Thursday, September 6, 2012

Humphreys Restaurant: On New Friends

Things didn't work out for me this summer, so I will be in San Diego another year. Blogging will be sparse, but I am taking a hiatus from my hiatus with a few posts about San Diego restaurants.

Ah, tunnel vision. As I mentioned in my last post, I signed up for a couple of summer school classes. On July 4, I had attended the first lecture for each and things hadn't picked up yet. By August 4, I had spent the entire month of July underground, practically living on campus, and being challenged by a rigorous combination of Mammalian Physiology and Cell Biology taken in five weeks.

I loved it.

I've been blessed that the post-baccalaureate courses I've taken have been taught by some of UCSD's best professors. Amazing teachers and compassionate people who care about their students. I've thrived under their tutelage and know I can push myself to be the caliber (and more) of student that medical schools demand.

I am so frakkin' determined to do this that I've developed tunnel vision. Thank goodness I have friends and family who have been forgiving and understanding. This journey has filled me with gratitude for the people: the teachers who made sure I reached the bars they set high, the kind staffers who answered my application questions and processed paperwork, and the friends and family who have been tirelessly supportive, even when I'm lost in my little world of biology, work, volunteering, and applications.

Today, I'm going to talk about new friends. The ones that we meet on the long and occasionally weird journey called life. They show up at the best moments and, in this case, at a media dinner I was lucky to attend at Humphreys earlier this summer.

I'd already met most of my dining companions online, which would have seemed a little weird 10 years ago. I was a teenager when the interwebs became a thing. Websites were blocky and filled with neon colors. Geocities and AOL reigned. Remember ICQ? Yeah, me neither. In those days, meeting someone from an internet-built connection was more unusual. You were more likely to worry whether the person on the other side of the computer might be an axe murderer.

Nowadays, tons of relationships translate from online to real life. Friendships are forged through many ways to connect. I may know more about the dating life of a food blogger I've never met than the dating life of my online-phobic best friend.

The lovely Brook and Susan of Plain Clarity Communications invited me to Humphreys Restaurant for dinner along with a big group of food writers, including Amy and Erin. I've known Brook and Susan through emails for months, while Amy is the Arts & Culture Editor at San Diego CityBeat. I met Erin through fellow food bloggers and we were seated with Sara and Courtney of JustLuxe (check out Sara's piece on the dinner here). Dinner kicked off with oyster shooters, sweet potato tater tots, and sesame-basil hummus served with champagne.

Once we settled to dinner, there was a charcuterie plate that featured smoked duck among the cheese and other cured meats. The green olive-like fruit on the plate? Caper berries. You know capers as the pungent, Tic Tac-sized buds, but caper berries are the mature fruit of the same shrub. Next up was a sampler of small bites, with Boursin-stuffed bresaola, honeycomb with blue cheese (my favorite), and tangerine drizzled with a red wine reduction.

Next up was a delicious medallion of white-corn souffle, topped with crisp microgreens. It was followed by a soup that I didn't photograph and didn't care for too much. A smoked chicken and black bean soup, it was a little bland and the chicken too dry for my linking. The corn souffle, though, is delightful and perfectly done.

Chef Paul Murphy has been leaning towards local suppliers, but he decided to remain loyal to his scallop supplier. Local or not, his scallop supplier provided amazing George's Bank scallops that were tender and amazingly sweet. Served on a carrot cumin puree and alongside a slice of fresh ahi tuna torched with a touch of vanilla sugar, it was packed with flavor. The ahi was topped with sea urchin, which I normally don't care for unless it's extremely fresh (it was).

Tom, our delightful server, brought out a couple of pinot noirs. One from Oregon's Archery Summit, the other from Sonoma's Keller Estate. Pinots from two different regions and they were startlingly different. That's terroir for ya. I preferred the Archery Summit, which went nicely with my ginger-honey marinated skirt steak. The steak was great, with the ginger-honey reminiscent of teriyaki. I didn't care for the slaw that was served with it, so that was left behind while I enjoyed my steak and pinot.

Dinner wrapped up with a milk chocolate bon bon, passion fruit panna cotta, and a homemade pop tart. All were very well done, so there's a capable pastry chef in the kitchen. At this point, I was full from a delicious meal and fantastic company. We parted ways with the agreement to dine together again and I certainly hope we do.

I dined with them just before my summer school frenzy kicked off, but now that summer's almost over, it's the perfect time to get to know Humphreys without the summer crowds. There are still concert dates via Humphreys Concerts (aka Humphreys by the Bay). Also, San Diego Restaurant Week is coming up and Humphreys is offering both lunch and dinner menus. Lunch is $15 and dinner is $30.

Grab some friends, new and old, and head to Humphreys for the fabulous view and food. There's plenty of viewing and eating, but good company makes everything taste better.

Thank you to Humphreys and Plain Clarity Communications for the invitation and meal. While the meal was complimentary, my opinions are always my own.

4 bites:

Liz the chef said...

Thanks for reminding about Humphrey's - we used to eat there with my mother and her aunt - delicious food in such a lovely atmosphere. It was the first place I ever tasted nut-crusted halibut. Your post makes me hungry!

Melissa said...

Your photos are gorgeous! Dinner sounds amazing... Glad to hear you are getting a break from your hectic summer, although I'd imagine the tunnel vision is about to descend again here shortly... I took Mamm Phys at during a UCSD summer session many years ago - it was a hard slog, but well worth it - one of the most rewarding classes I had during my time there... Hope, in the end, it all went well. Enjoy your well-deserved break!

Ann P. said...

OH MY YUM!!! Good to see you're enjoying life while also studying hard. :)

Tracy said...

Sounds like a wonderful experience, and as always, your photos are gorgeous. I only wish I could have joined you! :-)

4 bites