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Feliz Navidad: Celebrate Mexican Holiday Traditions

Feliz Navidad: Celebrate Mexican Holiday Traditions

The Mexican Christmas season kicks off December 12 with the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (the patron saint of Mexico City and all of the Americas) and ends two weeks past December 25. Read on to l . . .

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Hanukkah Mini Menorah

Hanukkah Mini Menorah

Make an edible and festive Hanukkah centerpiece for the children’s table! Ingredients10 mini powdered donuts
1 (16-oz) can vanilla frosting
Blue food coloring
Silver dragées
9 blue candy . . .

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San Diego Family's 100 Kid Tested Holiday Toys - 2017

San Diego Family's 100 Kid Tested Holiday Toys - 2017

Stumped for ideas on the perfect present to tuck under the tree or surprise your kiddos with this holiday season? Look no further than San Diego Family's 100 Kid Tested Holiday Toys - 2017 . From lo . . .

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Holiday Events for Families with Special Needs

Holiday Events for Families with Special Needs

Don’t miss these festivities designed specifically for children with special needs and their families. Make Christmas memories with sensory-friendly performances and encounters with Santa; or join a . . .

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Very Best Fudge

Very Best Fudge

3  cups granulated sugar 1  can (12 fluid ounces) Nestle Carnation Evaporated Milk 1/4  cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine 1/2  teaspoon salt 4  cups miniature marshm . . .

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Silent Nights: Help Kids Sleep Well During the Holidays

Silent Nights: Help Kids Sleep Well During the Holidays

The holidays aren’t always sleep-friendly for families with small children. From late-night parties and holiday travel to school performances and visiting relatives, the season is packed with slee . . .

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First Avenue Bar & Grillefirst avenue bar and grille
1055 First Ave., Gaslamp Quarter
www.thebristolsandiego.com/san-diego-dining.aspx
619-232-6141

Right in the middle of downtown, the Bristol Hotel is a little slice of boutique among chain lodgings. And inside the Bristol is the First Avenue Bar & Grille. First Avenue is warm and intimate, with great, subdued lighting and décor—it’s a perfect date night location. Valet is free for the first hour, and there’s usually street parking (metered) available.

Our party of four (plus the wee lad) didn’t have to wait at all for a table, and we were quickly ushered to a comfortable booth where we could talk and look at the menu.

Stomachs rumbling, we made quick decisions on appetizers, and our waiter (efficient, personable, charming) pointed out things we’d probably like for our entrées. The appetizers came out in a reasonable amount of time, and were delicious. The house special was the Lightly Fried IPA [beer] Battered Green Beans. We also tried the Pulled Pork Sliders, Fried Calamari and the Steamed PEI Mussels. The green beans were amazing, and gone in a flash, their Meyer lemon aioli receiving high praise from everyone at the table. The calamari was fairly standard fare, though not heavily breaded (a relief). The mussels were not at all “fishy,” and even the wee lad (5 years old) sampled a few. The sliders were honestly excellent—tender, lean, vinegary—and could have been a meal by themselves.

Our entrées were next. First Avenue offers a set of grilled flatbread items, but we chose to forego those, instead choosing somewhat heavier dishes. For a salad (again, a healthy portion), we shared the Chicken Cobb Chop with bacon. The salad itself was excellent, although the chicken pieces seemed a bit like chicken tenders chopped into bits. Other main courses included a Cilantro Lime Marinated Skirt Steak, Grilled Local Sea Bass, which was almost a cioppino and the Sliced Texas Beef Brisket Sandwich.

first avenue bar san diegoThe sea bass was outstanding; the broth flavorful and not overly salted and the skirt steak was cooked perfectly (sometimes an issue with thinner cuts of beef). However the brisket sandwich was a bit fatty. Thankfully, it was a large portion, so there was plenty of brisket to choose from (even among 4.5 people).

Desserts were excellent all around. We tried the Butterscotch Pot de Crème, a homemade chocolate gelato, Dark Chocolate Cake and their signature Ice Cream Sundae with brûlé bananas. The pot de crème was thick and rich, but not overly sweet, and the gelato was just as you’d expect—eggy and smooth.

First Avenue has a Thursday Prime Rib special that includes veggies and a potato gratin as well as happy hour specials.


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Andy McRory, 43, is a writer and editor in North Park.

published: September 18, 2012

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