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Oct 16, 2009 09:15 PM

A New Englander's Taste Of California

With two weeks to travel from San Francisco to Healdsburg, down to Monterey, San Simeon and back to San Francisco, I decided to check out Chowhound to find the best places to eat. Here’s a report card on some of the restaurants reviewed on your boards. As I was staying at the Parc 55 Hotel, I found that someone recommended Tian Sing at 138 Cyril Magnin Street, right across from the hotel for dim sum. I would not recommend it, as the prices were high and what dim sum was offered was very limited. Their regular dishes were overpriced and underweight. The service was non-existent! On the other hand, you can’t go wrong at Great Eastern Restaurant at 649 Jackson Street in Chinatown. They have an extensive and interesting menu. As I was taking the “red-eye” back to Boston later that evening, I was careful what I ordered. The mu shu pork, beef in ginger and the fried noodle with crabmeat were excellent, as well as the service. If you travel up the road in Healdsburg, stop at the Healdsburg Bar & Grille on the southwest corner of the Healdsburg Plaza and have a dynamite burger and killer French fries, with truffle oil and topped with parmigiano & reggiano cheese. You can sit outside, under the mist or inside at the bar. Don’t miss it.

Heading down the coast to Monterey, you can enjoy one of your biggest and best meals at Rosine’s on Alvarado Street and not pay a fortune. If you crave Mandarin Chinese Food, The Full Moon, across the street from Rosine’s, will satisfy your palate. It was as good as anything I found in San Francisco. Passionfish in Pacific Grove is probably sets the standard for seafood in the Monterey area. Heading down to San Simeon, I took some advise on Chowhound and went to the Moonstone Beach Bar and Grill. Don’t go there! I ordered their “Halibut in an Orange and Ginger Cream Sauce.” It wasn’t even halibut!! It was a flake fish of unknown origin, the sauce was tasteless and my wife’s “Grilled Porter House Pork Chops” were not generous as they are described and they were overcooked! I also had the “waiter from Hell” who wanted to be anywhere but serving me at the Moonstone Beach Bar and Grill. If you want halibut, go back to San Francisco and have it at Sam’s Grille and Restaurant at 374 Bush Street. I was served a whole halibut steak, with the bone in the middle and it was overlapping both sides of the plate. It was cooked to perfection and $4.00 cheaper than the Moonstone’s excuse for halibut. I realize that I’m biased, living less than a block away from the Atlantic Ocean, right outside Boston. We still have the best seafood, but California offers a different approach and presentation. For that very reason, it was difficult to find a bad meal, although I managed to find one anyway. The only real criticism I have is that food is more expensive there, as breakfast or lunch is going to cost you $10.00 a head, no matter where you go as a tourist. I can do much better back here in Boston for far less money.

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  1. Welcome to the board, you might want to post the SF portion of your report on the SF Board where more hounds in the area will see it.

    I see this is your first post, it's too bad you weren't able to ask for some input prior to your trip. You did well in finding Great Eastern in SF's Chinatown and Passionfish in PG. The consensus on the board about Moonstone Beach B&G is that it's fine for a drink on the deck and maybe an app (recall a spicy shrimp and scallop dish that was decent) but go elsewhere for a meal, the Sea Chest is just a half mile or so furtherr south on Moonstone Drive. West Village has the Main Street Grill, East Village has Black Cat Bistro, Sow's Ear, Wild Ginger, and a little Mexican place in Tin City that also has a cart/wagon on the main street, sorry, blanking on the name.

    2 Replies
    1. re: PolarBear

      --Boni's Tacos (and more) in the Tin Village takeout only, open for lunch and on the weekend, and their mobile location at the corner of Burton and Main, smack downtown across from the Chevron Station.

      And thanks for the OP's report--feedback is great.

      1. re: PolarBear

        Thanks! I took your advise and revised the article for San Francisco and published it in that category. After I talked with the locals, they suggested the Black Cat Bistro and the Sow's Ear. Unfortunately, we were on the go as we were heading back to San Francisco. I'll give them a try the next time I'm out there. Tom

      2. Thanks for the report. The Full Moon must be new in Monterey. The peninsula really needed a good Chinese restaurant.