Sunday, December 5, 2010

If Something About This Blog Seems Familiar, . . .

it should.

The problem referred to yesterday was
significant. The camera has a defect
that affected the chip. No photos; will
resume with pictures tomorrow.

So we were planning our trip to the Gaslamp Quarter and I am investigating lunch alternatives. I say to Chuck: “I know that there's another Rockin’ Baja in San Diego. I wonder if it's in the Quarter.” To the internet we went, and yes, there it was on 5th Avenue.

In fact, there are a total of seven Rockin’ Bajas-–two in San Diego and one each in La Quinta, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Montclaire, and Oceanside. In fact, it was at the Oceanside restaurant that we planned to eat when we toured the Mission San Luis Rey. You know, the day we couldn’t find a place to park the Big White Truck.

It seems that Rick DiRienzo, Rockin’ Baja’s creator is on to something.

“About an hour south of San Diego, along the Baja Coast, lies what was once a small fishing village called Puerto Nuevo. For many years, tourists flocked to the local fishermen’s houses to feast on local Pacific lobsters. These lobsters, split open and flash-fried, were presented on big platters and served with piping hot flour tortillas, delicious ranchero beans, Mexican rice and local red hot chili sauce…In 1983, Rick DiRienzo, the founder of Rockin’ Baja Lobster, introduced these lobster dinners to legions of fans in San Diego…It was here that he created his now famous Baja Buckets®. Not satisfied with just lobster prepared Baja style, he experimented doing every type of shellfish the same way…slipper lobster tail, shrimp, and snow crab…Alaskan King Crab… all prepared Baja style” (from the restaurant’s web site).

The Gaslamp District’s location occupies the first floor of an old Victorian era building, so with the exception of the sidewalk dining patio, it lacks the open air feel of the Old Town branch. Still, the designer managed to evoke the same beach and surfer mood. Of course, hearing the music of the Beach Boys piped in over the sound system didn’t hurt either.

We were sure that we wanted to repeat the Tequila Lime Shrimp and the Lobster Bites from our visit to Old Town. But what to accompany them? Like with the Old Town restaurant, there was a chips and salsa bar so we pondered this question while munching on chips with the red hot salsa, the chipotle salsa, and the tomatillo salsa. All three were uniformly spicy--even the green. Most of the tomatillo salsas that I have eaten are tangy, almost citrusy, and mild. This was a pleasant change.

Well, we finally made our decision. In addition to the Tequila Lime Shrimp and the Lobster Bites, we would order a second serving of the Lobster Bites. And how did the Gaslamp outlet compare to the Old Town outlet? Better in every way.

The Tequila Lime Shrimp were again perfectly cooked and the sauce was superior. First, the lime was a suggestion rather than a command. Second, the sauce was thicker and less oily. Third, while there was an abundance of chopped garlic pieces, the taste was soft and sweet rather than aggressive.

I wasn’t sure if I could eat an entire order of the Lobster Bites by myself, but I should not have been concerned. If we thought that the seasoned coating used at the Old Town restaurant was crisp and thin, the coating here was ethereal. Again, the langostino tails were sweet and tender, and the butter sauce made the perfect accompaniment for dunking the battered tails. (Although the tomatillo salsa wasn’t bad for dunking either.)

The Gaslamp Quarter is full of restaurants and someday we’ll have the chance to try more of them. For now, we were pleased with a 4.5 Addie repeat.

No comments: