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How times have changed in North County

Gay San Diego

Bistro West

The thing about growing up on the North County coast was that there were not a lot of great places to eat. There was, of course, a frozen yogurt place, a Pizza Hut and a few coastal cafes, but not much else.

Today, this has all changed and the area is now home to some outstanding restaurants. Here are two of my favorites, which I would like to share with you.

Bistro West

4960 Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad. 760-930-8008, bistrowest.com.

Bistro West, located in Carlsbad, is a perfect place for an upscale dining experience. Executive Chef Martignago, who owns and operates his own one acre farm, gives new meaning to the term farm to fork. His knowledge of wine and cuisine has earned him a place as one of the great chefs of San Diego, like Deborah Scott and Brian Malarkey.

For starters I recommend the Bistro Ahi Tartare or Bruschetta. The seared Ahi salad is simply divine. The Manciata New York Steak Salad, a nice compromise for the waistline, is also delicious. On the tasty but heavier side of things the chicken pot pie, meatloaf or the braised short ribs will leave you well sated.

Pacifica Del Mar

1555 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar. 858-792-0476, pacificadelmar.com.

Pacifica Del Mar, located in the picturesque Del Mar Plaza, is a surf and turf lovers dream come true. Under the creative genius of Executive Chef Mark Bolton this very pleasant restaurant is perfect for any occasion from a first date to a fiftieth anniversary celebration.

I started with the grilled swordfish and it just melted in my mouth. It was served with sweet potato-Dungeness crab hash, sundried tomato-pancetta marmalade and white port butter. Another ocean delight was the Sous Vide Maine Lobster with asparagus, truffled potato croquettes with a lobster sherry reduction.

Until next time. Bon appétit.

insider scoop

Pacifica Del Mar’s sugar spiced salmon

8 servings

Sugar spice

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon dry mustard

Sugar spiced salmon

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon paprika

2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup chili powder

4 tablespoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

3 tablespoons kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. (The recipe here makes enough sugar spice to coat 15 to 20 6-ounce salmon filets. Put leftover mix in an airtight container and store in a cool, dark place.)

Mustard sauce

4 tablespoons dry mustard (Coleman’s brand preferred)

4 tablespoons granulated sugar

6 tablespoons warm water

Combine the powdered mustard and sugar in a bowl. Add the warm water and stir to form a smooth, thin paste. (Add more water if a thinner sauce is desired.)


3 tablespoons olive oil

8 6-ounce salmon filets

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Liberally coat one side of each salmon filet with sugar spice. Sear the filets for about two minutes, then turn over and finish cooking the filets to desired doneness. Drizzle mustard sauce over the filets and serve immediately.

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Posted by on Jan 26, 2012. Filed under Top Highlights. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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