San Diego Restaurant Week Gives Couples A New Year Kick Off

Our guest post comes from Howard Hian who was recently awarded a Gold Medal/First Place Award from the North American Travel Journalists Association’s annual international writing contest.  His prize winning story, Houseboating with My Pirate Pals, was in the Intergenerational Travel category.  In 2010 he also received a second place award in the Cancun International writers competition for his feature, Quintessential Quintana Roo.

San Diego – There’s a great way to kick off the new year: San Diego Restaurant Week, January 15 – 22. More than 180 of San Diego’s finest will be featuring prix-fixe, three-course dinners in either a $20, $30 or $40 category. This year there are also a limited number of $10, $15 or $20 lunches being offered. Here are my four candidates for your consideration:

$10 – Lunch at Café Coyote in Old Town is not only a bargain, but where else can you have so much fun along with good food? My savory chicken tortilla soup was followed by Old Town carnitas served with guacamole and salsa fresca. My wife ordered the quesadilla Mexicana and Baja fish tacos; we washed down our meal with margaritas and finished up with dulce de leche cheesecake. It’s entertaining sitting on the patio watching tortillas being made on the spot as mariachi musicians stroll by. While there, drop by their candy store for treats to take home.

$20 – For a setting with great views and a laid back atmosphere, head for Buster’s Beach House & Longboard Bar at Seaport Village. We started with the Jamaican chicken for our appetizer and enjoyed Hawaiian slow-cooked pork and freshly grilled salmon for our entrées. Sides of perfectly cooked coconut rice and veggies rounded out the meal. Buster’s serves superb ice cream, so make sure to order that for dessert.

$30 – Venerable La Valencia Hotel was our choice in this price category. We were in for quite a treat. For our first course, my wife and I shared an arugula and apple salad with bacon and aged cheddar dressing and a memorable crab cake fritter. Our second course was perfectly prepared braised Colorado lamb and pilsner-roasted Jidori chicken, accompanied by an outstanding squash risotto. The chocolate lava cake was exceptional. Request a table by the window.

$40 – My final recommendation is The Steakhouse at Azul in La Jolla. My starter was flavorful tomato bisque with gorgonzola cream; my wife grudgingly shared her creative Ste. Andre fromage brown-buttered apples. The entrées did not disappoint. My New York strip was tender and cooked to perfection and the grilled swordfish with manchego polenta was first-rate. Triple chocolate cake finished the night. I would be remiss not to mention the impressive views, food preparation and service.

Logon to for a list of participating restaurants, menus, contact information, etc. Note: prices are per person and tax, gratuities and beverages are not included; reservations are strongly advised.

Safe travels, bon appetite and Happy New Year…

Howard Hian

Thanks to the various websites for information and photos. Before you go check details, dates, and prices; some restrictions may apply.