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Coque, Madrid, Spain

Coque, Madrid, Spain

Coque (coal in Spanish) is a very expensive (340€) 2 Michelin star restaurant in Madrid Spain. There are five total Two star spots in this great city. (Available 160€ optional wine pairing)

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Greens Restaurant, San Francisco

Greens Restaurant Review, San Francisco

Greens Restaurant has been serving vegetarian fare since 1979. Their Marin based Green Gulch Farm provides much of the produce. Greens was a pioneer in the early days, nowadays we have many more plant centric restaurants like Wildseed, Baia, Shizen, etc. Today almost every fancy restaurant accommodates vegetarians to some degree. The menu changes all the time.

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Nari, San Francisco

Nari, San Francisco

Why did we dine here? – Nari (Women in Thai) is a contemporary Thai restaurant from the folks at Kin Khao. (Means “to eat” or “let’s eat” in Thai.) It is run by the famous food blogger of Chez Pim – Pim Techamuanvivit, girlfriend of Manresa’s chef David Kinch.

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Hong Kong Flower Lounge, Millbrae Dim Sum Review

They closed 12/31/2022. RIP.

Hong Kong Flower Lounge – Mayflower Dim Sum Restaurant Review

Hong Kong Flower Lounge is synonymous with Chinese food on the SF Peninsula. They are part of the Mayflower restaurant group that has 2 Chinese Cantonese restaurants locations in the San Francisco Bay area; Millbrae  and Milpitas. Several others have closed. We have eaten at their location in Millbrae many times.

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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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Il Fornaio Review

Il Fornaio Interior 3

Il Fornaio (The Baker in Italian) is an Italian restaurant serving “creatively prepared, premium-quality Italian cuisine based on authentic regional Italian recipes.” They have 21 locations, many in California. They have been around since 1972, initially starting as a baking school. Now they are owned by a Private Equity group, no doubt trying to squeeze out profits.

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Akiko’s Restaurant, San Francisco

Akikos San Francisco exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Akiko’s Restaurant is a small Japanese restaurant that has been on our list for a while. They are known for serving fresh fish but now have a lots of competition from newcomers. (Kusakabe, Yoshizumi, Juni, An, etc) The restaurant is stealth, without a sign in the front. It is located below the irish bar sign. They had a chef change from Ricky Yap to Geoffrey Lee in 2014.

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Town Restaurant Review, San Carlos

Town San Carlos Exterior Decor

Steak on the Peninsula. Town Restaurant is a steakhouse serving American comfort food in downtown San Carlos. It opened in 2006 and has gotten positive press, so we figured we would see how it stacks up. Over the years, this restaurant has been consistently busy. Town is definitely a hit with the locals, many of which can just walk over for a meal. Our last visit was in December 2015. It is so busy, we had to make a reservation over a week in advance.

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Sage, Las Vegas

Sage Las Vegas exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Sage is in the Aria Hotel and has 4 stars on Yelp. We were seeing Cirque du Soleil Zarkana in this Hotel, so that is why we dined here. The show was good but seemed like a mash up of the usual Cirque stunts, go to the Beatles or Michael Jackson one instead.

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Pabu, San Francisco

Pabu San Francisco exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Pabu is a Japanese Izakaya-style restaurant in San Francisco’s Financial District from Michael Mina in partnership with Chef Ken Tominaga.
The chef’s Hana restaurant in a Rohnert Park had garnered a local following including Mina. This is the first Japanese restaurant for Mina.

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Peggy Sue’s Restaurant Review, San Jose

Peggy Sues San Jose 3

Peggy Sue’s is a burger place that has been there since 1958 that also serves classic American breakfast. They have two locations in downtown San Jose, right near the major destination including the Children’s museum, The Tech Museum, and San Jose State. Free all-day weekend parking with validation. They push their USDA lean 100% Angus Beef. Our last visit was in April 2013.

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Gioia Pizzeria Review, Berkeley and San Francisco

Gioia Pizzeria Berkeley Exterior

Gioia is a top rated Pizza place in North Berkeley.  It has been there since 2004. As they put it: “Gioia Pizzeria takes the best of pizza traditions from the old world and the new. Classic flavors and ingredients such as artisanally made sausage, fresh mozzarella cheese and arugula come together in inspired traditional ways, seasoned with the influence of Bay Area kitchens such as Zuni Café, Chez Panisse and Oliveto” Gioia is a small hole in the wall with minimal counter seating. The place specializes in thin crust pizza and is known for local, organic ingredients. It was rated as a top pizza place by Michael Bauer. Our last visit was in late 2011 and we noticed prices had gone up. Their San Francisco location opened in 2012, we dined here in May 2012. It is located right next door to burger heaven, Polkers.

