From the 6 bottles tested in round 1 of the Dude of Food’s search for the best inexpensive Chardonnay on June 22, 2015 we have a winner. The results are in. The notes have been compared and the winner of this tight competition was Sonoma County’s Storyteller Chardonnay. That was until I updated this story on July 28, 2015. While the Storyteller was holding down the 1st place spot the Dude of Food added three more bottles of Chardonnay to his list. The new results follow-
1st Place – Nitty Gritty Chardonnay Napa Valley 2012 3.9
2nd Place – STORYTELLER 2012 3.8
3rd Place – Ghost Pines Chardonnay blend 2013 3.6
4th Place – Kendall-Jackson Vinter’s Reseve 2013 3.5
5th Place – Benziger 2012 3.3
6th Place- Frei Bros Reserve 2013 3.2
7th Place – Hawkstone 2013 3.0
8th Place – EDNA Valley 2013 2.9
When the Dude of Food was wandering around the streets of Barcelona asking folks where he could find the best paella in the city there was 1 name that kept popping up. Located on a corner in the easily accessible Barcelonetta district, it’s easy to find this restaurant named Cheriff.
Cheriff opens for dinner at 8p and there were 3 parties waiting to come in when the doors opened. The Dude began with a bottle of local dry white wine and a salad.
Both were satisfying. Then when it came time to order I had a last minute change of mind and instead of ordering the normal seafood paella I decided to try the black ink squid paella.
The choice turned out to be a good one and the black ink paella with fresh squeezed lemon was delicious.
The Cheriff is a family run place, where mama is running the kitchen and papa is managing the finances. They are great and make awesome food.
The Dude of Food thinks when in Barcelona you need to go here!
If you are staying at the Marriott hotel at the end of the Diagonal St you can easily walk or get off the Poblenou exit of the metro in Barcelona like the Dude of Food did and make your way to the cities newest quality restaurant, El Mar-Amor.
The place is newly opened, mid May 2015, and was already doing a decent morning and evening business 4 days into it. Owner, manager and great host Hamid has put together a really great place to get to know. Hamid knows how to create and entertain. His hospitality is top notch and genuine. Let me give you some examples,
“Come in. If you don’t like it you don’t pay.” I heard an offer I couldn’t refuse, so I came in and asked for a beer. They had cold Estrelle Damm on tap.
When I told him I only had 20 euros on me and the paella was going to be 18 euros he said “no problem”. “but I already spent the other 2 euros on this beer and I want to drink more” the Dude of Food replied. Again Hamid replied, “no problem” and filled my empty beer glass. He then explained that “the paella is made fresh to order and will take at least 20 minutes but is only made for 2 people. It’s 9 euros each and the chef makes it for 2 people.” “No problem” said the Dude of Food. I reached in my pocket and gave Hamid the last 20 euro bill i had in my pocket.
Hamid took my bill and smiled, “we will take care of you” and he was true to his word. Hamid’s team prepared an awesome paella for 2 and filled my beer glass 4 times. The paella was served in a giant 14″ hot dish and was devoured by the Dude as soon as it had cooled enough to eat.
Hamid and his team took great care of me again when I returned for breakfast. They made me fried eggs, with ham bacon and some fried potatoes and coffee with milk. Hamid even left his bicycle for me to borrow. They offered to stay open past their normal 12:30a close if our crew wanted to stay and drink until 2am. The hospitality of Hamid just didn’t stop.
Located at Carrer Jonaquera 4 in Barcelona, and only a long block from the ocean near the Poblenou metro exit, The Dude of Food returned 6 times and tried nearly everything on the menu, all fresh and all delicious. The future is bright for this rising restaurant star and if you are in the area you need to have a meal at El Mar-Amor of Barcelona.
(the sausage is made local and is delicious with eggs)
When in Donostia / San Sebastian you will find many options of restaurants, but not many small ones that match Bar Desy. You can start your day there with a coffee and tapas or end your day there with a drink and tapas. Bar Desy is a father and son operation and is one great place to eat and meet locals. Bar Desy offers a well rounded variety of tapas both hot and cold from various fish items to meatballs.
