Stayed at the Parker this weekend with the girlfriend and had a LOT of really good meals, both cheap and not-so-cheap:
TYLER'S- Not really a burger eater, but every now and then, I indulge. This was absolutely the place to do it. Quite simply, one of the best, freshest burgers I've ever had. Throw the grilled onions on top, and I couldn't have been happier.
MATCHBOX- Was recommended to us by the bellhop at the Parker. I guess this place is pretty new. Don't remember the address offhand, but it's right in the center of downtown, next to The Falls steakhouse. The coolest thing about this place was the drink list, which was divided into "manly" and "girly" drinks. Had a great gimlet and a really refreshing saketini, while the girlfriend had the Berry blast, with fresh infused berry vodka. All really tasty. For entrees, we split the ahi salad, which was done in a wasabi vinegrette. Very fresh, and totally big enough to share. The only thing that was just okay was our pizza. We had artichoke on top, and it tasted a little rubbery and over-marinated. Still, it's a really fun place to go.
NORMA'S- For breakfast at the Parker. Seriously, one of the best breakfasts I can remember. I had the breakfast quesadilla on a spinach tortilla. It had perfect, crisp bacon and amazingly fresh guacamole inside. My girlfriend had the shrimp fritatta, which was so beautiful looking, we didn't want to eat it. HUGE shrimp on top, and the whole thing was on top of a bed of roasted fingerling potatoes. We spied the neighboring table eating the fruit plate, which looked like no other fruit plate we've ever seen. The whole thing was wrapped in a ring of peeled watermelon, and the colors were exploding off the plate. Sounds dramatic, but it looked that good. Anyway, the whole mea was expensive, but totally worth it.
TOMMY BAHAMA'S- Total surprise. Had an AMAZING ceviche-like thing, with tons of fresh shrimp and crab, then followed it up, by splitting the mango-chicken salad. Tommy Bahama's clothes may be cheesy, but the food there was shockingly good.
ZIN- We finished up the weekend with dinner at this bistro in the middle of downtown. We had wanted to go to Mr. Parker's in our hotel, but they were renovating, and the concierge steered us here instead. Oh my god, it was fantastic. We started with the mussels in a delcious tomato-garlic broth. Very ocean-y and crisp. I had a salmon in an artichoke/morel mushroom/asparagus sauce. The fish was slightly seared, so it was pretty pink inside. I was unsure of this at first, but after tasting it, I was totally converted. Amazingly tender and flavorful. Girlfriend had the yellowfin tuna, which was so flavorful, I thought I was eating filet mignon. It was that good. We finished with the homemade chocolate mousse with an almond brownie crust. They also gave us great wine pairings to go with the meal, and the service could not have been better. This was a truly exceptional meal, and we even managed to get out of there for under a hundred bucks. Couldn't have been happier with the experience.
Other than the 5.6 earthquake that woke us up the morning that we left, the whole experience was perfect.