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Balthazar, New York City

Balthazar NYC Exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Balthazar is a classic French bistro in New York’s SOHO district. It has been packing them in for over 20 years. We have eaten here for breakfast in the past and decided to try their weekend brunch on our latest trip to the big Apple.

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Harborview Restaurant, San Francisco

Harborview, San Francisco

Why did we dine here? – Harborview Restaurant is located in 4 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco. It takes the place of Crystal Jade, which spend $14 remodeling the space. This restaurant is run the founder of by the well established R & G Lounge Kinson Wong. Weekend and evening parking validation available. Last visit Spring 2020.

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Al’s Place, San Francisco

Als Place San Francisco exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Its hot hot hot! Al’s Place is a small 54 seat, one Michelin Star Restaurant from Aaron London (Ubuntu). We had previous dined at Ubuntu in Napa, so we were familiar with his cooking. He focuses on veggies but has several meat dishes on the menu for carnivores. Seating is definitely on the cramped side. The music is Very loud and features their special playlist. You can easily see what your neighbors are getting though!

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Neptune Oyster, Boston

Neptune Oyster Boston exterior outside decor

Why did we dine here? – Neptune Oyster is a popular seafood restaurant in Boston’s North End. There is a wait there everyday, and a super long one during holidays and weekends. We finally got up the courage to give it a try. We had a 2 hour wait on the weekend.

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SPQR Restaurant Review, San Francisco

SPQR Restaurant Review, San Francisco

SPQR is an Italian osteria, located in Pacific Heights, that serves wine and more casual food than their popular sister restaurant A16 in the Marina district. According to Wikipedia, “SPQR is an initialism from a Latin phrase, Senatus Populusque Romanus (“The Senate and the People of Rome” or “The Senate and Roman People”), referring to the government of the ancient Roman Republic”. Executive Chef, Matthew Accarrino, prepares “sophisticated, yet soulful, Italian cuisine using the best local ingredients, traditional and modern cooking techniques delivered in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.” Our last visit for take-out

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Gooyi Gooyi Restaurant, Santa Clara

Gooyi Gooyi Restaurant Review, Santa Clara

Why did we dine here? – Gooyi Gooyi is an authentic Korean restaurant in Santa Clara’s Koreatown. We’ve found some of the best Korean joints down here plus our neighbor recommends this restaurant, so we had to give it a try.  We got take out from them in 2020 during the Covid 19 Pandemic.

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Bellota, San Francisco

Bellota San Francisco exterior decor

Great Spanish Seafood. Why did we dine here? – Bellota (Acorn in Spanish), a new Spanish restaurant, is part of The Absinthe Group. This is a beautiful restaurant in the building that houses Air BnB. Be sure to visit the bathroom, you will see the impressive atrium.  We have eaten both lunch and dinner here.

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Gotham Bar & Grill, New York City

Gotham Bar and Grill NYC Exterior

Why did we dine here? – Gotham Bar & Grill has been around since 1984 and is considered an institution of fine dining. One Michelin Star, 4.5 stars on Yelp. We decided to see if it lives up to the hype. The older set in the 40’s to 60’s were dining.

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Tamarine Restaurant Review, Palo Alto

Elegant Vietnamese in Palo Alto.

Tamarine Restaurant Review, Palo Alto

Tamarine is a popular Vietnamese contemporary restaurant in downtown Palo Alto on busy University Avenue. They focus on small plates and serve food family style. Tamarine features light, but flavor-intensive culinary delicacies of Vietnam. This place is similar to Slanted Door or Xanh in Mountain View. We find the food pretty accessible with many items for mainstream palates. The owners family runs the more traditional Vietnamese restaurant Vung Tau in San Jose and a more casual spot Tam Tam in Palo Alto. Our last visit was in 2020.

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Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, San Francisco

Tonys Pizza Napoletana San Francisco exterior decor

Tony’s Pizza Napoletana is a popular San Francisco North Beach restaurant from Tony Gemignani, 9 time Champion Pizza Tosser, certified pizziaolo. It first opened in 2009. He also runs a the International School of Pizza next door. He is well qualified to make a great authentic pizza! Also part of his empire, the “to go” oriented Tony’s Coal Fired Pizza and Slice House next door, Slice house at Oracle Park, and Italian Restaurant Capo.

