Del Mar Archives - A Crafty Spoonful

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?

Enjoying a Seaside Wellness Weekend Getaway in Del Mar

This seaside wellness weekend getaway in Del Mar was sponsored by the Del Mar Tourism Business Improvement District.

Enjoying a Seaside Wellness Weekend Getaway in Del Mar

As a couple my husband and I try to reconnect with one another quite often through date nights. But sometimes a couple really needs to get out. So when we were asked to enjoy a couples weekend getaway in Del Mar, I knew it would be a great way for my husband and I to enjoy each other’s company without the kids in tow.

A staycation so close to home is not only convenient, but is close enough that if we needed to we could have come home to the kids at any moment. However this staycation we were able to enjoy all of it alone. And it was awesome.

We were invited to stay at the quaint, unique Secret Garden Inn owned by Sulana Sae-onge and John Halper. John has hand-built the rooms and Sulana designed the interiors to match their names beautifully. The Secret Garden Inn’s secluded Tuscany, Oriental and Balinese decorated rooms cater to any romantic setting. The Penthouse suite is a honeymooner’s paradise with an expansive patio and outdoor fireplace.

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Mia Francesca {A Family-Friendly San Diego Restaurant Review}

Having two small kids can prove to be quite a feat when it comes to dining out. Not only do we have to be very choosy about where we go, we also have to make sure thatthe items on the menu are “kid-friendly.” And by kid friendly I do not mean breaded chicken nuggets and quesadillas (not that there is anything wrong with a good quesadilla). I mean something that will actually appeal to my children, whether it be what I order and share with them or what I order for them to eat together.

This afternoon we were invited to head over to Mia Francesca‘s newest Del Mar Highlands location to taste a bit of what they had to offer. And boy was I glad we went!

Not only is their menu simple and fabulous, everything I tasted was delicious as well! We started out with a few appetizers for the table. There were two types of bruscetta, the first was topped with bruscetta, fresh mozzarella (like… made recently fresh!), and avocado, the other was sans avocado but loaded with cheese! Both were topped with fresh basil. So good!

Next we tried the calamari. Now calamari has been one of my favorite dishes for quite some time. Not only is it delicious, but paired with a tangy marinara it just hits the spot. My son has never had calamari but when I offered him some he quickly approved and gobbled down a few pieces. So happy he enjoyed it!

After allowing our tummies to settle from our tasty appetizers, we were brought our main dishes.

I absolutely loved the kids options. Simple and, for the most part, healthy as well! I ordered pasta with broccoli for my daughter and chicken with fries for my son, knowing he’d share some of his sisters broccoli. Both shared wonderfully with each other.

The one thing I did love was that the chicken I ordered for him was not breaded tenders. It was a full grilled chicken breast perfectly seasoned. I cut it up and he devoured what I offered him. The servings were large and I could probably get away with letting the kids split a meal next time but for now we have left overs for the week!

After being undecided for quite a while about what I was going to get I decided to go with the pizza of the day. As soon as I saw fontina cheese I knew I had a winner. A simple margharita pizza with pesto sauce made my day. Sometimes a slice or two of pizza just puts you in a good mood!

The other pizzas they had ot offer also sounded yummy as well and I know my husband will want to come with us to try a few more of the menu options later on. 

While this location is a bit out of the way for us, I’m looking forward to trying out the Little Italy location closer to home. And coming back to the Del Mar Highlands location when meeting up with  my family in North County. But for the 25 minute drive, lunch was totally worth it! Both locations can be found on their website here.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly restaurant with a great, relaxing atmosphere you have to check out Mia Francesca. The patio is the perfect place on a warm day to let the kids play a bit while enjoying a great Italian meal with friends and family.

You can find Mia Francesca Del Mar on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary lunch for myself and my children at Mia Francesca. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.



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