I’m getting ready to head back on the road again this weekend and all I can think about is the great food I get to eat along the way. Not the kind on the airplane or in the airport – but that I get to go back to some of the cities where I experienced some of the greatest meals of MY LIFE. By now, you know I’m super bossy and know-it-all-y so it’s 100% in my nature to tell you that you should eat there too.
10. Bogner’s – Penticton, BC – BC wine country is slowly coming into its own and the foodies are following. Chef Darin Paterson takes the concept of the 100 mile diet to a whole new level. In addition to his kitchen garden surrounding the restaurant’s patio, Paterson pulls local produce from his own farm just 5 minutes out of town. The fact that my kid had a “little accident” on the patio may sway me from returning next time, but fresh garden salsa might drag me back regardless.
9. Patria – Toronto – True Spanish tapas in the heart of Toronto. Loud, boisterous and super sexy. Start with the Iberico ham. A tough find on this side of the pond. The paella is amazing.
8. Guy Savoy – Paris – Michelin mania. Guy Savoy is a dining experience. I’m usually not a fan of the pretentious Michelin presentation but man is his food good. I’ve raved about Guy Savoy before. Dessert comes on a cart – a motherf&*king cart FULL of desserts. The first time I went there I ate 13 different desserts (lavender marshmallows, earl grey ice cream, macarons, strawberry tart, rice pudding – UNREAL).
7. Milos – New York – Fresh seafood in midtown Manhattan. Big energy, delicious fresh food – great combo. Don’t miss the Milos Special – lightly battered and fried zucchini and eggplant. Yum. That dish always tastes like MORE.
6. Alex Sushi – Oslo – Coming from Vancouver, the Sushi capitol of the world (outside Japan of course), I am always hesitant to eat sushi in other cities. But Alex Sushi in Oslo nailed it. The Tempura Salad was a revelation. Plus the minimalist Scandinavian decor is very hip and happening.
5. A Travessa – Lisbon – Set down a narrow cobbled street with families grilling sardines and lanterns and streamers crisscrossing overhead, you enter an arched doorway to a sliding glass door that is about as odd as monkey’s wedding. Down the stairs to a cavernous, candlelit room and into the rustic (is this the Portuguese version of Shabby Chic?) courtyard to dine under the stars. The building was a former convent founded in the 17th century! The complimentary appetizers (scrambled eggs with mushrooms, olives) and country style bread whet the palette along with cold white port served as an apperitif. I had the Toro steak – the owner belittled me for ordering it medium. “Its organic blood” he said! It was magical!
4. Osteria Morini – New York – I’m not sure if this meal was so memorable because it was at the end of a super crazy press day or it was close enough to Christmas that it felt extra festive, but I loved this restaurant. Its small and cozy by NYC standards and the fare is rustic Italian which is hands down my fave. New York has arguably the best Italian food outside of Italy to be sure, but there was something extra special and authentic about the experience at Osteria Morini. The weathered wood tables overflowing with mouthwatering cured meats and cheeses, the meatballs, the light and airy Lambrusco wine. Call way ahead to make a reservation and if you can get a table TAKE IT!
3. Hutong – Hong Kong – Another great meal at the end of a super long, crazy press day. I am pretty sure the food was as good as I remember. Located on the 28th floor of One Peking Place in Tsim Sha Tsui neighborhood of Kowloon, overlooking Victoria Harbour. The decor a sort of Disney-ified version of old Hong Kong about as authentic as you can get in a brand new skyscraper. The Szechuan cuisine was just spicy enough! Delish.
2. La Petite Maison – London, UK – On a recent stay in London we were there for just two nights and had dinner here both evenings. ITS THAT GOOD! Incredible South of France inspired food in the heart of Mayfair. The only problem is deciding what to eat. The menu has so many great and delicious options. The grilled veal chop (sorry, I know) was amazing and they serve the best french fries I have ever eaten. (French fries are my kryptonite, so trust me on this one).
1. Tavola – Vancouver, BC – I know, I know, it seems a little contrived to pick a place in my own home town as #1, but I seriously love Tavola so much. Back to rustic Italian, done really well. A super simple menu and fresh sheet keeps the experience familiar but never stale. The service is amazing with casual waitstaff often sitting at the table to explain the intricacies of the menu and winelist. The Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe is the simplest pasta dish (fresh handmade noodles cooked in a delicate sauce comprised of just olive oil, parmesan and pepper) is worth every calorie. The brick chicken is light and lemony and if you’re lucky to be there when Meyer Lemons are in season, you must try the Lemon Positano for dessert. The menu is set up for sharing so this place is best visited with a crowd so you can taste a little of everything.