Apr 14

Johnny's Harborside Restaurant in Santa Cruz, CA

On Saturday, we decided to go down to Johnny's Harborside in Santa Cruz.  It came recommended by locals, so we decided to give it a chance.  We went down for an early dinner.  The place wasn't too busy, but it had people.  It had a great location right on the harbor and the building itself was very nice and open, with fresh sea air blowing in.

For appetizers, we had Cornmeal Crusted Soft Shell Crab and the Chili Fried Calamari.  The Soft Shell Crab was delicious.  I had never had soft shell crab with cornmeal and I was very happy with their resulting dish.  The calamari had a little kick to it, but not so much that it was overpowering the food it self.  It was actually very subtle, but it really added to the dish.  When I go back, I will probably have both of these again.

I decided to have the fish and chips, since I was told that I couldn't go wrong with them.  And they were right.  It was Tempura Battered Alaskan Cod and I got the 3 piece meal. The pieces were very large and they were cooked to perfection.  It was some of the best battered fish I have every had. For the chips, I went with the half sweet potato/half rosemary fries.  I was not disappointed.  Both of the fry types were very good; the rosemary was a nice addition to the regular fries and the sweet potato fries were cooked well.

Overall, this is a great restaurant to go if you are in a seafood mood.  The meal I got was not expensive at all, but they had all the normal things you would expect at a seafood restaurant as well.  Some of it was pricier, but that is the nature of seafood.  I will be going back to this restaurant again and I recommend you do too.

Mar 14

The National Hotel Restaurant in Jamestown, CA

Today we stopped in historic Jamestown, CA.  This was one of the mining towns of the California Gold rush.  There wasn't a lot to chose from, but we found the National Hotel and the restaurant that is inside.  This hotel was build in 1859 during the gold rush and has been chugging along ever since.  We arrived just as they were opening for the evening.

The place itself is old, you can tell when you walk in.  However, it has the old feel charm, not the "I am falling apart" look to it.  We were seated and had wonderful wait staff.  We started with the baked brie and artichoke and prosciutto sauté to start with.  The bake brie was covered in phyllo dough and glazed with honey and almonds.  It was some of the best baked brie I have had.  It was absolutely delicious.  I would have been happy just eating that all night.   The artichoke was good, but only so.  I enjoyed eating it, but it was nothing special.

For my main course I had the Brandy Apple Pork, which according to the menu is "tender sauté with brandied apples, shallots, and a touch of spice."  It was fantastic.  It came with a side of mashed garlic potatoes and mixed vegetables.  I easily cleaned my plate.  The brandied apples were very well done, the pork was tender and flavorful, and the vegetables were done just right.  If you are looking for something a little sweet, but very flavorful, I recommend the Brandy Apple Pork.

The other meal at the table was filet mignon with mushrooms and gorgonzola.  They had an interesting take on the filet mignon, but the meal itself was fantastic as well.  Again, it came with vegetables and potato.  I highly recommend this meal as well.

Then, we had dessert.  We both ordered a flambé.  One was the apricot bon bon and the other was a combination of cherries jubilee and bananas foster.  They flambéd the desserts right at the table. It was neat to watch, but it was even better to eat them.  After dessert, I was definitely full, but it was worth every bite.

If you are ever in the Jamestown, CA area, I would highly recommend you go and visit the National Hotel and eat at their restaurant.  You may even want to spend the night there.  Who knows, maybe you will meet Flo, the hotel's own ghost.