Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Basted, Azeri-style

Lamb for $5? Think Gaslamp. think Azerbaijan

My lamb tapa
My lamb tapa
Place

Cafe 21

802 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

The bar

Sunset. Goin' with the flow like a pooh stick in a slow crick, sauntering with the crowd down Fifth Avenue. It's the height of happy hour. Conventioneers have been let out and are looking for sunset specials. Lot of Wild West places seem to be doing well. But I'd say the busiest right now has to be Cafe 21, at the corner of Fifth and F, in the slot where Croce's was. Its signs also say "Nature's Kitchen." Whatever, it looks like it's all about health and organic and locovore and highlighting recipes from Azerbaijan. Including preserved-fruit infused drinks.

Uh, Azerbaijan? Quick google. The Wild West of Eurasia. Birthplace of the world's oil industry. Harken Marco Polo in 1271: "Near the Georgian border there is a spring from which gushes a stream of oil, in such abundance that a hundred ships may load there at once. This oil is not good to eat; but it is good for burning and as a salve for men and camels affected with itch or scab."

Nowadays that scab salve is making the Azeris super-rich.

Preserved fruit-infused drinx

Unlike me. Tonight I'm super-skint. Just need a snack to keep me going. Some happy hour somewhere must have a deal I can handle.

So I'm standing by the sidewalk menu wondering what da heck they do eat around the Caspian Sea. Black caviar, for sure. Sturgeon, sardines, dried fruits? Probably also lamb.

Lamb's one of my addictions, so I'm always on the lookout. And Gina, the welcoming gal inside the front door, says oh yes, they do lamb here, big-time. They even have lamb on their "Happier Hour" menu (HH's on from three to six every day). And this HH menu has 21 items. Each costs $5, no mas.

That is so cool. I head up to the bar.

Place feels like you'd imagine Azerbaijan. Old school European, with Asian touches like a big twirly Islamic-looking chandelier, jars of pickles and fruit preserves lining the brick walls.

Preserves and pickles line wall

So on the Happier Hour menu: everything from chicken curry cake to eggplant fries to lemon beef and vegetable skewer to a chicken lemon rosemary skewer with hot Anika Turkish-style sauce to a four-cheese fondue with pear and crostini.

Lord. If I wasn't so broke I'd have one of each. As it is, I stick with the program. Order the #2, the homemade potato pancake with braised lamb, caramelized onion, and heirloom tomato, probably organic from Suzie's Farm in the I.B. sloughs. Suzie's one of the sources they mention.

Result is beautiful, rich and surprisingly filling. And five bucks. 'Course this being Convention Central, looks like, everybody around me's splashing out, sampling those fruit preserve cocktails, and having at the main menu, choosing items like the apricot braised lamb shank. Twenty-six bucks.

Sigh. Another time, maybe.

Check out Leorah Gavidor's excellent interview with the owners,

"The Pickles Are On the Wall."

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Dress up with cork wedges from Aerosoles and a necklace from Pier 1

“For three months, I existed only on yoga pants and sweatpants.”
Next Article

Corbin’s Q’s Scrumptiously SLO barbecue

Dee-Lish. I mean, an exceptional combo of tastes.
My lamb tapa
My lamb tapa
Place

Cafe 21

802 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

The bar

Sunset. Goin' with the flow like a pooh stick in a slow crick, sauntering with the crowd down Fifth Avenue. It's the height of happy hour. Conventioneers have been let out and are looking for sunset specials. Lot of Wild West places seem to be doing well. But I'd say the busiest right now has to be Cafe 21, at the corner of Fifth and F, in the slot where Croce's was. Its signs also say "Nature's Kitchen." Whatever, it looks like it's all about health and organic and locovore and highlighting recipes from Azerbaijan. Including preserved-fruit infused drinks.

Uh, Azerbaijan? Quick google. The Wild West of Eurasia. Birthplace of the world's oil industry. Harken Marco Polo in 1271: "Near the Georgian border there is a spring from which gushes a stream of oil, in such abundance that a hundred ships may load there at once. This oil is not good to eat; but it is good for burning and as a salve for men and camels affected with itch or scab."

Nowadays that scab salve is making the Azeris super-rich.

Preserved fruit-infused drinx

Unlike me. Tonight I'm super-skint. Just need a snack to keep me going. Some happy hour somewhere must have a deal I can handle.

So I'm standing by the sidewalk menu wondering what da heck they do eat around the Caspian Sea. Black caviar, for sure. Sturgeon, sardines, dried fruits? Probably also lamb.

Lamb's one of my addictions, so I'm always on the lookout. And Gina, the welcoming gal inside the front door, says oh yes, they do lamb here, big-time. They even have lamb on their "Happier Hour" menu (HH's on from three to six every day). And this HH menu has 21 items. Each costs $5, no mas.

That is so cool. I head up to the bar.

Place feels like you'd imagine Azerbaijan. Old school European, with Asian touches like a big twirly Islamic-looking chandelier, jars of pickles and fruit preserves lining the brick walls.

Preserves and pickles line wall

So on the Happier Hour menu: everything from chicken curry cake to eggplant fries to lemon beef and vegetable skewer to a chicken lemon rosemary skewer with hot Anika Turkish-style sauce to a four-cheese fondue with pear and crostini.

Lord. If I wasn't so broke I'd have one of each. As it is, I stick with the program. Order the #2, the homemade potato pancake with braised lamb, caramelized onion, and heirloom tomato, probably organic from Suzie's Farm in the I.B. sloughs. Suzie's one of the sources they mention.

Result is beautiful, rich and surprisingly filling. And five bucks. 'Course this being Convention Central, looks like, everybody around me's splashing out, sampling those fruit preserve cocktails, and having at the main menu, choosing items like the apricot braised lamb shank. Twenty-six bucks.

Sigh. Another time, maybe.

Check out Leorah Gavidor's excellent interview with the owners,

"The Pickles Are On the Wall."

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

"We had to get canning quickly"

In response to covid, these small brewers now offer beer in cans for the first time
Next Article

Bobbi and Mark sleep above the lions in Alpine

Lions Tigers & Bears is not a zoo
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close