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San Diego Restaurants


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#61 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 04:03 PM

Hey guys,

Time to revive this thread. I am dining at Thee Bungalow tonight and promise to post my impressions. I've dined there a few times in the past, but not since the restaurant changed hands and was acquired by the omnipresent Cohn group.

Actually this is not the reason for my post. I just found out that the list of participants for Restaurant Week 2007 had been published. Last year, I heard about this event thanks to egullet (thank you kalypso for mentioning it and recommending Arterra!!!) and was able to secure a reservation at Arterra where I had a magnificent meal for a ridiculous $30 a person. Since then, their chef Carl Schroeder has left but that's another story.
So here is the link to the participating restaurants and their menus for the third Restaurant Week, which runs from Sunday January 7 to Friday January 12 (hopefully this will work, I've never posted a link before).

http://www.sandiegor...&id=9&Itemid=11

I was a little disappointed to see that neither Vivace nor Asia-Vous were listed since there are still on my list of restaurants to try. I tentatively plan on dining at Cavaillon (their chef Philippe Verpiand used to work at Tapenade for Jean-Michel Diot), The Marine Room, and maybe Tapenade (my favorite - can you tell?).

#62 kalypso

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 05:17 PM

Hey guys,

http://www.sandiegor...&id=9&Itemid=11

I was a little disappointed to see that neither Vivace nor Asia-Vous were listed since there are still on my list of restaurants to try.  I tentatively plan on dining at Cavaillon (their chef Philippe Verpiand used to work at Tapenade for Jean-Michel Diot), The Marine Room, and maybe Tapenade (my favorite - can you tell?).

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Thanks for posting the link. My short list would include:
1500 Ocean
A.R. Valentien
Azul
Mr. A's
Cafe Japengo
Cavaillon
La Bastide

The Marine Room and Laurel both do nice menus for this week and I'm glad to see some of the better restaurants are doing $40 menus. Hopefully, that might lead to some better meals.

I may miss this year since I'll be in Mexico most of January.

#63 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 05:22 PM

You are welcome kalypso. La Bastide was also on my list until I found out that they had just lost their executive chef, Patrick Ponsaty...

See under San Diego
http://www.jamesbeard.org/dateline/
Longtime San Diego favorite Patrick Ponsaty has left his executive chef post at Scripps Ranch's Bastide. Ponsaty, who opened the restaurant, had a huge following for his simple bistro-style cuisine. He has not yet announced what’s next but plans to stay in San Diego.

#64 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 11:53 AM

I haven't had a chance to put together my review of Thee Bungalow yet, but I wanted to post an article from San Diego Magazine that I had read this week and found pretty accurate. The article is mostly addressed to the people who don't take the restaurant scene in San Diego seriously. I know that there are a few comments to that effect floating around on egullet or elsewhere, and that always bugs me a little (ok - a lot! it's probably what motivated me to join egullet in the first place). So I thought that this article was pretty much right on target. I am very familiar with the restaurants discussed in the review, and concur on the conclusion - yes, San Diego restaurants need more recognition overall! Compared to LA, I feel that we have nothing to be ashamed of.

San Diego versus L.A. - A Los Angeles food maven compares some of our best local restaurants with those of LaLa Land

Some excerpts

I have always loved visiting San Diego, but I’ve always been just another tourist. Still, armed with a list of what many San Diego experts consider some of the best of their best, I ventured forward. To my amazement, I found the cuisine to be state of the culinary art.


Food and wine prices in San Diego have ascended to the same astronomical heights as those in my megalopolis. Service may still be a tad less sophisticated, but one thing is certain: San Diego chefs compare favorably to any on the West Coast and, in many cases, to chefs on both coasts and all points between. The area’s restaurants deserve more attention, and accolades, from those who consider themselves arbiters of the culinary arts—namely, the national food press.



