Bites from the Road

/Bites from the Road

Our favorite bites from the Road

Can the Can, Praça do Comércio, Lisbon, Portugal

On my way back from Time Out market, I stopped in one of the many restaurants lining Praça do Comércio for a happy hour nibble. My daughter-in-law mentioned that she had sampled many of them and preferred the food at Can the Can. That and the inviting chalk-written sign offered happy hour margaritas at 5 Euros (~$5.50) and free wifi! How could I resist? The exceptionally friendly servers helped me decide which of their food offerings to sample with my margie. As an octopus fan, I leaned toward the salad -- yet they suggested I try the croquettes.  "Octopus croquettes?" I queried. She highly recommended them, saying that they were made [...]

By |2017-10-24T07:56:45-04:00June 29th, 2017|World Restaurants|0 Comments

Lamparilla, Havana, Cuba

After our first day soaking in as much of the city as we could, we ended up at Lamparilla, a fairly new small, funky-decorated paladar in Old Havana. We were seated on the second floor teeny balcony overlooking the open dining area below with a ceiling so low our waiter needed to stoop over whenever he came upstairs. Whimsically, our table was topped with old records, the walls with ’50s memorabilia and other vintage goods. The delicious squash soup amuse surprised us all with its well-seasoned butternut flavor. Also tasty are the light crispy chicken croquettes ($3) served in a little basket and the ceviche ($4) served with plantain and [...]

By |2017-09-01T17:08:31-04:00June 13th, 2017|World Restaurants, World Travel|0 Comments

The Dubliner, Capital Hill, Washington, DC

For those coming to DC on the train and in need of a bite, head across the street over to the right to The Dubliner, the red brick building visible when you exit Union Station. It's a hospitable and lively pub serving Irish favorites with live music nightly. The Dubliner's been open since 1974. I started with an "Irish Catholic," a Moscow Mule with instead of the traditional vodka, The Dubliner Irish Whiskey, a smooth-drinking blended whiskey aged in American Oak bourbon casks. A must try ($11)! With my meal, I had their Auld Dubliner Amber Ale, a brew made exclusively for them ($7).  I'd recommend both. For apps, we [...]

By |2017-09-01T17:09:10-04:00June 6th, 2017|USA Restaurants|0 Comments

San Cristobal, Havana, Cuba

San Cristobal restaurant is the paladar where Obama ate when he was in Havana. Like La Guarida, it's one of the few Cuban places recommended with good food.  We dined at this eclectically appointed restaurant in the downstairs floor of an early 20th-century mansion for lunch midday when we had dinner at La Guarida. We had told our waiter Ray, that the three of us planned to share everything. Loved how the restaurant handled this: he placed a cucumber, tomato and herb pre-garnished plate on the table in front of each of us. Made us smile for sure in anticipation of what was to come. When the grilled lobster ($20 [...]

Cubita, Trinidad, Cuba

Do not miss a meal at La Cubita if you visit Trinidad in Cuba. It's decorated with quirky whimsical artwork and often offers music while you eat. Once we placed our order, the restaurant sent out an amuse bouche that matched each of our orders. One of our four had ordered a vegetarian entree, resulting in a squash-based starter; the rest of us received a fish-mouse atop the cucumber cup. Nice touch that we enjoyed with their refreshing signature sangria ($9). Meals in Trinidad certainly won't break the bank. Each of ours came with a flavorful soup to start, bread and butter, sauteed veggies, rice and a fresh tomato, beet, [...]

La Guarida, Havana, Cuba

Most everyone I spoke to who had been to Havana recently recommended the upscale paladar La Guarida for dinner — the place where Cuban director Tomás Gutiérrez Alea filmed Strawberry & Chocolate. It's one of the few places offering elegantly served quality food; we learned they send their chef to France to learn to cook. We walked up the crumbling grand staircase to the restaurant above and — since it was raining —  skipped the new rooftop bar. Our starters from the varied menu included thin slices of fresh snapper carpaccio with a pepper sauce and citrus vinaigrette ($8), an unusual seafood "lasagna"with "noodles" of thinly sliced papaya garnished with [...]

