It’s funny how your food palate changes over the years. There are some places that the BF and I used to love that we no longer enjoy as we’ve now had so many more food experiences. And yet there are other places that you would think would fall into this category that we still keep as part of our dining rotation.

La Dolce Vita is a small Italian restaurant tucked into a narrow strip of downtown La Jolla’s shops. It was where we had our first official “nice dinner date” and where we frequented for the better part of our first year together.

Since then, we’ve never been back. Part of me knew, even without going back to make sure, that this was one of the restaurants that we would no longer love.

After many years, BF took me back for a walk down memory lane. While I appreciated his efforts and liked the idea of coming one final time and enjoyed the fond memories from this spot, I can now absolutely say with certainty that this is one spot we won’t voluntarily be dining at again.

La Dolce Vita is quite small, with a few tables inside and some outside dining as well. The inside seats around 30 or so people, in very tight, cramped quarters. The walls are decorated with giant murals which I would have taken a picture of if I could.

Shortly after ordering, we were given a sun dried tomato dipping sauce and a chunk of hot bread. To my surprise, half the bread was visibly burnt. I was surprised they served it to us anyway. The tomato sauce was actually quite tasty and went well with the warm crusty bread.

We decided to start off with the beef carpaccio appetizer. Our first experience with beef carpaccio was actually here and we have loved it ever since.

The carpaccio that was served to us did not look appetizing. It looked very wet and oily. I was also surprised to find that it was two giant pieces, not cut up at all. We had to cut it up ourselves. The carpaccio was doused in lemon juice and oil. I did not like it and only had a few bites.

For the entree, my eyes were drawn to a grilled T bone steak drizzled with imported black truffle oil. I love truffle oil and almost always order something with truffle oil when I see it being offered. I was informed that they were out of the T bone steak but they had a New York steak. I told them I was fine with the replacement as long as it was made using the same preparation.

When my steak arrived, I knew right away this was going to be disappointing. There was no aroma of truffle oil at all on my steak. I debated bringing this to the waiter’s attention, but in the end, I chickened out. I just wasn’t in the mood to complain about my food. The steak was grilled with visible char marks which you could also taste. It lacked any flavor whatsoever. I told BF it reminded me of a steak I’d be served at TGI Friday’s and he agreed.

The spinach at least was sauteed with oil and seasoning and was pretty tasty. The roasted potatoes were alright, but lacked the crispy skin I enjoy on roasted potatoes.

BF opted for one of the specials of the night, lobster ravioli topped with seared scallops. The wine sauce accompanying the raviolis was good. I felt that the lobster filling had too much other stuff mixed in so you couldn’t even tell it was lobster. The scallops were my favorite part. Overall, his dish came out much better than mine. Perhaps I should have ordered off of the specials as well.

We chose not to get dessert. We were quite ready to leave. As we waited for our check to arrive, something happened that pretty much sealed the fate of this place for us. We saw a giant cockroach making its way straight towards our table.

Now, first I want to make something clear. I’ve read people reviewing restaurants before screaming about cockroaches. It often makes me roll my eyes. Not that I think cockroaches are okay. I just sometimes feel people are being a little overdramatic. When I was in New York City a few years back, there were cockroaches everywhere. It was quite common to see one scurrying into a bar from the outside. In Taiwan, where my parents are from, there’s even such things as flying cockroaches, and it’s always pretty common to see cockroaches outside, inside, etc.

But when I saw this giant cockroach heading toward me, I have to admit I became very very squeamish. I didn’t scream, but I did pick up my feet, as it decided to scurry right next to my chair. Some other customers noticed the cockroach as well and someone must have said something to the waiter.

The waiter responded by looking around for it, and then saying “Oh it must have come from inside.” Yes, he said inside. I think he misspoke. I hope he misspoke. Either way, this was definitely an interesting way to end the night.

Afterwards, BF and I discussed it and realized this was actually the first time we’d ever seen a cockroach in San Diego. I should have taken a picture of it for you all, but I was afraid the waiter might have gotten angry.

La Dolce Vita Ristorante
1237 Prospect St, Ste P
La Jolla, CA 92037
858-454-2524

La Dolce Vita on Urbanspoon

About a month ago, I dined at a pop up restaurant, where one of the courses served was a fried soft boiled egg. The outside of the egg was nice and crunchy and when you cut open the egg, there was a soft runny yolk. It was delicious and so fun to eat.

