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socaldiner's Profile

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Need suggestion for a solo diner heading to SF + Emeryville

Hello. I'm heading to the Bay Area for a business trip and would love some suggestions for a casual dinner for a solo diner. I'll be spending one evening in SF and one evening in Emeryville, and I'd love to go someplace that is typical for the Bay Area - you know, organic, sustainable, farm-to-table, seasonal, etc. Just a good place that really captures fresh California cooking and is not too expensive, and preferably has a bar for a solo diner to eat at. Thanks in advance!

Is your local DC supermarket getting worse?

Ahh, one of my favorite topics when it comes to the challenges of living in DC. Coming from CA, I was shocked at what passes for an acceptable grocery store in DC. I'm not one of those people who thinks that everything on the west coast is better than the east, but when it comes to grocery stores, we blow this place out of the water. Moving to DC was the first time I ever experienced woefully pitiful produce (and walking out of stores because I couldn't find a single piece of produce worth eating), and empty shelves (apparently inventory management is a massive problem across all chains here. And the crazy thing to me is that most residents are totally complacent with these subpar grocery stores, even in swanky neighborhoods.

The Trader Joe's stores are usually pretty consistently good. However, the lines are sometimes ridiculously long. I walked into the TJ in Foggy Bottom and found the line wrapping all around the store all the way to the front door. The Old Town Alexandria store is usually a bit better for lines, but sometimes they too can be extremely long. Best customer service of any grocery chain in DC.

Whole Foods - usually excellent. However, the selection and offerings can vary wildly store-to-store. The lack of consistency can drive me crazy, but the meats and produce are always excellent and surprisingly well-priced. Often my shopping bill at WF is lower than at my local Safeway. Customer service is a bit lower than you'd might expect.

Harris Teeter - usually has an extensive selection of specialty items. Produce doesn't seem to be their strong spot, and prices are generally higher than average. Potomac Ave. store is one of the best on the Hill.

Safeway - totally hit or miss. The Soviet Safeway in Dupont will bring back memories of perestroika. Good luck finding milk or eggs after 6pm. All locations have a nickname ("Sandinista Safeway," "Sketchy Safeway"...), and the "Social Safeway" in Georgetown is probably the nicest of the chain with the best selection and most amenities, though a trip today for small size sour cream left me empty handed (but they had 20 types of hot dog buns). Prices are average, though often higher than WF.

Giant - average. The Rhode Island Ave. store is often labeled as "ghetto," but it's not that bad (just totally mediocre like most Giants). Prices can be pretty good - on par with Safeway.

Shoppers - yuck. I think their produce is abysmal and their prices are just a tad cheaper than most other chains.

Also, grocery baggers are about as common as elevator operators, which makes the lines at most stores go as slow as molasses.

Soft Shell Crabs in DC

Does anyone have a favorite place in DC currently serving soft shell crabs?

Easy, cheap eats in DC - do they even exist?

One oddity about DC is the total lack of inexpensive, fast casual restaurants that are open for dinner. I work long hours, and if I get home late and don't want to cook, there seem to be almost no options for an inexpensive, decent looking dinner that isn't from McDonalds or a shady Chinese hole-in-the-wall that also serves chicken wings. Being from California, I'm accustomed to a wide variety of eateries at every price point, but I feel like in DC, while there's incredible fine dining, there's almost nothing mid-range.

Here's the few places that I know. Please let me know if you have any others to add to the list:


Where to all the Chesapeake crabs go?

There is a flavor and size difference. MD crabmeat is smaller and sweeter, whereas Asian crabmeat is larger and less flavorful.

That being said, putting aside the seasonal challenges of operating a year-round crab house, please let me know of restaurants in Baltimore that serve crabs and/or crabcakes that are locally sourced during the season. I can't think of a single one. I know places like Gunnings supplement their supply with local crabs when available, but I've yet to find a crabcake that's advertised as using MD crabmeat.