#65 kalypso

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 09:11 PM

FrogPrincesse, how did you find Thee Bungalow? I haven't eaten there after the changes in ownership and in the kitchen but have several friends who have. They were not pleased with their meals or the direction in which the restaurant appears to be going. I'd be interested in hearing your opinion too.

#66 Kouign Aman

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 06:48 PM

Dining in La Jolla Village, Walking Distance

After much back and forth, it was agreed this refers to the village of La Jolla ( Girard, Pearl etc), rather than the La Jolla Village Square area.

Which leads to the question - is there dining in the La Jolla Village Square area?
Anyone been to Japengo recently? Donovans strike anyone's fancy?

I heartily recommend Aesops' Tables for greek food. Kid friendly, medium priced. Outdoor seating area has lovely view of the parking lot, but good conversation should take care of that problem.
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#67 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 10:32 AM

kalypso,

Thee Bungalow was fine, actually we did not think that it had changed a lot since it had changed hands. We arrived a bit early (our reservations were at 8:30). The restaurant was full, lots of people that seemed to be having a good time. Our table was ready a bit late so I guess some people were having too much fun! We started with the escargot which were prepared with the traditional garlic butter. They were very nice and tender, we enjoyed them a lot. Their bread selection (indispensable to thoroughly enjoy the garlic butter) was just ok though. Some kind of olive focaccia and baguette, a little on the soggy side. I was somewhat disappointed that they no longer offered quenelles in their appetizer menu, since they used to be one of their specialties, and something you don’t often see being offered. It seems that they may have forgotten to update their website, because the main page still mentions the quenelles.

Specialties of Thee Bungalow include our famous roast duck, rack of lamb, fresh seafood, quenelles, escargot Bourgogne, wild game, prime grade beef as well as incredible dessert soufflés. An annual award winner of the Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence,” Thee Bungalow’s extensive wine list features modestly priced wines from all regions of the world. A full service bar is also available.


Now that I read that description again, I realize that I did not see any game on their menu, which was also disappointing. I guess that duck qualifies, but that is the only thing that comes close on the current menu.

We had pre-selected our wine by studying the very extensive wine list at home before coming to the restaurant. However, we found out that the online list was not current, as our selection was no longer available (no wonder, it was an excellent wine at a surprisingly low price). We still managed to find an excellent bottle of red Burgundy out of their 20+ page wine list (!). My husband noticed that the waiter did not pour it properly (he poured too much for the initial tasting, beside other little details) and that, in general, their wait staff, although friendly and attentive, did not seem to have been properly trained. For example, someone at another table requested a steak knife that the waiter brought in his hand, rather than on a platter.

We found their entrée menu a little boring, with things like pepper steak/filet mignon/New York steak etc that are classics but not terribly exciting or original. They still had their signature roasted duck on the menu, which my husband ordered with a Cumberland sauce (black cherries with currant), and the lamb shank (called “osso bungalow”) that I selected. Both entrees were on the generous side, with a lot of sauce. The duck was as delicious as we remembered and went fantastically well with the wine we had chosen. The lamb was cooked to perfection and the sauce, enriched with beef demi-glace according to the menu, very thick and satisfying. The style of cooking is not as sophisticated as a place like Tapenade for example. They are clearly not in the same league. But I feel that Thee Bungalow has a lot to offer, with a very cozy setting (small bungalow, fireplace, etc) and a great wine list.

For dessert, my husband thought we needed to have the chocolate soufflés after seeing a few of them being served with great ceremony at the other tables. They were very large and served with a side of chocolate cream that the waiter poured on top after breaking the top of the soufflé. I found them eggy and not very chocolatey, but of course I still managed to finish mine.

So overall, we had a very nice time. A few things could be improved but I think the ambiance which makes this restaurant unique and worth frequenting is still intact. I would still recommend it because I feel it is still special, despite the changes and the few errors noted above.

Edited by FrogPrincesse, 15 November 2006 - 10:33 AM.


#68 kalypso

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 07:12 PM

Hey folks, if you're in San Diego and have not yet been to MODUS, it's time for a visit. Had a really nice dinner there Friday night. It's sleek, elegant and sophisticated and that's just the room, the food is even better.

