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Monterey Aquarium with 2 year old - Please rate my list

I stayed at the Intercontinental between Xmas and New Years. I daresay it's the nicest hotel I've ever stayed at!

In addition to the suggestions already made, I'd like to throw Hula's on Lighthouse (within walking distance of the Intercontinental) into the mix. They serve Hawaiian fusion at reasonable prices. When I went, they had Happy Hour on Tuesdays with $5 appetizers, which was a great value.

May 24, 2012
keyroute in California

East Bay (Fremont)

I lived in Newark (adjacent to Fremont) for about 2.5 years. My main complaint upon leaving was the lack of good AND reasonably priced ethnic cuisine where I ended up. As others have mentioned below, your best bet in the Fremont/Newark/Union City/Milpitas area is ethnic food--particularly Indian/Pakistani and Chinese. Union City (next city north of Fremont) is also a hotbed for Filipino cuisine.

If your distance tolerance is 25 miles or less, the possibilities are almost endless! That pretty much opens up anything as far south as San Jose and as far north as Oakland, although the main thoroughfare along the east shore of SF Bay--Interstate 880--has the nickname "Nasty Nimitz". You can draw your own conclusions as to how it got that moniker.

Nachos and a taco at Green Burrito (same store offshot of Carl's Jr)

Don't know how widespread they are, but in some Carl's Jr locations here in the SF Bay Area have what's called Green Burrito--fast food Mexican in the same vein as Taco Bell and Del Taco.

What prompted me to seek it out was a craving for quick & cheap nachos (and no I didn't want to spend time buying all the ingredients & assembling it on my own) during the viewing of an NHL playoff game a few weeks ago.

The first place I thought of was Taco Bell since they're so ubiquitous. I got the most expensive version ($3.69?) and was not impressed. Basically ground beef with some tomatoes thrown in and topped with cheese sauce and the amount of food to cost ratio was low. The chips were thin & light, though.

Take two a few playoffs games later. I got the basic beef Super Nachos from the local Green Burrito. It broke the $4 barrier ($4.29) but you definitely get your money's worth--a clamshell takeout container loaded with chips, ground beef, sour cream, guacamole, tomatoes, and peppers! There's also a salsa bar where you can not only add salsa but yellow peppers and jalapenos. and for an upcharge you can get steak or chicken instead.

I did try a non-takeout version later and the portion given was smaller when I ate in. My suggestion is to order inside to go and get additional toppings from the salsa bar.

Finally, I tried their cheap taco and for a fast food taco, I was pretty impressed. The shell was double-walled unlike the usual single wall shell you see elsewhere. The beef was seasoned and had a little bit of spicyness--pretty benign but definitely noticeable.

In closing, I would not go out of my way to seek one out but if you really want fast food Mexican, this is the place to go!

May 08, 2012
keyroute in Chains

Lunch, Dinner and Breakfast in Carmel/Monterey area

Re: 17 mile drive. It's been a while since I last did it, but I seem to recall that you should allot an hour at the very least. Probably a bit more if you're doing it on a weekend because of extra traffic.

If it were me, I'd set aside even more time--better part of a morning or afternoon--because you'll probably want to stop at the many pull outs and take pictures & drink in the scenery and views.

Mar 06, 2012
keyroute in California

Lunch, Dinner and Breakfast in Carmel/Monterey area

I'll give a thumbs up to First Awakenings for breakfast. Ate there twice between Xmas and New Years. For me, the telling sign is that the other restaurant in the outlet mall serving breakfast was almost deserted, whereas First Awakenings always had a wait.

Also want to give a plug to Hula's in Monterey (Hawaiian fusion) if you're interested. It can get busy, but the portions are generous and the prices are very reasonable. They also have Happy Hour on Tuesday (?) with discounted drinks and appetizers.

Hula's Island Grill
622 Lighthouse Ave, Monterey, CA 93940

Feb 28, 2012
keyroute in California

Does anyone else HATE Costco's milk containers?

For a short time within the past year or so, my local Costco (Danville CA) had milk in the square containers, but it got switched back to the conventional containers the next time I went. Perhaps the regional overlords got enough complaints for them to switch back...?

Dec 01, 2011
keyroute in Chains

Weekend in Sonoma with a Little Kid

Second Train Town, but be aware they're only open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sunday during this time of year, and they close when it's raining I've also been to Black Bear Diner--decent, nothing special, but kid-friendly.

Breakfast in Visalia

I was going to say Cafe 225 (my choice back in the late 90s), but they don't serve breakfast anymore.

