By this time each week (Thursday evening), I’m already daydreaming about the weekend – how I’m going to be concurrently cleaning the house, catching up with friends, troubleshooting experiments in the lab, cooking extensively for next week’s lunches and, of course relaxing and catching up on sleep. It is no surprise that I often feel less-than-satisfied with my weekends with to-do lists like this running circles in my mind. With another work trip on the immediate horizon (T-10 days) that requires some further preliminary data, this is not a weekend with which I can push off the science until Monday.
If I had the chance to priority the relaxing and friends entries on my list and the weather was poised to cooperate, I would return to Wine Steals in Point Loma. Based in Point Loma’s Liberty Station complex of shops and restaurants, this is one of three Wine Steals wine bars in the greater San Diego area (in addition to others in Hillcrest and Cardiff-by-the-Sea). I have not yet visited the Cardiff location, but the outdoor seating, sun-dappled, dog-friendly patio and country club feel definitely give the Point Loma location the leg up on its Hillcrest cousin.
Our group of friends decided to take advantage of the early spring sunshine a few weeks ago and met there for a lazy, long Sunday lunch. Although they have a complete menu, the interior is mostly a wine shop with just a few high bar tables for tasting or to enjoy a quick glass. If you want to savor your food and/or drink, I would highly suggest nabbing one of the wrought iron patio tables overlooking the Sail Ho Golf Club. Words to the wise – there is no table service, so ordering your food and beverages at the bar is necessary and be sure to bring a coat – once the sun drops out of the direct line of sight, it cools down quickly as it is quite close to the water.
The extensive wine list is comprised of multiple whites and reds that are available by the glass. You can either order from these choices, or pick a bottle from the bins inside that the staff will be happy to open for you, then and there, for a $6 corkage fee. Additionally, although it is not listed on the menu, you can design your own wine tasting flights: three wines are chosen and served as half-pours in smaller glasses that fit beautifully in the wrought iron stands that are brought to the table. This was definitely my first choice option – how else could I be expected to familiarize myself with the menu? Also, for those non-wine drinkers among us, the restaurant also carried a rather extensive selection of locally sourced craft beers,keeping the rest of our group (The Bat) very happy.
To compliment our wine and get our picnic on, we ordered two appetizers to start – first, the combination cheese/charcuterie plate and second, a chips & dips platter including hummus, tzatziki and pita and baguette. The dips were well done; creamy, flavorful and clearly house made (or at least close to it), albeit very small servings. The combo cheese and meat plate came piled high with two hunks of four different types of cheeses (the blue was the unanimous winner), five types of cured meats (the pale thuringer was a stand out favorite), cornichons, cherry peppers, honey, mustard and a sun-dried tomato chutney. While this would have been a formidable feast for two, the six of us around the table demolished both appetizers in no time, along with the initial round of wine flights.
To compliment our switch from whites to red, we decided to order pizzas for the main course. Here our eyes quickly grew larger than our stomachs, which, while not entirely full, certainly did not need the three large pizzas we ended up ordering (it’s so hard to limit oneself when the list of tasty things is so long!). The pies came in two sizes and we all erred on the ‘take home food, rather than leave hungry’ side of things, ordering the larger of the two options, which are rather massive.
Two of the pizzas were relatively standard – one veggie and one ‘almost everything’ (not pictured) – made with a standard crust and a light schmear of a pleasing, herby marinara sauce. The third pizza was a build-your-own concoction of thin cracker crust, garlic sauce, veggies and spicy shrimp, which ended up (surprisingly) as my favorite. There was no skimping on any of the toppings and everything tasted exceptionally fresh and hot out of the oven. It was quality, upscale wine bar food, done the California way.
We sat and enjoyed the last of the sunlight before it dropped completely behind the man-made horizon of the surrounding buildings, bundled in sweatshirts and taking advantage of the productive, plentiful propane patio heat lamps. Eventually, one by one, we began to list what was on tap for the week ahead – our lazy Sunday afternoon was quickly transitioning into a forecast of Monday morning – and, on that note we quietly departed, trying to keep that inevitable forward march in check as much as possible.
It has been a few weeks and with daylight savings time and temperatures rising, I am feeling ready to venture back – perhaps this time on a Saturday afternoon – so the rest and relaxation can linger a bit longer. Unfortunately, science takes precedence this time around. Plus, I have noticed that our temperatures will be dropping for the weekend, so it is definitely a better idea to stick this outing in my proverbial back pocket for taking advantage of the early summer/late spring warmth and sunshine when it arrives.
(Interesting side note – although I visited the Point Loma and Hillcrest locations within only a month of each other, at the time of patronage their wine lists were completely different. I interpret this to mean that they rotate their house offerings very frequently, as I am hard pressed to imagine that the stock each individual wine bar with a completely different selection than the others. This speaks highly to their turnover, as well as their curiosity about wine.)
Wine Steals Lounge
2970 Truxton Road
San Diego, CA 92106