Food: Restaurants

Restaurants: Valsabbion, Pula, Croatia: Interesting introduction to Croatian cuisine

Before our trip to Croatia, Jay and I had read in several places that Valsabbion was one of the best restaurants in the country. So of course we called for a reservation. Unlike some other European restaurants where you need to make reservations a month or two in advance, we were able to get in for lunch with less than a week's notice, no problem.
Jay and I weren't sure what to expect from Amsterdam food. Some people had told us that it was yummy; many others told us it was tough to find a good meal, especially for New York City foodies. We did figure out that you could get a solid meal by focusing on some of the city's strengths: Indonesian food, pancakes, and fish from one of the fish stands...
Prior to our quick trip to Amsterdam, online restaurant research pointed us to De Witte Uyl (“The White Owl”) as one of the best restaurants in the city – neighborhoody, but focusing on high-quality, organic ingredients in a creative (as we would learn, for Amsterdam) menu.
If you haven't heard of Txakoli (sometimes, confusingly, known as Txakolina or Chacoli), or the grape hondarrabi zuri, you're not alone. But this tangy, low-alcohol wine that's popular in Spain's Basque regions (especially in and around San Sebastian) is gaining popularity in the U.S.
All the hype about Cyrus had prepared me to expect great things. It has two Michelin stars, the San Francisco Chronicle awarded it four stars, and it has been talked about as one of the best restaurants in the country, upping the bar on fine dining to Healdsburg.
We had high hopes for Vancouver's Tojo's restaurant. It's gotten a ton of press over the years as one of the best Japanese restaurants in the city – though also one of the priciest.
After a rough morning wine tasting around the Boucherie Mountain Bench area of the Okanagan Valley, west of the city of Kelowna, we had to stop for a bite to eat to rejuvenate – and preferably somewhere with a view. The restaurant at scenic Quails' Gate Winery fit the bill perfectly.
The Okanagan, a scenic five-hour drive east of Vancouver, boasts some of the loveliest vineyards anywhere in the world. Many of them are on the banks of the Okanagan River and offer sweeping views of the water and the vines, many of which slope down to the river's edge.
To celebrate Jay's birthday in Vancouver, on what was apparently one of the rainiest days on record, we decided to drown our sorrows with some seafood at the Blue Water Café, widely acknowledged as the best seafood restaurant in the city.
We decided to try the Richmond branch of the Vancouver mini-chain Kirin, a large restaurant filled with Chinese families on the second floor of a nondescript mall (as most good Chinese restaurants seem to be!). Though Kirin didn't offer the dim sum wheeled around on carts that we love, we were impressed with the huge menu featuring some unusual choices. (And we ended up totally over-ordering.)
After hitting several North Fork wineries on a rainy Sunday morning, Jay and I needed some fortification before hitting several more. Being by the ocean, we knew we wanted to eat seafood, so we decided to try out a newish small plates seafood-oriented restaurant called Noah's in Greenport.
On our 11th anniversary weekend in Long Island’s North Fork, Jay and I wanted to try somewhere new for dinner. Luce & Hawkins, at the historic Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport, seemed like a promising choice. This new restaurant focuses on seasonal, local cuisine, with many herbs and some veggies coming straight from the gardens outside the inn.
In preparation for the Winederlust trip to Victoria/Vancouver/the Okanagan Valley in a few weeks, I’m doing an anniversary blog post on our trip last September to Sooke Harbour House on Vancouver Island, widely regarded as one of Canada’s best restaurants.
For our last day in China, Jay and I wanted to try something different. We’d sampled a lot of pretty standard “Chinese food” – a few too many greasy, fried meats and vegetables passed around a Lazy Susan – but we hadn’t tried cuisine from the Yunnan province in the far southeast of China, which shares a border with Vietnam, Laos, and Burma.



“I just don’t see Big Wine allowing labels on wine reading something like this: This wine was dealcoholized by reverse osmosis and smoothed out with micro-oxygenation. Ingredients: Water, alcohol, grapes, chestnut tannin, oak extract, oak dust, genetically modified yeast, urea, enzymes, grape juice, tartaric acid, bentonite, and Velcorin.” – Alice Feiring, The Battle for Wine and Love or How I Saved the World from Parkerization

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