SHIMBASHI Izakaya | San Diego Restaurant Week January 17th – 24th 2016

SHIMBASHI Izakaya San Diego Restaurant Week January 17th – 24th 2016

This Sunday kicks off the first San Diego Restaurant Week of 2016 and boy are you in for a treat. San Diego Restaurant Week will take place from January 17th – 24th 2016. In those 8 days, over 180 restaurants will offer special menus to entice guests to try new things. While you peruse the restaurants participating, you’ll notice that there’s an option for every price point. From $10 for lunch, to $50 for dinner. 

I’ve been attending restaurant week for quite a few years now and am always excited to try a new restaurant each time. Whenever I head to a new-to-me restaurant, I always try to keep an open mind. And in most instances I allow the chef or waiter to choose or suggest what I should try. I have yet to be disappointed! 

This time around I ventured a little farther north to Del Mar and was invited to try the authentic Japanese cuisine of Shimbashi Izakaya. The prix fixe menu is $40, and available for both lunch and dinner.

SHIMBASHI Izakaya Del Mar SHIMBASHI Izakaya Del Mar view

Shimbashi Izakaya | Seasonal Japanese Tapas & Sake Bar

Once I sat down in the outside patio of Shimbashi Izakaya, I was immediately taken in by the beauty of my surroundings. Set in the heart of Del Mar, I had the perfect view of the Pacific ocean. The patio was surrounded by beautiful white lanterns and each table was covered wtih an umbrella. If it’s a chilly day, I recommend a light sweater since they can’t run the heaters with the umbrellas up.

Located in the Northwest corner of Del Mar Plaza, the restaurant is mainly outside on the patio and there’s a sake bar inside. You can find parking in the parking garage right behind the shops or on the street (2 hour parking). The restaurant validates up to 2 hours but it might be worth it to enjoy lunch or dinner and then walk around for a bit and pay the $2 extra for another hour. 

SHIMBASHI Izakaya appetizer

Japanese Wagyu beef, fried blue shrimp and kobushime (kelp marinated white fish) at SHIMBASHI Izakaya

SHIMBASHI Izakaya | Restaurant Week Menu Highlights

This special Restaurant Week menu includes three kinds of appetizers for each guest, Japanese Wagyu beef, fried blue shrimp and kobushime (kelp marinated white fish), along with gunkan-maki (tuna tartare) sushi. While each component was delicious, my favorite appetizer would have t obe the fried blue shrimp. They were cooked perfectly and the flavor was absolutely delicious.

Confession: I’ve never eaten a shrimp that I had to remove the head from. It was kind of fun to figure out just how to do it. Luckily my friend Angela was there to help me out and talk me through it.

Nabe, or “hot pot,” is a fixture at dinnertime in the winter in Japan. The just-cooked piping hot ingredients really warm you up. Shimbashi prepares this special hot pot menu during San Diego Restaurant Week. You may choose from the Tarachiri (cod hot pot) or the Tori-gobo (chicken and gobo burdock). If you attend during SDRW with a friend or partner,  you can each opt to choose the same option and share a large bowl vs. the smaller bowl.

To round out our meal, we each enjoyed a Futomaki sushi roll cake. With a delicious cake exterior and creamy ice cream interior, this beautifully created sushi roll cake wasn’t too overly sweet. And the portion size was perfect for the meal. This dessert pairs perfectly with a nice hot cup of green tea.

SHIMBASHI Izakaya Tori-gobo (chicken and gobo burdock)

Tori-gobo (chicken and gobo burdock) at SHIMBASHI Izakaya

SHIMBASHI Izakaya Tarachiri (cod hot pot)

Tarachiri (cod hot pot) at SHIMBASHI Izakaya

Waygu Beef Tasting

Delightfully meaty offerings from Miyazaki Prefecture, one of Japan’s best beef areas, will be served in four different forms: steak, Hamburg steak, kushiyaki, and kushikatsu. I was able to sample both the kushiyaki and kushikatsu and both simply melted in my mouth. The flavor was spot on and seasoning perfect. I would definitely enjoy indulging in more of these great selections of delicacies from Miyazaki. 

