Harold€’s Restaurant

***** (5 stars)

If there is a better omelette on the face of the planet, I have yet to find it. I’ve been going here for thirty years, and even through a change in ownership and expansion into the space next door, the omelettes have remained transcendental.

My favorite is the Special Omelette, which contains bacon, green chilis and sour cream. A mound of hash browns form the base, then come the ingredients, and then a fluffy egg disc the size of a frisbee. Ask for your hash browns well done for the ultimate omelette enjoyment experience.

Harold’s Restaurant
2440 E Thousand Oaks Blvd
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
(805) 230-3147

Old Place Restaurant

***** (5 stars)

In the thirty years we’ve been going here this place has stayed true to its quirky roots. Constructed of random bits and pieces, and little bigger than a shoe box, the ambiance is what it’s all about. You still have to sit at the bar unless you’re a large party, and you still have to go outside to visit the restroom.

But the food and wine list have been upgraded significantly. You can still get the clams as an appetizer and the steak as an entree. Those were the only two dishes originally. But now there are more appetizers, and the baked potato has grown from from the size of a golf ball to a softball. There’s also a wonderful chicken entree.

The wine list has also grown, from two jugs to a couple dozen nicely chosen bottles, most available by the glass.

Service is friendly but constrained but the strict three-seating schedule if you have a reservation. Our server had been there as long as we have been going, and it was fun to reminisce about old times.

Old Place Restaurant
29983 Mulholland Hwy
Agoura Hills, CA 91301
(818) 706-9001

Boxwood at The London

*** (3 stars)

Boxwood is a nicely decorated space on the ground floor of The London. The dining room is bright and airy. It actually has a great view of the city, because of the steep hill that it’s on.

They offer an excellent buffet breakfast that is included with the room. We didn’t try it for dinner, but they boxed up a nice Thanksgiving lunch for us to take to relatives.

The lounge area out front isn’t particularly cozy, but the bar in the middle of the restaurant is fairly nice.

Service is friendly.

Boxwood at The London
1020 N San Vicente Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 358-7788

Starving Artists Bistro

***** (5 stars)

This is a great little gastropub with an eclectic, extensive menu of mostly American comfort foods.

I really loved the idea of hot dog sliders: three small hotdogs with interesting toppings. The sweet shrimp salad was also an interesting combination of greens, shrimp, candied nuts, cheese and a sweet balsamic dressing.

We loved the vibrant decor, with guitars everywhere! Service was extremely friendly, and the kitchen is lightning fast.

Starving Artists Bistro
9447 N Fort Washington Rd
Ste 101
Fresno, CA 93730
(559) 433-0133

Ahwahnee Dining Room

**** (4 stars)

We’ve been coming here since 1978, and it’s amazing how it never changes. In fact, I think it hasn’t really changed much since 1927, when the hotel was constructed. The food is no doubt different than it was then, but it’s remarkably similar to the way it was in 1978.

The soups are still rich and creamy, and the portions large. At dinner I enjoyed the short ribs, and the salmon was even better.

There’s a buffet breakfast, but even better choices are available on the menu, including a kitchen sink vegetarian omelet made with three eggs that barely fits on the plate.

Many of the servers have been working here almost as long as I’ve been coming, which is a testament to what a special venue this is. During the day, the tall glass windows offer unsurpassed views of Yosemite valley. And at dinner the enormous windows turn into mirrors, reflecting back the hundreds of candles in the chandeliers.

It’s really a pretty magical place.

Ahwahnee Dining Room
Ahwahnee Hotel
9005 Ahwahnee Dr
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
(209) 372-1489

Flights 101 Club Lounge

**** (4 stars)

This lobby lounge offers a surprisingly intimate atmosphere in the evening, with low lighting levels that make it easy to watch the flight traffic in and out of SFO. In fact, the lobby area is a much better choice for dinner than the adjacent restaurant, which is lit up like a coffee shop. And the lounge offers all the same food, plus bar food.

The chicken quesadilla was really more like a flauta, and it was fine. But the fish tacos were truly delicious: three larger servings of nicely seasoned fish topped with slaw and a piquant sauce.

During the course of our meal we were tag-teamed by six different servers, yet there was perfect continuity, and they were all very friendly and helpful. If traveling through SFO I would definitely eat here again.

Flights 101 Club Lounge
1800 Old Bayshore Hwy
Burlingame, CA 94010
(650) 692-9100

P.F. Chang’s

**** (4 stars)

This P.F. Chang’s is a big improvement over the Chili’s that occupied this space for many years. The menu is a reduced version of the real P.F. Chang’s menu, and is sadly missing our favorite rib appetizer. But the superb tuna tartare starter made up for it. This was the best thing I’ve had at a P.F. Chang’s.

Service was friendly and efficient, so we were in and out in time to easily make our connection.

P.F Chang’s
Concourse A
8700 Spine Rd
Atlanta, GA 30320
(404) 481-2146


**** (4 stars)

It’s nice to find an Asian restaurant in this are that isn’t Chinese or sushi. The menu has a limited offering of Vietnamese staples including Pho and Banh Mi sandwiches.

I had the Special, which turned out to not be Pho, but rather a bowl of rice topped with beef chunks and an optional egg. It was good, but my friend’s Pho was better, a generous serving, with all the usual ingredients.

The Banh Mi was good, although at over $6 it’s one of the more expensive versions in town–not that that’s a lot for a sandwich, but for some reason this sandwich is traditionally really cheap most places.

Although it’s counter service, the interior is rather nice. Service is friendly, but the kitchen takes a while at lunch time, so don’t be in a hurry.

Pho Real is quite hard to spot from the street. It’s not on the main sign at the entrance to the strip center, and the combination of the name and logo make it look like a real estate office, so don’t give up.

2910 Maguire Rd
Ste 1006
Ocoee, FL 34761
(407) 614-1684

Dan’s Family Restaurant

*** (3 stars)

This coffee shop has a particularly welcoming and enthusiastic staff.

They offer the usually array of breakfast and other coffee shop choices, and everything is carefully prepared and served.

The interior is a bit tired, but the friendliness of the place makes up for that.

Dan’s Family Restaurant
7300 E Colonial Dr
Orlando, FL 32807
(407) 917-6318

Gators Dockside

*** (3 stars)

All of the Gators I’ve been to are similar, but this one seems to have a few service issues, or perhaps it was just our server, but almost nothing we ordered came out correctly, from drinks to salads to wings.

That said, Gator’s grilled wings are about the best there are, especially with the hot garlic sauce.

If you’re passing through on I75, this place is about a mile and a half off the highway, but worth driving past all the fast food places to get to.

Gators Dockside
313 NW Commons Loop
Lake City, FL 32055
(386) 438-5446