Cafe 225
225 W Main St, Visalia, CA 93291

Nov 14, 2011
keyroute in California

Self Checkout at Costco.

It's (almost) in the hinterlands, but the Livermore Costco has had self-checkout for at least a year now.

Nov 17, 2010
keyroute in Chains

One less choice in the Tri Valley (Sun sets on Le Asia)

Le Asia in San Ramon is no more:

Bistro de Manila AYCE $7.99 buffet – The best Filipino food in Oakland … chicharon on Friday

Looks like Bistro de Manila is history. Passed by today hoping for lunch and it turns out work is being done inside and a piece of paper taped on the window says "Vietnamese Restaurant Coming Soon."

Damera Eritrean & Ethiopian, Oakland?

Looks like it just opened this week. Will try to stop by and grab a menu.


Tried in on Sunday and was underwhelmed. It looks like they took the chicken pieces (without the breading) and put them in a panini press. I tasted some seasoning on the skin, but not a lot.

Apr 20, 2009
keyroute in Chains

Tri Valley Moderate priced Anniversary restaurant?

How about Esin Restaurant & Bar in Danville (formerly Cafe Esin of San Ramon)? I tried them last December when they were at their San Ramon location and came away pleased.

Murphy's Deli - Home of the Muffaletta

Here's their website:

They appear to have quite a few locations in the Houston metro area incidentally, but just one in Downtown San Francisco and another in Downtown Walnut Creek.

I've been back to both the SF and Walnut Creek locations since 2006 for muffalettas, but they used foccacia (?!?) instead. I didn't inquire as to why they didn't use the traditional round loaf, but my guess is that Hurricane Katrina cut into the supply chain.

Kid-friendly lunch spots near Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose?

Just to close out this thread, I ended up going to Poor House Bistro on Friday, June 20. Mercifully--especially given the stifling heat that day--it's a very short walk from the Diridon Caltrain/Amtrak/ACE station and an equally short walk to the San Fernando VTA light rail station. Ordered the Catfish Po-Boy (daily special) for myself and chicken tenders kid's meal (includes fries) for little keyroute; I couldn't believe how much food she got. Little keyroute ended up eating the catfish and I replaced her chicken tenders in my po-boy. Total including a soda for me came to $17--this was a good option if anyone has to repeat my itinerary!

Kid-friendly lunch spots near Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose?

The subject line says it all...this will be a weekday trip and I plan on using public transit (ACE & VTA). I know there's a cafe/snack place inside the museum, but it'd be nice to have some options. Close-by destinations right near light rail stations are definite pluses too.

Coming soon to San Ramon... Market Place:

Pho Monsoon, near the Coldstone Creamery, in the spot the florist used to be in.

Filipino restaurant (didn't catch the precise name) between El Balazo and Imperial Delight.

Incidentally, Imperial Delight has implemented a 3-item-for-under-$20 menu that many Chinese restaurants have nowadays.

I'm still blown away that San Ramon will have not one but two pho places! (The other being Pho Saigon at the Le Asia complex.)

Imperial Delight
290 Market Pl, San Ramon, CA 94583

Pho Saigon Noodle House
9150 Alcosta Blvd, San Ramon, CA 94583

Newark around 84

When I lived in Newark a couple of years ago, I made regular trips to Nguyen Vu (Vietnamese), which is in the shopping complex across Newark Blvd, past the Safeway and just next to Orchard Supply Hardware.

99 Ranch in Dublin - Status Anyone?

I happened to pass by there Saturday evening. There's progress, but still not a peep about when it's going to open, either from local sources or the 99 Ranch website. The shelving and lighting seems to be coming along, and there were Help Wanted signs about a month ago...couldn't see if they were still up or not. It definitely doesn't have the "abandoned supermarket" look about it anymore.

On the other hand, according to, the other Asian market that will take the spot of the old Raley's at Alcosta & Village Parkway in San Ramon is scheduled to open on August 15!

Moved from SF to Pleasanton...Please help.

For gyros/shawarma/falafel, Mykonos Mediterranean Grill just opened in San Ramon. I don't have the address, but it's in the Market Place shopping center next door to Fitness 19 and three doors away from Nob Hill Foods. I've only tried it once--it's decent and will satisfy cravings for this kind of food, but I don't consider it a go-out-of-your-way kinda of place.

My Tho - Vietnamese in Hayward - unusual dishes

The catfish dish sounds wonderful. However, I've tried Google and Yahoo for the address, but come up empty. Can someone help out?

San Ramon Bound: Need Your Reccos

Yes, the Bagel Street Cafe you mention is still there.