Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Most Rockin Restaurants in my Travels (thus far)...

Gino's East in Chicago, Illinois

This restaurant was featured on the US-famous TV show "Man Versus Food" (a show that essentially glorifies binge eating.  But the one positive about this show...the showcasing of excellent restaurants) for the sole reason that they serve BOMB authentic Chicago-style deep dish pizza here at Gino's East. While on a business trip once during 2011 to Chicago, I made a point to venture out to this eatery for dinner during one of my free evenings.
I got my pizza with spinach, broccoli and tomato on top.  The crust was thick, buttery and flaky.  The tomato sauce was slightly sweet with small chunks of tomato.  The cheese was stringy and melted.  It was WELL WORTH the trek.  So much so that I even briefly contemplated if it might be possible to smuggle some leftover pizza onto the plane in my carry-on bag ;-)

(But truly.  Attempting this actually did cross my mind).

The View in NYC (Times Square)

This was, hands down (at least to my knowledge), the most expensive dinner tab I have ever ran up in my life thus far.  Granted, there was a group of six of us dining together, but still, a sharp intake of breath, along with my heart short-circuiting, occurred when the check was set down on our table.

However, jokes aside, this was absolutely worth it.  

As a Christmas gift from my Ex, he surprised me with the ultimate.  A weekend trip to NYC!  What I further didn't know...four of our close friends were joining us on this trip, which I discovered while he and I were eating breakfast in the train station together just before our train departed, and our four friends walked up to our table, huge grins on their faces, pulling rolling suitcases, as my mouth dropped open.  So cool.

We had a BLAST on this trip together.  We walked all over the city (Central Park, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, etc).  We got drinks in a lively, cozy little bar one evening.  We climbed the Empire State Building.  We dined at a make-your-own macaroni and cheese place.  

And we had dinner here, at The View one evening.  We got super swanky and dressed up for this.  The meal was a gourmet all-you-can-eat buffet.  And what is special about this restaurant?  It rotates.  A full 360-degrees every hour.  So your view of the city is ever changing, as you leisurely dine with your friends.  Once, after heading up to the buffet for more food, upon coming back to our table, I momentarily couldn't find our spot!!  It had moved ;-)  

This trip was great fun.  I absolutely LOVED all of it :-D

Dali, Somerville, Massachusetts

This unique, romantic, slightly eccentric little eatery is situated just outside of Boston.  The food they serve is tapas!  I dined here once on Valentines Day, and the food was surprisingly quite good.  The atmosphere is a tad quirky, shabby chic, and as I mentioned, eccentric.  The mysterious looking door out front is fun to enter through ;-) as one cannot easily see inside from the windows.  The restaurant is fairly hidden, making it feel special, romantic and secret.

Top of the Hub, Boston, Massachusetts

One does not go here for the food, as its forgettable.  There is one reason to go here, and that is for the stellar view.  This is a top notch place to go for a drink in Boston.  Especially if you want to impress someone.  Yes, its a bit of a go-to in terms of a romantic place in the city.  But if you can score a spot by the windows as the sun is setting, this is a stellar spot to have drinks on a Friday or Saturday night.

Sci-Fi Dine In Theater, Hollywood Studios (within the Disney Parks), California

This restaurant is such fun!!!  I dined here once with my family during one of our vacations down in Florida.  And yes, this place is definitely as totally cool and atmospheric as it looks.  It really does appear as though you are in the parking lot of a drive-in movie theater.  The food is typical American fast food style (possible one step up from that) but the reason to go here isn't the food.  Its the way cool theme, decor and setup.  In fact, I have never seen another place even close to like it.

S Mac in NYC

For a person whose favorite food of all time is Macaroni and Cheese (this gal) (and that's homemade, NOT boxed ;-)), one can imagine my delight and heart-racing excitement when my friends told me during our weekend in NYC that they knew of a hole-in-the-wall restaurant where one can assemble their very own customized macaroni and cheese.  I think my response was something between a spasm and a heart-stopping gasp.

We made the trek to this restaurant, which was a sizable trek, though who is complaining?  Its NYC ;-)

And the macaroni and cheese here was in fact EXCELLENT.  Cheesy, melt-in-your-mouth, zesty, so freakin delicious. 

50s Prime Time Cafe, Hollywood Studios, California

Another way cool themed restaurant within the Disney Parks.  The theme at this restaurant is as though one has been teleported back to the 1950s.  Think, the movie "Pleasantville."  

