Having been spoiled by the spacious and convenient Toys R Us at the Bridgepoint Shopping Center in San Mateo, this store feels particularly small to me; I'm not sure the stock is any more limited, but the layout seems to make for smallish aisles, and generally the store feels "smaller". The other store definitely has a better stock of video games, by far, and since that's one of the things I look at the most, that may have clouded my judgment.
This store is also oddly located; it's visible from the highway, but not really that easy to get to fro the highway; you have to take Veterans' and then figure out what street to make a left on, curl around a bit, go over an odd little bridge into the parking lot... Very strange. But it is part of a larger shopping area, so maybe I've just always come to it from some obscure "back entrance" and there's a "front side" that I'm just not aware of...
PROS: Plenty of parking; not usually crowded.
CONS: Odd location, feels a little cramped.
This PetCo was built only a few years ago, and I've stopped in a few times since then to poke around. It's kept very bright, and they've done well to minimize the "warehouse" feel that some of their stores have. They're well stocked with pet supplies, and I don't remember seeing too many poorly kept pets (they have an assortment of rodents, freshwater fish, and a small selection of "other", such as reptiles and spiders). Parking is plentiful, with the large lot of Bridgepointe right there for the taking. I haven't had much cause to deal with their staff much, as it's off the beaten path for me (and there are closer pet supply stores to me), but I was definitely fairly impressed with the store when I was browsing.
PROS: Bright, clean... Plenty of parking
CONS: Nothing special
An east coast transplant (where we didn't have Red Robin), I'm now a total fan. The burgers are all great, huge, and prepared to perfection. The strawberry lemonade is (almost) always terrific, and I'm all about the fried mozzerella, which is actually deep-fried, and not just rolled in breading (do you hear me, TGI Fridays?)
The average price of a burger is about $8.50, an entree will run you $10, but the portions are huge (and for burgers, the fries are 'bottomless'). This place can get fairly crowded Friday and Saturday nights, but usually they have sufficient space and waiting is kept to a minimum. At peak hours, it can get very loud (it's a family-friendly place, so lots of kids, birthday parties, etc), but during lunch time, it's generally a fairly quiet place.
This particularly restaurant seems better than average; not entirely sure why, but the staff seems to be slightly more attentive. And there is PLENTY of parking, being inside the massive Bridgepointe Shopping Center (but away from the anchor stores where everyone parks).
PROS: Great burgers, dishes, service, parking
CONS: A bit on the expensive side for a burger & fries...
Most of the comic book stores I've ever been in have been tiny, cramped, and just floor-to-ceiling ratty cardboard boxes. Lee's surprised me -- it's a very spacious space, with plenty of room to walk around. I haven't bought any back issues, so I don't know how the prices compare, but they always have a great stock of current issues, and a good selection of more esoteric collectibles.
They also provide a subscription service (where they'll automatically order and reserve comics for you on a monthly basis) but I haven't taken advantage of it to know how well they handle it.
The parking lot does get quite busy, but as long as you're willing to walk through the lot, you can almost always find plenty of spaces away from the 'front row'.
PROS: Lots of space, great selection, subscription service
CONS: Crowded parking lot... Dangerous for the wallet.
This mall-based coffee shop is no Starbucks, but it does have one advantage over the Hillsdale Starbucks -- you don't have to leave the mall to get to it (the Starbucks is on the outside of the mall, with no interior access...) The other advantage is that it has a large assortment of coffee 'accessories', from a great collection of artistically decorated coffee cups to gift boxes of assorted coffee beans to coffee makers themselves.
The price for a coffee is about in line with Starbucks, but the beans tend to taste a little weak in comparison. Then again, I'm not much of a coffee snob, I tend to go for the iced mochas...
PROS: Great location, lots of gifts to buy
CONS: Not the best coffee I've ever had (but not bad at all)
This EB Games, located in a strip mall area, is a fairly spacious store; the middle of the store is mostly open space, with games covering the walls floor to ceiling. They have a very good selection of PC games (something becoming a bit more rare with the popularity of the console game systems) in the back, and plenty of games for all the consoles. The staff is usually quiet, polite, and laid back, more than willing to answer your questions, but more than willing to let you simply shop for yourself and wander the store.
PROS: Great selection, Polite staff, Plenty of parking
CONS: There are no cons, except it's so tempting to spend money...
I was so totally stoked when I saw they opened a LEGO store in the Hillsdale Mall; I've been a fan of the toys since I was just a widdle kid... But now that I'm all grown up, I can be a fan AND afford to buy the big honkin' sets they've been putting out (Check out the massive Star Destroyer and Death Star models...) And this is pretty much the only place you can get it, without buying online.
The back wall is also a candy store of pieces, and you can buy basic blocks in all different colors, by the bucketful. They usually have all of the latest and greatest LEGO sets in stock, and the store is bright, cheery, and just makes you feel good walking through it.
Just remember to put that padlock on your billfold, or you'll be leaving quite the poor man...
PROS: It's LEGO! Lots and lots of LEGO!!!
CONS: LEGO's expensive, and addictive.
This used to be a fairly good EB, with a good selection of games. The mall has reduced their footprint, though, so their current selection is very limited -- particularly lacking in PC games. Their XBox and PS2 game selection is fairly robust, given their small size, though.
PROS: Mall location
CONS: Small store, limited selection
I love Thai Time. Except for their relative lack of parking, this place is awesome. Respectable prices, good portions, and yummy food that's as domestic or exotic as you want.
And only order something with "four peppers" if you're really insane. A bunch of us took a friend who was from the Hunan province of China, and he was going on about how he could eat anything spicy, how he grew up eating ridiculously spicy food, etc. We took him here, and had him order something with four peppers. We all watched him take that first bite, watched the red cover his face, the sweat practically spraying off his forehead, and the race for the glass of water... He never did finish it.
Me, I'll stick with a two-pepper yellow curry beef. Yum!
PROS: Good prices for great food -- as hot as you want it.
CONS: Parking's not always conveniently available.
When I first went to Gombei, I was actually a little disappointed; I'd thought all "Japanese restaurants" served up sushi. But Gombei doesn't (although they often had some sashimi as a special of the day). They focus on the non-sushi dishes. And most of them are pretty good.
As stated earlier, parking is fairly atrocious, and this place does get busy for lunches. The price is pretty fair, and the portions are decently sized. I haven't been back in quite a while, though, because it simply wasn't a compelling restaurant. Perhaps I'm just not that big a fan of non-sushi Japanese food...
PROS: Good portions, interesting entree options
CONS: Very limited parking