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Places to eat near the Grand Hyatt

I am in San Diego now. I arrived last night. I had dinner at Sally's Sea Food as suggest in a post here that now I can no longer see.
I happened to meet a colleague in the hotel lobby as I was going out and he joined me. When we got in, it took several minutes before someone paid attention to us. At one point we had 5 staff workers standing in front of us. None of them bothered to ask us if we needed help. Eventually, what seems to be an overwhelmed host told us there was a 10 mins wait for a table inside, despite there were many empty tables, or no wait for a table outside where the heaters were broken. We opted for a table outside. Our waiter showed up fairly quickly to take our orders. I ordered the fixed menu ( $35) which included fried calamari, short ribs, and a chocolate and banana desert. I was a bit surprised that the main entree wasn' t fish being a sea food restaurant. My companion ordered the signature appetizer ($16) only since he had a late lunch. For drinks, I liked the idea of the beer pairing with the menu, but I ordered a read ale instead (I forget the name) which I liked, and my companion ordered a glass of red wine (again, I forget exactly what).
Our drinks arrived quickly. Not so our food. After maybe a 30-40 minutes and no food, our waiter showed up again and deeply apologized for the delay in the kitchen saying he would get a manager involved. A few minutes later the manager showed up with all our dishes together, including the desert, and a promise to "take care of us at the end".
The calamari were crisp and dry. I liked the fake newspaper (some sort of laminated paper) at the bottom of the dish for presentation. The ribs (two boneless pieces) were very tender and tasty. They came with a couple of grilled jumbo shrimps which were also very tender. The chocolate cake was good. It had a dense outer layer with some kind of with a rich creamy interior. Overall I found my food very good and well prepared, but not exceptional either for taste or presentation. When I read the menu I had higher expectations.
When our bill came we found the manager gave us a 50% discount. In NJ/NYC, where I live, you are lucky to get a verbal apology. And we we hadn't even complained! Kudos to our waiter for being proactive and extra tip for him (on the full bill amount).

This morning I had the buffet breakfast at the hotel's Lael's restaurant. Nothing interesting to write about it. Just the standard overpriced high-end hotel breakfast, rather poor service, and a "broken espresso machine".

Jun 20, 2010
usuquetandem in San Diego

Places to eat near the Grand Hyatt

I'll be staying at the Grand Hyatt for 4 days on a business trip. I am asking the help of fellow board members to steer me towards great eats. In exchange, I promise to write mini-reviews of the places I visit. I did it in the past and it turned out to be a great success (at least for me).

I will have not have a car but I am a good walker. I'd prefer something with 30 mins walking of the Grand Hyatt. However, I will take a cab for something exceptionally good. I'm not much into burger joints, otherwise I am OK with pretty much everything, from the cheap ethnic shack to the expensive upscale place (business is paying, eh :). I won't have a date or business customers to impress and entertain. It will be only me and my hunger for tasty food.

I am looking also for a pub with a good selection of beers or a nice wine bar where I can relax a little in the evening.


PS. This is the address of the hotel.
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
One Market Place,
San Diego, California, USA 92101

Jun 17, 2010
usuquetandem in San Diego

good places to eat in Rockville?

I didn't see your comments before leaving, but I did find Grapeseed on my own. Indeed, the menu looked interesting and it was the only place I was very tempted to go in besides Raku. I did not because I wanted to have fish and I didn't see anything that I would have wanted. Good to know that my impressions were correct.

good places to eat in Rockville?

I went with a couple of colleagues to Spice Xing for lunch. It’s located in the Town Square center, opposite to Booby’s crab cakes. It is pleasantly decorated on one side by large picture of colorful Indian spice, and small mirrors framed by colored fabric on the other side. The glass tree on the back wall looked a bit over the top to me. The restaurant is separated in the middle by divider. We only had the buffet, not enough time to order food from the menu. Compared to what I am used to in the Iselin/Edison area in NJ and to what I experience in India, the spiciness and some of the sharp edges were tuned down a little. I guess that halps making it more appealing to a wider clientele. And, to be honest, I didn't mind that at all. My stomach has been thankful all day for not taking a load of spices at lunch. I detected a slight amount of sweetness in some dishes, but not enough to bother me. In fact, I enjoyed every one of them. Most of the dishes had a Southern Indian flare. We chatted with the manager a little. He said the dishes of the buffet change daily. At $7.75, the buffet is probably the best value I had so for the combination of food quality and ambience.