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Island Creek Oyster Bar, Boston

Last Updated: 4/15/2019

Island Creek Oyster Bar Boston exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Island Creek Oyster Bar is one of the top seafood restaurants in Boston. Several foodies recommend this spot and it gets a high 4.5 Yelp rating with over 1800 reviews. A classic spot near Fenway park. They also run the popular Row 34 restaurant in Boston that we like. Our last visit was in 2019.

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Iyasare, Berkeley Review

Iyasare Berkeley Exterior

Iyasare is a Japanese Restaurant in the posh Berkeley 4th Street corridor. We were passing by and decided to finally give it a try. Without reservations, we dined at the bar. Pacing was way off, but the food was fabulous. Definitely want to try more next time!  We came back for lunch in Spring 2019 and found the food just as good.

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Dragon Beaux, San Francisco

Fab Chinese in SF.

Dragon Beaux San Francisco Exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Dragon Beaux is a new restaurant from the folks who run our favorite Chinese restaurant, Koi Palace. This location is in the Outer Richmond district and focuses on Dim Sum during lunch and Hot Pot/Cantonese food at dinner.  We came here when it first opened in 2015, and recently returned in the Spring of 2019.

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Che Fico, San Francisco

Chez Fico San Francisco Exterior decor

Great Eats in the City. Why did we dine here? – Che Fico (Kay-Feeco) means what a fig – is a new Jewish Italian restaurant in San Francisco that has garnered a lot of hype. There is a long line queuing up for unreserved tables everyday. It has fallen to 3.5 Yelp stars, but we still wanted to try it out. On our last visit in Winter 2019, there were still lines before it opened!

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birdsong, San Francisco Review

Birdsong San Francisco Exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Birdsong is a nature and heritage inspired restaurant, that is currently focused on the Pacific Northwest region. Its located in AQ’s old spot. Dishes highlight key ingredients from this region; such as cold-water shellfish, wild game, berries and mushrooms. They serve prix fix menus that are not cheap.

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Best Pho in San Francisco

Last Update: November 2019

We are big fans of Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup. Slowly but surely, we have eaten at many of the San Francisco Bay Area’s best Pho restaurants. Here’s our constantly evolving list of the top 10 in search of the Best Pho San Francisco and beyond. Please leave comments with suggestions for other places we should try.

  • Hit List: More San Jose Pho Places – Do you have favorites we should try?

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Napoletana Pizzeria, Mountain View

Napoletana pizzeria Mountain View exterior decor

Napoletana Pizzeria is a new Naples style pizzeria in Mountain View. This unlikely strip mall location (Next to Cost Plus World Market), houses a low key, authentic thin crust Neapolitan pizza place. We first learned about this place from a thread on Chowhound. As the waitress put it, these authentic pizzas cook for about 90 seconds in their 900° wood burning oven. Our last visit was Summer 2019.

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République, Los Angeles

Republique Los Angeles exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – République is similar to Tartine in San Francisco, but they kick it up a notch. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We went for breakfast. There was a short line on a Saturday at 9am, but by 10am, the line was way out the door. Beautiful restaurant full of beautiful people.

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Pho Filet, Rosemead

Pho Fillet Rosemead Exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Far better Pho than San Francisco! The SGV (San Gabriel Valley) is home to some fine Asian cuisine. We passed by Pho Filet on our last trip and ate there in 2018. Only 3.5 stars on Yelp, but way up there in our books.

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Pine and Crane, Los Angeles

Pine and Crane Los Angeles Exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Pine & Crane is a fast casual Taiwanese Chinese restaurant in the hip Silver Lake area of Los Angeles. It has 4.5 stars on Yelp with almost 2000 reviews. We had to see what all the hype was all about.

