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Montreal and Quebec City Meals

We'll be in Montreal and Quebec City in July. I've got some meals planned:

Montreal:
Dinner Justine au Vin, Kitchen Gallerie
Lunch: Marche 27, Bistro Bienville

We need one more dinner and one more lunch. We are looking for places to highlight Montreal's food scene more than the "best" Montreal restaurant. We also don't want formal restaurants but more casual oriented. Would also like to have one lunch place that we could take kids.

Quebec City:
Dinner: Restaurant le Patriarche, Le Moine Echanson
Lunch: Le pain beni (with the kids), Le Saint-Amour

We wouldn't to go to Laurie Raphael for lunch (dinner looks very expensive), but they aren't open for lunch the days we are there. We need one more lunch and one more dinner as well. Again, we'd like places that aren't tourist destinations but that locals would consider representative of Quebec's food culture.

Also, any must visit coffee shops? We like to hang out and just enjoy the city scene. We might have kids to bring to the coffee shop too.

Thanks in advance.

Boston summer eating

Thanks for all the great responses. Now, it's back to the drawing board to incorporate these ideas with our schedule. We do have a car, so we can drive to Blue Ginger but if it's not particuarly interesting we will avoid that.

Would love to go somewhere that is representative of the local cuisine--if there is such a place. I know that in San Fran that would be impossible to answer. What local cuisine? Italian? Seafood? Asian? etc. We are staying near MIT, so anything in that area will be easy for us to get to.

One final question, we are taking four kids (which will NOT be joining us for dinner), but we do want to take them somewhere "Bostonian" for lunch. Any ideas?

Thanks again!

Apr 21, 2009
mvasudeva in Greater Boston Area

NYC summer dining

Thanks for all the great responses. Especially appreciate the Chelsea Market itinerary. We are going to go over the list again and see if we can incorporate all these good ideas.

thanks!

Apr 21, 2009
mvasudeva in Manhattan

Chow across Canada

Hope this is the right place to post this. I'm doing a road trip across Canada for five weeks this summer. I'm starting in Banff and working my way East to PEI/Nova Scotia. I'll be traveling the southern route through Calgary, Winnipeg, Regina, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City into New Brunswick to PEI then Nova Scotia.

I've searched the boards for the major cities, but what I'm really looking for is where are the best places across Canada that showcase local foods, that highlight Canada's best eating opportunities. I'm interested in bakeries, cheese shops, wine, farmer's markets. I want to eat my way across Canada and get a sense of what that entails.

This may be too broad a question to get any useful responses, but I'd appreciate any thoughts people have.

thanks,

Apr 15, 2009
mvasudeva in Atlantic Canada

NYC summer dining

A foodie friend and I will be in NYC in August and need two lunches and two dinners. We are big foodies and do lots of research before we go, but we wanted some advice from the board about the tentative list we've generated. We are looking for a diverse selection (one Italian, one french, one fusion, etc.). We are also big wine and martini drinkers and want to visit some wine bars or martini stops before we eat.

We are thinking of:

Jean Georges and Felidia for lunch

For dinner we are having a hard time narrowing things down from the following:
Mesa Grill
Boyley Upstairs
WD~50
Blue Hill
Craft
Babbo
Spicy Mina
Spotted Pig

We are also looking for the best places to shop for bread, cheese and charcuterie.

We are hoping to hit Sullivan's bread bakery (what else might work?)

For drinks we were thinking
Angel's Share
Flatiron Lounge
PDT
Giottino

We were hoping that we could do lunch and then food shop (walking) our way to dinner so we have to consider location somewhat as well.

We would love to have some feedback about our list: what should we add? what should we get rid of? Thanks so much in advance.

Apr 15, 2009
mvasudeva in Manhattan

Boston summer eating

A foodie friend and I are going to be in Boston in July for three nights and want to hit three different but great restaurants (by great, we want good quality for the price. Quality of the food is our most important criteria but also want to enjoy the experience). We are fans of Italian (particularly southern), southwestern, French and fusion. I'm from the San Fran area and she's from Chicago so we can get really great restaurants in our home towns as well, but we want the best Boston has to offer. We also really enjoy wine and cocktails. We've done a bunch of research and are having a horrible time narrowing things down. We didn't find anything southwestern. So far, this is our tentative list from which we've got to narrow things down:

Silverton
Blue Ginger
Petit Robert Bistro
Bin 26 Enoteca
Figs
Salts
Hungry Mother

We've discarded Craigie street Bistro because it seems to get such wildly divergent reviews.

