July 18th is a very important day. 33 years ago, Ian Michael Raymond Bassett made his (very early) debut into this world. He was, of course, joined by his twin brother Sean. So what did we do to celebrate this momentous occasion? Why, we dressed up real pretty and made our way to what some consider the hottest spot in all of San Diego, Juniper and Ivy. This gem is located on Kettner Boulevard in Little Italy. The menu is creative and takes American classics to the next level thanks to the genius of Chef Richard Blais.
Let’s just start by saying how incredible the atmosphere is there. Gorgeous, yet understated, decor and an awesome location (right next to another favorite of ours, The Crack Shack, but that is a story for another day) are only part of the appeal. As we waited for our table to be set, we sat at the bar and sampled a few of their specialty cocktails. Ian had what he called, “the smoothest Old Fashioned of his life.” I had “Big Trouble in Little Italy.” This drink is a refreshing mix of bourbon, mint, peach bitters, lemon, and Montenegro amaro. It tastes just as good as it sounds. While we sipped our drinks, we enjoyed the view of Andrew Zimmern filming his new show. Yup, you read that right. Andrew Zimmern was dining at the same restaurant as us!! Can you feel my excitement secondhand? I geeked out hard. We can save that story for later. Let’s get back to the important stuff.. The food!!
For starters, they bring out a reconstructed deviled egg with meringue as the base. Is it slightly weird as it hits your tongue? Yes. It’s best to pop that whole bad boy in your mouth because the meringue instantly starts to melt and allow the flavors to blend together However, it is still utterly delicious. And I’m from the South ya’ll. You know I love deviled eggs. As an appetizer, we got the Carne Cruda Asada toast. It’s topped with cotija cheese and quail eggs, and mixed up with jalapenos. It’s so delicious you don’t even realize you are basically eating raw meat. Yes, the queen of food safety ate raw meat, and guess what? I loved it. For the main course, Ian had the pork chop with fig BBQ jus, chanterelles, and braised green cabbage. Doesn’t that sound delicious? It was. And I even left off the best part! Smoked. Shoulder. Tortelloni. It was amazing, ya’ll. Ah-mazing. And I had what I considered to be one of the best things I have ever eaten. Lasagna made with basil pesto, smoked country ham, and black truffles. So delicious. It just melted in my mouth. And made me happy. But wait.. There’s more! I saved the best for last! For dessert, a house made yodel. You heard me right, a yodel. Ian put it in his top five desserts of all time. Hot chocolate overtop of a devil’s food cake with a chocolate shell, hazelnut brittle, and a side of strawberries. It’s otherworldly. Oh yeah, and they gave Ian a piece of cake and ice cream for his birthday! I believe it was coconut and chocolate, but I was so engrossed with the yodel I forgot. This meal was so decadent and delicious, we were in a food coma for the rest of the night. We did manage to stay awake for Rogue One though. How else would we end a birthday?!
Overall, I highly recommend Juniper and Ivy. If you aren’t rolling in the dough (read musician and veterinarian), then I recommend you follow our paths and save it for special occasions! We will be back.. Next time we have something big to celebrate!
PS Did you think I forgot about the Andrew Zimmern thing? Yeah right! I’m still shaking! We passed him on our way out of the restaurant, and I asked him to please let us take a picture with him for Ian’s birthday. He agreed! I will say this about him, he is a super nice guy. He tolerated my fangirling with grace and even helped angle us for a better selfie. It was the perfect cherry on top of a perfect birthday!
EXCITING UPDATE! Your favorite food blogging duo can now be seen on the Travel Channel! Not like, in our own show or anything. Just in the background of another one. Still pretty cool, right?! We screamed like schoolgirls when we saw!
If you remember our trip to Juniper & Ivy for Ian’s birthday, then you will remember that we happened upon Andrew Zimmern. It was glorious. I fangirled. Ian was cool. It made our nights. At the time, he was filming an episode of his new show on Travel Channel called the Zimmern List. It was all about great places in San Diego. Well, the finished episode aired April 3rd. We sat down to watch it, and what do you know… you can see us at the bar! Mainly Ian, but my blurry face was on there for a few seconds! If you are interested in checking out the episode, Ian is in a black shirt at the bar over Andrew’s shoulder. The coolest part is that we saw him on Ian’s birthday, and then it aired on mine!! Pretty serendipitous!
Our hopes are that one day you will see us front and center on some sort of travel or food show. For now, we will settle for 5 seconds of blurry background appearances. Oh, and PS, we have been to 5 out of 6 of the places Andrew went on that episode. Told you we had good taste!!!