Yesterday was a great day. I was able to wash my laundry for the first time. The weather was sunny and perfect. I spent the afternoon in Miraflores walking along the cliff overlooking the ocean and taking photos. "Miraflores" is the perfect name for this district of Lima, because this walk along the cliff has a long garden of "flores" (flowers) which makes for a perfect stroll and some great photo ops if you, say, are into nature photography... or I guess if you have a date, but I think you all know better. Hey, so anyway, I think I got some great shots... but alas, they are in Lima (4 hours away). Later, I got really hungry, so I made my way down to sea level by taxi and found Restaurante Costa Verde. I will have to consult with my Top Twelve Favorite Restaurants in the World list, but this one is definitely knocking at the door: right on the ocean, nearly all white interior with windows all around, attentive professional service, a great view of paragliders overhead, the best Pisco Sour I have had... very nice. Ceviche was good, but I have had better. Anyway I enjoyed myself thoroughly (Sorry, Brian if this is ruining your affection for the chow hall). Ooh, they even have little flags in the foyer for you to bring to your table to represent you country, and they have servers available to speak five different languages. I picked the flag for Ethiopia just for fun, but nobody came to help me despite my pleas in Amharic for "service!", so I grabbed the red white and blue.
OK, here is my list so far...
1. Il Latini (Firenze, Italia) - no menus, plenty of wine, dine with total strangers, the best total experience.
2. La Cantinetta (Barolo, Italia) - out of this world, but simple, Piemontese cuisine. Owner Maurelio treated me like a member of the family.
3. Lucy's (San Bernardino, CA) - my start in restaurants. Good Mexican food. Friendly service.
4. Antica Bottega del Vino (Verona, Italia and NYC) - 80 wines by the glass listed on a chalkboard in the bar. Amazing selection... food was good too.
5. Harry's Bar (Venezia, Italia) - Have a REAL Bellini cocktail where it was created... oh, yeah, you're on the Grand Canal... in Venice!
6. Pasta Mia (Washington, D.C) - Chef/Owner does all the cooking. Fresh pasta. Affordable, respectable wine list. Cozy and fun.
7. Public (NoLIta, NYC) - a culinary treasure and adventure in fusion that pulls flavors from Italy, Spain, Australia, Ecuador, Asia... consistantly delicious!
8. Zaytinya (Washington, D.C.) - Greek/Lebanese/Turkish small plates, hip bar, and fascinating wines you've never had before
9. Jaleo (Washington, D.C.) - Spanish tapas and more Spanish wines than you ever knew existed. Iron Chef winner Jose Andres. Me.
10. Grimaldi's Pizzeria (Brooklyn, NYC) - No delivery, no credit cards, no slices... great pizza.
11. Jose Antonio (Lima, Peru) - Upscale traditional Peruvian cuisine that's cozy instead of pretentious. Wonderful ambiance and professional service to show you the best of Peru.
12. Lupa Osteria Romana (NYC) - Molto Mario's restaurant for the rest of us has fresh homemade delicious pastas, a lively atmosphere, and, in my experience, a much better value than Babbo.
Sheeesh! Try eating on the west coast of the U.S. once in a while... ; )
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