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Addison dessert and wine.

Exploring the Culinary Delights of California: A Guide to Addison’s Gastronomic Paradise

How blessed are we? Not only do we have weather envied by others throughout the country, but we also have the only three-star Michelin restaurant in Southern California right in our backyard. It is a gastronomic paradise that we loved from start to finish. 

The Addison is a Gastronomic Paradise in Southern California

Phoebe Chongchua Pollard, John Pollard, Heather and Mark Miletello at the Addison.
Phoebe Chongchua Pollard, John Pollard, Heather and Mark Miletello at the Addison.

John and I have wanted to go to Addison in San Diego for years for its tasting menu and wine pairing. One year, we had a reservation, and John got sick. This year, we finally made it there and brought along another couple, Mark and Heather, to celebrate a recent work milestone and the holidays. Getting a table can be challenging, so make your reservation for Addison well in advance; it can take months to get in.

The Addison Dining Room–an elegant culinary experience

Addison Dining Room, San Diego
Addison Dining Room, San Diego, California.

The Addison is located on the expansive 400-acre Fairmount Grand Del Mar grounds. It’s adjacent to the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve and about 30 minutes from downtown San Diego. Once on the property, it’s a pretty drive up to the bluff, where the restaurant building is situated away from the guestrooms. The Addison has its own building with a large dining area, a bar, and a sitting area with a fireplace.

The coffered ceiling with exposed dark wooden beams, large arched windows, fireplace, and wine cellar set the mood for an elegant evening in the Addison dining room.

Four Tasting Groups: Delicacy Prelude, Seasonal Selections, and Sweet Treats

Click on images to enlarge.

Addison Ten-Course Tasting Menu by Chef William Bradley

The gastronomic paradise begins with the staff pouring a lovely glass of Cristal Champagne, vintage 2012; they tell us, “It’s luxury in a glass.” We all agree as we settle in for a fun night. Adding to the elegance, the Cristal is served in a hand-blown, long-stemed flute by Riedel.

A palate cleanser, a drink called Tepache, is served next in a ceramic cup. Its refreshing and delicious flavors of pineapple and citrus awaken our tastebuds for what Addison calls The Experience.

The Experience is Chef William Bradley's expression of regional ingredients and Southern California influences.

The Experience is Chef Bradley’s expression of regional ingredients and Southern California influences. Four tasting groups: Delicacy, Prelude, Seasonal Selections, and Sweet Treats make up the 10-course tasting menu. We begin with the delicacy.

Delicacy

The Delicacy tasting course is a plate of oysters, horseradish, smoked roe, and green apple. Served in a ceramic white oyster plate garnished with colorful edible flowers, Chef Bradley knows we eat with our eyes and mouths.

Prelude

he Prelude features several bite-sized treats that are mouth-watering. We all wished we could have several more, but it’s on to the next course.

  • Sake Cured Kanpachi « Nigiri »
  • Sage Hill Ranch Garden Greens
  • Spanish Anchovies, Potato, Wild Arugula, Meyer Lemon Jam
  • Chicken Liver Churro, Bitter Chocolate, White Truffle 
Addison prelude bites on table.
Prelude–Addison tasting menu. Sage Hill Ranch Garden Greens (Left) and Spanish Anchovies, Potato, Wild Arugula, Meyer Lemon Jam.
plate of Addison Chicken Liver Churro, Bitter Chocolate, White Truffle
Addison Chicken Liver Churro, Bitter Chocolate, White Truffle

The Addison Seasonal Selections

This group of tasting dishes offers a variety of savory, sweet, and very tasty flavors complemented by one of our favorites at the table–truffles!

  • Kanpachi Sashimi, Preserved Pear, Kiwi, Pichuberry- Ponzu
  • Shellfish Chawanmushi, Broccoli, Bok Choy, Celtuce
  • Regiis Ova Reserve Caviar, Koshihikari Rice, Smoked Sabayon, Sesame
  • Malt Vinegar Crisps, Burnt Onion Dip, Dill Relish
  • Splendid Alfonsino, Flavors of Winter, Clam Butter
  • Sourdough Bread, Goat’s Milk, Browned Honey Butter
  • Rosemary Roasted Sweetbreads, Pine Nut “Riso,” Little Gem, White Truffles 
  • Squab Yakitori, Peanut-Miso, Pickles, Purple Daikon
  • Yuzu Custard, Mint, Ceremonial Matcha
Addison Kanpachi Sashimi, Preserved Pear, Kiwi, Pichuberry- Ponzu from the Seasonal Selections.
Addison Kanpachi Sashimi, Preserved Pear, Kiwi, Pichuberry- Ponzu from the Seasonal Selections.

The Final Tasting, Addison Sweet Treats

All of these desserts were fabulous. Interesting combination of flavors and ingredients. The Bitter Chocolate Wafers was my personal favorite. 

  • Cocoa Crunch, Mezcal, Passion Fruit, Toasted Fluff
  • Berry-Beet Tartelette, Verjus, Vanilla
  • Bitter Chocolate Wafer, Pistachio, Sour Cherry Jam
  • Caramelized Honey Bonbon, Almonds, Ginger, Rosemary
  • Tres Leches, White Truffle

Addison Wine–an exceptional experience

My husband, John teases me about the kind of wine I like. Why? Because I always say, “I like great wine!” Actually, I really tend to love Old World wines. John’s love and knowledge of wine is vast. So, below we co-write about our lovely wine experience at Addison. 

