Whine and Dine: Ignite Bistro

After recently reading many rave reviews and receiving stellar recommendations from friends about Ignite Bistro, I had to try this San Diego restaurant for myself! So, off Mike, Blake and I went to experience another Whine and Dine for the books!

Upon entering this venue, you immediately feel like you’ve left the real world at the door and entered into a tropical vacation. Welcoming you to Ignite, lush plants and a stone outdoor fireplace and patio confirm that you’ve now officially checked-in to a hidden oasis tucked away from every day life. You suddenly get the urge to order a fun cocktail, share some appetizers and mix and mingle with the other patrons on the big open patio – this is Ignite, and everyone is in a good mood!

We opted to sit outside on the patio and enjoy the beautiful ambiance next to the stone outdoor fireplace – it just felt right when dining at a place called Ignite!

Ignite Bistro

The Low Down

  • Knowledgable Service: The service couldn’t have been better as our waitress was extremely attentive, efficient and knowledgable about menu items – recommending great food and drink options.
  • “Pretty” Craft Cocktails: Like I mentioned before, I was feeling very “vacation-like” dining al fresco at Ignite, so I journeyed beyond my usual wine order with dinner and opted for a craft cocktail from their amazing craft cocktail happy hour menu. It was extremely difficult to choose just one because everything sounded inredible, so I ended up just asking our waitress which one was the prettiest. (Because you know if I’m going to drink a craft cocktail, I’m immediately uploading it to instagram). She steered me to the “Hipster” made with tin cup whiskey, St. Germain, lemon juice, simple syrup and fresh grated ginger and mint. Delicious and pretty – sold.
  • Calling all Bacon Lovers: Two words: Man Candy. Forget everything you know about your favorite bacon appetizer – this is way better than anything else. Trust me. A sweet and spicy homemade bacon appetizer. (Ignite: 1, any other bacon appetizer: 0).
    20140622_162157_20140709190341742
  • Calamari with a Kick: If you like Calamari, you must try this unique dish: the Thai Firecracker Calamari. I’m definitely a calamari kind of girl and I’ve never tried anything like it – bold flavors burst through (I guess you could say, like firecrackers) in this tasty dish.
    Ignite Bistro
  • Harris Ranch Beef & Fresh Fish: Mike and I split two entrees: the Gorgonzola Steak with Harris Ranch natural twin filet mignon medallions, mushrooms, sweet onions, steak sauce, and mashed potatoes (wow) and the Wood Roasted Salmon with wilted spinach, wild rice and lemon-caper butter sauce. Confirmation: this place has a great ambiance and the food to back it up – everything was incredible.
    Ignite Bistro Ignite Bistro
  • Fun for the Kiddos: Although Blake is not quite old enough to partake in ordering from the kids menu, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Ignite is very kid-friendly. Children can make their own pizzas that are then cooked in the stone fire grill, followed by fun s’mores for dessert!
    Ignite Bistro
  • …In a Mason Jar: We almost made the horrible mistake of NOT ordering dessert, but somehow found the room to order the Banana Cream Pie…in a mason jar. Just let that soak in for a second and take a look at the photo below (disclaimer: yes, it was just as good as it looks – probably better).
    Ignite Bistro

My Favorite Part

I can’ t choose just one so I’m going to list all of my favorites for you: the Man Candy, Craft Cocktail list, Wood Roasted Salmon and Banana Cream Pie in the Mason Jar…oh and the overall oasis-like ambience of this San Diego restaurant. I also really appreciated Chef Alex coming out to say hello at the end of our meal – a very nice and personal touch.
Ignite Bistro

So, if you’re keeping close tabs, then yes, I just listed most everything I experienced at Ignite Bistro. This place gets all tens in my book.

Visit Ignite Bistro:
6996 El Camino Real,
Carlsbad, CA 92009
760.438.7800
Also, follow Ignite on Facebook as they’re heavily involved in the community and always have fun events and specials happening weekly!

 

Disclaimer: I received complimentary food and beverage to review this venue. All opinions are my own and The Mommy Project, San Diego only shares businesses that we can honestly recommend.

Whine & Dine: Hello Betty Fish House

As I’ve mentioned before, I love being a part of the San Diego Mom’s Night Out team! Such a fun group of supportive women. And we all have young children, so when we schedule a “team meeting”, of course the little ones are included!  During this particular get together we visited Hello Betty Fish House in Oceanside.

Upon entering this San Diego restaurant you immediately release the stresses of the day and forget any worries weighing down on your mind because, chill out dude, you’ve entered surfers’ paradise. And get ready, because good vibes, ocean air, freshly caught fish and cold drinks are in your immediate future. Old surf pictures line the walls, and you can hear the ocean through wide open doors and windows facing the surf just across the way. Sit inside or outside, it doesn’t matter, because every seat in the house feels like you’re outdoors, experiencing the most epic summer of surfing of your life. Plus, any restaurant that blasts Kings of Leon gets an A+ in my book.

