Osteria Francescana – Modena, Italy

IMG_0483

TheBetterHalf, Chef Massimo Bottura, CateyLou

CateyLou and I like to go out to eat.  A lot.  This may come as no surprise to loyal readers of the blog but our recent trip to Modena was the first time we actually picked a travel destination based on a restaurant.   In our defense, we’re not just talking about any restaurant.  Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy is by all accounts one of the best restaurants in the world.  It has three Michelin Stars and in 2013 was ranked as the #3 restaurant in the world by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.  Its chef and proprietor, Massimo Bottura, has won various domestic and international chef of the year awards.  Our experience at Osteria Francescana was truly memorable and definitely worth a special trip to Modena.   Continue reading

St. Anselm – Williamsburg, Brooklyn

PicMonkey Collage

One of my favorite parts of Danny Meyer’s Setting the Table was when Meyer said that he felt an entrepreneurial spark whenever he discovered dining concepts that don’t exist that should exist.  And though I’m far from the first person to discover it, St. Anselm is an exciting twist on the traditional steakhouse experience.  It’s the answer to anyone who has ever wondered who wrote the rule that upscale steakhouses had to have a stuffy atmosphere, gigantic portions, and high prices?   Continue reading

Momofuku Ssäm Bar

PicMonkey Collage1

Somehow CateyLou and I have managed to live in New York for several years without eating at a David Chang restaurant. Sure we’ve been to Milkbar on numerous occasions to try their exotic soft-serve flavors (I applaud the ingenuity but does anyone really want celery flavored ice cream?) but our recent trip to Momofuku Ssäm Bar was our first legitimate David Chang experience.  And it did not disappoint.   Continue reading

Avec (Chicago)

avec

I have been dying to eat at Avec ever since I saw it on Food Network’s show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”.  (I love that show, I wish they would come out with a new season!  Anytime we go to a new city, I scour the list for recommendations.  We have tried some great spots thanks to it. But I digress.)  Then when I saw that it is one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorites, I knew that I HAD to try it.  The other weekend while visiting some girlfriends in Chicago I finally had the opportunity to dine at Avec, and it did not disappoint! Continue reading

La Vinya del Senyor – Barcelona

Vinya

One of the best parts about our nights in Barcelona was wandering around and finding cute little wine bars.  The different neighborhoods are full of great spots to grab a glass of wine and a small plate of food.  One of our favorites was La Vinya del Senyor.  I would like to say that I just stumbled upon it (and we did stumble upon some great bars) but this one came recommended by an amazing travel website, Indagare.   This site is full of useful tips for traveling and has great city-specific recommendations.  I have tried many wonderful spots thanks to their “travel wisdom”!  La Vinya del Senyor is in the Gothic Quarter – close to Cal Pep – so we decided to stop in for a glass of wine after dinner.  We ended up staying the rest of the night.   Continue reading

Tickets – Barcelona

Tickets Cover

On the second night of our eating tour of Barcelona, CateyLou, my sister, and I went to Tickets.  Tickets is an upscale tapas restaurant started by famed El Bulli founder Ferran Adria.  It was probably our best meal in Barcelona and even though not every course was a home run it was a fun and memorable meal.  Continue reading

Cal Pep – Barcelona

calpep

CateyLou and I, along with my sister, went to Cal Pep for dinner during our trip to Barcelona in February of 2013.  Although the restaurant is unassuming from the exterior, it came highly recommended from several trusted sources who raved about their simple but expertly prepared tapas.  We were not disappointed and would definitely recommend Cal Pep to eaters looking for authentic tapas in a no-frills atmosphere.   Continue reading

Squash Toast Girl

Toast1

One of my top 5 favorite dishes in NYC is the roasted kabocha squash toast at ABC Kitchen.  It might even be number 1 – it’s that good.  I have been known to go sit at the bar alone and order squash toast.  The flavor is just unbelievable – the toasty olive oil soaked bread is spread with creamy ricotta, and then topped with the magical squash mixture.  It is sweet, salty, and spicy all at the same time.  The fresh mint on top adds a beautiful pop of green and a fresh finish.  The first time I introduced the dish to my husband, he insisted that we only needed one order.  He was obviously wrong, and we had to order a second one to come out with dinner.  It is seriously that good!  On a recent visit, I was lamenting the fact that this restaurant is not in our neighborhood.  If it was, I would go all the time just to sit at the bar and get the squash toast.  I would become a regular, and they would call me squash toast girl.  Strange goal, I know, but I think it would be awesome to be known as squash toast girl.  This dish is seasonal, so go try it soon to avoid disappointment.  Continue reading