When I went to San Diego for Independence Day weekend, S. and I tried a few new eateries. First up, The Linkery, apparently one of SD’s most famous farm-to-table restaurants. As you can probaby tell from the name, their specialty is house made sausages. The restaurant is very… open. Basically instead of a wall on one side, it’s just open to the outside. Actually, the restaurant’s ‘hippie-ness’ really reminded me of something I would see in Berkeley.
Our brunch: (sorry for the lighting, my camera’s white balance was way off…)
Link Benedict: house made Klobasa sausage, two poached pastured chicken eggs, beer bread, Hollandaise sauce ($14)
I really liked all the different components of this dish. The Klobasa sausage (pork, garlic, marjoram) was very nice, and the not-so-subtle garlic flavor made it all the more delicious. Eggs were really nicely poached, and the runny yolks + Hollandaise sauce was tasty without feeling too heavy. The beer bread was AWESOME! I’d never had beer bread before, but it instantly became my favorite type of bread. Maybe the extra carbon dioxide from the beer made the bread more fluffy or something… regardless, it was so good.
The downside of this dish is that it doesn’t really work very well all together. Poached eggs with sausage just doesn’t go together very well for me. I did enjoy sopping up every last bit of the sauce and yolks with the bread, though. Maybe if I had just gotten the sausage on the side…
House Sausage Sandwich (Andouille sausage), served with tortilla strips and cole slaw ($12)
S., being more of a minimalist (haha), ordered the house sausage sandwich. It’s very simple – in fact, it looks like a hot dog in the photo, probably because of the house-made mustard that’s squirted on there. The Andouille sausage is pork, cayenne, thyme, and garlic, and delicious – although not as spicy as I had hoped. I thought the tortilla strips were just strange.. not quite chips, not quite fries, just… strange. The cole slaw was very Californian in that it lacked any mayo or vinegar. Basically, it was a salad, not slaw. So we asked for a bit of mayo, mixed it in, and voila, made our own slaw.
Although the dishes we ordered were very interesting ways to serve their house-made sausage, S. and I agreed that next time, we would probably just order a link by itself, and with a couple of sides. I really felt that the sauces overwhelmed the flavor of the links in our dishes, and I’d like to try them without any garnish. Oh – and you can bet that I’ll be back for the beer bread.
3794 30th St, San Diego, CA
Another new place that we tried this time was Urban Solace, a brunch place that I’ve heard about quite a few times already. Again, we went for brunch (yes, we like brunch). Surprisingly, the wait wasn’t as bad as we had thought! Brunch in SD (and in Berkeley, for that matter) can have some pretty gruesome wait times, but luckily our ‘party of two’ was seated in about fifteen minutes. (We also don’t like to sit outdoors, which makes it easier for us to get seats. Haha.)
Burger: Niman Ranch Chuck, Aged White Cheddar, Smoked Tomato Jam, House Sauce Bibb Lettuce, Egg Bun ($9.75), added Mushrooms ($3 extra), served with fries
Before you call me out on ordering a burger at brunch, let me just say that this was a good burger. The patty was so juicy, and all the condiments and toppings made the flavors very unique. My favorite part was the smoked tomato jam – quite a creative alternative to ketchup! Fries were nice and crispy, sprinkled with some parsley (I think) and sea salt. (For the record, I did not try the pickle.)
Belly Benny: House Biscuit, Braised Van de Rose Duroc Pork Belly, Poached Fresh Eggs, Smoked Ancho Chili Hollandaise ($12)
Here’s the brunch food of this meal, the “Belly Benny”. Despite the enormously long description on the menu, all I saw was ‘braised pork belly.’ I swear I have a pork belly radar. Anyway, this was awesome – a much better benedict than the Linkery’s, since all the components worked together very nicely. (I think it’s because pork belly has the same ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ feeling as the eggs and biscuit, whereas the sausage links do not.) I also liked Urban Solace’s Hollandaise sauce better, probably because it has chilis. The biscuit, however, doesn’t really taste like the biscuits I’ve had in the South – this was almost.. chewy, like an English muffin-biscuit hybrid. I would have loved beer bread instead of the biscuit, but well, ya can’t have everything I guess :P
Overall, S. and I thought that this was definitely the better brunch of the two. Their dinner and lunch menus also look quite interesting… It’s on the pricey side, but I would love to come back for special occasions.
3823 30th St, San Diego, CA
Su: Brunch 10am-2pm; Dinner 5pm-9pm