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Need recommendations for family-friendly but good steakhouse for special birthday

Hi Chowhounds - my family and I relocated to SD almost four years ago from NYC. My husband is going to turn 40 in a few months and I wanted to take him out for that special occasion, but I know he will want to go with our young children (1 and 4). So this is what the criteria is:

1. Good steaks
2. Please have creamed spinach as a side dish option
3. Good place for kids, i.e. kids' menu and high chairs - we went to Donovan's once and while they were very nice, it was obviously not good for kids.
4. Can accommodate a good-sized group (possibly 8 adults, 7 kids)

We don't get out much, so your feedback is hugely appreciated.

Feb 27, 2012
BaronessCore in San Diego

Food suggestions for ex-New Yorker w/ toddler and shellfish-allergic spouse

I have read a little bit about the Metreon Farmer's Market. We arrive on a Sunday afternoon, and stay until Thursday morning. My spouse and child will be on their own for Monday lunch, Tuesday and Wednesday breakfast and lunch, and Wed dinner. All three of us will eat out for Sunday lunch, Tuesday dinner, and Thursday breakfast.

Food suggestions for ex-New Yorker w/ toddler and shellfish-allergic spouse

Dear CHers - I was very active on the NYC board until I moved to San Diego. Now I will be coming to SF with a 19 month old toddler and my spouse who is allergic to shrimp and lobster, and we all enjoy good food. My toddler is surprisingly not picky but cannot eat really spicy food for obvious reasons. My spouse will eat anything other than shrimp and lobster! We will be staying at the Marriott in downtown on 4th Street and Market, and will not have a car.

I am on a business trip that will feed me most of the time, so this is what we need, and all of them must be child-friendly (high chairs at the least!):

1. Good breakfast options for my toddler and spouse that are affordable ($10 or less per person)

2. Good affordable lunch options for the above - preferably stuff unique to SF; we'd like to avoid chains if possible. My spouse loves clam chowder in a bread bowl, Mexican food, and steak.

3. We will have one dinner for all three of us, and we'd like to have Chinese food. We are used to NYC Chinatown fare, so something like that would be great. My favorite place in NYC was Hop Kee that is Cantonese, and I love salt and pepper seafood. Spouse can and will eat crab. Toddler likes chow fun and rice.

I was childless last time I went to SF, so any fun places to take my kid during the day as well? Willing to take public transportation or walk.

Dinner report: Georges California Modern (La Jolla)

My husband and I (OK, well me) chose to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary and our first full year of living in San Diego with an adults-only dinner at Georges California Modern. Coming from 12 years of living and eating in NYC, I have to say that I was very pleased with my experience there. They really bent over backwards to accommodate my husband's shellfish allergy and the service was pleasant, friendly, without being overbearing or trying to push us to order expensive items or wine. The decor was definitely modern and fresh! I had a glass of a Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc while hubby had a local IPA, and we were given plenty of time to enjoy the view from our corner table and peruse the simple menu.

First course: We split a romaine and fennel salad - the highlight was the crostini with the white bean and mint puree.

Second course: Pea Tendril soup with Dungeness crab cake - excellent contrast in tastes and textures.

Entrees: I had the seasonal Petrale sole - my main complaint is that it was a touch salty but that was tempered with the fresh asparagus it was served with. Hubby got the pork tenderloin milanese - very tender, and interesting sauce that I'm sure had a nice blue cheese tang to it.

Dessert: Tangerine creamsicle for me - loved the basil pearls it was served with. Hubby got the warm chocolate tart which was good.

The hostess gave us two complimentary glasses of champagne, which was a lovely gesture. Would recommend to others, and we'll return again (but we have so many other places to try for future special occasions)!!

May 20, 2009
BaronessCore in San Diego

Need SD recs for Mother's Day & 9th wedding anniversary

Thank you! I made a reservation at George's California Modern which is the fine dining section vs. the Ocean Terrace. I think we'll save the Ocean Terrace for another time.

Mother's Day is now kind of out of my hands but I'll see if I can nudge them in that direction :)

Apr 27, 2009
BaronessCore in San Diego

Need SD recs for Mother's Day & 9th wedding anniversary

Hello 'Hounds!

Well, I am pretty settled here in San Diego after moving here from NYC almost a year ago. Quite happy, I must say, and having a young child keeps me home for most of my meals. I now live in Rancho Penasquitos.

Anyway.... I need recs for two special occasions:

1. Mother's Day - anticipate a large group comprised of 8 adults, 2 infants, and 3 kids (7, 10, and 13). Would like to have a yummy, reasonably priced lunch ($20 and under per adult entree) to celebrate all the mommies (at least 4 of us). Place needs to be family-friendly due to the kids.

