Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hotel Coronado

Mark and Sandy at the Hotel del Coronado
On our second night in San Diego, we ate dinner at the beautiful Hotel del Coronado, sometimes referred to simply as the "The Del."
Fun facts about The Del:
  • Built in 1888 and is now a historic landmark
  • The movie Some Like It Hot with Marilyn Monroe was filmed there.  
  • The Grand Floridian at Disney World is modeled on The Del.
We were there with a large group, so we had a limited menu and they knew ahead of time that I was coming, so I can't guarantee that what I ate would be available on the regular menu or that it would be gluten free, but I can say that they were very accommodating and knowledgeable.   

My first course was a Heirloom Pumpkin Veloute (soup) which had a nice balance of sweet and savory.  A traditional veloute is made with a roux (flour), so I don't know if they made this one special for me, or if they normally prepare it that way.  It was very good, at any rate.  We had a wine pairing with each course, and the soup went with a pink champagne.
Soup at the Hotel del Coronado

The second course was steak -- California Natural Angus Beef Filet with a beef check ragout, charred broccoli and potato mousseline.  I'm not sure that I want my vegetables burnt, but the rest of the entree was sensational.  Truly one of the best steaks I have ever eaten.  It was cooked perfectly and the ragout was so good that I wanted to lick it off the plate.  Since we were with 17 of my husband's colleagues, I restrained myself.  The wine was a Cabernet Sauvignon that complimented it perfectly.

The dessert they had to modify a bit for me -- it was a orange-coffee puree spread between thin wafer cookies and served with a side of vanilla gelato.  Obviously I couldn't have the cookies, so they served the puree by itself, like a chocolate mousse.  It looked a little odd -- two little bowls, one with vanilla ice cream and the other with chocolate pudding, but I'm willing to forgo presentation if there is chocolate in it for me.
The wine served with dessert was a Moscato blush that was my favorite wine of the evening.  

The only downside of the evening is that we foolishly scheduled our dinner to start at 7 pm, which meant that by the time we got there, it was dark and we couldn't see the view.  Several people in our group went back the next day to walk around the hotel and see it in daylight.  I should also mention that we were there for a very long time.  We had been there for two hours when the second course was finally served.  Mark had a word with the waiter and they made sure that the dessert course was served more promptly, and we were completely done and out the door and hour later, which was good.

The Hotel del Coronado is one of those "once in a lifetime" restaurants that I highly recommend you experience once.  It's not cheap (all right, it's really really expensive), but the total experience was definitely worth it.  But try to do better than me and get there in time for sunset, ok?