15 Great American food adventures!

While in the US (for about a month in total), I ate many American-style foods which were both delicious and overwhelming at the same time! It was exciting to be able to try new things which I wouldn’t be able to have in Australia.

This is a list of some of the delicious American food adventures I had. Make sure you also have a look at my posts on The Cheesecake Factory, Cafe Mason and the Plaza Hotel’s Palm Court Tea.

1. Noah’s Bagels, San Francisco

This place is great! The variety of bagels (see below) is amazing and they offer both sweet and savoury options. Service is pretty quick and the place has a great buzzing atmosphere.

My cranberry bagel with strawberry jam (or “jelly” as the Americans call it), went down a treat and was the perfect start to the morning!

2. Buffalo Wild Wings, Los Angeles

This is the all-American wings and football joint. Located on Hollywood Boulevarde, my friend and I unwittingly came across this place after a day spent sight-seeing in Los Angeles.

We were absolutely hungry, and although we weren’t really in the mood for heavy, fatty foods we decided this was the best option available at the time.

Every meal comes with a trivia toy/game that you and your companions can use to compete against the other tables in the restaurant and against people from other restaurants as well, for the top spot on the TV screens around the room.

The menu comes with different sauce options (see below), ranging from “smilin'” to “screamin'”. We decided to go for 8 buffalo boneless chicken wings to share, with a buffalo sauce. Not being a fan of chicken wings because of the annoying bones, I absolutely loved the boneless wings.

We demolished these crunchy little morsels and moved on to the next course. I ordered a buffalo ranch chicken sandwich and my friend ordered a wrap. Both came with chips/fries.

Whilst at the restaurant we witnessed some fellow diners participate in the wings challenge where they had to eat as many wings as possible within a set time frame. Although kind of crazy and disgusting, it was fun to watch and made for an interesting night out!

3. Hotel Food- Monte Carlo, Las Vegas

Whilst a bit overwhelming and very filling, a big buffet meal is a MUST when in Vegas. The city is famous for its clubs, casinos and overload of food in buffets!

We tried the one at the Monte Carlo, where we stayed, and tried to get a bit of variety on our plates with some salad and fruit as well. I also previously stayed at the Hilton in Las Vegas and found their food great as well. As long as you stay at a good hotel (and there are many in Vegas on the Strip), the buffet should be satisfying 🙂

4.  Little Italy: Buon Appetito and a little gelato/coffee bar, San Diego

On our first night in San Diego, my bestie and I were starving and wanted something that wasn’t fast food.

The staff at the Hilton Doubletree suggested Little Italy, and we found ourselves here:

The place was beautiful and had a lovely atmosphere with a large crowd and little candles on the tables.  We really enjoyed our meal there and I always remember it as one of the best Italian meals I have ever had!

Insalata Fantasia – Escarole and baby greens tossed in or raspberry vinaigrette with sliced pears and topped with Gorgonzola cheese

Linguini allo Scoglio- Fresh clams, mussels, bay scallops and shrimp

Basil Pesto Gnocchi

Here are some photos of the coffee and gelato bar:

5. Max Brenner, New York City

Everyone knows I love Max Brenner. It is my ultimate chocolate heaven and while in New York I was determined to visit the store there.

We went one night after dinner, around 11.00pm and caught the subway. It didn’t take long before we had found our way over to the familiar looking store.

The store was extremely busy and we were told that there would be a wait of 30-45 minutes for a table. We decided to do take-away instead and were able to get a cocktail table and some stools to sit on.

I ordered a waffle which I hadn’t had since I was in Australia 6 months ago, but found it was smaller, and less crisp than the ones here. I also noticed the food didn’t seem as fresh as the ones back home. Nonetheless, I do love Max Brenner and was very happy to visit this chocolate lovers paradise!

Chocolate Pizza

6. Wipeout Bar & Grill, Pier 39 of Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco

Pier 39 is a beautiful place and we wished we had more time to spend here as we only had a few hours after our Alcatraz Tour and day of San Fran sight-seeing!

We found this little beach themed bar and grill and thought we would get into the Cali spirit and dine there! The restaurant has a beachy feel and the staff are “totally awesome dude”! Very chilled and laid back.

We enjoyed our burger + chips and fish + chips and then went to explore the rest of the Pier!

7. Serendipity, Las Vegas

A lovely eatery with great dessert and drink options including a frozen hot chocolate :p

8. Planet Hollywood, Times Square New York

An American favourite, we had to dine at Planet Hollywood before we left!

With great food, very interesting props and decor, and entertaining waiters, we had a unique and fun, if not overwhelming, dining experience!

9. Magnolia Bakery, New York

This famous bakery is known for its amazing cupcakes. A “sugarholic” like me couldn’t possibly leave New York without a visit to this cute cupcake store.

It was great to be able to see the cakes being iced right in front of you and my little choc cupcake was a great after dinner treat!

10. Dylan’s Candy Bar, New York

This New York Wonkaland is owned by Ralph Lauren’s daughter, Dylan, a self-confessed sugar addict.

The store in New York features 2 levels of lollies, lollies and…more lollies!

I loved this place and anyone with a sweet tooth is sure to have a blast in here!

11. New York Pizza

If you don’t try anything else in New York, make sure you have a slice of GIANT New York pizza. Cheap as chips and as common as Lindsay Lohan arrests, these babies will fill you up and give you your money’s worth!