2. Our 9th wedding anniversary. I would like a nice, sophisticated, adults-only dinner since I spent my last anniversary in a car headed from Utah to Los Angeles. I love seafood, but hubby is allergic to shrimp and lobster. He can eat crab and fish, though and loves steak. Preferably not too far from where we live. Ideally would like to be somewhere romantic, with nice views, and non-snobby service. Was considering Pacifica Del Mar, The Prado, George's of La Jolla. Would also like to have a nice selection of wines by the glass since I'm a wine drinker and hubby is not. Willing to pay good money but not exorbitant prices (no more than $30 per entree).

Many thanks in advance!

Apr 23, 2009
BaronessCore in San Diego

Indonesian/Malaysian products in San Diego?

Hi all - I was wondering if there was an Asian grocery in San Diego that carried Indonesian and Malaysian products. I am specifically looking for Torabika instant coffee, spice packets for rendang, and possibly this addictive chili/dried shrimp condiment I've had in New York. I have visited a Vietnamese grocery (Vinh Hung) in Mira Mesa near where I live but they did not have these items. Your advice and guidance greatly appreciated.

Aug 27, 2008
BaronessCore in California

Just moved to SD from NYC - Mira Mesa recs, etc

I realize from past visits to SD that it will not compare to NYC but we moved for personal reasons, plus with a 3 month old baby, I don't anticipate being able to go out for fine dining very often. I am a fan of ethnic food, especially authentic Asian - I love Vietnamese food and also sushi. I also understand that I can get very good seafood in SD, but will probably have to go further south and/or west for that - any suggestions for good affordable seafood joints in the north (instead of Point Loma)?

Jun 20, 2008
BaronessCore in San Diego

Just moved to SD from NYC - Mira Mesa recs, etc

Dear all - I used to post frequently on the NYC board until I had my baby and then relocated to San Diego last month. We now live in Mira Mesa, and I was wondering if I could get recommendations for good places to eat in that neighborhood. I'm also looking for other good places in surrounding communities north of Miramar. Many thanks in advance!

Jun 20, 2008
BaronessCore in San Diego

Help! Need lunch options around Sloan-Kettering

I work nearby so I've tried a bunch of places:

Asia Grill serves pretty decent Vietnamese food (Second Ave between 65th and 66th).

Cafe Evergreen has good Chinese lunch specials and dim sum on weekends (First Ave between 69th and 70th). You can also go to China Fun on Second Ave and 64th. Wok n' roll on First and 68th has good noodle soups and fresh pork buns.

Jackson Hole serves huge burgers - 64th between Second and Third Aves

Fresh Food Kitchen on East 68th between York and First has good toss-to-order salads and some hot food. Go early before they fun out of fresh mozzarella for the salad.

879-TACO is on First Ave between 66th and 67th - good Mexican food and cheap.

Melange on First Ave between 64th and 65th has good sandwiches and cheap falafel.

Pongal on First Ave between 63rd and 64th is good vegetarian Indian.

Solace on 64th between York and First is good for more fancy fare - seasonal food, lovely room. We go there for business lunches and dinners.

Luscious Thai on First between 60th and 61st is pretty good - get takeout because the in-house service can be slow. $9.95 for appetizer and entree.

Jan 30, 2008
BaronessCore in Manhattan

Review: Babbo - FINALLY!

Yes, I've wanted to go to Babbo for years. I finally got smart and just used the AMEX Concierge Service, and they got me a reservation for Sunday night at 6 pm. At least those annual fees are going to something useful :)

I went with my beloved husband who is not a foodie and does not share, but supports my obsession as long as it doesn't involve shellfish, which he is allergic to. A friend of mine had warned me that the maitre'd was not the nicest person, but he was very charming to us. Thanks to AMEX, we were taken to a nice two-top table upstairs away from the din of the bar, and close to the serving area so we could see them do their thing.

I started with the warm lamb's tongue vinaigrette salad and I must say, that this was a really special dish for me. I have no problem with offal and have eaten duck tongues and beef tongue, but the flavor of the lamb tongue was really nice. I loved the interplay between the egg, lamb, greens, and roasted tomatoes. My husband got the winter vegetable salad, which was a special and said that it was really nice, especially the goat ricotta cheese.

We weren't tremendously hungry (I'm almost 8 months pregnant so my stomach has shrunken a bit in size and can't eat much in one sitting), but I knew I wanted a pasta dish, and I chose the beef cheek ravioli with squab liver and black truffles. Hubby chose another special, the braised pork cheeks and he really loved it - it was fork tender and very tasty (according to him). I really enjoyed the ravioli dish; great flavors and textures. If I had had the room, I would have tried more dishes, but didn't want to get sick or too stuffed!

