Hello there! It has been a while hasn't it? I sure have missed you! I hope you've missed me too, at least a little bit. There were a few reasons for the long absence - we moved, for one thing. This probably isn't the right place to tell that story (or at least this post isn't) but suffice it to say we have relocated to a more central "urban" neighborhood and I am pretty happy about it, though I miss my fruit trees and being super close to Jora. I have also been busier than I would like with work - which prompted me to give up everything else and make that numero uno for a time (and it still is, really) - but I have very sorely missed the outlet this blog gives me to be at least a little bit creative. There isn't much room for that in the old law business.
One silver lining of the relocation is that it's easier to get out more. We weren't THAT much farther from civilization in the old house, but that extra fifteen or twenty minutes each way just made the casual night out on a weekday that much less likely to happen. The abundance of fun new places to check out in the North Park/Normal Heights/South Park area is also great motivation. The other night we checked out Polite Provisions and Soda & Swine with Desi and Josh. We got there early - because it just worked out that way and because I figured it would be a good idea with it being a new popular spot and all. It was already packed at 5 PM and became progressively more so as the night went on. I would also recommend getting there early because the space is so lovely and light-filled with the huge skylights. They (Arsalun Tafazoli & Consortium Holdings, the same team behind Neighborhood, Craft & Commerce and Underbelly) really put some money into the decor in this place - it's all mirrors, marble and wood with lots of brass light fixtures. The drinks we had were good. I especially liked the Kitty Pryde, with tequila and cherry herring. James knocked back two of the Lawyer's Privilege with bourbon, orgeat and bitters, and the Oceanside - with gin, mint & celery, and Misty Mountain Buck with housemade ginger beer & bourbon were pretty good too - though I thought the Buck could have used more kick. The drinks seemed to lean a little toward the sweet side overall.
The bar is connected to "Soda & Swine" - a more casual spot that serves food. They will bring you food in the bar side - but you have to walk over there to order it. I couldn't figure out if you can also drink on the Soda & Swine side, but it didn't look like it - nobody in there seemed to have cocktails and they stock lots of bottled sodas like Cheerwine and root beer. The room features two long rows of picnic tables outfitted with swanky red stools and a huge metal-clad fireplace. The vibe is much more casual and quieter - partly because the ceiling is open to the sky and the sound isn't reverberating.
The food menu is simple - it consists of several varieties of meatballs including a chicken one that was surprisingly tasty and a vegetarian quinoa with pesto which was also nice. The chorizo tasted like a sloppy joe. Surprisingly, the one we liked the least was the plain old beef with marinara - it was dry and the sauce was negligible.
You can get your meatballs in a slider, a sub sandwich or on a plate - and they have an assortment of sides to match. The prices are around $4 per meatball and $3 per side. As for the sides, they wrap the scotch egg in the same chorizo the meatball is made of, so you probably don't need both. The brussel sprouts with bacon were fine, but the shaved apple salad was a slightly sloppy overly sweet pile of shaved apple with small cubes of sharp cheese and celery - it needed a lot more watercress and more acid.
The main problem is, if you're going to just offer one thing, it should be really good, and what we had just wasn't that great. It could have been that they were overwhelmed, it could have been that they're still working things out in the kitchen - but the bottom line is I am in no big hurry to rush back there for another meatball, and since there's nothing else to try, I'm in no hurry to rush back period. The long line indicates that the place is a hit - but they're getting a lot of disappointed reviews on Yelp (especially about the pie, so fair warning there.) Hopefully, things will straighten out a bit in the near future, but until they do I'm more likely to do my small plates dining and cocktailing at the bar at Jayne's across the street, or El Take it Easy just a few blocks down.
Polite Provisions and Soda & Swine
30th at Adams
4696 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116