Every time I visit my great friend Laurel, we stop for aparkhouse.jpg mid-day feast at the Parkhouse Eatery, always buzzing with action and sensationally intense flavors. Eccentric and colorful, like the bohemian University Heights neighborhood itself, Parkhouse occupies a funky vintage building (formerly a St. Vincent de Paul thrift store) and specializes in large creations involving oodles of fresh salads, no-holds-barred burgers and fries, and exotic variations on every great food idea southern California can hold.

The breakfasts are legendary, but last week it was lunch that called us. We managed to work our way through some, but not all, of a juicy, pink lamb burger, slathered with gorgonzola, olive tapenade and tomatos, with home-made ketchup. This arrived with a flotilla of fries and a large lemonade. I sampled a cup of the famous grilled shrimp and potato chowder. It was melt-in-your-mind good, as if someone’s mother had whipped it up from scratch — lots of butter, herbs, ribbons of leek, creamy potatoes and yes, grilled shrimps.

parkhouse1.jpgI also attempted to do partial justice (sounds like the theme for our current federal administration…) to a mammoth crab cake sandwich, but I failed. So Laurel took half of it home for dinner.

Oh yeah. We also worked our way through a single “Everything But the Kitchen Sink Brownie.” Served in a warm bowl, this is the ultimate, multi-layer, nut-encrusted, granola-enhanced, chocolate-studded brownie, topped with vanilla ice cream and more chocolate. The excellent Parkhouse coffee helped us make inroads on the decadent dessert. Like a trip to an x-rated chocolate bathhouse . . . . So next time you’re in the Balboa Park/University Heights region of San Diego, don’t miss Parkhouse. You could spend some quality time in the nearby art and antiques places too. So that’s Parkhouse Eatery, serving breakfast, lunch AND dinner daily at 4574 Park Blvd.(619/295-7275).