How to Ball Out When Your Rents Are In Town

I spend all year compiling lists of restaurants I would eat at if I had fistfuls of cash, and then I shove all the reservations into one weekend when my parents come to town. So when Mom visited this weekend, we ate HARD. From thin-crust trendy pizza to fluffy James Beard pancakes, read on to find out how you too can feed yourself and your parents like the morbidly obese kings of NYC. caviar omelette parents

(This omelette from Norma's in The Parker Meridian actually looks vile. Please do not ball out THIS HARD.)

Breakfast: Bubby's High Line

I've always wanted to go here, but every time I've passed by it's been ridiculously mobbed by a rough-riding stroller crew. Also, $10 for a side of bacon... no. We avoided the line by going at the Mom-requested (and Caryn-reviled) time of 9:30AM. $8 Valrhona Hot Chocolate sounds stupid crazy but was worth the price tag. We should have split one entree because everything was HUMONGOUS. I forgot to take pictures because 9:30AM is too early to function, so instead, here is a photo ripped from TripAdvisor of the James Beard-recipe pancakes I ate. And just to illustrate how big they were, I photoshopped myself into them for some perspective.

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Get it here:

Bubby's High Line – 71 Gansevoort Street, NY, NY 10012 – 212-206-6200


Lunch: Marta

While this place isn't super pricey, a quick search on OpenTable shows reservations for the next two weeks are extremely limited. You can either eat at 2:30PM with the unemployed or "creatively self-employed" types, or at 10:45PM with the monsters that think that's an acceptable time for dinner. OR you can plan ahead and make a rezzie for when your parents are in town like a boss.

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Frittura di Zucca - breaded and fried delicata squash rings

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Funghi Pizza - Fontina, Hen of the Woods, Chanterelles, Red Onion, Thyme

Get it here:

Marta – 29 E 29th Street, NY, NY 10016 – 212-651-3800


Dinner: August

My favorite food blog The Infatuation just listed August as one of the must-try new restaurants of Winter 2014. This is a perfect parent place: warm and cozy, a little too expensive, in the Upper East Side, and occupied by a few other "older" people who aren't instragramming their meals.

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Burrata, Roasted Beets, Walnut Soil

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Roasted Organic Chicken, Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, Black Truffle, Roasted Carrots, Porcini Oil

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Roasted Scallops, Celery Root, Honeycrisp Apple

Get it here:

August – 791 Lexington Ave, NY, NY 10065 – 212-935-1433

The 10 Most Insane Things At Dominique Ansel's Wonderland Party

This weekend I attended Dominique Ansel's Wonderland Party, a 3 hour dessert buffet put on by the NYC Wine and Food Festival. I went by myself, brought a fancy borrowed camera, and did my best to pretend I knew what I was doing. After dropping several pastries on myself, sipping huckleberry kombucha from a tiny bottle that said "Drink Me", and interviewing Mr. Ansel the Cronut King himself, I produced this article for the Village Voice: The 10 Most Insane Things at Dominique Ansel's Wonderland Party

I also met Zac Young from Top Chef Just Desserts, who was super fabulous and definitely wins the award for most edible glitter on one table.

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Dreams Come True - Talking about Blintzes on National TV

A dream is a wish your heart makes. Sometimes you dream about blintzes. Sometimes you dream about being on television. Sometimes YOUR DREAMS COMBINE AND YOUR WORLD EXPLODES AND LIFE IS AMAZING. 10517689_10152268883756735_5548592836085745642_n

Yesterday, Travel Channel's "Food Paradise" shot an episode in Sarge's Deli, a local spot that has been near and dear to my heart ever since the owner Andrew Wengrover let me hang out in the kitchen when they reopened earlier this year. Knowing my love for his product, Andrew invited me to be one of those goons you see on food shows eating delicious things slowly, making weird pleasure faces, and using a plethora of descriptive adjectives (creamy! gooey! moist! no JK no one says moist).

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My friend Ben and I spoke animatedly about Sarge's 24 hour service, paper thin pastrami, and of course the blintzes. I may or may not have said that I would rather have a giant blintz instead of a cake at my wedding.

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The episode won't air until the summer, and there's a possibility that my parts could end up on the cutting room floor, but I'm still thankful for the experience. And the blintzes. Always thankful for the blintzes.

