Endless road trips mean finding great food in unexpected places along the way. It’s been a very fun and fulfilling year, and I’d like to share with you some of my favorites.
The year begins and ends in Palm Springs.
As a seasoned snowbird, I gravitate to this sunny spot in the Coachella Valley every winter. During the darkest days of last winter, a friend introduced me to his amazing pop-up called Hoja Blanca. It was amazing. The husband-and-wife team works tirelessly to take classic South of the Border cuisine to the next level. Bravo. Now that I’m “home” I can’t wait to try the birria ramen.
Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?
This year I went to my first jazz festival and it exceeded my very high expectations. In between several days of exceptional music and people watching and eating soft shell crab po’ boys, there were plenty of delicious eats around town. The jazz brunch at Miss River was exceptional, and after a corny but cool wetland tour, lunch at Pesch reminded me why I love this city so much. It’s not just the perfectly cooked fish, but the packed dining room that fills the space with good conversation. My absolute best meal on this May visit was Gabriel. Chef Greg Sonnier is truly a sauce wizard. I still have sweet dreams about that wonderful duck confit cassoulet with fried oysters! Everyone, I’ll be back soon.
While we are in the NOLA state of mind…
I finally went to Willie May’s in the Venice area of Los Angeles this month and it was nothing short of jaw-dropping. This outpost of the legendary New Orleans restaurant has been open for just over a year, and its accomplishment deserves to be celebrated with a golden crispy drumstick. We raise that fried chicken in honor of the founders of our original New Orleans location, the late Willie Mae Seton and his great-granddaughter, Kelly Seton Stewart. Sure, there are a million places these days that serve fried chicken, but nothing beats this one. I loved all the sides too, especially the slow cooked vegetables.
Located on Colorado’s Western Slope
When we found ourselves in our old base in Grand Junction trying to fix up the Tall Gemini we call home, my sweetheart and I decided to check into the lovely Hotel Maverick and dine on the rooftop. , made the most of that detour. restaurant. We really appreciated the attentive service and the imaginative menu, including bison tamales that looked and tasted like fine French cuisine. We then went to Aspen to eat at the lovely Mawa’s Kitchen, then to Telluride for some beautiful ramen at the historic Floradora Saloon, a local favorite best known for its satisfying bar fare . Fall swing in colorful Colorado was a huge success. (Even though the rig could not be repaired until it arrived in New Mexico.)
memphis magic meatballs
One of the highlights of our quick detour to the 901 was a fantastic feast at Cocozza, located in the city’s charming Harbor Town district. This cozy dining room pays homage to owner Deniker’s Riley’s New Jersey roots.
The vodka and tomato cream rigatoni was perfect, but it was the super juicy pork meatballs that made their way squarely to the must-try list. Her chef/owner and Deni’s husband, Patrick Riley, gives due credit to her longtime collaborator, Newman Farms, a Berkshire pork producer in Myrtle, Missouri.
Best meatballs on the planet? Obviously, we need to try many more meatballs before making such a declaration, but the bar is set very high.
Achieved excellent results in the field on Lopez Island
A gorgeous summer evening on a stunning coast was the perfect setting for our world-famous dinner series. The featured chef was Josh Ratza of Setsunai Noodle Bar, and his multi-course menu, served family style, was perfect for an evening that was an amazing experience, along with expertly selected wine pairings from The Orcas Project . Tickets for these dinners sell out quickly, so get ready early to attend this bucket-list event.
Island hopping to Orcas
We spent two months volunteering as camp hosts at Spencer Spit State Park, with plenty of time to catch ferries to the neighboring San Juan Islands. Our night at the historic Outlook Inn in Orcas was a great flashback. Dinner at New Leaf Cafe reminded me of the charm of good old-fashioned meat and potatoes. (Not that it’s done well, of course; medium-rare is best.) The perfectly grilled New York was served with a Worcestshire sauce made by chef Andrew Martin. So. group. good.
Something sweet at the end
I don’t eat much of the last course and end up feeling full by the time dessert is served. But the staff at Sedona’s Mole Comida says you shouldn’t walk out with prickly pear flan and churros with dulce de leche, even after trying Chef Roberto Madrid’s amazing tasting menu. I insisted quite strongly. . Pure bliss and so grateful to have taken that wise server’s advice.
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