Photo from a dinner of salads & sangria on Newbury Street in Boston.
Samplings from places, where I have lived, worked or traveled. I’d love to hear if you’ve been to these places and have others to add.
Hope you enjoy these ideas!
Fort Myers, FL
- First Watch: I had a fresh, made-to-order Friday breakfast with my parents; loved the Morning Meditation Tonic, a juice made from citrus, turmeric, ginger & beets
Sanibel Island, FL
- Pinocchio’s Original Italian Ice Cream: don’t let the line detour you; fresh, homemade ice cream always served with an animal cracker
- Sweet Melissa’s: small plates & just a taste; the citrus cured hamachi or redfish were delicious using local, coastal, & on-island ingredients
- Alley Cat: a basement bar serving unique, custom cocktails, but if that’s not enough, their newspaper-style menu boasts 150 drink options broken down by spirit, similar drinks, & flavor profiles
- Café M: a charming Parisian cafe with food, booze, tea & coffee specialties
- Instagram post here for tea lattes, croissants, & quiche
- Starland Cafe: hands down one of the best lunch spots; HIGHLY recommend their famous Thai Tomato Soup with a side of grilled ciabatta
- Instagram of this amazing soup here
- The Olde Pink House: Southern cuisine in an old colonial mansion; the downstairs tavern has a piano bar & is lit by candlelight
- Instagram for drinks by candlelight linked here
- The Whistler: I had the best Old Fashioned here — The Wildcat made with a chai-infused bourbon (see photo below)
- Disclaimer: my cousin is a founder and owner of this bar, but doesn’t mean I can’t shamelessly promote what drinks I loved (and maybe ordered another . . .)
- Wallingford’s Orchards: known for their apple orchards & apple cider donuts; have an abundance of squash & pumpkins; make their own cider & jams (see header photo)
- Marché: an extremely fresh way to have lunch; specialty salads, soups & sandwiches
- Miyake: sushi & Japanese cuisine; using ingredients from their own local farm; on the pricy side, but worth a try, especially the hamayaki — lobster, crab & scallops over sushi rice with truffle oil & spicy mayo
- Pai Men Miyake: focus on ramen bowls; the “little sister” restaurant to Miyake with a more casual, less expensive vibe; I copied their daikon & carrot salad here
- Portland Flatbread Company: organic, farm-to-table ingredients used creatively to make flatbread pizzas; views on the water
- Portland Lobster Company: directly on the wharf, they use a fresh lemon juice base instead of mayo for their overly stuffed lobster rolls (not complaining at all!)
- The Holy Donut: all potato based donuts; may sound strange, but trust me, they’re gooooood
- TIP: they make limited batches that sell out quick so head over early!
- Street & Co.: some of the best mussels I’ve ever had; located in the quintessential cobblestone alleys of the Old Port
- B&G Oysters: some of the best, freshest oysters I’ve ever had
- TIP: limited seating, so make a reservation
- Boston Public Market: forty farmers, vendors & pop-up shops with food, coffee, flowers, spirits & artisanal goods.
- Also offering evening cooking classes & select free nutrition classes!
- Clover: I had lunch here multiple times a week when working at Beth Israel one summer; vegetarian & vegan; fresh ingredients, innovative (cinnamon lemonade or chickpea fritter) & deliciously different food
- Citrus & Salt: I’ve been here twice now, & each time I want more. Coastal Mexican cuisine. Octopus is surprisingly juicy, tender & perfectly paired with charred sweet potatoes & citrus
- Figs: fantastic flatbreads & salads — need I say more?
- Flour: a bakery with new takes on classics like pop tarts & Oreos; also delicious soups, sandwiches & quiche in savory combos; check out Joanne Chang’s cookbooks to bake with less sugar
- Panza: hidden-gem of the North End with overflowing pasta, but without the fuss of lines & waits or breaking the bank
- TIP: because the North End is such a tourist destination, make reservations here and anywhere ahead of time when possible
- Stephanie’s: this is strictly a brunch recommendation because while I think the dinner menu is a wee bit overpriced, they hands down have the best build-your-own Bloody Mary in Boston
- Sweetgreen: if you’ve ever been to any other of their locations in big cities, it feels nothing like a “chain”; you literally can’t go wrong with any salad or grain bowl
- Row 34: again, came for the oysters; also fresh seafood like ceviche & tune tartare
- Tatte: a popular Boston bakery; known for their breads & pastries; love the shakshuka (classic or with a seasonal twist), avocado tartine, green/nutty salad & any quiche
- TIP: the croissants sell out daily & the lines start by 10 am on weekends especially in the summer (at least at their Beacon Hill location)
- The Salty Pig: have yet to have a bad charcuterie board and/or pizza here, but knocking on wood as we speak . . .