My dining companion started with the beet and avocado salad and I had the belgian endive with roquefort and pecans. Both salads were excellent. The presentation on the beet salad was visually stunning, but flavorwise, I think the edge went to the belgian endive. Two other popular starters are the pommes frites, and MODUS does them better than just about anyone in town, and the French Onion soup.

I had the pork loin which was served atop a bed of greens and pan roasted brussels sprouts and set off by a mild grain mustard sauce. Oh, and there were tiny cubes of ginger gelee (?) as a garnish. Loved it. My friend loved her duck confit and the red wine reduction sauce that game with it.

I had dessert, she had espresso. The S'mores dessert was fun, but more than a little too sweet. The espresso was a well pulled draw.

Service was quiet and unobtrusive and the dining room was well monitored by roving staff members. The restaurant is on a couple of levels with the bar being up a few steps from the dining room. And it's a fine looking bar, a great place to meet for drinks after work. This is San Diego, and it is 75* in December so sitting out on the patio is still pleasant and there are warmers if it every decides to get cold here.

2 drinks, 2 apps, 2 entress, 1 dessert, 1 espresso, tax and tip came to right around $115.

Edited by kalypso, 03 December 2006 - 07:13 PM.


#69 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 03:49 PM

Thanks kalypso for posting this review of MODUS. Your meal sounds fantastic. Sounds like elegant bistro cuisine which is really my favorite (French comfort food!). We need to try this place soon.

I had dinner at Zenbu in La Jolla last Saturday, with husband and friends, and had a fantastic meal. I love sushi and this place really has fantastic fish, with a modern twist (less traditional than Sushi Ota, which is our other favorite sushi restaurant). According to the restaurant’s website

Owned and operated by local restaurateur Matt Rimel, Zenbu is the result of a lifelong passion for fishing and great food. Rimel owns a commercial fishing boat and the seafood company Ocean Giant, which has a fleet of boats around the world fishing exclusively for his restaurants and clients.

which of course explains why the fish is so exceptionally fresh. A lot of the fish they serve is local and that makes all the difference in the world.

The restaurant is dark with a modern/Asian decor, red lanterns at the sushi bar, beautiful cymbidium orchid branches in large vases, and giant timber bamboo by the entrance.
We used to frequent this place regularly until my pregnancy last year when I was not supposed to eat sushi… torture! (yeah, I know, there is cooked sushi, but that’s really not what I enjoy eating the most in a sushi bar). We usually sit at the bar and make sure that Johnny prepares everything for us (our friends know him and the staff quite well). We asked him to prepare whatever rolls he felt like and we got two versions of his “Johnny roll” and a couple of other rolls, then had some fantastic nigiri (toro, hotate, local uni, halibut). The highlight of the meal was lobster sashimi made with live lobster (decorated with fish roe and gold leaf! quite spectacular), followed by lobster dynamite (I am not usually a big fan of dynamite, due to mayo being somewhat overpowering, but this one made with lobster and crab was very delicate and tasted fantastic!) and then lobster miso soup. A real treat! Love that place, even though it is on the pricey side (over $80 a person this time including tax and tip).
They have happy hour a few nights a week which includes drinks and a few specials. That’s what we usually do and it’s a lot more economical!

Happy Hour
Sunday, Monday and Tuesday: all night
Wednesday and Thursday: 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Made reservations for restaurant week at Tapenade (old favorite, has a great $30 menu that includes a recipe from Les Halles that I’ve always wanted to try, “petatou”, a dish involving potatoes, fresh goat cheese and olives) and The Marine Room. Cavaillon was also on the list but the $40 menu was not such a great deal I thought, and also 3 restaurants in the same week seemed like a bit much, especially right after holiday season. So we will try Cavaillon another time. And MODUS too!

