Ristorante Savini, Amsterdam NL

August 2013

While working in Amsterdam I dined out nightly at the local restaurants.  There were many great ones to choose from, all featuring authentic dishes of many different cultures.

This night I dined outside at an Italian restaurant called Ristorante Savini, Cucina Italiana.

Located at Spuistraat 1D, 1012 SP Amsterdam, their website can be viewed at http://www.savini.nl/eng/index.php

Dining around 9pm is uncanny in Amsterdam as it does not get dark until 10:30-11pm. The late afternoons seem to never end, which is a good thing.

Tonight I had the beef carpaccio and house penne pasta with Italian sausage.

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Al’s Italian Beef, Chicago IL

December 2012

My uncle JD is a life long Chicagoan and gave us a tour of Chicago a few years ago and for lunch one day he took us all to famous Al’s #1 Italian Beef.

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Stepping inside was like stepping back in time where the ambiance and food is exactly the same as it has been for the past 25+ years. Their specialty is their roast beef dipped sandwich, they also sell Chicago hot dogs and tamales and a few other items. I had to try a little bit of it all.

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Everything here is classic and tasty. Don’t plan to sit down, though, there are no chairs and tables here, just a counter to lean on, but its fun.

Al’s #1 Italian Beef is located at 601 W Adams St. • Chicago, IL  Phone (312) 559-2333
Website http://www.alsbeef.com/

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Stock Cafe, Amsterdam NL

August 2013

While in Amsterdam I discovered a drink I’d never heard of or tried before.

Mint tea.

So simple, fresh mint, hot water, honey.

Stir all ingredients together and enjoy. I found I really like this tea for breakfast.

Stock Cafe can be found at Hotel The Exchange, Damrak 50h · 1012 LL · Amsterdam
Phone 31 (0)20 427 5382  website http://www.hoteltheexchange.com/caf-a/caf-a.htm

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Yard Pizzeria, London UK

August 2013

After work, on another hunt for a local restaurant in London, I went searching for a few highly rated place to have dinner.  Unfortunately the place was so crowded there was a line out the door and down the block – damn they must have really good food there!  It was time to revert to plan B which was a pizzeria that was down the road another block.

Yard Pizza can be found at 140 Tabernacle St,Shoreditch, London, EC2A 4F
Website: http://www.yardrestaurants.co.uk/

When I found the restaurant, I was surprised to see it was in a former fire engine house.  The decor was top notch and interesting, but instead of sitting inside I opted to sit at the outdoor seats and enjoy the warm night air and watch life go by in London.

Service was quick and efficient, the menu selection very good, and the food tasted excellent!

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I had their Rocket & Prosciutto pizza which had black olives, mozzarella and tomato sauce, topped with prosciutto, fresh peppery rocket (arugula) and shaved Grana Padano.

This pizza paired nicely with a local brew called Camden Hells.

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Having very much enjoyed the quality fresh pizza I had to also try their desserts and picked out their Vanilla Pannacotta that came with a mixed berry fruit compote.

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I was really amazed how great a pizza could taste – this place wowed me on all levels.

From their website:

The Yard, Shoreditch is set in a converted fire station and retains many of its original features. Inside; The Yard has a unique warehouse feel – whilst outside you will find a great seating area, but we’re not just famous for our location and atmosphere – we are renowned for serving up a diverse selection of pizza toppings and our unbelievable ‘Yard of Pizza’ which is perfect for sharing.

 

Forest ride on a Ural, Silver Lake CA

I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was a kid. I have 2 bikes now, one is my beloved Harley Road Glide that I’ve had for 11 years and the other is a funky Russian motorcycle sidecar rig called a Ural.

The Ural is a bit of a rough rider but it’s different and fun. When people ask me how it rides, I tell them that it “runs smooth like tractor” heh.

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Using my GoPro Hero Black 3 camera I  made this short film of a ride on my  Ural motorcycle from a campsite at Silver Lake West to Kit Carson Lodge on Silver Lake.
It’s a short ride, but the scenery is nice.

Fish Central, London UK

August 2013

On my first night in London, I was beat. After a long 25 hour day of traveling (from the time I left my house until I arrived at my hotel in London), I was beat and ready for dinner.

