La Texanita: Guy Fieri’s Go-To Hometown Mexican Spot

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.

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A Perfect Day of Eating & Wine Tasting Across Paso Robles

To celebrate my lovely girlfriend Amy’s redacted birthday, we planned a glorious weekend getaway to the Paso Robles wine country. We had heard excellent things about the remote region’s beauty and density of high-quality wineries so it seemed like a great way to spend a couple of days and the perfect way to mark the occasion.

On the Friday of her birthday weekend, Amy drove down from San Francisco to pick me up from work in Sunnyvale before we headed off into the beautiful, winding, south-of-SF countryside only to stop quickly in Moss Landing for dinner before reaching Paso Robles at around 11 PM.

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Tataki Gives Sustainable Sushi a Good Name in Lower Pac Heights

In the past, I’ve never really bothered much to concern myself with social consciousness with regards to food and waste. I don’t think you could blame me too much though, because I had never before lived in a place where it was such a high concern or integrated part of the cultural fabric. As it turns out, just being in San Francisco pretty much forces you to become very aware of the impact your consumption has on the environment simply through the requisite use of separate trash, recycling, and compostable bins everywhere you go.

Beyond waste management though, I’ve learned you can further be accountable for your actions by the types of meat, seafood, and produce you buy. By choosing responsibly sourced, environmentally friendly meat, seafood, and produce at your grocery store you can be sure the stuff you love so much stays around for a long, long time. And even beyond home shopping, there are ways to make good choices when you’re dining out. For instance, when the desire for awesome sushi strikes, you can choose to go to a place like Tataki in Lower Pac Heights that refuses to serve any sushi made with anything but sustainably sourced fish.

I know, I know. I can hear you groaning already. Sustainability? Social consciousness? What happened to Winston when he moved out to Cali?? Don’t worry, it’s the same old bacon-loving me, I’m just embracing living in San Francisco and trying to learn as much as I can. Trust me, this sushi tastes just as good as the unsustainable alternative and doesn’t even cost more than the quality stuff you’re used to.

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I Love the Low Key Vibe and High Quality Sushi at Domo in Hayes Valley

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Now that Amy and I have moved from NYC to San Francisco, it’s time for me to dig into the SF food scene. There are a number of cuisines that SF is reputed to do better than New York, Mexican being the most obvious, and I want to put these reputations to the test. Perhaps a little less obvious than SF’s Mexican superiority would be it’s Japanese, specifically regarding sushi. It makes sense if you think about it though considering this part of the country is so much closer to Japan than New York is. Don’t get me wrong though, I know we had really great sushi in New York, but it’s certainly possible that the proximity to Japan could help.

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Intriguing, Non-Traditional Sushi Rolls at Sushi Confidential in Campbell

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Once again, I was back in downtown Historic Campbell, California, this time to check out an unusual sushi joint called Sushi Confidential. I should start by telling you that this is not your average sushi joint. In fact, there’s very little that’s traditional about this place at all.

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New Restaurant Union Bar & Kitchen is Just What West SoHo Needed
New Restaurant Union Bar & Kitchen is Just What West SoHo Needed

New Restaurant Union Bar & Kitchen is Just What West SoHo Needed

I love new restaurant openings. There’s always this energy in the air, an excitement, the mystery of what the gut gamble might uncover. That’s why I was so excited to be invited to the soft launch of Union Bar & Kitchen in West SoHo.

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Real Deal Texas Barbecue Burrito Bowls in NYC at Tres Carnes
Real Deal Texas Barbecue Burrito Bowls in NYC at Tres Carnes

Real Deal Texas Barbecue Burrito Bowls in NYC at Tres Carnes

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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.

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Savory & Sweet Japanese Crepes at Eight Turn Crêpe in NYC
Eight Turn Crêpe Review

Savory & Sweet Japanese Crepes at Eight Turn Crêpe in NYC

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If you’re in SoHo, perhaps shopping, where do you stop for a quick, easy lunch? There’s plenty of trendy, pricey sit-down cafes in the neighborhood, but you have to look a little harder to find something fast, casual, and actually good. I had heard about a great new Harajuku style Japanese crêperie in the area and knew I had to check it out. Do I sense a Harajuku mini-trend happening in NYC?

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