Your waiter or waitress becomes the character of either "Mom" or "Dad," making sure that all the "kids" at the table (yes, you all become one of the kids while dining here.  Regardless of your actual age) eat everything on their plates.

The food here is typical diner style as well as traditional American dinners (think meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and vegetables).  While the food here is unremarkable, the theme is memorable and lots of fun!

Mandy's Railway Diner, Heidelberg, Germany

Mmmmmm, yummy.  Nothing I love more then a great breakfast diner.  This is one of the better diners I have dined at (though not  the best, but its up there).  What I really love about this place is where the restaurant is housed.  Inside an old train car!!!  How cool is that!?

The chocolate chip pancakes are great, and HUGE.  The burgers are decent, though not excellent.  The breakfast food is also pretty good.  I would definitely recommend coming by here if you find yourself in Heidelberg.

Mr. Bartleys Burger Cottage, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Not only is this burger joint nationally famous within the US (a number of celebrities have apparently made the trek here to dine while in Boston) but the burgers are REALLY tasty!!!!  The onion rings are also excellent.

They offer an array of burgers here (around 30 different varieties), all dubbed with creative, silly names and even funnier taglines for each name.  This in itself is great fun to read through while trying to select your burger.  Milkshakes are also super good here.

The seating is cafeteria style, so you may find yourself sitting alongside some other people.  But I find when comparing that small thing with the quality of the food, it doesn't matter in the least.

Come here next time you are in Boston!!!

My personal favorite burger here, called The Jersey Shore. Topped with onions, mushroms, bacon and cheddar cheese.  Mmmmmm.

The Barking Crab, Boston, Massachusetts

This restaurant has one of the best crab cake sandwiches I have tried in New England, oh my gosh, delectable.  But that aside, the location is lots of fun.  This is an outdoor summer restaurant, located right on the water.  The decor and atmosphere is reminiscent of magical, music-filled, starry summer nights.  And the seafood here is bomb.

Tapeo, Boston, Massachusetts

Another top notch tapas restaurant.  Located right on the famed Newbury street.  They have delicious sangria here, and while the tapas are pricey, they are excellent.  The ambiance is dim, romantic, inviting and cozy.

Foodies Pizza, Concord, New Hampshire

This was my second job in high school!  Working at Foodies Pizza, at the location pictured to be exact (in Concord, New Hampshire).
The pizza here was SO good, and I am not just saying that because I was biased.  During the weekdays, they offered an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for just $6 or so.  The varieties of pizza were awesome.  They offered: garlic pizza, Mediterranean pizza, vegetarian pizza, meat lovers pizza, taco pizza, pesto pizza, Mexican pizza (this was my favorite, topped with ground beef, Mexican cheese and onions.  Though I got mine sans ground beef).  The crust was not thick or doughy, it was medium thickness with just enough crunch before giving way to a soft middle.  Delicious.

When they closed down a few years after I had left this job, I was heartbroken.  Not more fantastic pizza buffets!!!

Hungry Mother, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Hungry Mother actually ranks among the top 5 best restaurant meals I have ever eaten in my life.  I did not expect this at all, but, it happened.

What I ate specifically:

The biscuit and jam appetizer you see pictured below.  
A delicious gnocchi with vegetables dish, cooked to perfection, lightly seasoned, just incredible, melt-in-your-mouth tasty.
And finally for dessert, a brown sugar pound cake, which nearly knocked my socks off.  This was lightly sweet, totally cakey and moist, just AMAZING.

Sadly, I didn't come back to dine here once more before leaving Boston.  But I would love to go there again, whenever I am able to next.  Phenomenal food.

Cheesecake Factory

I am sure some of you are snickering at me upon seeing this on my list.  Yes, I know, the Cheesecake Factory is a chain restaurant in the US, and nothing super special.  That is absolutely true.  But I will tell you what is special about this place.

The sheer variety of cheesecakes they offer here.  Man.  I cannot imagine another place rivaling this.  They offer every kind of cheesecake here that one could possibly imagine, from chocolate cheesecake, to red velvet, to key lime, to Oreo cookie, to white chocolate raspberry, to lemon, to vanilla, to strawberry, to peanut butter, the list just goes on and on.

The cheesecake is impossibly rich and just insanely good.  Some of the best I have ever eaten in my life, in terms of cheesecake.

The food here is typical decently tasty but incredibly fatty chain restaurant food.

But the reason to come here:  the Cheesecake <3  ;-p

Apparently, they are famous for their burger too.


  1. Hey, I remember eating at Foodies!! Great pizza!

  2. Hey, I remember eating at Foodies!! Great pizza!