Cannonball Makes A Big Splash At Belmont Park

| December 5, 2013 | 0 Comments

It may be winter but don’t stop enjoying the lovely beaches of San Diego. America’s finest city enjoys America’s finest weather, with many “beach days” even when other parts of our country are covered with deep snow. It is great fun to lie on the sand wearing a bathing suit in balmy sunlight even in December. Or, better yet, you can gaze on beachgoers while enjoying great food and enticing drinks from the comfortable rooftop Cannonball.

What a great venue at which to relish in the glowing sunsets, which can be made all the more brilliant by tasty cocktails such as the skinny dip margarita, blending smooth Avion Silver Tequila with the sweet heaviness of Grand Marnier. Pepper, not salt, coats the rim. Or, try the aptly named sunset colada, a more traditional mix of Bacadi rum and pina colada.

Belmont Park predates the opening of Cannonball by exactly 88 years. The Park was built by John Spreckels, one of San Diego’s pioneer land developers, to attract residents in order to sell real estate lots in Mission Beach. The Park offered amusement rides, including the Giant Dipper, one of the few remaining wooden roller coasters. Also built was The Plunge, a large indoor pool, whose utility could be questioned, since the ocean was so close.

Management of the property has been taken over by EDS (Eat, Drink, Sleep) a locally based company. In the past 15 years, EDS has established a luxury, lifestyle brand that includes four boutique hotel properties, nine concept-driven restaurants, an iconic beachfront amusement park and two golf courses. The company is bringing its skill and cash to restore the Park to glory.
Cannonball is one of its first efforts. It occupies 6,000 square feet of rooftop, offering lots of room to relax and enjoy. Still a “work in progress” as the rear section of the rooftop is still under development, the bar area features 4 televisions where the current games are being shown. High tables and chairs make it easy to look over to watch beachgoers and sunsets.

The real magic is in the kitchen, where Brad Wise runs the show. In fact, he runs the show for all the eateries at the Park. At Cannonball, he’s doing a great job.

Chef Wise hails from Cape May, NJ, a lovely Victorian town. He began his career with food as early as age 12. He worked at the acclaimed Washington Inn and graduated from the Academy of Culinary Arts. Coming to San Diego, he found a career home with EDS, helping to make the company’s JRDN at Tower 23 in Pacific Beach and Belvedere Room in Bakersfield into recognized culinary hotspots.

His menu at Cannonball features sushi and small plates (actually, not so small – portions were nice size) for sharing. Items are listed as “shares, rolls and sushi”. The ubiquitous California roll and spicy tuna roll are there. But be adventurous. Many of the combination rolls are unique and tasty. Enfuego combines crab and avocado wrapped by torch seared salmon. The lobster roll combines lobster and avocado with an eel sauce. The edges of the lobster roll are crispy, creating a new sensation on the palate for an exceptional dish.

“Shares” include roasted Pacific salmon, a large portion perfectly prepared, served with an amazing quinoa and corn chowder. Chicken osso bucco serves meaty chicken legs, deftly prepared. Butter leaf salad, for light eaters, combines tasty greens and veggies in a great peanut sauce. My favorite – garlic shrimp – features a large plate of shrimp in an amazing garlic sauce. Grilled bread is provided to sop up the wonderful liquids.

The quality of the food preparation and presentation is superb. You can’t go wrong. Service by the friendly staff is attentive, quick, and helpful. Prices are moderate, really a bargain given the quality of the food and drink. Here’s some good news: Cannonball’s Happy Hour (Sunday-Thursday, 4-6 pm) offers 50 percent discount on food.

Cannonball is located at 3105 Ocean Front Walk in Mission Beach. Call (858) 228-9283 for information and reservations. Enjoy the beach, the sun during the day, the sunsets, the cool evenings. That’s what living in San Diego is all about.

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