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Unexpected SF / Monterey / Paso Robles Trip - scrambling to plan

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Unexpected SF / Monterey / Paso Robles Trip - scrambling to plan

Frodnesor | Aug 6, 2009 11:11 PM

I've had about 48 hours to try to put together an 8 day trip to SF, Monterey area and Paso Robles. It's been 2 years since we've been to the Bay Area. Reports from our last visit are here ->
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/433015
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/433164

We will again have the kids (now 11 & 9, and reasonably adventurous eaters) in tow. If I had to pick favorites from our last visit, they would probably be Zuni Cafe (my first time there) and dim sum (Gold Mountain, Great Eastern, Yank Sing, each with their virtues). The kids love good dim sum and we routinely drive 30-40 minutes on weekends here in Miami for decent dim sum. Probably our all time favorite SF restaurant is Boulevard though we missed it on our last visit. My biggest regrets from last trip were not getting to Incanto, Bar Tartine, A16 (I know chefs are leaving at both of the latter - has it happened yet, is anyone noticing a decline?).

I hate being "that guy" who fires off questions without doing his research, and I'm trying not to be (I've plowed through the past month of posts on this board and done a few key searches), but here goes ->

- Any notable openings in the past year or two that I should have on my radar?
- Dim sum recs? XLB in particular, sadly impossible to find in Miami.
- Izakaya style Japanese?
- Vietnamese?
- I see Incanto is open Mondays and closed Tuesdays. In most places, Monday is often "chef's night off" and the experience can sometimes suffer. Should this be a concern at Incanto?

Incidentally, I note on OpenTable that many restaurants only have reservations at off-hours (5pm, 9pm) - do many restaurants block out reservation times from OpenTable, such that I might have better luck calling the restaurant directly?

I'm not sure if it's unkosher to solicit Monterey or Paso Robles advice on this board, but if you want to volunteer ...

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