AtomicSuplex's Profile

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How often do you get a bad meal in the SF area?

As someone who lives in San Diego, but visits the Bay Area about twice a year, I think y'all are spoiled silly! The average level of a SF/Peninsula restaurant is miles above the average level of a San Diego restaurant. MILES!

I think the competitiveness of the scene really forces a higher level of food. There's just so much money and so many younger people with said money that restaurants have to be on their toes or else they're toast.

Must try restaurant ...

I prefer the La Mesa one to the OB one.

To me, the La Mesa crowd skews a little younger and the vibe is a little better...but it can get kind of loud.

OB one is a little more older crowd and slightly more formal feeling to me, even though it's OB...

But, the food is great at both.

Jul 16, 2014
AtomicSuplex in San Diego

Del Mar suggestions?

I always like Fidel's for good Mexican food and a fun atmosphere.

Jul 07, 2014
AtomicSuplex in San Diego

Pret a Manger, Portrait Gallery branch [London]

I think someone mentioned this briefly...but Pret-a-Manger actually has their own cookbook out and it does include a recipe for their Pret Pickle that goes on that sandwich (Amazing sandwich, by the way!).


Jul 07, 2014
AtomicSuplex in U.K./Ireland

Where is the best fishmonger in San Diego?

I'm surprised by all the H Mart love here. Every time I got fish from them, it *seemed* fresh, but always turned out not tasting right. Plus, they always gave off a ton of water while cooking.

I suspect that they treat their fish with some sort of preservative. But, I'm not buying more to find out.

I'm always 10 times happier buying my fish from Mitsuwa or Nijiya or Lucky.

May 07, 2014
AtomicSuplex in San Diego

2014-- NYer visiting for first time. What are must trys ???

Since you're in Hillcrest, I quite like 100 Wines, which is more CA cuisine than ethnic, I guess, but it's quite good, has a great atmosphere, and you don't have to slog 20 miles to get there!

For something more ethnic, I always like Tajima (Japanese and opens late on the weekend, which you might need to get used to coming from NY. 9pm is bedtime for most restaurants here!).

Sab-E-Lee which others mention is great, but TINY. I think there might be 3 tables in the whole place...

May 07, 2014
AtomicSuplex in San Diego

Just spent a week in the Bay Area (didn't consult here beforehand (gasp!))...here's what I found

Scott's was a nice find for me.

Straits and Armadillo Willy's probably would stand out if they were anywhere else, but just seemed uninspired and expensive(!) for the Bay Area.

Just spent a week in the Bay Area (didn't consult here beforehand (gasp!))...here's what I found

I was happy to find Pescatore! It was a total accident too, as I saw it while driving around in circles trying to find the Ghiradelli store. I made sure to check it out as it looked so inviting.

Just spent a week in the Bay Area (didn't consult here beforehand (gasp!))...here's what I found

Oh! I almost forgot my biggest disappointment!

I got suckered into grabbing lunch at the Burger Bar in Macy's. I don't usually fall for the celebrity chef spin-off restaurant thing, but I really like Hubert Keller, so I thought I'd give it a go.

Big mistake!

I got their Country Natural on a wheat bun and was underwhelmed, to say the least. The meat was very salty on the outside, but bland on the inside. Almost as if they just decided to season it while it was cooking.

I was actually much happier with the greasy burger I got from the Burger House around the corner the next day. It was less than 1/2 the price to boot!

Just spent a week in the Bay Area (didn't consult here beforehand (gasp!))...here's what I found

I'll have to remember the Smoking Pig for next time. But, frankly, there's so many interesting places to eat that BBQ might drift a little far down my list of "must try".

Just spent a week in the Bay Area (didn't consult here beforehand (gasp!))...here's what I found

It looks like Pescatore is one of the "old guard" now! It seems like it's been around for a while.

One of the things about the Wharf that surprised me was how early everything closed there. Since it's so touristy, I thought things would be open late, but most everything closed around 9 or 9:30.

Just spent a week in the Bay Area (didn't consult here beforehand (gasp!))...here's what I found

Heh...this trip was a pretty last minute thing, so I didn't have much time to do a good CH search beforehand...and after I got there, well, I was just a little lazy...

