A Ringer: Chef Mark Ayers at TusCa and Pacific's Edge
(It *is* autumn getaway season, after all!)
He makes all attempts to shop local, and the back of house is run in part by serious Norcal surfers, a type known among surfing buffs for their fastidious natures and conscientious ways. Always good in a kitchen.
Wood oven pizzas ($12-$14) are savory and thin-crusted if I recall correctly, and soups like white asparagus with porcini oil ($9) are delicate and thorough in flavor. I loved a Pacific grilled sea bass plated with a platterful of grilled artichokes, fingerling potatoes, green beans, and baby squash in a fine fumeto; at $21, it's a dish that easily would go for $37 in the city.(And it's still on the menu.)
...And the wine bar can fulfill one's desires for a lil bit of chic -- to balance out an afternoon spent watching games and cheersing beers at Knuckles, the hotel's old-school "Historical Sports Bar." (Historical?)