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Expensive Lunch at Farmer's Market

I was down on Fairfax anyway, as I am so seldom these days, so I dropped down to the Farmer's Market to see about some lunch. I saw the FIRST 2 HOURS FREE sign at the parking lot entrance, and on a Monday there was plenty of parking. I wandered around, noting that the Gumbo Pot no longer offers their Cajun potato salad – damn! – and that I really wasn't feeling like a corned beef sandwich or Korean rice bowl after all, but more in the mood for fish. I saw that Tusquellas was offering cod fish & chips with one side for a decent (but far from cheap) price, but what the heck. So I asked for that plus coleslaw. "No fries?" the guy asked.

I was confused. "Excuse me – does fish and chips not come with fries?"

"No," he said. "Fries are a side."

Now that I'm looking at the menu and my charge slip, it appears that the much too large pile of food I got cost me only the F&C+2 that appears in the menu, plus tax. $16.33 total. And when I balked at paying for a bottle of water, he asked me sotto voce if I minded sink water. "It's just city water, right?" to which he nodded, and fetched a tumbler of it, with ice.

The fish was undistinguished but okay – smallish pieces, obviously commercial Portion Control, with an okay but too-smooth crust that did dot cling very well – but the giant pile of fries was perfect and properly seasoned, the tartar sauce was excellent (except I could have used a lot more), and the coleslaw was about the best I've found anywhere but my house.

Then I waddled to my car and pulled to the exit, only to find that I'd neglected to read the "With Validation" part of the entrance sign and now owed eight bucks for my somewhat less than an hour.

And I still don't understand how fries can be an optional extra for a dish labelled "Fish and Chips."

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  1. You should complain to the FM management. That's like offering mac&cheese and charging extra for the cheese. Did they by chance try to chisel customers by including what America calls potato chips, or pickle slices (sometimes called chips)?

    1. dude, FnC with no fries is called "fried fish". you got jacked. @ $16.33 they didn't even have the courtesy to give you a reacharound. @ $24.33 after parking they basically committed a crime against humanity.

      1. Wow, that is pathetic to pay for fries.

        I learned my lesson many times to not eat at FM. Luckily, there is a Mendicino Farms across the street now.

        12 Replies
        1. re: A5 KOBE

          still some good stuff there if you ask me...but that sliced steak sandwich at MF is quite nice.

          1. re: jessejames

            I agree, they do have some passable food but then you also combat the price and parking. It is highway robbery in pretty much all of the eateries there.

            The crumb donut at Bob's is amazing though.

              1. re: wienermobile

                yes to both bobs (im down with the crumb too) and littlejohns (rocky road fudge also)

                i also like:
                magee's nuts and peanut butter
                magees corned beef with horseradish
                singapore banana leaf
                burgers at charlies (def not highway robbery)
                tater tots at that new hotdog place (dogs meh)
                fruit platters at the spot by the "gas station"
                fried catfish po boy at gumbo pot (remove the lemon slices)
                queso fondito at loteria (plus chorizo)
                pancakes, brownies, pie, choc frosted donuts at dupars.
                both butcher shops
                lots of memories at 3d at fairfax

                1. re: jessejames

                  the place is called fritzi dogs, and their corn dogs are actually quite good. get them extra crispy.

                  1. re: ns1

                    sounds good...i was disappointed that the regular dogs had no snap...but i have a hard time steering away from a corn dog.

                    you been to the nathans in the mall across the street by whole foods?

                    1. re: ns1

                      too bad I don't like corn dogs, I was totally underwhelmed by their other dogs (no snap and a bit soft on the inside). I even gave them a second shot---no dice.

                      1. re: ns1

                        ns-if you want a kickass corndog try the viking food truck...i remember one is called "the nemesis" -- it can slay a six pack in a single swoop.

                        1. re: jessejames

                          re: viking

                          is that mainly an OC truck?

                          1. re: ns1

                            unfortunately for me, yes, but they do pillage elsewhere from time to time...

                            1. re: jessejames

                              I've seen them at my local brewery in OC.

              2. re: A5 KOBE

                all is not lost at FM. But evidently you can't go to Tusquellas for FnC.

                ref: this fairly long thread:

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/910576

              3. That's like saying "ham and eggs" doesn't come with eggs. Ridiculous.

                I live a stone's throw from the Farmer's Market and though I really enjoy people watching on a sunny afternoon at the 326 Beer and Wine bar, the food prices have pretty much pushed me away. They realize they are a tourist trap, and the prices show it.

                1. I like Monsieur Marcel. All outdoor seating....great people watching. Nice wines by the glass selection...and the food, while something standard, is pretty good. Plus...you can get a cheese place with/without salumi. And they validate.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: perk

                    Yes. I agree. I like Monsieur Matcel as well. A lovely place to have a late afternoon glass of wine and people watch.

                    1. re: perk

                      And MM has a decent Fondue.

                      Although fondue has enjoyed a little more popularity lately, it is still NOT found in many places.