Rafael Restaurant, Miraflores, Lima, Peru

For our last day in Peru, we headed to Rafael Osterling's eponymous restaurant in the Miraflores section of Lima, listed on one list, as the #30 best in Latin America. We selected a local white wine to accompany our meal, the Tacama Blanc Blanc ($30). The waiter placed a basket of their homemade bread along with fresh butter topped with sea salt, "pastrami" made from pig's feet and a goat cheese cream with caramelized onions. The bread and accompaniments were so good, we had to stop ourselves from finishing it! The Emperor tacos alone were worth the visit with crisp sea grouper and prawns, shredded cabbage and radishes on small [...]

Other Stops in Miraflores, Lima, Peru

Thought in addition to telling you about the amazing chef-driven meals that I experiences that I'd share about quick meals in Miraflores. That includes breakfast at La Paz Cafe and a sandwich at La Lucha. Our flight from NYC arrived at 6 am,  so we dropped our bags at our hotel and went off to discover Lima. When asked, a hotel staff member suggested breakfast at La Paz Cafe, a small cafe only minutes from the hotel where we could dine outside — a must for East Coasters getting away from the winter chill. I tried the local mashed Andean corn stuffed with pork served with some fresh greens and shredded [...]

Central, Miraflores, Lima, Peru

Standing outside Santa Isabel 376 in Miraflores, we met a young man in his 20s who had just flown in from Taiwan to also experience the food of Virgilio Martinez Véliz. I had read and heard about Central as it is on many best restaurant lists. He had too. Few meals I've had rival this one. Backing up. When we made our reservation four months in advance, we had to select our menu — regular or vegetarian? full 17-course tasting menu or abbreviated 11-course one?  Since our dinner was the day we arrived in Lima, we opted for the abbreviated version of the "Mater Ecosystems" (~$115), the inspiration for the menu [...]

LIMO Cocina Peruana & Pisco Bar, Cusco, Peru

One free evening in Cusco, a group of us headed up to the main square where Limo, also part of the Cusco restaurant group, is located. While perusing the menu, our server placed a sampling of three sauces for dipping the french fries they offered as a starter gratis. One sauce was chili peppers with tomato sauce, another pepper with ricotta and mint, the third garlic mayo. All so yummy, I was addicted! My first taste of alpaca (~$20) was Limo's tenderloin, served medium rare with an elderberry sauce, accompanied by cheesy quinoa "risotto." The meat is tender, a bit chewy but not gamey at all. I'd order it again, if [...]

A stop at Chicha in Cusco, Peru while on OAT Trip

I'm just back from my second trip to Peru, with visits to Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu and more... My first trip in the 70s was not on a tour; this time I joined one as a friend really wanted to go. I realized Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) trips are not for me; the food served on the two trips I've taken has been mediocre when best. I experienced the only inedible Italian food on my first OAT trip Sicily; the Peruvian food was even worse. What I like the most about the OAT trips are the people who take them — interesting, friendly and fun travelers. With food paramount, the [...]

Inka Grill, Cusco, Peru

While in Cusco, we visited Inka Grill, part of the Cusco restaurant group, for a light bite. The meal wasn't the best place I ate in Cusco but was mighty good compared to what we'd been served at Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) chosen restaurants — the tour I was on. Inka Grill, which is ideally located center of town at the Plaza de Arma, offered free Wifi and had an international menu. The friend I was traveling with was in a burger mood, so we ordered that along with some fries (~$10.75). We shared that and the perfectly cooked langostinos in a white and black quinoa wrapper accompanied by a spicy passion [...]

La Mar, Miraflores, Lima, Peru

Before heading to Peru this winter, I — like a typical food professional — researched restaurants where I wanted to dine. Word had it that the country has some of the best in the world. The Latin American's 50 Best Restaurants for 2016 lists Andrés Rodríguez's La Mar as the 12th best, featuring ceviche along with fresh, sustainable Peruvian fare. I went there to lunch one day, going a bit late to try to avoid the crowds since it's a "no res" place. Wrong. There were lines out the door, yet the friendly hostess explained for two, we'd only have a 30 minute wait. With drinks offered while we anticipated [...]

Olamaie, Downtown, Austin, TX

When heading to Austin recently, I emailed my friend Cathy Cochran-Lewis asking for suggestions of where to eat. One of her suggestions was Olamaie, near the UT campus. "Really amazing food with Southern flair. This is where we hosted an Emeril dinner last fall and he loved the restaurant. The two chefs have been named Top 10 Best New Chefs and the restaurant also has made the James Beard list. People kill for their biscuits." How could I resist? I knew we were in for a treat as I looked over the menu and discussed it with our server. While trying to decide what to order, we sipped on a [...]

