I was quite happy to hear through the wire that two Lemonade locations were opening in San Diego in 2015. I’ve been a big fan of their restaurants for awhile now, but until now I’ve only been able to frequent them during L.A. trips to visit family. The locations recently opened are in Hillcrest and University Towne Center (UTC). Lemonade is a quick service modern marketplace restaurant that brings seasonal California comfort food in a whimsical open-space cafeteria setting.
This location in the UTC mall is located across the food court on the south eastern side near the valet parking & Sport Chalet. It is a little smaller than the one I visit in Pasadena, but the overall look and feel is right in tune. You simply jump into line and begin your journey across the different stations.
Their first section called the Marketplace is probably one of their largest, and is dedicated to numerous types of salads and fresh vegetable selections. You order by portions (one portion is equal roughly to one scoop from their serving spoon). A single portion is decent in size, but if you’re hungry, two can offer you some additional variety. You can also request a small sample if you have a hard time deciding like us.
Next up you’ll come across the sandwiches and hot items in Land + Sea. The sandwiches are reasonably priced at $6.50 and adding a side salad is reasonable at $2.75. I thought their prices were pretty fair overall. However, where you may get in danger is simply adding more and more to your tray without a specific plan.
I wasn’t familiar with their flat breads, but they seemed decent enough from the looks of it.
I was acquainted with their hot plate section and recall liking their red miso short rib stew.
If your tray wasn’t full enough, there are an ample selection of desserts vying for your attention. I was smart this time and decided to wait until my second pass. Oh, and if you’re wondering why their macaroon is $4, it’s because it’s huge!
As we reached the end, we saw founder and executive Chef Alan working closely with his team. The process was pretty straightforward and you can select an optional beverage at this point. They have several different types fun and creative lemonades:
- Old Fashioned
- Cucumber Mint (I tried this one)
- Guava Limeade (Darren opt’d for this one)
- Watermelon Rosemary
- Pineapple Coriander
- Blood Orange
- Arnold Palmer
Here we go. Several portions between the two of us and our lemonades.
This cauliflower salad had golden raisins, almonds, and curry. I liked it, but suspect the stronger curry flavor could be a bit off putting to some.
This is the watermelon radish salad with seared ahi tuna & snap peas. I order this one frequently when I go to the LA location. Consistency between different locations is very good. It’s a light salad with a little savory from the ahi. The bright colors make it fun too.
I rather enjoyed this one. It’s the pineapple chicken, green bean, coconut, jalapeno salad with jerk dressing. This one is very flavorful and even kicks it up a notch with the spice. I had seconds of this one.
I’ve been on a bit of a brussels sprout craze lately… let’s just say I realized my green intake was too low. So, a great flavored brussels sprout dish is always a welcomed way to add greens to my diet. It was decent, but a bit bland. Having said that, I just ate D-Bar a couple days prior to this and their brussels sprouts were exploding with flavor and probably not as healthy.
Here’s another one of my favorites. The red miso short rib braise. The meat is super flavorful and mostly tender throughout.
So, if I hadn’t ordered enough food already, I decided to order up a sandwich for the road. I got the Buttermilk Baked Chicken, Green Tomato, & Yellow Cheddar sandwich. I was so stuffed, I ended up giving it to Jorgina to take to work the following day. She told me it was really good and that she really enjoyed the green tomato and cheddar.
Okay, on to dessert! First up the lemon meringue tart. Great lemon flavor with the right amount of sweetness added by the meringue. However, it would have been excellent had they whipped out a blow torch to caramelize the top.
So this strange looking cake was their Lemonade Cake. I have to admit, it wasn’t my favorite when I bite into it initially. However, it grew on me later (I brought it home). The colored white chocolate pieces were fun for my daughter to pick out. Definitely a unique cake which I appreciate.
This is the chocolate peanut butter cupcake. Looks pretty good, but unfortunately it fell short. The topping was fine, but nothing too special. The cupcake itself however was overly dry in my opinion.
Overall we had a great first experience at Lemonade UTC and will certainly be back. For our friends take, you can find it here:
Lemonade – University Town Center (UTC) Mall
4525 La Jolla Village Drive
University Town Center, Unit D35
San Diego, CA 92122
TEL: 858 -251-0912
FAX: 858- 550-2000
*Disclaimer: We were invited to try the food for this media event, but our opinions remain our own.