While having our drinks at Albie's, it became quite clear that there was no way we'd be getting a table. But we did need to get something to eat. I recalled that the High Dive, always a favorite for beer, never for food, had a new chef, and had elevated their menu a bit. I say a bit because this is my 'hood, be it ever so humble, Bay Park, and tastes around here run rather pedestrian. Still, why not give the High Dive another try?
The menu did indeed have some different things and Candice and I tried a few. Starting with the Chicken Chiccharon ($7).
This was crisp and light, though some pieces were over-seasoned and salty, overall a nice starter.
The item I enjoyed the most were the Chorizo Croquettes; called "Chorizo Potato Ballz" on the menu ($8) - I wonder why they just don't call them croquettes? Are they afraid folks won't know what they are?
Light and crisp breading, creamy and light filling, this was pretty good. The chorizo had a nice smokiness and almost came across with a nice almost beefy flavor. It wasn't too rich, nor was it over-seasoned. Now, if only they'd "86" the runny ranch dressing and replace it with maybe a garlic aioli?
The Naked Spicy Garlic Wings ($10) looked the part, but didn't deliver.
Other than the flavor of bitter garlic; this was very, very bland....as in we had to ask for a bottle of hot sauce to actually eat these. Also, the skin was slightly more gummy than I'd like and it didn't have any spice at all.
The Smoked Pork Tacos ($9) also fell short.
The tortillas, while generic were prepped well, the toppings, the pickled onions, cilantro, cotija cheese were spot on. The pork however, was too dry and had a texture of cardboard, to the point that I really couldn't tell the difference in texture between the pork and tortilla. It was also a bit low in the flavor department; much too mild (I even tasted just the meat), overshadowed by all the other flavors.
So it was pretty much a 50-50 thing. And yet, I felt quite happy with what I had. The High Dive seems to be making strides and with some additional menu upgrades I heard about, may one day really be a place for more than just having a beer and hitting the road for us.
And heck, deciding that I needed to do something different as well, I asked the bartender, who happened to be Mixologist Ryan Andrews to make me a cocktail. He brought me something called the "Mariner's Revenge".....man, it was great! Great guy....great drink!
Hope springs eternal.....
High Dive Bar and Grill
1801 Morena Blvd
San Diego, CA 92110