San Diego, Cure for Winter Blues

Whenever I travel, this is usually my mantra:  “It’s always good to go away but it’s always better to come back home.”

I love traveling to new places, trying new foods and seeing the sites.  Usually, I get homesick after just three or four days away.  This week, however, I couldn’t get enough of the sites or of the food in San Diego!

Take a look at today’s featured recipes shared by House of Blues San Diego Award-Winning Chef Aarón Sánchez and you’ll get a flavor of what this unique Californian city has to offer: Mexican-, Italian-, Asian- and Delta-inspired cuisine just to name a few.

Tuesday evening a group of about 40 dealers and customers of Latham Hi-Tech Seeds had the pleasure of enjoying the House of Blue’s special creations, including a Rock & Roll Dessert Buffet.  I have to admit that the mac ‘n cheese was my fave.  (Seriously, I’ve never had mac done like this!  It was sooo worth the calories.)

Another special treat on Tuesday was a behind-the-scenes tour of the Concert Hall and green rooms.  I couldn’t help but feel somewhat giddy, knowing I was standing on the very stage where artists like Selena Gomez, Jonas Brothers, One Direction, Britney Spears and Katy Perry performed sold-out shows.  (Even my two tweens were impressed!)

The House of Blues was certainly a highlight of our getaway to San Diego, which promises to the city where “happiness is calling,” and it didn’t disappoint!  I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not a City Girl, but San Diego doesn’t feel like a big city.  There are plenty of things to see and do outdoors from viewing Harbor Seals in La Jolla and walking around Torrey Pines to watching the “Blue Horizons” show at Sea World and visiting the baby panda at the San Diego Zoo.

U.S.S. Midway

Other highlights of our trip included a docent-led tour of the U.S.S. Midway, dining along the boardwalk and browsing through shops in Seaport Village.  Our group also enjoyed taking a gondola ride through Coronado Bay and feeling the warm sand tickle our toes along Coronado Beach.

A self-guided tour of the Hotel del Coronado makes me long to rent Some Like it Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe.  Some folks in our group also visited the Kansas City Barbecue where Top Gun was filmed.  Hmm… what could be better snuggling in front of the fire with a bowl of popcorn while watching a video on cold winter’s Friday night in the Midwest?  TGIF!

Sunset Hills, Coronado Island, Old Town, Little Italy… this week’s trip to San Diego left me wanting more.   You can bet that I’ll be back… and none too soon!

In the meantime, perhaps I’ll savor my warm memories of San Diego as I try these recipes by Chef Sanchez.  I’m not sure I can make the Ahi Salad look photo-worthy, but I’m quite certain that I’ll enjoy  making (and especially eating!) the Champagne Vinaigrette.  ¡Buen provecho!

Ahi Tuna Chopped Salad


Ahi Tuna Salad Ingredients:

Ahi Tuna Directions:

  1. In a clean stainless steel bowl combine first 8 ingredients, plus .75 oz of the feta and 8 of the parsley leaves.
  2. Toss ingredients until lightly coated with dressing.
  3. Add 1.2 of the La chow noodles and toss just to coat.
  4. Mound the salad in the center of a chilled large plate making sure to leave a 2-inch boarder of empty plate all around.
  5. At the front of the plate, fan the tuna in a semi circle leaning slightly against the bottom of the salad.
  6. Top salad with remaining feta, wontons and parsley.
  7. Serve right away.


Champagne Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Champagne Vinegar
  • 2 cups EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • 4 tsp Fresh Oregano (Chopped Fine)
  • 4 tsp Fresh Basil (Chopped Fine)
  • 2 Tbls Fresh Chives (Chopped Fine)
  • 2 tsp Red Chili Flakes
  • 1 Tbls Kosher Salt
  • 2 Tbls Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 oz Creole Mustard

Vinaigrette Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients EXCEPT OIL and whisk to combine.
  2. Using a burre mixer, slowly drizzle in oil to form an emulsion.
  3. Store in an air tight container and label, date and store refrigerated.