despite the dreary weather, S and i braved the elements saturday evening for a fancy date night with my parents. every so often they’re generous enough to invite us to tag along on one of their visits to some of san diego’s best restaurants and we’re obviously always very happy (and grateful) to accept their invitation. this time, we were treated to reservations at vintana wine + dine in escondido. located above a lexus dealership (seriously), it seems peculiar at first blush. but one peek at those panoramic views from the floor-to-ceiling windows in their main dining room and the fresh flavors of their modern take california cuisine, and you’re quick to change your tune.
in a rare occurrence, i threw caution to the wind and ordered a glass of reisling to kick-off the meal. S ordered a cabernet. i was tipsy after about three sips (i know), but i blame that partially on starting with an empty stomach.
in place of usual bread basket, vintana goes one step further by bringing piping hot homemade cheddar and rosemary popovers to the table before your meal. they are served alongside a whipped honey jalapeno butter. while i was unable to partake (darn you, gluten), i did hear from a reliable source (S) that they were quite tasty.
for our main meal, we all ordered something different. mom had the macadamia & coconut crusted sea bass, toppie, the black pepper bacon wrapped filet mignon, S opted for the grilled new york steak with roasted yukon gold potatoes and onion rings (yum!), and i went for the “good things growing” -the chef’s daily vegetarian option. that night’s offering was a warm farro salad with a medley of mushrooms, squash, hazelnuts, raisins, and sauteed greens. we also requested not one but two sides of their pomegranate molasses brussels sprouts because hi, let’s be honest, i can eat an entire serving on my own. though my dish could have used a few shakes of salt, i thoroughly enjoyed the blend of textures and flavors. and i think my dinner companions share my sentiments with regards to their respective dishes as they, too all but licked their plates clean.
comfortably full, we could have probably ended the meal there. but because there’s this funny little thing called a “dessert stomach,” we called in the reinforcements and asked dan, our gregarious server, for the dessert menu. it didn’t take long to come to a consensus. two words: mud pie.
oreo cookie crust, coffee ice cream, fudge, whipped cream, and heath bar crumble.
between the four of us, we cleaned the plate.
and then we rolled out of the restaurant back into the rainy night.
just kidding. sort of.
but that’s what a date night is all about, in my opinion. treating yourself to flavors, dishes, in my case, alcohol, that you don’t otherwise experience on regular basis. the fact that i got to do all of those things with my favorite people in the world was just the cherry atop a slice of mile high mud pie.