2012 Louis Roederer Cristal Brut

The 2012 Louis Roederer Cristal Brut is a delightful champagne that comes from a year that many in Champagne consider the best. Offering an expressive nose of citrus, white flowers, and pears, this full-bodied Champagne has layers of concentration while retaining minerality.

2018 Chateau d’Yquem Y

This white Bordeaux was magnificent! It’s a Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc blend displaying a wild perfume of white flowers and tropical fruits. The texture is rich and creamy, with a lengthy chalky finish. It paired perfectly with the Sashimi and was John’s “aha” white wine of the evening.

Krug Rose 27th Edition
Krug Rose is a full-flavored champagne that shows elegance and precision. Its pale pink color has a lovely array of spices, rose petals, and berries on the nose and has honey, dried fruit, and savory flavors on the palate. This non-vintage champagne is a blend of 38 wines from nine years between 2005 to 2015. The wine is about half Pinot Noir and the rest Chardonnay and Meunier.

1990 Marchesi di Barolo Barolo Cannubi
John, a longtime Barolo fan, was super excited to try this wine. John loved it, saying, “The perfume oozed out of the glass with classic notes of tar, dried rose, and tobacco.” The Marchesi di Barolo Barolo Cannubi wine was medium-bodied with dried cherry, cedar, and earthy flavors. The wine paired nicely with the truffles.

2009 La Pousse d’Or Corton-Clos du Roi
We all enjoyed the La Pousse d’Or Grand Cru wine, which was entering its drinking window. While the nose of this wine was subtle, it was starting to show its bouquet. This wine had a nice balance, as the tannins seemed refined and almost fully integrated. We enjoyed many cherry and plum flavors, herbs, and earthy notes. I especially favor Old World wine, and this confirmed it for me.

2012 Bond Quella vs. 2005 Chateau Malescot-St-Exupery
This was a fun comparison of the Old World and New World wines. John assumed the Bond, one of Napa’s most revered producers, would triumphantly overshadow the third-growth Margaux but “I humbly admit I was wrong.”

And here’s why our group preferred the Old World wine.

The Napa claret had complex dark-fruit flavors with tremendous length but lacked depth or mature personality compared to the aged Bordeaux. The Malescot had an incredible perfume of flowers and cigars. It was medium to full-bodied with blackberry, licorice, and chocolate flavors. However, the 2005 Chateau Malescot-St-Exupery won our hearts.

Sweet Wine from Sauternes, France

To finish the night, our sommelier brought out a beautiful 2010 six-liter bottle of Château d’Yquem from Sauternes, France–an area famous for its high-quality sweet wines.

Vineyards surround this area, and the perfect morning sun burns off the river mist, activating the botrytis cinerea process. This process is critical for the winemaking style in Sauternes.

Winemaking uses yeast to ferment grapes. But in Sauternes, the botrytis cinerea (fungus) is also a vital part of the process–which, thanks to the morning mist, followed by dry, warmer air–produces “noble rot.”

Due to these weather conditions, the noble rot happens when fungus thrives over weeks. If the weather remained misty, the grapes would not dry out and become undesirable due to “grey rot.” Still, in Sauternes, the climate is the catalyst for grapes drying, reducing their water content and leaving naturally concentrated sugars and flavor compounds ideal for sweet wine.

This winemaking style is risky because ripe grapes remain on the vines longer than usual and require multiple passes by skilled grape pickers who must find the grape bunches affected by botrytis. All of this leads to delicious but expensive wine.

2010 Château d'Yquem from Sauternes, France–dessert wine at Addison.
2010 Château d'Yquem from Sauternes, France–dessert wine at Addison.

Coffee Brewed Tableside at the Addison

Addison coffee Siphon maker
Addison coffee served at the table using a Siphon.

Our night wraps up with coffee brewed tableside in a Syphon, invented in the 1830s but made popular in France in the 1840s. The syphon was designed to use vapor brewing and create a beautiful way to brew coffee. It indeed becomes a focal point around the dining table.

The staff tells us patience is key–they are right. It takes at least 10 minutes to brew a cup of coffee, and the brew was rather light. We enjoyed watching the syphon start to flow through the clear glass, but, I found the brew a little too weak. 

Addison Parting Gift: sweet & crunchy granola

Addison granola
A sweet & crunchy parting gift from Addison.

Overall Impression of Addison

Addison is a wonderful experience. You’ll be impressed with the service and the food. It’s San Diego’s finest and is a 3-star Michelin restaurant for good reason!

Addison Chef William Bradley in Kitchen

Food Glossary

Kanpachi nigiri: longfin yellowtail 

Pichuberry: a small, smooth berry that resembles an orange/golden tomatillo

Chawanmushi: Japanese egg custard 

Celtuce: stem lettuce, frequently used in Asian food

Alfonsino: long-finned, deep-water fish

Squab Yakitori: small bird, dark meat, and similar to duck; Japanese style 

Purple Daikon: purple radishes

Yuzu: a tangy fruit that has flavors of lemon, bitter grapefruit, and sweet orange

Tartelette: an open pastry case with a filling

Verjus: highly acidic juice made from pressing unripe grapes

Many thanks Sean McGinness. Director of Service, for coordinating our special evening. 

Next, Explore Acquerello a Michelin Star Restaurant in San Franciscone

Want to try another Michelin Star restaurant? Come with us to Acquerello in San Francisco for delicious Italian cuisine. 

When I’m not blogging about travel and lifestyle, I’m creating digital content and marketing strategies for clients. I share stories that matter about your brand and teach clients to "Be the Media." I was named a "Top 50 Podcaster To Follow" for my podcast "The Brand Journalism Advantage." Listen on iTunes or at ThinkLikeAJournalist.com

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