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Stuck in the Gaslamp District. HELP!

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I am going to San Diego this week for a conference at the Westin Gaslamp Quarter. I plan to be at the conference nearly all day every day. I won't have a car and I don't have the time to venture too far from the conference. I will be typically eating late. I know, from reading the threads here, that many people are down on the Gaslamp Quarter. However, with my predicament in mind, could you recommend the *best* options in the area for late dinners? I have not particular needs regarding types of cuisine and prices, but I try not to eat meat, poultry, or pork. Thank you in advance.

Places for quick breakfasts and lunches are also of interest to me.

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  1. Cafe Chloe open until 10, though your non-meat choices may be limited.

    Oceanaire, albeit part of a chain, may be a reasonable choice.

    Top of the Market, part of the Fish Market.

    Urban India not bad for a buffet lunch (I think they do a menu at lunch, too).

    1 Reply
    1. re: RB Hound

      Nothing wrong with the Fish Market itself. Same fish as Top of the Market, less fancy preps, no white tablecloths.

    2. Tender Greens for lunch (call in ahead to avoid the line) or not-too-late dinner (open until 9).

      Blind Burro has some good seafood and veggie options for dinner (open until 10 or 11).

      The deli/salad bar at Jimbo's in Horton Plaza is a good quick lunch option very close to your hotel.

      1. We just got back from SD, where my husband was attending a conference. Best dinner meals close by were at Zanzibar on G St., http://www.zanzibarcafe.com/Downtown....,
        and Basic (for very casual, but delicious, pizza and salad), http://www.barbasic.com/about/

        We ate at Chloe. It was not bad but we were a bit disappointed as the love on this Board seemed to exceed the meal we had.

        11 Replies
        1. re: masha

          It's quite possible that Chloe has slipped a bit - your experience is certainly more recent than mine. I eat at the Zanzibar at UC San Diego quite often.

          1. re: RB Hound

            I actually think that more recently (last 12 months) Cafe Chloe improved quite a bit. The last few years one could get the impression that they were just doing their "day-to-day" cooking without great changes (which was still good enough to be one of the better resraurants in SD) but nothing unusual happened on their menu. More recently they are much more playing around with unusual ingredients (e.g. great lamb brain appetizer etc) or flavors (e.g. North African influences) and also their plates are getting better again (more focused, clean flavors).

            1. re: honkman

              WTF!?

              'great lamb brain appetizer' from Café Chloe?
              I don't know one friggin' person whom is craving that crap.

              1. re: Beach Chick

                If you would eat more in France you would see that those dishes (lamb, veal brain) are very common all over France (like all offal dishes in Europe). Have you ever tried it before you can say it is not good ?

                1. re: honkman

                  I do business in France and see those offal things on the menu and tho' I do not eat that kind of stuff, I know the French love that kind of stuff and Germans too!

                  Are you sure your not from the inside of Untersberg?
                  ; )

                  Maybe if we were part of the Fore tribe in Papua New Guinea and when you passed, we would eat you limb to limb and save the brain for last, out of respect to the Herr Honk but the problem with that is there is a thing called kuru. .
                  A brain disease that resembles mad cow (Creutzfeldt-Jakob) disease.

                  No thanks but have at it!

                  1. re: Beach Chick

                    There is some scientific indication that prions are most likely not only transfered through (eating) brains but most likely also through blood and other pathways - so why worry when eating brain from time to time (and it is really tasty and the consistency is not unlike tofu, so you really might like it) - Life is a game where you will lose at the end anyway, enjoy it as much as possible

                    Are you sure your not from the inside of Untersberg? - Just call me Barbarossa

                    1. re: honkman

                      You know I love you BC, but LOL'd at "...the consistency is not unlike tofu, so you really might like it." Was that some Deutscher dry wit, or did I read too much into it?

                      1. re: mcgrath

                        Weak attempt at German humor, unfortunately the Internet is a very flat medium

                        1. re: mcgrath

                          Whatever. .
                          ; )

                        2. re: honkman

                          LOL Kaiser Rotbart . .when the ravens stop circling, your troops are coming out of Mount Untersberg.