The cod cheeks were pretty good and would make a great sandwich. Actually everything was really good but the fresh cod fillets, cod cheeks, squid with lemon, white wine and fresh bread were my favorite things besides the generous hospitality.
These guys take great care of their customers. Located at Ronda 4, a couple blocks back from the surf beach and a couple blocks over from the river. Bar Desy is a great place to get to know the tapas deal. The staff is great as is the food.
Thank you Bar Desy.
Bar Desy can be found on Facebook or by clicking on the photo or links.
It’s true what they say about Il Barroccio on Trip Advisor and elsewhere on the internet. It is just a matter of time before folks will discover and be flocking to Il Barroccio . It is located just around the corner from a huge crowded and overpriced plaza and is an easily found hidden gem.
The Dude of Food tried ‘the homemade noodles wrestling with soft chucks of wild boar in the seriously delicious sauce, please.’
It looked unbelievable and truly tasted better as it made it’s way over my taste buds followed by a bath of decadent Tuscan red wine.
Giovanni and Roberto are top notch and Il Barroccio offers food to match.
The Dude of Food recently visited the Tuscan region of Italy. Luckily, my aunt and uncle were in the area and invited me stay at their rented villa for a night which happens to be a short walk from the cool old Italian village called San Gusme. In this village you will find one of the world’s finest culinary dreams come true. A place called Sira e Remino.
The restaurant’s sign which says Sira e Remino un cult, is exactly the kind of cult I need to join. Their place is located within the small old village walls and is awesome. The greeting and hospitality were warm and genuine. Our party of 7 were shown to the ‘Frank Sinatra room’ in the back away from the rowdy local soccer fan filled bar.
We began this heavenly experience with lots of wine followed by salads, anti pasta, then more wine followed by incredible sizzling meat trays. There wasn’t a thing that wasn’t perfect about this entire place, staff and meal. The prices were generous considering the quality and portions.
Thank you Sira e Remino. Now I’m thinking I should get a job here just to be close to your quality food.
The Dude of Food can be reached on Facebook.
If you are hungry and need a slice of the best pizza in Firenze, then get yourself over to Pizzeria del Duomo next to the Duomo church. They have tables out front in the plaza to sit and enjoy your slices. Be sure to try the meatball pizza.
Opening just in time for 7 hungry tourists walking in to enjoy lunch, we were led to the back patio garden to enjoy a warm spring day. After some refreshing wine the group chose a number of various items as seen above. All were incredible. If you are unsure which place to eat while visiting Volterra, Italy then decide to eat at Restaurante Enoteca del Duca. Luckily, The Dude of Food did and it was one of his best delicioussions ever!
Seen from the street, Bar Porta Al Prato looks like this corner building. Sitting quietly, this recently opened culinary beauty awaits your entrance, offering everything one could desire once you make your way through the doors and into the soul of this gem.
Bar Porta Al Prato in Firenze offers both a great indoor environment or a huge patio out back to enjoy. The staff here are awesome, extremely helpful, knowledgable, generous and fun besides offering many delicious and thoughtfully prepared Tuscan dishes. Their menu offers everything from pizza and gelato to pasta and fine wine and everything in between. What a great way to spend quality time dining with your family, friends or team.
The delicious wine comes from local vineyards that produce some excellent flavors. The homemade gelato is delicious and kid approved.
Thank you Bar Porta Al Prato for everything. The Dude of Food thinks you guys are doing a great job. Keep up the awesome hospitality and great food.
They can also be found on Facebook by searching Bar Samus Porta.
Located at Via Veio, 4 , near the San Giovanni metro station in Rome, Italy is the greatest beer and wine store around. The staff at Johnny’s OFF LICENSE are super knowledgable about the processes and tastes of their products and offer an awesome selection, especially beers.
You can drink on the streets in Rome, so you go in and buy yourself a coldie and simply enjoy it out front while talking with other beer professors. Much local knowledge can be learned from respectable folks at these street meetings, i.e. restaurant recommendations, train and bus info, etc.
These guys at Johnny’s OFF LICENSE are a hospitable bunch and even gave me a beer book to read while traveling. (3 Sheets to the Wind, Pete Brown)
This place is a must if you are tired of feeling like a tourist at the hotel. Tell them the Dude of Food sent ya.