When I saw a post by The Novice Chef Blog teaching me how to make my own, I knew I had to try it out. I made them for the BF and he keeps asking me to make him more every day. One of the things I did differently was adding bacon bits to the breadcrumb exterior. When I had previously eaten these eggs, I thought the only thing missing was bacon, so I mixed bacon to my breadcrumbs mixture, creating a crunchy bacon finish to these eggs.

Making these eggs isn’t too hard. Basically you boil an egg until it reaches a soft boil stage. You can estimate on this or you can buy an egg timer. Previously I did not own an egg timer, but when I realized it was only a few dollars and would let me cook perfect eggs, I went ahead and bought myself one. So for these, I used the egg timer and it worked great.

After you cook the eggs to a soft boil, you let them cool, peel the shell (this is the hardest part) and then you dip in some flour, egg and breadcrumb/bacon coating and then you fry them for about 20 seconds. And you get these delicious fried bacon eggs.

Speaking of bacon, Denny’s is celebrating its love for bacon with Baconalia, a ten week celebration, where different new bacon dishes will appear on its menu.  Denny’s has partnered with Foodbuzz, to allow Foodbuzz members (like myself), to submit bacon recipes for a Baconalia challenge.  A few select winners will win gift cards to Denny’s.  I am submitting this recipe in the Baconalia challenge.

Recipe: Fried Bacon Eggs

(adapted from The Novice Chef Blog)

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • canola oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Boil eggs in a small pot of water until they reach soft boil stage (about 3-4 minutes, I used egg timer). Then remove eggs and place in a bowl of ice water. Let the eggs completely cool in the ice water which should take about 10 or 15 minutes.
  2. When cooled, peel the eggs by gently tapping them. There will be one side of the egg that is easier to peel. There should be part of the egg that does not come out of the shell easily. For this part, use a spoon to get inside the shell in order to help remove the egg from the shell. Heat 2 cups of vegetable oil in a small saucepan.
  3. While that heats, place the flour, the beaten egg and the breadcrumb in 3 separate bowls.
  4. Cook the bacon until it is dark red and crispy. Then chop the bacon into small pieces (or put it through a food processor) and add to the breadcrumb bowl.
  5. Coat each soft-boiled egg in the flour, then coat with the egg. Dump the breadcrumb/bacon mixture onto the egg, trying to get as much of it to stick and coat as possible. Then re-dredge the egg in the yolk and dump more breadcrumbs/bacon onto the egg.  I find it easiest to take a handful of breadcrumb mixture and drop it onto the egg rather than let roll the eggs in the breadcrumbs. Place one egg at a time in the hot oil. Turn the egg after about 10-20 seconds to brown on all sides. Remove the egg to a paper towel and continue with the rest of the eggs.
  6. Serve while warm.

 


I really loved the popovers I made last time, but I wanted to experiment with other recipes. I initially wanted to try a recipe provided by Neiman Marcus for the popovers they serve at their cafe, but after reading the recipe, it seemed too complicated after the easy popovers I had previously made.

If you haven’t had popover before, they are a very light and airy bread. They are almost hollow on the inside and the outside is a chewy bread crust.  The name comes from the fact that the batter “pops over” the baking molds when they are baking.
Instead of the Neiman Marcus recipe, I chose a recipe I found on Umami Girl, which she adapted from Gourmet Magazine. I made a couple adjustments to the recipe and the instructions based on my previous popover baking experience.

These popovers came out very light and airy. They were airier than the previous popovers I made. I also gave in and bought another popover pan. I previously bought this Popover Pan. It’s been working great, except that it only makes six. This is fine if I’m just baking for me and the BF. But usually when I make popovers, I have more people over. Since popovers need to bake for about 40 minutes, it’s a problem not being able to make more than 6. Rather than by a regular popover pan, this time I bought this Mini Popover Panthat bakes 12. These popovers aren’t really mini. They are still pretty big and I think they are really the perfect serving size. With this recipe I was able to make 12 smaller ones and 6 regular popovers. Of course if you don’t have a popover pan you could use a muffin pan, but they won’t pop nearly as much or as pretty.

Recipe: Popovers

(adapted from recipe found on Umami Girl who adapted it from Gourmet Magazine)

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups fat free milk
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • additional 3 tbsp butter for pan

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the unmelted butter into 18 small chunks. Place a small chunk of butter at the bottom of each popover mold. Place the pans in the oven while the oven preheats until the butter is completed melted and then remove pans (about 2 minutes).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk. Add in the melted butter. Add the flour and salt and mix until well combined but still slightly lumpy. Divide the batter among the pans, filling each mold 1/2 full.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes without opening the oven for large popovers (or 30 minutes for mini popovers).