The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club + Nashville Palace

The first stop on our Nashville eating and drinking crawl was at the Nashville Palace to listen to "50 Shades of Hay" country music with singer/songwriter Wendy Newcomer on lead vocal and her husband David Spicher on upright bass. We sipped a drink and nibbled some sweet potato fries while enjoying the music. Next, we headed to the unique Fox Bar & Cocktail Club not far from Opryland Hotel, hidden behind Nicoletto’s Italian Kitchen. The Fox serves imaginative, seasonal cocktails changing its offerings monthly. Its unusual multi-page menu is replete with a drink-key explaining the images that accompany their cocktails. That includes the specific glass, the type ice (one cube, [...]

Folk, Rolf and Daughters’ Sister, East Nashville, Tennessee

Many attendees to Les Dames d'Escoffier International 2019 conference in Nashville last month mentioned dining at Rolf and Daughters, the Mediterranean eats place from James Beard Award-nominated chef Philip Krajeck. Some friends and I instead headed to the chef's newest neighborhood restaurant and bar called Folk in McFerrin Park, East Nashville. It's a hip place with custom artwork from local artist Alex Lockwood and Paul Collins lining the walls. This was our last stop on our eating and drinking crawl that had started with breakfast at the Old School Farm (more Nashville posts to come!) earlier in the day. With pizzas made with flour from non-GMO mills in the region, [...]

Terry’s Place, Charlevoix, Michigan

Whitefish? My friends told me I had to sample both the Whitefish and Walleye from Lake Michigan while visiting. We headed to Charlevoix to Terry's Place, a restaurant known for their fresh fish. We lucked out getting a table as Terry's does not take reservations. Renee, our lovely waitress, shared that she had worked at the restaurant 28 of the 34 years Terry's was open. Her hubby Matt, the bartender, makes a mean martini — making the cocktail the way he likes to drink them — strong. We each had a fresh whitefish dinner with the green salad. Two of us had the evening's special whitefish ($32) beurre blanc topped [...]

By |2019-09-22T12:21:57-04:00September 15th, 2019|Bites from the Road, USA Restaurants|0 Comments

Zak Pelaccio’s Backbar, Hudson, New York

A group of us were walking the streets of Hudson (NY) going in and out of antique shops when we got hungry. Right next to the shop we were in was a funky area that looked inviting. We sat at one of the outside picnic tables, without even looking at the name of the place or menu. On each table was a checklist of items we could order. Once I looked, I announced to the group to expect really good food as I noticed it was one of Zak Pelaccio's places. I was right on! I had the slushy "where there's smoke" cocktail made from mezcal, chili-infused Aperol and smoked [...]

By |2019-09-22T12:22:51-04:00September 13th, 2019|Bites from the Road, USA Restaurants|2 Comments

Trattoria Stella, Traverse City, MI

We lucked out on our visit to Trattoria Stella an Italian restaurant in Traverse City, Michigan.  We were seated not in the dark dining area of what used to be the state mental hospital but at a quiet well-lit table in an arched walkway. (If you plan to go, ask for the arches when you make your res.) The char-grilled oh, so tender Spanish octopus tentacle with tomatoes, beans and orzo (although the menu said rice) is not to be missed. The documentary film Funke inspired our pasta dish of hand-rolled al dente cavatelli with a sausage and pork ragu with freshly grated Pecorino Romano. Interesting, isn't it, that the [...]

By |2019-08-30T11:08:36-04:00August 29th, 2019|Bites from the Road, USA Restaurants|0 Comments

Dinner at Larimar, Spring Lake, NJ

There's an upscale place restaurant on Third Avenue in the beach town Spring Lake that I'd recommend you try. Both the food from Chef Anthony Palangi and service are quite good. Plus you get to bring your own wine with no corkage fee since they do not have a liquor license. I recommend the refreshing fresh summer strawberry salad with shaved fennel, fresh arugula, toasted almonds and chevrè came in a delicate champagne vinaigrette. Worth ordering. Their veal ragu over short twists (casarecce) of al dente pasta was a bit light on the meat although super-flavorful from olives and capers all dusted with shredded pecorino ($27). I also suggest the [...]

By |2019-08-30T11:21:32-04:00August 21st, 2019|USA Restaurants, USA Travel|0 Comments

Bareli’s By the Sea, Spring Lake (NJ) in the Grand Victorian

Bareli's By the Sea is a fairly new restaurant with good food and service with ocean views from inside the Grand Victorian on Ocean Avenue in Spring Lake. Don't let the hostess's scowl put you off, the rest of the staff are warm and welcoming. I started with their Sinfully Spicy Margie. I was a bit worried about the muddled strawberries over-powering the drink. They didn't.  The drink had a nice spicy kick. I'd order again ($14)! We ordered from the "specials" menu that is so much more interesting than their regular one.  Enjoyed the refreshing chunks of watermelon and tomatoes sprinkled with goat cheese crumbles and fresh mint ($14).  [...]

