Cedar (Washington DC)

Roasted beet salad with dates, caramelized pecans, and goat cheese fondue

Pan-roasted softshell crab with crushed sunchoke-English pea salad and roasted meyer lemon

Herb crusted pork tenderloin with goat cheese grits, applewood bacon, and roasted cherries

Carrot cake with bourbon sauce and caramel pecan icecream

Lucca Ravioli Co. (SF, CA)

Dinner Nathan made me: spinach/cheese ravioli from Lucca's + brussel sprout "flowers"

Rome Fiumicino Airport (Rome, Italy)

Surprisingly enough, the restaurant on the second floor of Terminal 3 in the Rome Airport served the best buffalo mozarella I've ever had.  It's made from the milk of water buffalo raised in Lazio (and not cow's milk).

Humphry Slocombe x 2 (SF, CA)

Secret Breakfast (corn flakes and bourbon) ice cream + Fudgesicle sorbet, plus weird double-headed calf

Atlas Cafe (SF, CA)

Portobello mushroom sandwich with goat cheese and field greens

Gelateria Della Palma (Rome, Italy)

Very popular gelato place around the corner from the Pantheon.  The gelato is richer and creamier than San Crispino, and there is a lot more selection, including Kit Kat gelato and Smarties gelato.  We had coconut and tiramisu gelato.  I still prefer San Crispino, which was lighter.

Pizzeria da Baffetto (Rome, Italy)

We were told that this place serves the best (Roman-style) pizza in Rome.  The recipe for the very thin crispy crust is generations old, and the wood oven certainly looked ancient.  We waited an hour to get in, and another hour to get our pizza (and had to share tables with two other parties). Was it worth it?  Yes!

Pizza dough; pizza toppings; the owner of Baffetto's with small mozzarella pizzas for the staff; Baffetto pizza with egg, sausage, artichokes, peppers, onions, and mushrooms; margherita pizza with proscuitto, arugula, and parmagiano

McDonald's Spagna (Rome, Italy)

This is the first McDonald's to open in Italy, and the largest one I've ever seen.  You can get paprika french fries there, plus clappers to support the Italian soccer team for the World Cup!

MK by Michael Kornick (Chicago, IL)

Tuna tartare, celery root remoulade, moroccan cured olives

Prosciutto, pickled apricots, frisee lettuce, toasted pistachios, sherry vinaigrette, mint

Gnocchi, extra virgin olive oil poached artichokes, swan creek farms sunny side egg, parmagiano-reggiano, basil

Fries with white truffle aioli

"two bananas walk into a bar": banana souffle cake, toasted marshmallow fluff, macadamia nut crumble, dark chocolate sauce, malted banana ice cream

Taste of Peru (Chicago, IL)

Taste of Peru was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on the Food Network and is said to be one of Guy Fieri's most memorable places visited. This little restaurant is located in a strip mall and is one of the best kept secrets in Chicago.

Peruvian Tamales: Corn tamales with chicken, served with sweet onions marinated in lime

Papa Rellena: Mashed potato shell stuffed with seasoned ribeye steak, walnuts, eggs, raisins, and olives

Lomo Saltado: Traditional Peruvian dish of ribeye beef sauteed with tomatoes, onion, french fries, cooked with beer, served with rice

Seco de Cordero: Lamb stewed with red wine, pumpkin, beer, chile ancho, and red peppers, served with rice and beans

Arroz con Mariscos: Paella

Aziza (SF, CA)

Spreads (flatbread with eggplant, yogurt/dill, piquillo/almond)
Basteeya (chicken/almond)
Vegetables (sprouting raab, couscous, cumin)
Beef Cheeks (barley, herbs, ras el hanout)
Chocolate sorbet, kumquat, ice cream sandwich, almond granita

Mr. Beef on Orleans (Chicago, IL)

Hands down the best Italian Beef Sandwich in Chicago! Much better than the more well-known (outside of Chicago) Al's Beef. Mr. Beef beat out Al's Beef as the best Italian Beef Sandwich in Travel Channel's show "Food Wars."

XOCO by Rick Bayless (Chicago, IL)

XOCO ("SHOW-coh") is Chef Rick Bayless's latest venture. The word is Mexican slang for "little sister," which is what XOCO is to Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, Rick Bayless's other more established restaurants right next door.

Ahodaga: Pork carnitas, black beans, tomato broth, spicy arbol chile sauce, pickled onions.

Gunthorp Chicken: Wood roasted red chile chicken, pickled white onion, black beans, avocado, tomatillo salsa

Jamon: La Quercia Prosciutto Picante, Otter Creek Organic cheddar, black beans, avocado, chipotle mustard, fried egg


Homemade vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce and salty bacon streusel topping

Checchino dal 1887 (Rome, Italy)

Checcino has been run by the Mariani family since 1887, and Mario Batali says that this place has consistently been his favorite restaurant.  It's famous for serving the quinto quarto (aka, organ meats).  It also has a killer wine list (inexpensive compared to US restaurants) and cheese list (5 kinds of pecorino!). 

Rigatoni with pajata (intestine of suckling pig fed with its mother's milk, tastes way better than it sounds); Bucatini Gricia with pecorino and bacon; oxtail stewed for 5 hours in tomato sauce with celery, pine nuts, raisins and a sprinkling of chocolate; the special "Buon Ricordo" plate we received.

Remo (Rome, Italy)

We wandered here accidentally, and later learned that it's one of the best places in the city to get authentic pizza romana.  This explains why it was packed "early" on a Saturday evening at 7pm.  Remo is located on Piazza Santa Maria Liberatrice, which is a beautiful square in the Testaccio neighborhood.

Antico Forno (Rome, Italy)

This place is known for its six-foot pizzas, which have a distinctive crispy crust formed by letting the dough rest under a glazing of olive oil.  The pizza is sold by the pound, and one very large piece will set you back only two euros.  When we were went, pomodoro and bianco pizzas were available.

Il Gelato Di San Crispino (Rome, Italy)

Many call this the best gelato in the world, and it's received rave reviews from NYTimes and TimeOut.  The lemon sorbet was awesomely sour (notice the pucker and closed eyes), and the pistachio gelato had bits of pistachio in it.  We went to the branch on Piazza della Maddalena near the Pantheon, and may have to go to the other two branches before we leave Rome!

Nomnomtruck (Astoria, NY)

The nomnom banh mi food truck was in Astoria this afternoon as part of a Food Network competition among food trucks. They traveled all the way from LA to NYC to compete with other trucks on to sell the most food this weekend in NYC. Watch out for them and the Food Network cameras following them. My friend and I were the first to order from them in Astoria this afternoon in front of the Bohemian Beer Garden. Meat was tasty, but a little dry. Garnishes were good. Bread was hard, but not too hard, just like I like it. The Vietnamese tacos were really good too.

Chez Jill x 2 (SF, CA)

Caprese salad for dinner with downstairs neighbors
Curry squash soup with purple potatoes
Molasses-lime-pineapple dessert
Pineapple cakes my mom made and brought all the way from Kansas (5.29.10)