Top Notch Greek Way Off The Beaten Path at Orexi in the West Portal

After a full rush-hour traffic-filled hour and fifteen minute drive from Sunnyvale to San Francisco, I learned that the apartment I was driving into the city to see had fallen through. I was in a part of San Francisco that I knew nothing about and had no reason to suffer through more traffic to go deeper into San Francisco proper. So, I pulled off the highway and pulled up my trusty mobile resource, Foursquare to what else — find a solid meal nearby.

I soon learned that I was in the quaint SF outskirts in a neighborhood known as West Portal and was presented with a really highly-rated Greek restaurant called Orexi topping my personalized recommendations. Perfect, Greek it’ll be. Despite the crappy drive/apartment-hunt situation, I was determined to turn these lemons into lemonade, or shall we say grapes into fine Greek wine.

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Surprisingly Solid French Formality at Bon Vivant in Palo Alto

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I can’t remember the last time I knowingly dined at a restaurant with such a low Foursquare rating. At the time when I sat down at Bon Vivant in Palo Alto, they scored a measly 5.3 illustrated with a bold red background. I didn’t let that deter me. I was looking for a relaxing solo diner at an outdoor table and that’s exactly what I found at this restaurant.

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Tanto in Sunnyvale is Another Excellent Silicon Valley Izakaya

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When I’m living the road for extended periods of time, I like the treat myself well. Actually, I spoil myself. And by that I mean, I like to eat really really well. This of course can often lead to some overindulgence. But, hey, I think I deserve it.

On this particular night, I was dining solo and went on an adventure to a Japanese izakaya that had been on my to-do list for a while. I had had a great experience at En in Santa Clara nearby not too long prior, but I wanted to try someplace new. I knew I was in the mood for some uni amongst other Asian delicacies and figured that Tanto would be an excellent spot to scratch this particular itch.

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A True Cajun & Creole New Orleans Experience at NOLA in Palo Alto

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For Stanford students, there’s only a few bars that everyone goes to. One of the biggest nightlife hotspots is NOLA, an aggressively Mardi Gras themed bar and restaurant that’s gaudily decorated with scattered dangling beaded necklaces. It’s the kind of place that I’d normally write off at first glance, assuming they’d only be able to make stupidly sweet and strong alcoholic punches and serve shitty bar food, but that assumption would be wrong.

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Sangria, Cured Meats, Other Spanish Imports at 100 Montaditos in Greenwich Village

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This story begins four years ago. Just after graduating from college I took a month-long backpacking trip around a number of European cities. One of the many stops was in Madrid and on that leg of the trip, my buddy Evan and I stopped for a budget-friendly tapas and beer-filled lunch at the now shuttered outdoor Plaza Santa Ana location of 100 Montaditos. Seeing as we were traveling on the cheap, their dollar beers and mini sandwiches known as montaditos were a perfect fit for us. And would you look at that, I even managed to scrounge up some old photos from that first trip.

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Impeccable Modern American Cuisine at Scratch in Mountain View

It’s not always easy to find quality restaurants in Silicon Valley, but Mountain View has proven time and time and time again that there’s some really excellent places to eat and drink on their main downtown drag. There are not many restaurants that I have loved enough to eat at multiple times out here, but Scratch has sort of become my go-to, not-sure-what-I’m-in-the-mood-for dinner and drinks spot.

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Really Unusual Burmese Soup & Salad at Burma Superstar in the Richmond

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I don’t think I’m unearthing any secrets with this one. This famed Burmese restaurant in the Richmond has been featured on the Food Network numerous times and is reputed for having constant lines out the door. Somehow, when I showed up at 12:30 on a Sunday, a time when I assumed the restaurant would be at peak capacity, it in fact had no line. I was seated at a two-top on my own immediately. Amazing.

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Eat Your Heart Out with Offal Thoughts & Other Brilliant Gastropub Fare at Liquid Bread in Campbell

I’ve already gushed on this blog about how much I love Liquid Bread in Campbell on my first visit. Staying in the area once again, I figured it was worth a second trip to try some more of their incredible creations. I knew, in their skilled hands, I’d be fine ordering just about anything so I chose a few dishes that wouldn’t ordinarily entrust to a less skilled and proven restaurant to pull off.

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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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A Cheap, Homey, Italian Date Night at Da Marcella in Greenwich Village

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Finding under-the-radar, cheap, quality Italian date night spots in NYC ain’t easy. I’ve got a couple places tucked away in my back pocket with delicious, reasonably priced pastas such as Batali’s Otto which I’ve already written about, but it doesn’t always fit the bill. The biggest issue with Otto is that their wine list is on the expensive side which can add up quick on a date. And then there’s Fiat Cafe which is awesome, but not always easy to grab a table at due to its compact size. That’s why I’m happy I’ve found the hidden in plain sight Greenwich Village gem Da Marcella.

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