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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Great Global Tapas with a Latin American Edge at Cascal in Mountain View

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. It ain’t easy finding great restaurants out in Silicon Valley, but they do exist if you look hard enough. Downtown Mountain View has proven over and over again that it’s loaded with great spots and the Latin inspired tapas joint Cascal is no exception. Buckle up, this is gonna be a long one. But I guess that’s bound to happen when you dine tapas style as a party of eight. I’ll try to keep my commentary concise because honestly all of the food was really awesome.

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Classic Indian & Pakistani Curry at Shezan in Mountain View
Classic Indian & Pakistani Curry at Shezan in Mountain View, CA

Classic Indian & Pakistani Curry at Shezan in Mountain View

Sometimes I get a craving. A craving that can only be quenched by curry. On this particular evening, after finishing up work in Sunnyvale, I knew it had to be an Indian night. I searched the nearby radius and came across a highly rated Indian and Pakistani restaurant on the main drag in Mountain View called Shezan. Sold.

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Deliciously Spicy Momo Dumplings and Lamb Curry at Himalayan Kitchen in Mountain View
Deliciously Spicy Momo Dumplings and Lamb Curry at Himalayan Kitchen in Mountain View, CA

Deliciously Spicy Momo Dumplings and Lamb Curry at Himalayan Kitchen in Mountain View

*Editor’s Note 7/17/14: I have recently returned to Himalayan Kitchen and the entire restaurant and shopping center has been remodeled and is much nicer now. The food is just as good as ever, maybe even better.

Way off the beaten path, in a seriously run-down shopping center in Mountain View, California you’ll find a sketchy looking restaurant called Himalayan Kitchen. Had I not read good things about this place online before driving over, I might have been turned off by the truthfully off-putting appearance, but I followed my instincts and continued on with my hungover Himalayan quest.

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An Exciting, Sexy, and Modern Italian & American Date Night at Perla

*Editor’s Note 6/4/15: Perla has completely overhauled their menu, decor, and have lowered the price point substantially since posting

Drop everything, I’ve got a new favorite restaurant in NYC. On the day we visited, Amy and I were in a celebrating mood. She had just started a new job and I’ve was just about to begin a new job of my own. On this occasion we were looking to treat ourselves right, to splurge on something extra special.

After seeing numerous end-of-2013 lists that included the nearby and recently opened Perla, I knew I wanted to try it out and figured this would be the perfect opportunity to do it. We made a reservation only a few days in advance and were able to snag seats at the chef’s counter for a Sunday evening at 6:30. It was a bit earlier than we usually dine, but what the hell, it was a Sunday night anyway.

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Seriously Great Greek near Stanford at Evvia Estiatorio in Palo Alto
Seriously Great Greek near Stanford at Evvia Estiatorio in Palo Alto

Seriously Great Greek near Stanford at Evvia Estiatorio in Palo Alto

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OK, I’ll admit it, I’ve been having a tough time finding great restaurants over these weeks I’ve been spending in Silicon Valley. I’ve found a few gems that I’ll be sharing with you all soon, but it ain’t easy. However, there are a couple densely populated ‘downtowns’ that help when hunting and downtown Palo Alto is one such example.

Stanford University is located in Palo Alto, so there’s an actual restaurant row like you often find in college towns. After asking a local Palo Alto-based friend for dinner advise and receiving a glowing recommendation, we ended up at an upscale Greek restaurant called Evvia Estiatorio. It’s hard to pass on a claim that Evvia is the best restaurant in Palo Alto so our group of six headed there on a Monday evening to check it out for ourselves.

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Mike Winston’s Best Bites of 2013

Given the number of insanely delicious things I’ve eaten over the past year, selecting the best of the bunch is a very difficult task. Over on Foodspotting I’ve released a long version that’s over 200 items long which includes every single dish jaw-dropping dish from the last year. Here, instead, I’ve chosen the very best in select categories. In no particular order, let’s begin!
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Two Takes on Spicy Cumin Lamb in Flushing, Queens
Two Takes on Spicy Cumin Lamb in Flushing, Queens

Two Takes on Spicy Cumin Lamb in Flushing, Queens

*Editor’s Note 2/19/15: This restaurant recently changed its name from Fu Run to Fu Ran for some reason and listed prices may be outdated

When you think of Chinese food, what comes to mind? Maybe wonton soup? Lo mein? General Tso’s chicken? Dumplings? Maybe even Peking duck? I’m willing to bet you were not thinking of lamb. Though you may not realize it, there are a some regions in China that do specialize in lamb and make it quite well.

These regions are mostly located near the northern reaches of China with proximity to Mongolia or the Middle East. The lamb is often heavily treated with Middle Eastern spices, especially cumin. On this visit to Flushing, with my friend Harrison in tow, I was questing to sample these unique Chinese cumin spiced versions of lamb.

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Come for the Hot Dogs, Stay for the Mac & Cheese at Dogmatic
Come for the Hot Dogs, Stay for the Mac & Cheese at Dogmatic

Come for the Hot Dogs, Stay for the Mac & Cheese at Dogmatic

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*Editor’s Note: I’m sad to report that this restaurant is not longer open.

Along the Greenwich Village strip of MacDougal between Bleecker and 3rd Street, there is an extraordinary density of fast, cheap eateries and college-focused sports bars. This probably developed as a direct result of its proximity to the heart of NYU.

Even with so many choices, I still always get excited when new additions arrive. For instance, this week I was treated to the opening of Dogmatic, a diminutive, pristine, bright white, glowing shop with a small and unique menu that recently relocated from the Union Square area. The menu consists mostly of hot dogs and hamburgers and claims to make “naturally good fast food”.

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How to Have an Epic Asian, Cheap Eats Food Crawl in Flushing, Queens

Flushing, Queens is one of my favorite places to eat really well for really cheap. There’s such a great variety of authentic, spicy, filling Asian food you can choose from. But I won’t lie, it’s a little overwhelming. That’s were this guide comes in. I’m providing a map of some of my favorite eats in Flushing which includes some of my favorite food anywhere in the world. Most of it is very cheap although I’ve included some worthy splurges. Enjoy and eat well!

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