Monday, July 25, 2016

Favorite Places in Flagstaff, Arizona

Yes, I know, I live here and I have yet to post my favorite places in Flagstaff. But since I'm on the road about 200 days a year, I guess that's to be expected! Lately, I've crossed paths with a few people from other communities asking for my recommendations in Flagstaff, so here they are!

34 S. San Francisco
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
My favorite restaurant(s) and my home away from home in Flagstaff. My (out of date) review is here. They have three properties--Tinderbox Kitchen is a small, higher end dining room, The Annex is a creative cocktail bar with great food, and the Tourist Home Urban Market is a breakfast/lunch place with a small deli. Fantastic food and impeccable service all around. General Manager Kevin Heinonen and his team are practically my extended family in Flagstaff!

6 E Route 66
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
This is a higher end sushi place, kind of Scottsdale meets Flagstaff. In addition to sushi, I go for the tonkotsu ramen.

1312 S Plaza Way
Flagstaff AZ 86001
This is more functional sushi--not much atmosphere, but solid food and service, easier parking and a bit cheaper. This is our family night sushi.

2308 E Route 66
Flagstaff AZ 86004
Neopolitan style pizza from a wood burning oven and good pastas. John Conley, the chef-owner, is also an all around great guy!

2320 N 4th St
Flagstaff AZ 86004
Great brisket and pulled pork, but in reality, I go for the tater tots. No, that's an exaggeration, but the tots are incredibly good.

112 E Route 66
Flagstaff AZ 86001
Go for the chilaquiles. Be prepared to wait in line.

And because I have the space...
1400 W Mars Hill Rd
Flagstaff AZ 86001
Where Pluto was discovered! Check out the newly restored Clark Telescope. Open both day and night--I suggest doing both if you have time. I adore this place, and it's not just because I used to work there. It speaks to my nerdiness.

Lots of activities here in the summer, and a great educational place to learn about native plants.

Good way to get a sense for the indigenous cultures of the region.

Out of town attractions
We have four national parks within easy driving distance: Walnut Canyon, Sunset Crater, Wupatki and the Grand Canyon, of course. Get an Interagency Annual Pass and you'll get your money's worth right away.

Scenic railroad to the Canyon--worth doing at least once.

Sedona is also about 45 minutes away.

Great location, and usual Embassy Suites perks.

Official "on campus" hotel attached to the High Country Convention Center.  A bit pricey, but good for those visiting campus.>

If you want the "extended GoalBusters Northern Arizona tour" itinerary, that will be in a future post!

This post first appeared on the Alice's Restaurants blog.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Favorite Places in New Orleans

Fried Chicken Platter at Emeril's
This blog is my friend Jaye's suggestion, although my colleague, Steve, is headed to NOLA later this month. New Orleans is one of those places that you must visit at least once. Here are my faves from many trips over the years!

800 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130
Truth be told, I was terrified that I would be disappointed with this place. So many times, you go to the celebrity chef places and the hype does not match the experience. With Emeril's, I was not disappointed. The location is beautiful, service stellar, and food fantastic.
Bone Marrow at R'evolution
August, 301 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Lunch buffet at Dooky Chase

Lüke, 333 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130
Part of Chef John Besh's restaurant group, August is the more formal older sibling of Lüke, the louder, brighter bistro. Both provided excellent service and well executed dishes. At August, the foie gras three ways was delicious, and at Lüke, incredibly good fried oysters and raw bar.

930 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Great place to get small dishes to share, like cured meats, rabbit, crawfish pie, okra, and other down home Cajun cuisine in a modern, relaxed environment. They have a lot of local brews and truly strange cocktails. Do not try the beet juice cocktail. I don't know what I was thinking.

Restaurant R'evolution
777 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Beautifully presented food, hip atmosphere and a more adventurous menu than most places in the French Quarter.

Dooky Chase
2301 Orleans Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119
Traditional soul food from the original celebrity chef of soul food. Mrs. Leah Chase visits the dining room regularly, and while we didn't get to talk with her, we did see her hovering during the lunch buffet. Darn good fried chicken.
209 Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Shrimp Gumbo at Lil Dizzy's, photo by Jim Anderson
I love this place and try to visit every time. It is classic, old school N'awlins fine dining. I love the souffled potatoes, turtle soup, and any of their fish or shrimp preparations. Guys must wear a jacket. Ask for the cafe brulot at the end of the meal.
1403 Washington Avenue New Orleans LA 70130
THE place for Sunday Jazz Brunch. It's an elegant, classic, well-deserved destination restaurant. Save room for the bread pudding.

Lil Dizzy's Cafe
1500 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116
Thrilled to find this locals' place: Sunday brunch here is delicious, inexpensive, and you really get a peek into local life.

Erin Rose, photo by Jim Anderson
811 Conti St, New Orleans, LA 70112
A great local bar where you meet REAL LOCALS! Incredibly good value on drinks, especially since you're only one block off of Bourbon Street, and not a single neon blended drink to be found. Once when we visited, we met retired twins from Tennessee heading to Texas for NASCAR and a local parish Justice of the Peace who sang Irish songs. So cool.

