There was still a full coat of morning dew on every windshield I walked by. The sun had barely risen, but I was already awake, out of bed, and standing…
On the long drive between Paso Robles and San Francisco, there’s not a whole lot of viable places to stop at for a good meal on the road. The 101 is the most efficient route, but it’ll still take approximately three hours from start to finish. Before embarking on the drive back from the wonderfully quaint wine town of Paso Robles, we knew wanted to grab a quick meal close to town before really hitting the road.
A brief bit of online exploration led me to a place that showed potential for a quick meal. Just a 10-minute drive north of downtown Paso Robles, just off of the 101, there’s a dusty little nothing town called San Miguel. In this practically non-existent town, I read about a place with a 4-star Yelp rating that included many stories characterized by its local charm. We had high hopes that The County Diner, a lonely eatery in this desolate trapped-in-time town, would serve as a great place to get a quick and filling breakfast before we headed towards home.
This, my friends is the future of fast food. Eatsa is the first eatery of its kind — a place where technology is being used wisely and effectively to produce food that is fresh, flavorful, reasonably priced, and — believe it or not — pretty darn healthy too. They’ve got it down to such as science that you pretty much don’t even need to interact with a human throughout the entire experience if you don’t want to. Hello, Eatsa. “Hello world.”
This is what happened when a craving that doesn’t often strike me, struck. Usually when I crave Middle Eastern food, it comes in the form of intense yearning for falafel or hummus. But, on this particular day, I needed to find an extremely meaty meal of kebab over rice and a quick search of the nearby Sunnyvale area brought Kabul, an highly-rated Afghan restaurant, to light.
Acme Oyster House is one of those old school places that been around for so long, it’s almost become synonymous with visiting New Orleans. It’s famous enough to have been featured on a multitude of food TV shows including a particularly memorable season 1 episode of Man vs Food in which Adam Richman took down their insane eating challenge and joined the 15 Dozen Club by consuming an absurd 180 raw oysters in a sitting.
Shanghai Bun is not a place that I can judge fairly. It’s only about an eight minute drive from the house I grew up in and was a quintessential part of my culinary obsession’s growth during my high school years. The small shop’s name is a cue to their most popular dish – a dish that goes by many names. This dish was at the time completely foreign and unfamiliar to me, but quickly became the focus of my ever-growing need to find the best version around. Before my friend introduced me to Shanghai Bun, I had never before had the pleasure of trying freshly steamed Xiao Long Bao (aka soup dumplings, steamed pork buns, tiny steamed buns, Shanghai dumplings, juicy buns, and more). But, all it took was one time – my soup dumpling addiction was triggered and I never looked back.
There I was, seated inside of a gold-painted shipping container, face-to-face with a live-streaming 23-year-old girl in Havana. What in the world should we talk about? First, names. Then I…
If I were to tell you about a trendy, hipstery pizza place in Texas serving authentic and innovative Neapolitan-style pies, what city do you think it would be in? I bet your first guess would be Austin, but I’m here to show you that this kind of awesomeness can also be found in the extremely underrated Dallas dining scene if you know where to look. The place I’m specifically talking about is located in the Deep Ellum neighborhood, which is basically the Williamsburg of Dallas. It has a thriving live music scene, loads of dive bars, and plenty of interesting casual dining options to explore.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I also don’t know how you could have possibly missed it. Over the summer of 2015, fried chicken was quite the hot trend, completely dominating all mainstream food media outlets with hyped up content. With big name heavy-hitters like David Chang opening his much-hyped Fuku and Danny Meyers launching a fried chicken sandwich at his much-loved burger shop Shake Shack, seemingly everyone was scrambling to get into the fried chicken game. Every place was busy concocting their own signature breading type, fry-style, and of course secret spice blend.
But, there’s one fried chicken variant that I had this year that was invented long before all of this summer’s madness and I still can’t seem to get it out of my head. This insane fried chicken creation has literally crept into my dreams on more than one occasion like Freddy Krueger, taunting and torturing me to return from within. Unfortunately, this unconscious itch can only be scratched in one place — and this unusually creative shop called Red’s Chinese is located in a way-off-the-beaten path New Orleans neighborhood called Bywater. If you’re in NOLA without a car, Red’s Chinese is not the easiest to access, but if you’ve got one, it’s an absolute cannot-miss. Actually, you better book your flights to NOLA now, you’re gonna want to experience this one for yourself.
Another day, another lunch. Working in Sunnyvale has definitely had its lunchtime limitations, but when I looked hard enough, there was definitely greatness to be found. Asian food has proven itself as the area’s strong suit so it was almost unsurprising that there’s a real, legit, banh mi-slinging hole-in-the-wall in Sunnyvale. This shop, called Cam Hung, is located in an extremely nondescript strip mall parking lot much like every other decent eatery in Sunnyvale and would be next to impossible to spot if you weren’t intentionally seeking it out. It’s literally not visible from the street and has almost no signage to catch the eyes of passerbys so its a little amazing that they get traffic.