#70 kalypso

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 09:55 PM

Made reservations for restaurant week at Tapenade (old favorite, has a great $30 menu that includes a recipe from Les Halles that I’ve always wanted to try, “petatou”, a dish involving potatoes, fresh goat cheese and olives) and The Marine Room.  Cavaillon was also on the list but the $40 menu was not such a great deal I thought, and also 3 restaurants in the same week seemed like a bit much, especially right after holiday season.  So we will try Cavaillon another time.  And MODUS too!

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I will miss Restaurant Week this year since I'll be in Mexico.

I did the Marine Room for Resto Week a couple of years ago and it was excellent. I think they've got their annual High Tide Breakfast coming up at the end of the month, or sometime in January. The dates are always listed on their web site. This was always a big deal when we were growing up. My mom and aunt would get us dressed up and off we'd go to La Jolla and High Tide Breakfast. They ALWAYS got a window table and it was really cool to watch the waves come up, and ocassionally if it was kind of stormy a wave would actually hit the windows with a little force. If there are any High Tide Breakfasts before I go to Mexico I was thinking about making a reservation and seeing how it compared to the old memories. I love the Marine Room even when it sometimes makes a misstep, which thankfully, isn't very often :smile:

If was going to be in town for Restaurant Week I was looking at 1500 Ocean, Addison and A.R. Valentine. I will probably hit Tapenade in the next couple of weeks. My boss's Admin. Asst. birthday is right around the corner and she loves Tapenade and I was thinking about taking her there for her B-day.

#71 syrah girl

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 12:21 PM

1500 Ocean was excellent, we made our reservations in advance on OpenTable for a Saturday night. I don't know what kind of reputation the place had when it was the Prince of Wales, but everything we ordered was very good and the server was very attentive and fun.

George's at the Cove in La Jolla was also very nice for a fine dining experience in La Jolla. The Loch Duart Salmon with Beet Risotto was perfect with a glass of the Chehalem Ridecrest 2000 Pinot Noir. Save room for the Mexican Chocolate Pot de Creme with Warm Churros for dessert at George's. :cool:

#72 kalypso

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 01:36 PM

I'm glad to hear that you liked 1500 Ocean; so far everything I've heard has been pretty positive. When it was the Prince of Wales Room it was pretty traditional fine dining; kind of old, kind of staid, appealed to an "older" demographic, the one with expendable income. The food was never bad, but it wasn't going to break any new ground either.

I had dinner at Laurel last night and it was wonderful. Only one dish really didn't work and that was the flat bread appetizer. It was just okay, not a clunker, but not great either, basically a missed opportunity. The foie gras appetizer, however, was outstanding. A perfectly seared piece of foie was perched on top of a slice of pumpkin bread and some quince and apple in fine dice. Really yummy, but get it now because the SD City Council is taking up the issue of a foie gras ban after the first of the year. For our entrees we had the black cod and duck confit. Both were good, but the confit was the better of the two.

Laurel has a special pre-theater dinner of soup or salad, choice of 3 entrees and butterscotch pot de creme for dessert for $30. They'll also provide free shuttle service between the Old Globe and the restaurant.

They also do something called Sinful Sunday's where they have a rotating selection of about 12-15 wines (more reds than whites) at half price. There were some good values. For a Sunday night our meal was excellent

Edited by kalypso, 11 December 2006 - 01:38 PM.


#73 syrah girl

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 01:56 PM

We wished we would have had longer in SD, 3 nights was too short. I have also heard good things about Chive and Cafe Pacifica in Old Town. :cool:

#74 Kouign Aman

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 12:21 PM

Molly's Restaurant

We ate at Molly's in the Marriott Marina last night.
A very pleasant meal, and accidentally a vegetarian one.

