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Thurs and Fri. night dinners ...

Staying Aug. 9 and 10th at Marriott Union Square. Thinking of "Allegro Romano" for the Thursday night and "Farallon" for the Friday night.

Any other suggestions?

I feel we should eat at a seafood restaurant one night and did look at Sotto Mare in North Beach but not sure if we're up for standing and waiting 1/2 hour and ending up at the counter (there will be 4 of us).

Also considering Waterbar, One Market and Anchor & Hope.

We have had previous meals at Perbacco and at Rose Pistola (Rose Pistola was a let down last time).

Jun 08, 2012
jdmercer in San Francisco Bay Area

Carmel / Mmonterey Friday night help for NYC chowhound

I totaly agree about The Fly Fish Grill ... 4 of us went a few years ago and we were completely underwhelmed. Too dark and dingy in there for one thing ... but the food was truly nothing to go back for. Passion Fish in Pacific Grove is in a whole other league ... enjoyed it very much.

Jun 01, 2012
jdmercer in California

Dinner tonight in (or near) Beverly Hills

oops ... you've been ..

Mar 22, 2012
jdmercer in Los Angeles Area

Dinner tonight in (or near) Beverly Hills

The Grill on the Alley in Bev. Hills has "good, warm, filling food .. the kind you want on a rainy night" ... I'm thinking chicken pot pie ...

Mar 22, 2012
jdmercer in Los Angeles Area

Unpretentious Paso Robles Wineries?

Mar 24, 2011
jdmercer in California

Paso Robles vs Santa Ynez for wine tasting

Hey. Just want to throw in my two cents.

Husband and I just got back from a Southern California road trip. We spent two nights in Solvang. Stayed at The Hadsten Inn ... LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it. Got a mid-week rate of $109 ... the rooms are very nicely done ... we had room #35 I think ... top floor, end of the hall ... very quiet. There is a restaurant on site that is actually very good ... kinda dark inside but aside from that really quite good. They have an afternoon happy hour from 4:00 until 5:00 ... my husband thought he'd died and gone to heaven as they had Firestone draft on tap that was ICE cold. Breakfast is a buffet style with eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits, gravy, fresh fruit, danishes ...

My husband was very nice and was my designated driver ... we probably went to 6 wineries on the one day. Foxen, Fess Parker, Zaca Mesa ... and sadly I forget the others.

On our arrival day we walked from the Hadsten Inn into Solvang and did two tasting rooms there (Lucas and Lewellen and their sister winery Mandolina) (Hadsten House gave us a pass and we didn't have to pay a tasting fee).

We have been to Paso Robles probably 4 times and enjoyed it very much also. I somehow thought it was more picturesque in Paso than the Santa Ynez area but both are lovely.

We ate at Root 246 in Solvang ... VERY good ... heirloom tomato salad was to die for ...

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Root 246
420 Alisal Road, Solvang, CA 93463

Aug 16, 2010
jdmercer in California

I need suggestions on what to order at Auberge du Soleil and Bottega...

Two couples - Bottega - mid-August '09 - We had I believe an 8:00 dinner rez and we arrived slightly before 8. The restaurant was buzzing with lots of people sitting outside in the lounge area and inside. We were still not seated at 8:20 or so and the very professional (older) hostess brought us all champagne flutes of Proseco … and we were seated very shortly thereafter. Our waiter, Joel, was a very happy, engaging young man and we enjoyed his service very much. Our dinners were uniformly delicious … we each very much enjoyed our meals. Our friends shared the “Burrata Caprese” creamy mozzarella burrata with heirloom tomatoes, basil oil & balsamic “caviar” $14 - they couldn’t stop mentioning how good it was .. it was lovely to look at also. They both had the Wood Grilled Rack of Grass-Fed Lamb fresh & oven roasted cherry dressing, creamy ancient grain polenta $32 - I tasted my friends’ and the lamb was delish.

I had an interesting salad starter - Sugar Snap Pea & Raw Sweet Corn Salad marcona almonds, sieved egg, pecorino, whole citrus vinaigrette $9 - I thought it was really good and lots of good for you fibre too!!! For my main I had Ricotta gnocchi, salsa di pomodoro della Nonna, pecorino $15 - these gnocchi were so light and the serving was just the right amount … I loved it. My husband had a very interesting appetizer - Bacon & Egg Pork belly confit in olive oil, crispy soft-boiled egg, slow roasted peppers, onions & cherry tomatoes $15 - when I first saw it I didn’t think he would like it, but when I looked again it was all gone … he loved it. So the theme here is … this is a really good restaurant. The chef Michael Chiarello was making rounds through the restaurant … he didn’t stop at our table but he was very visible.

Do it ... you'll be glad you did (I think).

Sep 21, 2009
jdmercer in San Francisco Bay Area

Napa Trip Report

My husband and I and our friends ate at Bottega on Aug. 11th for dinner (we were staying in Sonoma and our friends in Napa).

I had the same salad you did and enjoyed it very much. Our friends both had the lamb and I had a taste ... very good.

I also had the gnocchi ... very, VERY light and just the right amount of light tomato sauce and sprinkling of cheese.

