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Farmers Bottega, where it already feels like spring

Dining out takes a little more effort and patience than usual, so eat slowly

The Mission Hills sign marks the area where Farmer's Bottega diners wait to be seated.
The Mission Hills sign marks the area where Farmer's Bottega diners wait to be seated.

Scoring a weekend table at a decent outdoor dining venue has become something of a post pandemic sport. Go to any restaurant with patio dining on a sunny Saturday afternoon and you can expect a cluster of parties outside waiting to be seated. Sunday’s more of the same, except bolstered by free parking.

Place

Farmer's Bottega

860 W. Washington Street, San Diego

Famished, we hoped to be seated as soon as possible. So, when our first-choice restaurant offered a 30-minute wait, we checked in at the hostess stand of a reasonable Plan B. Another 30-minute wait. Same with Plan C. Everywhere, we saw patios stuffed with crowded tables, placed as closely together as pandemic etiquette allowed.

By the time we’d checked out all three, Plan A texted to let me know a table had opened up. So we’d be eating at Farmer’s Bottega after all.

Part of the allure was eating within its courtyard patio, set up just inside a colorful “Mission Hills” neighborhood sign overlooking the sidewalk. At least, that’s where I thought we’d be eating. But, even better, the place has a second outdoor patio roughly behind the restaurant, offering tented seating within sort of a red brick alley.

A well-garnished bloody mary to pass the time

The more relevant selling point of Farmer’s Bottega would be its farm-to-table stance. Once a trite marketing term used by restaurants all over town, most seem to have given up the farm-to-table label. Perhaps because it doesn’t evoke the sort of foods that satisfy lusty cravings, such as pizza or burgers.

There's second seating around back.

I wasn’t aiming for either as we took our seats. But with restaurants only now learning how to be busy again, service on a sunny day tends to be slower than usual this time of year. By the time we got to order, our hunger surpassed the promise of salads and brunch items being served. Farm-to-table burger and pizza it would be! My wife asked for one of the eatery’s large bloody marys ($10), so at least we’d have bacon and olives to snack upon in the meantime.

A huge hamburger is the reward for a weekend wait.

The huge bacon cheeseburger ($18) would have been enough for both of us, at a half pound at least. We opted for the $3 upgrade to truffle fries, and any hope the added flavor might slow us down, quickly vanished. Burger and fries disappeared in less time than it took to find parking.

Heirloom tomato and basil pesto flatbread

Thus, the actual dining portion of our outing might have turned out to be the shortest, had we not also ordered the flatbread ($16). The long pizza boasted a fresh basil pesto beneath the cheese, and slices of both red and yellow heirloom tomatoes above. For this dish we would linger, enjoying the opportunity to be outdoors, with food, with someone to occasionally wander by and replenish our drinks.

Here’s hoping this spring proves better than the last.

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The Mission Hills sign marks the area where Farmer's Bottega diners wait to be seated.
The Mission Hills sign marks the area where Farmer's Bottega diners wait to be seated.

Scoring a weekend table at a decent outdoor dining venue has become something of a post pandemic sport. Go to any restaurant with patio dining on a sunny Saturday afternoon and you can expect a cluster of parties outside waiting to be seated. Sunday’s more of the same, except bolstered by free parking.

Place

Farmer's Bottega

860 W. Washington Street, San Diego

Famished, we hoped to be seated as soon as possible. So, when our first-choice restaurant offered a 30-minute wait, we checked in at the hostess stand of a reasonable Plan B. Another 30-minute wait. Same with Plan C. Everywhere, we saw patios stuffed with crowded tables, placed as closely together as pandemic etiquette allowed.

By the time we’d checked out all three, Plan A texted to let me know a table had opened up. So we’d be eating at Farmer’s Bottega after all.

Part of the allure was eating within its courtyard patio, set up just inside a colorful “Mission Hills” neighborhood sign overlooking the sidewalk. At least, that’s where I thought we’d be eating. But, even better, the place has a second outdoor patio roughly behind the restaurant, offering tented seating within sort of a red brick alley.

A well-garnished bloody mary to pass the time

The more relevant selling point of Farmer’s Bottega would be its farm-to-table stance. Once a trite marketing term used by restaurants all over town, most seem to have given up the farm-to-table label. Perhaps because it doesn’t evoke the sort of foods that satisfy lusty cravings, such as pizza or burgers.

There's second seating around back.

I wasn’t aiming for either as we took our seats. But with restaurants only now learning how to be busy again, service on a sunny day tends to be slower than usual this time of year. By the time we got to order, our hunger surpassed the promise of salads and brunch items being served. Farm-to-table burger and pizza it would be! My wife asked for one of the eatery’s large bloody marys ($10), so at least we’d have bacon and olives to snack upon in the meantime.

A huge hamburger is the reward for a weekend wait.

The huge bacon cheeseburger ($18) would have been enough for both of us, at a half pound at least. We opted for the $3 upgrade to truffle fries, and any hope the added flavor might slow us down, quickly vanished. Burger and fries disappeared in less time than it took to find parking.

Heirloom tomato and basil pesto flatbread

Thus, the actual dining portion of our outing might have turned out to be the shortest, had we not also ordered the flatbread ($16). The long pizza boasted a fresh basil pesto beneath the cheese, and slices of both red and yellow heirloom tomatoes above. For this dish we would linger, enjoying the opportunity to be outdoors, with food, with someone to occasionally wander by and replenish our drinks.

Here’s hoping this spring proves better than the last.

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nice post

March 3, 2021

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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
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