In general, Paso Robles is a pretty quiet, sleepy, little wine town. Whether you're looking for a nice place to drink or eat dinner downtown, people tend to recommend the same handful of places. That's probably because new bars and restaurants don't open very often, and the options always are what they are. But, when new bars and restaurants do open, they tend to cause a big stir. Recently, a massive new bar and restaurant popped onto the downtown scene – a trendy, upscale, Baja-style Cal Mexican joint called Fish Gaucho and I knew on my most recent trip that I had to see for myself what all of the hype was about.
Alright, today I'm gonna throw it back. Back to the time when I was living in NYC and the inevitable boozy Sunday brunch ritual was both a reality and a necessity. Sure, San Francisco has a thriving brunch scene with plenty of interesting versions of Eggs Benedict and brunch cocktails, but I just haven't seen the boozy excessiveness on the same level.
It's a time-honored Austin breakfast tradition unlike any other. And for some reason – despite it's awesomeness – it just hasn't made the jump to mainstream breakfast noshing in either of my home cities: NYC and San Francisco. What is this breakfast tradition I speak of? Why, Breakfast Tacos, of course. Now, get on it SF and NYC. I want breakfast tacos!
I first heard about Green Chile Kitchen on a web comment section arguing about who serves the best burrito in every single SF neighborhood. Numerous commenters were insistent that Green…
There's been a lot of talk on the web recently about who makes the best burrito in the world. Nate Silver's Burrito Bracket brought this issue right to the forefront and the Internet community immediately jumped in to battle to fight for who they believed was the real best. Now, I haven't eaten nearly enough of the competing burritos to make a conclusive judgement on the bracket's findings, but I recently took a trip to their #1 seed, but surprisingly early knockout, El Farolito, and I'm having a hard time believing any burrito in the world could be better than the ones they served to me.
I ventured into the land that birthed Guy Fieri. Santa Rosa is the place the spiky Food Network demigod calls home. I wasn't intending to eat at another place that had been featured on Diner's, Drive-Ins, and Dives so soon, but given the fact our day trip that ended up taking us to his hometown, it shouldn't be too big of a surprise that we did. We were actually in Santa Rosa exploring the area's wineries, but pre-noon wine tasting on an empty stomach pretty much always necessitates a good, filling meal. My growling stomach went straight to Foursquare to find a killer lunch spot nearby which led us to the Fieri-favorite La Texanita.
Is it a liquor store? Is it a taqueria? Well... Los Hermanos Taqueria is both and it's actually also a convenience store, grocery, and butcher as well. This strange place is situated right in the middle of the bad part of the Tenderloin and it's about as unassuming as eateries get. But the hand painted signage, complete with a handful of Spanish speaking Mexican clientele and mariachi music drew me in. And I knew I had to eat Mexican food in a liquor store at the very least for the story.
Over the past few years NYC has been going through a sort of Texas style barbecue renaissance. With many new massive traditional smokehouses popping up, the competition is fierce and some will obviously succeed where others fail. While most of the places serving 'cue are in the traditional format of counter, line, butcher paper, and meat by weight, Tres Carnes takes a completely different approach. Their menu consists mostly of tacos, burritos, and burrito bowls which get loaded with authentic Texas smoked meats like brisket and pulled pork in a Chipotle-esque construction line. At Tres Carnes, the smoker is helmed by pitmaster Mike Rodriguez who has a pedigree that includes the very famous Salt Lick in Austin. This guy knows what he's doing.
Let's talk about the state of Mexican food in New York. I grew up in the Northeast, so I can safely say that for most of my life my understanding of Mexican food was incomplete. I happily enjoyed Mexican food all over the Tristate area for many years unaware of its full potential. Then something happened. My girlfriend brought me to Texas and my eyes were forever opened.