bar

Barley & Hops

by Alyssa on March 14, 2012

in Food, Restaurant Reviews

I received free tickets to Pechanga‘s Comedy Club, which was awesome enough, but I was also looking forward to having a meal in Temecula, since we don’t head up that way very often. Although Temecula is known for its extensive network of wineries, I wanted to find somewhere that we could have a quick meal near the casino to make it in time for the comedy show. Since I don’t know the area at all, Yelp came in handy. A quick search for restaurants near Pechanga came up with good reviews for Barley & Hops and I was won over by the extensive list of beers on tap at the gourmet pub.Although we don’t usually order appetizers, Yelp reviewers said that Barley & Hops’ corn nuggets were a must-try. Biting into the freshly fried nuggets revealed a creamy corn mixture with juicy corn kernels in every bite. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the corn nuggets were served with green-tinted ranch dressing. The corn nuggets were something different than the usual appetizer fare and didn’t end up being a heavy way to start the meal.

I went with the Fisherman Chowder for my entree. I was surprised when I was presented with the chowder in a nicely toasted sourdough bread bowl. The chowder is packed with shrimp, clams, lobster, and scallops with just enough liquid to moisten it. It was a very hearty chowder because of the abundance of seafood and different from other chowders I have tried. I really enjoyed it and would come back to have it again.

Devin ordered the Celtic Cleaver Steak, which was topped with gravy, blue cheese, and onion strings. On the side were sauteed squash and mashed potatoes with gravy. Ordered medium, the steak came out a little on the rare side. While blue cheese can be overwhelming, there was just enough topping the steak to add a creamy tang. This was a well-seasoned steak, but doesn’t place among those found at dedicated steakhouses.

Something on the menu that caught my eye was the Salmon Wellington, which was described as a salmon filet and mushrooms wrapped in puff pastry and baked. I would like to return and try that, even though the Fisherman Chowder is calling me back. This restaurant is casual, with low lighting, a steady stream of music, televisions playing sports channels, and did I mention the very extensive list of domestic (think local) and international beer?

Barley & Hops

31045 Temecula Parkway

Suite 101

Temecula, CA 92592

951-303-0333

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Touted as having some of the best fish tacos in San Diego by San Diego Magazine, Sign On San Diego, Serious Eats, and Bon Appetit, I finally made it to South Beach Bar & Grille when it wasn’t completely packed. South Beach Bar & Grille is located in Ocean Beach, right along the beach so that if you sit at the bar, you have a great view of the pier and ocean. I don’t spend a lot of time in Ocean Beach, but when I have, it was to visit the beach or nearby shops along Newport Ave. South Beach Bar & Grille is usually very crowded, especially when there is a game on.

Having had a late breakfast that day, I only sampled one taco, their fried Baja Fish Taco. It turns out that only one fish taco was enough because it was quite large, with a hefty piece of beer-battered pollock and a mound of fresh pico de gallo and red cabbage. I was surprised to find melted cheddar cheese on the soft flour tortilla, as it’s not a standard ingredient in fish tacos. The melted cheese helped all the contrasting textures come together.The fish was freshly fried and moist and the cream sauce had a nice tang to it. This was a great fish taco with the view from the bar certainly adding to the experience.

South Beach Bar & Grille only accepts cash and there is an ATM machine located in the bar. This, coupled with the large crowds that flock here at night, detract me from returning for the fish tacos. I mean, this was among the best fish tacos that I’ve eaten, but pretty decent fish tacos can be found without having to pick up cash and fight through drunken throngs of people.

South Beach Bar & Grille

5059 Newport Ave.

Suite 104

San Diego, CA 92107

619-226-4577

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