United Kingdom
La Brasserie
272 Brompton Road
London SW3
0171-584-1669 & 0171-581-3089
A traditional French cafe-restaurant. We can't go to London without having a meal here. Wonderfully vibrant place, simply and perfectly prepared excellent food, perfect service, good wine selection, reasonable prices. 
United States
Pacific Grove
Passionfish (formerly Crocodile Grill)
701 Lighthouse Ave
Pacific Grove, CA 93950
We don't get to Monterey very often - but this is a restaurant we will visit again. Wonderful menu and tremendous wine list and all at very reasonable prices.
This is where I found a wine new to us, Peter Lehman, The Barosso, 1997 Shiraz, that went perfectly with our dinner. A soft, mouth filling, vanilla flavored Shiraz to linger over.
We started with two salads - warm goat cheese salad with apples & spiced pecans and Greek salad with feta cheese & fried olives  Sharon then had prime rib of pork with maple bacon mustard and I enjoyed the best cioppino I have ever had.
And, during dinner we visited with our neighbors at the next table. They recommended another restaurant, Mon Trio, for our last night in Monterey. It was also a winner!


414 Calle Principal
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 648-8880
What a way to finish our week in Monterey. An exceptional meal in a comfortable setting.
we started our meal with a terrine of eggplant with roasted peppers and goat cheese. This is a recipe we must duplicate. It is luscious appetizer. After sharing a roasted beet salad with granny smith apples, feta cheese and crispy walnuts our entrees arrived. Sharon selected a special of a fillet mignon, rolled in pesto and grilled. It was served layered on asparagus, garlic mashed potatoes, and a rich wine sauce. I chose stripped bass, served in a similar presentation. Both were delicious.
For our wine on this evening we picked Keyhole Ranch, Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. We will be looking for and buying some of this wine.
Montrio is a "don't miss" if you are visiting the Monterey peninsula.


Bubba Burgers
Are we kidding? No. Bubba Burgers serves the best burgers on Kauai, and probably the best burgers in Hawaii. Follow the link and learn more!


Frontera Grill and Topolobampo
445 N. Clark
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 661-1434
Frontera Grill and Topolobampo are two restaurants in one. Topolobampo is located inside of Frontera. Owned by Rick Bayless the food is Mexican like you've never had it before. This is not Tex-Mex. This is authentic Mexican cooking. Either of the restaurants is a "must go there" if you are in Chicago.
Frontera Grill is casual in atmosphere and food and presentation. Topolobampo is more formal - white cotton tablecloth versus bare tables at Frontera. Topolobampo's wine list is an excellent match for the intense flavors of their dishes. We've made some great discoveries there.
If you want in Topolobampo, reservations must be made way in advance. For example, I just made reservations for a Saturday night one month in advance - and only two slots were open.
Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless have written several cookbooks focusing on regional Mexican cooking.


Aurelios Pizza
There are other Aurelios Pizza locations in the Chicago area, but the original in Homewood remains the best. The thin crust is crispy on the edges. The sauce is very tasty and does not overwhelm the rest of the pizza. Our favorite pizza is the sausage and onion.


Copa Cubana
24 S. Main St.
Naperville, IL
A vibrant place with delicious traditional Cuban cooking. This is not to be missed.


Springfield reviews courtesy of Kristi Katcher

January 12, 2001 "After reading your restaurant reviews, I realized there are none from Springfield. Hard to believe, I know, but there are a few really good restaurants here other than chains. I think you two are in need of a restaurant review road trip. Some culinary suggestions (which I hope doesn't create any bias on the reviewers' part):

Augie's Front Burner--has a nice and unique mix of different things. Sometimes Ostrich is on the menu, but the best thing is their Lobster Bisque soup. I've eaten there for lunch many times and have liked everything, especially the soup and black bean cakes. The only lobster bisque soup that I've had that meets or slightly surpasses Augies is from Tavern on the Green in NYC. It had chunks of lobster in it.

Gumbo Ya Ya's--Cajun food at the top of the Springfield Hilton. The lobster bisque is so-so next to Augies, but the Cajun Caesar salad is great. They have a lot of other good things, too. When I planned a conference there last summer, I ordered some side dishes that are usually only on the Gumbo Ya Ya's menu, not the banquet menu--one of the best hotel banquet meals I've ever had.

Sebastian's--nice mix of things. It is only open in the evenings now, but the have great potato/leek/blue cheese soup and lobster cakes. Do you see a pattern here? Lobster and soup? When they were open for lunch, I often had their falafel.

Cafe Brio--has a SW/Mexican/Caribbean influence. The absolute best fresh salsa I've ever had. I like their tamale cakes and spinach enchiladas. Flautas aren't bad either.

Joe's Italian Pizza--a little mom and pop place with a studly pizza maker in the back. I had some last night and it was great--lots of topping with good sausage in which you can taste the fennel. I like that. I will admit that their thin and crispy crust has gotten a little thicker in the last few years, which I'm not crazy about. But, it is still good.

Indigo--very gourmet (for Springpatch anyway). It reminds me of Bistro 110. The menu changes a lot, but when I've been there they had crab cakes and fantastic mashed potatoes on the menu.

La Sorella--gourmet Italian. I loved their portabella mushroom gnocchi's in a spicy cream sauce.

Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is. Come on down for some new restaurants to try.


Villa Park
Tierra Grill
525 E. St. Charles Rd.
Villa Park
This is fast food with a difference and a winner.
1728 Barton Springs Rd.
Austin, TX 78704

The best place for TexMex anywhere. Period.
I miss Austin for a lot of reasons. Close to the top reason is Chuy's Smoked Chicken Chili Rellenos.
Sharon's favorite item is the Chuy's Special.
There are Chuy's locations in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston. I prefer to stick with the original on Barton Springs in Austin. Some locations don't offer the smoked chicken items - they should!
A side note, Beverly Howard introduced me to Chuy's and their smoked chicken tacos in 1985. Thanks Bev.

May 20, 2000 update
We were in Austin last weekend and went to Chuy's on Barton Springs with a number of friends - a table of 13. We were seated quickly despite the crowd. Service was excellent. However, Sharon and I were both disappointed with our meals. No smoked chicken and the tomatillo sauce was not up to past standards. When I mentioned this to Beverly he said that he now prefers the North Lamar Chuy's. We'll have to revisit it on our next trip.