Thursday, May 10, 2012

San Francisco, CA


The House: ($$)
If you are anywhere near north beach, you must go to The House. This Asian-fusion restaurant combines interesting ingredients to create amazing dishes. The restaurant is very small and simple, with a warm and welcoming atmosphere, perfect for small groups or dates. The menu is very simple, just one page, but has plenty of things to offer. The fish dishes are all delicious, the sea bass and black cod are both incredible.  This place is perfect for adventurous eaters, and you will not be disappointed. Be sure to get the chocolate lava cake for desert and you will leave very happy :)

Foreign Cinema: ($$$)

As soon as you enter the huge silver vintage movie theater style doors, you will be happy you came to foreign cinema. The atmosphere is cozy and romantic, perfect for dates or families. Try to get seated in the courtyard area, with strands of small lights and gas heaters and an old foreign film projected on the wall playing quietly. You feel as if you have completely escaped from the outside world, almost that you are in a different country. The food will not disappoint. If you like friend chicken (which I don’t but this is still amazing) they have a variety of different types and flavors and the chicken is incredibly juicy!  Foreign Cinema’s brunch is also to die for, one of the best brunches in the city. The “pop tart” is fabulous, filled with seasonal fruit, as are pretty much all of their egg dishes and the French toast. This place is a MUST if you are anywhere near the Mission and if not I highly suggest making your way over!

Escape from New York Pizza: ($) 
THE BEST pizza by the slice in the city! Located in the historical Haight-Ashbury district, this thin crust pizza will win you over. They offer classics done oh-so-right (the BEST vegetarian) and also interesting combinations like potato pesto or meatball if you are feeling more adventurous. This place is on the smaller side and charming. The walls are lined with pictures of celebrities that have frequented the place, which are fun to look at as you eat. They also deliver which is a great option! After you grab a slice have fun exploring the Haight!

San Diego, CA

San Diego, CA
Sara’s: ($)

Have you ever spent a night on Mission Beach? Sara’s is the place to go for some authentic and tasty late night Mexican food! Whether you’re craving a Cali burrito or an order of carne asada chips, Sara’s has it all! It’s a fun place to hang out with a crowd because it’s conveniently located outside of two bars. It is open until 3 am so it is the perfect stop before cabbing home after the bars. Or if you are a Mission Beach native, it is definitely worth the walk.  There’s no seating at Sara’s its simply a takeout window where you place your order. The service is quick and the family operating the business is very friendly. The make all their hot sauces and salsas from scratch! Make sure to stop by Sara’s and ask for spicy salsa if you dare! 

Cody’s La Jolla: ($$)

Cody’s is the perfect place to grab breakfast or lunch when you’re strolling through La Jolla or on your way to or from the beach! This quaint little restaurant is perched on a hill and has a beautiful view overlooking the ocean! They have indoor and outdoor seating and a very kind
and accommodating wait staff. The breakfast is great! I recommend the veggie hash, a delicious breakfast dish with two poached eggs, served over potatoes, roasted red peppers, onion, mushrooms, asparagus, arugula and a special hollandaise. For lunch, you must order fish and chips. In my opinion, they are the best fish and chips in all of San Diego, crispy and flaky on the outside, with fresh cod that melts in your mouth. They have fabulous homemade ice tea and your glass will never be empty for the staff is frequently walking around with refills! They also have free wifi and great coffee! If you are ever in La Jolla around breakfast or lunchtime make sure to stop into Cody’s and prepare yourself for yummy food and a stunning view!  

Po Pazzo: ($$$)

Po Pazzo is a delicious Italian restaurant located in Little Italy near downtown San Diego. The atmosphere is elegant and fresh with white linen tablecloths, beautiful flower center pieces, dimly lit chandeliers, wine cases and live music on weekends! The freshly baked dinner rolls they bring you when you sit down are warm out of the oven! Order the wedge salad to start and you won’t be disappointed! The mussels, served in a homemade tomato sauce, are incredible. They aren’t listed on the menu but request them for the table or even as your entrée! The wait staff is attentive and friendly, always stopping by to fill your wine glass and make sure you are satisfied. Order the special seafood pasta served over angel hair pasta in a red scampi sauce. Po Pazzo is perfect for a large gathering with friends and family or an intimate date night with a loved one! Be sure to stop here if you are craving Italian food in San Diego, you are guaranteed an exceptional meal and an fine dining experience. 

