Let the dining series begin… 1500 Ocean at the Hotel del Coronado

Cheers to the start of my series on fine dining in Southern California.  I’m a friend, a mother, a teacher, a project manager, a food lover, a blogger, and sometimes so much more.  Not an expert, just a “normal” person who loves to enjoy life. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that a really amazing dining experience has the capacity to lift a mood, bond humans, and prompt good memories for years to come. Who doesn’t need more of that in their life?

Last week, Arles (one of my very best friends) and I needed a break from the holiday rush and a little dose of holiday spirit.  The best solution for me… mom’s fancy night out at 1500 Ocean at the Hotel de Del Coronado. Where we could enjoy an 8 course meal, 3.5 hours of food, wine, and laughter! 

1500 Ocean was my first choice for a few reasons.

First, the hotel is beautifully decorated and right beyond the dining patio you will find an ice skating wonderland. My pictures do no justice. The lights are beautiful and the scene is magical. Oh and the tree in the main lobby is upside down. Pictured to the right.

Second, the service is top notch. Most of the serving staff at 1500 Ocean have been there for years and when I say years, I mean over 20 and some over 40. They know the area, they know the clientele, and they know food and wine. Leonardo (our server) has been there since 1974! He was charming, knowledgeable and very helpful.

Third, when I want a treat, I go visit my favorite chef in San Diego, Patrick Ponsaty. Fine dining at its best. I’ve known Chef Patrick Ponsaty for years and I am lucky to call him friend. He takes food seriously.  It’s his passion.  Ponsaty will work 7 days a week and up to 12 hours a day perfecting his art, never complaining.  When asked if tired, his response to me is “Pfftt, I’m never tired. I love my work!” Ahhh, and I, my friend, love to enjoy your work. With that being said, we also kind of enjoy his company. There’s nothing like a passionate French chef explaining what he has created in a very French accent. I should mention that Arles is a pastry chef married to an executive chef and when Chef Ponsaty was shaving truffle atop our halibut, I thought I saw a look of love in her eyes.  Haha! I think she was impressed.

Ponsaty is one of two French Master Chefs in San Diego. The food he prepares is elegant, creative, surprising, soulful, decadent, and most delicious!

Here are a few of the highlights…

This egg shell has a layer of cucumber aspic at the bottom, smoked eel, 63-degree egg yolk, cauliflower mousse, Ossetra caviar and is topped with gold leaf. Also, could be the best thing that I have ever eaten. The flavors were beautiful and complimented each other perfectly.  My mouth would have done a happy dance if that was a possibility!

The poached Northern Halibut, braised salsify (winter vegetable belonging to the dandelion family also known as the “oyster plant’ because of its slight oystery flavor when cooked, truffle caviar sauce, and fresh Périgord truffle, heavenly.  Lobster and Partridge Sous Vide all fantastic!

We left Chef Ponsaty and 1500 Oceans feeling, believe it or not, light. Trying so hard to be everything to everyone this time of year can most definitely put a damper on the holiday. I find that taking this time to stop, see, smell, taste, and just BE, brings great joy. Especially when the seeing is beautiful, the smelling is mouthwatering, the taste is exquisite, and being is freeing.

Thank you Chef for helping us make this memory.