I had dinner at Raku in the new downtown in Bethesda. I guess it can be best described as Thai-fusion/sushi. The place was packed full so I figured it must be good. I ate outside to avoid waiting for a table. It wasn’t a good idea because I ended up waiting for service instead, in the cold. I started with ginger pumpkin soup, a cream of pumpkin with herbal croutons, sunflower seeds and paper-thin slices of dried ginger. I liked the smooth and delicate flavor of the pumpkin combined with the other ingredients. I am not sure I was supposed to eat the ginger. Maybe it was supposed to soak in the soup and release the flavor only. In doubt, I did what I always do in these situations: I ate it.
I followed with Thai curry bouillabaisse. It’s half a lobster, shrimps, squids, scallops, mussels in a tomato and red curry sauce with Thai basil and cilantro. The seafood was rubbery or soggy, and the curry paste was bland. I do a better bouillabaisse at home, sans curry. On top of that, my glass of Vouvray, which went great with the pumpkin soup, did not pair well with the fish. Bad choice on my side for the wine. I finished with a warm apple tart that took forever to arrive. And when it finally did, it was not warm. The cider cream was very liquid and unremarkable. The vanilla ice cream had a distinguishable hint of newspaper.
The bill came to over $46. This is the most I paid so far for a meal and also the most disappointing I had. Did I just happen to pick the wrong entrée and dessert?

I finished my night at the Harp and Fiddle pub, an Irish-inspired pub. Beer-wise is nothing out of the ordinary. But it was nice to listen to live music. There is a cover charge of $5 for the music.

This ends my stay in Rockville. Thanks to the many of you who helped me pick the restaurants. Each one resulted in a great meal in and contributed in making my time here very enjoyable.

good places to eat in Rockville?

I am heading to Bethesda downtown in the evening. Any suggestion for a restaurant and wine bar or pub within walking distance from the metro station?

good places to eat in Rockville?

I usually don't like dishes covered in melted American cheese either. I was surprised that I liked the redneck fondue. IMNSHO, the BBQ I had at Urban would not loose much by being covered by cheese. Or maybe I just I got spoiled by living for 7 years right next to Allen and Sons' in Chapel Hill.

I went Spice Xing for lunch. More on it later, after work.

good places to eat in Rockville?

Thanks for your suggestion. I usually avoid Italian restaurants. I cook mostly Italian at home since I was born and raised in Italy.

good places to eat in Rockville?

Today I had a hurried business lunch at Sichuan pavilion. It is unfortunate that at times work gets into the way of enjoying our meals. I had double cooked pork. It was good and authentic as far as I can tell (I wouldn’t believe any claim of authenticity of Szechuan food made by me; I have never been to the Sichuan province). My companion had fried rice with shrimps. Nothing wrong with it either, but not my kind of dish. The restaurant was nearly full, which is not surprising given the prices. My check was $7 before tip. Unbelievably cheap for what you get. I wouldn’t take a date there, but then, again, I wasn’t there for a date nor for the décor.

I had dinner at Bobby’s crab cakes, mostly because I left work late and had little time before heading to downtown DC to meet friends. I had the crab cake platter ($26.95). The cakes were excellent and had large chunks of crab meat. The rest of the platter was nothing to write on a message board about. The cabbage in the coleslaw was a bit too though for my taste. I am glad I tried the cakes. They were good. But I wouldn’t there go again. Just a matter of personal preference. To me it was like a piece of music in which only one note is played. I prefer dishes where flavors hit you from different directions, like in a piece by Stravinsky.
On the way out I had a quick glimpse at the menu of Spice Xing right across the street and I wished I had gone there instead. Oh, well. I’ll go there tomorrow.

On the way to DC I stopped by Gilly's, the beer/wine store near urban BBQ. They carry a better than average selection of domestic and European beers (mostly Belgian). At a cursory glimpse, the wine selection did not look impressive but, again, better than average for such a small liquor store. There are a couple of tables in the front, and they have cheeses at the counter (I think they were mostly domestic, but I didn’t look carefully). It looks like a relaxed place to chill and have a nice beer before heading next door for your fix of redneck fondue.

good places to eat in Rockville?

