What better way to celebrate an anniversary with the hubby than at an upscale restaurant on the Beach? Well, I can’t think of any… so I dutifully made our reservation at Del Coronado’s 1500 Ocean since we were going to be in LaJolla for the week-end anyway. After all, it was just named ‘Best Outdoor Dining in San Diego’ by Open Table’s 2012 Diner’s Choice Awards.

Having been to the Del Coronado before I was familiar with the gorgeous beach front setting. The only thing I found unsettling was the amount of people there — I mean it was a circus . Note to self, never come to the Del in June.

We arrived before our reservation time so we were shown to the outdoor bar by the gracious and very friendly hostess. Several different fruit mojitos were the drink of the day so we sampled and enjoyed them while we chatted with the friendly bartenders. So far…so good.

After 20 minutes or so we were called to our table — a beautiful one right up against the glass with a great outdoor view, although I did imagine it as being closer to the beach. Our server was so friendly and attentive I couldn’t wait to order. I already knew what I was going to have as I had previewed the menu online weeks before our reservation — like any good foodie would, right? A succulent, crispy duck….mmm I had been dreaming about it.

After seeing that they offered a Tasting Menu, my husband and I both decided to go for it. We could each make 4 choices including dessert. What better way to get a real taste for a restaurant. We carefully made our choices with, of course, the dreamy duck for my entree. Each of our courses were served together which made it nice to be able to eat together.

OK, choice 1… Roasted Beet appetizer. Not bad, almost as good as the roasted beets I make. I did like their addition of tangerine to the dish. OK, I’m ready to be wowed as we move forward.

Choice 2…burrata and tomato salad. One of my all time favorite appetizers really fell short here. The cheese was overly salted and ended up tasting like it was dunked in the ocean. Hmmm, ok we hit a blip — and blips are allowed. Only problem, my husband already hit 2 blips.  Hey, what’s going on here? Ever the optimist, I took a sip of water to clear the palette and get it ready for my entree.

Choice 3…Moulard Duck Confit & Breast. As it was placed before me I thought, shouldn’t it look crisp and juicy? Maybe it was crispy but just didn’t look it, and maybe the juices were hiding in a lucious pool underneath. Staying upbeat, I dug in. Oh no… Strike 3 — and 1500 Ocean, you’re out! So dry that even the drizzle of canard sauce couldn’t rescue it. The herb spaetzle and braised red cabbage side dishes couldn’t help it either, as they were both mediocre and tasteless. How was my husband faring? Worse than me. He thought the best course was the bread and butter.

I felt so disappointed at that point that when our waiter came for dessert choices I just asked for ice cream. Why waste calories on something that surely would disappoint.

So still trying to stay on a positive note, we spent about $250 for a night of 3 enjoyable drinks in a really beautiful setting. I think from now on I’m going to stay away from big, beautiful, highly rated, expensive restaurants. Especially ones connected to a high-end resort. Lately…they just seem to be a waste of money and in the end, only disappoint. I drove home and couldn’t wait for breakfast the next morning at our favorite La Jolla corner cafe where we spend about $10.