Stowe, VT

Stowe, VT

Frida’s Taqueria and Grill: ($$)

If you visit Stowe, Vermont, you must visit Frida’s! This Mexican restaurant, co-owned by chefs Jack Picket and Josh Bard, is crawling with locals and the bar scene is lively! The homemade guacamole on the menu is fresh and made tableside! The chips are light and crispy and salted with a hint of sugar which makes them addicting! They have a great selection of authentic tacos served on handmade corn tortillas and accented with many different spices and sauces. The tacos are small so you can essentially try one of each or order an assorted plate for the table. During the summer months they have a lovely patio that overlooks Main Street. Dogs are welcomed on the patio and waitresses will even bring them a bowl of water! Be sure to order the Baja burrito, which has fried cod, avocado, red cabbage and spicy sauces! Traveling with young kids? Don't fret, Frida's has a great kids menu. This is a great place to go with a group of friends or your large extended family! Don't leave Stowe without stopping in at Frida's! 

Harrison's: ($$$)

Harrison's is a small, cozy and dimly lit restaurant located right off the main drag in Stowe, Vermont. With intimate, secluded booth seating, it is the perfect place to take someone on a date! The menu covers a vast range of food from bar food to fine cuisine.  The fried calamari starter is fabulous, plated with fried peppers for a little added spice! The lobster mac and cheese is my all-time favorite. Growing up in VT, I will only eat Cabot cheddar cheese and of course 
Harrison’s does it right. The creamy butter 
cheese sauce with real, fine Boston or Maine Lobster chunks is a magnificent combination. The wait staff is very friendly! On one occasion I was dining at Harrison’s, the waitress brought me a different salad than the one I had ordered. I informed her and told her that it looked great and I would eat it anyways, reiterating it was no big deal. At the end of our meal when we received our check, I was shocked to realize she not only took the salad off the bill, but my entrée as well! Overall, Harrison’s is a great place to dine with the family or a date! The food is great and the atmosphere and staff is warm and welcoming. 

McCarthy’s: ($)

McCarthy’s is a lovely breakfast and lunch joint located conveniently on the Mountain Road in Stowe, Vermont It is hopping with locals and very casual. The Irish-inspired restaurant is known for their St. Patty’s day celebration! Each year they celebrate in style with a live DJ, Irish coffee in the morning and traditional Irish soda bread and corned beef and cabbage for lunch!  Locals line up as early as 5 am to be part of the celebration! With a countdown on the wall and a lot of green, it makes for a very fun environment. They make fabulous omelets with anything you want in them. Their waffles and pancakes are served with real VT maple syrup and they are delicious! Most of the staff has been at McCarthy’s since the restaurant first opened in 1974, they are all so friendly and welcoming. McCarthy’s is the perfect place for a quick bite before work or a weekend brunch with the family! 

New York, NY

New York City

Central Park Boat House: ($$$)

Central Park Boat House is the perfect getaway after a busy day in the city or a nice long walk in the park. It is remarkable how it really feels like you are in the country but in reality you are in the middle of the busiest city in the world! With tables that overlook the lake and the beautiful foliage, this might be one of the prettiest spots in New York.  CPB is a lovely place for brunch with the family or the perfect spot for a romantic date with a loved one. The wait staff is friendly and accommodating and the food is fabulous. The assorted breadbasket they bring you right after you sit down is wonderful. To start, you must order the Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes and for an entrée the Shrimp and Scallop Curry is fabulous. 

Katz's Delicatessen: ($$)

Established in 1888, Katz’s Delicatessen is New York’s oldest deli. It is the only place in NYC that continues to hand carve all its pastrami and corned beef. The ambiance is great with an authentic Old Manhattan atmosphere. The sandwiches are huge so make sure to order a half sandwich is you aren’t extremely hungry. With a menu full of Jewish Deli staples, Langer’s #19 is the must have! This pastrami sandwich is dressed with coleslaw and a homemade Russian dressing and served on a homemade bread. It is outstanding! The Matzah ball soup is great. They have a half sandwich and soup special and that is the perfect amount of food! The service is great and the meat cutters preparing your sandwich are very enthusiastic and accommodating. While it is pretty pricey for a sandwich, the experience is so worth it and you might even see a celebrity! 

Marea: ($$$$)

Marea is a lovely Italian and seafood restaurant located west of Midtown in Manhattan. Marea's two sister restaurants, Aifiori and Morini are equally as delicious, but Marea is my all-time favorite! Owner and Chef, Michael White makes Italian cuisine with light, fresh ingredients. The menu is filled with refreshing dishes and an entire list of east 
and west coast raw oyster plate options. Marea has an old-fashioned and sophisticated atmosphere with beautiful hardwood floors and white tablecloths.  The menu at Marea is divided into sections; diners may order a four-course meal for $89 or regular individual appetizers and entrees! Marea also has crudo menu, which is a raw Italian seafood menu. Marea is definitely a spot to visit in NYC! The seafood broth entrée is fabulous and you get a little taste of all the fish on the menu!  You must order the assorted chocolate plate for dessert! 

