I intentionally don't write reviews when I'm out of town. I want to keep my site tightly focused, and when I'm on vacation, I don't want to work! However, I just can't stand letting these good restaurants go unmentioned, so this post will be an ever-expanding list of my favorite non-LA restaurants.
1. The Palace - You'll wait in line outside, but the line moves fast and live zydeco music will keep you entertained while heaters keep you toasty. The food is excellent, the staff is happy to accomodate allergies and preferences, and you have to save room to eat a chocolate souffle with bourbon sauce for dessert. Come super-hungry because you'll also want to try every flavor of corn muffin they serve before your meal. The food can't compete with real southern cajun food, but it's still very good food, and we are starved for any cajun at all in these parts. At some point during your meal, the entire restaurant will sing songs while the staff comes around to clink glasses with you. In spite of being cheesy, even I manage to enjoy this ritual.
1. Skates on the Bay - The waitress actually brought me a free drink for no other reason than that the bartender had accidentally made an extra cosmo (either that or she was hitting on me!). More importantly, I loved my scallops and the cheesy potato entree. Sit by the window and enjoy the view of San Francisco--especially lovely at night. Dateworthy.
1. Costa Brava - The quality of food, portion size, menu variety, wine list, dessert menu, noise level, interior design, prices, and service are all nearly perfect. I wish this restaurant were in Los Angeles. Of course, if it were, the hostesses probably wouldn't have been nearly as friendly or accomodating, and the place probably would have been loud and obnoxiously trendy. But in Santa Cruz, it was perfect. It was even easy to get reservations for 7:30 on a Saturday--and we made them only 2 hours in advance. Dateworthy.
The Black Cat