Just spent a week in the Bay Area (didn't consult here beforehand (gasp!))...here's what I found

I spent most of my week in the San Mateo area, with a few days in the city and essentially picked and chose places to eat with very little research beyond hitting up their website and seeing if there was a line out the door. I think I ended up doing pretty well actually. Of course, being the Bay Area, I'm guessing the ratio of good restaurants to bad is probably a lot higher than most other cities.

The one exception to this blind picking was Cooking Papa in Foster City, which was recommended to me. I thought they did a really good job with their roast duck and cha shu, but hands down, their egg puffs were the single best thing I ate all week. Man, those were really really good. The watercress and pork soup was also very good. The broth almost reminded me of a really good ramen broth. Tasty! I wasn't as impressed with their cheung fun, mainly because their wraps were pretty thick, but the fish and cilantro one was pretty good otherwise.

There were two other standouts for me over the week.

One was Cafe Pescatore near Fisherman's Wharf. I would kill for a restaurant like this near my home! It felt very much like a local hangout and not a tourist trap and the service was really good. I got the apple salad, which was perfectly dressed, and the crab ravioli, which was super rich and satisfying.

The other was Scott's in Mountain View. They had wonderfully fresh seafood and, again, great service. I can't tell you how nice it was to be waited on by people who actually cared enough to listen. Here, I got the beet salad and the trout with crab entree. Both were great! And, the coconut bread pudding is killer!

Other good places that I'll go back to are Brioche in SF, where I had a very nice quiche, and Crepevine in Mountain View, where their fresh salmon and spinach crepe was super!

A minor miss for me was the Straits Restaurant in Burlingame. I got the fuji apple salad (pretty good), origami seabass (nicely cooked, but kind of salty), and chicken pad thai (overcooked chicken and "meh" noodles). Everything was decent, but seemed like I could get the same or better elsewhere at half the price.

Also a little disappointing was Armadillo Willy's in San Mateo. Got the baby back rib lunch plate, which tasted good, but wow, that was a really really small portion for $10.

But, I had a great week there and wish I could afford to move there. Totally jealous!

Sea Harbour - overrated and I sure don't like being insulted by waiters...

Heh...I like how this thread has metastasised into a mass sit in!

Unfortunately, we don't live in LA...but I still approve of this...

Jun 14, 2012
AtomicSuplex in Los Angeles Area

Sea Harbour - overrated and I sure don't like being insulted by waiters...

It seems that I started a little firestorm here. I don't know if I can respond to everything said, but I'll try to round out this conversation.

Regarding "standard protocol", I understand there are certain cultural expectations for dim sum, but last I checked, this is Los Angeles and not Hong Kong, so there should also be certain allowances for Western culture as well. As I said before, we had no expectation of good service as we've experienced our share of curt and inattentive waiters at Chinese restaurants. But, there is a line where curt and inattentive turns into rude and obnoxious, and that line was passed, IMO.

As far as telling them "no" up front, we've tried that before and it really doesn't make too much of a difference (most of the time...) as every subsequent waiter would ask the same question as we ate. But, at least, up until now, the waiters would accept it and move on. I do not think it is too much to ask for to sit down before being verbally assulted.

As far as *us* being the rude ones, REALLY???? This was us saying, very plainly, we want to sit down first. That is all. We weren't being evasive. It really came across to us that the waitress was doing her best to extract that extra few dollars out of us and, when she wasn't successful, she resorted to insults.

Finally, as one person alluded to , the nail in the coffin was that the dim sum really was pretty mediocre. Good food can smooth over a lot of sins, but bottom line, for us at least, SH did not deliver and were incredibly rude in the process.

Thanks for all the responses though...

Jun 11, 2012
AtomicSuplex in Los Angeles Area

Sea Harbour - overrated and I sure don't like being insulted by waiters...

Sure, I don't expect French Laundry service, but still, insulting a customer just because you think that they don't understand is excessive to me....

Jun 08, 2012
AtomicSuplex in Los Angeles Area

Sea Harbour - overrated and I sure don't like being insulted by waiters...

Well, ok, maybe not the best choice of word...but, it wasn't *that* long ago when you could get some tea brought to you without charge and maybe orange slices after the meal. It's was a "oh, that's nice!" kind of feeling.

Now, it's "ice water? $1 per person!!!!" or "soy sauce? $1 per person!!!!". This is true...they wanted to charge the per person tea fee for soy sauce! That's overboard in my book.

