Favorite Restaurants

Listed in alpha-order. Tried many in each category, only the best are listed. Time to drool.

Restaurant Type City (Calif. unless noted)
Relative Cost
Since What to get/Comments
Afghani House Afghani Sunnyvale
$$
2/2002 Lamb kabob (a must), Chicken kabob. Comes with tasty rice and naan (bread)
Arturo’s Mexican Eagle Rock
$
1987 [2005: Been closed for who-knows how long. So sad.] Regular beef tacos (hard shell)
Babayaga Italian Bellagio, Italy
$$
2003 Pizza Margherita
Baja Fresh Mexican Many locations (chain)
$
2001-2007 Grilled chicken burrito (‘Mexicano’ style)
Berthillon Ice cream Paris
$
2002 Best ice cream in Paris
Bilacus Italian Bellagio, Italy
$$
2003 Veal with portobello mushrooms, tagliatelle in red sauce, torta, everything
Blue Nile Ethiopian Berkeley
$$
1991 Combo, then pick at least one chicken dish. Spicy
Cafe Jacqueline French San Francisco
$$$$
2001 Amazing souffles and selection. Souffle-only restaurant. Small, quaint.
The Cheesesteak Shop Philly-style Fast food Bay Area locations
$
10/2005 Mushroom Cheesesteak sandwich with sweet peppers
Crab Cooker Seafood Newport Beach
$$$
2000 Alaskan king crab leg dinner. Resist any inclination to get the cheaper crab dinners.
Domaine des hauts de Loire French Loire Valley, France
$$$$$
2002 Everything here is amazing; Desserts
Gallagher’s Steakhouse Las Vegas, NV
$$$$
1999 New York Strip steak. Prefer over the original restaurant in NYC
Gelateria Di Piazza (Mr. Sergio Dondoli) Ice cream San Gimignano
$
2003 Best gelato in Tuscany
Genki Sushi Atlanta, GA
$$$
2002 Their specialty roll, their noodle bowls
Giolitti Ice Cream Rome, Italy
$
2003 Gelato (rice, other flavors). Also very good: Il Gelato di San Crispino (near Trevi fountain)
Graeter’s Ice Cream Ice Cream Cincinnati, OH
$
1992 Mint chip, Best ice cream in US
In-n-Out Burger Fast food Western US (chain)
$
1986? Hamburger or Double-double, Animal style, Fries, Shake
Javier’s Mexican Laguna Beach
$$$
2000 Many good dishes, tamale
Korea House Korean Santa Clara
$$
1999 Kalbi (ribs), Bi bim bap served in sizzling stone bowl (crispy rice).
Krungthai Thai San Jose
$$$
2001 Silver noodle prawn, Fried banana w/ ice cream, Sticky rice w/ mango
Lawry’s, The Prime Rib Steakhouse Beverly Hills
$$$$
1988 Prime rib, Yorkshire pudding
Le Hide French Paris $$$ 2009 Best pan-seared foie gras (good-sized starter!). Dined twice on one trip. First night: Scallops. 2nd night: Fish. Both amazing.
Les Sans Culottes French New York, NY
$$$
2000 Lobster bisque, price-fixed menu
LongHorn Steakhouse American Various (chain)
$$
1993-1995 [2008: Menu changed. Seems to be different now] LongHorn burger (the works)
Luini Italian Milan, Italy
$
2003 Panzerotti (similar to a calzone)
Millevoglie Italian Venice, Italy
$
2003 Pizza Margherita slices, gelato (especially Pistachio)
Mitchell’s Ice Cream Ice Cream San Francisco
$
2000 Cantaloupe ice cream, Best ice cream in Northern Calif.
Montgomery Inn American Cincinnati, OH
$$$$
1992 Baby back ribs with their homemade potato chips
New East Lake Chinese Seafood Restaurant Chinese Milpitas, CA
$$
2003 Sturgeon porridge w/ yo-chao (their specialty; Fri-Sun only)
Nyonya Malaysian New York, NY
$$
2000 Sarong Burong (chicken, seafood, vegetables in a fried taro bowl), Indian bread w/ curry sauce
Osaka Kappo Japanese Tustin
$$
1994 [2004: Under new management. Sadly no good.] Saba shioyaki (broiled mackerel) dinner; comes with lots of good side dishes/courses. Tiny place, get there when the doors open or else wait a long time.
Osteria Italian Palo Alto
$$$
1996 Battered calamari steaks
Pizza Rustica al Gracchi Pizza Rome, Italy
$
2003 Mushroom slices (funghi)
Pung Mie Chinese/Korean Doraville, GA (Atlanta)
$$
1993 "Jahm-Bong" (soup, noodles, seafood), pot-stickers. 5145 Buford Hwy., Doraville, GA 30340. 455-0435 (area code 404?)
Quaker Steak & Lube American Sharon, PA
$$
1989 Buffalo wings
Sakarizushi Sashimi Tokyo, Japan
$$$
2002 Best sashimi quality at reasonable prices. Locals know.
Sasabune Sushi (Omakase) NYC (also: LA, Hawaii) $$$$ 2007 By far, the ultimate sushi experience. Hard to eat sushi anywhere else again. It’s that good. My #1 sushi bar on this planet. Must go omakase all the way.
Silky Oaks Resort Continental Mossman, Queensland, Australia
$$$$
1998 Tomato bread (when available), chef’s entrees are excellent. Resort is killer too.
Skyline Chili Fast food Cincinnati, OH
$
1992 3-Way (spaghetti noodles, chili, cheese)
Snackbar Bird (or Thai Bird, across the street) Thai Amsterdam $ 2009 Best thai food in Europe (possibly). Probably my favorite thai place anywhere. Thai Bird seems to be same owner/food.
So-Gong-Dong Soon-Dubu (aka ‘Tofu House’) Korean Santa Clara
$$
2001 Soon-Dubu (Tofu served in a hot pot, stew-like), comes with traditional rice. El Camino Real east, pass Lawrence Expwy, on the right.
"Suna Ba" Japanese Tokyo, Japan
$$
2002 Tempura soba (hot); Not sure of Japanese spelling, but have map on file.
Sushi Sam’s Japanese San Mateo
$$
7/2007 Cheesy name, awesome sushi. They do spicy tuna roll right.
Tanto Japanese Santa Clara
$$$
7/2002 Wakame seaweed salad, Tempura udon
Tommy’s, aka ‘The Original Tommy’s’ Fast food Los Angeles, other SoCal locations
$
1985 Tommy burger
Tsing Tao Korean-Chinese Campbell
$$
2003 [2008: Under new management and no longer good! Sad.]Seafood noodle soup (Jahm-bong); Soybean sauce noodles (Ja-jiang mein); All homemade noodles here
Versailles Cuban Culver City
$$
1989 Roasted half-chicken, Fried bananas, Guanabana shake
Vivoli Ice cream Florence, Italy
$
2003 Best gelato in Florence
Yuki Sushi Sushi San Jose, CA $$ 2007 Solid sushi. Great albacore w/ ponza sauce. Spicy tuna roll (jalapeno-based) is small, but wonderful. Best age-dashi tofu I’ve had anywhere. Niku udon is good.

