At the bottom of a lovely overpriced Marriot hotel is the hip, modern and swanky restaurant/ bar/ patio lounge known as Arterra, with a fresh sushi bar and tight shirted waitresses and live music and hip low furniture and dark wood and all male bartenders and pretty much the entire list of everything you should look for in a night-time hot spot. Enjoying a comfy seat outdoors by a lovely fire spouting out of a pile of jagged cut glass, we surveyed the menu and drink offerings for some time before finally managing to get a server, who then pretty much ignored us from then on. After moving to the inside which was cozy and full, we commandeered a table after again getting left to our own devices. Read more »
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Usually, when I walk into a restaurant and I detect a faint moldy smell that’s about the time when I head for the door. But Hunter’s Steakhouse is a historic landmark here in San Diego and how could I resist a place voted best prime rib in town by Earl, their manager. That’s the mildew smell of our ancestors, likely the ones buried in the back yard.. and it reminds you of a time in our rich American history when if the help got frisky with the landsman’s daughter he’d be hacked to bits and bricked up in the walls. Read more »
You know, any day when you have to ask “Do I have lobster stuck in my teeth?” is a good day. For me, that day was when I ate at Bite of Boston in beautiful La Jolla in San Diego. They have locations in Boston, as you might assume, but they’re also open in 3 locations here. I’d never eaten there before but one day shopping I found myself standing in front of a poster with a large photo of a lobster sandwich and after that I got a bit blurry. Read more »
You have to be in a particularly special state of mind to go into an all-dessert restaurant. I don’t mean it’s after dinner and you just want dessert. I mean the kind of restaurant where the owner has such a shameless devotion for sweets, that it affects even the actual food on the menu. I’m talking about the all chocolate restaurant in Las Vegas called Max Brenner. He’s a nice Jewish boy with a huge sweet-tooth. I think maybe his parents wouldn’t let him have any candy at all when he was little and he’s making up for it with this place. If you served an all chocolate pizza at a dinner party your friends would flip out, but when this guy does it seems perfectly normal.
He’s opened locations ion New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and a few other places. Of course the Las Vegas location is the best place to experience the insanity because everything in Vegas is totally over the top and if you want to eat at a chocolate restaurant, this is the place that’ll have you sweating chocolate by the end of the meal. The décor is nice and warm and inviting but it’s the giant pipes that look like they’re circulating vat-fulls of liquid cocoa all up the walls and across the ceiling that really pull you in to the fantasy. I actually had a dream about that once, but here it’s real.. it’s very immersing. You just wanna dive into the giant cauldron of swirling melted stuff. The bartender serves only those drinks that can be made sweet and syrupy. Already I’m right at home and I haven’t even tasted the food yet.
Of course, being a restaurant you expect standard dinner items but that’s where Max gets a bit weird. Everything has been touched by this guy’s sweet-tooth. The pasta has just a light dusting of cocoa, the ranch dressing has been swirled with chocolate syrup, and the hamburger is served on a sweet roll. The chocolate pizza though is the real black hole of chocolate commitment here, there’s no escaping it. It’s big, heavy, and layered with everything you ever wanted out of life: cake, brownies, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, and toffee bits- it’s crazy. This is a place where you can order dinner for dessert.
There’s a full truffle collection and some winsome products for the impulsive chocaholic shopper- the chocolate bubble bath was my retail undoing. Of course I also bought the jar of freshly made milk chocolate ganache and giant plastic syringe to serve it in. Which is probably the next best thing to a chocolate blood transfusion. I don’t think I’ve ever had that much chocolate in one sitting before. By the end of the meal my jaw actually froze up like it does when you’re 9 and you’ve just eaten all your Halloween candy in one day. I felt the diabetes coming on.. All I could do was hope to sleep it off and wake up normal, for this was not a naturally tenable feeling. I left with blurred vision, who knows how much the check was. Walking slowly back toward my hotel and feeling the worst sugar shock in years I did the only thing I could. I reached into my shopping bag and nibbled a truffle on the way.
McCormick & Schmicks is one of those dark beefy places serving strong drinks with irrelevant descriptions and lighting too dark to see what you’re eating or what your date looks like. One of those places that you can expect to find career waitresses with low cut white collared shirts a size too small. It is not one of those places where you can expect to order your drinks via iPad. Tasty food, as one would expect of a restaurant with a $40 steak and a $50 lobster, but one of the only issues you may ever have with this place is that you really can’t pronounce the name of it while drunk. Read more »