Well friends, it’s getting chilly in the Bay Area and it’s putting me in mind of — no, actually, it’s NOT getting chilly in the Bay Area. At all. And I’m peeved. Stop with all this warm sunshine crap already! I want sharp winds, chunky sweaters, pink cheeks, and hearty foods! If it actually WERE getting autumnal around here I’d be TOTALLY commenting on how it was all putting me in mind of a TRULY delectable dish I had in San Diego. But noooooo!
Two very important things happen this Friday. The first — and less interesting — is that I turn thirty-two. The second — and much more delectable — is that Region turns two! *Groan* What I wouldn’t give to be at that fabulous restaurant celebrating both our birthdays with wine and food and friends and food and…food. After I wrote my initial review, I never mentioned how I went back and gorged myself two more times. Count ’em — three visits in three weeks. Yes, it’s that good. Therefore, given the week and my empty stomach, it’s time for a little Region Redux.
The truly delectable dish that would be perfect right now if San Francisco would just GIVE it up and ADMIT that it’s NOVEMBER ALREADY is the duck risotto I had on my last night at Region. It was so good that my husband and I scarfed it all down before I recovered my wits enough to take a picture. We may be pigs but we do share. In fact, our dining companions both ordered the duck risotto as well and were astounded that Mathra and I were content to share ours with one another. We were content to share because we also ordered a heirloom tomato salad with arugula and goat cheese. First of all, it was August, so how the hell could we resist tomato salad? “All tomatoes, all the time,” is my summer mantra, if you want to know the truth. Second of all, my husband and I are food compatible.
Basically, we both like everything so much that we get double our pleasure when we go out to eat. We read the menu veeeeery carefully and decide on the best two items for starters and mains. Halfway through each dish, we yell (or whisper, depending if there are white tablecloths in the room), “SWITCH!” and trade plates. We are very judicious about it as well, honestly eating only half the food on the plate. (However, I have been known to stab a mushroom or two more than my regimented allotment, but he looks the other way and that’s why I married him.) This sharing thing was something our dining companions couldn’t understand. Desiree commented that if she tried it with James over a shallow bowl of melting duck risotto, she’d lose a hand. Lucky for us, we still have both hands and we both got to enjoy summer’s end tomatoes AND hearty, succulent duck risotto.
Twice at Region we ordered pork chops that had things done to them that I don’t believe are strictly legal, but definitely made all of us sigh, “Yeaaah, that’s the OTHER white meat!” The first time the chop was grilled and topped with roasted sweet summer corn, and the second time nestled the succulent pork on an oozy pillow of braised apples, peppers, and tomatoes. I really need to make more pork at home, but after we had a Christmas Incident where one of our cats attacked the apple and cherry-stuffed pork loin, wrestled it to the floor, and proceeded to make sure it regretted ever coming out of the oven, I haven’t been able to bring myself to bring pig into our house since.
My top three — no, four. Okay, five — to-die-for dishes at Region are: the duck risotto, the cork-boiled and char-grilled octopus, the citrus-braised tomatoes, anything they do with scallops, and their homemade pastas. On our final night, those last two faves got combined in a seared scallop and pesto’d pasta dish that was so frickin’ fantastic, I cry just thinking about it.
The scallops were juicy, meaty, and ever-so-gently seared, while the pesto-tossed pasta was light on the teeth and happy in the stomach. Again, Mathra shouted down his scallop allergy and sampled that dish — all for the love of Region.
Region isn’t about over-sauced, over-truffled, or overwrought food. Region is simple, honest, pure, and those three things make it one of the best restaurants ever to pass my lips.
Happy 2nd Birthday, Region. Wish I was there.
Farm Fresh Cuisine
3671 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103
Dinner: Tuesday-Sunday 6 to 10 PM