Other favorite eats:

  • Sarah’s Mediterranean Grill & Market (Austin, TX): Hummus on pita bread. It is incredible here. Yes, it is possible (and surprising) to get excited about hummus! 11/2009.
  • Wynand Fockink (Amsterdam): "Walk-in-the-woods" liqueur shot, yummy. 8/2009.
  • Cote d’Or (Belgium, France): "Noir" chocolate bars in grocery stores. Favorite chocolate bar anywhere, any price. 8/2009. 
  • Haagen Dazs, Green Tea ice cream. 1/2009. Now a regular flavor!
  • Sweet Leaf Tea Original flavor. 12/2008. Now in Califonia!
  • Bistro Vida (Menlo Park, CA): French Bistro. Finally found good French Onion Soup in the Bay Area. Mussels & Pomme Frites pretty good. Kinda expensive. 7/2006.
  • Botan Rice Candy
  • Cheesecake Factory: Spicy crispy chicken sandwich with chipotle pepper mayo on the side, 9/12/2004. Shrimp & Bacon club sandwich, 12/2004. Thai Lettuce Wraps (appetizer as a meal), 7/2005.
  • Celadon (Napa, CA): Pan roasted duck breast in pomegranate sauce, 12/2004.
  • Duarte’s (Pescadero), Artichoke soup
  • Famiglia Pizzeria (New York, NY; chain): "A slice"
  • Fat Tire beer (Colorado)
  • Kendall-Jackson, Buckeye Vineyard, Alexander Valley, Cabernet 1997 (a long name for a good wine)
  • Mexican food in Santa Fe, NM
  • Moretti beer, Favorite Italian beer
  • Rafferty’s (chain): House Salad with warm honey mustard dressing
  • Roxy Deli (New York, NY), Pastries: Angel wings, Black & white cookie
  • Seattle Chocolates (Seattle), Mint Truffles
  • Thai & Thai, Mandarina Crown Hotel, Taipei
  • Tom’s Restaurant (New York, NY), Affordable meal in NYC, good breakfast food, the coffee house on the Seinfeld sitcom
  • Zabar’s (NYC): Apple strudel

 

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