By |2019-08-15T13:21:46-04:00August 15th, 2019|Bites from the Road, USA Restaurants|0 Comments

Ocean at Main, Laguna Beach, California

While in Laguna Beach (CA), I sampled Chef Craig Strong’s approachable eclectic Coastal California cuisine at Ocean at Main. The restaurant is located in the early 1940’s building that once housed the city's Federal Savings and Loan. We sat outside on the covered patio, which was perfect for us as when we sat down for drinks, both grandkids had fallen asleep — one in a stroller, the other carried in and laid down on the bench. Always trying the spiciest cocktail on the list, I went for their tasty Lover's Beach Retreat made with jalapeno-infused tequila. Quite nice with a slight heat kick All our apps are worth trying, including [...]

By |2019-07-09T10:58:52-04:00July 14th, 2019|USA, USA Restaurants|0 Comments

Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse Dallas Churrasco Experience

By Bite of the Best regional correspondent, Stephanie Amsel We had no idea what to expect when we went to Fogo de Chão, Brazilian Steakhouse, to experience the Southern Brazilian Churrasco that included steak, lamb, pork and chicken. First, there was a lovely salad bar and immediately across from the salads was a plate piled with glistening, crispy bacon. The salads looked fresh and inviting, but the bacon looked amazing! Since this was our first visit, we needed to learn the house rules. Rule #1: Pace yourself You get a little card that is red on one side and green on the other. Keep the green card showing if you [...]

The Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar, San Clemente, California

We decided to meet at the Fisherman's at the wharf in San Clemente as it was about half-way between where I was staying and my friend's home. We met on a train from Antwerp to the then ferry in  — gulp — 1965; we've been connected ever since. The sun hadn't yet risen high enough to shine on the deck, so we sat near a heater to keep us warm until it rose enough to do the job. We each had a bowl of their creamy clam chowder, chock full of the bivalve mollusks and potato chunks. A soup rich enough to be a meal in itself — especially along [...]

By |2019-04-20T20:53:36-04:00April 6th, 2019|USA Restaurants, USA Travel|0 Comments

On the Beach in Newport (CA) at the Beachcomber Cafe

What a treat to meet my friend at the Beachcomber Cafe on the beach in Newport for lunch one sunny-California winter day. I sipped a glass of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand, $13) while trying to look at the menu. I say trying as I found it hard to take my eyes off the surf. On my friend's recommendation, we both ordered the fish tacos that she claimed were the best thing on the menu. The tender chunks of mahi mahi tacos sat atop shredded lettuce on flour tortillas, topped (2 for $17.95) with pico de gallo, cilantro cream, a dab of guacamole and pickled onions. They came with [...]

A Stop at Jack’s Fish Spot While at Pike Place, Seattle, WA

We took a break between sessions at the Les Dames d'Escoffier International conference to head to Pike Place to grab a quick bite to eat so we could get back in time for the next item on our schedule. After walking through the stalls and being amazed at the fabulous flowers, we crossed the street to stand in line for fried fish and chips. I ordered the cod (3 pieces) and well-done fries ($8.99), one friend ordered similar with super garlicky fries, the other the fish tacos. Mine was done to perfection. The coating just thick enough to not mask the taste of the fresh sweet cod. It was good [...]

By |2018-12-01T07:09:48-05:00November 22nd, 2018|Bites from the Road, USA Restaurants|0 Comments

Brunch in the Rain at the Veranda, The Breakers, Spring Lake, NJ

One rainy day while visiting Spring Lake (NJ) area at the shore, we met a high-school friend for breakfast at The Breakers on the ocean. When sticker shock hit me, I realized that I had gotten used to NYC's ridiculously high prices. I couldn't believe how inexpensive everything was! One friend's tasty scrambled eggs with tomato, spinach, onion & cheese breakfast wrap served with fresh fruit cost a mere $9. Two of us each had 3-egg omelets, having chosen three fillings, with home fries and toast tipped the bank at $10! I enjoyed mine, more scrambled than an omelet but not complaining with chevre, spinach and bacon. That price included $1 [...]