Big Island, HI

Big Island, Hawaii
Monstera: ($$)
Literally this is the best sushi in the USA. I go to Hawaii with my family every year, and every year we make it a plan to go to Monstera at least twice. When you walk in the atmosphere is very simple but don’t be fooled the food is far from simple. You must get the tuna tataki as an appetizer it will change your life! As for the rest of your meal just stick with sushi and sashimi. Some of the freshest fish you will ever eat. 

Merriman's: ($$$)

One of the best restaurants on the Big Island! When you walk in you really don’t feel like you’re in Hawaii. There are no tiki torches or hula dancers, just white table cloth and an island inspired menu. My favorite thing to start with is the Crispy Local Goat Cheese. One of the reasons I love this restaurant so much is they really take advantage of the fresh and local produce. For dessert you have to get the dark chocolate purse it is unbelievable! 

Café Pesto: ($$)
This is my brother’s and my favorite spot to grab a pizza after a long day of diving off the coast of Kawaihae. This is a great place for lunch or dinner with the family or with a date. A favorite dish of mine are the Crab cakes, they come with this miso dressing that will change your life. My brothers go to dish is a large pizza extra cheese and bay shrimp. This is a great place for families with young kiddos, or a perfect place for a date.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Aspen, CO


Café Bernard: ($$$)

Whether you go for breakfast lunch or dinner, you wont be disappointed with Bernard’s classic French meals. When you walk into this small café you will only see about 6 tables and one server. If you go for breakfast, make sure to get the Farmer’s Breakfast, which is eggs scrambled with cheddar on top of sauteed zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, onions,and potatoes and served with their made with homemade bread. If your 
there for dinner be sure to make a reservation and BE ON TIME, Bernard (the owner/chef) hates when customers arrive late. Be sure to ask for the mussels they will change your life! And if you're willing to wake up early go and pick up a dozen of their morning bun! Heavenly. Overall, a great place to come with a small group or with a date. $$$

Johnny McGuire's Deli: ($)
By far best sandwich shop in Aspen. This place has character dripping from every wall. And the sandwiches are unbelievable! They have tons and tons of different toppings and an amazing variety of sandwiches. If you find your self here you have to get the Bear Cat HOT! It is beyond tasty! This is a great place to pick up lunch for a picnic or to grab a quick bit after hitting the slopes. And if things couldn't get any better with this place... there are 2 locations! 

Boogie’s Diner: ($$)

Not only is Boogies a fun place to have lunch, you can also do a little shopping while your waiting for your table! If you’ve ever seen an old diner that is exactly what Boogie’s looks like. They have a huge menu with almost everything on it from  Hot Open-faced Turkey Sandwich, Tuna Melt-down and Aspen's Best Carrot Cake! But the best and most popular thing to get is one of there famous milkshakes! So good! This is a great place to grab lunch with your family or with friends.  Remember If you want to avoid the crowds at lunch during peak season, you can usually get a table if you arrive before noon.

Dallas, TX

Mi Cocina: ($$)

If you want the best tex-mex in Dallas, you must go to Mi Cocina! Be ware, there might be a wait, but the line usually goes pretty fast. Once you sit down you have to order one of their famous frozen mambo taxis, a margarita laced with sangria. Order a bowl of the best Chili con queso you’ll ever have, and don’t forget about the endless salsa and warm chips. The wait staff is very nice and will do anything thing to make your meal more enjoyable. They also offer a gluten free menu! If you like quite/calm restaurants this might not be the place for you. The loud talking and music make the atmosphere exciting and entertaining. If you’re looking for great place to eat either with a date or a big group Mi Cocina is the perfect place. 

Nobu Dallas: ($$$$)

If your looking for the best sushi in Dallas Nobu is the place to go. Not only does Nobu have an outstanding menu with many different options, it also has a full bar that serves as a great place to meet people. I definitely recommend that you make reservations beforehand if you have a large group, because Nobu is always hopping! When you are seated at the bar or a table you have to order a lychee martini, it's light and fresh and doesn't reveal a hint of anything artificial. If you're feeling adventurous, go for an uni shooter, they are exotic and amazing! The sushi is really fresh and very creative. Each dish is carefully crafted by Nobu's master chefs and surprise you with each bite. The atmosphere is very posh and modern with quite up beat music playing in the background. This is a great place to go either with a big group or with a date. Note that it is a little pricey but so worth it! 

S&D Oyster Company: ($$)

If you're looking for the best oysters in Dallas, you must stop into S&D Oyster Company. What makes S&D so unique is it's atmosphere: when you walk in, you feel like you’ve steeped back in time! It's very old-fashioned, the tablecloths are checkered and the severs wear red aprons and make the cocktail sauce table side. You have to start with a dozen on the half shell and S&D’s famous shrimp dip. You also have to try the shrimp loaf sandwich and the famous coleslaw. S&D is a perfect place to grab a quick lunch or to have a sit down meal with friends and family!