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LGBM 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY! And Africa Sneak Peek

LGBM 1 YEAR OLD One year ago today, I started this little experiment in food, bad GIFs, inappropriate language, and general lunacy. Thank you to everyone who has ever read a post, or told me they read a post, or even LIKED a post. I am incredibly thankful to all of you and have had the best time watching this project blossom into something I'm actually proud of. If you want to reminisce about the good old days, scroll down to find the "Old Stuff" header on the right hand side where you can browse old posts and see how LGBM has evolved.

Other big news, I'm back from Africa. I have content coming out of my ears so its going to take me several weeks to get all of the posts out, but for now, here is some sneak peek footage of my dad trying crocodile in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4FM_-85dsI?rel=0]

And I also wanted to apologize for verbally shitting on biltong in my first Africa post (found here). The dried game meat isn't really that bad.

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Day 1 - Paris!

I've been in transit for nearly 24 hours and we've still got about 16 to go before we reach our first destination of Victoria Falls. We took a 7 hour flight to Paris last night, arrived at 11:00AM, and had about 12 hours of layover time to kill so we did what any normal family would do: go into Paris and eat buttloads of French food. See below for some airplane food (full disclosure: we used a bunch of miles to fly Business Class so everything is amazing) and Parisian cuisine: IMG_0247-0.JPG

My bro starting the trip with some champagne and cheese

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The cheese plate that came with my airplane dinner. NOTE VERY IMPORTANT DECORATIVE LEAF

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This was the appetizer: Maine lobster with wasabi mayo and chopped mango salad. THIS HAPPENED ON A PLANE. The "ambassador of French cuisine" for AirFrance is Joel Robuchon, so you know this shit is legit.

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Main course:"pan-seared tournedos of beef with truffle butter, mashed potatoes with horseradish, buttered asparagus" (I'm keeping all the menus for safekeeping.) I swear I think there were real bits of truffle in the butter.

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Made it to Paris! Here's a quiche.

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This is my mom. Her favorite candy in the whole world is Rocher Suchard, which they don't sell in the US. We went into a grocery store and she cleaned them out of their supply. This will last her about 3 days and she will not share.

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Our last stop in Paris was at Berthillion, a legendary ice cream shop. Unfortunately the original Berthillion is closed until September, since all of Europe goes on vacation for the month of August (those lazy jerks JK I'M JEALOUS) so we went to a shop next door that stocked the frozen treat. These flavors are wild blackberry and pear.

Off to the next flight, au revoir!

 

 

Africa Eats - Coming Soon!

LGBM LION KING In exactly one week from today, I will be flying to South Africa for a 2 week journey filled with animals, waterfalls, selfies in safari hats, and copious amounts of family time. I also assume there will be food. I don't know much about South African cuisine, except that their version of beef jerky, called biltong, is thicker and not sweet. It also looks like shit:

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Hopefully it tastes better than it looks and I will eat and write about lots of other delicious, non-shit-looking things.

Before I go, anyone have any good food-related book recommendations?

Where to Eat, Drink, and Debate the Birthplace of the Ice Cream Sundae in Ithaca - Behind the Scenes

I wrote an article this past Friday for the Village Voice about one of my favorite places in the world: Ithaca, NY. You can check out most of the amazing things I ate here: Where to Eat, Drink, and Debate the Birthplace of the Ice Cream Sundae in Ithaca For some other awesome eats that ended up on the cutting room floor, keep reading:

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The BoatYard Grill, named for its location next to the boat docks on Lake Cayuga, is a perfect place for outdoor dining and sunset watching. The seafood is decent, but for a real treat, get the sizzling cookie served on a hot skillet and topped with banana ice cream.

Get it here:

The BoatYard Grill - 525 Taughannock Blvd, Ithaca, NY 14850 - 607-256-2628 


 

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Backyard Bakeshop is another stellar stand at the Ithaca Farmers Market for both sweet and savory baked goods. Pictured here: a roll stuffed with cheddar and artichoke served warm, raspberry chocolate shortbread, and apricot pecan shortbread. Get there early if you want a crazy huge, fresh-baked cinnamon roll.

Get it here:

Backyard Bakeshop @ Ithaca Farmers Market - 545 3rd Street, Ithaca, NY 14850 


 

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While I already mentioned both Collegetown Bagels and Ithaca Bakery in the Village Voice story, I didn't get to talk about their pizza bagel, which deserves its own article. While these are nothing like the puny, limp Bagel Bites of your youth, they're still just as good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Or if you're in college (or back in Ithaca pretending to be like I was), they're also good at 2AM.

Get it here:

Ithaca Bakery and Collegetown Bagels, several locations


Did I forget anything? Let me know in the comments or shoot me a note in my Contact section!