                          Have you been there...I am SO intrigued by this place!
                          Might have to go on the German Holiday of August 15th and look for that secret door to the inside of the mountain.

                          In regards to prions, one of the GMO arguments (and a very valid one) on gene insertion, when imbedded into the existing plant cells resulting in a new variation of the crop, the new gene, damages other genes in the plant as well, leading to malformed proteins within the plants DNA..

                          Diseases such as mad cow disease are caused by certain malformed proteins.

                          Fritzy..
                          Oceanaire for Happy Hour rocks it if you get out early.

                          Genome Chica

                  2. re: honkman

                    haha..I grew up with cow brain "pane". Slices that were dredged in flour and bread crumbs, pan fried and served with lemon slices. I honestly think that most people would not be able to tell the difference from a med/soft pan fried tofu and would think..mmm this is creamy and the best tofu EVER!!

              2. I would certainly recommend Encore Champagne Bar and Dining. The menu is limited for a vegetarian, but they have several fish options on the menu (and I liked that the meat options were from sustainable sources.. so I didn't have any fish the night I went).

                1. There's nothing inherently bad about the Gaslamp and its restaurants, other than they're overly touristy and are home to many chain restaurants.

                  Seersucker, Blue Point Coastal, Bice Restaurante and Oceanaire are solid restaurants with seafood/vegetarian options.

                  1. Chaplos at 10th & B has a reasonable variety of fish and vegetarian options

                    Even tho' Fogo do Chao is pretty much the most meat-centric place in town, they also have one of the best and most interesting salad bars in town. You can order salad bar only.

                    1. Jsix

                      McCormick and Schmicks

                      1. I'll second the salad bar at Fogo de Chao, as well as Oceanaire, and I'll add Spike Africa (for fish), and Dobson's (some good seafood dishes, and don't miss the mussel bisque!). Those two are very close to your hotel. Also, it's a bit further, but The Hive has excellent sushi. (Don't let the bare-bones exterior and the stairway down fool you.)

                        1. Chopahn. 700 block of 6th Avenue, near F Street.
                          Tender Greens. 1st and Broadway.
                          Cafe Istanbul. 800 block of 6th Avenue, also near F Street.

                          1. The Westin is not really in the Gaslamp despite its name, and is a several block walk from most of the places recommended so far. Very close to you is Tender Greens and Spike Africa's. Not mentioned yet is Currant, just a 1-2 minute walk for you and with a Parisian bistro feel and a decent selection for dinner.

                            1. The Westin is not really in the Gaslamp despite its name, and is a several block walk from most of the places recommended so far. Very close to you is Tender Greens and Spike Africa's. Not mentioned yet is Currant, just a 1-2 minute walk for you and with a Parisian bistro feel and a decent selection for dinner.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: mcgrath

                                McGrath, I think you're thinking of the Westin on Columbia St. He's staying at the one that's at Horton Plaza.

                                1. re: DoctorChow

                                  Technically, the Gaslamp encompasses 4th Avenue to 6th Avenue, and Broadway south to L Street.

                                  1. re: Dagney

                                    Hmmm...yeah, that's what I thought. Or used to.

                                    Who am I to argue with The Map Gods at Google Maps, though??

                                    1. re: DoctorChow

                                      lol... My team works the lamp exclusively, and those are our borders. Our own little rectangle of paradise!

                                    2. re: Dagney

                                      The Westin "Gaslamp'' is outside those borders, hence my advice to the OP. If he doesn't mind up to a 10 minute late night walk to Chloe or Cowboy Star, then those would be excellent choices.

                                      1. re: mcgrath

                                        I don't mind. Thanks!

                                        1. re: mcgrath

                                          Aloha McGrath!

