Miguel’s Cocina


I was just in San Diego for the first time, which was an amazing break from the NYC frigid temperatures. I was only there for a bit over a day, but still found time to stop for some Mexican food at Miguel’s Cocina in Carlsbad. 


For over thirty years, Miguel’s Cocina has been serving authentic Mexican cuisine, including their handmade tortillas, fresh salsas, and colorful crispy chips made daily right in their kitchen. And speaking of these chips and salsas, a full basket of Chips, Salsa and Queso are dropped off at your table upon sitting. Yeah, free queso, when does that happen? At Miguel’s, learn about it. The chips are warm, crisp, and addicting. The salsa is fresh and has a really nice heat to it, which you can cool down with the smooth and creaminess of the queso. 


I started with a beverage, and chose their Hibiscus Margarita (Bracero Blanco, Monin hibiscus, lime juice, cinnamon). I really enjoyed this, it was sweet, but not overly sweet or floral. It’s a really pleasant and light cocktail that actually carries a bit more potency than you’d suspect from the smooth taste. 


For my entree, I ordered the Sesame-Seared Tuna Salad (Pink grapefruit salsita and ginger-habanero vinaigrette). I loved this salad. The ingredients are fresh and abundant, and dressed with a spicy ginger-habanero vinaigrette. Caution, it is definitely on the spicier side, so, if spice isn’t your thing, take the dressing on the side. The tuna was perfectly seared, just giving it a kiss on the outside and rare in the center.

The Shorts:
Name: Miguel’s Cocina
Location: 5980 Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad, San Diego
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Yes, the atmosphere is bright and airy, the service is great and the food is super tasty.
Would I recommend it? For sure, all the food looked amazing, and it’s right by the beach. So, stop by for a drink, a meal, a snack, whatever, and walk it off with a stroll in the sand. 


Mercer Kitchen


I’ve been to a couple of Jean-Georges’ restaurants, and they were excellent. So, I was prepared to be dazzled again at Mercer Kitchen in SoHo, also a part of my Michelin Challenge.


The restaurant is downstairs in a dimly lit basement, serving American fare. There are two types of seating, conventional tables, and then banquettes with small circular tables. We were sat at the later, and, I wasn’t a big fan of the seating, especially since there were three of us, a table really meant for two, so, we had to play a bit of Tetris to fit all our plates. 


You’re served bread to start, everybody loves a snack. For my entree, I ordered the Steamed Skate (with Tarragon, Sesame Seed, Asparagus and Sushi Rice). This was a really great dish. The fish is super delicate and generously portioned. It’s almost bathing in a savory broth, in the best way possible. The asparagus was perfectly cooked, not too crisp, not too tender, Goldilocks style. And the sushi rice was a perfect compliment, substantial and sticky, and really great when soaking up the flavors of the broth and fish.

The Shorts:
Name: Mercer Kitchen
Location: 99 Prince Street, NYC
Michelin Stars: One Star
The Long and Short: Would I go back? I would, the food was delicious, but I’ll request on OpenTable, “no banquette seating, please”. 
Would I recommend it? Yes, it has a sleek and cavernous aesthetic with a pretty good playlist.