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jayoaichen rated the restaurant Carvers Steak and Chops

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jayoaichen filled out a comment card for Veranda - Rancho Bernardo Inn

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We stayed at the RB Inn last weekend with friends to get us in the mood for Christmas. It's an amazing place, I highly recommend visiting. We ate at the Veranda twice, once the first night with a large group and then the next morning for breakfast.

The dinner service was excellent. They have flights of "boutique" wines or craft beers for $9, a great deal. I'm normally a beer guy but went with the wine flight, it all tasted great to me. Out party ordered several appetizers: seared yellowfin tuna, the short rib quesadillas and the guacamole. I tried them all and they were all amazing. For an entree I ordered the lamb rack. It took a long time for the entrees to arrive, but they were fantastic. The lamb was cooked perfectly and seasoned to perfection. The sides were a little on the lukewarm side and nothing to write home about though. Everyone else seemed to love their selections as well.

The next morning we decided to go back for breakfast. I'm not sure what was going on, I think we may have gotten there at a bad time. We had to wait a while for a hostess to seat us, and then we were there for a while (10 minutes?) before we were able to get a server to acknowledge us. They had a breakfast buffet which we ended up getting, which was all fantastic. Bacon, eggs, sausage, french toast, an omelet bar. All great.

So to sum up, great food, just need to work out a few service issues. Overall I would definitely recommend.


jayoaichen rated the restaurant Veranda - Rancho Bernardo Inn

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jayoaichen filled out a comment card for Kappa Sushi

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On a rare date night excursion, my wife and I decided to find a new sushi spot. After a little searching, my wife turned up Kappa sushi which had an amazing 4.5 Yelp rating with 136 reviews. It’s on Mira Mesa in the Trader Joes/Chuck E. Cheese shopping center, a spot we know all too well from kids birthday parties. It’s a small restaurant, somewhat tightly packed but clean and modern looking.

The menu is large with lots of interesting choices. We went early so we had happy hour options too. I’m a fan of oysters, so we both started with oyster shooters which were well seasoned, a little sweet and spicy too. We split the Surf & Turf roll which is lobster, asparagus and avocado topped with Kobe beef and garlic chips. I’ve had Kobe beef rolls before, but this was by far the best. My only complaint is that I think the garlic should have been sliced even thinner, since that’s such a strong flavor.
Just for myself I got the ‘El Diablo’ roll, spicy crab and cucumber topped with pepper seared ahi and a spicy garlic ponzu. This was very spicy, a little sweet and delicious. The spice came from different spots in the dish and it came together really well. My wife got a couple hand rolls and a cucumber salad (that I ended up eating most of).

I would definitely recommend this place and can’t wait to go back to explore more of their menu.


jayoaichen filled out a comment card for Romano's Macaroni Grill

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Macaroni Grill if you’re not familiar is a chain restaurant comparable to Olive Garden, but the food and atmosphere are a couple notches better. My wife and I took our kids (1 and 5) for an early dinner yesterday on our way to the mall. At barely 5pm, I was surprised there were as many customers as there were. Of course there was still plenty of open seating and I appreciated that they found us a nice corner away from other tables so the kids wouldn’t disturb anyone. They have excellent bread service, square loaves of focaccia that arrive fresh from the oven after you’re seated, and they have a bottle of olive oil on each table for dipping.

We started with their bruschetta; we had wanted the roasted vegetables but were told they were having supplier problems. I’m not a huge fan of bruschetta, but it was pretty good. I like that they serve it in component form without the tomatoes already on the bread so it doesn’t get soggy. For an entrée, I went with the Snapper “Acqua Pazza”. The description from their website is “Snapper filet simmered in a white wine broth with ripe tomatoes, fresh herbs with sweet clams and gold potatoes”. It could have been served just a bit hotter, but overall it was quite good. The portion was just right and the flavors all went together nicely, I especially enjoyed the gold potatoes. My wife got the lobster ravioli. She said liked it, but that the lobster meat was a little on the dry side.