The chef Michael Chiarello was in the restaurant cooking that night and also made several passes through the dining rooms ... didn't stop at our table however (I was the only one who knew who he was anyway).

We had to wait approx. 20 min. for our reserved table and the very professional hostess brought us all flutes of Proseco. Also my husband ordered the chocolate cake dessert which takes 25 min. to prepare apparently ... so while we had all finished eating our entrees we had to wait for his dessert to come ... so our waiter brought more on the house bubbly for us ... very nice.

We all thoroughly enjoyed our meal and we didn't feel rushed. I would definitely return when I'm next in Yountville.

Sep 02, 2009
jdmercer in San Francisco Bay Area

Looking for a good, casual lunch spot in Sonoma. Maybe a burger?

Had lunch at The Red Grape just off the square in mid-August. Enjoyed it ... although I had pizza ... sat at the bar and the owner couldn't help us enough. I would go back.

Sep 02, 2009
jdmercer in San Francisco Bay Area

3 days in Napa....10 year wedding anniversary

We were two couples visiting Napa/Sonoma in mid-August. We had a fabulous dinner at Bottega ... REALLY good food. Michael Chiarello was cooking and did a few passes through the dining rooms. Our waiter was fun, friendly, knowledgeable.

We had to wait approx. 20 min. for our reserved table ... the hostess brought us champagne flutes with Proseco ... very nice.

My husband ordered the chocolate cake that takes 25 min. to prepare ... we had all finished ou entrees and were waiting on the cake ... our waiter brought us more bubbly on the house. Again ... very nice. Can highly recommend the lamb chops, the gnocchi, and I had a really interesting salad of matchstick snap peas, raw sweet corn, some sort of nuts and a lemony vinigrette ... really tasty.

We also had a nice dinner at The Eldorado Kitchen. I wasn't expecting much (don't know why) but we sat outside on the interior courtyard by the swimming pool and the evening was very warm (had been in the high 90' during the day) plus there was a fabulous sunset and a warm breeze (cute lights strung overhead as well). The service wasn't as professional as you might want (empty bottle of beer left sitting at the edge of the table until I lifted it and handed it to someone rushing by) but the food was very good. Two of us had a gazpacho with prawns ... really good. I had a dozen oysters ... delish and nicely presented. As we went on a Wednesday night it was half price wine ... we had two bottles of Lazy Creek riesling for $25 each.

Sep 01, 2009
jdmercer in San Francisco Bay Area

MY Las Vegas Restaurant Reviews!!!

Yep ... best margarita I have ever had. We were there for dinner and I found the food portions too much for me. Should have just had an appetizer and a second margarita ...

Sep 08, 2008
jdmercer in Southwest

Lunch and dinner recs - Palm Desert

My husband and I were in Palm Desert in June this year and stayed at the Marriott Desert Springs Villas II. We had a car. We had an impromtu dinner at the Cork Tree our first night in town that turned out to be really, really good. It was 8:30 p.m. and we were politely informed that the kitchen was closing in 5 min. We were sitting in the bar area and quickly ordered. I did not think things would turn out very well given that the kitchen was closing but I was very wrong. Our server was excellent and the food very nicely presented and freshly prepared. We both thoroughly enjoyed it.

I also like Pacifica in the Gardens at El Paseo. We like to sit at bars in restaurants and have our meals. This bar is quite entertaining. You can have any drink made with one of their 125 vodkas from around the world for $5 !!!! Such a deal.

Also ate at the local Ruth's Chris steak house (my third time there). Steaks are very good .. but I think I'm kind of done with it now.

Tommy Bahamas cafe at the Garden at El Paseo is kinda fading I think. Had a drink there in the afternoon (sat at the indoor bar) and wasn't terribly impressed. Have had drinks and lunch on the outside patio before and I admit it is much more pleasant.

Aug 05, 2008
jdmercer in California

Pizzeria Mozza - your thoughts

I made reservations one month in advance for dinner on June 10th. My husband and I were on a roadtrip vacation from Vancouver, BC.

We were staying at The Beverly Hilton and arrived at Pizzeria Mozza by taxi at approx. 15 min. before our 8:30 p.m. reservation. The very nice girl at the desk had us to to our table right away. I'll admit I was at first really put off by the LOUD '70's rock music but our waitress was a really nice girl and recommended a very good bottle of red (my description of what I wanted was "something that doesn't taste like dirt or remove every last bit of moisture from my mouth"). We had the "Rocca Rubia Riserva 2004 Carignano del Sulcis" ... long name, very, very nice wine for $47.

We were seated against the wall at a table for two but were butted up very close to the table for 6 beside us. In the end, as we got used to the noise and started to enjoy our wine it was all good. We had the squash blossoms, the little fried risotto balls in red sauce, one pizza with some sort of spicy meat on it, and two desserts ... the butterscotch pudding and a combo espresso/vanilla gelato.

All in all we really enjoyed the experience and the food.

Can't say the same for a night that we went to Chaya Brasserie ... my "tangerine martini" or margarita or whatever it was tasted like dishwater and that's about all it takes to put me off the rest of the menu ... nothing was horrible but nothing was really good either.

Jul 04, 2008
jdmercer in Los Angeles Area