Luckily, I’m still feeling summery-lazy, so this will be a short list. I’ve lived and visited a bunch of places in the U.S. and, while I still pine for the international cuisine I sampled way too many years ago (French bread. Italian gelato and espresso. Indian food in the UK.), there are a few restaurants that stand out in my memory on this side of the pond. I tend to like my restaurants cozy, down-to-earth, and simple, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good!
In Burlington, Vermont:
A Single Pebble is, quite simply, the best Chinese restaurant I’ve been to. I still get cravings for their Mock Eel–which, from their menu description, is “crispy shiitake mushrooms glazed in a ginger scallion soy sauce”. And it’s unbelievably good. I miss Vermont for a lot of reasons, but this tops the list.
In Asheville, North Carolina:
The Laughing Seed. Because of their amazing variety of vegetarian/vegan options. They also have a lot of stuff that’s gluten free, which I would have appreciated more if I’d known then that I was gluten intolerant. Anyhoo, I don’t see my favourite on the menu anymore (but, my brain is getting old, so…) but I think the Seven Seas Filet comes close to replicating it. (Maybe that was it?) Truthfully, the wait service was consistently poor, even from the viewpoint of this sympathetically patient former food service worker, but the delicious food made up for the rude and inattentive waitstaff.
In Sarasota, Florida:
Sunrise Cafe–A cozy, friendly, down-to-earth jewel in increasingly elitist and snobby Sarasota. Scottish staff is super friendly, and they quickly became friends of the family. One of the few things I miss about Sarasota. (and, yes, I try to keep my posts nice, but I have absolutely zero qualms about painting Sarasota and Florida for what it really is–especially since I was born and raised there, and have witnessed firsthand the crazy shenanigans that happen there.)
Bangkok Restaurant–The restaurant is just gorgeous. The owners told us one time that they brought over all the restaurant furnishings from overseas when they came. It has been a favourite of mine since the early 90s. Back when I could actually afford to eat/live in Sarasota (and, even then, only survived by working three full-time jobs), my friends and I used to eat there every week. And, yet, they still managed to mess up the dish I ordered every single time. *laugh* But it was so good, it was worth the wait. And the atmosphere, with incredibly carved dark wood tables…well, you just have to see it.
In Santa Fe and Espanola, New Mexico: