Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Outdoor Seating, September-Style. Because it's Bearable Again.

"If you're willing to dine on our patio, your lunch is on us."

We were about to walk out of Square 1682 at Hotel Palomar after glancing at the small lunch menu.

"You just have to fill out this survey."

Fair enough. Free lunch. A chance to dole out some advice to a restaurant in need of some feedback? Even better. I could deal.

It was the abundance of cheese on the vegetarian options that had me second-guessing the hotel restaurant. But the outdoor patio was empty, quiet, and the sidewalk traffic was not invasive, the way that some outdoor cafe setups can often put you too close to the passersby.

Not that I am trying to agree with Byko here.

 We both decided on two courses, both of the vegetarian appetizers and both vegetarian entrees.

My salad was bright and welcoming, not the wilted pile of lettuce I'd expected. Petite gem vegetables gave it a lift and the dressing was better than most that you find on a typical salad of greens.

The zucchini-wrapped goat cheese had almonds crusted on the bottom and wasn't bad at all. I liked the sauce that accompanied it, sun-dried tomatoes and crispy onions added fine pops of flavor.

Then the oil happened. Josh's vegetable sandwich and side of vegetables (also shot with cheese) were slick with it.

I really liked my grain salad, even if it sat in a pool of oil, and my vegetable "lasagna" arrived with a crown of unnecessary oil as well. A sauce would have spoken more fluently here. Out of all of the dishes, the lasagna is the one that I would try again and the one I would most recommend for a healthy lunch.

I was hoping that the Lemon-Scented Hummus would have been a lunch item, as it is one of the snacks that I ordered on my wedding day while staying at the hotel. It really is one of the better hummus dips around. Unfortunately, it is not available during lunch.

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