Would love to have some feedback about our list and/or additions to consider.

thanks in advance!

Apr 15, 2009
mvasudeva in Greater Boston Area

San Diego Eats

Restaurant Update on recent long weekend to San Diego. We just spent four days in San Diego eating and drinking our way around our old favs and a few new ones. Here are the brief reviews:

The Mission downtown twice (J and 12th, EAst Village)
As long time diners at the Mission in all its incarnations (at mission beach and north park), we were pleasantly surprised at the downtown version. Not because the food was better than at the others (it wasn't better but it was just as good), but because the servers were actually friendly, helpful, patient, etc. What a change from our usual service at the other Missions! I say this while also saying that having eaten at the mission for over 13 years, we haven't been extremely bothered by the "rough" service and have occassionally met servers that seemed glad we were there. However, we have given up going to the North Park Mission because we've had such bad service--a combination of complete ignoring and rudeness.
Downtown was great. We ended up staying both visits for almost two hours which, if you've been to the mission, you realize is somewhat of a hardship to the servers in that they could be turning the tables much quicker with all the people waiting outside. However, they more than tolerated our long prescence (and hopefully we rewarded their tolerance with our large tip!).
The food was excellent--we ordered rancheros verde (tortillas with black beans, eggs, and a green chile sauce), pappos locos (crispy fried potatoes with jalapenos, black beans, salsa, avocado), blueberry cornmeal pancakes, chicken apple sausage, roast beef hash (with big soft chunks of roast beef and fried potatoes served with rosemary bread and eggs). We had tea and coffee as well (we always order our hot drinks in tall cups because the "bowls" they serve the tea in get cold so darn quick). The only disappointment was the side order of tortillas. They tasted stale and we didn't finish them.

The Linkery (30th and Upas, North Park; thelinkery.com)
THis was our third stop at The Linkery. We really enjoy this restaurant, but I say that while also acknowledging that their food is not always as good as we hope. Having tried almost everything on the main menu, we ventured to the specials this time. Our appetizers were great--a dip made of pepitas was tasty and unexpectedly creamy; and the sausage with sauerkraut was wonderful. I don't like sauerkraut (or, at least, I thought I didn't). But this was great. I would have eaten another plate of this. THe sausage was a spicy red pepper sausage (they make all of their sausages here and we've never had a bad one--although at times they are overcooked). I wish we'd ordered two sets of these appetizers and skipped the entrees.
For our entrees, we had beef belly which, while tender, did not have much taste at all. And, it was so fatty (which isn't the Linkery's fault, I don't think. I am guessing that's just a property of that cut). Our other entree were ribs that they smoke in house and serve with their own bbq sauce. They were tasteless and dry. What a disappointment. Dessert was also a disappointment. the pound cake was dried out and over cooked (we've had the pound cake before and found it much better). An olive oil ice cream sounded intriguing but tasted like a mediocre super market frozen confection. Finally, we did have one of the coffees off the coffee menu--they offer six or seven press pots of intricately described coffees. These are expensive but if you drink lots of coffee after dinner maybe it's worth it. I tried the coffee (which I don't really drink) and it was quite flavorful.
The wines were great. We selected a sauvignon blanc off the happy hour list, which I must say was a bit less refreshing then we would have liked but wasn't bad for $3.50. The other glass we had was the fox creek vixen sparkling Shiraz (or syrah) I can't remember which. And it was great. I'd drink the whole bottle of that stuff. The waiter suggested a nice bottle of Margo (or something like that--wish I'd written it down), that was wonderful. We also had a bottle of a mango beer which was surprisingly yummy.
We love this place and hope they keep improving the food as they fine tune the restaurant. Check out their web site and blog. It's a very friendly restaurant kind of slow food place that works hard to use only local purveyors or at least purveyors they know.

