4650 Mission Boulevard, Pacific Beach
It was a Saturday afternoon when the husband pulled me into Duck Dive in Pacific Beach to catch up on some college football scores. The noise level was high, but he joined in to cheer for USC or USD or some team…I wasn’t sure.
I quickly realized that the place seemed familiar. I looked around and noticed the wood and huge surf photos on the walls and the wavy ceiling. It had a beach vibe, and then I realized that the name, Duck Dive, has nothing to do with ducks. The name comes from the surfing term of ducking your board under a broken wave’s whitewater. It’s been a while since I was on a surfboard. Even longer, I realized, since I’d been in the building (Duck Dive took over the space in 2012).
“Hennessey’s!” I yelled, recalling the former restaurant with the great Irish coffee and live music. No one heard me over the cheers after a touchdown, or first down, or something.
Since football is not my thing, I ordered a glass of chardonnay before looking at the menu. And since I was in a sports bar, I figured everything would be deep-fried. Also not my thing.
But the menu was not what I expected. Instead of fried cheese sticks they had fish tacos and duck fat fries. Without discussing it with my spouse, who was drinking Green Flash Pale Ale and watching the TV, I ordered the meatloaf patty melt to share. I was so excited about that that I ordered a bottle of chardonnay, knowing it was only the third quarter and I could take the wine home.
When the food arrived, I gave half to the husband and dug in. I love good meatloaf, except the one my mom made when we camped in Lake Havasu in the summer of ’74 in 110-degree heat. That one I gave to the dog.
This sandwich did not disappoint. Served on sourdough bread from Olive Café, the meat was juicy and somehow had a nutty flavor. It also had just the right amount of Swiss cheese. The caramelized onions dripping off the sandwich co-mingled with the tangy Thousand Island.
The adjoining table ordered the house dessert of s’mores, cooked tableside. I mustered up the courage to ask two cute SDSU sorority sisters if I could have a bite. One thing led to another, and they ended up sharing their chocolate marshmallows and I shared my wine. Duck Dive worked for both sports fans and foodies.