For our lunch meeting, Chris took me to his favorite Mexican spot, Taqueria El Grullense on El Camino. It's an efficient and popular place. There's a big set of pictures on the wall for a menu with items ranging the gamut of Mexican-American food. I'm a tamale fanatic and I went with the pork; Chris ordered the carnitas. My tamales were very moist and tasty with a big helping of masa. The refried beans (there doesn't seem to be an option on beans) were quite good. I'm sure that their substantial volume helps them keep the items fresh and full of taste.
Trev, Jan, and Karem took me to a wonderful evening at West End Grill located, appropriately enough, in the West End. The restaurant still has its old tin ceiling festooned with stained glass chandeliers. I was too hungry to take a picture of our appetizers: crab cakes and bleu cheese tarts. The crab cakes had just a bit of heat to them, something you don't always find in a crab cake but which worked very well. The bleu cheese tarts lived up to their intriguing premise, rich and tangy. This is my caprese salad. The mozzarella, tomato, and basil were all outstanding. The balsamic vinegar had been very well aged, giving it a thick consistency. My main course was tuna, perfectly prepared to a medium well. The tuna left just enough room for a chocolate lava cake paired with decaf coffee. The cake was rich and moist. I kept scraping my plate to be sure I retrieved all of the chocolate.