By |2018-09-22T09:16:09-04:00October 9th, 2018|USA Restaurants|0 Comments

Mountain Brauhaus Restaurant, Gardiner, Hudson Valley

I shouldn't have waited so long to write about the delectable meal we had at Mountain Brauhaus in Gardiner (NY) when celebrating my birthday in the Hudson Valley with some girlfriends. I'm remiss, as I've forgotten many details. What I do recall is how impressed we were with the quality of what we were served and the friendly service! This family-owned neighborhood restaurant offers authentic German food with some inventive locally inspired vegetable-focused dishes served by waitstaff in traditional garb. I do recall the housemade vegetable flammkuchen (caraway flatbread topped with local baby beets, garlic scapes and goat cheese all drizzled with balsamic, $12) and the smørrebrød (Danish open-faced sandwich with [...]

By |2018-10-10T10:11:40-04:00September 29th, 2018|Bites from the Road, USA Restaurants|0 Comments

West Street Grill, Litchfield, CT

After wandering around the stores of Litchfield, we started looking for a place to get a bite. With my friend on a very restricted diet, we stopped in a couple of places prior to ending up at West Street Grill owned by James O'Shea, one of the most caring restaurateurs I've met. The allergy restrictions included no dairy, bread, pasta, pickled items, beans, corn, soy sauce, dried fruit and more. James — who has family members with various dietary restrictions — listened attentively before having his chef make an omelet filled with such flavorful ingredients my friend begged for the recipe!  A simple mesclun salad came with her eggs.  The black [...]

Fairfax Coffee Shop, Berkeley Springs, WV

While in Berkeley Springs (WV) to judge an international water competition, I stopped into the local Fairfax Coffee Shop for breakfast. I was glad I did. I sampled the Joey Special for breakfast, a housemade biscuit topped with a farm-fresh egg, melted sharp Cheddar cheese and tomato 🍅 (my special request) in lieu of their pickle chips. My breakfast buddy indulged in one of the good morning muffins ($3). Both were fabulous to the last crumb. We happened to meet and chat with proprietress Trey Johanson, who re-opened this coffee shop as a town hospitable gathering place, while she and her husband hold down other jobs. Fairfax Coffee Shop is worth the side trip. [...]

Lot 12 Public House, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

When I decide to accept the invitation to judge the Berkeley Springs (WV) International Water Tasting, the friend who invited me mentioned that we'd be dining together that weekend at Lot 12 Public House. It's chef Damian Heath had been selected as a semifinalist in the James Beard Foundation Awards for the southeast region many times. I looked forward to experiencing his cooking. Lot 12 Public House is in a beautifully restored 1913 house, where dining on the Victorian porch is an option, weather permitting. We dined inside in the homey atmosphere one rainy evening and noticed the artwork of Damian's folks lining the walls. Our group of eleven was too [...]

Billy Joe’s Ribworks, Newburgh, Hudson Valley

When visiting a friend near the Hudson Valley, we chose BBQ for lunch and headed to Billy Joe's Ribworks in Newburgh. We started with their hearty portion of nachos. The enthusiastic manager shared that the cheese they use drizzled over the nachos is a blend of many types. That dish ($13.99) had a pile of tortillas topped with smoky beans, shredded lettuce, onions, jalapeño peppers, pulled pork, sour cream and the cheese blend. Silly us, not realizing how huge the starter was we ordered Backyard BBQ ($16.99) better known as The Legend -- a burger topped with smoked brisket, pulled pork, smoked andouille, Cheddar cheese, coleslaw and crisp onion rings [...]

By |2018-01-14T11:39:11-05:00February 3rd, 2018|USA, USA Restaurants|0 Comments

Powder, Waldorf Astoria, Park City Utah: A Children’s Tasting Menu

We stopped into Powder, the restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria in Park City (UT), for dinner on my last night visiting. Our meal started with an amuse bouche of a tartlet filled with goat cheese and herbed brie for the adults, and ants on a log (celery filled with peanut butter and topped with Craisins) for my 2-year-old grandson who was dining with us. Two of us ordered the tasting menu. Me ($40/person) and my grandson, as Powder has an amazing children's tasting menu ($21) with a choice for the main course choice of fried chicken or Tasmanian salmon.   For the table, we shared the wood-grilled cauliflower accompanied by [...]

By |2017-11-23T13:36:39-05:00November 27th, 2017|Bites from the Road, USA Restaurants|0 Comments

Zaytinya, Washington, D.C.

After spending a fun, informative morning at the Newseum, I headed to José Andrés Zaytinya Mediterranean small plates restaurant to meet a friend for lunch. That interactive museum promotes free expression and our five freedoms — religion, speech, press, assembly and petition — given us by our First Amendment. Each morning, the museum posts that day's front pages from our 50 states and from around the world. I stopped by to see that each day I was there. We each ordered the lunch special — a choice from one of three section ($25), which was a bit too much food. To start, we shared the puree of chickpeas and tahini ("hommus') and [...]

By |2017-10-23T15:54:05-04:00August 6th, 2017|USA Restaurants|0 Comments