A weekend of fun in the sun in wonderful San Diego provided some much needed relief from the relentless heat of Scottsdale. The primary goal of the trip (besides wine of course) was to enjoy the beaches and explore more of San Diego County. We had some awesome meals at restaurants (thanks to Kirsten and my friend Jon for the recommendations) in the area. Highlights include an awesome meal (with an extremely good waiter -- too hard to find these days) at George's at the Cove in LaJolla -- the watermelon gazpacho with crab was amazing. The coffee and cookies from Stephanie's Bakery in Ocean Beach are not to be missed (and were worth a second trip). Del Mar was also a culinary feast, with the coffee at Java Kai and Sbicca Bistro being some of our favorites.
While San Diego is known for its restaurants, one of our favorite things is to take advantage of the good local produce. Unlike Phoenix, where nothing grows in the summer, San Diego's weather provides numerous opportunities for farmer's markets -- there were at least 3 to choose from every day. We took advantage of the market in Solano Beach on Sunday. While Chase was (unfortunately) not as welcome as we would have liked, we still managed explore the market. Nearly full from all the samples, we managed to narrow down our purchases to a few choice items. Our favorites were the peaches and pluots, even better than the ones we had in San Francisco a few weeks ago.
Of course, Paws and Pours wouldn't be complete without some mention of Chase and of wine. Chase decided that the drive to San Diego was actually worth all the headache as he frolicked on the beach. We met some great dogs (and owners too) at the Dog Beach in Ocean Beach. Chase's newfound love of salt water, surf, and curiousity about surfboards made the trip all worth while. Away from the beach, Chase's "California Lovin'" continued, as he decided that everyone at our hotel was going to be his friend, like it or not. Oh, and about those beds at the Sheraton -- they were up to Chase's standards.
Always a sucker to try something new, we decided it was time to try something with squash blossoms. While the guy at the market leaned towards a tempura battering for the squash blossoms, we couldn't bring ourselves to cover up that great natural taste. What better way to let the natural excellence shine through than with a salad? Completed by the organic arugula and figs also purchased that day. I stuffed the squash blossoms with goat cheese and threw some shaved fennel and red onion over the greens as well.
The salad paired perfectly with the Red Truck Syrah. A great value Syrah from Cline, which is usually more known for it's zins.
Here is what I did for the salad:
FIG AND ARUGULA SALAD WITH GOAT CHEESE STUFFED SQUASH BLOSSOMS
2 cups arugula leaves
about 6 fresh figs, halved
1/4 cup thinly sliced fennel
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/3 cup goat cheese
your favorite homemade balsamic vinaigrette
Stuff the squash blossoms with goat cheese. Divide ingredients between 2 plates, drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette. Enjoy!