THe Guild (Barrio Logan at 1850 Newton; theguildrestaurant.com) This gem was recommended by the Linkery and a couple of web sites confirmed their reviews. We did see several bad reviews of the place as well. But we found nothing to complain about and lots to praise. First a note on location. Every review we read started out by saying: be careful of the ghetto location and the "gang bangers". However, we found the location to be fine. Having grown up in the midwest where "ghetto" means something quite different than in CA, it's hard to envision the area surrounding the Guild as "ghetto".
Almost next door is a school, small homes line the nearby streets with a few restaurants scattered around. We walked there from downtown and walked home in the dark at 10pm and while the streets may not be as well lighted as we liked, you are almost immediately in the vicinty of the east village once you head west from Barrio Logan. Maybe driving here takes you through areas that are "rougher".
When we arrived (early, about 5:30), there were five or six young kids (10-12 year olds) hanging out front on skateboards and scooters. my husband chatted with them for a bit. The staff at the restaurant seemed quite friendly with them and they rode up and down outside for several hours (we stayed here for at least four hours). The restaurant is open in that the front and back stores stand open, there are lots of windows, etc., so you feel both an inside/outside kind of atmosphere almost wherever you sit.
We sampled at least half the menu of food and quite a bit of the excellent half glass wine menu as well. Our waiter was quite helpful in giving us recommendations and bringing us small tastes of wine before we ordered a half glass. Our food favorites included a wonderful stuffed pasilla chile (like a chile relleno only not fried) with a bright, spicy green chile sauce on top; a cheese plate paired with three wines that nicely complimented one another. Interestingly, we had tried one of the wines (a rose) earlier and had found it unpalatable, but paired with the cheese it became not only drinkable but quite refreshing and quite a compliment to the cheese flavors. Whoever is putting these plates together is doing a great job.
The Kobe beef sliders and the pommes frites came highly recommended so we tried both of them. They were good, but I still liked the chile and cheese plate better. We also had the artichoke appetizer which are two small artichoke hearts covered in cheese (I think) and then broiled till they are like little creme brulees. We also had the crabcakes which were flavorful and full of crab. We had the smores for dessert. if anything did not live up to its expectations, it was the dessert: three marshmallows, a couple of pieces of hershey chocolate and not very good graham crackers.
The servings are small and they aren't cheap. However, we felt that we were getting value for our money. Nothing we ordered (except the smores) seemed over priced given the presentation, the wait staff, and the quality of the food.
I haven't mentioned the atmosphere. I would describe it as modern/art deco meets contemporary warehouse (you can literally see into a warehouse at the back of the restaurant). We really enjoyed the atmosphere, didn't find it loud or uncomfortable. Apparently, they will be opening an upstairs lounge at some point in the future. They don't currently have a liquor license so they serve cocktails with wine like liquor. All the wines we had by the half glass were good. We just ordered so many that we lost track!

Sogno di Vigno (India st., Little Italy)
We went here because it was located right around the corner from our hotel. We had a light dinner before departing San Diego. It was a great place for snacks and wine. WE sat in the window on a comfortable couch and had republic of tea iced tea (they were out of five of the six flavors) and we had a full glass of a sauvignon blanc (too oaky for us--they were also out of several of their wines) and two half glasses of red, one from Siciliy and the other from the Rhone region. Both were good and ran about $4 for a half glass.
We also sampled their cheese plate which was huge ($9). If the guild's portions are a tad small for most diners, this cheese plate is huge. The chef selects three cheeses and serves them with pecans, dried cranberries and wonderful flavorful olives (I would have eaten tons of these!). They come with very good bread. We also had the caprese salad ($11) which was fresh and good but nothing spectacular. THis place is casual almost to the point of a deli but then with fancy table linens and upscale food. Kind of a mixed atmosphere.

