Last Sunday, I had the distinct pleasure of dining at JRDN Restaurant at the Tower23 Hotel located in the heart of Pacific Beach. My fellow SDFBN bloggers and I got to try delicious off-the-menu items created just for us! And Head Chef DJ Tangalin’s creations did not disappoint! My blogger squad, along with the cool beachy weather and scenery, helped to bring about an ambiance that can only be described as perfection.
First we started off with a complimentary bottle of Poema Brut Cava. Cava is a sparkling wine and an important part of Catalan and Spanish family tradition and is often consumed at celebrations like baptisms, marriages, banquets, dinners and parties. So this was an excellent match for the night’s dining experience.
The next item on our off-the-menu extravaganza was the coconut shrimp appetizer. This was a lot of fun as it included young coconut, jumbo shrimp, melon, flavored ice and lime dressing. This was a cool and fresh way to start our fine dining.
Next on the agenda was the fresh lobster lumpia. Combined with bean sprouts, watercress and herbs, this take on lumpia was salivating and reminded much of a fresh spring egg roll. Wrapped in rice paper, these rolls are a refreshing appetizer for a Filipino-inspired meal!
The following item was very popular and a fan favorite among myself and my blogger friends. I love Siopao. But this incarnation of the famous Filipino pork bun was taken to the next level! The filling was made of braised short ribs with the bun baked with red lined brazen and blueberry jam. The garnish added that special aesthetically-pleasing touch. The bun was baked to a light brown but remained soft and fresh. The combination of the tasty soft bun, tender ribs and blueberry sauce was exquisite. YUM!
At this time, Chef DJ Tangalin checked in with us to see how we were enjoying his works of art! He spoke to his love of the culinary arts and his inspirations. Born in the Philippines, he brought his love of Filipino food to the United States living in Hawaii, New Jersey, working in Philadelphia, Maryland, New York, San Francisco, Napa Valley and now San Diego! Chef DJ enjoys spending time with his family, going to the pool with his young daughter and enjoying life in America’s finest city.
The next item on our outside-the-menu feast was the Octopus Adobo. I’ve never had octopus before and I have to admit that I loved it! The texture was just right and tender. The octopus was cooked with baby corn in a sofrito sauce along with garbanzo beans. The adobo was paired with squid ink polenta with lime juice and mascarpone cheese. I was quite impressed with this dish as it was both exotic and flavorful!
Moving on to some refreshing drinks, my blogger squad and I were treated to some delicious cocktails. We were presented with three drinks to choose from (Chili Mango Margarita, Basil Gin Lemonade, and the Pimm’s Cup). I had the Basil Gin Lemonade! Nothing beats enjoying some libation on a Sunday evening!
Our fifth course was the always delectable fried rice and tocino. This is a Filipino staple that can be enjoyed for brunch or dinner. The fried rice was divine with foie gras, garlic, scrambled eggs and BACON! The tocino took form of the prime rib steak with rosemary topped with a Dijon and tamarind glaze. My mom makes fried rice most weekends and this version is an even rival.
For dessert, we happily dined on ube cupcakes, coconut panna cotta with jackfruit, tapioca tossed in macapuno, passion fruit and blueberry sauce, and sesame crumbles. The presentation of these different desserts was such a sight to behold, that I didn’t want to disturb this work of art. Not only was it pleasing to the eye but delicious to my taste buds.
I enjoyed my dining experience at JRDN. The waiting staff was on point, friendly and attentive. The company also make for a wonderful time as not only did my fellow squad of bloggers and I enjoyed our food, but we laughed and partook in fun and engaging dialogue. I was honored to share this experience with them and looking forward to many more adventures! Special shout out to my blog squad Joyce, Karen, Ferchil, Lora, and Jennifer. Of course, my highest compliments go to Chef DJ Tangalin!
If you are interested in Filipino-inspired cuisine, look no further! Visit JRDN restaurant located at Tower23 Hotel in Pacific Beach.
723 Felspar Street San Diego, CA 92109
Opened Sunday-Friday from 9:00 am – 9:30 pm and on Saturday 9:00 am-10:00 pm
*Disclaimer: I received the ultimate complimentary dining experience in exchange for coverage on this blog and other social media outlets. All opinions are my own.