Stuffed squash blossoms, with micro greens
Chestnut-mushroom soup - More please. I'd be happy to have this for breakfast too.
A celebration of Autumn vegetables which included:
farro with black kale - lovely and chewy
tricolor cauliflower in something a bit peppery (the weakest part of the meal)
cheesy agnolotti - very good, my companion's favorite of the evening
butternut squash - simply roasted and very good.
This was very good. It didnt feel like "eating a meal" tho. We were full b agreed that some folks wouldnt be satisfied because there was no 'main course' in this main course. Those folks could order steak, pork, lamb or seafood instead.
Sides were:
polenta with mushrooms - excellent, creamy, (filling). I ate too much of this. I'd like some now, for lunch, please.
baby brussels sprouts - browned, crisp and tender. Very good.
somehow we forgot :sad: to order the chanterelles.

Dessert for us was the cheese plate, which came with a peppery quince paste, a fig/almond slice, semi-raisined grapes. the bleu was served with honeycomb and was our favorite of the selection, tho we very much enjoyed most of the cheeses, in particular one which was layered with the top portion tasting similar to chevre and the top reminiscent of camembert. I wish I could remember the names.

I had a glass of Viogner, and my friend had Pinot Gris. Both went well with the food. By the glass was offered in both a 3 and a 6 oz pour, which is a nice option for a lightweight like me who might want to try more than one. The waiter was kind enough to teach me the correct pronunciation for the wine varietal, patiently repeating it for me until I was satisfied I'd heard it properly and would remember it.

Service was very good. We split everything, in order to try more, and this was managed graciously. The main meal was served on a series of four small square plates. Cleverly, our individual plates matched them. Its a small thing, but it was fun and made us smile.

Tableware is interesting and functional. Sleek slender silverware, bright white china with interesting shapes. Coffee came with a small tray containing packets, loose sugar in the raw, sugar crystal stir-sticks, whipped cream, pouring half-half, and chocolate shavings: an unexpected build-your-own-dessert coffee.

If I were to nitpick - the conceit of running words together in the menu section titles was annoying.

We didnt expect such a meal from a hotel restaurant, so took no notes, no pictures, and cannot report with great detail. But we'd be happy to go back and try Chef Brian Sinnott's work again.

Molly's link
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#75 kalypso

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 02:34 PM

Molly's Restaurant

We didnt expect such a meal from a hotel restaurant, so took no notes, no pictures, and cannot report with great detail. But we'd be happy to go back and try Chef Brian Sinnott's work again.

Molly's link

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Molly's really is one of the better kept secrets in San Diego

#76 Kouign Aman

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 12:22 PM

We're headed to Aqua Blu in a couple of weeks. We were there last year, party of 10, and enjoyed it completely. Mid-range in price, portion sizes and creativity, and excellent in execution.
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#77 ibjack

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 02:14 AM

Being a Chef in San Diego it's nice to see that people are eating out and enjoying the food and the service. My favorites are 910, Modus, and Parallel 33. I'm also a big fan of Vennisimo and Aniata for cheese. Keep the reviews coming.

#78 Kouign Aman

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 02:33 PM

Sadly, Aqua Blu didnt live up to our happy experience of the year before. This time it was a very mixed bag. 'nuf said.
"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

#79 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 12:25 AM

I wanted to briefly report on a fantastic meal I had at MODUS about a month ago. The seared foie gras was to die for and the entrees (confit de canard for him, rack of lamb for me) outstanding as well. Perfectly executed bistro food. Portions are not huge but that was fine with me (quality, not quantity!). We loved the ambiance and the reasonable wine selection... Dessert was a disappointment though (I had the marjolaine cake which was a dry and super compact affair - maybe the cake was old??). Aside from dessert, the meal was great and I shall be back!

Thanks kalypso for another great recommendation.

Edited by FrogPrincesse, 24 April 2007 - 03:16 PM.


#80 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 08:50 AM

Dear egulleters - I am looking for a place to go pre-opera. Any ideas? Unfortunately I think that Cafe Cerise has closed. In the past, I've been to Chive or Dobson, but I am looking for something different. Ideally the restaurant should be within walking distance.
Thanks!

