Exciting, Eclectic, Global Cuisine at Public Restaurant in Nolita

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After knocking out two date nights from our NYC Bucket List and before relocating to San Francisco, we had time for one final meal with my family the evening before our departure. Public Restaurant was chosen by my mom firstly for it’s super-convenient location in Nolita but mostly because, and I quote, “it sounds like it’s got your kind of food”. That could be taken any number of ways, but I’ll just assume it’s because the menu is loaded up with unusual sounding game meat and other interesting sounding ingredients together in strange combinations and preparations. Yes Mom, that does sound like my kind of place indeed.

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Goodbye NYC. Bucket List Part 1: Beauty & Essex

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If you didn’t see it coming and haven’t heard the big news yet, Amy and I are relocating from NYC to San Francisco. So, there’s gonna be lots more West Coast eating and writing is on the horizon. But before making the move, we’ve had enough time for us each to pick one last date night spot to cross off of our NYC to-do lists. Amy’s pick was the ever-trendy Lower East Side cool-kid hot spot Beauty & Essex and mine was the shall-we-say more meat-centric Peter Luger’s Steakhouse which you can read about here.

Beauty & Essex is about as trendy as restaurants get in NYC. It’s actually as much a nightclub as it is a restaurant. It’s the kind of place you get decked out to go to drink fancy cocktails and nibble on small plates next to models and the who’s who of the NYC nightlife scene. You shouldn’t be surprised if you find yourself seated near to a celebrity or two — if you can get in. If you’re coming just for evening drinks, there’s likely to be a line wrapped around the block. Amy knew this was where she wanted to go, so she booked a reservation well in advance, so we had no problem getting seated for dinner though getting inside the restaurant was a bit of an adventure in its own right.

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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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Fútbol & Foreign Food Truck Frenzy at SoMa StrEat Food

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If you’re looking to watch the World Cup in San Francisco you’ve certainly got plenty of options. In my mind, the most obvious two would be at home if you want to watch alone or at a sports bar if you want to watch in public. But if you’re looking for something a little different and also want a variety of unique food options and even more importantly want to be outdoors, read on!

In the shadow of both a highway and a gigantic Costco, in a remote corner of town that could barely still be called SoMa, there’s a really incredible place worth trekking to called SoMa StrEat Food. It’s a large, triangular outdoor lot that draws plenty of young, hip yuppies for food, drink, and various forms of entertainment.

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Epic Organic Hot Dogs & Sausages Reign Supreme at Underdog in the Inner Sunset

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What would the Fourth of July be without hot dogs? I’d say NOTHING. Yeah sure, you could eat a hamburger or a steak or something, but for me there’s nothing more essential than a grilled hot dog or sausage on a bun to celebrate America. If you live in San Francisco and you want the very best, you better take a trek out to the remote Inner Sunset neighborhood to get your fill at Underdog.

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Pig Out with NYC’s Best Texas Style BBQ at Fette Sau in Williamsburg

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With my Texan girlfriend leading the way and teaching me everything there is to know about true Texas ‘cue, I’ve become a bit of a barbecue aficionado, as regrettably also a bit of a snob. I’ve had enough experience consuming the real stuff to know what makes good and bad BBQ and NYC has plenty of each. I’ve travelled around NYC, throughout the boroughs, to Cochon 555, and The Big Apple Barbecue Festival a number of times. Hell, I’ve even been to a barbecue head-to-head event where many of NYC’s top BBQ producers go to show off their chops. I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on what’s what in the New York BBQ world.

There’s been much written lately about the booming NYC barbecue scene, but I’ve often found myself disappointed with many of the most highly-regarded, hyped, big-name places. But there also really is some incredible barbecue to be had around NYC. I’ve written previously about my love for Mighty Quinn’s and I think that Danny Meyer’s Blue Smoke is pretty phenomenal, but I think the best of the best might be at the old Brooklyn mainstay Fette Sau in South Williamsburg. Fette Sau’s name means “Fat Pig” in German and that’s exactly how you’ll feel after indulging in a meat-tastic gorge-fest there.

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An Amazingly Warped Sense of “Lite” at the Old Traditional Polish Cuisine Truck in West SoHo

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Working in West SoHo has its perks. With so many digital agencies planting roots out on Hudson and Varick, a lot of New York City food trucks have taken notice. Pretty much any day of the week, there will be four or five gourmet trucks serving lunch to the masses, each amazing in their own right. But there’s one I usually don’t see people waiting in long lines for or raving about online that I think deserves some attention, the Old Traditional Polish Cuisine truck.

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Awesome, My Mouth Went Numb at Lers Ros Thai in SF

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I might be a little sadistic when it comes to spicy foods. I love consuming them, but I also love watching my friends squirm eating them. Among the many spicy cuisines out there, I’m particularly fond of authentically hot Thai food, although my body usually disagrees with that decision within a few hours of the meal.

In NYC, I’ve often found it hard to find Thai restaurants outside of Queens that will take a white guy seriously with regards to flavors and spice levels. I often find myself let down by the mild and watered down dishes served to me and if I really want it made right, I have to be very insistent that I know what I’m getting myself into. This is definitely not the case at the San Francisco mini-chain Lers Ros Thai. Everything on their menu is very authentically prepared, spice level included.

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Real Roberta’s Brooklyn-Style Pizza, Cocktails, and More at Oak & Rye in Los Gatos
Real Roberta’s Brooklyn-Style Pizza & Cocktails at Oak & Rye in Los Gatos

Real Roberta’s Brooklyn-Style Pizza, Cocktails, and More at Oak & Rye in Los Gatos

Who’d a thought? A slice of Brooklyn right in the heart of Los Gatos, California. I’m not sure how it happened, but an alumni chef from the famed Roberta’s in Brooklyn relocated out to Silicon Valley and is making pizzas and pastas that live up to the Roberta’s name.

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