Above: Jayne Battle, who owns and runs Jaynes Gastropub in San Diego with her husband Jon Erickson, take the art of hospitality to a new level by caring as much about ambiance and “vibe” as they do about their delicious food and wine program.
It’s hard to understand what Jaynes Gastropub (in San Diego) is all about until you’ve experienced it.
By the time Paolo and I made it to San Diego after five cities on our eight-city tour earlier this month, we were pretty fried: epic meals at some of the most expensive restaurants in the country (not to mention a cheese steak in Philadelphia) had fatigued our palates and clouded and overburdened our gastronomic minds and culinary hearts.
We had needed to reconnect with genuine, wholesome cooking and our humanity…
Above: For Paolo’s wine tasting, Jayne and Jon had hired a sixties-inspired duo that gave the event the “je ne sais quoi” that we needed to feel like human beings again. They were awesome. Between sets they played Thelonious Monk on a portable vinyl record player.
Owners of Jaynes Gastropub Jayne Battle and Jon Erickson conceive and execute their food the same way that they live their lives as an aesthetic expression of their sensibilities.
They are both sensitive people who view the sensorial experience — food, wine, music, art, fashion — as a fundamental element of healthy living.
It may be a floral arrangement at the bar of their British pub-inspired restaurant… It may be a soundtrack of 1970s soulful pop on the house stereo… It could be a British flag in an antique frame hanging in the main dining room… When you enter their establishment, your eyes, ears, and palate are treated to delights that remind you how wonderful it is to be a human being.
Above: A Jaynes classic, pulled pork quesadillas, were just one of the dishes that were served at Paolo’s tasting that afternoon.
After a lovely tasting of Paolo’s wines for Jaynes guests on the patio that afternoon, including musical accompaniment, Paolo and I settled in for dinner with friends and a few fellow wine writers who had come out to meet Paolo and taste his wines with us.
I couldn’t resist ordering my favorites, the Caesar salad and the Jaynes Burger (called the “best burger in San Diego” by Sunset magazine).
As always, the Caesar (which was invented just across the border in Tijuana) was prepared with classic elegance (and not with the heavy-handed dressing that most use these days): impeccable heart of romaine leaves topped with an ethereal Parmigiano Reggiano and anchovy dressing.
The burger — with Vermont cheddar, house-pickled onions, and aioli — was as juicy and savory as ever, delivered perfectly medium rare with al dente frites that transcended their role as potatos: they reminded me that the nourishment of my senses is as important as the restoration of my mind and soul. And they paired brilliantly with a bottle of De Montille 1er cru Volnay Les Champs 2006 that Jon just happened to have on his wine list.
After a lovely restorative dinner on the patio, we retired for a final glass at the bar before we headed home for some much-needed rest.
Once weary travelers, we had been righted and revived by the hospitality of one of the most lovely couples in the world of food and wine.
On deck: SPQR in San Francisco…