Eating at Claire's on Cedros was my first experience with Solana Beach. The atmosphere was very cozy, and the waitstaff was friendly. My favorite sensory experience was actually the ganache coffee my husband ordered - it tasted like very rich, chocolatey ganache frosting! While I think having the whole cup would have been too sweet for me, having a taste (or two!) was absolutely delightful.
I had a craving for pancakes, and being gluten-free I don't often find restaurants offering them as an option. Unfortunately, these pancakes were not very tasty, and I ended up only eating less than half. They were extremely sweet (a common occurrence in gluten free baking to compensate for the blandness of the flours), and very dense. In cutting through the middle they were still slightly mushy, as if they weren't fully cooked through (again, another common issue with gluten free cooking). Overall, I was disappointed that my pancake craving wasn't satiated, but I wasn't too surprised considering the challenges that gluten free foods typically pose.
On a scale of 1 to 5, I would rate Claire's on Cedros around a 2. The ganache coffee ultimately would make me consider going back and trying another dish, but from this experience I'm not sure I'd return.
Today my husband and I went to a delightfully modern coffee shop - Skybound Coffee and Dessert Lounge. With only two locations in San Diego county, they are a striking departure from the corner Starbucks with locally roasted organic coffee, beautifully decorated pastries, and (at our location in Vista) a full frozen dessert section. In the other location, they serve beer and wine in the evening.
Where was this coffee shop when I was in college? I'm not sure I would have ever left.
Keeping with the best of the coffee shop, my drink was a "lava" latte, or a lavender vanilla latte. The barista recommended to have it iced, which nicely highlighted the subtle lavender flavor that would have been lost in the froth of a hot drink. I'm not much of a sweet drink fan, so I would have preferred a little more lavender flavor and a little less sweetness. Overall, the concept was unique and definitely not something I had tried before.
The coffee flavor itself was rich and smooth, but was muted by the flavors in the latte. On my next trip, I am eager to try the coffee without additions to really enjoy the complexities of the flavor.
If you've visited San Diego, have you gotten coffee at Skybound? Comment below!
Lavender Vanilla "Lava" Latte
An array of ice cream and gelato
Modern and chic decor
Why Chile Peppers?
Surprisingly, chile peppers (also known as chili, or chilli peppers), are one of the most ubiquitous spices on the planet. From Paprikash in Hungary to Kung Pao Chicken in China to Mole Poblano in Mexico, they all have one spicy, powerful ingredient in common. The peppers contain a potent component called capsacin, and the related compounds capsaicinoids, which provides the spice and bite associated with the bright fruit. There are five different types of domesticated species of chili peppers – Capsicum annum (wax, cayenne, bell, and jalapeños), Capisicum frutescens (tabasco, Thai, piri-piri), Capsicum chinense (habanero, Datil, Scotch Bonnet), Capsicum pubescens (South American rocoto peppers), and Capiscum baccatum (South American aji peppers) (https://www.cayennediane.com/pepper-species/).
Do you know where the highest concentration of capsaicin is in a pepper? Let’s take a look.
Here we have a red bell pepper. Before we find out the answer, let’s walk through what might be the spiciest component of this fruit:
Have you figured it out yet? If you guessed the white pith contains the most capsaicin, you are correct! The seeds do not produce any capsaicin, while the other fleshy parts contain some, but not as much as, the inner white pith.
Growing up, my mom always put cayenne pepper around her plants to keep away rabbits and other pests. While I thought it was curious to have red rings in the dirt around the plants, it was effective and is still one of the tricks I still use today (note: depending on your location and weather, multiple applications might be necessary).
Chili peppers are used both for culinary and topical applications (stay tuned for my Cayenne Myomagic Muscle Rub!) due to the burning sensation caused by the capcaisin. During ingestion, the capsaicin causes an endorphin rush in your body – the flight or flight response is triggered when this potential “threat” is received in your mouth, and subsequently your stomach. Chili lovers and heat seekers all over the world engage in chili eating contests, with the Carolina Reaper topping out at 2.2 million Scoville Heat Units (more on Scoville Units in the next post!).
Feeling bold? Check out Paqui’s “One Chip Challenge” – a single chip made with a mix of the hottest pepper in the world (Carolina Reaper) and it’s close heat cousin,the Ghost Pepper - http://shop.paqui.com/Carolina-Reaper-Madness-Chip/p/PAQ-002669&c=Paqui@TortillaChips.
Follow us on Social Media for more posts on Scoville Units, Unique Chili Pepper Recipes, and How To Neutralize Too Much Spice!
Love to eat? Me too! In this section, we cover everything related to why food tastes so good to our palate - and why some foods are appealing to some people and not to others.
Have you ever had salsa that was too spicy, but you liked the way it made your eyes water and your throat tingle? Maybe you've eaten a dish of mushrooms and your tastebuds felt just as satisfied as downing a steak. Perhaps you're one of the millions of people who love cheese, and would even say they're "addicted"? All of these weird food quirks and tastes will be explored through scientific study, some fun kitchen science, and of course, great cuisine.
Each month will feature a special ingredient, but the learning doesn't stop there! There will also be highlighted flavour and food profiles of unique items that should merit a spot in your pantry.