Service in Baltimore: Get your act together!

I'm not one bit surprised. Service in the DC Metro/ Baltimore region is typically bad, if not atrocious. I'm actually surprised when I go to a restaurant and experience good service.

Where to all the Chesapeake crabs go?

I know that in recent years, the population of Chesapeake crabs has fallen dramatically from past decades, but recent articles indicate that the populations are the healthiest they've been in over a decade, and I think I read somewhere that over 50 million crabs were harvested last year. Despite the millions of crabs, there doesn't seem to be a single restaurant in Baltimore that exclusively serves Maryland crabs. The common excuse seems to be that restaurants can't get a steady supply to meet demand, but I find it so hard to believe that 50 million crabs a year can't help to satisfy the need of at least one restaurant. Where do all those crabs go?

Tasting menu recommendations

Does anyone have a recommendation for a tasting menu in the DC/ NoVa area? Looking for the maximum number of courses for the minimum price. Not looking for anything too swanky like City Zen or Citronelle.

3000 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

The Best Lunch for the Best Value

Hey Chowhounders:

I will be in Manhattan next Monday visiting from Los Angeles. Since I only have one day in the city, I want to have the most memorable meal possible. Owing to economics, I would rather splurge on a lunch than dinner. That being said, I want to go to the best possible restaurant. I am hoping for something maybe prix fixe, perhaps no more than $40 per person and more on the dressy/ traditional New York style. Is there anything out there that could meet our criteria?


Mar 17, 2008
socaldiner in Manhattan

Dark, atmospheric, vintage hidden gems

You might try La Cave in Newport Beach. It's like stepping back to 1955. Traditional continental cuisine, almost pitch dark atmosphere, and live jazz/standards in the evnings. Love the place.

Jan 18, 2008
socaldiner in Los Angeles Area

Pinkberry or Cefiore? [moved from L.A. board]

Crackberry, um I mean Pinkberry, has got me hooked. When I leave the office at ten o'clock I can't wait to drive 10 miles to the nearest Pinkberry. The first time I thought it was just okay, and nothing special. The second time tasted so much better. And each successive time just gets better and better. That stuff is addictive. Remember the old saying, "I'd walk a mile for a Camel." I think it's now, "I'd walk a mile for a Pinkberry." The place is amazing and I can't get enough of it.

Jan 17, 2008
socaldiner in Chains

The Cravery Pot Pies?

Has anyone tried The Cravery and their pot pies? Anyone have a favorite filling? Is it worth the trip? Thanks!

Jan 17, 2008
socaldiner in Los Angeles Area

Brunch in Irvine/Costa Mesa?

I was just there. Wanting something on the "basic" side, I ordered something that I think was called like a Pacific Northwest waffle. It was awesome. Smothered in fresh berries and homemmade whipped cream (not ReddiWhip!!!). Top it with high quality maple syrup and it was awesome! My friends who had omelettes were also very satisfied. However, our waitress was not very good at all.
I would also recommend Memphis. That place is awesome any time of day! Very unique offerings compared to what is usually served in the area.

Jan 16, 2008
socaldiner in Los Angeles Area

Jeans-Free Dining in L.A./O.C.

I know Crustacean used to have a dress code? Do they still?

Jan 16, 2008
socaldiner in Los Angeles Area

Jeans-Free Dining in L.A./O.C.

Weird - it looks like my original thread has disappeared.

Anyways, I was asking if anyone can recommend restaurants in L.A. or Orange County where a dress code is enforced and jeans are not permitted. Suggestions I've heard so far include the Ritz Restaurant in Newport Beach and Billy's in Beverly Hills (while I think is now closed). Thanks!

Jan 16, 2008
socaldiner in Los Angeles Area

Good Breakfast in OC?

Another vote for Plums Cafe. Just had a terrific breakfast there last week, but the service was slow and not attentive.

Jan 15, 2008
socaldiner in Los Angeles Area