Golden Hill is a bustling little San Diego enclave boasting a birds eye view of downtown with a glimpse of East Village and the bay on the horizon. I shamefully realized today that I have been remiss in paying this bohemian gem a visit. The community is an architectural juxtaposition between folksy cafes (Krakatoa Coffee House), Victorian grandeur (Quartermass Wilde House) and sleek modern design (The You Are Here Complex), supplemented with a strong dose of George Lucas’ American Graffiti (Golden Hill Cafe). So with hungry bellies, Cris and I peeled off the 94 Freeway at the 25th Street offramp and promptly found ourselves in front of Counterpoint, an urban tavern sporting the perfect name for this delightful neighborhood.
As we grabbed a pair of blue chairs on the patio, our server Mary deposited menus and a bottle of fresh water at our table. A duo of spicy Tito’s vodka-laden Bloody Marys were expeditiously delivered, and the appropriate toasting quickly ensued.
After much drooling, debating and decision-making while perusing the brunch menu, I finally settled–with Mary’s assistance–on the Sweet Tea Brined Chicken & Waffle Benedict, a flavor explosion where sweet splendidly commingles with spicy. A honey-infused waffle is piled high with crispy chicken immersed in flavors of the sweet tea brine, crowned with two gooey poached eggs, and blanketed with a fantastically spicy hollandaise sauce.
My equally indecisive partner eventually landed on the Carnitas Hash accompanied by another Bloody Mary, this one a notch higher on the zesty scale. Slow roasted pork steeped in a deeply rich sauce is paired with spicy pasillas and pickled onions, topped with a duo of poached eggs and served alongside warm corn tortillas. I’m not entirely sure which was spicer; the Bloody Mary or the Carnitas Hash, but regardless, it was all amazing!
It seems to me that Counterpoint’s owner, Cameron Fomby, is highly appreciative and respectful of the locavores who inhabit Golden Hill and make it the lively little village it is today. Fomby and his incredibly hospitable staff are clearly dedicated to providing the very best service, food and craft drinks to their patrons in a convivial atmosphere. It’s a bit like the TV show Cheers–30 years later. The crew here is also dedicated to honoring the purity and simplicity of ordinary things which are created with love, and done extraordinarily well. According to Merriam-Webster, a counterpoint is a complementing or contrasting item; an opposite. I’d say this friendly little urban tavern lives up to its name in every way!
It just so happens that Counterpoint is observing their 5th anniversary this week, and they’ve scheduled a bevy of celebratory events. Kickoff began at 2:00pm today, with a low country boil. Monday features a flight of bourbon samplings. Perhaps an order of beef cheek rillettes with tomato confit and toasted baguettes would line up nicely with barrel-aged bourbon. Tuesday unveils a selection of craft beers which the folks at Counterpoint have been tucking away. Throw in an order of house-made bangers and brown butter mash served with a side of onion-bacon-stout jam. Wednesday, October 29th, is Counterpoint’s “official” 5th anniversary, and features dry-hopped barrel aged gin cocktails. I’m convinced that a flatbread topped with smoked mushrooms, arugula, goat cheese and porcini glaze would handily accentuate that earthy gin flavor! Thursday wraps up the five-day celebration with a quartet of barrel aged cocktails served in one-ounce pours. Enhance those deep, barrel-aged flavors with a robust order of pork carnitas braised in pomegranate and guajillo peppers, and accompanied by a scoop of spicy apple slaw.
Stop in and pay the friendly folks at Counterpoint a visit. Then spend some time enjoying the beautiful park, kitschy boutiques and the eclectic vibe that makes Golden Hill extraordinary.