Just rubs me the wrong way and somehow doesn't set the right tone for a civilized meal.

Jun 08, 2012
AtomicSuplex in Los Angeles Area

Sea Harbour - overrated and I sure don't like being insulted by waiters...

Yes, unfortunately, it was getting late and we didn't have backup plans. Plus, given the generally positive reviews of the place, we were hoping that the food would balance out the waiters. We were not rewarded.

Jun 08, 2012
AtomicSuplex in Los Angeles Area

Sea Harbour - overrated and I sure don't like being insulted by waiters...

Try declining the tea, see what happens!

I really hate this trend of charging exorbitant rates for things that used to be taken for granted. $1 for tea and condiments is just padding the bottom line.

Similar things happened at Elite a while back too, but at least they were kind of polite about it.

Next time, we're going to give Lunasia a chance, but I'm not optimistic that it'll be any better...

Jun 08, 2012
AtomicSuplex in Los Angeles Area

Sea Harbour - overrated and I sure don't like being insulted by waiters...

My wife and I went to Sea Harbor recently for dim sum for the first time and it will absolutely be the last time we set foot in the place.

I can't understand why this restaurant is a favorite for dim sum. Sure, you get everything hot from the kitchen, but much of it seemed mediocre and heavy on the MSG. We got the egg custard tarts, which looked fabulous, but tasted like it came from a box. Absolutely no egg flavor at all! The cheung fun with pork was all fun and cilantro with tiny tiny shreds of pork.


But absolutely 100% worse than the food was the attitude of the waitstaff. My wife, for medical reasons, doesn't drink tea, so we always decline even if the tea is free (here it was $1+ per person). As we were being lead to our table, the waitress asked what kind of tea we wanted. My wife politely said (in English), can we sit down and take a look at the menu first?

The waitress replied, "Sure, what kind of tea do you want? Jasmine?"

My wife, again very politely, said "We want to look at the menu first"

Waitress, jabbing her finger at the menu, "Jasmine? Jasmine? Yes?"

I said, firmly, "We will let you know after we sit down, okay?"

So, the waitress turned around, and said to another waiter, in Cantonese (paraphrasing), "These d*ckheads don't want tea. Can you believe how stupid that is?"

We absolutely should have turned right around and left right then and there, but we didn't.

Totally and absolutely regret not walking out.

I will NEVER have ANYTHING good to say about the restaurant and will steer everyone I know away from there.

Very bad show, Sea Harbour.

Jun 08, 2012
AtomicSuplex in Los Angeles Area

Seafood (Uni) help

You already got your answer, but I also wanted to chime in that there's a stand that usually has fresh uni in the shell at the Mira Mesa farmer's market on Tuesdays.

Jan 19, 2012
AtomicSuplex in San Diego

10 second review of lunch at the Fish Boutique (Scripps Ranch)

I've always wondered about Kappa. It's awfully crowded during happy hour and we've never had the patience to wait for a table. Good to know that there's a good sushi option there. We used to go to the sushi place right at the 15 and Carroll Canyon (don't recall their name) and they were good but inconsistent.

And, back to Fish Boutique, we went back and had the crab cake appetizer, which was essentially the same thing as the sandwich minus the bread. Also got the salmon burger which was pretty good as well, very fresh. Still happy with the restaurant. Although, they seem to be awfully empty so I hope they have the cash to last until people find them!

Oct 26, 2011
AtomicSuplex in San Diego

10 second review of lunch at the Fish Boutique (Scripps Ranch)

My wife and I had the opportunity to try out the relatively new Fish Boutique in Scripps Ranch (the same shopping center as Trader Joe's). They have a 2-for-1 coupon in the Reader for lunch, so we were curious enough to go a few days ago.

The menu is very short, just a handful of "small plates", soups, salads, sandwiches, and big plates. It seems that they change it up depending on what kind of fish they have available. The sandwiches were in the $10 - $12 range.

We both were drawn to the crab cake sandwich, and it was very good. It looks like they make them in house with what looks to be shredded snow crab leg meat. They have a light breading and are pan fried with a nice crust. There's a ton of crab in them and very little filler. It tasted fresh and definitely not fishy at all.

It came with a side of shoestring fries, which were cooked perfectly with a light dusting of salt and cracked pepper.

All-in-all, we had a very nice meal and will definitely go back.