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Redbird, Los Angeles

Redbird Los Angeles exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Redbird is a trendy restaurant in downtown Los Angeles that was on our short list to try. This is Chef Neal Fraser and Amy Knoll Fraser’s flagship restaurant is a follow up to popular Grace and BLD. Historic
former rectory building of Vibiana – the cathedral-turned-event-venue.

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Top 5 Chicken Rice Dishes in Singapore

Last Update: December 2019

Chicken Rice is a legendary dish at Singapore’s food hawker centers. It consists of chicken cooked in pork and chicken stock, rice with chicken stock, and some vegetables. Dipping sauce is usually a hot chili dip or soy sauce with ginger. Occasionally they throw in a bowl of soup. We read several articles that state that this is the number 1 thing many people miss when they leave Singapore. Chicken Rice is a National dish for Singapore.

We arrive skeptics, but left believers.

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Little Star Pizza – Blue Line Pizza, San Francisco

Little Star Pizza is a popular pizza place with 2 locations in San Francisco and 1 in Albany. We visited the Divisadero location and ordered deep dish pizza. It took about 30 minutes to get our pizza. They have gone on to open several locations in the Bay Area.

Blue Line Pizza is their name for sister locations from Burlingame southwards. We have tried their Burlingame location in the Summer of 2020. The menu is very similar.

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Delfina Review, San Francisco

Delfina San Francisco Exterior Decor

Since 1998, Delfina, a bustling neighborhood Italian trattoria has been packing them in. The menu changes daily and they use organic produce and sustain-ably raised meats and fish whenever possible. It is a popular place that requires advanced booking for a reservation or showing up at 530pm for a table at the counter or bar. Our last visit was in the summer of 2019 where we found it as busy as ever.

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UK iPhone Prepaid Sim Card – Android Prepaid Sim Card

Be sure to secure your iPhone or Android Smartphone whenever you travel. Precautions will help prevent disaster.
The iPhone or any Android Smartphone are an essential tool when traveling to the UK – United Kingdom for tourists. Google maps, travel guides, language translation, and many other apps are extremely useful. Using our United States, USA AT&T iPhone in the UK is tricky. Verizon iPhones from the USA do not work internationally. Here are some tips on using your unlocked Smartphone in the UK.

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China Village, Belmont

China Village, Belmont

China Village Seafood Restaurant is a Chinese restaurant in Belmont, California just off the Highway 101 Ralston Exit. They have been around since 1996, serving dim sum during both lunch and dinner, as well as standard Cantonese Chinese cuisine.

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Bestia, Los Angeles

Bestia Los Angeles Exterior Decor

Why did we dine here? – A big LA scene with impressive Italian food. Bestia (Italian for Beast) bubbled to the top of the possibilities when planning our LA must hit list. 4.5 stars on Yelp, recommended on the annual Jonathan Gold List, what more could you ask? We knew going into this that Bestia would be loud and exhibit a major LA scene. Last visit in Summer 2019.

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Begoni Bistro, San Francisco

Begoni Bistro San Francisco Exterior Decor

Why did we dine here? – Begoni Bistro is a modern, good looking Chinese restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown. It is not old and dingy like some of its neighbors. We were tipped off about this spot a while ago and finally got a chance in 2018.

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Honu Seafood & Pizza, Lahaina

Honu Lahaina Maui exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Honu Seafood & Pizza one of those waterfront restaurants that has a killer view of the sunset. Prices are no doubt inflated, but it was our last day in paradise, so we decided to splurge. Be sure to ask what is local.

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Chicago Restaurant Guide for Visitors


Foodie research and reviews from our first visit to Chicago in the Summer of 2018.  We are based in San Francisco, so our base reference for dining is fairly high.  This page has links to reviews of spots we heartily recommend, quick reviews of casual restaurants, and a list of research material we will use for future trips to the Windy City.

Our goal was to find:

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Alinea, Chicago

Alinea Chicago exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Finally a chance to dine here! Alinea is a legendary three Michelin star restaurant in Chicago. It has four times been named the Best Restaurant in America and is one of only 13 restaurants in the U.S. to earn the coveted Michelin 3-Star rating. This is Chicago’s only 3 star restaurant.

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