Hello Betty Fish House

Hello Betty Fish House Hello Betty Fish House Hello Betty Fish House

The Low Down

  • Fresh Fish to Start: Be prepared to split some fantastic appetizers – they all come in sharable sizes and you’d be doing yourself a disservice to order just one! We tried the Shrimp and Cheese stuffed Jalapeno wrapped in bacon (I know – it was insane), Baja Stone Crab and Cheese Dip and Ahi Tuna Poke. Fresh fish and bold flavors – my kind of eats!
    Hello Betty Fish House Hello Betty Fish House Hello Betty Fish House
  • Service with a Smile: The service we received mirrored the vibe of the place – friendly and laid back. We asked our waitress for recommendations and she did not steer us wrong throughout the lunch.
  • Channel Your Inner Paparazzi: Come equipped with a camera to take photos of your little one (or you) inside of the Hello Betty Fish House’s sparkly gold beach dune buggy, parked right inside the restaurant (her name is Coco). I’m not sure which I loved more – the car or the sign on the car, that read, “All unattended children will be given an espresso and a kitten.” Hilarious!
  • Fizzy Fruity Drinks: If this was a dinner or late afternoon meet up, you know I would have tried a frosty margarita or a cold beer from their extensive craft brew list, but I opted for a lunch appropriate pick, a Grapefruit soda. It reminded me of a squirt but with a slight grapefruit taste – delicious and refreshing.
  • Fish & Chips: For lunch I ordered the fish and chips because I consider myself a fish and chips connoisseur – they did not disappoint – crispy and tasty.
    Hello Betty Fish House
  • Ocean Views & Top Gun: After lunch we toured the upstairs patio complete with sweeping views of the Pacific. If you’re looking for an amazing spot to host your next party, look no further – this patio can be rented out for private events. Also, the house from the movie, Top Gun, (cue, Take My Breath Away) is directly across the street! Best.Movie.Ever.
    Hello Betty Fish House Hello Betty Fish House

My Favorite Part

Probably the overall vibe of this place – it just screams summer time and exudes good energy. And of course, I loved when Blake made this face when I put her in the driver’s seat of the dune buggy:
Hello Betty Fish House

 

Visit Hello Betty Fish House:
211 Mission Avenue Oceanside, California 92054
760.722.1008

 

Disclaimer: I received complimentary food and beverage to review this venue. All opinions are my own and The Mommy Project, San Diego only shares businesses that we can honestly recommend. 

Whine & Dine: Pacific Coast Grill

I’ll always remember this Whine & Dine at Pacific Coast Grill because this was my first Mother’s Day celebration! The hubby did good! Pacific Coast Grill literally sits on the sand in Cardiff-by-the-Sea with outdoor patios on the first and second floor. Really, there’s not a bad seat in the house. From large bay windows all you see is sandy beaches, blue ocean water and some built-in entertainment watching the surfers and kite surfers cruise by. This place exudes a true San Diego ambiance.

The Low Down

  • Super friendly service. We eat at Pacific Coast Grill about once a month. The manager, Ryan, recognized us when we walked in and warmly welcomed us back – we were very impressed and the small gesture made us feel like valued patrons. Our waitress was also extremely accommodating.
  • Appetizers that don’t disappoint. We always order the regular guacamole as an appetizer to start because it’s phenomenal. On this day we decided to upgrade and go with the Lobster and Dungeness Crab Guacamole – essentially the same amazing guacamole covered in big chunks of lobster and crab. Heaven!
  • Pink Drinks. No PCG brunch is complete without a Blood Orange Mimosa or a glass of Rosé. I had a glass of each because it was Mother’s Day and I was parched.

Pacific Coast Grill

  • Fresh Fish. Going to PCG and not ordering some sort of fish dish is like going to Napa and not ordering wine -it’s just inexcusable! I ordered the Spicy Tuna Roll with tempura jalapeno – absolutely incredible! – my husband ordered the Surf & Turf roll with seared steak, and my sister ordered the Pan Seared Sea Bass. I had a bite of everything and it was all amazing. I’m still dreaming about this Spicy Tuna roll.

Pacific Coast Grill

  • A Dessert to Remember. When it was time for dessert the Butterscotch Granny Smith Apple Pie with Tahitian vanilla gelato caught my eye and yes, it was just as incredible as it sounds. Imagine chunks of butterscotch baked into the warm pie and then topped with the cold vanilla gelato. Perfection.

Pacific Coast Grill

My Favorite Part

Hands down the Apple Pie! Oh, and after lunch Blake insisted on wearing her new heart sunglasses (they’re adorable) and we all walked out onto the sand right behind Pacific Coast Grill to take this little gem of a picture. Successful Mother’s Day with my beautiful family and great food!

Pacific Coast Grill

 

Pacific Coast Grill
2526 S. Coast Hwy 101
Cardiff, CA
760-479-0721

Whine & Dine: Notorious Burgers

There’s not too many things in this world that beat a good burger and a craft brew on a Friday night. My husband and I had been wanting to try Notorious Burgers in Carlsbad for a while, so when Friday night rolled around and we wanted to go out somewhere casual with good food and local beers on tap, Notorious Burgers it was!

The Lowdown

  • This restaurant gives off the old neighborhood speakeasy feel and I love this line, straight from their website: “…this old city speakeasy reminiscent of the Rat Pack’s glory days will transport you back to a time when made men made history, prohibition proved pointless and bootlegging was boss.”
  • The menu is made up of a selection of Appetizers, Gangster Greens, Notorious Burgers (obviously) and Speakeasy Sandwiches.
  • I have three words for you: Mobster Lobster Fries – just order them.

Notorious Burgers

  • You can either build your own burger or order from their house burgers like the Big Poppa Bacon BBQ Burger with all natural beef, bacon, cave-aged cheddar, hand-battered onion rings and bbq sauce or the Lucky Luciano’s Truffle Burger with all-natural beef, Stilton bleu cheese, bacon, micro arugula, and wild truffle mushroom demi – wowza!

Notorious Burgers

  • They proudly serve all-natural grass-fed beef.
  • They have a phenomenal local draft beer selection – I love that they support local brewers.
  • The service was fast and pleasant and very accommodating for our car seat and little Miss Blake.

Notorious Burgers

My Favorite Part

I fell in love with this place when I saw that they actually have a burger called the Notorious B.I.G. – I love me some Biggy Smalls (may he R.I.P.)! And OF COURSE I had to order it while “Hypnotize” played in my mind. Note: It was incredible!

Notorious Burgers

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