So SDF just participated in its first Dishcrawl in North Park last week! What an interesting adventure indeed. For those of you not familiar with the Dishcrawl concept, you basically sign up for $45 and get to go to four separate locations to sample various items on their menu that are pre-selected by each restaurant. There is a Dishcrawl Ambassador (ours was Lindsay!) and she serves as the host and coordinator of the event. Lindsay slowly revealed the locations as the event got closer so there is some element of surprise. You start at one location and you “crawl” to the next location. Each restaurant gave a little description about the food being prepared and the concept behind the restaurant itself.
The first stop was Alexander’s on 30th. If you haven’t ever been here they have a signature white design and style that can’t be missed upon entering the restaurant. Their pizzas and pastas are excellent. They provided two separate pizzas to sample along with some bruschetta and a crab stuffed mushroom. One of the pizzas served was the pesto, chicken, and elephant garlic pizza that I’ve tried before and love to order. I highly recommend trying Alexander’s if you haven’t already.
Sea Rocket Bistro is right across the street from Alexander’s and features fresh seafood on their menu. They prepared a cooked oyster with romesco sauce and chillies, a sardine, and a local yellowtail fish taco. The sardine was a daring offering for such a large group but the fish flavor wasn’t as bold as it may look and had a little crisp to the skin while not being too fishy. The bones were hard to avoid and we noticed people had trouble maneuvering around them. There aren’t too many restaurants that serve a sardine like this and appreciate Sea Rocket sharing what a nice sardine could taste like. Personally I enjoyed the oyster the most out of the three and dug the spicy aftertaste. As far as the taco goes, the tortilla flavor was just too strong for me and overpowered the great fish product.
It was a little hard to nudge our way to the food this time so Michael and I used this opportunity to recharge and didn’t get a chance to try the five spiced wings or the bacon and blue cheese flatbread. But we heard from other crawlers that the wings were quite tasty.
Swoon Dessert Bar was quite the experience. I’ve heard of it before but never got a chance to try it until now. The Executive Chef Ian Smith had a three course sampler for us to try. From left to right we had a carrot cake ice cream with bacon, the Serpent’s Stout Mousse with marshmallow cream and smoked graham crumbles, and a devils food cake macaroon. All were each unique and tasty in their own right. They didn’t wow me on taste as much as they wowed me on presentation and uniqueness. My sweet and savories in general stay on opposite sides of the plate so the hybrid compositions may not cut it for me. The mousse was a little too hoppy for me and the graham may have even be a little too smoky for me as well. The marshmallow’s sweetness however cuts through those overpowering notes and if you play your cards right you can get the perfect bite of balance. Trying each component for me individually allowed me to get a feel for what each offers but are meant to be eaten together. I enjoyed the macaroon as well, having no issues devouring it and each of the other samples. Lindsay’s boyfriend ordered the carrot cake with sweet pea gelato to let everyone get a chance to see what a complete dessert looks like in presentation and portion. Boy did it look good! We’ll have to check them out another time to see what the other creations are all about.
All in all it was a great food event to partake in. Lindsay was an amazing host and you can tell she put a lot of hard work and effort into making sure everything would go smooth. It was fun to walk around North Park with our dishcrawling group, eating and drinking at each spot. Everyone seemed energetic and excited to see what the next restaurant had in store for us. If there was one piece of advice I’d give future Dishcrawlers is to come into this with an open mind and leave expectations behind. For the most part you don’t know what you’ll be eating or how big the portions are. For me I wouldn’t have minded either a little more size to the portions or another restaurant on the list and to speed up the Dishcrawl a bit. But I’m sure each event differs and it would vary next time. It’ll be interesting to see what Lindsay has in the works for the next Dishcrawl in Little Italy!