Friday, December 30, 2011

Dining Out: Mission Beach Cafe - December Menu

Besides my craving for Sour Cherry pie, how does a restaurant keep us coming back again and again? Two words: creativity and consistency. Mission Beach Cafe's menu presents new interpretations of old favorites and consistently delivers well-prepared dishes.

Dining Out: Mission Beach Cafe's December Menu

First let me say that Mission Beach Cafe has spoiled me when it comes to soup. On Christmas, I immediately compared the first taste I took of a Kombucha Squash Soup at TusCa to the squash soups I get here. And of course, it didn't live up. I don't how they can make vegan soup so flavorful, but they do. When the weather is cool (and even when it's not), I frequently find myself craving soup. Not any soup, but soup prepared like Mission Beach Cafe's soup. (In a pinch, I used to be able to satisfy my soup cravings with Pacific Natural Foods' Organic Creamy Butternut Squash Soup, but now I can't. I'm really going to have to perfect my soup making abilities as we can't always get a table spur of the moment at Mission Beach Cafe.)

I was also craving salad, so cubes and I split the Little Gem Lettuces. The only difference from the regular preparation that we made was the removal of fennel. (Fennel is one of the spices that not enough is known about and hence is recommended for pregnant women to avoid. cubes and I have taken a super-cautious approach to what I eat.) The flavors in the dish were a little out of balance, which might have been a result of us removing the fennel. The Buddha's hand, which we hadn't had before, was a little too sweet for our palettes. With a little experimentation, we found that having a touch of the Buddha's hand puree rather than a liberal dosing brought all of the flavors into balance.

Being pregnant means a lot of times I'm unable to Mission Beach Cafe's fish entree. Some types of fish - Halibut for example - are absolute no no's. I was excited to see Cod on the menu as it's a pregnancy-friendly fish and boy did Chef Thomas Martinez deliver with this entree. Of all the fish I've eaten at Mission Beach Cafe (and remember we've been frequenting this restaurant for over three years now through all of the chef shuffles), this is my favorite fish entree. The Cod and risotto were cooked to perfection, flaky goodness balanced with creamy texture with a touch of bite - not hard or runny. And the flavors were spot on. Nothing in the preparation overpowered. Each bite was as good as the first.

cubes went for the American Kobe Bavette. (Oh how I hope this remains a staple on the menu until April when I'll be able to eat beef again. I know I can eat beef if it's thoroughly cooked. For me though, the guilt of taking a perfect cut of meat and overcooking it, is horrifying. One I have a hard time eating anything the texture of shoe leather. And two, I know how hard chefs work to put together a beautifully presented and prepared dish and how heartbroken they get when a diner requests a meat to be killed.) cubes had been debating between the Duck Breast and this entree, but Jeff steered him the right direction. cubes is a notoriously fast eater, but this dish was polished off in record time. (I think he was trying to save me from temptation.)

Full-size photos of the food we ate are up on Flickr.

Bon Apetit!
Credits: All images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.