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State-by-State Guide to Good Food

3 Jan

The media seems to have an obsession with lists – top 10 ways to get flatter abs, 15 things you didn’t know you had to fix, and 20 ways to make better lists…. the list goes on (ha ha). So what better way to kick off the new year than with a list of yummy restaurants, state by state? Ok, I haven’t yet dined in all 50 states (even if you count forgettable roadside stops), so this list is incomplete. But I did want to share some list-worthy establishments I think you should try, and I’ve included dishes I’ve enjoyed at each place. I’ve included links to my reviews of some restaurants, and I’ll update this page for reviews I’ll add in the near future. Bon appetit, and happy travels!

State, Restaurant, City Cuisine What to Order
California Brenda’s French Soul Food, San Francisco French Soul Food, obviously Eggs Benedict, crawfish beignets
Connecticut Rein’s Deli, Vernon New York style Jewish deli Turkey, roast beef, mac ‘n cheese. Order a half pound of meat to take home with you!
Florida Bern’s Steakhouse, Tampa Steak, desserts, and the largest private wine collection Steak, obviously! (Exquisitely cooked to perfection every time) Grilled shrimp appetizer. Upstairs in the Dessert Room, Bern’s signature cappuccino, macadamia nut ice cream. Full review to come.
Iowa Iowa Machine Shed Restaurant, several locations Midwestern comfort food Huge cinnamon rolls (featured on the Food Network), the Cattleman’s Choice, baked sweet potato. Hearty food if you’re road-tripping through the MidWest! There’s a cute country store, and you can take photos next to farm vehicles outside.
Illinois Mercadito, Chicago Mexican Amazing margaritas, shrimp tacos
Massachusetts Atlantic Fish, Boston Seafood Calamari (ask for half-and-half grilled and fried), crab-crusted haddock, pan-seared sea bass
Maine Fore Street, Portland American, local foods Menu changes often. Order the tomato tart if it’s available!
Nevada Wicked Spoon, Las Vegas Buffet Kale and watermelon salads, poached pear…like any buffet, things can be hit and miss, but Wicked Spoon offers an awesome selection, beautifully presented. If you want to experience Vegas’ over-the-top buffets, this is the place to go.
New Hampshire Gypsy Cafe, Lincoln International Niçoise salad, enchiladas, sangria.
New York Porteño, New York City Argentinian Grilled octopus, empanadas, quinoa salad
North Carolina Curate, Asheville Spanish Tapas Butternut squash soup, grilled octopus, canelones de carne. Sit at the bar for a great view of the open kitchen.
Ohio Skillet, Columbus Breakfast/Brunch Menu varies daily.
Oregon Mother’s, Portland Comfort food Breakfast and brunch, French press coffee
Pennsylvania Tommy DiNic’s, Philadelphia Sandwiches Brisket sandwich
Rhode Island Nick’s on Broadway, Providence American Everything! Expect to wait an hour for brunch.
Texas Rudy’s BBQ, several locations Barbecue Meat! Order it by the pound. You’ll be served a whole loaf of bread to accompany it.
Vermont Farmhouse Tap and Grill, Burlington Farm-to-table gastropub Local beers and cheeses, giant onion rings (enough to share), burgers
Wisconsin Safe House, Milwaukee Pub food I didn’t actually dine here, but the experience getting into the restaurant was fun! Think secret doors and passwords…

Fantastic French Food: Leunig’s Bistro

1 Nov

Leunig’s Bistro in Burlington, Vermont, definitely lives up to its tagline, “the Panache of Paris and the Value of Vermont”. Situated along Burlington’s pedestrian mall, the restaurant feels like a French brasserie, with large windows opening onto Church Street. Its menu lists French classics like French onion soup with the perfect ratio of cheese and bread ($8).

Leunig's Bistro - French Onion Soup

The poutine ($12) – crispy fries with melted cheese and delicious duck gravy – is a nod to Vermont’s northern neighbour.


At the same time, Leunig’s offers great value by serving up its great food in large portions. My husband ordered the blue corn crusted chicken roulade ($27) stuffed with Serrano ham and peaches and served with queso blanco sauce.  The chicken was very moist, flash fried so that it was crispy but not greasy. The sweet corn mashed potatoes were yummy and unique. DSC00995

I had the Captain Cod ($28) – a perfectly pan seared, delicate cod filet over lemon gnocchi, which I thought was a pretty creative way of incorporating lemon into a fish entree. The filet was topped with roasted tomatoes, and accompanied by mushrooms and broccolini in a honey broth.DSC00993

Everything that passed by our table looked absolutely delicious, including a thick steak served with frites and a giant lava cake topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

There were a few service gaffes during our meal – steak tartare was accidentally delivered to our table, for example. Interestingly, I didn’t find tartare on the dinner menu – I wonder if Leunig’s has a secret menu we weren’t told about?  Still, service was friendly and our dinner was fantastic. It’s no wonder that Leunig’s is busy morning, day and night! I can’t wait to come back.

Food: 5/5 | Atmosphere: 5/5 | Value: 5/5

Info: Leunig’s Bistro, 115 Church Street, Burlington, VT 05455, USA

Leunig's Bistro on Urbanspoon


Smile of the Day: Vermont spices

29 Sep



Smile of the Day: The Shelburne Country Store in Shelburne, Vermont sells some cheeky spices!

Comforting Burgers and Sandwiches: Prohibition Pig

26 Oct

Prohibition Pig, Waterbury, VT

Waterbury, Vermont might be on your way if you’re traveling between Montreal and Boston, or perhaps to the Stowe or Rutland areas for skiing or hiking. If you do find yourself in the area, stop by Prohibition Pig for beer and a bite to eat! The Prohibition Pig has a huge list of brews from Norway, Belgium, Canada and others, including some large 750 ml bottles that can run up to $40 each. On tap, you’ll find primarily US craft brews featured.

Prohibition PigThe restaurant is one long room divided lengthwise into two. One section housed the bar flanked by a few high tops on either end. The dining room formed the other half. The ambiance is laid back and comfortable, with a lot of dark wood, but the large windows at the front lets light reach the back of the dining room.

My boyfriend and I arrived at 4 pm on a holiday Monday. As it was early, we didn’t have to wait. By the time we left an hour later, every table was full. The table intended for four next to us was packed with five big guys. To my surprise, there were also many of families with kids at the restaurant.

I ordered the “Just a Burger” – but it was definitely not just a burger. With a quarter pound of Angus beef, layers of crunchy pickle slices, enough ketchup and mustard to ooze out of the burger as you bite into it, all between a soft house-made sweet potato bun, this burger was perfect! I highly recommend adding a fried egg. The Just a Burger is like the simple-burger-next-door you always enjoyed as a child, that is all grown up now and has become the prom queen.

"Just a Burger"

My boyfriend got the barbecue pork sandwich, also on same soft bun. It was also yummy, and easily complemented by any of the four sauces at our table, ranging from a tame bacon barbeque to a spicy pepper vinegar. We also got the duck fat fries to share – the duck fat makes them extra crispy. They were yummy, but I’m not sure it’s worth the extra bucks for the duck fat.

Pulled Pork sandwich

Overall, Prohibition Pig offers delicious, elevated version of comforting handhelds, a great beer selection, and a welcoming environment. The  downside is that there is only one washroom per gender – yes, lines can form where there is beer!


Info: Prohibition Pig, 23 South Main Street Waterbury, VT, 05676 USA

Prohibition Pig on Urbanspoon

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