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AQ Restaurant Review, San Francisco

AQ Restaurant San Francisco exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – AQ restaurant has been getting alot of positive press recently, including a three star rating from San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Bauer. They change the menu, ingredients, and decor based on the season, a gimmick that sounded appealing. (We dined on their Spring menu) AQ stands for As Quoted or ask the server for the price, but all the prices at this restaurant exist on the menu. The crowd consisted of foodies in their 30’s and 40’s.

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Shanghai Winter Garden Restaurant Review, Millbrae

Shanghai Winter Garden recently opened in Millbrae, continuing the trend of new Shanghai restaurant on the Peninsula. This restaurant is located in the spot that once housed the deli, so the interior is pretty nice.

Summary – Shanghai Winter Garden is a pretty mediocre restaurant except for a couple interesting dishes.
Insider Tip – Go for Snacks

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Armadillo Willy’s Restaurant Review

Armadillo Willys exterior decor

Armadillo Willys is a local BBQ restaurant with 8 locations in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was started in 1988 and offers ‘real Texas barbecue’ cooked over a wood fire. We were in the shopping center and decided to give it another try so we could more fairly gauge other BBQ restaurants. We visited the Foster City location.

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Alice’s Restaurant Review, Woodside

Alices Restaurant 10

Alice’s Restaurant is located in the San Francisco coastal mountain range at the intersection on Highway 35 Skyline Blvd, and Highway 84. They are “Home to the best specialty burgers in the world”, as they put it. Lots of motorcyclists stop here on the weekend as well as hikers, bikers, and those touring the area. We have eaten here several times, the last time in June 2010.

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Super Duper Burgers, San Francisco

Super Duper San Francisco interior decor

Super Duper is a new hamburger restaurant in the Castro. It was opened by the folks behind Delarosa, Beretta and Starbelly. They use Niman Ranch meats. This restaurant opened in mid-April 2010. They have grown to several location in San Francisco as well as North and South Bay. We returned to this location in 2016.
Decor, Vibe – Brand-new Burger restaurant with some retro decor and stainless steel seats. The place had a couple younger folks stop by for a quick bite.

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Baby Blues BBQ Restaurant Review, San Francisco

Baby Blues BBQ San Francisco Exterior Decor

Baby Blues BBQ is a new BBQ restaurant in the Bernal Heights area of San Francisco that opened in late 2008. They have locations in Venice, California and West Hollywood. They have hybrid BBQ Memphis style rib and sauces that hail from North Carolina. Their racks are slowly smoked and rubbed with pepper and spices.

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Shabu House Restaurant Review, Burlingame

Shabu House Burlingame Exterior Decor

Shabu House is a Japanese Beef Fondue restaurant with locations in San Francisco and Burlingame. Shabu Shabu is a Japanese culinary dish which inspired from the Mongolian tradition of nabemono, or “one pot” cooking. In traditional shabu shabu, thin slices of beef are placed in a communal pot of boiling water and swished back and forth until cooked. We went to the new Burlingame location, open since late November 2009. The San Francisco one opened in late 2007.

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L’As du Fallafel Restaurant Review, Paris, France

L as du Fallafel Paris France Exterior Decor

L’As du Fallafel is a very popular, low cost Middle Eastern Fallafel restaurant and is known as the favorite fallafel place of Lenny Kravitz. They have a walk up window that seems to always have a line, as well as a sit down restaurant. Opened in 1979, it is located in the stylish Marais neighborhood, 4th arrondissement, not far from the Musee Picasso. This place is covered by the usual tour books.

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La Pizza Nice Restaurant Review, Nice, France

La Pizza Nice France Exterior Decor

La Pizza Nice has served Italian cuisine including pasta, salads, and (You guessed it) pizza since 1956. Their menus do list English translations. They have 3 restaurants in Nice and one in Cannes. They have huge custom made ovens and use volcanic ash baking stones.
Decor, Vibe – Old traditional french decor with lots of dark wood decor and tables. Sidewalk seating was where most people sat. Lots of people watching as this street of shops is very busy.

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La Palapa Restaurant Review, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

La Palapa Puerto Vallarta Inside

La Palapa is a popular beach front restaurant serving a variety of continental cuisine. It is located in the heart of the romantic zone and is recommended by the Fodor’s Guide with a star. An English version of the menu is available.  This is definitely a more expensive touristy restaurant.  You’ll see vendors walking the beach trying to sell you stuff.

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Tommasos Restaurant Review, San Francisco

Tommasos San Francisco Front

Tommasos, Open in 1935, this place is a North Beach institution that seems to have a line every day
from 530pm onwards. It is an old school Italian eatery that hasn’t changed much. Big communal table down the middle. A small basement eatery with old fashion decor and yellow lighting, this is a classic and full of tourists. Tommasos is well know for their wood-fired brick oven pizza.

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