It’s been nearly 9 years since my last journey to San Diego, and this time I would be there for business. Unfortunately, I was not able to venture far from the conference center at the Sheraton San Diego & Marina, but I did enjoy the hotel for its huge pool, hot tub, fitness center and fire pits. When I did sneak off the property, it was for a sampling of San Diego’s amazing food! I think anyone who has traveled to a conference in any city has had difficulties finding time to explore the sites, so why not explore the food? That is excuse enough to venture away from the working atmosphere.
That is just what I am here to tell you about today! Before leaving Portland, I did a little research on the places near my hotel. I added several options to my Yelp bookmarks: a sushi place, a deli, and two 5-star dining establishments on the bay.
Lucky for me, I had a few great perks just from being a guest at the Sheraton. The first was the serene view from my room’s balcony! Overlooking Coronado and the San Diego Bay each morning made it easier to get through the day. The breeze off the water was perfect for having breakfast bedside, too. The next bonus was the amazingly huge lagoon-like pool area and its large hot tub. One of the colleagues I met and instantly became friends with shared my time in the pool. We swam from end to end chatting and learning about one another. Thanks to Victoria, I felt right at home being in a strange place with a lot of people I’d never met.
The food served and delivered at the hotel was almost outstanding. There are two main restaurants there that I experienced: an overpriced sports pub called Quinn’s and an upscale restaurant called Harbor’s Edge. Harbor’s Edge was excellent, while Quinn’s left me very disappointed.
At Quinn’s, I ordered a Caesar salad with grilled chicken for a whopping $15.50. The bartender not only asked me what kind of dressing I wanted on it, she didn’t seem to want to take my order in the first place. Unfortunately, I found the salad to be made with not only precooked/cold/dry chicken, but huge chunks of lettuce. Did I mention the chicken was dry? Cough! The romaine was fresh and the dressing, although served on the side, was good – I’ll give them that. Here are my biggest gripes: a Caesar salad is meant to have the dressing pre-mixed into the salad whether to-go or eating there, especially if the chicken is cold. For me, a salad of any kind is meant for dainty eating. I shouldn’t have to do the kitchen’s job and cut all the lettuce to bite-size pieces, and at $15.50 it should have fresh-cooked chicken, juicy and delicious.
Now onto the really good stuff, Harbor’s Edge. I only had a couple things off their menu, but they were so good I had them two different nights. The service was attentive and polite, and the menu was very well put together. I ordered the Braised Boneless Short Ribs with mushroom risotto and fresh steamed vegetables. I was brought a knife which was not needed at all. The tender cut just fell apart and melted in my mouth. The risotto was perfect and I ate nearly everything on the plate. Our group shared the Ahi Tuna Stack which was a healthy portion for three and very tasty. The rare ahi was pepper-crusted and laid atop a crispy wonton drizzled with a mildly spicy sauce. Also on the plate were fresh ginger, pickled seaweed, and wasabi in case you wanted it. I did.
After almost 3 full days, I realized I hadn’t left the Sheraton’s property, so I had to get out of there. I decided to gather a few colleagues and head to Island Prime. Although this 5-star restaurant was only a half mile from the hotel, it was miles away in decor, quality, and service. While others selected specific menu items, I ordered the 5-course tasting with wine pairings. It turns out they had a few extras delivered along the way, and I shared some of those too.
Island Prime 5 Course Tasting (w/ Some Surprises)$85 With 3oz Wine Pairings*• Extra: Bacon Wrapped Date stuffed with Almond
• Tuna And Salmon California sushi style / *Riesling Blees Ferber River Bend, Mosel Germany
• Lobster Bisque
with crispy lobster / *Vouvray demi-sec Chateau de Montfort, Loire France
• Tenderloin Carpaccio; capers, meyer lemon, avocado and crispy leeks / *Carignan Lioco Indica, Mendocino County
• 3 Oz Center Cut Filet Medallion; grilled oscar style lump crab, bearnaise & asparagus / *Dolcetto d’Alba Sandrone, Piedmont Italy• Lime Meringue Pie; raspberry puree / *Petit Manseng c. Hours “uroulat”, Jurancon France