It wasn’t until about 3 months ago that my wife and I decided to take a brief trip to Mission Beach to check out where my son was to be opening Belmont Park’s new location for Hot Dog on a Stick (HDOS). I got the “HDOS” from reading my son’s notes to himself for setting up the restaurant. It was after that initial visit to Belmont Park, and strolling around the facility, we mentioned to him that we haven’t walked around the attraction for many years and there was a lot of construction going on. We also mentioned that the place lacked a finer, more adult-like area to have a nice cocktail secluded from the crowds of screaming, half-naked (not that flesh bothers me), younger adults soaking up the sun, watching the thrill seekers attempt Wavehouse’s FlowBarrel water ride or just watching each other. A couple months later he said they were opening a roof-top sushi bar that is targeting a higher-end clientele just as we mentioned.
My wife and I decided to make a day of the weekend and travel to San Diego to do whatever. I mentioned that we should pay a visit to the new HDOS in Belmont Park and that I would take her to a nice lunch to checkout the roof-top fantastic view/digs of Cannonball; a new bar atop the Wavehouse building overlooking the boardwalk and beach area of Mission Beach. Well, this Saturday of the grand opening for HDOS began awkwardly as the sun never broke through and it began to get cold and wet from the overcast. Our initial experience wasn’t turning out as I had hoped. Belmont Park is still currently undergoing extensive renovations so, at present, there is a bit of confusion as to entrances, pathways or what is open . . . or not open. We briefly stopped by the HDOS for a quick view of the familiar uniforms and the final set-up.
Once up on the roof top of Cannonball, we were promptly greeted by much of the staff (all young, good looking and polite), because we were one of the first guests this morning. I feel as thought the staff are still working things out mentally and physically due to their recent opening and ongoing construction that will extend the entire length of the roof top. Cannonball hosts a beach/pool like outdoor atmosphere and ambiance featuring décor, design and dress reminiscent of an earlier year’s day at the hotel/resort pool. There are many write-ups about the style and designs used so I won’t bore you with details except the bar-height strapped chairs are a bit narrow and not super comfortable. The glass surrounding the roof-top deck retains the music from the superior sound system while reducing the screaming kids on the beach to zero, yet still allows the omnipresent sound of the surf to sneak over top.
“What drinks can I get started for you?”, Jess (our server from England on a student visa) asks. We ordered two of their Far East Bloody Mary that had soy sauce, Old Bay seasoning, puréed ginger, wasabi and teriyaki. An interesting and very delicious combination.
I had viewed their website and Facebook to find some pictures and information about Cannonball before we visited so I already new what I was looking for. I was hoping to witness a very beautiful assortment of their sashimi so I ordered the Sashimi Trio. A bit on the pricey end but I wanted to see their plating as I had hoped for an exquisite display similar to what I saw on-line. Cannonball’s menu is a bit quirky as most items are Pacific RIm inspired, yet there is a ceviche with tortilla chips and a skirt steak with Chimichurri. We ordered the Pork Belly (excellent), the Grilled Atlantic Scallops (excellent) and the Chicken Osso Bucco (meh); I guess we had hoped for the Osso Bucco to be of similar technique and consistency of the classic veal dish. Naw, it was four French-cut drumsticks (small bone was not removed) with a chili-teriyaki type of glaze. Not bad, just not that good, creative or distinct. What did show up was a neatly plated (not nearly as elaborate) sashimi ensemble similar to what I had hoped for. The fish was very tasty, just the pieces were a bit on the large size for one mouthful.
The remaining dishes that came out (the ones that did come out) were cleanly plated except for the Chicken Osso Bucco; one of the French-cut legs had rolled over from the trip up the stairs. I guess their kitchen is downstairs where another restaurant is beginning construction. Nobody seemed to know what was to go in; I however, think it may be an expansion of Cannonball, and they had opened the rooftop bar area to start drawing business. I understand they are doing pretty well up there. So why didn’t we order sushi? I’m not as much into sushi as I am into sashimi, and my wife will only rarely eat the stuff anyway; besides, any of the sushi plating I saw on the internet was less than impressive. One of our dishes came up at the end of our meal. The scallops must have been re-directed to another table, because Jess needed to make a couple trips downstairs to find it’s location. Her last trip up, she apologized with the deliciously prepared (two, large) scallops in tow.
My overall experience with Cannonball was good to very good despite the weather; but the ambiance, décor, view, sound system, cocktails and staff made up for any shortcomings in the food. They are quite expensive, but I guess that’s what we asked for to keep the drunken rowdy’s down below. I hope that if they are expanding to the below-deck area that their menu drastically expands and their food quality kicks up just a notch. Not bad, just slightly below what the price demands for the beach-front tourist location ($120, including tip and 3 cocktails). Yes, I expected to pay the premium.
As we left Cannonball, we could not pass up an opportunity to try an original (turkey) corn dog and fresh lemonade at Hot Dog on a Stick. There was now a line out in front as the kids and Moms and Dad’s towing the kids ordered up dogs, fries and other items on their menu. Another brief walk through Belmont Park noticing the HDOS is currently the only recognizable fast or slow food establishment in the facility. Combining the recognizable name, outfits, and the fact that it’s quick and easy for the families to grab and go, this HDOS should be a leader in the corporation. I think it was a good addition to the park. There is no McDonalds, Subway, Taco Bell, or Pizza Hut to compete with when it comes to familiarity and convenience.
To continue our day, the wife and I traveled north to La Jolla to walk around and see what other things we could get into. Other than all of the Bentleys (I saw three) and Maseratis (I saw three), there were homes, estates, restaurants and other businesses to look at on our drive up the coast. About that time we needed something sweet to conclude our meal. We passed by several specialty bakeries and dessert shops including a Haagen Dazs. We settled for creating our own desserts at Cold Stone. Sure why not spend MORE money. We walked around a bit and were tempted to stop in George’s at the Cove Ocean Terrace for another cocktail sample , but we were already in a food coma and wanting to take a nap. We by-passed George’s. I would have liked to compare cocktails to Cannonball at that moment. Next time!!!
Hanging out with my best ever friend and life-long partner-in-crime was fun. We enjoyed each other’s company, love and humor. After getting home to take a quick refresh nap, I asked her out again to pick a movie (we’re almost empty nested). After quickly finishing a homework assignment, stocking up on candy at Smart and Final, grabbing a refillable large pop-corn and drink we sat to watch “The Heat” featuring Sandra Bullock, SNL’s Jane Curtin. Marlon Wayans and the funny-as-shit Melissa McCarthy. The movie was really funny and made for an excellent conclusion to a wonderful day.