Star Lite (India st., near Washington; starlitesandiego.com) After walking to this restaurant which is in this kind of warehousey area on India (north of little Italy) we weren't quite sure what kind of food/wine we could expect. But the atmosphere alone was worth the visit. Inside the odd sexagon shaped door (I think it's a sexagon!), the lounge area is dark with dangling "star lite" chandelier over the sunken bar. It's comfy, 50ish maybe with dark booths. We started eating out on the patio which is more modern, think white plastic molded chairs and tables.
Our waiter was friendly but somewhat uninformed, telling us that the Brazilian Liquor Cachaca was made from grapes (not cane sugar). The cocktail list was what had brought us here--we wanted something other than wine this time. And it did not disappoint in terms of its unusualness and its flavors. We tried two bourbon cocktails pushed by the waitress who loves Bourbon. Not being Bourbon fans did not stop us. They were both unusual and quite flavorful: the Sazerac was soaked in Herbsaint, a licorice like liquor and was the bartenders creation. The second was the Starlite Julep, a mix of bourbon, mint, ginger syrup and bitters. I had the starlite mule (ginger beer, lime, vodka and bitters), kind of the house cocktail. It's served in a copper mug which is a nice touch, but the drink was too watery for me. I'm not a bitters person but these bitters did not bother me (the bartender makes them herself). Our last drink was the Cachaca Hemingway which was very good and sent us to the liquor store to buy some Cachaca and Maraschino (which the bartender let us taste on its own).
The drinks are better than the food. The food wasn't bad but it wasn't that stellar. The "pommes frites" were simply french fries with some parm on them (and they weren't hot enough). The sausage board was interesting but not anything like the Linkery. And it was quite a small serving for $15. We also had the bruschetta with parmigiana pudding (which just seemed like parmigian melted with butter). The bruschetta said it came with arugula but was served with regular greens. THis was the best appetizer we had and the only one I'd order again. We quit at that point, thinking we didn't want to risk ordering entrees. Maybe that was a mistake.
We sat inside at the bar for our last drink because we wanted to talk to the bartender who seemed to take pride in her concoctions. She was quite willing to talk with us about the drinks and certainly knew her trade. Unfortunately, she had other customers to wait on and we couldn't monopolize her!

Chloe (721 9th, cafechloe.com). We had brunch here on Sunday. We like the location, on the corner of 9th and G, and we like the casual, french like atmosphere. But the seats are so uncomfortable we can never stay here long (maybe that's the intention). Our waiter was being trained but he was quite friendly and eager to please. We had tea and coffee to start. A cup of tea is $4 and seems a bit high. The cappucino was good and is served in a traditional smaller cup. Our brunch dishes included a chive, brie omelet that was cooked to perfection, soft and light with some lousy breakfast potatoes and a small salad; and we ordered the truffle poached eggs with wild mushrooms. THe mushrooms were good as were the poached eggs but I couldn't detect any truffle. We like this place but don't know that we'll be back. It's quite expensive and uncomfortable.

We also made two trips up to Bread and Cie (University and 4th; Hillcrest). It was as good as usual. They seem to make new changes between our every visit. They are hoping to acquire a beer/wine license, and the lady who waited on us said they might be going to open in the evenings now. We tried a cupcake, something we haven't had in the past. It was fine, but nothing to write home about. The pastrami panini was excellent.

An unexpected stop was at the downtown Extraordinary Desserts which we literally stumbled over on our way home from the Guild. Like the Hillcrest version, this one is so overcrowded that I can barely stand to be inside it. There is a cop at the door who had to keep telling people to get out of the way of the door which was almost impossible because people are packed so tightly inside it's difficult to move THis is like a warehouse with tons of seating in this open corral area. No way could I bring myself to sit down there, but we got a slice of the chocolate shortbread (excellent even three days later when we got home) and the pavlova which was outstanding. I am going to hunt for a similar recipe. It had some kind of cream cheese or mascarpone filling. YUM! There is a take away order place that you can shove through the crowds to get too (most people seem to be trying to get a table).

All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our eating trip

Jul 25, 2007
mvasudeva in California

Can't-miss wineries around Sonoma?

Santa Rosa press democrat just did a tasting of Zins in the Healdsburg/Santa Rosa area. It might be worth while to take a look at their comments. They list each winery from which the Zin comes from and rate it. Their top rated was Robert Rue Winery.
I am going to attempt to paste the URL here
http://go.northbay.pressdemocrat.com/...

Can't-miss wineries around Sonoma?