The kids menu has standard kid-friendly offerings. My son had chicken strips and fries and my daughter just ate off of our plates. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of healthy choices they had on the menu, a number of which had 500 calories or less. It’s been a while since we’ve been there; I wonder if the menu had been redone since California now mandates calorie counts on the menu. Regardless, it was nice to have a good selection of healthy choices, I’m looking forward to going back again to try something else.


jayoaichen filled out a comment card for Stone Brewing Company

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First off, for full disclosure, I’m a craft beer nerd and have beer goggles for Stone beer. I’ve (amazingly) only been up to Stone once before and hadn’t eaten there the last time because of the long wait for a table without reservations. So when my wife suggested we go for an early Valentine’s Day dinner, I was thrilled. We were seated in the beer garden, which can be a bit chilly after 7 on a February evening. But they have several fire pits going and heaters and almost every table, so after that got fired up we were fine.

For Valentine’s Day they had a special menu which we mostly ordered from. We started by sharing locally grown oysters on the half-shell for an appetizer. There were five, seasoned perfectly. We then both went with the Maine lobster bisque, which was a little spicy (which I loved) and had nice big chunks of lobster. For the entrée, I went with the Filet au Poivre, with lobster mashed potatoes and petite vegetables. The filet was cooked and sauced well (although honestly at this point in the dinner, I was a little sauced as well) and the petite vegetables were fine, but the highlight of the dinner was the lobster mashed potatoes. They had big chunks of succulent lobster meat mixed with herbed potatoes, they were magnificent. The Valentine’s dessert was a Chocolate Caramel Tower with Strawberry Coulis. I’ve been on a diet and staying away from sweets for so long I don’t know that I could offer an objective opinion, it was excellent.

As for the beers, I went with a different one per course. I started with a Vertical Epic Ale (8/8/8) with the appetizers, an 8th Anniversary Ale with the bisque, a 2010 Double Bastard with my steak and a 2010 Oaked Arrogant Bastard with dessert.

Surprisingly, beer service was the most problematic part of the meal, they were out of my first selection several times and delivery was slow. Granted, I’m sure most folks don’t try to do a different beer per course, but I was halfway through the entrée before my double bastard arrived, no bueno. And when the waitress told me they were out of the Russian Stout I ordered with dessert she offered me a free coffee instead as a substitution. WTF? I’m not sure what she was thinking, I wasn’t driving and it’s not like I was slurring my speech or causing a disturbance in the beer garden, so I’m not sure why she felt it was time for me to stop drinking. I assured her, it was not.

Overall it was a great experience. The food and beer was excellent, the service was decent and the surroundings were beautiful. I can’t wait to go back.


jayoaichen has just added the restaurant Red Lobster

to the list, Almost Banned

jayoaichen has just created a new naughty-restaurant list called 'Almost Banned'


jayoaichen filled out a comment card for Sixth Avenue Bistro

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On a rare lunch downtown, we stopped off at Sixth Avenue Bistro. There were a few Cajun dishes recommended on the menu, so I went with the Jambalaya. It was pretty good; it had plenty of chicken and Andouille sausage which were both cooked and seasoned well. The sauce was just a little bland for my taste though. I spiced it up with some Tabasco, but I was just a bit disappointed. It looked a lot better than it tasted. Still, I may give it another shot if I’m ever down that way. They also have a red beans and rice dish I would want to try out also.


jayoaichen filled out a comment card for Sammy's Woodfired Pizza

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The food here is normally pretty good, although I was disappointed with the crispy mahi-mahi tacos on my latest visit. I’ve had Sammy’s fish tacos before and they were great, maybe I mis-ordered. The ones that I got this week tasted like a dry fish stick on a bed of cabbage with salsa and guacamole on the side. But like I said, that’s unusual for Sammy’s, I’ve been here a number of times and this was a rare miss.

I like the depth of their menu; they always seem to have something new to try. I don’t know if I’ve even ever had their pizza. I have had their appetizer garlic/cheese pizza bread, which is phenomenal (although I’m trying to avoid it to stick to my diet).

