Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Restaurant Review: Marina Kitchen in San Diego

One of the secrets of ComicCon: the nearby hotels are some of the coolest places you can hang out. We spent several evenings lounging in the Marriott Marquis and Marina bar, surrounded by bustling attendees and celebrities, and we loved taking a break from the Con to lunch at the Marina Kitchen, also located at the Marriott. 

For lunch, we couldn't help ourselves but start with their warm potato chips, which are covered in cheese and crispy prosciutto, with a chive crème fraiche on the side. The warm housemade chips in and of themselves were excellent, but add all that other goodness? Forget about it. It was love.

(warm potato chips)

We had the flat iron steak salad with butter lettuce, arugula, and roasted tomatoes. The touch that made it above and beyond: a house-made balsamic bleu cheese dressing.

(flat iron steak salad)

We also had a mahi mahi sandwich. It was simple, with avocado, lettuce, remoulade, and fries. The piece of fish was large, juicy, and perfectly cooked, with a lovely bun and crispy fries.

(mahi mahi sandwich)

We highly recommend visiting the food establishments at the Marriott Marquis and Marina during ComicCon. There are always celebrities, interviews, and people ready to make friends. But the place is also a great destination during the non-ComicCon season. The Marina Kitchen is streamlined and comfortable, with a beautiful view of the ocean. And the food has an attention to detail that makes it far above what you'd expect from a seemingly simple menu.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Chicken Thighs with Mushroom Wine Sauce

We love chicken thighs. They're usually pretty inexpensive, and it's a nice, rich piece of meat that's difficult to screw up. They're also smaller than chicken breasts, so they cook faster and you can get more of a crispy surface area on the outside.

Here's what you'll need for chicken thighs with a mushroom wine sauce:

1 1/2 Lbs boneless chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 clove garlic
3 Tbsp flour
1 C chicken broth
1/3 C chardonnay
1/2 C cream
1 Tbsp parsley (or Italian seasoning mix)

Take your pretty chicken thighs and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add chicken and brown the outside (about 2–3 min a side) until it has a gorgeous golden crust. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside. Brown mushrooms in skillet and then add the garlic. Stir in flour until blended. Then stir in chicken broth and chardonnay. Add that chicken back to the skillet, reduce to low heat, and simmer for 20–30 min. Stir in the cream and heat through. Sprinkle with parsley or Italian seasoning before serving. Get ready for a party in your mouth.

*Note: we served this with baked asparagus. So easy: place asparagus with salt, pepper, and olive oil on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 15–20 min. Done.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Travel Post: Rama in San Diego

After a long first day at Comic-Con, we debated whether to brave the superhero-clad crowds in the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego or just call it a day and order room service. Let us tell you, we were so glad we decided to go out and experience this awesome thai food.

The atmosphere was dark, nice, and romantic. Large french doors opened to a cool night patio and the place was doused in lots of warm, inviting colors. And the best part: it wasn't too crowded, and the service was fantastic.

We had several simple dishes that were handled with care. The crispy calamari was indeed crispy, coated in a tempura and panko mix. The genius part: they served the calamari in a funnel with a doily, so any excess oil spills off and allows the full crispiness of the calamari to shine. The zesty dipping sauce was good, too.

(crispy calamari)

We also ordered the garlic-crusted chicken. Now, this isn't a dish we would've picked off the menu, but here's another sign of a great restaurant: the servers are actually helpful. When we asked for a recommendation, our server suggested the garlic-crusted chicken, and though the dish sounds simple, it was flavorful and fantastic-- not at all oily or greasy. It was a perfectly balanced dish.

(garlic-crusted chicken)

We're big fans of all things duck, so the other dish we ordered was not such a hard decision. We got the drunken noodles (flat rice noodles with Thai basil, tomato, chili garlic, and kai lan) with duck. It was unbelievably satisfying. This place knows how to go easy on the sauce and let the flavors of the meat and veggies be the star.

(drunken noodles with duck)

We can definitely see this place becoming a Comic-Con tradition. Rama is located at 327 Fourth Ave, San Diego and their website is .