                                  2. Bice, Cafe Chloe, Cowboy Star, Lion's Share, Oceanaire.

                                    1. Basic for pizza..excellent New Haven style
                                      McCormicks and Schmicks at bar for bar menu
                                      Blind Burro
                                      Fish Market Oyster Bar or Sushi bar
                                      Jsix at the Hotel Solamar
                                      Fogo de Chao for the salad bar
                                      Tender Greens
                                      Dobson's

                                      Have fun and report back!

                                      www.Gaslamp.org

                                      1. My fellow Chowhounders:

                                        A glance down this thread yields many excellent options for our visiting guest.

                                        Maybe it's time we discontinue bagging on "the lamp"?

                                        26 Replies
                                        1. re: Fake Name

                                          Really, Fakey? [grin]

                                          I've always thought that calling it a food desert was misleading. There always have been decent alternatives; the truly important thing is to not choose at random.

                                          1. re: Fake Name

                                            Yes, I looked back, and seven of the roughly 20 restaurants mentioned on this thread are in the "official" Gaslamp area, a reasonable number. (The rest are in the more inclusive "downtown" area.) There are more, but this particular thread is focused on places that serve at least some non-meat dishes.

                                            I couldn't agree more with RBH's comment that choosing a restaurant at random in "the lamp" (is that Dagney's coinage?) isn't a good idea.

                                            1. re: DoctorChow

                                              Is it mine? lol...There are so many iterations of my corner of paradise, cramp, tramp...

                                              1. re: Dagney

                                                Well, in your line of work, you've probably heard them all, but "the lamp" is new to me. A good one, though. I like it.

                                              2. re: DoctorChow

                                                The other thing is that Gaslamp is very dynamic.

                                                Which is why we should not be annoyed for topics raised every month.

                                                What I want to know is why a place like Mozza ended up with mixed opinions. Why? THAT is what is wrong with San Diego, and if we crack that egg we might be going somewhere.

                                                1. re: RB Hound

                                                  What's so unique about Mozza and having mixed opinions ? Many restaurants with potential service and quality issues (not only in SD) end up with mixed opinions depending which standard you are setting going in

                                                  1. re: RB Hound

                                                    Mixed opinions is a problem?

                                                    Is goose-stepping lockstep better?

                                                    1. re: RB Hound

                                                      RB, not getting why you think Mozza opening to mixed reviews is an issue. It should only be an issue if they don't try and fix the problems causing the mixed reviews

                                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                                        My problem is this. When Mozza showed up in San Diego, they were supposedly a restaurant that did it right in Los Angeles. Some of you lauded their LA base greatly. I have seen no evidence that their experiences up there had *any* effect on what they did down here.

                                                        I think they treated San Diego as some sort of backwater hick town that only needed their name recognition, so they could do a half assed job as they worked things out. The odd thing here is a lot of people I respect here seem to be playing right along.

                                                        I took somebody there, telling them they were highly regarded in LA. We all got the neapolitan pizza thing - it wasn't a style issue at all. What they served me, I would have returned at even a Pizza Port.

                                                        You want to make San Diego a serious restaurant town? Punish these people for not making a good effort to capture our hearts.

                                                        1. re: RB Hound

                                                          "Punish these people for not making a good effort to capture our hearts."

                                                          Wow.

                                                          Not defending Mozza (I've not been to the local one) but could it be you/they were having a bad day?

                                                          Or perhaps the experiences of others were a good day for them?

                                                          This is a very subjective environment- that's the joy of Chowhound- different experiences related in different ways.

                                                          1. re: Fake Name

                                                            Part of my post was hyperbole, but I figured that some of the negative reports were just growing pains. Disheartening that they still seem to be having them, especially an established entity and not some new place.

                                                            1. re: Fake Name

                                                              I think by now, more than 5 months into their opening, there have been others, besides myself and including some on this forum, who have had less than memorable experiences....more than just a coincidence or a bad day.

