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.