Gordon Biersch looked more formal than what I was in the mood for last night. I will be probably going again tomorrow night. I am going for lunch tomorrow to Sichuan Pavilion.
I only ripped off half a nail. It is painful but it's nothing serious. It's already better now. But thanks for your concern.

good places to eat in Rockville?

Today I had lunch at La Canela. I find hard to compare it to anything I have tried before. All Peruvian restaurants I have been to fall in the "cheap ethnic shack" class, catering mainly to low-income immigrants. Canela clearly targets a different clientele. It's located on the back of the upscale Town Square Plaza, behind the library. The ambience is very pleasant. For what I could see, there are two dining rooms. I was sitting in the one downstairs which is decorated with three tall mirrors on one side and a pastel-colored fresco on the back wall. I liked the carved wooden chairs. Tables are a bit close together and the room sounded a bit noisy even though there were few people. I could clearly hear the conversation of customers 3-4 tables away from me.
I picked the $15 menu ejecutivo which consists of one appetizer and one entree. First I had Yuquita rellena, that is a ball of mashed baked yucca filled with crab meat, deep fried for a very short time to give it a thin crispy skin that keeps it together. It came with a pink sauce (I think it was mayo and chili powder, maybe something else) and a small side salad of red onions, tomatoes and cilantro. The red onions must have been soaked in water because they were very mild. I liked both the presentation and the taste.
My second dish was asado com polenta. The meat was tender and tasty, in a tomato sauce. It came on top of a bed of creamy polenta. I believe there was some dairy in the polenta, I am not sure. You may want to inquire with the waiter if you are lactose intolerant.
I finished with Suspiro de Limena for dessert. It's a thick cream of egg yolk, dulce di leite and sweet wine which reminded me a little of zabaglione, topped by a smooth meringue. I had the impression that the eggs were raw. Again, check with the waiter if that's a problem for you. It was very good but twist-your-tong kind of sweet. The check came to $23.32 before tip. The amount of food was just right for me. I could have done without the desert but I was too curious to see how it was. I will go back if I am again in the area. I think the menu ejecutivo is a good value for lunch.

I had dinner at the Urban BBQ. I just had to try that redneck fondue! Klaus described the place as casual which is a bit of an understatement. It was a fresh change from the sterilized environment of the office I had been all day. I loved the comic page clipped on top of the urinary! Gives you something to do in those idle moments. The mullet manual on display a the base of the counter is also a touch of class.
The fondue ($5.59) is black bean chili covered with molten cheese. To my surprise, I liked it a lot. The beef brisket and pulled pork in the combo plate ($10.49), instead, were slightly dry and overall disappointing. All got washed down by a couple of bottles of Shiner Bock. Total before tip was $23.11. I would go back, but next time I'll change my business attire first.

I am typing this in front of a sampler at the Dogfish Head Alehouse. Well worth the drive. Thanks to the Klaus that suggested it.

Tomorrow I'll be going to Sichuan Pavilion for lunch. Dinner will be either at Damo Sushi, or Bobby's Crabcakes, or BaLe.

good places to eat in Rockville?

There is a bug in the board software. It doesn't allow to edit long posts.

good places to eat in Rockville?

I am finally in Rockville! As promised, I'll post where I ended up each day.

I got here a little late tonight due to a small accident at home in the afternoon (see note to self #1). I had to go to the the Sheraton instead of the Hilton because the Hilton was full. The Sheraton is only so and so. My room is a little small, there is no fridge and no bath tub. Not that I care about the latter. But the fridge, yes, I do care. And the carpet is a bit stained. The Hilton definitely looked better. It is also $40 more expensive though.

Right after checking in, I headed out to A&J which received unanimous recommendations. It took me a little to find it, it is well hidden in that strip mall. It didn't help also that the lights were off. Alas, it was closed.
Luckily, I had with me Joe's Noodle House address which is in the same area. That too is well hidden. Following Steve's suggestions, I had Wanton with red hot sauce (W01, $5.50), Homemade bacon with Leeks (T21, $8.95), plus, on the suggestion of the host, Tibetan Style lamb with cumin (H14, $10.95). The wanton was very tasty and piping hot (see note to self #4). The spiciness was just the right amount for me. It was biting, but not biting back afterward. The bacon was thicker than what you normally get for breackfast and it came in a garlicky ginger sauce with black beans. It's the dish I liked best of the three. The lamb was tender and tasty but didn't go too well with me. It's not that it wasn't good, the cumin taste was well balanced, but it was more oily than I wanted. I probably wouldn't take it if I were to go there again. Their noodle soups looked very interesting, but I passed because noodle soups for me are for breakfast only. If I were to go again in the morning I would probably try one. That, and the twice cooked pork.
The check came out to 26.92 before tip. Overall a very good value. The amount of food I got was enough for two. I got complimentary tea which was very much appreciated. The staff was very friendly and attentive. The restaurant was nearly empty by the time I got there, I was the last costumer to leave. If I have to find a fault is that the food was a bit greasy. Than again, almost every restaurant I visted while in China was greasy, except a couple of very expensive restaurants in HK and Beijing. I guess that comes with being "authentic". Whatever that mean.