4th of July at The Dutch - Corn Dogs and Peach Pie

Happy Birthday America! Can't believe you're finally 2014 years old! (JK.)

Here are some photos of the Ameridiculous cookout menu that was served at The Dutch yesterday. May your long weekend be filled with lots of goodies as rich and fattening as the dishes below. Because THAT'S what it means to be an American.

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Mexican Street Corn with Lime, Chile, and Cotija Cheese

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Corn Dog Stuffed with Cheddar

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Texas-Style Smoked Brisket Plate, Watermelon, Hawaiian Sweet Roll, Potato Salad with Bacon

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Peach Pie, Blackberry - Buttermilk Ice Cream

Get it here:

The Dutch – 131 Sullivan Street, NY, NY 10012 – 212-677-6200

#TBT - When Mario Batali Told Me Dominique Ansel Wasn't Wearing Underwear

This past weekend I attended another event by (RED)'s Eat (RED), Drink (RED), Save Lives Campaign, but this one was at my favorite place in the world, Smorgasburg. Mario Batali and Dominique Ansel judged a competition, which I wrote about for the Village Voice. Check it out here: Have a Taste of the Smorgasburg (RED) Dish Competition

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I interviewed Batali and Ansel before the festivities, and here's part of the interview that didn't make it into the article:

LGBM: I asked you last time I met you if you were going to wear red Crocs on the launch date for (RED). Did you actually wear them?

Batali: I did!

Ansel: You can wear red underwear.

LGBM: What are you wearing that's red?

Batali: He's commando, I'm pretty much gonna bet...

Ansel: I can't show you.

LGBM: Ok, maybe next time!

Thus, in conclusion, I basically asked Dominique Ansel to show me his cronuts. Smoooooooth.

My Fox Business Network Debut - Getting Too Excited About Waffles on National TV

For one of my last assignments at my old TV job, my co-worker Marisa and I went to legendary Brooklyn soul food joint Pink Teacup to interview the staff for a possible reality show. While this wasn't normally part of my responsibilities, I obviously tagged along so I could get a taste of their famous chicken and waffles. A Fox Business Network crew was also in the restaurant to talk to the owner about "government intrusion on small businesses" (predictable). Unbeknownst to Marisa and I, some important moments of ours were captured in FBN's piece. Look how hard I'm concentrating at what this guy is saying:

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Listening to these people talk about their insane lives was great and all, but the real highlight came when the owner delivered me my piping hot waffle. Thankfully, this moment was captured for all to see:

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You can watch the full story here, though I'm not sure I recommend it:

Government Intrudes on Brooklyn Restaurant Owner

Marisa recently went back to Pink Teacup to follow up without me, and two separate staff members who didn't hear each other asked, "Where is the little girl who was housing that waffle?"

I've never been more proud.

LGBM Approved Content: Weird Stuff Mandy's Eating

One of my favorite writer ladies and high school friend Mandy Oaklander is kicking ass as a Senior Writer at Prevention Magazine. Even though Prevention promotes healthy eating, which is not always my jam, Mandy has a new web series where she eats weird shit like bugs and meat bars, which is pretty awesome. Watch her eat cricket sushi below: [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnSzXR3inKY?list=PLzB7BYtdwWf5lnayFgd4aYN9z7Bj1-mmL]

Mario Batali Hates AIDS and Loves Orange Crocs

Last night I went to a launch event for EAT (RED). DRINK (RED). SAVE LIVES, a partnership between the culinary community and the HIV/AIDS-fighting (RED) organization. I wrote an article about it for the Village Voice, which you can read here:

Mario Batali and Pat LaFrieda Want You to Dine Out and Save Lives With (RED)

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Mario Batali is spearheading the campaign. I got to interview him which is definitely one of the highlights of my life in food.

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You might not recognize this man's face, but you'll definitely recognize his meat. NO NOT THAT KIND OF MEAT THIS IS STILL NOT A PORN SITE! This is Pat LaFrieda of Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors.

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Mario's orange Crocs with red socks. This is real life.

Let's Get Outdoor Food Wasted

After the soul-crushing frozen tundra experience that was Winterpocalypsegeddon 2013-14, this weekend's first appearance of above 80 temps made me very, very happy. Like the rest of NYC, I took to the streets to absorb all the sun-soaked Vitamin D my body could handle. I also decided to do the same with calories. My first stop was Tacombi at Fonda Nolita, a covered space that still feels like a cool outdoor patio with string lights and high ceilings. Real live Mexican person Fernando Acevedo came with me and says this is one of his favorite authentic spots in NYC.

