It was one of those late nights. You know the kind. You're in bed at 9:30PM, but somehow sleep won't visit, and you're still awake at 12:30AM. What do you do? I was seeing what was going on in San Diego on twitter by looking up #sandiego, and Cheri's tweet popped-up. The words were crystal clear: best pork belly taco. I tweeted her immediately to see what else had graced her palate. She didn't respond right away....two days later as I was enjoying a cup of coffee in the office kitchen, my phone notifications came on and there it was flashing at me....the sweetest words: Great fried pickles. She had me at pork belly, but sealed the deal with the fried pickles. I had to try this place.
I see across the street a sign talking to me, Alchemy. We venture over. The name definitely fits this place, because it is witchcraft! I am bewitched. With an original plan of visiting @buonaforchetta1 across the street from Alchemy, by way of another twitter recommendation, the evening becomes a two-fer since the wait for Buona Forchetta is 40-minutes.
Upon entrance, we are bellowed into the innards of Alchemy. It feels as if we are the reaction to a chemical equation, the last variant filling it to the brim. In other words, it is perfect timing. We sit down and take it all in.
The first thing we see are the books/textbooks pasted onto the ceiling. No theme in particular on the book selection, but rather random and good icebreaking conversation starters. We take a look at the menu and quickly see a selection of artisan drinks. @danofrnandez chooses the Alchemist Mule, and I chose a San Diego local--Monkey Paw's Sweet Georgia Brown Ale. The server suggests whiskey to be the perfect spirit for the mule and @danofrnandez agrees.
Our stomachs are grumbling. Our original South Park plan was to eat at Buona Forchetta, but we decide to graze through South Park instead, starting with a couple of drinks and appetizers at Alchemy. Cheri's suggestion of the Taro Pork Belly Taco is definitely 1st on our list of things to order....the 2nd item is on the suggestion of our server, the Hangtown Broiled Oysters.
Yes, what you are seeing is correct. The oysters came out flaming. Under the shells is winesalt set on fire. It keeps the oysters at a perfect succulent temperature. I'm not completely sure about what is in the oysters, but they are perfectly cooked and garnished with bacon. You can never, ever, go wrong with bacon. The ambiance, beer, and the perfectly heated oysters make a recipe for #foodie heaven.
The taro pork belly taco....What can I say. Instead of a traditional taco shell, it is taro, shaped like a taco shell. Inside is a warm, tender, and juicy piece of pork belly with arugula, and what seems like a couple pieces of pickled cucumber. It appears to be an upscale adaptation of Korean BBQ. The food's visual presentation adds to the restaurant ambiance. There is one thing I will say though; the portions are small but will leave you happily hungry for more.
Here's a couple indoors shots of the surroundings and experience. In the middle is an aluminum, or some type of metal, tree that stretches from floor to ceiling connecting to the books. Perhaps, it is the tree of knowledge? I wish I took a photo of the bar presentation because it's pretty awesome.
I definitely recommend this place, and will come back again to try the main entrees since time only allowed for a quick sample of two libations and a couple of appetizers. I didn't even get to try the fried pickle!
This is definitely a San Diego experience. San Diego is slowly shifting to be a #foodie town where chain restaurants will soon be scarce.
Although our first visit to Alchemy is short, it is a memorable visit and is one that leaves us wanting more. However, the night must continue as we cross the street to Buona Forchetta.
Note: 95% of blog posts photos are taken with an iPhone4.