Since there are so many restaurants I want to try at any given time, I thought I’d create a restaurant bucket list-one of just restaurants here in the United States, and another for ones abroad. Being American, I thought I’d start with the list closer to home.
My United States Restaurant Bucket List
The Girl and The Goat (Chicago, Illinois)
While I’ve had some great meals in Chicago, sadly my three visits there were before my days as a hardcore foodie. So while I’ve quite heavily sampled the awesome casual food front there, I have yet to really delve into its more upscale, serious culinary saveur side. Of all the restaurants I’ve heard about, Stephanie Izard’s restaurant The Girl and the Goat is the one I want to try the most. Besides the fact that she’s a famous female chef with her own restaurant, I love small plates and that’s what TGATG does, just with a huge helping of innovation. The talk of the restaurant’s dramatic open kitchen also intrigues me. Hopefully on my next visit there whenever that may be, I will get to dine here.
Zahav (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
I couldn’t include a restaurant bucket list without featuring one from my hometown of Philadelphia, now could I? There are so many incredible eateries there, but the one I have always wanted to eat at and has always eluded me in terms of being unable to get a reservation is Zahav, a small plates spot from famed chef Michael Solomonov. They offer a tasting menu called Tayim (Taste of Zahav) and it seems quite the steal for only $45. I’m headed home to Philadelphia in July and would love to finally make it here then (update: even trying to make a reservation more than a month in advance still resulted in me striking out). And of course, I’m always happy dining at any number of Jose Garces’ restaurants too.
Oda House (New York, New York)
As you know from past blog posts, I’m semi-obsessed with the Caucasus nation of Georgia. Since a flight ticket to the capital city of Tbilisi isn’t going to materialize anytime soon, a visit to Oda House in New York’s Alphabet City seems like a worthy compromise. It’s a casual eatery serving Georgian favorites but the best part (for me at least) is that there’s a WHOLE menu devoted to khachapuri, the country’s famous cheese bread (I had no idea so many types of khachapuri existed). The megruli (homemade imeruli & sulguni cheese melted inside yogurt dough, baked with extra cheese on top) sounds the best, but honestly, I like them all. And in case you didn’t know, little known Georgia is quite the wine producer and a selection of Georgian wines is also available at Oda House.
Husk (Charleston, South Carolina)
I’ve mentioned before that the food portion at the end of my trip to Charleston turned out to be a bust (to find out what I mean, click here). Husk is the restaurant I had wanted to eat at the most but unfortunately I waited too long to make a reservation. It’s considered by many to be the culinary darling of Charleston’s food scene (a top distinction since there are countless excellent restaurants there) as it’s by James Beard-award winning Chef Sean Brock. Husk’s menu is updated twice daily (this I find amazing) and serves locally sourced Southern dishes. The ambiance doesn’t sound “half bad” either; it’s located in a restored Victorian-era home, but then again, all of Charleston is like out of a beautifully restored historical dream.
Napa Rose (Anaheim, California)
You might do a double take when I tell you that Napa Rose is actually located inside Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel. However, Napa Rose is a deluxe dining experience, similar to what you’d get on board Disney Cruise’s Remy or at the Victoria and Albert restaurant at Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort. I didn’t dine there on my last visit to Disneyland because I wasn’t necessarily in the mood to pack dressier attire since it was after all a theme park vacation, and two, I hadn’t been there since I was a kid and just wanted to spend as much time in the parks as possible (fine dining experiences are obviously not quick affairs). It serves upscale California cuisine and offers a vast wine selection as well (the Vintner’s Table which consists of a four-course tasting menu that changes weekly really intrigues me). For those that don’t know Disney, it really can offer quite the epicurean adventure.