On the way back I needed a beer. First to calm down the pain in my big toe (see note to self #1), second to sooth my scorched mouth (see note to self #4), and, finally, to wash away some of the greasyness. I stopped by Gordon Biersch but it looked more formal and crowded than I wanted at that time. I ended up getting my beer at the hotel. I may go back to Gordon Biersch one day that I am showered and shaved.

Incidentally, I will be right next to Gordon Biersch during the day. Tomorrow for lunch I am planning to visit La Canela. I haven't decided about dinner yet.

Notes to self:
#1: Use steel toe boots when moving gym equipment, or, at least, do not do it barefooted
#2: Reserve hotel earlier next time
#3: Check opening times *before* heading out to restaurant.
#4: Let food cool down before taking a mouthful.

good places to eat in Rockville?

Yes, I am planning to write mini-reviews every night of where I ended up, what I got, what I liked, and what I didn't as a thank you for your suggestions. I am getting there Tuesday. Stay tuned :)

good places to eat in Rockville?

Thanks, these all sounds like places I'd like to try and close to enough for my 4 days, but if you have more suggestions, they are welcome!

good places to eat in Rockville?

I will be staying at the Hilton in Rockville for 4 days on a business trip. I am looking for good places to eat in that area. I will have a car but prefer not to drive too far (although I will drive for something exceptionally good). I'm not so much into burger joints, otherwise I am OK with pretty much everything, from the cheap ethnic shack to the expensive upscale place (business is paying, eh :). I won't have a date or business customers to impress and entertain. Tasty food is all I am after.
Oh, I am looking also for a pub with a good selection of beers or a nice wine bar where I can relax a little in the evening.



Korean BBQ - Charcoal grills

Another vote for Kimchi Hana.
I don't remember if Edison noodle house uses charcoal, but food was disappointing the last two times we went. Kimchi Hana is better.

Nov 28, 2008
usuquetandem in New Jersey

In Search Of Central Jersey Peruvian

An old thread, but... add to the list El Tumi on Route 28 in Middlesex. It's on the west side, across the street from a transmission shop, and next to the Boro Pharmacy. It's hard to see passing by, it has only a small sign. We tried it for the first time last week and found reasonably good. I am not an expert in Peruvian food though, I can't really say whether it is authentic or not. FWIW, we were the only non-Spanish speaking in the restaurants.

Nov 28, 2008
usuquetandem in New Jersey

Indian in/around Bridgewater, NJ

The place on Prince Rodgers is called Bombay Grill, IIRC. That' the only one we found in the area too. The next closest one is Pooja, on Washington valley rd in Warren. Spices are tuned down but they'll spice it up if you ask.
When we feel like real Indian we drive to Edison/Iselin.

Nov 28, 2008
usuquetandem in Mid-Atlantic

287 s to bedminster

Some places to consider around Bedminster.
In Bedminster:
- Willie's Tavern has a decent hamburger. Only that.
- Mike's cafe' makes decent sandwiches and paninis. Nothing to drive there for, but if you are around and need something quick...I seem to remember that the ice cream too is not bad, but it's been a while since I had it.
- There is a hot dog van on 206 South, just North of Bedminster, IIRC approx near the intersection with Old Dutch Rd. I have been meaning to try it but haven't so far. I usually pass in front of it when I am on the bike.

In Pluckemin:
- The Japanese on Burnt Mills Rd at the intersection with 206 South. The name escapes me now. Good sushi.
- Tuscany Bistro on the AP shopping center at the intersection of 206 and Washington Valley rd. A decent Italian.

In Gladstone:
- Dominick's pizza. A little shack near the train station. Pizza is good, thin crust. I didn't try anything else.

