Recently we travelled to a little place you may have heard of, the United States of America. Land of fried food, sugary alcohol and an obesity epidemic… Basically, the perfect travel destination for us.
I had stalked Instagram relentlessly searching for the “must eats” of our destinations, and I’ll tell you what, sometimes it really pays off. But for those of you who don’t feel like scrolling through Instagram for hours trying every possible combination of “boulderfoodie” or “sanfraneats”, you can just read below for a little run down of our favourites.
Tony’s Pizza - if you ever go to San Francisco, you must eat here. Actually, if you’re not going to San Francisco, go there, just for this. It was the best carbonara that I have ever had the luck to eat, and I’ve sampled many a carbonara. Simply creamy, bacony perfection. Known mostly for their pizza, with a pizza shop next door, obviously we sampled one of these too. The menu categorises the pizzas by which degree oven they’re cooked in and damn if that legit wood oven flavour doesn’t get a party started in your mouth. It was my favourite place we ate our entire trip. On a Monday at 6pm in off-peak season we waited half an hour to be seated, it will be worth every minute you wait though!
Mr Holmes Bakehouse - the glorious pastries this place produces had been running around in my mind since I found their Instagram. With a fun little slogan and glossy, crunchy goodies, this was an absolute must on my list. I forced Paul up at 6.30am before a day tour so we could make it for open time and buy the shop up. Slight draw back for those of us with nut allergies - 90% of the goods are made with almond meal (WHY?!?), and I’m pretty sure there would be a 90% chance of cross contamination for those made without the nuts. Obviously, I risked it, and the pay off was worth it. Paul ate the other 5 shiny pastry yummies and, while he tried to downplay how good they were for my benefit, the fact that he ate 5 pasties in 2 days speaks for itself.
Centro Latin Kitchen - Firstly, if you ever travel to Boulder and are not used to higher altitude, and order alcohol, you will get drunk very quickly. It’s the altitude, not you. I wish I had someone to tell me this when I was giggling like a child after one (very strong) fruity margarita. The food here was incredible. This was the start of a mexican food adventure (I got nachos every second day, easily) and the first place we discovered that everywhere makes their own corn chips! They are way better than the ones at home, and though it’s probably not actually “authentic”, it feels like it is so what difference does it make? The food was pretty spicy, I would take a few corn chips between each bite so I could feel in the inside of my mouth for a little while before I burnt it off again. Worth it.
The Kitchen - This place was a wee bit fancier than what we would usually go to, but by this point (6 days in) we were desperate for vegetables, and we were willing to pay $30 for them… with some steak. We tried ox tail, which I never would have ordered but hey when in Boulder. It just tasted like the most tender piece of meat you could try to sink your fork into (seriously, couldn’t even fork it, it just fell right off).
Sundance Cafe - Set about 14 miles out of Boulder into the mountains, for breathtaking views and wicked nachos, this place is a must. The snow capped mountain backdrop looked fake, our waitress seemed to genuinely love her life and the food was really cheap. It was recommended by a Boulder-ian, and sold to us as a locals knowledge kind of place. Sure enough, we were the token tourists until a couple of others showed up when we were getting ready to leave. If you have the means to get there, I would definitely recommend a visit.
Shake Shack - If you’re in Adelaide and have been to Nordburger and know how f*cking perfect it is, or read this blog enough to know how much I love Nordburger, you should go here. It’s basically Nordburger with more alcohol and strawberry lemonade. This place is just on the strip, very central and easy to find.
Boiler Room - We were unfortunately rushed here because we had a show to get to but the service was awesome and made sure we got our meals really quick and got our bill sorted toot sweet. We both ordered meals off the specials menu, Paul the roast tomato and prawn linguine, and I got the korean fries. They were both delicious, mine was super weird but I was into it. It was fries, as promised, with korean beef, a special spicy sauce, egg, spring onion and bacon. I would love to eat here again, their menu is awesome.
Hope 46 - This was our hotel’s restaurant and we ate here arguably way too much. I think three meals, and considering we had 2 nights in San Diego… yeah. The food was so tasty, for one dinner I had this steak/bean/chargrilled vegetable/bacon plate of amazing. It was also awesome for sitting by the pool with cocktails and tatertots. It’s a bit far from the Gaslamp Quarter which I know is where most people head, but if you do wander just north of the Zoo, The Lafayette Hotel with Hope 46 is worth a visit.
Red Fox Steakhouse and Piano Bar - this restaurant is out the front of Lafayette and is incredible value for money. I wouldn’t have a clue what it looked like during the day, or even with the lights on, because the dim mood lighting is so dim you had to imagine everything. There was a man playing piano and a woman singing all the time we were there, and it was beautiful. The food was delicious, we both had a steak with a baked potato, mushrooms, vegetables and a salad with a drink each and it came to about $60.
Carnita’s Snack Shack - a recommendation from a man at the desk, Carnita’s was a hidden gem. You order at the front and then head around the back to sit and have your meals. I got a steak sandwich and Paul had pulled pork, and we shared some of those house made corn chips with guac that America loves so much. I felt like I needed to be a bit trendier to be eating there, it definitely wasn’t a tourist spot (#livinglocal), and man was it tasty!
Coco’s - Ah, Coco’s. Besides Disneyland, this is the only place we ate. When we first got to Anaheim we had lunch here and come dinner we made the mistake of not going back here. But it was okay, because we popped in for a second dinner both days after Disney. They have award winning pie, and we can both testify that it is worthy of the awards. Actual meal food wise we weren’t expecting much but I was happy with everything I got there, from grilled chicken & rice to chicken pizza, it was all round delicious.
Cabo Wabo - this place is set back from Hollywood Boulevard but still right in the action. I got a couple of strong cocktails and the best damn fajitas I’ve ever had. Look at this DIY perfection. It was ridiculously filling and ridiculously tasty. Would 10/10 recommend the sizzling fajitas. I can’t remember what Paul had, pretty sure I didn’t look up from my meal at all to see what his even looked like.
Heavenly - It was SO hard to find a decent brunch. Breakfast/brunch is everywhere in Adelaide, it’s an explosion of breakfast food, but in America… It was too hard. Everywhere was eggs and potatoes, or pancakes with a thick vanilla drizzle, which is great for the first week... and that's all. I would have knocked an old lady over to get my hands on some smashed avocado on sourdough. BUT finally, on our second to last day we found Heavenly, with their food that satisfies the soul. I had my first ever breakfast smoothie bowl and Paul got his poached eggs (the first of the trip that were actually runny) and we got green juices. You’re welcome, body.