#81 Kouign Aman

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 09:23 AM

We like Ole Madrid because its light, fun and easy. We'll be there Friday night before Figaro. You are forewarned.
Cafe Sevilla is also an option, as is La Gran Tapas (which Im not too fond of).
If you like seafood, Osetra was good, if a tad pricey.
The US Grant is re-opened for business, and thats as close to the Civic Theater as one can get. I havent been but friends enjoyed it.
Chive I've heard good things about but its a bit of a walk in heels.
Asti is a standby - an italian restaurant that opened when 70% of the restaurants downtown were italian, but this one survived.
In Horton Plaza is Napa Valley Grille.

If you find a different place, and its a gem, please post it. We walk to pre-opera dinner also, and are always looking for someplace worth a visit. (We have a fairly limited walking range and price range due to various members of our dinner group).
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#82 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 11:15 AM

Thanks for the suggestions, Kouign Aman. We are also thinking of going to Modus again since we liked it so much the first time (even though it's not within walking distance).

#83 Kouign Aman

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 03:19 PM

Modus .... I'd wear flats for that!

What is with San Diego and its early street-rollup? We couldnt get seated at 10:10 on a Friday night, after the show. Ended up at City Deli in Hillcrest, which is nice for a sandwich but not at all what we had wanted. On weekend nights, I miss Miami.
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#84 kalypso

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 08:41 AM

Thanks for the suggestions, Kouign Aman.  We are also thinking of going to Modus again since we liked it so much the first time (even though it's not within walking distance).

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For future reference Laurel has a pre-fixe theater menu. They even provide transportation between the Old Globe and Symphony Hall, I think they'd probably provide it to other downtown venues if you asked nicely.

#85 John Talbott

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 09:02 AM

A question relating to food around the Convention Center and Hilton Gaslight. I'll be at cocktail/snacking receptions in the early evening and will probably be searching for a bite to eat at unpredictable times (therefore I don't want to make reservations) as well as have an unpredictable appetite (therefore no fancy places) and preferably eat ethnic (esp not French.) I appreciate any and all suggestions as to where to go within walking distance. Thanks.
John
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#86 Swicks

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 10:45 AM

the tin fish (across the street) is very good for fish tacos. are you looking for sit down or quicker and more casual?
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#87 John Talbott

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 10:48 AM

the tin fish (across the street) is very good for fish tacos.  are you looking for sit down or quicker and more casual?

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Thanks. I suspect one night standing, one night sitting.
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#88 Carlsbad

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 11:06 PM

For sitting, take a look at Athens Market and Indigo Grill. You can walk to the former and the latter is a short trolley ride away, and you can eat at the bar at either one if you want. Bandar is also interesting and walkable.

#89 John Talbott

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 10:19 PM

For sitting, take a look at Athens Market and Indigo Grill.  You can walk to the former and the latter is a short trolley ride away, and you can eat at the bar at either one if you want.  Bandar is also interesting and walkable.

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Thanks Carlsbad; I've only been here for 8 hours but so far I've had an impressive lunch of a great halibut taco at Tin Fish, with weird but tasty latticed fried potatoes and wonderfully raw coleslaw and a dinner with Pacific oysters, cote de boeuf, giant lima beans, zucchini with cheese, salad of fresh greens, string beans, etc., and cookies at a private venue (the point being, that the product in the markets here is terrific.)
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#90 John Talbott

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 11:03 PM

Day 2:

Business lunch at the Westgate, not totally bad, but hotel stuff after all: salad nice, tomato soup and unmemorable main. Fine iced tea.

Dinner at Chive, however, was quite another matter; quite El Bulli, Alinea, Les Magnolias. Two of us shared the beet terrine (very inventive), scallops with black forbidden rice (terrific) and sweetbreads kung pao with green bamboo rice (so good) and then the Moroccan spiced chicken with lime yogurt (who would'ave thought?) and duck breast (perfectly underdone) with bok choy, etc., ending with the apple/rhubarb galette. With the cheapest Ten Mile wine ($32) the bill was a very reasonable $113.68. Go back? Right soon!
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