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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Solid, Cheap as Hell Mexican at Taqueria Latina in Sunnyvale

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Finding a decent meal in Sunnyvale has always been a challenge and always will be. But, when I dig deep enough and keep my eyes firmly peeled, I have actually been able to find a few local gems.

On this particular day, I took a mile-long walk down a suburban road I’d never been down before stumbling onto something intriguing. For the majority of the walk, I saw nothing worth a second glance, but then I spotted it. It shined in the distance like a shining beat-up beacon of hope. The sign read Taqueria Latina.

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Magnificent, Modern Southern Cuisine at Odd Duck in Austin

Another day, another awesome, upscale dinner out in Austin. This place called Odd Duck is the sibling restaurant to chef Bryce Gilmore‘s also amazing, tasting menu-only hot spot Barley Swine which I had visited only a few night earlier. Similar to Barley Swine, the theme of this meal seemed to be small plates with either a pickled element, runny egg yolks, or both.

The menu leans heavily toward Southern gastropub fare with plenty of clean, modern, cheffy flair and even a bit of molecular gastronomy trickery thrown in. The vibe of the decor matches the tone of the food with its use of mismatched country miscellany carefully arranged by an smart, upscale, interior designer’s touch. This restaurant is pretty well known in the Austin food scene as one of the more exciting places to have a meal and it makes sense why. It has such an interesting menu that continues to experiment and evolve over time – the fervor is only going to grow as this place continues to get the industry recognition it rightly deserves like the James Beard Award Rising Star nod it just recieved.

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Mike Winston’s Best Bites of 2014

What a year!! I did something like this last year too, but oh boy was 2014 a doozy. I started off living in NYC, then a started a new job that whisked me off the San Francisco and Silicon Valley for a few months before ultimately relocating to San Francisco permanently. And along the way, I squeezed in a couple of vacations too.

Sooooo, I did a LOT of epic eating this year. And truth be told, I found it particularly difficult to narrow down my list as concisely as last year’s, but I somehow managed. So, without further ado, I present the winners (and runner-ups) broken down by category. I tried to cluster similar dish types together, but really they are in no particular order. Let’s begin!

And if you wanna hear about the 2014’s Best Cocktails, read more here.
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The Very Best Airport Food I’ve Ever Eaten

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It’s getting to be that time when we look back on the year in review and 2014 was a very big year of travel for me. Between working remotely in Silicon Valley while still officially living in NYC, moving from NYC to SF, and other miscellaneous leisure travel, I spent a lot of time in airports.

I know that airports get a bad rap when it comes to dining options and you know what, most of the time the food really does suck. But, every now and then I’ve been able to come across some truly excellent dishes. Beyond that, I’ve even managed to find a number of dishes served in airports that blew me away – the overacheivers – the kinds of things I would get even if I wasn’t stuck eating in an airport. Without further ado, read on below to see the best of the best to eat before you fly in the sky. (more…)

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El Farolito Makes the Best Damn Burrito in the Entire World

There’s been a lot of talk on the web recently about who makes the best burrito in the world. Nate Silver’s Burrito Bracket brought this issue right to the forefront and the Internet community immediately jumped in to battle to fight for who they believed was the real best.

Now, I haven’t eaten nearly enough of the competing burritos to make a conclusive judgement on the bracket’s findings, but I recently took a trip to their #1 seed, but surprisingly early knockout, El Farolito, and I’m having a hard time believing any burrito in the world could be better than the ones they served to me.

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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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Rincon Taqueria in Norwalk, CT Has a Thing or Two to Teach You Northeasterners About Mexican Food

WOAH YEAH. Who’d a thought you could find super-legit Mexican food in Eastern Connecticut? I certainly didn’t. But there I was, sitting on the SoNo waterfront (South Norwalk for all you out-of-towners) searching for a solid lunch spot and when I stumbled across a little taqueria on Yelp with only a few reviews, but every single one of them was utterly ecstatic about the place. It was settled, Amy and I were going to drive across town to Rincon Taqueria in Norwalk to see what all the people were buzzing about.

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Cheap, Legit Mexican Food from a Liquor Store in The Tenderloin

Is it a liquor store? Is it a taqueria? Well… Los Hermanos Taqueria is both and it’s actually also a convenience store, grocery, and butcher as well.

This strange place is situated right in the middle of the bad part of the Tenderloin and it’s about as unassuming as eateries get. But the hand painted signage, complete with a handful of Spanish speaking Mexican clientele and mariachi music drew me in. And I knew I had to eat Mexican food in a liquor store at the very least for the story.

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