The Wagyu tasting menu is separate from the restaurant week menu, and is subject to availability. All items are limited so hurry and head over soon if you’re interested in trying them. 

SHIMBASHI Izakaya waygu beef

Waygu Kushiyaki and Waygu Kushikatsu at SHIMBASHI Izakaya

SHIMBASHI Izakaya sushi roll cake dessert

Futomaki sushi roll cake at SHIMBASHI Izakaya

During San Diego Restaurant Week, dinner will be served as a three-course, prix-fixe menu for just $20, $30, $40 or $50 per person and lunch will be served as a two-course prix-fixe menu for only $10, $15 or $20 per person. This is meal-stealing, people! Saturday will once again be included as well as an additional Sunday, giving you that extra date night or chance to impress the boss!

SHIMBASHI Izakaya  San Diego Restaurant Week Menu

What restaurant are you looking forward to trying?

The Hake Restaurant and Bar | San Diego Restaurant Week September 20th – 27th 2015

The Hake Restaurant in La Jolla

One thing I absolutely love to do is get out and try new restaurants here in San Diego. There are so many options when it comes to quality, delicious restaurants and it seems like new spots pop up every other week. So what I love to do is explore a bit and try new things. The perfect way to do this is to take advantage of San Diego Restaurant Week.

For one week only, September 20th – 27th, San Diego Restaurant Week, presented by Your San Diego County Lexus Dealer, will return to the City with a bang! During San Diego Restaurant Week, participating restaurants will CELEBRATE LOCAL by partnering with local distributors, farmers, vintners, brewers, fishermen and MORE in order to bring local produce and Pacific-caught seafood to your plates. You can choose from over 190 participating restaurants who will be showcasing their top dishes on lunch and dinner prix-fixe menus making your taste buds tingle with choices!

The Hake Restaurant - tables and decorThe Hake Restaurant and BarThe Hake Restaurant - drink wine!

The Hake Kitchen + Bar | Ambiance

My husband and I were invited out to try The Hake Kitchen and Bar to check out their San Diego Restaurant Week menu before it launches next week. Since we hadn’t been there before we weren’t sure what to expect. But that’s what Restaurant Week is there for! Nestled between shops and restaurants off Prospect in La Jolla, The Hake Kitchen is in a prime location. It’s the perfect spot to hit up for lunch on the weekends after a morning at the beach, or a great way to end the day for dinner during the week.

Once you walk in, you’re greeted with smiling faces a warm, friendly atmosphere.As soon as I saw the sign above, I knew I was in the right place. There’s seating inside as well as a few limited tables out on the two patios. There’s also a simple curtain divider to make room for small parties on one side of the restaurant. We chose to sit inside near the front patio and the restaurant was more than accomodating when they saw we brought our little one along. High chairs are available

The Hake Restaurant - wine and cocktail menu
The Hake Restaurant - San Diego Restaurant Week Menu 2015

The Hake Kitchen + Bar | Menu

The delicious menu with fresh seasonal ingredients will have you wanting to order more than one thing to try. Ordering a few starters for the table to share is suggested. That way you can have a bite of everything! There’s also a wide variety of signature cocktails, draft and bottled beers, and mezcal flights – something for everyone. Their most popular signature drink, the One Hot Cucumber, is a fiery drink made with jalapeno tequila, cucumber puree, lime, agave nectar, and finished with a chili rim. Definitely one to try!

The Hake Restaurant and Bar - Mandarin MuleThe Hake Restaurant and Bar - Shaved Rib EyeThe Hake Restaurant and Bar - Shrimp Roll
The Hake Kitchen + Bar | Food

I made the most of our visit and started us off with the Shaved Rib Eye. Paired with sauteed shishito peppers and onions and served with delicious hot tortillas and fresh guacamole, this definitely hit the spot. The rib eye was tender and flavorful and the peppers and onions were perfectly cooked. I’d suggest asking for a few extra tortillas so you can enjoy more of the goodness!