- The Tip Tap Room: so many beers on tap to accompany their many, unique tips of dishes; they serve a different type of “meat” daily like the ostrich burger for dinner or sweet potato bison hash for brunch
- Toro: Spanish tapas in the South End; you literally can’t go wrong with anything you order; this was the first time I had bone marrow & you won’t regret ordering it
- TIP: since they’re first-come, first-serve, get there early & avoid the wait!
- For more, see an early review of Boston here
- Alden & Harlow: the cocktails & unusually incorporated veggies plates are just amazing; try the ubiquitous kale salad. Love how they use house-made pickled vegetables as a starter instead of bread
- Bon Me: with food trucks & restaurants all throughout greater Boston, see my write-up of their East Cambridge opening here
- 224 Boston: a hidden gem in Dorchester, a Boston ‘burb; artfully crafted cocktails, crispy Brussels sprouts, homemade pasta, & sourdough bread to die for
- Corner Grille: a Holy Cross hotspot from my undergrad days; specialty thin-crust “pies” & flatbreads; also BYOB but limited tables
- Agava: fresh food & local ingredients to create fabulous Southwestern dishes; one of my favorites in Ithaca!
- Argos: an inn with fabulous drinks, specializing in whiskey, gin & bourbon cocktails
- See my write-up here
- Ithaca Farmer’s Market: fresh produce, great meal options, pottery, baked goods, artisan crafts & everything you could wish for in one spot…
- See my write-up here
- Just A Taste: farm-to-table tapas with a menu that changes daily; one of my favorites in Ithaca!
- Moosewood: one of the original vegetarian restaurants that started the plant-based movement; worth going just for their cookbooks
New York, NY
- Gotham West Market: eight premiere artisanal food purveyors much like a gourmet food court; Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop (the ginger chicken donburi rice bowl with the sesame Brussels sprouts) & Blue Bottle Coffee (individually brewed coffee) were both excellent
- See my ‘gram here
- Reading Terminal Market: the famous indoor farmer’s market equipped with vendors, farm stands, bookstores & just about everything
- V Street: an all vegan restaurant; would recommend the BBQ carrots (still somehow “meaty” & flavorful) along with Peruvian fries
- White Dog Cafe: a farm-to-table restaurant located next to Penn; each dining room has a different flair; sustainable & all around delicious food
- Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts: unique (& decadent!) flavors changing weekly; I visited in November & sampled an absolute sweetly spiced butternut sage doughnut complete with a sage glaze
- Instagram post linked here
- Leon’s: want to enjoy peel ‘n’ eat shrimp with gin & tonic slushies along a roaring fireplace in a place with cool, cozy, industrial vibes? Found it.
- Poogan’s Porch: farm-to-table with distinctly elevated Southern cuisine & the experience is complete with its own ghost story
- Barista Parlor: artisanal coffee & espresso; bonus — each coffee bean can be paired with a complementary chocolate
- Butcher & Bee: rotating seasonal menu using local ingredients; I can speak for brunch & highly recommend the shakshuka; we sat at the chef’s counter & literally watched every dish assembled before making a decision (which was so much harder than it sounds)
- Moab Garage Company: known for liquid nitrogen-made ice cream (see photo below) with unique flavors like brown sugar cinnamon to melt in your mouth
- Cafe Zupas: fresh, house made soups, salad, & sandwiches; think Sweetgreen of the West
- Instragram of my Harvest Quinoa bowl linked here
Salt Lake City, UT
- No Name Saloon & Grill: I’d recommend coming here for the classic Western saloon vibes & rooftop bar with mountain views
- Colonial Willaimsburg’s Taverns: using products from their own gardens; had one of the best salads (a “Chopped Salat” to be precise) with a fresh basil vinaigrette at the King’s Arms Tavern
- Dog Street Pub: food elevated from bar “basics” with perfectly picked beer pairings