We closed with upside down almond cake (hubby) and maple mascarpone cheesecake. I love cheesecakes like these- light and fluffy, and not too sweet! All in all, I was very pleased with my dinner, and felt it was well worth the anticipation. The service was great - they were attentive but not in your face. Yes, I know I should come back and try more stuff, and if I have time I totally will!!

Jan 28, 2008
BaronessCore in Manhattan

Review: El Quinto Pino

I had posted some time ago asking for suggestions for my birthday dinners, which may be my last set in NYC due to a possible relocation. My best foodie friend got my birthday night (Friday) and we agreed to go to El Quinto Pino, especially after reading Andrea Strong's enthusiastic review on her blog and my love for uni.

The uni panini was definitely the highlight of what we had - the mustard really complemented the silky oceanic taste of the uni, and the bread was warm and soft on the inside and crusty on the outside. We each got one as I knew I wasn't going to want to share. Worth $15? Sure - there's a lot of uni on that sandwich.

Per Andrea Strong's review, we then had the berenjana con miel (eggplant with honey) - really interesting. I could barely tell that it was eggplant and I have to agree that the judicious use of bonito flakes lent a really interesting smoky flavor. The honey sauce was delicious. Four small bites to a portion - $7.50. Definitely worth trying!

We had the torreznos, which are Spanish-style cracklings and my, these were really good and good value at $6/portion. I've had cracklings before and if they're not rendered well, it's just a greasy mess. Not these guys, the skin part was crispy and there was a nice amount of meat on each piece. I wish they sold these in bulk so I could have them for SuperBowl Sunday :)

We were still hungry, so we followed up with an order of the garlicky shrimp (gambas con ajillo - $9) - very fresh luscious shrimp, but they should have given us more bread for the sauce, which was a bit on the thin side and fairly strong. Per the server's recommendation, we also tried the pringa, which is a sandwich (hot pressed bread) filled with braised pork shoulder and pork belly. Totally delicious and big enough to share ($7). Wish we had had room for the serrano ham sandwich, but we didn't. We had the small sweet bites - not bad, but they need to do a bit more in the dessert department like a fresh flan, or fresh fruit. We each had a cava cocktail while we were waiting.

Note that the place is TINY. Next time I'll have to come at off hours, because 8:30 is just crazy. We waited about half an hour and the server does take your name but you're at your own devices to secure a seat. We had to really fight for seats. However, the food is worth it - very creative and well-executed tapas!

Jan 28, 2008
BaronessCore in Manhattan

Sweet Tooth in Chinatown

I like the sesame balls at the bakeries. But for a real treat, I like to get a bubble tea or go to Green Tea Cafe on Mott Street between Canal and Bayard (I think) where I can get Chinese toast (thick buttered slices drizzled with sweet condensed milk and/or peanut butter, etc) and these delightful soft sesame dumplings in sweet black tea.

Jan 11, 2008
BaronessCore in Manhattan

Now searching for hush puppies!

This is hilarious - I'm the one that's pregnant but it's my husband who has cravings. I read somewhere that there's a relatively new restaurant serving excellent hush puppies, but the name escapes me. Help me out here, CHers!

Also, if there are other places that y'all know that serve good hush puppies, please share. I know Virgil's does - that's a pre/post-theater standby for us.

Jan 11, 2008
BaronessCore in Manhattan

Last Birthday Dinner in NYC - where to go?

Normal Heights Foodie - if and when we move it will be to San Diego! I'm leaning towards Babbo with the hubby and then Jean Georges or Bouley with willing friends and foodies!

Dec 06, 2007
BaronessCore in Manhattan

Best place for churros?

Please provide address for Despana!

Dec 06, 2007
BaronessCore in Manhattan

Last Birthday Dinner in NYC - where to go?

My best friend lives in the LES - we are going to do a LES food crawl (and yes, we'll take advantage of RGR's guide as wel), which will include Katz's. I typicaly do a nice dinner/brunch for my birthday, so that's what I'm aiming for. I also will go to Momofuku Ssam Bar and Ramen Setagaya before I leave :)

Dec 05, 2007
BaronessCore in Manhattan

Best place for churros?

This is a major craving that my husband and I are having. Where to go for churros, preferably with chocolate dipping sauce. I remember having a good one at what used to be Lucy's at ABC a number of years ago and have not had them since.

Thanks in advance!

Dec 05, 2007
BaronessCore in Manhattan

Last Birthday Dinner in NYC - where to go?

I've heard that lunch at Jean Georges is a major deal, and I'd be willing to take the day off to enjoy a nice leisurely lunch. Would you recommend?

Dec 05, 2007
BaronessCore in Manhattan

Last Birthday Dinner in NYC - where to go?