Just returned from Healdsburg. Here's a quick wine report of our experience:
Went up to Preston which had been recommended to us (organic winery, set in a scenic farm area with bocce and picnic and chickens, etc.). Place was quaint but we did not care for any of the wine (too acidic or something). We are NOT very picky.
Wachichi (sp?) right around the corner from Preston. THis place only does Zin's so far. Just opened. The zin was great the view was spectacular. They are running out of wine though, so have to get there quickly.
Pedroncelli on canyon road was highly recommended to us from several people but we weren't able to get there
For us, the good thing about Healdsburg was that we could do tasting on the square and not have to drive anywhere--the wineries below all have tasting rooms on or around the square
Tandem (in Bovolo marketplace)--nice selection of wines
DaVero in Bovolo--did not care for their wines
Philip Staley in Bovolo, thought these were okay (but some were a bit strange)
Thumbprint--cool atmosphere, fun staff and good, inexpensive wines. We bought a cab franc and a zin there. They recommended we go to Sunce and Selby.
Sunce--we loved this place. THe wine was good (I don't know that it was spectacular) but we liked almost everything they poured and they poured generously. We ended up with half a case, heavy on the zins and a good cabernet as well. The guy there is a riot--we had a great time just chatting with him. He also recommende Selby to us, but we never made it
Mayo--this was recommended to us from a chowhound post. We did the wine/tasting and while we enjoyed the food (it comes from Zin, the restaurant next door) we were not very enamoured with the wines.
Gallo--we tried this because several people had said that GAllo was making some good high end wines. Unfortunately, we did not get to taste any of these.

Hope you find something good

Piedmont Ave./Oakland area

I just read some restaurant reviews on around Piedmont area near Oakland. We would like to try a restaurant in that area. Anyone have suggestions?

Thanks!

LA hound looking for suggestions...

Just a last minute plug for Town Hall. We had a thorougly enjoyable experience there in November. The food may not have been wonderful--I can't really remember what we ate, but the service and experience were stellar. The staff were so friendly and relaxed, and we never felt rushed. Waiters were joking with customers in a really laid back way. Just one example, we sat at the bar because we got there early (and had some great martinis, by the way) and when we were finished, I went over to the host and said we were ready to be seated. Meanwhile, my husband was attempting to pay our bar tab which ended up taking a long time. The host stood behind us at the bar chatting, not in the least put out that we had taken him away from the stand when we weren't really ready. He was quite friendly. So, if you are looking for something with a kind of relaxed vibe, Town Hall might be worth a visit. I know we'll be going back.

We've also really enjoyed Canteen--but you've got to be comfortable with the whole eat your meal in 1.5 hours and get out thing. We tend to like a slower atmosphere. We sat at the bar and enjoyed watching the chef work (the staff were not very friendly--not unfriendly but pretty busy). The place runs at a quick pace. The food was great.
Have a great visit!

Healdsburg recommendations

We're back from Healdsburg and I am going to post reviews of where we ate.
For lunch on Saturday, we ate at Bovolo, per the suggestion above. We really enjoyed it. It's casual and yummy, and it's located in a great market where we got to taste Schaffenberger chocolate and several wines (Tandem winery was there and several others). Lunch included the special of the day which was a pulled pork sandwiche with a soy bbq sauce on a homemade bun that soaked up the sauce beautifully and a sausage burger. We enjoyed both. The pork was served with coleslaw with a light vinegar/mayo dressing that was a bit tangy. And both dishes were served with a variety of yummy olives. Before lunch, because we were starving, we had our gelato which is made at Bovolo. We had lavendar, ginger and peanut butter and liked all three. The lavendar did not taste like lavendar but it was still good. The peanut butter tasted like fresh, natural peanut butter.
The setting is kind of minimalist warehousey. The inside eating area is small, and I imagine when full it would be loud. There is also an outside eating are, but believe it or not, it was too sunny to sit out there when we were there. I did notice umbrellas outside but they weren't put up.

