lime pie, which was fine but a little too sweet. On both visits the service was friendly. It's always fun to try something new, and I do think they are a great addition to the neighborhood - but one out of six isn't a very good average. As it's not terribly convenient, I probably won't go back regularly. They do have awfully cool coffee cups though!


  1. Such fun! I love both North Park & South Park & I can't wait to read your posts on the cool boutiques. I'll definitely be checking out Kate Ross. Well done!

  2. I just went to North Park for the first time this week to buy a lawnmower from someone on craigslist. Such a cute neighborhood (def. dh and my style). However, I didn't see where the restaurants are. Is it worth the drive if I'm ever down in SD (since I live near O.C.)?

  3. Thanks for the review of Heaven Sent. I haven't tried many of their desserts, but I've started going there because I like their pastries and coffee. Most coffeehouses in SD get their pastries from the same place, and I've grown to hate them over the years.

  4. I was also dissapointed at the desserts there. I will no doubt give it another try, they're pretty close to where I live, but I may have to stick to coffee and maybe biscotti.