The easy reference for our must-visits, recos, and menu favorites across the country.
- 5/19: Manchego – Place was poppin’: we had to wait 30 minutes past our reservation for a table, but the front desk was super gracious about it and brought cheese and bread for the people waiting.
- This was the highest-reviewed tapas place we’d seen in West L.A., and it had sangria – both by the pitcher and bottomless – which is reason enough to come. We definitely enjoyed the bacon manchego mac & cheese (it’s mad heavy, so take your server’s word for it and order it later rather than earlier) and the brussel sprouts. We somehow failed to order some of the classics like the tortilla española, patatas bravas, or croquetas (note, they have only spinach and mushroom croquetas on offer). Overall, B+ – would go back, but just not on par with the east coast options we were spoiled with.
- 5/12: 26 Beach – This place is amazing and needs to be a weekend staple. It’s a bit sceney, but as much as we played it, we actually really liked the funky interior. We enjoyed everything we ordered, but the easy favorites were the Peach Melba French Toast and the Rosé Mojito. Full break down here.
- 3/17: Broken Spanish – we ordered everything from our dreams: the oxtail and plantain quesadilla, the pollo prensado and duck meatballs, slathered into whipped carnitas fat-slicked tortillas, and the legendary chicharron.
- The quesadilla was pleasant – creamy from the plantain, with that unmistakable melting savoriness from the oxtail. A bit salty, though, and not much balancing sweetness that we expected from plantain.
- The pollo prensado in a rich guajillo chile sauce was bright, meaty, slightly chewy; the duck meatballs gamey and with a slow-burning, intense heat. The whipped carnitas fat comes as a spread – vs. incorporated into the tortilla – so not as fun as expected.
- The chicharron had some amazing, flavor-bursting, crackling skin, but not much to write home about after that. Full breakdown available here.
- Saucebox – Portland, OR – Get drink on the menu and the soft shell crab steam buns.
- Boqueria – New York, NY – get the bombas if available, pitchers of sangria
- Blue Plate Taco – Los Angeles, CA – pork belly tacos, and again, pitchers of sangria
- Gladys – Brooklyn, NY – the jerk chicken and festival
- Mercado – Los Angeles, CA – those glorious carnitas, or the dos gringas tacos
Food Menu Items
- Hibiscus Doughnut, Dough – New York, NY
- Carnitas, Mercado – Santa Monica, CA
- Celebration Cake, SusieCakes – Los Angeles, CA
- Corn Cookie, Momofuku Milk Bar – Brooklyn, NY
- Pollo Criollo, The Cuban – Hoboken, NJ
Drink Menu Items*
- Streets Painkiller, Streets – Brooklyn, NY
- Sorrel Mimosa, Streets – Brooklyn, NY
- Magnum, P.I. Neapple, Saucebox – Portland, OR
- Start Me Up, The Nomad – New York, NY
- Frozé, Sol Cocina – Los Angeles, CA
*Copa d’Oro’s (L.A.) Piña Colada and Bit House Saloon’s (Portland) Split Personality
- Hibiscus, Dough – New York, NY – just LOOK at this crystallization. At the sheen.
- Maple Bar, Safeway – Corvallis, OR – try it and tell me it’s not something special
- Passion Fruit Blackberry, Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken – Washington, DC – Note: it’s a seasonal/rotating flavor
- Plain Glazed, Dough – New York, NY
- Buttermilk Old Fashioned, Blue Star – Portland, OR – Not actually a real donut, but delicious
Restaurants We Want to Try
- Pearl’s Bake and Shark – Brooklyn, NY – mixed reviews from , but it appears to offer our favorite hard-to-find Caribbean food, with our favorite tropical drinks, in our favorite setting (Trendy Caribbean Lounge), in one of our favorite neighborhoods
- Visited 3/17: Broken Spanish – Los Angeles, CA – because of this. And if God grants us the stomach space, oxtail plantain quesadillas and “whipped carnitas fat” tortillas seem nearly as critical.
- No Bones Beach Club – Portland, OR – Never has vegetarian food looked so appealing. And tiki drinks certainly don’t hurt.
- Bar Casa Vale – Portland, OR – tapas are blowing up in PDX, and this one is said to have a best-in-city bar program to match
- Preux and Proper – Los Angeles, CA – Acclaimed N’Orleans cuisine in DTLA with items like “Chicken Fried Pork Belly,” “Dungeness Crab Hushpuppies,” and “Saddle of Rabbit” that jump off the menu
- Ataula – Portland, OR – a very touch table to get, in an established PDX tapas spot, in a favorite neighborhood of ours
- Can Font – Portland, OR – Michelin-recognized Chef Josep Vidal’s only other location prior to Portland was Barcelona. So yeah, this is probably super legit.
- Native – Santa Monica, CA – one of the hot openings of 2018. Add to that a chance to support a chef of color and on the West Side and in the old Santa Monica Yacht Club location? Easy choice.