Dinner was Cyrus. We arrived early for our 9pm reservation to sample martinis in the bar. I had the house special, the waverly, and my husband had a margarita version. I did not care for either. The waverly was heavy on citrus with lemongrass, lemon, lime, and mandarin oranges that gave it this overpowering citrus flavor that I swear I'm still tasting today. I don't like margaritas so my judgment of the margarita is probably flawed. It had this foam on top that was so salty and just weird. My husband liked both drinks but I doubt he'd order either again.
For dinner we ordered the three and four course tastings (the options were, 3 course ($68), 4 course $80, 5 course $92, chef's tasting 7 courses $110). We considered the chef's tasting but the waiter explained the whole table must order it and we didn't want to both order the same dishes.
First course was a chef's offering of ceviche and something else that I can't remember, sorry. But both were excellent. I am just going to describe the rest of the courses below:
cold lobster salad with an unbelievably intense cilantro dressing that was both of our favorites courses over the night
hamachi with a soy dressing and sesame seed seared--I thought this was okay. My husband liked it better. It was basically raw and I thought it had an off, kind of dry texture.
gnocchi with escargot and persillade was okay00sounds more interesting then it was
Hoison squab with black bean rice cake--this dish seemed to be cooked to perfection. The squab was quite tender but I did not care for the soy sauce on top--it was too soy saucy.
Steak frites with porcni mushrooms ($25 supplement). This was Wagyu (not sure how to spell it) beef so that's why the supplement. To me it tasted like a filet mignon with no flavor. My husband agreed. We weren't too thrilled with the steak and the frites was literally like a mcdonald's hash brown, kind of mushy and greasy (it was not "frites" like french fries)
Cheese course--they push a cheese cart to the table and select three cheese from it for you. These are served with some poached pear and panforte and nuts. It was excellent. My second favorite part of the meal
Three other little courses were given that weren't on the menu: an amuse bouche of a baby shrimp which was quite flavorful, a "lollipop" of fruit gelato that was excellent and I wish I'd have seven of them and a plate of small candies at the end of the meal (that we could have done without).
My husband had the three course wine tasting with his meal and this included a sake, a chablis and a red. None of them were distinct. (I forgot to mention the champagne he ordered off the champagne caviar cart that comes around the minute you sit down--the champagne was not distinctive). I asked for two wine suggestions for my food and was given the same chablis as my husband (which disappointed us because we wanted to try different things!) and a red that I can't remember!
Overall experience was fine but nothing spectacular. I felt kind of like I was a participant in a well-orchestrated play rather then someone at a spontaneous passionate food fest (which I must prefer . . . ). The total bill was about $330.

I'll have to post our other meals later!

Healdsburg recommendations

Thanks for the great suggestions!

Healdsburg recommendations

My husband and I will be in Healdsburg for a weekend without kids in Feb. We've gotten recommendations for Cyrus and made a reservation there. But we are looking for something for the second night for dinner. Also, can anyone comment on Cyrus?

For the second night, I would like to find something that isn't the whole fancy/california/french prix fix thing (don't know if there is a better one word way to describe this cuisine?). While we have certainly enjoyed it, I am getting tired of eating off a similar menu every where I go (something with foie gras, something with duck, etc.). Does anyone have any recommendations for not upscale but good food places in this area? Would love to be able to walk to the restaurant from downtown.

Thanks!

Napa recomendations?

No, I haven't. Has anyone heard good/bad things? (And thanks for the wine correction for girl and the fig!) I prefer the lunches at Copia's cafe. Simple, fresh and unusual (at least they were the last time we were there).

Recommendations for romantic honeymoon eats in SF, points north and wine country?

In Sonoma, The Girl and the Fig is fine french in an old hotel. THe atmosphere is wonderful--white table cloth but not too fancy. Nice bar to wait in (get a lemon drop or try one of the wines from the Burgandy region--their speciality). The Cassoulet is wonderful but incredibly rich. And the frites are great as well.
If you want something a little more casual, the girl and the fig cafe is north of Sonoma in Glen Ellyn. Here you can bring your own wine with no corkage. THe food is good and the atmosphere is genuinely friendly. We ended up conversing with the table next to us and sharing their wine. The waiter also gave us a free glass of wine at the end of our meal. I ordered a risotto with butternut squash and pine nuts that was excellent, if not very "risotto" like. The pizza was fresh but I would not highly recommend it. The cheese plate to start was excellent, featuring local cheeses.
In San Fran, we like Town Hall. Having tried several of the more fancy/expensive highly rated restaurants in the city, Town Hall offers a very friendly (and less expensive) alternative. The wait staff is patient and there is no rushing. The food is good, simple but well prepared.
Also in the city, if you can get a reservation, Canteen is an experience. Here there are only two or three seatings each evening in a very small diner. THe chef cooks literally behind the counter (so if you sit up at the counter, you can watch the whole thing). The restaurant only sits maybe 20 people. The food is excellent, the menu small and the selection very local and fresh. I will have to say that the wait staff was not particularly cheerful when we were there, but we didn't really care. Eating here, however, entails a quick meal. They have to get you out to get the next seating in.
The wine bar in the ferry building is a fun pre-dinner stop if you are looking to try some regional wines without going to allt he wineries. It's a crowded place but the wait staff is friendly and the flights are great.

