Birthdays, weekends, and eating

Ahh… birthdays are funny things. I don’t mind getting older (I mean, really, I’m not that old) but it’s weird that in one day your age changes. I do like the celebrating that comes with birthdays, though. And I liked having breakfast cooked for me on Sunday.

I had a lovely birthday weekend. It probably won’t sound like a birthday weekend, but we were out of the house, running errands (fun errands), and being productive, which are all things I like. We dropped Travis’ motorcycled off early to get fixed, grabbed a juice smoothie for a light breakfast, and then ran into the restaurant supply store on Clairemont Mesa. Found a chinois and looked at all sorts of cool dishes, glasses, strainers, scoops, and other gadgets. Then we ran up to Dick’s Sporting Goods to spend the $150 card we got when we bought the treadmill. It’s harder than it sounds to buy $150 worth of stuff when you’re not really looking for anything. While we were there, we noticed the treadmill was on sale for $100 less than last month’s “sale” price, and we got the difference refunded! So, that was a pretty cool shopping trip.

Filipino food for lunch (I really wanted the lechon, but Travis wasn’t into a pile of that) and then we started our multi-stop furniture store browsing. We’re thinking of putting a bar unit in our front living room, but it needs to fit the existing furniture (leather couch, dark wood bookcases and cabinets) while also fitting into a hunting lodge type of décor (due to the various deer heads and stuffed raccoons hanging on the walls). And we don’t want to spend $1,000. We found a bar we like, at a decent price (for a new bar) and now we’re just trying to see if we can find it in a different wood finish. I feel like we’re getting close.

We finally hit the end of the furniture stops and went to pick up Travis’ motorcycle. Some puttering around at home, some time spent on the elliptical and treadmill, a quick dinner (prepared short ribs, broccoli, and a sweet potato) and then off to see Avatar. I’m sure all the movie popcorn completely negated the treadmill running, but you can’t see a movie without popcorn. Avatar was a very enjoyable movie… there’s one scene halfway through where you go, “Huh. Now I know how the rest of the movie is going to play out exactly” but it doesn’t make it any less fun to watch. I only had a slight headache after watching it in 3D for so long… kind of how I feel if I try to read in a car. But, the 3D filming gives a whole new depth (literally) to the movie.

Sunday was breakfast (waffles and bacon) and DVR catching-up (oh, Jersey Shore, why must you end?) and more house puttering. The grass was cut, sprinklers turned off (in preparation for the Storm of the Century), and then more treadmill running (I think I watched the end of Dollhouse, but I’m not really sure). And then it was off to our SDRW dinner at Nobu.

I told Travis that you know you’re too old for the Gaslamp District when you realize you no longer have suitable clubbing outfits. All part of growing up, I guess.

Sometimes SDRW is a chance for a good deal at an expensive restaurant. Sometimes it’s just an excuse to finally go try an expensive restaurant. Our dinner at Nobu was more of the latter… although, I think the $40 menu was a good deal compared to their regular menu prices. But compared to real-world what-do-I-want-to-spend-my-money-on prices, I think you’re paying for the Hard Rock Hotel experience and dining at Nobu.

The food at Nobu was very good. We were served a “bite” from the chef – a slice of yellowtail sashimi rolled up with a jalapeno and speared on a bamboo skewer, served in a ponzu-like sauce. Tasty bite. The first course was seared salmon sashimi salad (three pieces of salmon, greens, and a cilantro-based dressing) or rock shrimp tempura (also served on greens). I think the third choice was oysters. I love oysters, but I love good salmon more. The salmon was good, even though it was slightly seared and the dressing was (as Cami noted) too salty. I would have preferred 4 good-sized slices instead of the 3 smaller pieces, but it was good-quality salmon. Nothing I haven’t found at Poway Sushi Lounge, though. Travis had the rock shrimp, which were tender, crispy, and well-dressed. They reminded me of the shrimp appetizer at Suite & Tender – also a good dish.

Entrees were next: sliced ribeye or jalapeno-glazed black cod; no one chose the sushi plate. Why choose a $20 sushi plate (6 pieces, plus a salmon-avocado roll) when there are more interesting dishes on the menu? The ribeye was sliced so you could eat it with chopsticks. Served with two sauces and a mound of avocado/guacamole, it was good. Tender, beefy, and the sauces were bright (and not Asian). The ribeye goes for $36 on the regular menu. I don’t know if portions are normally larger (we were told that Nobu does tapas-style plates and each plate serves 2-3 people when shared), but it did not look like $36 worth of ribeye, even with the big bowl of rice it came with. Now, the cod was amazing. Flaky and moist, with this delicious sweet glaze that got crispy on the edges of the fish. Also not really looking like $26 worth of fish. But really, really good. There is a regular miso-glazed halibut on the menu for $22, so maybe the markup is due to black cod being more expensive than halibut.

Desserts were a green tea ice cream parfait, passionfruit and banana mousse, or pistachio and strawberry-chocolate mocha ice cream. All good, but I wouldn’t call any of them outstanding. For me, a good dessert is something I would specifically return for. The chocolate decadence at Avenue 5 would be one, the red velvet cupcake at Luc’s Bistro would be another. Or any cake at Extraordinary Desserts (as overpriced as they are).

Expensive dinner, but none of use left hungry and we were celebrating SDRW AND my birthday. So it was fun. Birthday celebrations continue tonight at Alchemy with a slightly-modified group.

One of the reasons I had wanted to go to Nobu was because of the miso-glazed fish. We had a really good one recently that triggered this craving, but neither of us can remember where it was. Travis thinks it was in New York, I feel like it was somewhere here. Anyone know of a place that serves a good miso-glazed seafood that doesn’t cost and arm and a leg?


7 responses to “Birthdays, weekends, and eating

  1. Happy Birthday! Nobu sounds fun. I’m avoiding the restaurants this week but I’d love to try somewhere new, so maybe we’ll check it out.

    I was chatting with Moumen at Kous kous on saturday and he said they’d had a meeting about restaurant week and that they’d agreed to serve decent portions instead of basically only serving the minimum, so hopefully it will be more fun this year.

    • I guess we should have asked if the RW portions were the same as the regular menu. When she told us all the plates are tapas-style, I assumed they were small bites meant for sharing.

      My experience has been that if restaurants offer their regular dishes during RW, the portions are the same as if you were to order off their normal menu (haven’t found smaller portions during RW!)

  2. Sounds like a wonderful birthday weekend.

    I’ve been meaning to try Nobu and see that they have a special Valentine’s Day menu but now I’m having second thoughts about going there especially when people running the restaurants aren’t so focused about the food.

    • Don’t get me wrong… the food at Nobu was very good! Everything was well executed and delicious (okay, except for the salty cilantro dressing). I just didn’t really see it as $40 worth of food. The Valentine’s Day menu looks interesting, but I don’t think I’d ever convince Travis it’s worth $120 (even though we pretty much spent that with RW + cocktails).

      If we were downtown during happy hour, I could be talked into going back and trying more dishes on a smaller scale.

  3. Happy Birthday Leanne – it sounds like you had a fun time.

  4. Happy Birthday from one Capricorn to another! Sounds like a very enjoyable birthday weekend! The passionfruit and banana mousse sounds really interesting.

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