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Also there's this old VW bus where tacos come from. Neat.

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Spiked Horchata with Rum. Tastes like rice pudding but makes you drunk. Super.

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Agua Fresca de Jamaica. Jamaica = Hibiscus.

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Guacamole con Totopos

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Barbacoa (brisket) Taco and Crispy Fish Taco

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Pollo Quesadilla and Pollo Adobo Taco. Highly recommend the quesadilla if you like cheese (which you should.)

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We poured this sauce on EVERYTHING.

Get it here:

Tacombi at Fonda Nolita – 267 Elizabeth St, NY, NY 10012 – 917-727-0179


On Sunday, I wandered around the Chelsea/Meatpacking area. Passed by this sign for Doughnut Plant on West 23rd Street and had to stop because LOOK AT THOSE MAY SPECIALS:

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I grabbed two of their smaller donuts, "doughseeds", and headed to the High Line.

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Mango Doughseed

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Banana Pecan Doughseed

Get it here:

Doughnut Plant – 220 W 23rd St, NY, NY 10011 – 212-675-9100


Ever since I heard about the old school soda fountain opening at Bubby's High Line, I've been dying to get my hands on an ice cream soda. SO. MANY. FLAVORS.

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While the menu looks cool, the space was a little underwhelming. I expected a counter with metal stools staffed by soda jerks serving frosty specials in tall glasses, but this is really more of a grab-and-go ice cream joint. Sundaes are served in Chinese takeout containers which is... confusing?

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Black and White - Chocolate Soda with Vanilla Ice Cream. This was pretty delicious, but it took them a few tries to make it correctly. I hope this place works out the kinks so I can come back and try everything (milkshakes, sodas, sundaes, and pies included).

Get it here:

Bubby's Soda Fountain – 71 Gansevoort St, NY, NY 10014 – 212-206-6200

LGBM Visits: El Vez

On Monday a.k.a. Staycation Day 1, I ventured wayyyy downtown to check out Stephen Starr's newest NYC outpost, El Vez, which opened last Friday. If you find yourself in the tourist hellhole/permanent construction site that is the World Financial Center, El Vez's humongous and bright dining room is a great place to escape. IMG_3887

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They've got three types of guac, so make sure to get at least one. I recommend the "Bazooka" Limon which has GOAT CHEESE. Cheese + guac = win.

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The Zucchini Blossom & Corn Quesadilla was a little on the salty side, but as one of the cheapest menu options at $12, its large portion won't leave you hungry. Just maybe a little thirsty.

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Speaking of thirst, the drink menu has a lot of unexpected flavors, including a Red Bell Pepper Margarita with thai bird chili and something called a "No Me Gusta el Tequila!" for people who really don't want a margarita. Since I was celebrating Day 1 of Staycation, the festive Frozen Blood Orange Margarita was appropriately sweet and decadent.

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The Churros with Mexican Chocolate Dipping Sauce were pretty standard, but I'm never one to turn down fried dough.

If you work in the area and need a new lunch option, get excited for El Vez's quick service burrito bar, opening soon in the back of the restaurant.

Get it here:

El Vez - 259 Vesey St, NY, NY 10282 - 212-233-2500

 

When Big Food Execs Get Bored: Dessert Mashup Nightmares

Yesterday I rented a car and drove to my favorite place in the world: Wegman's. If you've never been to a Wegman's, it's basically the Disney World of grocery stores. Lots of space in the aisles, beautiful meat/cheese/bakery section, super fresh produce. Since Wegman's corporate has yet to answer my numerous requests for an NYC store, I have to go to New Jersey to satisfy my Wegneeds. With a store this big, they have plenty of space to stock the latest and greatest product innovations from big food brands. A few caught my eye for sounding like the terrifying mutant step children of Willy Wonka and some outrageiously stoned frat bros:

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As a lover of root beer floats, this upsets me deeply. I'd say more about it, but Albert Burneko at Deadspin already did a pretty excellent job, so you should read that here instead.

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These look like Goldfish with herpes. Nope.

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Unrefrigerated, shelf-stable Boston "cream" should not be trusted. The yellowish tint of the cream on the packaging is particularly unsettling.

I fear the day when these products collapse in on themselves and create a nightmare black hole just like the case of the Doritos Locos Tacos Flavored Doritos. Chips Ahoy Root Beer Float Flavored Root Beer is coming. The end is nigh.

