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Annual Restaurant Week Transforms County Into a Movable Feast

I started off the biggest and best ever Restaurant Week , more than 125 eateries in San Diego joined the ranks to serve up three-course dinners at $30 to $40 per person , with a dining experience at JSix in the Gaslamp Quarter’s Hotel Solamar on Jan. 7.

While window-shopping before dinner, I bumped into Edward Kaen, owner of the Keating Hotel , I call it the Ferrari Keating because the sports car’s designer also designed the hotel’s interior , and an executive of 944 Magazine who couldn’t say enough that’s good about the beds. They’re so comfortable that he decided to remain at the Keating while working in town for the month rather than at an extended-stay property.

That gives new meaning to the term pillow talk, now doesn’t it?

I also encountered a crew of sweaty, jeans-clad, sleeves-rolled-up men scurrying about at Bondi, talking in Australian accents, putting the final touches on the place for a soft opening planned last week.

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The opening of the Australian-themed bar and restaurant set for the week between Christmas and New Year’s was delayed, I was told, because hardwood ordered for the flooring absorbed too much moisture after arriving from Down Under and couldn’t be finished without sitting bare for a couple of weeks. Being something of a flooring buff, I was curious to learn what was so superior about Australian wood. But I didn’t bother to ask the Aussies who appeared more at the ready to wrestle a crocodile, than deal with a reporter’s questions about the relative merits of that country’s hardwoods. The owners who hail from Australia also imported some Outback red rock for a wall covering, which prompts the question why American red rock wouldn’t do.

Maybe they’re so homesick that along with importing Australian beer, wine and foodstuffs, they decided to bring the wood and rocks.

Moseying on over to the JSix bar to wait for my dinner date, I ordered every cowgirl’s favorite drinkiepoo, a grasshopper.

I have searched for the perfect grasshopper on both sides of the Mississippi, north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line and eureka, here I have found it! The meal that followed was excellent. I’m no food critic, but I have to say that the seafood warranted the highest superlatives any superlative-spouting food critic has in their lexicon, as did the dessert and the service.

San Diego’s restaurateurs put on a moveable feast of the first order.

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The Top 500:

Four San Diego properties were included on the list of Travel + Leisure’s top 500 hotels in the world for 2007 that ran in its January issue. They are: Hotel Solamar; Four Seasons Resort Aviara in Carlsbad; Lodge at Torrey Pines; Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in Rancho Santa Fe. They were among the 38 in the state that made it onto the list.


Send tourism and hospitality news to Connie Lewis via e-mail:

clewis@sdbj.com

. She may also be reached by phone at (858) 277-6359.

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