Restaurants: Ramon Freixa, Madrid

Usually, two dozen or more course tasting menu marathons actually involve that many courses in succession, one after another, until you start imagining your fork to be swirling lemon macarons. The restaurant Ramon Freixa in Madrid’s ritzy Hotel Unico in the elegant Salamanca shopping and residential neighborhood, in theory, provides you that many miniature bitesContinue reading “Restaurants: Ramon Freixa, Madrid”

Restaurants: Roca Moo, Barcelona

Just because the three Roca brothers behind the newly anointed San Pellegrino World’s Top 50 “Best Restaurant in the World” are behind Roca Moo doesn’t mean you should stroll into the dining room expecting world class excellence. You will be disappointed. The single Michelin starred Roca Moo in Barcelona isn’t trying to be like itsContinue reading “Restaurants: Roca Moo, Barcelona”

Restaurants: Blackbird, Chicago

Aged meat and dishes merging surf and turf are two of the most challenging concepts for a kitchen to pull off without a hitch. Something almost always seems to go off the deep end for both. That precious half year aged chateaubriand might taste more of provocative black garlic than sensuous, relentless meat. Raise yourContinue reading “Restaurants: Blackbird, Chicago”

Restaurants: Hinoki & The Bird, Los Angeles

We can all learn a few lessons about taking a step back and re-inventing yourself from David Myers. It hasn’t been an easy road for such an immensely gifted chef. If ever there was an example of how a chef must be both a businessman and innovative entrepreneur in the hyper competitive restaurant world ofContinue reading “Restaurants: Hinoki & The Bird, Los Angeles”

Restaurants: La Ciccia, San Francisco

To fall in love with Sardinia’s cuisine, all you need to experience is a few bites of Massimiliano Conti’s spaghetti with bottarga and spicy olive oil. It doesn’t sound complicated and it isn’t. It doesn’t seem at first to be much more than a lighter sun-splashed, seafaring version of spaghetti and meatballs. But, my goodnessContinue reading “Restaurants: La Ciccia, San Francisco”

Restaurants: Crudo, Phoenix, AZ

There are all sorts of lessons that the restaurant world should take note of from this dynamic hidden neighborhood spot along the busy Indian School Road thoroughfare at the border of Phoenix and Scottsdale, which I’m told is known as Arcadia. Before you delve further into the countryside paradise concept of Arcadia, this mini-mall filledContinue reading “Restaurants: Crudo, Phoenix, AZ”

Restaurants: Azul Condesa, Mexico City

It’s always striking to think about how basic, yet profound some of the world’s most revered dishes are. A croissant isn’t a whole lot more than crescent shaped butter. Well then, you try making one at home. Sushi is fish with rice, whether it’s from a supermarket in Topeka or right next to the seaContinue reading “Restaurants: Azul Condesa, Mexico City”

Restaurants: Pujol, Mexico City

It’s profound to think about the changes in gastronomy since Escoffier’s 19th Century heyday, an evolution that the master chef himself would probably warm up to over time after expressing initial ghastly disapproval. There are the initial, on-the-surface changes that are very easy to point out: where art thou white tablecloths, tuxedoed waiters, and dinersContinue reading “Restaurants: Pujol, Mexico City”

Restaurants: Commonwealth, San Francisco

Perhaps chronicling an evening at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Restaurant turned me into a giddy eight year old again, but I feel like starting with dessert. No, that’s not because a doughnut is the first image diners see upon arriving at the restaurant on a still very edgy stretch of Mission Street, a street in theContinue reading “Restaurants: Commonwealth, San Francisco”

Restaurants: Paley’s Place: Portland, Oregon

In the city where food carts populate parking lots everywhere, no reservations-hour plus long waits are the norm at the hottest restaurants, and hangover brunch is the official meal, sometimes it’s easy to forget about the tried and true classic restaurants for relaxed, comfortable meals. It’s also very easy to yearn for an established, refinedContinue reading “Restaurants: Paley’s Place: Portland, Oregon”