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BIG LIFE NEWS! logo-503dff32f26c9ddd0b1558b756b231f6

Today is my last day as a production coordinator for reality TV company Big Fish Entertainment. For the first time in my career, I'm leaving the TV world and following my heart and my passions to the food world. As of 5/5, I will be working at Cater2Me, an office catering startup that is revolutionizing the office meal by connecting local, artisan food vendors with big corporate offices to make meal magic. I couldn't be more excited to be working on something so near and dear to my heart. So if you're an awesome food vendor who wants to sell some product, let me know! And if you work in an office that needs a catered meal from time to time (I'm looking at you EVERYONE), hit me up and I will set up you and your co-workers with some crazy good grub and you will be the office hero.

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(It'll look like this)

Since I don't start until 5/5, I'm taking all next week off as a New York City staycation. What food experiences would you have if you had a whole week to blow in NYC? I've already got "wait on the cronut line" because I've never had one, but the rest of my week is open. Other lines I should wait on? Can't-miss weekday lunches? Leave suggestions in the comments! Thanks all!

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The LGBM Guide to Napa Valley Eats

Here is Part II of the San Fran/Napa trip. All guidance courtesy of KK Carothers, my college freshman roommate who actually lives in Napa making wine. CAN YOU IMAGINE??? I very nearly uprooted myself and moved into her house on the spot. bottega-gin-and-tonic

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Bottega - 6525 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599 - 707-945-1050

Holy hell. This was the first and best meal I had in Napa Valley. Bottega is located in Yountville, home base for arguably the best restaurant in the country, Thomas Keller's legendary The French Laundry. But what am I, made of money? No. This more casual spot from chef Michael Chiarello was perfect for a leisurely, decadent, and not obscenely expensive meal.

At the top: Italian Gin and Tonic with Frozen Grape, Juniper Berries, and a Sprig of Rosemary. Look at it. Have you ever seen a G&T look so classy?

2nd Pic: Black Pepper Bucatini alla Carbonara. That egg in the middle exploded when we cut into it. Perfect.

3rd Pic: Potato Dough Raviolo filled with Spinach and Ricotta, Black Truffles, Farm Fresh Egg Yolk, Sage Brown Butter. THIS WAS THE BEST THING I HAD IN NAPA VALLEY. The photo doesn't do it justice. So decadent. So truffley. So a;alkj;aldkjfsa;dkf.

Bottom: Duck Three Ways: Roasted Breast, Confit Leg, Duck Liver Mousse. The strawberry stuff on the side was delicious. KK and I both tried to like the duck liver mousse (isn't foie gras illegal in CA?) but we just couldn't. Embarrassing.

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Model Bakery - Oxbow Public Market, 644 1st St, Bldg B, Napa, CA 94599 - 707-259-1128

At Oxbow Public Market in Napa, you can get oysters, pizza, tacos, ice cream, etc. Most importantly, you can get one of Model Bakery's epic english muffins that look and taste like fluffy donuts. The breakfast sandwich above had egg, provolone, avocado, tomato, hash brown, and ketchup. It's a perfect hangover remedy after you've had too much Napa Valley grape juice.

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Here's a bonus shot of KK trying some bitters at Oxbow Market. Hahahaha sorry KK.

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Tra Vigne - 1050 Charter Oak Ave, St. Helena, CA 94574 - 707-963-4444

This place is in a mini castle at the end of the main drag in St. Helena. They have a gorgeous outdoor patio with string lights that looks like a fairytale. Although I previously decided I want to get married in the cheese section of the flagship Wegman's Supermarket in Rochester, NY, this patio is a close second. Most importantly:

Top: Mozzarella Cheese "Al Minuto" - Tra Vigne claims on their menu that they make the mozzarella for this dish the moment you order it. Personally, I don't care when the stuff was made - it's fucking delicious. Our waiter cut up the warm ball tableside and plated it as you see above on crunchy bruschetta with Napa olive oil, salt, and pepper. A can't miss for any cheese lover.

Bottom: Cocoa Marinated Grilled Venison Loin - Honestly I was too full of mozzarella to really eat a lot of this. It was just okay. Get the pasta instead. Or just eat four pieces of mozzarella.

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Fremont Diner - 2698 Fremont Drive, Sonoma, CA 95476 - 707-938-7370

This roadside diner can be found on the scenic drive from Napa Valley to San Francisco. If I had been hungrier, and hadn't eaten a block of mozzarella the night before, I would have gotten the chicken & waffles or biscuits & gravy, but these ricotta pancakes with blood oranges were perfectly light and satisfying.