Cafe du Monde 
800 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116
This is the place where EVERYONE goes to get beignets and chicory coffee. It is a bit of a tourist trap, but that doesn't make the beignets any less tasty. Word of warning, do NOT wear black to this place. You will be dusted with powdered sugar, no matter how careful you are. Also, coffee refills are NOT FREE so be careful when the server asks you if you want a refill. And bring cash.
401 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Classic New Orleans for jambalaya, etouffee, red beans and po'boys. Expect a line at lunch time--just get in line, belly up to the counter and order some down home comfort food. My first time, I got the oyster po'boy but really wanted the combo platter, which is what Jim had. Since then, I seem to repeat the po'boy, but Jim usually repeats the combo, so it's all good. Sharing is caring.

Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone
214 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Yes, it's been on a bazillion travel shows, but it's still pretty cool. Hard to get a seat at the actual bar, though, so be patient.

923 Decatur St., New Orleans, LA 70116
Stop here to get a muffuletta to take on the plane. (PS: Steve, the hot sauce shop is next to Central Grocery.)

This post first appeared on the Alice's Restaurants blog. All photos by me unless otherwise credited, usually to Jim Anderson because he's there eating with me.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Favorite places in the Washington DC area

My friend, Laura, and earlier, my friend, Josh, both asked for recommendations for the DC area. I gave each of them a far too long list of suggestions for far too few meals!

In no particular order, my favorite places to eat and drink in the DC area:

Off the Record at the Hay-Adams Hotel
800 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20006
What happens at the Hay-Adams is Off the Record. Go for large classic cocktails and clubby atmosphere.

selection of courses from minibar by José Andrés
minibar and barmini by José Andrés
855 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20004
minibar is a bucket list restaurant. barmini is far more affordable to get a glimpse of what's going on at minibar. Go to barmini for a creative cocktail and some noshes; go to minibar for a once in a lifetime meal.

Jaleo Crystal City
Various tapas from Jaleo
2250-A Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202
Another José Andrés concept, I prefer this location (and the Las Vegas Jaleo) to the other locations. I always order a jamon, the pan con tomate, and patatas bravas. Often I'll add in the pulpo, and maybe some liquid olives.

Hot n' Juicy Crawfish
2651 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008
Yes, it's a chain, but I like it. You have to be family or practically family to eat with me here, though. It's not pretty, but it is delicious.
1309 5th St NE, Washington, DC 20002
Great collection of local food and product vendors, and fun to graze for a leisurely lunch.

Mitsitam Cafe at the National Museum of the American Indian
4th St & Independence Ave SW
Skip right on past the "American" food station of chicken strips and burgers and browse the several different food stations representing various regions of indigenous cultures. I usually get the sampler plate, which includes your choice of four different side dishes from any region you like.

Old Ebbitt Grill
675 15th St NW, Washington DC 20005
Near the White House, this classic restaurant was long the hang out of politicos for long lunches. I think almost everyone here is a tourist now, but it still has a good classic vibe. They are famous for the Oyster Riot in November, and their oyster happy hour from 3-6 pm.

NoPa Kitchen + Bar
Lobster Cake Soup at Sushi Taro
800 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20004
Hip place at the International Spy Museum, this is a good place for cocktails and appetizers after a day of exploring the Penn Quarter area.

Sushi Taro
1503 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036
A healthy, but not long walk from DuPont Circle, this restaurant serves a beautiful omakase dinner, a Japanese prix fixe option.

Russia House
1800 Connecticut Ave NW DC 20009
Great for happy hour and a overabundance of vodka choices. Caviar Mondays!

Hank's Oyster Bar
1026 King Street, Alexandria VA 22314
I'm usually at the Old Town Alexandria location, where the bartenders are skilled and the oyster selection is great.

Bistrot Royal
1201 N. Royal St., Alexandria, VA 22314
Charming little French restaurant near Old Town Alexandria with an affordable three course prix fixe menu every day.

La Fromagerie
Cheese and charcuterie with wine flight at La Fromagerie
1222 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Was not disappointed when I asked the staff to select cheese, meat and a wine flight for me.

Haute Dog and Fries
610 Montgomery Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Any of their creative signature dogs are great, and they make an amazing lobster roll. There's also craft beer and milkshakes. What's not to love?

Food Trucks near L'Enfant Plaza Metro on Maryland Avenue SW
There are always a bunch of food trucks along this stretch on weekdays, and often on weekends too. Great for when you're hungry after exploring the nearby Smithsonian museums.

701 9th Street NW, Washington DC 20001
Yeah, another José Andrés restaurant. I have a foodie crush on José. It doesn't help that I once hosted the national pledge event for his now ended PBS series, Made in Spain. He was a charming in real life as he is on television. Jim Anderson and I had a great meal of Mediterranean mezze (small plates) here that is documented here. We've since been back several times and it's always lively and great.


This post first appeared on Alice's Restaurants blog. All photos by me.