It's a great deal with the coupon. Of course, now I worry that they'll either start skimping on the food or get rid of the coupon soon...

Oct 13, 2011
AtomicSuplex in San Diego

Nice dinner in Rancho Bernardo

Just went to French Market Grille a few days ago with my wife.

The food was good, but not knock-your-socks-off spectacular. I had the orange duck breast/leg confit which was well cooked and perfectly decent rendition of the dish. She had the roasted scallops which were perfectly cooked and had a very good grapefruit sauce. We split their chocolate mousse dessert which was incredibly rich but satisfying.

Our biggest complaint though was the thoroughly inattentive service. Yes, I get that sometimes it's nice to have a leisurely meal and all that, but this was bordering on comatose. We waited 15 min to be seated. 15 more for our waiter to come by and take our order. The kitchen is in view of where we were sitting and we could see our main courses sitting on the pass for quite a long time before the waiter decided to stroll by and get them. After we finished, our waiter asked if we wanted to see the dessert menu, we said yes, and it was another 15 min before he came back with them and another 15 before he took our order.

Then, when we were finished with dessert and *literally* the last people in the restaurant, we had to flag down one of the chefs to get the waiter to come by and give us our check, which still took 15 min or so...

All-in-all, we probably spent 2 1/2 hours for dinner...

Needless to say, if you love slow meals and savoring your wine, and staring into the deep lovely eyes of your mate, this is your place. If you have other plans later on in the night, I would pass.

There is a very nice fireplace inside though...

French Market Grille
15717 Bernardo Heights Pkwy Ste A, San Diego, CA 92128

Oct 12, 2011
AtomicSuplex in San Diego

Convoy New Restaurants

I think they're ok, but since you're in the area, why not just go to K Sandwiches? I think they're bread is much better.

K Sandwiches
7604 Linda Vista Rd, San Diego, CA 92111

Aug 01, 2011
AtomicSuplex in San Diego

Banh Mi Sandwiches

Seconded on K's and Cali Baguette.

You can't have a good banh mi without fresh bread.

These both bake their own.

I like K's more, but Mira Mesa is closer...

Apr 04, 2011
AtomicSuplex in San Diego

Need replacement for Asakuma (good, moderately priced, Santa Monica-ish sushi?)

Wow...thanks for all of your suggestions! You've given us a lot to think about.

The ones that will work location-wise and seem the most interesting right now are:

Bar Hayama

In terms of price, are these about the same? We tend to stick to ordering nigiri or sashimi a la carte and stay away from the rolls, except for the occasional spider roll...

Again, thanks for your help.

Bar Hayama
11300 Nebraska Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90025

11917 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

Apr 04, 2011
AtomicSuplex in Los Angeles Area

Need replacement for Asakuma (good, moderately priced, Santa Monica-ish sushi?)

Years ago, when we lived in LA, my wife and I loved going to Asakuma on Wilshire, but on a recent trip back to the city, we were hugely (HUGELY!) disappointed to find that they were out of business.

So, I'm looking for a good replacement in the same general area. I don't want a wallet-breaker either. $30 per person sans drinks should be do-able, shouldn't it? Maybe I''ve been away for too long if there isn't such a thing any more...

Asakuma Restaurant
11701 Wilshire Blvd Ste 15, Los Angeles, CA 90025

Apr 01, 2011
AtomicSuplex in Los Angeles Area

Suggestions for places serving Manhattan Clam Chowder?

One of my favorite restaurants, Nugent's Firegrille in Scripps Ranch, has Manhattan clam chowder, although I haven't have it.

Their regular clam chowder is good, though.

Mar 30, 2011
AtomicSuplex in San Diego

Anybody tried La Bastide in Scripps Ranch?

Just went with my wife a few weeks ago.

I ordered their duck duo which was really good. Perfectly cooked and the risotto that went with it was to die for.

My wife ordered the seared scallops which were very fresh and cooked really well but a little salty. Her risotto was *very* rich. I bet there was enough butter in it to bake a couple of cakes. That said, it tasted really good. We were just terrified of eating too much of it at one sitting...

We split their warm chocolate fondant with pistachio ice cream for dessert. Chocolate. Ice Cream. How can you go wrong?

So, in short, we had a good time and will go again and like the others say, you can't get traditional French bistro food anywhere else in the area.

Aug 20, 2010
AtomicSuplex in San Diego