Below are a list of places around the country that are worth going to! I list my favorite dishes and drinks–always a work in progress. If you have any places you think are worth adding to the list, please comment, I love to hear your thoughts.
- Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant– the best jelly donut of my life! Please stop here if you ever drive down Highway 1
- Meadowlark Country House B&B– lovely couple who run the cozy and homey B&B. Breakfasts are delicious, rooms are spacious and updated, the proprietors are very knowledgeable of the restaurants and wineries worth going to. there is a nudist optional pool but don’t be intimidated–everyone is friendly and respectful–if you don’t want to go nude, don’t and if you don’t want to go to the pool at all, don’t worry about it.
- Hunnicut Wine– Company use grapes from various growers in CA to create their own line of wines. They have a fairly good selection of wines, tastings are private and done only by appointment. If you are looking for something intimate, one-on-one, then this is the place for you. The tour goes through the underground caves and ends in the tasting room inside the cave. Wines are more expensive but good quality.
- Tra Vigne– Sit outside in the courtyard if you can, there is ivy and grape plants growing up the walls, lights hanging from the trees, and a water feature outside. It is a perfect after a long day of winery hopping. Not super fancy either.
- Redd– delicious food, expensive (but not as expensive as so many other restaurants in Napa Valley), very modern decor.
- Avery’s Brewery– the tap room is located in a strip mall outside of downtown but most of the beers they produce never see the inside of a grocery store or liquor shop. Go here to sample one of their 24+ brews. There are board games and snack options to make an afternoon of it.
- Lucile’s– Cajun inspired food, great brunch!
- Mountain Sun– restaurant and brewery, very Boulder (one of their rotating beers is pot-infused, no you won’t get high).
- The Buff– yummy, simple brunch spot
- The Med– this place serves small plates. It used to be a small and quaint place, now with the acquisition of extra space it feels more like a huge operation. The food is still good and the courtyard is pretty but it doesn’t have the same local feel it once did.
- Beatrice and Woodsley– very beautiful inside, the food is very delicious, go here for a nice dinner.
- Colt & Gray– the drinks are outstanding and the food is exceptional. Come here for a special occasion.
- Linger– the honey shriracha duck wings are AMAZING! Other good items: Mongolian bbq pork buns, masala dosa and lemongrass pork potstickers
- Old Major– get the nose to tail plate, meat enthusiasts will feel right at home here.
- Root Down– great brunch, funky decor
- Sassafras American Eatery– the best biscuits and gravy I’ve had in years! The homemade jams are pretty incredible as well. Restaurant is in an old victorian-style home and there will be a wait for a table, but worth it. Open for breakfast and lunch.
- Table 6– food well done, decor nice as well.
- The Populist– trendy eatery
- Z Cuisine Bistrot–delicious bistro fare in a very cool, cozy atmosphere; never met a dish I didn’t like.
- The Mint Steakhouse– super fun spot for families; pick out the cuts of meat or seafood you want and cook it yourself on a giant lava rock grill! Make all you want Texas toast and salad bar. Sides include potatoes, veggies, onion rings, and appetizers are good to share.
- Swiss Chalet-fondue and raclette are superb, very fun and fairly authentic. Come here for a nice dinner.
District of Columbia
- Bar Charley– the best cherry manhattan (trust me), but you can’t go wrong with any of their cocktails.
- Barcelona- tasty tapas bar, they do not take reservations for parties after 6pm so be prepared to wait.
- Eat the Rich– small bar with limited menu items almost exclusively seafood and raw bar. Very sceney, plenty of young professionals at this place. I really like the cocktails by the pitcher, just be careful not to go overboard.
- Fast Gourmet– Incredible sandwich shop located in the gas station on 14th and W St. NW. Order the Chivito (you’ll thank me later). If you walk into Fast Gourmet at 2am on a Saturday night the line will practically be out the door. Don’t forget to ask for green sauce (spicy sauce).
- Granville Moore’s– wonderful beer selection, awesome mussels, crispy and salty fries with fun mayo dipping sauces
- La Boom Brunch– if you’ve never experienced la boom, try it at least once.
- Le Diplomate– Yes I know this is a super trendy DC hotspot, and maybe you hate that, but this place has delicious french bistro fare and a great atmosphere. Like all DC hotspots, expect a wait and expect a big check.
- Little Serow– Created by the same folks who brought DC Komi restaurant; sophisticated thai food where menu changes weekly and they don’t take reservations. Worth waiting in line to get your name on the list when the restaurant doors open at 5:30pm–show up early and you shall be rewarded.
- Room 11– intimate place for brunch, dinner, or drinks. Lovely neighborhood spot in Columbia Heights
- Taylor Gourmet– delicious subs (try the chicken cutlet sandwiches or in-house roasted turkey subs) also try the risotto balls, they are unreal.
- Thai Xing– thai food served out of a row house basement kitchen. There is talk about expansion on 9th Street NW, north of U Street. You must book a reservation a week early but the no-frills, BYOB authentic thai cuisine is worth the wait.
- Toki Underground– very special ramen restaurant on H Street NE. Very few dining seats, so expect to sit at a counter around the periphery, and expect a wait of at least 1 hour.
- Suga Mama Sweets– the best ice cream sandwiches!
- Blue Moon Cafe- this is a breakfast spot. The place is very small so expect a wait on the weekends but the food is tasty. Everyone raves about the Captain Crunch french toast, but I’m a savory person and the potato pancakes are as big as a personal pizza! If you get a chance, order the WWJD–you’ll have to order it to find out what’s in it.
- Brewers Art (brewery and pub)- sit downstairs for a casual, funky time
- Thames Street Oyster House– great oyster selection, delicious lobster rolls and lovely dark and stormy cocktails.
- Verde– neapolitan pizza, Italian food
- Woodberry Kitchen– Seasonal food, a favorite of many Baltimoreans.
- Tea & Sympathy– amazing little spot for afternoon tea, although you might have to wait to get a spot at one of the five tables in the shoppe. There is also a shop next door with a ton of English products (I bought Christmas popper there) including tea china and edibles. The owner is a lovely English woman, follow her blog!
- Trattoria Dell’Arte– best veal parmesan, pounded out really thin and served on the bone with just the right amount of sauce and cheese.
- Xi’an Famous Foods– amazing hand-pulled noodles and spicy cumin lamb burger. Think of a marriage between Chinese and Middle Eastern spices and flavors. There isn’t much space to sit so go knowing that you’ll have to enjoy the fare somewhere else.
- Pok Pok– Must order the Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings, they are to die for!
- Butcher & Bee– seasonal food, so expect the menu to change every few days. Everything is reasonably priced but don’t be fooled, the flavors are very sophisticated. It is located away from the hustle and bustle of downtown but very cool spot, the locals know about it and now so do you!
- Fish– French food, very delicious!
- S.N.O.B.– the acronym stands for Slightly North Of Broad; this restaurant is upscale in my opinion, always a good spot to go for a special meal. American fare but of course done in a low country style with seasonal and local ingredients used frequently.
- Honey Pig– KPop plays on every TV in the restaurant, need I say more? Oh and there’s a karaoke bar next door. Take the drive to Annandale to an evening of Korean BBQ and entertainment.