                                                              One can debate the merits of the flavor and value proposition (subjective) of the pizza, but nearly everyone I have spoken with (whether they have liked the place or hated it--very few neutrals) have had some form of service issue....how much more time do they need to address and fix an issue that seems common to many, not necessarily all--2 more weeks, 2 more months, 2 more years, never?...or is their business plan geared towards the once a year visiting conventioneer or cruise ship patron that is eerily similar to The Gaslamp business model which means they might not give a crap??...therein lies the million dollar question.

                                                              1. re: El Chevere

                                                                That's great- then don't go. I've not rushed down for the very reasons you've specified.

                                                                However, we all know people are far more likely to voice a negative opinion than a positive one, so we're likely to see significantly more jeers than cheers.

                                                                But "punish them" seems somehow, I don't know- arrogant?

                                                                1. re: Fake Name

                                                                  where do you get we all know people are more likely to voice a negative than positive?...why is one's not going back to a place they don't like punishment when they think it's not worth it vs. other places that they do enjoy and think are worth it....to go back to a place one did not enjoy is what I would call foolish, not arrogant....I've got no problem getting in my car and driving to places that I enjoy rather than walking to places I do not enjoy--but that's just me.

                                                                  In the meantime, when should this specific place have its issues worked out (service) that seem to continue to this day? This is for the benefit of those who do enjoy the style, flavor and/or value of the food served here.

                                                                  1. re: El Chevere

                                                                    I predicted this would be the case with Mozza, and all the other places in OPH. They do not have financial motivation to do any upkeep or training. They know 90%, if not more, of their clientele is from out of town. They know most people are not Chowhounders. They know most people approach their business with oooo's and ahhh's about the origins of Mozza, and the fact it's located in OPH. What do they care if a coupla local foodies think they suck? They have 500-10,000 people from out of town in any given week, who, even if they hate the place, won't be returning anyway.

                                                                    1. re: Dagney

                                                                      I have to be honest--I like Puesto and I LOVE Gelato Paradiso at OPH.

                                                                      1. re: El Chevere

                                                                        Not to mention Venissimo. And Eddie V's.

                                                                        1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                          Gotta check Venissimo when I return to town in June...I like the Eddie V's as well (though not nearly as much as the one in LJ--view).

                                                                        2. re: El Chevere

                                                                          You are right, they aren't all terrible, I'm just grouchy about OPH in general.

                                                                    2. re: Fake Name

                                                                      Maybe I've misread you, Fakey, but I would have figured you to be one of the last people to parse language to that degree. I'm sure a few dozens chowhounders not going to there won't amount to a drop in the bucket. I was purposely being ridiculous, and even after calling it hyperbole you are hairtriggering on "punish'.

                                                                2. re: RB Hound

                                                                  'I think they treated San Diego as some sort of backwater hick town' I didn't think SD had such high esteem in the culinary world.

                                                                  1. re: RB Hound

                                                                    "I think they treated San Diego as some sort of backwater hick town that only needed their name recognition, so they could do a half assed job as they worked things out. The odd thing here is a lot of people I respect here seem to be playing right along."

                                                                    RB, not sure I totally agree with this.

                                                                    This is a corporate store with a corporate opening, nothing more, nothing less. It has some big names associated with it, but I'd be very surprised if they had more than a passing involvement with the operation at this point.

                                                                    To me it looks more like they're trying to develop Mozza into an upscale (and potentially cash cow) pizza chain. To do that the principles - i.e. the big names - have brought in the people with the corporate skills to grow and expand the concept. I think it has more to do with the concept not being ready for prime time, and less to do with perceiving/treating SD as the poor relative dining destination.

                                                                    The question for locals now is...1) do they recognize they've got problems, 2) are they going to make an effort to fix them and 3) how fast can they fix their operational issues. Or are they going to simply rely on the tourist and convention business which tends to be less concerned about some of the problems local diners have raised.

                                                                    Clearly they've made some missteps and we can only speculate about how and why they happened. I don't think those missteps are due to perceiving SD as a "less than" dining location. My guess is they got concept, operational and corporate growing pains, and we just happened to be the location that took the brunt of those pains.

