Name: Gourmet Teriyaki
Location: Mercer Island, WA (Seattle)
Meal: Teriyaki Chicken, White Rice, and a Salad
Type: Teriyaki Shop
Teriyaki is the silent champion of Seattle. Philadelphia is aggressive about cheesesteaks, Chicago the hot dogs, and New York never stops talking about their pizza (rightfully so). When you bring up teriyaki to a transplanted Seattle native you seem to be reminding them how prominent the food is and which store is their favorite. In the Seattle area there are hundreds of tiny mom and pop stores that sell just about only teriyaki; you’ll be lucky to find a dozen items on the menu.
*Note: The rice came with the smiley face on it because Seattle is awesome.
Location: Frederick, MD
Meal: Salad, Pork Belly Burger, Fries, and Apple Crisp à la mode
Type: New American
My trip to Volt was only my second trip to the restaurant of a celebrity chef and I must say that my expectations were met yet again. I am actually lucky enough to pass through Frederick, MD at least a few dozen times a year as it lies between my home and that of my parents. Being the big Top Chef fan that I am, I knew that I was going to have to visit Volt as soon as I heard a contestant on the show was coming from Frederick. Much has already been made of the dominance the Voltaggio brothers showed on the show but Brian and Kevin were my early picks so I was glad to see him still in competition when I visited in early November. Continue reading
Location: Greater Chicago
Meal: Multiple (Italian Beef, Chop Salad, Garbage Salad)
Type: Local Restaurant
Portillo’s is one of my favorite restaurants when it comes to Chicago food. What they do best, is doing so many things well. Not only do they serve one of the best Italian Beef sandwiches around, they also serve great Chicago style hot dogs, and they also serve some of my favorite salads. They do this while providing some of most consistently great service I’ve ever experienced. In the two years that I have visited the Chicago area, I would say that I’ve eaten at Portillo’s more than five times; once even for lunch and dinner in the same day. For someone who prides himself of being the Hungry Traveler, always looking for another place, that is saying something.
Lots more after the jump. Continue reading
Name: Punch Pizza
Location: Minneapolis/St.Paul, MN
Meal: Italian Salad, Neapolitan Pizza, and a Coke
If you would have asked me where I would find great pizza, pizza worthy of note by the Italian government, Minneapolis/St.Paul would have been just about at the bottom of any list I could come up with. As it turns out the Twin Cities is home to a great group of pizzerias called Punch Pizza. Punch is quick to draw attention to themselves as having been designated by the Italian government as Denominazione di Origine Controllata (D.O.C.). The designation means that only certain ingredients are used and it is made to very specific standards. Having eaten Margherita pizza in Naples, Italy I can say that this is quite authentic pizza and delicious to boot. There are few differences between the Twin Cities and beautiful seaside Naples but the pizza is fairly dead-on, and delicious.
Italian Chop Salad
Half Margherita / Half Salame e Funghi
Punch Pizza crust