Cat Store

Cat cookies

Exterior

Entry

Garlic toast

Caramel apple and ice cream

Toast

Smoked salmon pizza

Interior with JJ

**** (4 stars)

This was a fun lunch. It’s a bit hard to find the place, as the signage by the entrance to the building is very small, and then you take a tiny elevator to the third floor. But once inside the place is surprisingly spacious.

Don’t expect to have a cat in your lap, but the cats were surprisingly interactive (it was feeding time) and very tolerant of the children who didn[t quite know how to interact with them in proper cat fashion.

The food was surprisingly good. I really like my iced chocolate coffee and apple with ice cream. The cat cookies were homemade and very tasty.

Cat Store
Flat D-E, 3/F, Po Ming Building, 2-6 Foo Ming Street
富明街2~6號寶明大廈3樓D~E室
+852 2710 9953
https://www.yelp.com/biz/%E9%98%BF%E8%B2%93%E5%9C%B0%E6%94%A4-%E9%A6%99%E6%B8%AF

La Madeleine Country French Cafe

Interior

*** (3 stars)

Although the name implies this is a cafe, it’s really a counter serve place, albeit one with some nice outdoor seating.

The best bets are the baked goods. My chicken salad sandwich came on a very authentic croissant. The accompanying Caesar salad and fruit salad were nothing special.

Several in our party had various pastas, and all through they were watery.

Decaf coffee was certainly not the quality you’d get in France.

The employees were friendly enough, but since it is counter serve, there isn’t really much service.

La Madeleine Country French Cafe
4175 Millenia Mall Blvd
Orlando, FL 32839
(321) 332-7001
https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-madeleine-country-french-cafe-orlando

Dialog Cafe

Macchiato

Interior

***** (5 stars)

This cute, family owned coffee shop just off the Sunset Strip offers friendly service and excellent coffee drinks. There are also a large number of breakfast items, and tasty croissants. My macchiato was perfect and attractive.

Dialog Cafe
8766 Holloway Dr
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 289-1630
https://www.yelp.com/biz/dialog-cafe-west-hollywood

Stir

Interior

Pastries

**** (4 stars)

This is an attractive coffee place in the Fours Seasons. There is a nice selection of pastries. I have to say, though, that the decaf macchiato contained the bitterest shot of espresso I have ever had, requiring the addition of an equal amount of milk and an entire teaspoon of sugar. The Chai tea was quite good.

Stir
Four Seasons Hotel
2 Dole Dr
Westlake Village, CA 91362
(818) 575-3000
https://www.yelp.com/biz/stir-westlake-village

Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe

Bacon cheeseburger

Flatbread

Interior

**** (4 stars)

This combination wine shop and cafe is where one of the best scenes in Sideways was filmed. They have an excellent selection of retail wines, focused on the surrounding area, at reasonable prices. Wine tastings are also available, and the central wine bar is a good place to have a glass of your favorite.

The cafe has excellent food. The hamburger is particularly good, especially loaded up with bacon, sauteed onions and your choice of cheese.

I’ve been a member of the wine club for many years, which I particularly like because every quarter you receive high-end wines from completely different wineries, so there is much more variety than in most clubs.

Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe
2879 Grand Ave
Los Olivos, CA 93441
(805) 688-7265
https://www.yelp.com/biz/los-olivos-wine-merchant-and-cafe-los-olivos-4

Mariano’€™s Fresh Market

***** (5 stars)

I think I’m in love.

I’ve always considered the ultimate grocery store to be Southern California’s Gelsons (although many vote for Wegman’s, where I’ve never been) with The defunct Florida Gooding’s a close second. But Mariano’s certainly has those two beat.

Basically it’s like Whole Foods plus normal foods, plus a good wine, spirits and liquor store.

I love the vast variety of produce, the way everything is displayed, the logical arrangement of the two levels of the store, the extensive cheese offerings, and the large international section.

It’s great to be able to get organic produce, gourmet products and everyday packaged foods (okay, junk) without having to visit Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Jewel. Mariano has it all. Although I’m not a comparative shopper, prices also seems quite reasonable.

The employees I met were very helpful and cheerful, and the whole store seems like a great place for everyday shopping and discovering new goodies.

I think it will be a long honeymoon.

Mariano’s Fresh Market
333 E Benton Pl
Ste 206
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 228-1349
http://www.yelp.com/biz/marianos-fresh-market-chicago-2

Labriola Ristorante & Cafe

**** (4 stars)

This is one of the best places for outside dining in the Magnificent Mile area, because the sidewalk cafe is actually a balcony far above Grand Street, so there’s no automobile traffic.

The usual pasta dishes are on offer, but we concentrated on appetizers, and loved everything we tried, particularly the zucchini blossoms, which were very lightly fried and stuffed with a creamy smoked mozzarella that was delicious.

The ricotta appetizer was also excellent, with fresh honey and crusty toasted bread.

Clams and mussels are served in a garlic laced broth that’s not too rich.

We also shared a pizza. The offering changes weekly, so your mileage may vary. We loved the authentic Naples-style crust, but didn’t care for the raspberry and onion based sauce on our particular offering.

There are some nice selections on the wine list, and the service was friendly yet professional.

Labriola Ristorante & Cafe
535 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 955-3100
http://www.yelp.com/biz/labriola-ristorante-and-cafe-chicago

Amazing Kale Burger Lunch Counter

**** (4 stars)

It’s always a pleasure to eat where the employees are really passionate about what they do, and that epitomizes The Amazing Kale Burger. From the moment I walked in I felt right at home, and my server’s enthusiasm for the food was very clear.

I tried the Vaden, which is served with a beet-based BBQ sauce. The kale burger patty is quite delicious, with all the ingredient in balance, and a nice crust from cooking. The accompanying lettuce and tomato were quite fresh, and the BBQ sauce was delicious. The bun was a bit small, sturdy and dry for my taste, but I can see where others might like it.

For a side dish I had pickled asparagus, which was tossed with yellow peppers and extremely fresh oregano bits. It was delicious.

House made mint tea was pleasantly unsweetened.

The kale burger was one of the better vegetarian patties I’ve had, and I’d often choose it over a meat patty if it were available elsewhere. Coincidentally, I ate here on national burger day!

Amazing Kale Burger Lunch Counter
741 Howard St
Evanston, IL 60202
(847) 660-4330
http://www.yelp.com/biz/amazing-kale-burger-lunch-counter-evanston

First Watch

**** (4 stars)

This location has the best decor and ambience of the various First Watches I’ve been to. Our server was amazingly friendly (to the point of being perky). We went for lunch and I had the 2 For You, a sort of variant on Panera’s Pick 2. I chose a half Reuben sandwich and half pecan salad. Both were delicious (be sure to get the dressing on the side, it’s quite sweet so you don’t need much). I would definitely have both again. My best First Watch experience to date.

First Watch
7500 W Sand Lake Rd
Ste A101
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 363-5622
http://www.yelp.com/biz/first-watch-orlando-3