After we enjoyed our starter, the main courses arrived. Since we were there for lunch, we went for their shrimp roll and tuna steak sandwich. Now I was surprised by my husband’s choice of the tuna steak sandwich. Not because he doesn’t eat tuna, but because there was also a 10oz hanger steak with chimichurri sauce and truffle fries on the menu and he didn’t order that! But his tuna steak sandwich looked absolutely delicious. The shrimp roll was  filled with large shrimp and fresh veggies tossed in a light dill mayo and served in a toasted brioche roll. The first bite was rather awkward as it was pretty large but it was so worth it! Absolutely delicious. I loved how fresh and flavorful it was.

To end the meal we went a little crazy and each of us ordered a dessert. Now I’m a chocolate person. So when I saw the chocolate hazelnut cake on the menu I knew I wanted to try it. But since Joseph’s allergic to peanuts, he doesn’t really care for any nuts. So he went for the Key Lime Semifreddo. If I had tried the Key Lime Semifreddo, I would have just eaten that. It was SO good! Not at all what I expected. Not that my chocolate hazelnut cake wasn’t good, it was! Absolutely delicious. And it would pair perfectly with a nice espresso. But the key lime semifreddo? To die for! I now know why why it’s won awards!

The Hake Restaurant and Bar - Key Lime Semifreddo The Hake Restaurant and Bar - Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

San Diego Restaurant Week | September 20th – 27th 2015

To make San Diego dining easier for you ALL YEAR ROUND, San Diego Restaurant Week has launched a new website! The new site has added more extensive search features, a recipes section with local restaurantcontributors, a special offers area that will be updated throughout the year and even a place where you can log your favorites to help you track through the variety of options available for you.  The website will now serve as a tool for San Diego foodies 365 days a year for finding specials, deals and promotions at San Diego restaurants!

Dinner will be served as a three-course, prix-fixe menu for just $20, $30, $40 or $50 per person and lunch will be served as a two-course prix-fixe menu for only $10, $15 or $20 per person. This is meal-stealing, people! Saturday will once again be included as well as an additional Sunday, giving you that extra date night or chance to impress the boss!

What restaurant are you trying during San Diego Restaurant Week?

5 Tips for Making Date Night a Priority

5 Tips for Making Date Night a Priority

Are you a couple who keeps pushing date night further and further into the calendar? It’s important for couples to have that time alone. Instead of putting it on the backburner, use these tips to make date night a priority.

Date night doesn’t have to take a back seat and these tips are living proof! Take the time to make your spouse feel wanted and loved by taking them out on a date at least once a month. There’s proof that shows that couples who take the time to date their mate, have a better chance at staying married.

Whether your job, the kids, or time has taken over your date night, reclaim the fun that you once had with your spouse by making date night a priority! [Read more…]

Finding The Perfect Gift For Someone Who Has Everything: The Gift of Groupon

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Groupon Gift Shop. All opinions are 100% mine.

Finding The Perfect Gift For Someone Who Has Everything

My husband is one of the hardest people to shop for. Sure he likes a broad variety of things but he buys just about everything he needs! That means that I usually end up getting him either an electronic he’d probably purchase for himself anyway or a tool of some sort.

Luckily, with the help of Groupon I was able to score an awesome deal for one of his favorite local restaurants, Bice. $40 for $70 plus I had a coupon for 15% off a local deal since they were out of one of the deals I wanted to purchase. You can’t get better than that.

So what am I to do with a gift certificate to his favorite restaurant? Make it a full on date night gift! I paired the gift card with a pair of tickets to go see Wicked and arranged babysitting with my mother in law so he wouldn’t have to worry about anything. Kind of worked out for the both of us, don’t you think? [Read more…]

Date Night Out at Cafe 21 San Diego

Cafe 21 San Diego - Gaslamp

My husband and I are very serious about date night. We make sure to get out, just the two of us, at least once a month and have even invested in theater tickets for the next season at Broadway San Diego to ensure that we have a standing date night for most months of the year.