I researched ahead and knew  of a couple of nice restaurants a few miles away but after the long travel day I wasn’t up for taking a cab or walking around so I searched my iphone apps for a local restaurant near my hotel and I found a well rated seafood place right behind my hotel.

Turned out it was even better then I was expecting.  Nice ambiance, good service and the seafood tasted very fresh and very good.

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Fish Central can be found at 149-151 Central St., St Luke’s, Greater London EC1V 8BY
Website: http://fishcentral.co.uk

About Fish Central from their website

We believe the national heritage of the “Great British invention”, fish and chips, something we have built our reputation on for 40 years will always be with us.

However as eating out has become one of the nations favourite past times Fish Central has evolved into a bustling neighborhood restaurant with a private function room. we serve the well known as well as the more exotic varieties of the freshest fish, combined with daily produce purchased from borough market to create a value for money menu for everyone.

We endeavor to purchase the freshest fish and Crustacea from ethical and sustainable sources without compromising the high standards our loyal regulars come to expect.

In short we try to do the best for our customers, producers, fishermen and the environment, so we can be here for another 40 years.

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L’Orecchietta, London UK

June 2014

Pizza for lunch.

While working in London a few years ago, I stopped by this bar/restaurant a few times for lunch while working just down the street.

L’Orecchietta is located at 29-30 Wakley Street, London UK, Phone 0207 8330097 Website http://www.orecchietta.com/

At first appearance it did not look like they would have good food here, it was a dark, subdued bar, but they had plenty of table seats and a menu so…

After finally figuring out I needed to order at the bar, I walked up and placed my order.

I was pleasantly surprised by the great quality of the pizza that I ordered and enjoyed it very much.

Lesson learned, never go by appearances only…. this place turned out to be a hidden gem.

This pizza that I got below is made with parma ham with mascarpone cheese. I love wood fired pizza’s and this place makes outstanding pizza’s, highly recommend this restaurant if you’re ever in this part of London.

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Tap Folsom Craft Beer Fest, Folsom CA

Tap Folsom Craft Beer Fest in Historic Old Town Folsom California – 1st Annual event. (this is a re-post from my old folsomfoodie.com site)

August 2014

My town threw a great beer festival this past week and I attended both the first day VIP Beer Brewing with the Brewer Sessions and the second day VIP Access to the Beer Tasting event showcasing 25 craft beer vendors from all over the country.

Have I mentioned I like beer?

Here’s a little movie I made about the event…

 

 

Canteen Brewhouse, Albuquerque NM

February 2016

While on another trip working out in the southwest state of New Mexico, I met up with a  co-worker who works remotely and lives in the nearby area for lunch one day in the city of Albuquerque.

My co-worker had recommended we meet up and for beer and food at a great local watering hole named Canteen Brewhouse, formerly called Il Vicino Brewery.
They’ve been brewing since 1994 and make some pretty good beers including several outstanding seasonals. This was my second visit to this pub in the past three years.

Canteen Brewhouse is located at 2381 Aztec NE, Albuquerque, NM
Phone (505) 881-2737  Website http://brewery.ilvicino.com/

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The brewhouse has a very nice pub / tasting room attached with a great indoor and outdoor seating setup allowing plenty of elbow room to sit around and enjoy eating and drinking and hanging out with friends. They are located somewhat off the beaten path in a sort of industrial area that’s not too crowded. There is plenty of parking in their lot and also on the nearby streets.

The building looks good, nice ambiance and good volume level,  the food is tasty (interesting menu selections), the service was excellent and always present, and the beers of course were fantastic.

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I tried a few of their regular beers including their DIPA, then I found the one I really liked.
It was a seasonal beer called Rubi Rojo Grapefruit IPA and it was very tasty! It went down smooth and had a good over all taste and aroma and was 7.5% ABV.

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After enjoying a tasty Knuckle Sandwich consisting of Italian prosciutto, salami, mozzarella cheese, arugula, roasted red peppers, I got a 32 oz Crowler can  of the Rubi Rojo IPA to go and enjoyed it back at home later that week.  Good times!

 Cheers!

Boxing Bear Brewing, Albuquerque NM

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August 2016

While working in New Mexico on a recent business trip, I once again sought out a decent local restaurant to grab dinner for the night.

On the advice of a co-worker who lives locally, I found out about a place called Boxing Bear that came with good recommendation –  so off I went to check out this local brewery/pub.

