We barely made it to The Prado within the allotted grace period for our 8:30 PM dinner reservation. The restaurant is located in Balboa Park which, unknown to us at the time, becomes very busy in the evening. The restaurant is popular with the patrons of the theaters that are located inside the park. Add to that a wedding reception in the area and other restaurants and you have traffic galore. A parking space was hard to come by. We eventually found one in a large parking lot but it was quite a distance from The Prado.
The Prado is inside a beautiful white stone building with marble columns, arching passage ways, and a tranquil fountain at its entrance. There is an attractive terrace garden available for outdoor dining. The interior of the restaurant had a southwest decor that was dimly-lit with candles and fancy lamps. Some patrons were dressed in dinner jackets and evening gowns but there were others dressed much more casual. I noticed I was the only man, other than the waiters, who was wearing a tie. The men in San Diego tend not to wear them even if they are wearing a suit.
The Prado Restaurant
For entrees, Traci had the oven-roasted sea bass while I went with the 4-inch thick slow-roasted center cut pork prime rib in an apple demi. I almost chose the braised boneless beef short rib in a bittersweet chocolate-espresso demi because I was curious about the combination of beef and chocolate. Instead, I ended up choosing the pork prime rib because it was the signature dish. Both Traci and I were fully satisfied with our entrees.
In addition to good food, we had a friendly attentive waiter that took time to find out about us and to tell us about the beautiful city of San Diego. When our waiter found out Traci and I were celebrating our anniversary, he brought out a complimentary Tahitian vanilla bean cream cheese flan sprinkled with flower petals and topped with two candles. This dessert alone was enough to make me come back if I ever find myself in San Diego again. It was heavenly!
Ever since our first day in San Diego, the hot topic on all the radio and local television stations we listened to was the rainy forecast. After conversations with some of the friendly locals we met, it became clear why rain was a big deal. They told us it hadn't rained in almost a year! By Saturday morning, the forecast had delivered. There were off and on downpours during the first part of the day. Sadly, the infrequency of rain in this area helped fuel the devastating wildfires that hit San Diego a month after our vacation here.
For breakfast, Traci and I decided to try the award-winning Richard Walker's Pancake House. It is located in the Gaslamp District of the city. We figured this place had to be good when we turned the corner and saw a line of hungry people stretched halfway down the block in the pouring rain. I got my umbrella and joined the line. Since I was fortunate enough to find a parking space a block away from the restaurant, I told Traci to wait in the car and I would call her on my cell phone when I reached the '10-minute wait from this point' sign. It took about 20-minutes to reach that point while the rain came down in buckets. I shared my umbrella with the people behind me. The owner of the restaurant was handing out laminated menus to others to use as a shield from the rain. The rain finally let up just as Traci and I were called to be seated.
I enjoyed my meal of Swedish crepes with lingon berry sauce and a side of bacon. I originally had a side of corned beef hash but I didn't like it. It was minced into a lump of pink mush. Besides that, it seemed to have a hint of dill which I don't like. The waiter gladly exchanged this side dish with bacon.
Gigantic Walker's Apple Pancake
Traci ordered the signature dish - Walker's Apple Pancake. This monstrosity was filled with apples and consisted of a baked outer layer topped with caramel and sugar. It was so big it needed to be served on an extra large plate. It is easily enough for two people. Since my crepes were light, I helped Traci out with her Walker's Apple Pancake. It was deeelicious!
line to dine at Richard Walker's Pancake House