So when we were invited to try out Cafe 21 San Diego just blocks away from the San Diego Civic Theater I knew we needed to try it out! We’re always on the hunt for fabulous restaurants around the downtown area and have heard amazing things about Cafe 21.

As soon as we walked in we felt a warm and inviting presence. The decor was clean and creative and definitely fit the food and the staff. We also noticed some purse trees next to the tables to help keep the ladies purses off the ground and the back of their seats.  [Read more…]

Breyers Gelato and a Movie: The Perfect Pair for Date Night In

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Breyers Gelato Indulgences for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Breyers-Gelato-and-a-Movie-The-Perfect-Pair-for-Date-Night-In

After a stressful day of working from home and trying to get the house somewhat back to normal after a short trip all I need is a little rest and relaxation. And maybe a bit of indulgence.

Luckily my husband was feeling the same way and suggested that I grab a treat for us while he finds a movie we can watch when the kids are tucked in. Genius. I knew he was a great catch!

So I headed out to the store to pick out some deliciousness and found something amazing… Breyers Gelato Indulgences. Not only did the name sound divine, the gelato itself made me want to rip the lid off and dig in at the store with no spoon! [Read more…]

Captain America The Winter Soldier Hits Theaters Today!

Captain America The Winter Soldier movie poster.jpg

This past Tuesday I was invited to a pre-screening of Captain America The Winter Soldier. Marvel’s Captain America The Winter Soldier picks up after the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, and finds Steve Rogers living quietly in Washington, D.C., and trying to adjust to the modern world.

This action movie was the perfect date night movie for me and my husband. I loved seeing the relationships between Steve Rodgers and Natasha Romanoff grow and was excited to meet Sam Wilson. We also get a little glimpse into the future and a possible third installment or ‘threequel’.

[Read more…]

Detroit at the San Diego REP {Date Night in San Diego}

Detroit at the San Diego REP

My husband and I have a standing date night every month. We never know what it’s going to be but we always make sure to head out at least once a month sans kids. So when I was invited to go check out the San Diego REP production of Detroit I knew it’d be the perfect date night to kick off March.

Now we’ve been going to see great performances at the San Diego REP for quite some time now and are always excited to see what the new production will be about. We also love choosing different places around the Horton Plaza area of Downtown San Diego to eat.

Since we were a little short on time and didn’t have the luxury of waiting around for a table or even waiting for table service, we headed over to one of our favorites: Tender Greens. [Read more…]

The Perfect Date Night Dress from eShakti

Disclaimer - Review Posts
eShakti Date Night Dress

Recently my husband and I purchased season tickets to the local theater. We wanted a nice way to spend time together without the kids and loved the idea of pre-planned date nigths for the nights we were at the theater. But these nights out meant I needed a date night dress.

Luckily I had just received an email from eShakti asking if I was interested in trying something from their current line. And I jumped at the chance to try this gorgeous Sheer diamond check A-line dress for myself.

It was just dressy enough to go to the theater and worked perfectly with sweaters or jackets if needed. Along with the dress I decided to put together a few pieces I had recently purchased for our family photos (and some shoes I scored from Black Friday for $20!) and created this look that I’m loving.

I’ve decided I prefer the dress with a sweater for the winter but love the cut of the arms even though I usually don’t like showing them off.  [Read more…]

Date Night Ideas In The Afternoon: ArcLight UTC

Arclight UTC Cinemas

When my husband and I head out for an afternoon alone without the kids the one thing we’re looking for is easy. And we get just that with the ArcLight UTC.

We purchased our tickets online in advance and chose the seats we preferred, then we headed to the mall for a little shopping pre-movie. As we got closer to movie time we made our way over to the Arclight and settled in to their cafe.

[Read more…]



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