12. M&M World

There are plenty of these around and everyone will enjoy exploring the cute and colourful home of the world’s most famous chocolate buttons!

 

Yes Folks, that’s m&ms in those tubes!

13. Coca-Cola World

There are almost as many M&M World Stores as there are Coca-Cola ones. I saw these stores in New York, Vegas and LA. Great for Coke lovers to grab souvenirs, vintage items and vitamin water flavoured lip glosses!

14. Lolly stores

See also the Sugar Factory, It’s Sugar and Universal Studios lolly shops for more swweeet treeeats! 🙂

 

 

 

 

15. Flip Restaurant, Bloomingdale’s New York

A great burger joint for shopping fuel. Check it out if  you’re in the area!

 

So those are a few of my favourite dining experiences in the USA.

I’d love to hear what your favourite American restaurants or cafes are. What was the food like? Was it something unique you hadn’t seen before? Let us know by posting a comment below!

Garfish, Manly ($$$)

Address: 1/39 East Esplanade, Manly NSW 2095

Tel: (02) 9977 0707

Website: http://www.garfish.com.au

Opening Hours:

Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner

12noon to 3.00pm

5.30pm to 10.00pm

* * *

After our Ghost Tour of Manly, we were quite hungry as it was 8.00pm by the time we finished the tour.

The Restaurant

We had decided on dinner at Garfish in Manly. Garfish has won numerous awards and is famous for its delicious seafood. Some of these awards include the 2011, 2010 and 2009 Best Seafood Restaurant and 2008 and 2010 Best Informal Seafood Restaurant.

Outside Garfish restaurant, Manly

I had rung earlier to make a booking but was told that they only take bookings 1 hour before. We called again at 8.00pm confident that we would get a table, as 8.00pm was quite late for dinner, and were able to book a table for 8.30pm. By the time we got there it was only 8.15pm but we were soon seated, a row in from the window.

Atmosphere

The atmosphere was great as the restaurant was bustling with busy waiters, the chatter of happy customers, and the sounds of a busy kitchen. Garfish is unusual in that the kitchen is visible from the dining area. While at first I found this a little odd, I realised that it actually improves the atmosphere of the restaurant as diners are able to see and smell the food being cooked, which only adds to the experience.

Drinks

Service was great and our waiter had soon brought out menus for us and taken our drink orders (still water, pear cider and my old favourite, lemon lime bitters!).

Acqua Panna Still Water, $5.00- sorry for the blurry picture!

Monteith’s crushed pear cider ($9.00) and lemon lime bitters ($3.50)

Starters

We ordered some wood fired focaccia with caramelised garlic and rosemary. It was the perfect way to start off the meal as the bread was soft and warm, unlike some focaccias I have had which were a little tough. The olive oil and garlic was deliciously moreish and before long we had eaten it all up!

Wood fired focaccia, $4.00

Mains

It took some time for me to decide what I wanted for dinner. The specials menu was enticing, with diners able to choose:

a) the type of fish;

b) how it was cooked e.g. grilled, grilled with chilli, crumbed etc; and

c) the way it was served e.g. chilli broth and wontons, with bacon and asparagus, with mash, as fish and chips etc.

The restaurant’s normal menu included dishes from the wood oven and typical mains such as fish and chips, indian fish curry and squid ink angel hair pasta.

I decided on the Moreton Bay Bugs (MBB) as a main, with a side of wood roasted vegetables with balsamic dressing and parmesan.

When my meal came out I was given an implement which was used to scrape out the meat from the tail, a bowl for the shells, and a finger bowl so, as the waiter suggested, I could “get messy.”

There were 4 MBBs, served with aioli and  brushed with lemon and garlic butter. I removed all the meat from the shells straight away and squeezed a generous amount of lemon over it, as I love the tangy taste of citrus on seafood. The MBBs were well-cooked as they were soft yet firm, and had turned opaque.

Moreton Bay Bugs (400g) brushed with lemon and garlic butter and served with aioli, $37.50

The wood roasted vegetables included roasted capsicum, kipfler potatoes, zucchini, and cauliflower. They had some bite to them and went well with my MBBs, which are usually served quite plain so that the flavour of the bugs can be enjoyed.  However I did find that the vegetables were a little oily and more dressing on them than I prefer.

Wood roasted vegetables with balsamic and parmesan, $7.50

My dining companion chose the Garfish from the specials menu, crumbed and served with asparagus, kipfler potatoes, bacon and sautéed cabbage. He wanted to try the signature dish which the restaurant was named after, and being a schnitzel lover, went for the crumbed option!

Crumbed garfish with asparagus, bacon, kipfler potatoes and sautéed cabbage, $30.00

He was pleased with the size of the portion and actually struggled to finish it after eating the garlic focaccia. He commented on how fresh and well-cooked he thought the garfish was.

However, he was not too keen on the asparagus and side dish, and I had to help him finish it off! As with the wood roasted vegetables, the side was a little too oily.

Overall, both dishes were enjoyable and we thought the food was tasty and of good quality.

We were too full after dinner to get dessert, but we decided on a walk around the wharf, and ended up at Max Brenner Manly.

Cost

The meal cost us $95.00 all up.

Rating

Overall I would rate my dining experience (out of 10):

  • Service- 8
  • Food- 8
  • Ambience- 8
  • Value – 7

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