Bertrand at Mister A's isn’t exactly a place for children, and their macaroni and cheese is probably too fancy schmancy for a child, but for me, it brought back fond memories of my childhood.
2550 Fifth Avenue, 12th floor, Bankers Hill
My friend Cheryl and I chose a rain-free Wednesday afternoon in February to venture from East County to this legendary 12th-floor dining room with 360-degree views from the outdoor patio to partake in a dress-up, early afternoon (2:30 to 6 pm) happy hour, or ‘Cocktail Hour,” as it’s called up in the clouds.
The day was clear and from our seats at the bar, we looked down on the planes lining the runway at San Diego International Airport, plus Point Loma and Tijuana, Mexico. The view was a reminder of an afternoon 50 years earlier when we put on our fanciest dresses and ate lunch at the Starlight Room in the El Cortez Hotel on Ash Street. Cheryl’s mother dropped us off and we thought we were quite special dining on Monte Cristo sandwiches in the highest building in San Diego.
Bertrand at Mister A’s isn’t the tallest building in San Diego, but the cocktail hour menu is perfect if you want to ogle the views without dropping a few hundred dollars.
Cheryl and I perused the bar menu of Mediterranean Black Mussels Provençale ($11) and the House Made Main Lobster “Corn Dog,” ($17.50) but decided to keep it simple: Mr. A’s Mac & cheese with black truffles and pancetta ($12.50) and Truffle Fries ($7.50), because you can never get enough truffles at home.
We both ordered the Grayson Chardonnay ($8) and dished up some of the pasta and French fries.
The truffle fries had just a hint of truffle flavor— the underground fungus, not the chocolate kind— and a generous amount of pepper. They were crunchy on the outside and hot and soft on the inside.
Mr. A’s mac & cheese is a grown-up version made with heavy cream, crispy pancetta and Comté, a slightly nutty cow’s milk cheese made in eastern France, and a drizzle of truffle oil with smatterings of baby spinach throughout the pasta. This dish combined so many ingredients that I wasn’t sure it could still be called mac & cheese.