Napa recomendations?

The Bounty Hunter in downtown Napa has a small menu (with a great wine selection by the glass and wonderful flights). The food is simple and well prepared with salads, cheese plate, sandwiches. Check out bountyhunterwine.com (i believe). We've also eaten downtown at Celadon for dinner, never for lunch. The food is fine. FReshly prepared and you can sit in a courtyard or in the small restaurant. Outside is usually heated (www.celadonnapa.com). Julia's kitchen at Copia is fresh (but for cheaper food, eat at the cafe inside Copia. It has great sandwiches and salads and if the weather is nice you can sit in the garden outside).
There's a whole string of restaurants running along the river on Main st. Pilar has been recommended to us, but we haven't made it there yet.

Hope you find something good for lunch.

Best Indian in East or South Bay

Looking for a good Indian place to take my parents for dinner in Feb. Have tried tons of Indian in the east and south bay, and just haven't found a favorite: we like Masala in Danville, but sometimes the food is inconsistent; Have tried Amber in south bay and found the service so snotty that I can't enjoy the food; downtown Mountain View Shiva is fine, but not great. We like our Indian spicy and full flavored and aren't concerned about fat. Hole in the wall places are fine. We are in San Ramon, and would prefer something closer to that vicinity. Anyone have any suggestions?

Recommendation for San Diego

Just returned from a week of eating out in San Diego (lived there for five years from 1998-2003). I live in the bay area, and I always look forward to exploring eating opportunities in San Diego. Here's what we found:
Linkery, this is in North Park on 30th, just north of Thorne (I think). Loved this place. THe name refers to their homemade sausages (which are great and can be taken to go as well), but they also have several great veg entries. We ate there two nights in a row and would have eaten more if we'd had the chance. Our favs were the soft tacos with a sausage of choice and light, fresh toppings, and the fresh green bean appetizer in a sesame dressing (I believe). The steak was good too. The salad was incredibly fresh but the dressing isn't very flavorful--which my husband liked because it did not shadow the greens. We also had some great wine. Check out their website for their philosophy which tends to the "eat local". Tips are included on the bill. They don't take reservations. They are small but well worth a visit. Great sparkling Syrah too!

The mission in mission beach--this is on Mission Blvd. Our favorite breakfast place. We've been eating here for over ten years and the menu has barely changed (don't go to the one in North Park--service is terrible and food isn't as good). We love the pappos' locos (crazy potatos with beans and jalapenos), pancakes with cornmeal or blueberries or even "naked", chicken apple sausage, roast beef hash (with real chunks of roast beef and great horseradish dressing) and the rancheros verde--eggs with tomatillo sauce. We ate here for 6 meals this past week!

910 (910 prospect, La Jolla)--much has been said about this restaurant already. But I must say we had a great time here. The service was great and we stayed until they closed and got some free wine as well (given the $500 tab for four (pre tip), we appreciated the wine).

Rappongi (just down the street from 910). Did not care for this.

JRDN's--on the edge of Pacific BEach and Mission Beach--can't think of the address but it is right overlooking the beach, just north of the pier. Great place for sunset drinks. THey'll set you back $10, but they have a great raspberry mojito and the views can't be beat. The food was okay, but with the view and contemporary atmosphere we didn't really care.

Shakespeare's pub--on India street at University. We always eat here with the kids. WE sit on the deck and the kids can be loud and obnoxious, and we drink good bear and eat fried fish and great french fries.

Cafe Zucchero in Little Italy. Place is busy and has a large gelato selection, but I would rate the traditional Italian food as mediocre.

I think that's it . . .

Hope you find some good restaurants.

Jan 06, 2007
mvasudeva in California