Dear CHers - it is with some sadness that I say that I will be likely relocating to the West Coast next summer. My birthday is in late January, and typically I celebrate by going out to dinner with my husband one night, my best friend another night, and so on. As this is likely to be my last dinner-fest in NYC, I'm a bit at a loss for where to go. To make things more complicated, I am also pregnant so wine lists/cocktails are not a priority, and I cannot have raw seafood so nice sushi/crudo/ceviche is not acceptable. It doesn't have to be super-fancy, but the food must be memorable and not break the bank (no more than $100/person, excluding drinks).

Here's where I've been:
Union Square Cafe
Strip House
BLT Steak
Le Bernardin
Tocqueville (lunch)
Jewel Bako
Fleur de Sel
La Cote Basque and its successor LCB Brasserie
Blue Hill @ Stone Barns
Eleven Madison Park
River Cafe
WD-50 (dessert only)

Places I'm contemplating:
Babbo (would probably go here with hubby)
Perry Street
Jean Georges

Any other places I should be looking at? Please also recommend signature dish that is pregnancy-friendly.

Dec 04, 2007
BaronessCore in Manhattan


I've been a big fan of Danal on East 10th Street - $25/person, reservations required, Fridays and Saturdays at 4:30 required. Cozy room, you get a pot of tea of your choice, savory dishes (usually a mini-quiche, tea sandwiches), scones and cream, and a dessert. They let you linger for hours! Have also heard good things about Lady Mendl's, but that it's more expensive as is the tea at the Mandarin Oriental.

Oct 01, 2007
BaronessCore in Manhattan

Entertaining sister-in-law.....

You can make a reservation at Nook for parties over 3, which I did, so that's taken care of. I have a lunch rez at Lupa and a dinner rez at Crispo - will decide in a day or two which one we'll do.

Sep 14, 2007
BaronessCore in Manhattan

Entertaining sister-in-law.....

OK guys - so my husband's sister and her spouse are coming in to celebrate their last months as non-parents as they are expecting twins early next year. She has made a request for authentic Italian and we are also going to see a Broadway show. Also, nothing very spicy. She's a teacher, he's a law student and we ourselves aren't exactly drowning in moola, so I'm trying to be reasonable with the budget here.

My ideas for authentic Italian:

For pre-theatre:

What do you guys think?

Sep 13, 2007
BaronessCore in Manhattan

Recent thoughts on Setagaya?

going to be in the hood for lunch on Sunday - are they open then? What's the current take on this place? Recs?

Many thanks in advance....

Sep 10, 2007
BaronessCore in Manhattan

Recs for Little Owl?

Bacon and tomato broth, light touches of ricotta. Very tasty - the broth was perfect to sop up with bread, and the cavatelli was perfectly al dente. Great mixture of flavors and texture.

Sep 04, 2007
BaronessCore in Manhattan

Recs for Little Owl?

Just to report back - we got the sliders and the cavatelli. I really liked both - the cavatelli being quite special. We really loved the courteous, laid-back, and friendly service. The halibut was a winner - I found the pork chop to be good but quite overwhelming. Dessert was the beignets, mint tea, and a glass of blackberry cava. I'll definitely come back and try other things!

Aug 31, 2007
BaronessCore in Manhattan

Help! Where to Feed Dull Suburbanites?

My in-laws are from Kentucky. I have had great success with Korean BBQ (c'mon - it's grilled meat), Chinese, steakhouses, NY delis (Carnegie Deli is a huge hit), and Italian. Kum Gang San or Dae Dong are nice clean places near Macy's - KGS has a good lunch special of grilled bulgogi over rice so the investment is minimal.

Aug 30, 2007
BaronessCore in Manhattan

Recs for Little Owl?

Going there for the first time tonight. A quick scan of the board and other foodie blogs says the sliders, pork chop, crispy chicken and raspberry beignets are the way to go. What say you all, Hounds?

Aug 30, 2007
BaronessCore in Manhattan

Recs for NYC hound in Vancouver, BC?

Hi there - my husband and I will be in Vancouver, BC (staying at the Fairmont Waterfront) for about five days as business/pleasure trip. I'm a regular NYC foodie and am looking for great fresh food while I'm in Vancouver. I need a place to have a casual, yummy, inexpensive (entrees under $20) place for dinner our first night, and then a place for breakfast and lunch the following day. Here's the kicker: Hubby is allergic to lobster and shrimp and I cannot eat raw seafood for personal reasons.

Your help greatly appreciated and I will return the favor to anyone who is visiting NYC!

Once-in-lifetime NYC dinner: Four Seasons vs. others

Certainly sounds like a special occasion. Here are some suggestions based on what's really good right now: Cru, Veritas, Bouley, Per Se, Jean Georges, Daniel, Eleven Madison Park, Annisa, Gotham Bar & Grill, Gramercy Tavern, Craft, Asiate. I've been to Four Seasons and it's a lovely room, but I think it's stuffy and the food has gone downhill.

Aug 14, 2007
BaronessCore in Manhattan