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I’ll grill fresh jumbo scallops and heat roasted-tomato saffron sauce to drizzle over them. The scallops and rib-eye will come with a bottle of Bodegas Trapiche-Iscay. To make smoothies, I use fresh Valencia oranges from my grandparents’ place in Escondido.My wife, Natalie, and I have a delectable picnic at the botanical gardens overlooking the koi ponds in Balboa Park.Being a Virgo chef, my creative efforts play well with her desires. I like to take a regular weeknight and turn it into a special occasion.When she walks through the door, the room is lit by candles, soft music is playing, and I present her with a flute of bubbly. I start with raw oysters on the half-shell, topped with caviar and avocado.We sip champagne, enjoy superb artisan cheeses and feed each other bite-sized morsels as we indulge each other and absorb the scenery.I prepare my wife’s favorite dish——baked oysters with sautéed spinach, serrano ham and saffron sabayon topped with osetra caviar.We finish up sitting on my new terra cotta patio, next to the cozy firepit.
The meal ends with a chocolate soufflé with raspberries.
We’ll walk to Michele Coulon Dessertier for coffee, hot green tea and a fresh-baked pastry. I wake up early midweek with my wife, Jacqueline, to spend time with our daughters, Georgia Rose (Gigi) and Lily Alexandra.
A long walk to the beach is followed by breakfast at the Coffee Cup in La Jolla——strawberry-almond pancakes with raspberry purée and a pesto scramble with a side of chicken apple sausage (we aren’t eating anything else until dinner). Once the girls are off to school, we head out for coffee at Pannikin and hit one of my favorite San Diego spots, Black’s Beach, where we stroll the coast up to Torrey Pines. I let my wife have quiet time relaxing, while I cook up the ultimate breakfast in bed.
We’ll bike back to the hotel to be ready for a water taxi from the Shelter Island fishing pier to Coronado. The series of delicious dishes——which I made the previous night——arrives in timely sequence: salad with Chino’s speckled baby romaine lettuce; roasted root vegetable soup with caramelized baby carrot purée; Chilean sea bass; thyme-and-garlic-crusted lamb chop; and finally, vanilla-bean gelato in a martini glass.
At the Coronado Ferry Landing, we walk the few blocks to the park where my company’s sous chef has set up a makeshift kitchen. We start with a scenic, sunset ride along the coast, arriving at Torrey Pines a few minutes before the sun dips below the horizon.The creamy ripe avocado complements the salty flavors of the oysters and caviar.