Ploughman’s lunch

Plouhgman's lunch ┬ęDPaul Brown

My company recently moved offices. On the one hand, this is a good thing, as our old digs were in a dowdy, sad building on the wrong side of the tracks in Redwood City. Our new office is more modern, cleaner, lighter and the roof doesn’t leak. It’s in Belmont, under the looming grey-green towers of Oracle. The grounds are pleasant enough, and the commute is a few miles shorter for me. All good.

Nablo09.90x33However, the only source of food that is within walkable distance is a small cafe in the building that managed to fall out of my good graces on the second day of our occupancy. Aside from the inconvenience of having to get in the car to forage for lunch, I also don’t know where’s any good. It took months to get the lay of the land in Redwood City, and I just don’t have the time to take on the trial-and-error process of vetting restaurants throughout Belmont and San Carlos.

It’s just as well, really. DPaul and I have been on something of a fiscal diet of late, and the less money I spend on lunch the better. Normally our style of brown-bagging involves bringing leftovers from the previous night’s dinner or perhaps the occasional sandwich, but very frequently we assemble a nice ploughman’s lunch.

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Scala’s Bistro

ScalasbistroI don’t make a habit of frequenting hotel restaurants. In the world at large, hotel restaurants are the last resort, the option when everything else is too far away, or closed, or when you’ve been traveling for 15 hours solid and you’re just too tired to give a flying fig.

But sometimes there is a difference between a hotel restaurant and a restaurant that happens to be in a hotel. Take, for example, Saha, an independent restaurant in a boutique hotel that serves up reasonably good food and even a modicum of style. This is no Howard Johnson’s.

Scala’s Bistro fits somewhere in between. It is, technically, a hotel restaurant. Both it and the hotel that looms above it, the Sir Francis Drake, are owned by the same parent corporation, Kimpton Group. And while there is a certain thread of consistency to all Kimpton properties, there is rarely homogeneity. There is also, often, quality.

DPaul and I have eaten at Scala’s probably a couple dozen times over the years. It’s become a regular lunch haunt for us, a pleasant way station en route to an afternoon of downtown shopping. (And a lunch destination it shall remain … our dinner experiences have been less enthralling.) I also occasionally drop in and order a plate at the bar if I have somewhere to be in the area in the evening after work.

Scala’s closed for one month this past summer for a "major renovation."
Such words strike terror into the heart of a restaurant loyalist.
"Renovation" can mean anything from a quick coat of paint to a total
teardown, including a complete staff change. It can destabilize an
otherwise perfectly functional operation. We hadn’t been to Scala’s
since the reopening, and were unsure what to expect. It was time to

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