Where to Find Authentically Spicy Indian Frontier Cuisine in Monterey

Is it wrong that I want to eat Indian food surrounded by Indians? I don’t want this to come off sounding bad, but there’s something that just feels right about eating in an ethnic restaurant that’s actually filled with people of that ethnicity. I view it as a sort of tip of the hat to the place’s street cred and I’ve often found that it’s a pretty consistent indicator to determine if the place is going to be authentic and good. Just think about it, if Indians don’t want to eat this food when they’re dining out, why would I?

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Crushing Ridiculously Delicious Filipino Burritos with a Michelin Starred Chef

The San Francisco food scene is full of all sorts of inventive, creative crossover cuisines. And one of the city’s most loved and most delicious integrated creations comes from a beloved Filipino-fusion vendor called Señor Sisig. This city seriously has so much love for this truck – I’ve honestly never heard a negative word spoken against it, and that says a lot in a city so extremely divisive and combative about whose favorite place is best. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that they exist in a category all alone by themselves – absolutely no one else is competing in the Mexican-Filipino arena. And why would they? This truck’s reputation alone would be nearly impossible to topple.

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A Hawaiian Oasis Hidden Away From The Santa Cruz Tourists

When people hear “California”, visions of sun-soaked, brah-filled, coastal, Southern California beach towns usually fill their minds. Imagine the level of surprise and disappointment we’ve seen on our unknowing out-of-towner guests’ faces when they come to visit us in San Francisco and are faced with our unusual patchwork of foggy and rather chilly micro-climates instead of a permanent summer. It always throws them for a (disappointed) loop. Really, Nor-Cal and So-Cal are so extremely different that it would probably make sense to consider them two separate states, but that’s a whole ‘nother conversation.

But, there is a place like this dreamlike version of California that does exist in Nor-Cal and it’s actually not that far from San Francisco. This place actually has that stereotypical beach bum vibe where surfers and skaters live their carefree suntanned lifestyles and tourists flock to catch rays of sunshine. This place is Santa Cruz.

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This Just Might Be The Worst Restaurant in San Francisco

Let me say this up front – I truly do LOVE garlic. But, I still wasn’t really sure what to expect from a place that prides itself on being a “garlic restaurant”. The Stinking Rose and their garlic-focused menu are very famous – famous enough that I had heard about them long before moving to San Francisco. I knew that pretty much every item on the menu was going to involve garlic, I was just hoping they’d be able to transform and highlight the featured ingredient in interesting and delicious ways. I really wasn’t sure if this place was actually going to be good or if the garlic thing was all gimmick and schtick. All I knew for sure was that I had to check it out for myself.

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An Epic Japanese Lunch Special at Sumika in Los Altos

Unless you live in the Los Altos hills, I’m not sure why else anyone would drive out of their way to go there. It’s certainly a cute little town with its own downtown main drag and array of restaurants, but it’s definitely an out of the way trek from pretty much everywhere and there are similar downtowns all around Silicon Valley. But, one day at lunch a particular craving struck that I only knew how to fix at a single place. The craving? Oyako-Don. The place? Sumika.

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The Incredible Burmese at Rangoon Ruby has Finally Arrived on Polk

I’m so excited, it’s finally here. I’ll keep this short, but the brand new location of my all-time favorite Silicon Valley restaurant Rangoon Ruby, has opened a sister location a block from my SF apartment. In a space that used to be a lackluster sushi spot called Sushi Rock, my beloved Palo Alto Burmese favorite has planted roots. From the moment Sushi Rock had shuttered, I was aware because the place is actually in directly eye line from my apartment window. I anxiously awaited something new and interesting to come and take over the space. And I was over-the-moon elated when I saw a Coming Soon banner indicating that it would be a location of the exact place I missed most after transitioning from Palo Alto to SF.

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California Freshness at Rusty’s Southern in the Tenderloin

I always get really excited when new restaurants open, especially when they are close to enough to my home that they can easily become part of my regular dinner rotation. This particular new opening in the Tenderloin was only under a week old, but I couldn’t help but find myself drawn to it. Rusty’s Southern may be in a dicey part of town, but this spacious spot is serving up affordable, California-inspired takes on North and South Carolinan Southern classics. In a town desperately in need of more Southern food, what more could you ask for?

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Bold, Playful Flavors Found at Montrio Bistro in Monterey

Every month or so, we like to head south of San Francisco down to Monterey. For us, it’s a nice way to take a mini-vacation and because it’s a beautiful place within driving distance and we have family there to crash with. We’ve done a variety of food exploration in the area on our own, but as is usually the case, a recommendation by a local resident usually holds more weight than what I can uncover. In our hosts’ opinion, Montrio Bistro is one of the best restaurants in all of Monterey and it happened to only be a five minute walk from their downtown home.

The restaurant is located right on the main drag of town and even though we had headed over quite late on a late Sunday night, it still wasn’t easy to grab a table for four. Quick on my feet, I pulled up OpenTable at exactly 8:48 PM and successfully nabbed a table for us all at 9:00 PM. Bam, that did the trick. Only a few minutes later, my name was called and we were seated in the surprisingly bustling restaurant.

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Burritos Bigger Than Your Head at La Costeña in Mountain View

If there’s one dish that the Bay Area does better than anywhere else in the country, it’s most certainly the burrito. Even in Silicon Valley, where finding anything decent to eat is a challenge, there are a number of more than just passable options. Through my exploration of Sunnyvale, I’ve found Taqueria Latina, Ruby’s Taqueria, and in the neighboring town of Mountain View another excellent shop called La Costeña.

Whereas the former two are pretty classic Mission style Mexican, I think that La Costeña’s creations lean closer to Cal-Mex. The shop is a little brighter and a little cleaner than the others and the produce is super-fresh tasting. It’s just that I’ve found that the flavors tend to deviate just a bit from the truly traditional Mexican flavors – hence Cal-Mex.

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Wing Wings: Hands Down the Best Chicken Wings in SF

I was completely certain I was gonna love everything about Wing Wings. I absolutely love crushing buckets of chicken wings and I had heard such great things about the many unique varieties at this Lower Haight hole-in-the-wall and hot spot.

They’ve been featured in 7×7 Magazine’s The Big Eat 2013, on Grub Street’s Best Places for Wings in SF, on Epicurious’ America’s Best Chicken Wings List, and in plenty of other high profile publications. To put it simply, their reputation precedes them. Beyond what I had read about online, I’d had already had the chance to experience their impressive chicken-preparation skill via the transcendent Fried Chicken served at their Off The Grid Picnic at the Presidio pop-up stall. I knew this was gonna be good.

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