One of the first post-lockdown sit-down restaurant lunches I had was at UTC’s Green Acre Campus Pointe. It seemed, and turned out to be, a good idea. Sitting on the sun-soaked, sprawling outdoor patio enjoying a far better lunch than any office park restaurant has a right to serve, for a brief moment I couldn’t tell if I was back in the “normal” world or if I had just stumbled onto the ultimate COVID-era restaurant setup. Either way, it doesn’t matter. Like it or not, the pandemic changed how we dine out, and Green Acre, along with its patio, seems well-positioned to weather whatever changes have happened and are still to come.
Maybe this comes from my time spent living in Europe, or perhaps it’s because I make up my own rules, but I am a genuine sucker for a good lunch cocktail, of which Green Acre has several. Add in an al fresco element? Well, chances are I’m pretending I’m in Milan or Barcelona, though realizing I’m actually in San Diego isn’t a bad consolation in the least.
Green Acre knows its audience — the working lunch crowd — and has concocted a cocktail menu that caters to it specifically. This means effervescent drinks meant to be served as cold as possible, a sprawling wine and beer list, and kombucha, iced tea, and lemonade for non-imbibers.
My personal favorite is the daytime Negroni, which is basically a “white” Negroni. In this instance, red vermouth is swapped out for white, and gin is replaced with mezcal. The smoke balances the extra astringency provided by white vermouth (red is much sweeter and more syrupy). The result is a potent cocktail that’s a bit lighter on the palate than the traditional version. For those returning to work afterward, one should do just fine; two, only for the higher-tolerance folks.
Other cocktail options include a “build-your-own” margarita with either tequila or mezcal and a choice of pomegranate, lavender-lemon, or jalapeño; a sort-of cold Hot Toddy with a kick of ginger; a rum-based, tiki-inspired Golden Colada; and a fruity Pineapple-Raspberry Sling.
Those who value sipping local will love the cocktail “extra” menu, which allows the drinker to swap into their cocktail a spirit from a list of local distilleries for an extra $2 a pop. Currently, the choices include Cutwater Spirits, SinShip, Gray Whale, and Old Harbor, all of which are made in San Diego County. greenacresd.com