On night #3 (I spent night #2 huddled in my room, catching some z's under the AC) I threw caution to the wind and let my colleague choose a restaurant, even though I had several strong recommendations elsewhere. Knowing I will be here the rest of the week and one more upcoming, I am sure I will get plenty of opportunity to dine in other places.
So tonight we dined at Mama Tosca at the behest of my friend and colleague A. I get why he likes Moma Tosca. It's in an upscale mini-mall, and the decor and service were lovely. But the food was meh, and it was pricey. M and I started with the onion soup (NOT included in the price of dinner, but somehow the waiter made it sound inclusive. I don't mind spending the money but the soup was fairly flavorless.) It was Italian style, in a light broth with a few croutons and lots of shaved parm.
My main course was sea bass in an arabbiata style red sauce. I was in the mood for something light due to the 100+ weather, and this fit the bill. It could have been spicier, but the fish was fresh enough. The pasta was flavorless. Literally. Like eating soft newspaper. It tasted boxed and without even a trace of olive oil or butter. The veg was overcooked and slightly mushy.
A had the penne arabbiata with chicken. It looked nice enough, but the flavor was more or less the same as what I was eating. I felt bad he had to endure an entire bowl of pasta from a box for $25.
Our experience begs the following question: if a tiny little restaurant in Hemet, called Dattilo's on Florida, can make their own pasta from scratch daily and charge $15 an entree including soup or salad, why can't a fancier place in Bakersfield do the same for close to twice the price? My meal, including one glass of wine was $59. WTF?