so while i was under construction (and subsequent posting-hiatus), someone that i love a whole lot more than this dress celebrated her birthday. my momma!
to commemorate said occasion, we made a reservation for juniper & ivy, a relatively new restaurant in little italy and the culinary baby of top chef all stars winner (and the object of my affection) richard blais. but before our 7:00 p.m. call-time, we headed over to tom ham’s light house in harbor island for a pre-dinner cocktail and to take in the gorgeous san diego skyline.
we arrived at juniper & ivy promptly at 7 p.m. and found the restaurant to be packed with locals of every shape, size, and spectrum of dress code. there were businessmen, women out for a “ladies night out,” couples, families, and a bunch of other scantily-clad individuals who belong in a category all their own. we followed our hostess to a table in the southwest side of the restaurant, a half booth/half table adjacent to three older ladies having what looked to be a wild thursday night on the town. soon after being seated we were greeted by a tall gentleman dressed in all black who brought a glass milk jug of water for the table and an order of their homemade cheese biscuits. kasey, our bubbly blonde waitress followed close behind.
toppie ordered the abalone and the little gem lettuce -the restaurant’s take on a classic wedge salad served with avocado, blue cheese, citrus and bacon. i opted for the kale and seaweed caesar, and momma, the summer squash dish which came accompanied with burrata and a pinenut crumble.
i was content to take a photo of every dish we ordered (and handily consumed), but they turned on the “mood” lighting which was more like “search for your meal in the dark” lighting after the salad course, so i was remiss in documenting the rest of the evening’s culinary selections. but i can say that the courses to follow our rabbit food were both unique and beautifully presented. they were also delicious(ish). i unfortunately suffered from a little bit of food regret as i ordered dishes that were hardly a match for my unruly appetite, but i blame myself for not taking a friend’s advice when he told me the portions were less than shawna-approved. my specific order aside, our experience at J&I was a good one. if only for the fact that when our salads were a tad bit tardy on their arrival to the table, they decided to gift us two additional desserts to mom’s complimentary birthday treat. and in their defense, there is very little that chocolate cannot fix.
their menu changes nightly, so the dishes we had might not be the exact ones you’ll find on the menu on your particular visit, but many of the main components of the entrees are the same, it’s just the accouterments that rotate regularly.
would we go back to juniper & ivy? probably not. but that’s mostly because it’s a really far drive and there are a lot of restaurants in north county that we just objectively like more. but if you’re looking to experience something a little outside of your normal culinary routine, juniper & ivy is definitely worth at least a solitary visit. and if you just happen to meet richard blais when you’re there, please tell him shawna says hello.
also, happy (belated) birthday momma.