By |2017-09-01T17:13:23-04:00February 17th, 2017|USA Restaurants|1 Comment

Kisco River Eatery, Mount Kisco, NY

I'm a mom first. So when my friend asked me to come try her son's latest restaurant, I headed north to Mount Kisco to dine at Bobby Epstein’s newest restaurant, Kisco River Eatery. I was so glad I did. (Bobby is also the owner of Muscoot Tavern in Katonah.) I began with an icy cosmo ($10), served up in a martini glass along with their fabulous appetizers. I'm a big fan of apps, often preferring to have only those and skip the entree as the starters are so much more creative. Kisco River's didn't disappoint. They included a white truffle flatbread topped with spinach, provolone and ricotta ($9); a stack [...]

By |2017-08-31T16:18:59-04:00February 2nd, 2017|USA Restaurants, xyz misc|0 Comments

Burgers & Bourbon, Park City, UT

After a stop at Park City's new Escape Room, we were in the mood for a burger and fries, so we headed up the mountain to Montage Deer Valley resort's newest restaurant, Burgers & Bourbon. We were quite hungry after working together to figure out how to get out of the ingenious room where we were locked in! Think Indiana Jones meets the games on Survivor and you'll begin to understand this fun way to spend time with friends in Park City. Once we got to Montage, I couldn't resist a bourbon cocktail. The double barreled cocktail ($17) hit the spot with its blend of High West Double Rye, High [...]

By |2017-08-31T16:18:59-04:00January 29th, 2017|USA Restaurants, xyz misc|0 Comments

Amsterdam Foodie Guide

The Dutch aren’t exactly known for their cuisine. I’ve heard many tourists complain, and have read many articles expressing displeasure in the Amsterdam food scene. Most of these travelers came for a few weeks, stumbled into random cafés, tried a few extreme examples of local foods and left in utter disappointment. When compared to countries like Italy or France, where every café serves phenomenal food ensuring, without a doubt, that you can pick a restaurant at random and avoid disappointment… sure, the Netherlands doesn’t really compare. But there is quality food in Amsterdam! The difference is, you have to know where to go and what to eat. It’s imperative to [...]

Guero’s Taco Bar, Austin, Texas

We had a very early reservation at Emmer & Rye — which I later learned was mentioned in Kate Krader's "The 19 Very Best Dishes of 2016" — but had just arrived at South Congress Street in Austin. Wanting to continue to wander in and out of the funky stores, we decided not to rush off to dinner. We stopped in at Blackmail (1202 S Congress), a shop that warmed this New Yorker's heart as they sold only black. Once the shops closed, we opted for Mexican food at Guero's taco bar. I head heard from locals that it was a down and dirty touristy Tex-Mex place with good margies. [...]

By |2017-08-31T16:19:00-04:00January 19th, 2017|USA Restaurants, xyz misc|0 Comments

Franklin’s Barbecue, Austin, TX

Our first day in Austin we headed to the famous BBQ joint where the lines are legendary. Word has it that Obama was the only person to ever cut the long lines at Franklin's where the wait is often 3 to 4 hours. We lucked out and only waited 1 1/2 — sort of like waiting for New Haven's Pepe's Pizza — you do it once just for the experience, while getting to know the stories of your fellow line-waiters. As you're waiting, one of the staff warns you of what offerings might be gone by the time you get to the front of the line. That staff person promised [...]

By |2017-08-31T16:19:00-04:00December 31st, 2016|USA Restaurants, xyz misc|1 Comment

Halifax at the W, Hoboken, New Jersey

I had planned to visit Halifax at the W hotel in Hoboken for brunch recently when I learned that the PATH train had suspended service on weekends until sometime in December. Plan B moved into action on a Friday night when I headed there for their riverside views Manhattan's skyline instead. Executive Chef Seadon Shouse handed us a special tasting menu he had created that included his latest fall offerings. This is one passionate chef, who explained how he house-made most all of the ingredients in the dishes he had selected. We started with a glass of Lambrusco Reggiano, Donelli, Emilia-Romagna Italy, NV ($56, per bottle) to accompany chef's signature [...]

By |2017-09-01T16:56:08-04:00October 30th, 2016|USA Restaurants|0 Comments