                                                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                      "This is a corporate store with a corporate opening, nothing more, nothing less. It has some big names associated with it, but I'd be very surprised if they had more than a passing involvement with the operation at this point" - I think we have to differentiate between kitchen and service. I heard and read that Chef Matt Molina stayed for a month in SD before the opening to train kitchen staff and so I think from a culinary standpouint they took SD very serious but simply hired the wrong people and should replace them. On the other side I think for the service they are going for the idea that people in San Diego are OK with this stupid laid back "service" we experience in nearly all restaurants in SD and didn't try to improve the service levels in SD. But I think a problem here is that the pool of good servers in SD is surpringly small. (Cafe Chloe had recently some changes in the FOH since a few people moved away from SD and it is obvious that John has problems to replace them with equally qualified people).

                                                                      1. re: honkman

                                                                        I think they have problems in both the FOH and BOH. And while I agree that the pool or well trained service staff is probably not at the same level as LA or SF, the service staff also represents the face of the operation. It's the operators responsibility to provide the standards of service and then train their employees in how to achieve those standards. Although it may be the case, I can't believe that 3 high profile owners would consciously allow their training staff to slide because the market wouldn't know any better.

                                                                        I agree with you, Honkman, that recruiting qualified high-end waitstaff in San Diego is probably a challenge. San Diego hasn't really demanded that level of service so the pool of well trained waitstaff is probably fairly small. But based on the comments about rude, indifferent and utterly confused service, it also sounds like they've got the wrong person managing the FOH.

                                                                        Frankly, I think most of the issues are probably related more to poor management than the floor and kitchen.

                                                                    2. re: RB Hound

                                                                      We all got the neapolitan pizza thing - it wasn't a style issue at all. What they served me, I would have returned at even a Pizza Port.
                                                                      _________________

                                                                      Pizzeria Mozza is not Neapolitan pizza. Nor does it claim to be.

                                                                      The pizza style, and really the crust, is probably best described as a pure creation of Silverton's flour thumb.

                                                                      I've been to the HQ Mozza twice now, and the pizza is fine. Comparable to LA, and whether it's appreciably better or worse is impossible to say. I've been to Pizzeria Mozza LA multiple times and have had bad pizza there (pizza much worse than the two that I've had at the HQ).

                                                                      Pizza -- and pizza crust -- are dynamic things. Sometimes it just doesn't want to cooperate.

                                                                      When Chris was still working at Bianco many years ago before taking a medical sabbatical, I recall him say something to the effect of, "you don't really make pizza, you nurture it, much like you would rear children, no two are every exactly alike."

                                                                      There's nothing wrong with not liking Pizzeria Mozza, or not getting the whole crust thing. Everyone is entitled to their preferences, and no one is more right or wrong about such things.

                                                                      But I think it's unfair to attribute any negative reaction to Pizzeria Mozza's food because it's based in San Diego. That's a weird Napoleonic reaction.

                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                        I agree on the dough aspect. I've been making pizza dough for decades. Based on humidity in the air, outside temperature, quality of the yeast, type of flour used and or blends of flour etc, dough is different every time it's made, even if it's a slight variance. However, when baked it should have a light airy crisp crust with a nice chew. As for soggy centers, it depends on the toppings which I recommend to be minimal.

                                                            2. Fritz, I see that you recently "recommended" a number of the posts on this thread. Would enjoy hearing in more detail about your chow experiences in SD when you have the time.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: masha

                                                                I'm working on it. :)

                                                              2. OK, here is my report! I did not eat at as many places as I would have figured to do, for some of the places I went to were so good I had to go there twice. Your recommendations were very helpful, and I found some places I would never have been able to find otherwise.