This location can be a bit cramped, but they do have covered patio seating which is great on the rare occasions when the weather is nice.


jayoaichen has just added the restaurant La Jolla Strip Club

to the list, Lunch Favorites

jayoaichen filled out a comment card for La Jolla Strip Club

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This is a fun place. They’re really tongue-in-cheek about the whole ‘strip club’ thing, with adult themed cocktails and dishes (leave the kids at home). I haven’t had any bad food here; everything I’ve tried has been really solid in about a half dozen visits or so. Also my fellow craft beer fans will appreciate the tap list, which includes such excellent choices as AleSmith’s Nautical Nut Brown. Definitely recommend.


jayoaichen has just added the restaurant Ca Dao

to the list, Lunch Favorites

jayoaichen has just added the restaurant Chili's

to the list, Lunch Favorites

jayoaichen has just added the restaurant Karl Strauss Brewing Company

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jayoaichen has just added the restaurant Apollonia Greek Bistro

to the list, Lunch Favorites

jayoaichen has just added the restaurant Bluefin Fusion Japanese Restaurant

to the list, Lunch Favorites

jayoaichen has just added the restaurant Surf Brothers Teriyaki

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jayoaichen has just added the restaurant Star Anise

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jayoaichen has just added the restaurant Crazy Seafood Buffet

to the list, Banned

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jayoaichen filled out a comment card for Boudin Bakery

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This is a good alternative to the food court (it's over by Nordstrom's). They have excellent sandwiches. I haven't tried the soups yet, but plan to on a future visit. There seems to always be quite a line, but they move through it pretty quickly.


jayoaichen rated the restaurant Boudin Bakery

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jayoaichen rated the restaurant Apollonia Greek Bistro

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jayoaichen filled out a comment card for Noodles & Company

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Pretty decent place, I think I would try it again. Maybe not a better value than something like the Mongolian Grill, but it was decent. For $7.50 I got a small pad thai chicken bowl and a salad. It looked a bit skimpy, but I was satisfied. It’s nice that they deliver out to the food court, that’s a nice touch. I also love anyplace that has bottles of sriracha on all the tables.


jayoaichen rated the restaurant Noodles & Company

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jayoaichen filled out a comment card for Sushi Town

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I love Sushi Town. Sure, as other reviewers have noted the sushi isn’t primo (it’s good, don’t get me wrong), but the conveyer belt system makes this place awesome. As someone who has a tendency to be a bit indecisive, it can be challenging at first. You need to quickly determine what the sushi is, decode the price, and then decide if it’s going in your belly. It can be hypnotic too; sometimes I find I’ve been staring at the line for several passes without having made a choice or said a word, just lost in following the progress of the sushi train as it makes it way to yummy station. Toot toot! YUM!


jayoaichen rated the restaurant Sushi Town

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jayoaichen filled out a comment card for Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar

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Ah, Crapplebee’s. This is one of those restaurants I’ll hit once every 3-4 years or so after having forgotten how much I dislike it. It’s not that Applebee’s is terrible; it’s got some redeeming qualities. The staff was all really friendly, and it wasn’t crowded at all (and that’s tough to find on Friday at lunchtime). In fact, they were so nice I feel bad giving them a bad review, but I just don’t get this place. It’s like a Chili’s with worse food and a 1970’s vibe (I swear, there was disco playing when we got there). And I’m not complaining about how the food was prepared, that was fine, but the menu itself is just off. The choices are unappealing and there are just too many weird combinations (for example they have a new BBQ chicken salad, wtf?). So I went safe and got a chicken Caesar which was fine. I dunno, maybe I’m just out of their target demographic. I’ll try again in 2012.


jayoaichen filled out a comment card for Phileas Fogg's Bar & Restaurant

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My wife and I had been talking about trying this for a while because it’s in the same strip mall as the daycare we occasionally bring our son to. It was a lot of fun, I’m glad we did. They have a ton of imported beers and a good draft selection, as well as a number of blends (i.e. the “Alan Shearer”, a mix of Newcastle & Guinness). I’m sure all bars can do this but this is the first time I could recall seeing them listed on the menu. I tried the sausage roll for dinner, it’s a “banger” wrapped in puff pastry. It was really good; I had it with some HP sauce which the waitress said was like a British A1. Service was a little slow; our waitress apologized and said there were some issues with the coverage that night, which we understood. It’s a fun little place and I’m sure we’ll be back.


jayoaichen rated the restaurant Phileas Fogg's Bar & Restaurant

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jayoaichen rated the restaurant Urban Solace

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jayoaichen filled out a comment card for The Original Pancake House

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I tried the German pancake for lunch, it was pretty freaking good. At $10 though (and $4 for an OJ) it better be! It was enormous, I couldn’t finish it. Fresh lemons, powdered sugar and whipped butter are provided for the toppings, it was SO good mixed together. It’s an odd little eatery, but I will definitely go back someday to try one of the other specialties.