Some of my best memories are tied to food and beverage and friends, and whenever I travel, I try to find great restaurants that will help me experience the local cuisine, and if I can, I’ll shoot for ones that are frequented by locals as opposed to tourists. That said, many places do a great tourist service and I have had many an outstanding experience. I find that food enhances the memory. Often, Al and I will say, “Do you remember that great ___ we had at ____?” and it will bring up some wonderful reminiscences of our travels. I’d love to hear your recommendations for your favorite places to have a sip or a bite.

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Tori's "Best Of" Awards


I’ve fallen in love with this amazing dish. When I spent two weeks for work in Panama City, Panama, I think I had it pretty much daily. This restaurant was my favorite, hands down!


For the longest time, I wasn’t a fan. Then my friend Maureen invited me to spend a weekend with her and another friend in New York City and she took us to one of her favorite haunts in Hell’s Kitchen. It’s been the benchmark for my octopus dishes for a decade.


Another one of those dishes it took me a few years to fall in love with but now, well, I’m always on the lookout for a great place.

New Orleans:

Old Town Alexandria (VA):
If you end up here, sit at the bar - the mixologists are amazing!

And if I end up downtown for work and it’s rush hour, it won’t hurt my feelings to end up here:

Latin Heritage

I’m a fan (you see my ceviche has its own category? Plus tapas?). I spent time in my youth in Puerto Rico and have great friends in the Miami area and we DID honeymoon in Spain…

Cabo San Lucas

I wish I could give you a web site, but they don’t have one. We had the BEST fish tacos at this place on the marina walk called Fisherman’s Landing. It’s near the end of the marina en route to Medano Beach.


I like Thai, Chinese, Japanese … we’ve even had Filipino on the cruise! So many awesome places to choose from. Some of our favorites here but there is no way to list them all!

Las Vegas, NV

Charleston, SC

Las Vegas, NV

Oh, love the food carts!

Raleigh, NC

Fine Dining / Steak and Seafood

Rather than break them out because some are steakhouses that serve great seafood and some are just amazing places, we’re lumping these together.

Las Vegas, NV

For the carnivore in you, Chef Andres delivers.

Las Vegas, NV

Believe it or not, the best thing we ate here was the arctic char. DELISH.

Meat and Cheese plates

One of the things we noticed traveling abroad is how they eat so very differently from us. Small plates (yes, I’ll get to tapas) and meats and cheeses. I do love charcuterie plates and cheese plates. Yum.

Los Angeles, CA

Duff said this was the best he’d ever eaten and it’s definitely on my list too:

Cagiari, Sardinia, Italy

We found this place in Cagliari in the summer of 2019… went there THREE times. Amazing.


Small plates. Everywhere in Spain. I don’t care where you go. Just eat the tapas. In the States, there are some fantastic places, but many of my favorites are in Vegas. Fortunately, I've gotten to visit there a bit.

Wake Forest, NC

How lucky are we that this place opened up just down the street???


San Francisco, CA

The best purple cauliflower - EVER

Raleigh, NC

Love Brussels sprouts? Me too. And these guys are LOCAL to us!


I’ve said I enjoy a beverage and there have been a few that have been memorable.

Panama City, Panama

San Francisco, CA

The Pisco Sour

New York City, NY

Pretty much every cocktail we tried here in New York

Las Vegas, NV

How about some sangria in Vegas?

Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Want to get an Aperol spritz in Cagliari? (Their local Sardinian Vermentino wine is excellent too)

Solo Meal

I travel alone quite a bit and that means eating alone. But so what? Good food is good food!

Las Vegas, NV

Sit at the bar and ask for the “special” menu - you can thank me later!

Chicago, IL

The bone marrow, if nothing else:

Go-to Wines

I love to come home and unwind. Or sit out on the deck. Or people-watch at a bistro table. Having a glass of wine completes the picture. Some of my favorites:

By itself, with Thai, sushi, oysters… pretty much anything really.

Special Meal

Sometimes you want a really fancy event, memorable, over the top. 

This one I did with a friend while we were in Vegas. It was a four-hour extravaganza. We had our own waiter, sommelier, and got personalized menus to take home. It was dear but I remember it to this day as one of the best ever.

And a trip to Vegas Gordon Ramsay restaurant would be a good option too. I used to love the Hell’s Kitchen tasting menu at Steak before he opened his Hell’s Kitchen restaurant. I tried the new tasting menu at Steak - it was “truffle” when I went - and it was phenomenal. Try the pairing, or not, but it’s gonna be a bit pricey (not as much as the Robouchon though)

Raleigh and Durham have had a renaissance and our taste buds have been the beneficiaries. We went here for a date night recently. We were NOT disappointed.


Sometimes the end of a meal just cries out for dessert. I won’t pass these up if given an opportunity to order them.

Santa Barbara, CA

At a wine tasting at Grassini’s tasting room, we had these lovely craft truffles. I loved them so much I asked for a big box for Christmas. Amazing combos.

Las Vegas, NV

Still one of my favorites, Gordon Ramsay’s sticky toffee pudding.

Raleigh, NC

Chocolate Chess Pie


I love breakfast - for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Las Vegas, NV

If you’re in for a hearty breakfast and you’re in Vegas, try here:

Or if you’d just like a bistro and the opportunity to people-watch:

Cherokee, NC

Because mountains. We love to stop here and enjoy looking at the river while pigging out on breakfast.

Airport Food

You gotta eat while on the road. It’s not all bad.

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