                                                                I stayed at the Hotel Indigo, so I had my breakfasts there. The restaurant there, Table 509, was pretty good for breakfast. The highlights were the chilaquiles and the breakfast burrito. The chilaquiles were served on a nice amount of good strips of tortilla chips, and the eggs over easy on top were cooked perfectly. The breakfast burrito had a nice spicy chorizo in it along with eggs and potatoes. The yogurt parfait at Table 509 was a disappointment. The only berries in it were strawberries, and they weren't especially fresh. The bottom of the parfait was basically all liquid sugar. The bacon, egg, and cheese croissant was served on a soft, greasy croissant, but overall was a decent sandwich. The french toast was unfussy challah bread french toast, and for a reasonable price came with eggs and bacon.

                                                                One of my favorite places I went to was the Blind Burro. I went there twice. The first time I had the coffee-rubbed salmon tacos. The kale slaw was a good touch on the tacos. The lime crema was very tasty. The tacos were well-spiced and the salmon was good. I had, at the recommendation of the very friendly bartender, the side of corn. It was good, but there was more cheese and hence it was more rich than it really needed to be. I had a side of the tortilla chips--these tasted of fresh corn. The salsa that came with them was a little tame. The second time I went to the Blind Burro I had a chelada to drink and the lobster tacos. The chelada (beer, lime juice, salt on ice) was very refreshing, and cheap on the brunch special. The lobster tacos were a bit disappointing. They lost the lobster taste in the deep-frying process. They came out a bit like good fried oysters. I missed the lobster flavor, and there wasn't much guac on them, so they were a bit dry. The side I had the second time, the mole black beans, were very good beans. The mole itself was a bit mild.

                                                                Tuesday night I ended up eating at Petco Park. This was a bit of a disappointment. I had heard about the shrimp burrito, so I had the carne asada/shrimp burrito at Miguel's in the Mercado. It was pretty much all protein, mostly carne asada. It was too starchy and oddly crunchy. It was taco tuesday, so I had the street chicken tacos. These came on nice tortillas but were a bit nasty. It was nice they were proper tacos, with onions and cilantro. The chicken itself was pretty bland. I've been to other ballparks, like AT&T Park in San Francisco and Citizens Bank Park in Philly, that do food better. (I might not have made the best choices). I liked that vegetarian hot dogs were a widely available option, but I didn't have one.

                                                                Wednesday I went for lunch at Urban India. This was a disappointment. The salad at the buffet had ingredients that were far too cold. The pakora were dull. The malai kofta was underspiced and bland. Some of the veg options were overcooked. It was nothing special.

                                                                I had the veggie pizza for dinner that night at Basic. The small pizza was huge. The pizza had a good, thin but not very thin crust with a nice slight char. The toppings were fresh and good. I had their IPA, the Urbn St. It was decent--hoppy but not overwhelmingly so. It was a fun place. The pizza was somewhere between a high end restaurant pizza and a pizza by the slice joint. This isn't an insult--I like good pizza by the slice, and this fit the bill.

                                                                For lunch on Thursday, I followed the recommendation of a friend and had lunch at Pokez. It was a pretty typical American Mexican joint. The portions were big. I had the tofu fajitas. These were a little odd. The tofu had a kind of asian-style moo shoo sort of sauce on them. It didn't really go. The portions were so huge I didn't need dinner that night.

                                                                For lunch of Friday I went to Tender Greens. For this kind of salad/sandwich place, it was really good. I had the caesar salad and the albacore sandwich. The albacore filet was perfectly cooked rare. The caesar dressing was a good, not especially creamy, light caesar dressing that still had a lot of flavor. I found the price very reasonable--I had a sandwich, salad, and a glass of wine for $18.

                                                                For dinner Friday I went to happy hour at Cafe Chloe. This was my favorite place on the trip. I had a squid, potato, and artichoke salad to start. It was served in a lovely green garlic coulis. I had the moules a la belgique. It had very little of the advertised celery. The mussels were good. The sauce was lightly creamy. I can't say the taste of the sour beer was very strong. The frites were the highlight--perfectly thin. They had my favorite beer--Three Philosophers. (I'm a philosophy professor myself). For dessert I had the fruit tart with creme fraiche ice cream. The tart had a rich fresh crust. The berries were good. The ice cream was exquisite.

