Please note: This giveaway is now closed. However, you can get a free entree on your birthday and a 20% off coupon by signing up for Del Mar Rendezvous’ mailing list through this link created for my readers.  Sign up here!

Del Mar Rendezvous is a Chinese Fusion Restaurant created by Mark Sun, the same person who also started Dumpling Inn and Khan’s Cave. I recently was invited to visit for the first time, and was also given an opportunity to host a giveaway so a lucky reader can check out the restaurant as well (information on the giveaway at the end of the post).

I have to admit, when I first received the invitation to attend, I was hesitant. With my chinese background, I am pretty strict when it comes to eating chinese food. I don’t mind the idea of fusion, but I worried that the food would be too Americanized and I really can’t stand most Americanized chinese food spots. However, I decided to give it a shot. I was curious because the Head Chef and one of the managing partners, Chef Tony, is of Taiwanese descent. His parents run and operate Dumpling Inn, where he also cooked for a year.

Since our visit was so close to Restaurant Week, we were also given the option to place some orders from the Restaurant Week menu in addition to being offered the full regular menu. Dan, one of the owners, greeted us after we were seated, gave us some history and recommendations and was very generous as to letting us try whatever we wanted. I was curious about quite a few dishes but didn’t really have room to try them all.

The restaurant also offers a large  selection of beer and wine, but we decided to skip that. We got water and a nice pot of tea. There were three tea choices and we went with our server’s  recommendation, plum oolong.

I loved the pretty teapot the tea was served in and the candle warmer at the base. We also really enjoyed the tea. Oolong is not usually not one of my favorites, but the plum takes away some of the bitterness and adds a subtle hint of sweet and sour notes.

After some discussion with our server, we ended up choosing three appetizers. Two of them were on the Restaurant Week menu, the other was just one I had to try because I have an obsession and must try them whenever they are offered to compare.

Steamed pork dumplings (Xiao Long Bao (XLB), also called Soup Dumplings)

These are on their regular menu. Both FH and I love XLB and order it whenever we see it on the menu. I’m also quite a harsh critic when it comes to XLB though, having tasted some of the best of the best in Taiwan. I’ve yet to find a satisfying rendition in San Diego, but I’m always searching.

This weekend I went to Costco and stocked up on bacon and Nutella again. My supply was getting dangerously low and it was making me anxious.

As soon as I got home, I opened a new jar Nutella to make some recipes. I had bookmarked this chewy Nutella cookie recipe weeks ago, and I finally got a chance to make it. I love chewy cookies, and these are very chewy cookies. Once they finish baking, they flatten quite a bit while cooling. The end result is a fudgy, chewy, cookie. Delicious.

Gelato Bus Stop is located in Pacific Beach and specializes in gelato, though they also serve sweet and savory crepes. We stopped by for the first time recently after dinner.

Upon entering, I noticed a wall of Nutella jars. I knew I was in a good place.

At the counter were about 18 gelato flavors offered. The person helping us was really nice and very generous with samples as we decided what we wanted.
There are 3 cup sizes offered: small, medium, and large. You can also get a cone. If you want more than a small treat, you can get a larger packed quantity to go. One of the things I really liked about this shop is that you can get up to three flavors for any cup size. Most places only allow two, and some only allow more than one flavor for a medium or large, but we were able to get three in the small size.

My brother chose passionfruit and columbus (mascarpone vanilla & chocolate)