You're right, there's not much ethnic food around there. For that you'd have to drive to Bridgewater/ Raritan/ Somerville.

Oct 30, 2008
usuquetandem in Mid-Atlantic

Dim Sum anyone?

We like Jade Isle in Scotch Plains. Depending where you on Staten Island, it can be within one hour. We go only during week-ends, so I am not sure whether they have real dim sum during the week, but they have a somewhat limited dim-sum menu you can order from at any time.

Oct 14, 2008
usuquetandem in New Jersey

Q2 café - authentic Shanghainese in Warren, NJ

My first post. I have been lurking now and then for leads on good restaurants around where we live. I am still relatively new to the area. So far I didn’t have much to contribute.

Despite all the suggestions here, I have been ranting with my wife for some time that we had not found a good and inexpensive Chinese close to us. We regularly go to Jade Isle in Scotch Plains for dim sum, but that's a little further than I want to drive for a quick meal when I don't feel like cooking. Now I believe I found what I was looking for, in a rather unlikely place: a café.

Q2 café is in the same shopping center in Warren where Silk Road and Thai Kitchen are. I passed in front of it several times but paid no attention to it until about a week ago. While leaving Silk Road, I saw a sign outside advertising "Asian new fusion" dishes. I got closer and noticed a menu written in Chinese in display on the window. I avidly grabbed one copy of the English menu and made a mental notice that I should be back ASAP.

I have trying since then to come up with an excuse to take my wife back there (she’s not a big fan of Chinese food.) We were in the area yesterday with a friend, when I sheepily suggested that it was too late to cook dinner and we should buy some food to take home. To which, fortunately, they agreed.

The women at the counter were clearly puzzled that I wanted to order from the Chinese menu even though I couldn’t read it. After going back and forth a little, we eventually settled on a mix of our picks and suggestions by the hosts. We ordered an Asian pancake with chicken for appetizer, a flounder dish in tomato sauce from the Chinese menu recommended by the host, mango chicken, and Shanghai noodles with chicken.
(That’s a lot of chicken, I know.) The total bill came to around $47.

Even though we ordered our food to go, the host insisted that we ate the pancake there, while still warm (somehow in authentic Chinese restaurants I am always told by the waiter if I ordered enough food, how I should eat my food, and what I should not order because “Americans don’t like that". I have almost come to expect that).
The pancake was one of the best I had. The dough was crisp and the ingredients were fresh and tasty.

While we were still waiting, the host offered us a complimentary soup with tomato and chicken. This too was excellent. It had a strong garlic taste, with just the right amount of spiciness. The tomatoes were very tasty and the chicken tender and not too dry.

We had the rest of our food at home. Everything was excellent, with none of that goopy and sweet sauce that is all too common in mediocre Chinese food. The flounder was probably the best of all. It was sautéed in a light batter in a garlicky tomato sauce with onions. Simple but very good. Again, the tomatoes were delicious, and the flounder was perfectly cooked: juicy and not dry at all.

The food was abundant for the three of us; we have plenty of leftovers for another meal. The dishes, to our surprise, did not come with steamed rice. Next time we know and we order it separately.

Even though we found it very good, I can’t fully vouch for their claim of authenticity, but only for lack of knowledge on my side. I have never been to China, I am not Chinese, nor I play one on TV (even though I’ll admit to having played Peter Sellers playing the Chinese in more than one occasion). I did show the Chinese menu to a coworker of mine who is Chinese and she said the dishes looked authentic to her from the description.

While we were there, a couple of women came and were served pork shoulder, which I understand is a typical Shanghai dish. It looked delicious. Next time that’s what I am going to order.

Appetizer are between $5 and $8. Entrees on the Chinese menu are between $10 and $28 ($38 for pecking duck for 4).They also have the regular fare of café dishes on their menu, such as sandwiches, wraps and salads, but that’s not what I was after.
The décor, like their web site, could use some improvement. But then, again, it’s a café, not a fine restaurant.

The address is
Q2 Café,
41 Mountain Blvd, Warren, NJ 07059
tel. (908) 21-5128 or (732) 968-0858

Please try it out and report back what you think. According to the host they opened only five months ago. The few times I passed by it was always almost empty. Now that I found a good Chinese close enough to our house, I would be very disappointed if it were to go out of business for lack of costumers.

Oct 09, 2008
usuquetandem in Mid-Atlantic