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Jul 23, 2009 05:46 PM

visiting San Diego from Toronto

Coming down for a weekend to visit family. Currently got my eye on Cafe Chloe, Sushi Kaito, Urban Solace, Aqui es Texcoco, Tacos El Paisa, and Super Cocina. (If it were up to me i'd just eat tacos the whole time; not much Mexican in Toronto.)

A few random questions:

* We'll have a baby with us; will that be a problem at Chloe, Kaito, or Solace?

* Staying in Rancho Bernardo, any decent coffee/croissants/scones nearby?

* Anywhere i can get Japanese tantanmen?

* How's the atmosphere at the Tractor Room on a weekend? Looking for a decent cocktail, but not in a meatmarket.

Thanks for any advice!

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  1. "How's the atmosphere at the Tractor Room on a weekend? Looking for a decent cocktail, but not in a meatmarket."

    It is not really a "meatmarket" at all.

    Pretty mellow.

    Probably not the best place for a baby though.

    Unless you want your baby to be the coolest baby in the neighborhood.

    1 Reply
    1. re: stevewag23

      Ah, no, it's not my baby. I'm just the alcoholic uncle.


    2. Wow, that sounds like a lot of meals in a short amount of time! I think you've hit upon the top of all of the oft-repeated recommendations from the CH community with the notable exception of Mariscos German for their wonderful marlin tacos. Also not discussed much is the new Tacos el Yacqui in Chula Vista, an offshoot of the famous taco stand in Rosarito which was romanticized much by Jeffrey Steingarten where "people have missed flights eating here" - just paraphrazing from memory here...

      On par with any of these but quite far away in Fallbrook - actually very far away - is an incredible place called Tacqueria Las Brisas that does what to me is the best Menudo in S.D. Kare_raisu, one of the frequent contributors to all things Mexican in S.D., has discovered and posted much on this more distant gem. There's also El Porvenir, in continuous operation in Barrio Logan since 1910! Though always in family hands they've recently returned to their original family carnitas recipe with a new family member running the humble operation.

      As to babies, don't know about Solace, but Kaito's no problem, and I've seen babies at Cafe Chloe, however you'll have to gauge the "mood of the room" at the time. But they have an isolated room in the back that might be OK, as well as dining outside on the sidewalk. (BTW at Kaito a table might be your best option for the baby carrier, though the bar seats on the short end of the "L", and in head chef Morita-san's section, provides for a safe place, especially against the wall... This is also the vantage point that Pablo (aka sushimaniac) uses to take some of his more memorable photos!


      BTW a tip on Kaito. The best days to dine at Kaito Sushi are Fridays > Tuesdays > Saturdays > Wednesdays... However crowds are most likely on Fridays, and in general hour long waits can develop almost on any day so it's best to call ahead. (...and Sundays there are horrible since they're closed...)

      And here's a tempting slideshow to whet your appetite for Kaito:

      There's no place I know of that does a Japanese Tantanmen, though Ba-Ren Sichuan (excellent Sichuan food!) would have the original inspiration for the dish.

      (Honestly there is only one "excellent" Ramen in town and that's Santouka's Shio Tonkotsu Ramen in the Mitsuwa Marketplace, but no Tantanmen. (Get the Toroniku for the ultimate in pork, but all their pork, they only use Kurobuta, is good!) However you might want to give Tajima a call and see if they will offer it during their Ramen Nights, every Thursday to Saturday night from 10:30 pm to 3 am. They literally change out their menus at 10:30 and assume different ownership and becomes Tajima Ramen House.)

      5 Replies
      1. re: cgfan

        Wow, thank you so much!

        Too bad about the tantanmen, dan dan mien just isn't the same.

          1. re: daantaat

            Tantanmen :: Dandanmen

            as Yakiniku :: Korean BBQ,
            or "Kare Raisu" :: Indian curry
            or Ramen :: Chinese noodle soup
            or Shabu Shabu:: Chinese hot pot
            or Mr. Donut :: Dunkin Donuts
            or Kakigoori :: snow cone
            or "Tampopo" :: spaghetti western :-)

            Well, you get the picture!

            1. re: daantaat

              It's the Japanese version of Sichuan dan dan noodles. Basically a sesame ramen, topped with minced pork, some veggies, and plenty of rayu. Dan dan mien is good too, just different.

              1. re: Dr. No

                thanks cgfan and Dr. No for confirming what my hunch was about tantanmen. I thought it was the Japanese version of dan dan mien, but didn't want to make assumptions.

          2. the closest place that comes to mind for croissants is Cavaillon's Sunday brunch. In Santaluz, off the 56 freeway, near the 15 freeway junction.

            1. The three places you asked if baby was a problem - I would say not the baby itself, but they are pretty tight in terms of space and the stroller is the bigger problem.

              4 Replies
              1. re: foodiechick

                I was imagining a baby carrier in my answer but yes, a stroller in either Kaito or Cafe Chloe would be a push... Again don't know about Urban Solace...

                1. re: cgfan

                  Yeah, it's a stroller -- my niece is ~15 months old.

                2. re: foodiechick

                  Urban Solace shouldn't be a problem with a stroller outside on the patio should it?

                  1. re: foodiechick

                    When I was at Kaito around the holidays, there were two families with babies there and everybody fit in OK, but it wasn't a really busy evening.

                  2. You've got my favorite dim sum place in Rancho Bernardo. Pearl. I think its the best in San Diego.