mmm-yoso!!! is a food blog. Thanks for dropping by. Kirk and ed(from Yuma) and Cathy share bloggings of food they have enjoyed . Today, Cathy is blogging.
Hi again. This blog post is about a French Bistro located in Old Town- an excellent place for food in an unexpected setting. The Mister and I are enjoying finding different places to take our daily walks and the other day, we decided Old Town would be some place different. We haven't been here for an ocean of time and it's kind of the same, yet different in that a lot of the buildings have been fixed up and are (free admission) museums where the public can experience the history of life in San Diego. It is one of many State Parks in our County.
Just East, beyond the official 'edge' of the Park is Immaculate Conception Church, which allows tourists to enter and look around. It is on the corner of San Diego Avenue and Twigg Street. We walked one block South, to Congress Street, and started walking East.
We saw this lovely house, converted into a Bistro and Bakehouse, at 2540 Congress Street. Then I remembered: Mr. & Mrs. P, good friends, had told me about how much they liked eating here -in March of this year. Well, we finally got around to remembering to stop by; should have dropped in here sooner.
The interior is decorated in a clean, black and white color palette with white butcher paper covering the tablecloth and crayons in the jars on each table, so you can add some color if you'd like. There are more tables on the front and side patios. Those are all cookbooks stacked on the shelf above the bar. Specials are written on the chalkboard painted wall...
In typical bistro fashion, cold water was brought to the table in a chilled bottle and glasses filled with ice accompanied while we looked at the simple menu of a daily soup, two salads, pasta, sandwiches and late breakfasts.
I ordered the Steak Salad ($8). Thin sliced, still warm tender fillet, cooked medium rare with thin sliced tomato on top of mixed greens, perfectly dressed with a nice balsamic vinaigrette. This was huge, tasty and so very fresh.
The Mister ordered a tuna melt sandwich ($8) which came with the mixed green salad. The bread- oh my. A fresh baked baguette with a crispy crust, chewy insides, topped with an excellent version of tuna salad, which had finely finely diced onion and carrot in it, I think maybe a touch of tarragon, seasoned to perfection (there is no salt or pepper on the tables and there does not need to be). The Mister asked for Swiss cheese instead of the Pepper Jack that was on the menu. This was excellent and quite large.
Because we felt like it, we asked for a dessert- There was an array of fresh pastries on the counter and the choice was overwhelming, plus I didn't really want a sweet pastry. We decided to try the small cheese tray ($7), which seemed 'healthy' and more of a French Bistro-type dessert... A fairly large piece of Cambozola cheese as well as a good size piece of Gouda, accompanied by walnuts and dried apricots and that sauce- a house made raspberry, heavenly sauce.
It came with the fresh baked baguette loaf and butter...and we ordered a small French Press coffee ($3).
We went back the next week. It was so good.
We ordered the house made lentil soup ($4). This was excellent, made with (I think) a chicken based stock and filled with a variety of lentils, finely diced onions and carrot and celery and in deceptively large container.
A Croque-madame is a Croque-monsieur with a hat...an explanation I was told a long time ago. I suppose that goes in line with women wearing a hat in church and men not wearing a hat there. In any case, I go with it.
The Croque- a crunchy bread (grilled) is filled with (thinly sliced) Black Forest ham and cheese, topped with a wonderful, creamy, velvet-y Bechamel sauce and then topped again with a fried egg (the 'hat' that a monsieur does not have) and sprinkled with a fine layer of Parmesan. A 'fast food' snack served in cafes and bistros in France, the croque is a fancy food to us... and the version here - the fresh baked, thick sliced bread, the wondrous sauce, the crunch, the egg (which had a glorious orange yolk) and the very flavorful ham was excellent.
I was in the mood for a late breakfast (there is a brunch served here on weekends, no breakfast during the week) and ordered a cheese omelet($7). Instead of the 'regular' side salad, I asked if I could try the only other salad on the menu- a kale salad. I was curious about a salad made of raw kale. It is wonderful. Finely chopped kale marinated in a balsamic, oil and soy and mixed with sweetened cashews and raisins...a flavor combination I would not have considered...and now a craving for me.
The cheese omelet- perfect- like French toast- fluffy inside and crispy crust, the freshly ground black pepper complimented the egg. The cheese was three- Swiss, Cheddar and Cambozola. A very fancy cheese omelet.
It was time for dessert and we decided to not indulge in a pastry again. So we ordered the same as before...small cheese tray ($7) and small French Press($3). A perfect ending to a perfect meal.
We very much have enjoyed the ambiance, people working and quality of all the food we have tried here so far. We do look forward to going through the menu. 2540 is not a tourist trap; it is a wonderful restaurant which happens to be located on the edge of Old Town, about two blocks from the Trolley and is very much worth the stop.
25Forty Bistro and Bakehouse 2540 Congress Street San Diego 92110 (619)294-2540 (Closed Mondays) Website