I normally command four or five figures for the material I write at this paper and elsewhere. The problem is that pesky decimal point, which until now has refused to budge from its position on the left of the last two zeros. With my new job, that period is rapidly fading—the incredible pay, in fact, has spawned my very unfamiliar flirtation with the so-called finer things in life. So it was that I recently found myself at dinner inside Sheerwater, one of the highbrow (and absolutely gorgeous) restaurants at the iconic (and absolutely gorgeous) Hotel del Coronado. Stay with me here.
Try as I might, I literally couldn't bring myself to order on the high end. I'm sure the $30 rack of lamb and the $36 Kobe beef sirloin are worth the money—but there's something delightfully rebellious about ordering less refined fare in a place like this, which is why I opted for the bacon burger with cheese and grilled onion. It runs about half the price of the sirloin, and since it's a half-pounder, you can share it. And this isn't any ol' cheese; it's premium aged white cheddar, and it works flawlessly with the meat no matter how you prefer the latter. (I'm known from Beverly Hills to Amsterdam for my taste in extremely well-done meat; darn if the cheese didn't stand up to the scrutiny, to say nothing of the flames.)
The point is that a ritzy atmosphere doesn't necessarily have to translate to a ritzy menu. The former can be found well within your budget at Sheerwater, located at 1500 Orange Ave. and open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily (call 619-522-8490). If you're like me, you'll feel a certain glee at staying close to your roots despite the pricier temptations. You can take the boy out of the middle-class eatery scene, but….