                                                                Saturday night some friends and I went back to Cafe Chloe for dinner. I had the halibut with farro and radishes. The fish was excellent. We had a very good cheese plate and some wild boar.

                                                                The culinary highlight of my trip was the coconut macarons at Cafe Chloe. Get these!

                                                                Overall, I feel like I ate well. I would have liked to have tried more places and more food. San Diego is a stunningly beautiful city and I look forward to coming back.

                                                                9 Replies
                                                                1. re: FritzJMcDonald

                                                                  Great report. Thanks for taking the time to write it all up and post.

                                                                  1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                    Thanks to local hounds for this thread. Very helpful.
                                                                    Im an Australian hound, here for 4 days..
                                                                    Results mixed but generally fun
                                                                    Cafe Chloe..workmanlike, I expected more from the enthusiastic reviews
                                                                    Fish Tacos..from the truck up in Grape st in South Park...wonderful.
                                                                    new to these, & mightily impressed. Absolutely worth the not inconsiderable cab fare from Gaslamp.
                                                                    Knotty Barrell...great range of craft beers..on my first visit to the states I recall only Bud $ Millers..both execrable....things have moved on, you're very fortunate.I'm jealous.
                                                                    Acme..not a cuisine I'm familiar with.Red beans and rice, and the grits , were wonderful Chicken fine. Fried green tomatoes a near successful attempt at making the inedible edible.
                                                                    Coffee a challenge. Elixir the best I found of a generally poor bunch.
                                                                    A pleasant and competent italian meal at Bencotto..proficient & pleasant service, good wine list by the glass, food interesting & epwell executed (. crab ravioli the standout).
                                                                    Basic fabulous pizza, good beer, smart & gorgeous waitresses.,whats not to like ?
                                                                    And finally, on the way to the airport ( and my heartfelt thanks to Beach Chick for its advocacy) the mussell bisque at Dobsons.
                                                                    Charming , laid back venue and service, despite the fact that they were under the hammer with a large function ( this at 5 in the afternoon) .The bisque deserves its enthusiastic advocacy.
                                                                    So...I've had far worse 4 day experiences in a new city.
                                                                    cheers

                                                                     
                                                                    1. re: noelb

                                                                      Outfrigging standing Noel for listening to the chica for her undying love for the beloved Mussel Bisque èn croute at Dobson's.

                                                                      Thanks mate for reporting back and the pic too.

                                                                      Cheers

                                                                      1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                        Your commission check from Dobson's is in the mail!

                                                                        1. re: cstr

                                                                          Ha. .it's tied to the CPI.

                                                                      2. re: noelb

                                                                        Noel, as reported upthread, we were also disappointed in Café Chloe when we visited SD last month, given the rave reviews on this Board. Not that it was awful, but not nearly as good as we'd expected. Agree that Basic was terrific -- not just the pizza and beer, but also the salad.

                                                                        1. re: masha

                                                                          Agree that Basic was terrific -- not just the pizza and beer, but also the salad.
                                                                          _______________________

                                                                          Yes, Basic *is* wonderful and their one and only salad option is not only terrific, but quite malleable.

                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9286...

                                                                        2. re: noelb

                                                                          Just curious about what you ate at Cafe Chloe ?

                                                                          1. re: honkman

                                                                            It was a month ago, but here is what I recall: There were 3 of us: My husband started with a potato soup, which he said was very good, although it needed additional salt & pepper (which had to be requested). I had the mushroom & bleu d'auvergne tart, which I thought was just ok and also underseasoned. The 3rd person had mussels, which were a special; he did not say much about them. I cannot recall what the other 2 had for their main courses; I had a fish special that was somewhat Asian in influence served in a broth -- fell flat for me. For dessert, I had the chocolat pot de crème, which were delicious; husband had the cheese selection -- cannot recall his reaction. General recollection was that the food was overly bland and under-seasoned. And I say that from the perspective of someone who enjoys French food generally. I had the feeling that I'd have done ok if I'd stuck to standards like steak frites.