Forever Fondue

T works late a lot. Sometimes he goes home early, but he always gets his hours in and more often than not he’s at the office way past 5 pm. I don’t like to get home too late. There are dogs to let out, a couch to relax on, dinner to make, and an elliptical machine waiting to be put into use again. You add up all these little things and bedtime is here before you know it. However, sometimes I do stay at the office a little later if I need to finish something and it doesn’t make sense to pick it back up in the morning. Occasionally, my working late and T working late coincides so that we’re both in the same area at about the same time. When this happens I like to go out for dinner. When we’re at home, we tend to stay close to home to eat at restaurants, so starting from our work neighborhood gives us an opportunity to have dinner somewhere we’ve either a) never been but always wanted to try or b) enjoyed before but don’t frequent because it’s not close to home. The other night, we ended up at Forever Fondue, the one in Mission Valley. This visit was a surprise because it’s usually so booked I can never get a same-night reservation for any time earlier than 9 pm. It made the list mainly because it’s close to our offices and it was in the Entertainment Book.

I hadn’t been to Forever Fondue in years. Literally, years. The first time I went was with my best friend and we went to the one in La Jolla. I think the menu has changed a bit, because I remember ordering some sort of dinner-for-two that definitely didn’t cost $60. Now there is an all-inclusive menu that starts at $31.50 and includes the cheese fondue, salad, the entree combinations, and a chocolate fondue for dessert. It was a good time for us to talk and catch up, but then our own fondue pots came into our homes and we found it easier and cheaper to have fondue parties at home. Easier parking, fewer crowds, better service.

People typically don’t talk about Forever Fondue as a great place to go for a meal. It is fun, though, and if you want to go through all the courses, it actually is easier to pay someone to prepare all the little cubes of food rather than do it yourself. This was a treat for us, though, and we had fun with our meal.

The Entertainment Book deal is for one entree and entrees come with a salad, so we skipped the cheese fondue course. It’s actually so easy to make cheese fondue at home, cutting up some bread and carrots and apples, that I didn’t miss it much. Plus, at home, I can make the perfect balance of swiss and cheddar cheeses so neither one it too strong. Entrees also come with veggies, so we went with the filet and seafood instead of getting the “garden” veggie entree. The filet came cubed, along with slices of potato, zucchini, carrot, broccoli, asparagus, and “baby portobello” mushrooms that really just looked like big white ones. The seafood plate had the same veggies plus spinach gnocchi, scallops, shrimp, salmon, mussels, and halibut wrapped around asparagus and carrot. The filet came with a bourbon peppercorn sauce that was just delectable. I smothered my filet in that sauce every time and just reveled in the yumminess. It actually tasted more like a buttery steak gravy sauce, but it was really good. The mushrooms come with a sour cream-based “topping” that also goes well with the potatoes. A dill wasabi sauce was for the veggies and it really was the best sauce – more dill, not really a wasabi flavor. More like a subtle dill ranch sauce. The seafood has a cocktail sauce, teriyaki sauce, sesame ginger (it tasted like more teriyaki to me), and… I don’t think we had a garlic butter sauce. Wait a minute! That would have helped with the mussels! Oh well.

We went through everything but one mussel. The mussels were really big, kind of chewy, and not at all like my Scotland mussels. The filet was great, especially in its sauce. Veggies were good. Shrimp was nice and not fishy, as were the rest of the items. It’s hard to complain about the food because if it’s tough or overcooked it’s really your own fault for leaving it in the broth for too long. We cooked everything in the beef broth instead of a vegetable broth and I agree that it gives more flavor but doesn’t affect the seafood overall. I wish we had more filet to serve as vessels for the bourbon sauce. I wish we had more potato slices to eat with the sour cream sauce. I went through 2 dishes of the dill “wasabi” sauce, it was just that good.

We were so full after that (oh, and the pear salads before the entrees – good dressing, crunchy pears) but I still wanted dessert. I remembered really enjoying the dessert fondue. Either something’s changed or my memory is wonky. We got 1 order of the turtle fondue and it came with 2 pieces each: strawberry, banana, rice crispie, pound cake, pineapple, and a slice of cheesecake. The pound cake was really dry, the strawberry didn’t have much taste, the rice crispie was kind of okay, and the cheesecake was just bad bad bad. The banana was the only really good part. I was kind of disappointed, both that the treats weren’t so good and that now I was overfull and it was due to a dessert that wasn’t worth it.

All in all, I’m still glad we went. It’s a pain to shop and prepare such small amounts of shrimp and fish. Who wants to buy 4 shrimp and 2 scallops? If someone wanted to go out for a fondue dinner and I didn’t want to cook, I’d still recommend Forever Fondue. I’d just tell them to lean more towards the filet, get a veggie plate, and feel free to splurge on the cheese fondue. Skip dessert entirely and go somewhere else for a sweet treat.

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