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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