Boxing Bear Brewing is located at 10200 Corrales Rd NW, Albuquerque NM. Phone 505-897-BEAR (2327) Website http://www.boxingbearbrewing.com/

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The brewery is setup at the end of a mini mall in a nice corner location. The brewery and pub are very nice and spacious and they have a really cool patio that sits near the banks of the Rio Grande River.

It was a hot summer day today so I went inside for the cool air conditioning and cold beers.

I sat at the bar and ordered a beer sampler (shown below with list of beers) and had a good time talking with the beer tenders and brewers about the Great American Brew Festival that is coming up in a couple months. It’s always a blast talking about beers and hearing the thoughts of local established brewers who really know their stuff about beers.

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Enjoyed a nice Ambear Ale (pictured at top) and an Al’bear’querque Turkey Paninin (pictured below). No kidding those were really the names of the beer and sandwich heh.

Everything tasted great, the atmosphere was nice and the service excellent. Definitely will come back again when I’m in the area next time.

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My Travel Theme Song

Sometimes it feels like this tune is my travel theme song, it sure hits home.

Little Wanderer by the band Death Cab for Cutie

Franklin BBQ, Austin Texas

There’s BBQ, then there’s GREAT BBQ.

Franklin BBQ at 900 E 11th Street in Austin Texas is legendary for it’s famous smoked BBQ Brisket and Ribs and they are on the list of top 50 best BBQ’s in the world.

Click below for short clip filmed at the counter.


Aaron Franklin
and his mastery of BBQ have an almost cult following.

There have been many travel and food channel shows filmed here showcasing the restaurant. Even the president of the United States, Barack Obama has been to Franklin’s. In fact he’s the only person in history that has ever been allowed to cut in line.
Even Anthony Bourdain had to wait in the line when he did his show there.

Simply put, Franklin BBQ is outstanding. They make an amazing moist brisket that’s been smoked for twelve to eighteen hours. The ribs are very meaty and super tender and the sauce nice and sweet. No bones about it, they make really good BBQ!

From everything I’ve read about visiting Franklin BBQ, you need plan to wait in a very long line and you need to set aside at good amount of time for a visit.

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After working in the local area and finishing early, I had a free day and I decided I had to try Franklin BBQ and so I mapped everything out and got an Uber cab ride from my hotel to the restaurant and got in line … at 6am.

Now getting there that early I thought I’d be the only person insane enough to get line at 6am for a BBQ Joint that doesn’t open up until 11am….

I was wrong, there were three more guys ahead of me who had been there since 4am!

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The BBQ crew was steadily working the smokers and they let me peek my head in to check them out and take a picture. These smokers are legendary and have been on many TV shows.

Knowing I had a five hour wait ahead of me I brought a book and my ipad to kill time. I am happy to say I never once opened that book or ipad.

I got to know all the people I was nearby in line with and we all hung out telling stories, drinking beer (that someone went and bought for everyone) and we were all talking about BBQ the entire time.

We watched the line grow and grow over time, eventually extending down the sidewalk and past the small parking lot. I was fortunate that there were a few chairs provided for the early birds and so I snagged one, that’s my seat in the photo below and yes that’s my beer underneath it too:)

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I was glad I got there early. As the minutes until opening time approached, we all grew anxious with BBQ anticipation. This was the most fun I’ve ever had waiting in a line and I’ve honestly never waited in line for anything, not even concert tickets so this was a first for me and I have say, it was very enjoyable.

Soon it was time for some great BBQ …

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As the doors finally opened, we moved inside to form a line at the counter where we checked out the short menu and placed our orders as brisket, turkey and ribs were sliced and paper wrapped by the counter guys in front of us. I was fourth in line and I ordered 2lbs of Brisket, 2lbs of Turkey and 1lb of Ribs and I also ordered a Tipsy Texas sandwich which was a little bit of everything and of course I had to get one more beer to wash it down.

I had a wide open choice of places to sit and so I took my seat and checked out my feast and began to dig in.

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It was nice finally tasting and eating the world famous BBQ at Franklin’s, it was really damn good.

I sat there with a smile on my face, eating my monster BBQ sandwich, sipping on my beer and saying farewells to my new friends as they got their orders and made their way out.

This was one dining experience I’ll never forget. Good stuff!

Eventually they sell out of everything so be sure to get there early!

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