Special guest David Moye presents ugly Christmas sweaters during the live-taping of Tonight in San Diego
Special guest David Moye presents ugly Christmas sweaters during the live-taping of Tonight in San Diego

I had a fabulous night downtown and I’m here to tell you all about it. I feel like downtown gets a bad rap sometimes, because folks assume it’s all about nightclubs and nightlife. But I’m here to set the record straight. Downtown has fabulous restaurants, culture and entertainment (not to mention a really nice ballpark). I recently learned that we have our very own late-night variety show that’s filmed weekly in front of a live studio audience downtown. Tonight in San Diego does live tapings at The Geoffrey Off Broadway beginning at 7:30 p.m. every Monday. There’s a host, cue cards, a live band and DJ, a hype guy, special guests – all the main components of a successful late-night show. I haven’t been able to find the show on my local cable channels, but you can watch episodes online. Anyone can show up to a live taping ($7 admission) and purchase beer, win free swag, and contribute to the background laughter. Who needs to drive to LA when we have our own in-studio audience participation here?!

I was also excited to revisit a restaurant that I’d previously written off after a bad experience years ago. But just like many people, restaurants often deserve a second chance. It was great to see JSix restaurant (located in the Kimpton Solamar Hotel building) thriving under a new chef and a revamped menu. Executive Chef Anthony Sinsay has brought a Filipino influence to several dishes on the menu, including a paksiw-style warm beet salad, pancit bihon noodles with stir-fried veggies, and roasted sweet potatoes with feuilletine and smoked vanilla milk for dessert.

Pancit noodles with stir-fried veggies at JSix
Pancit noodles with stir-fried veggies at JSix

Throughout dinner, my foodie friend and I kept saying “I’ve never had anything like this before” and “this is so interesting, wow.” In my book, creativity always scores high. For instance, I’ve never had a warm, spicy beet salad with a vinegar punch, or roasted squash prepared three ways and layered between sage shortbread discs and caramelized goat cheese. I was also really surprised to discover that I liked charred octopus confit (I’ve always had an aversion to octopus, but it’s such a hot ingredient right now) that was served over a squid bolognese.

Roasted local squash, sea scallop crudo, and spicy warm beet salad
Roasted local squash, sea scallop crudo, and spicy warm beet salad

I’ve been really into scallops lately, and loved the sea scallop crudo that Chef Sinsay made with a delicious brown butter sauce, chamomile, pickled onion, mint and lemon. For entrees, try the pancit noodles with local veggies and a fried egg (great comfort food), the butter-brined New York sirloin (because butter), or the roasted chicken with jasmine rice and charred long beans.

Butter-brined New York sirloin, roasted chicken
Butter-brined New York sirloin, roasted chicken

JSix is also known for having great cocktails, which you can try during happy hour Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. But for something really unique, try the fig & brie tart or roasted sweet potato dessert I mentioned above – it’s not overly sweet but will satisfy your sweet tooth. Mabuhay!

Roasted sweet potatoes, fig & brie tart
Roasted sweet potatoes, fig & brie tart
Advertisements