You probably know Todd and Michele Rundgren as rockers from the 1970s, but on the island of Kauai they’re known for serving up tropical drinks and Hawaiian-inspired dishes at their own Tiki bar. While the atmosphere is 100% fun, they’re serious about cooking interesting dishes like their signature Iniki Burger. To make the patties, ground beef is blended with cubes of spam, a combination that adds a surprising bit of sweetness to the burger. The mouthwatering patty is topped with house-made pickles and slaw, onion compote and provolone cheese. “People are going to dig it,” Guy said between bites.
This pork-focused deli specializes in sausages: chef-owner Billy Rawstrom sells up to 40 different varieties at a time, most inspired by his favorite dishes. Guy was blown away by the Thai Curry Chicken Sausage Sandwich: the sausage itself is made with a blend of chicken, pork and common ingredients in Thai cooking like cilantro, curry powder, lime juice and coconut milk. The links are served on a bun with a house-made cabbage slaw and a Sriracha mayo. “You’d be hard pressed to tell someone that didn’t come out of a famous Thai restaurant,” Guy said after tasting.
After growing up around his father’s restaurant in Lebanon, George Salameh decided to open up his own spot serving up traditional Lebanese dishes in San Diego. Locals flock here for the delicious flatbreads, like the one topped with Soujouk: a cumin-heavy blend of spices and ground meat topped with white Lebanese cheese. “I could have a hundred of those,” Guy said after just one bite.
Even though head chef Jasper Singh is a vegetarian, the menu at this cozy Wilmington joint doesn’t skimp on meaty dishes—the restaurant is known for their killer burgers, like the That’ll Do Pig burger. The burger is made by topping a thick beef patty with three different kinds of pork: sweet bacon jam, hearty thick cut bacon slices and a house-made bacon mayo, which is all topped off with a layer of crunchy tater tots. Guy thought the burger was so amazing, he joked that they should rename the restaurant “The Pig and the Cow” in its honor.
Don’t be intimidated by the edgy vibe of this heavy metal-themed restaurant: you won’t want to miss the delicious comfort food they’re serving up inside. While they do offer meat entrees, both carnivores and vegetarians flock here to chow down on their take on a veggie burger, fondly named the Bride of Chucky. The patties are hand made in house from a mix of walnuts, black beans, rice and spices, and the burger is topped off with melted cheese, mushrooms and house-made pickles. “That’s a better vegetarian burger than a lot of meat burgers I’ve had,” Guy admitted.
Tucked away in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood is this farm-to-table pub that serves a variety of local beers and a diverse rotating menu that is designed to go with the brews. You won’t miss the meat in entrees like the Hot Mushroom Sandwich: A head of beech mushrooms are deep fried and topped with scallion aioli and a house-made pickled celery and cabbage slaw. “I could eat one of these every day!” Guy said.
Jeremy Burwell is known for having the freshest poke in Hawaii, and for good reason: the fish he serves is so local that Jeremy, the chef-owner, catches it himself. His popular food truck serves up twists on the classic poke bowl, like the Kealia Plate, an Ahi tuna-based bowl mixed with fresh mint, macadamia nuts and watermelon. Guy said the unusual ingredients bring the dish’s flavors and texture to the next level. “I’ve tried all kinds of flavors, I’ve never had this in a Poke bowl,” he raved.
This pan-Asian joint goes above and beyond the average sushi menu with items like Tom Kha Thai Steamer and Pork Belly Bibimbap. After moving to Chico, California from San Francisco 20 years ago, owner and chef Darren Chadderdon realized he missed the diverse Asian flavors available in the big city. He decided to take things into his own hands, and traveled to Thailand to take cooking classes before returning home to open his own restaurant. The Tom Kha Thai Steamer, a sweet and spicy seafood soup, blew Guy away: “I wanted that to be great,” he said after the first bite. “It’s not great, it’s phenomenal!”
Co-owned by marine biologist Mike McDermid and chef Robert Clark, this seafood joint takes pride in serving only local, sustainable seafood. One standout dish is their Fish and Chips. To make it, salmon is coated in a light beer batter, deep fried and served with house-made tartar sauce and fresh cabbage and kale slaw. For a lighter option, try the BC Bouillabaisse, a Canadian version of the classic French soup, made with seafood local to the Vancouver area instead of the typical Provencal fish. “It’s so simple, yet so delicious and refined,” Guy said of the soup.
When Mike Stone got off the road, after years of being a record promoter for the biggest names in the music business, he opened up this legit English pub in Wilmington, Delaware. Stoney’s Pub makes all the classics, including an unbeatable Fish and Chips and amazing Yorkshire Pudding served with rare roast beef. “You’re going to have to pry this out of my hands,” said Guy of the gravy-laced classic.
The Dolphin is an institution on the island of Kauai and the neighborhood place for fresh fish. Part restaurant and part fish market, the chefs are cooking up what they are reeling in. Guy loved the Teriyaki Tuna with its addictive salted drawn butter and raved about the Avocado Poke Bowl. “I can’t eat it fast enough,” he said between bites.
San Diego has a lot of taco joints, but diners rave about this mom-and-pop shop where two brothers are cooking up memories from their childhood in Mexico. And if you’re searching for spice, look no further than the fiery Shrimp a La Diabla.
For a taste of Little Italy in Wilmington, head to this funky spot for unforgettable Italian food. Since 1988, Chef and Owner Luigi Vitrone has been serving up regional Italian cuisine in a restaurant that looks like a funky apartment in Milan in the 1970s. Diners love the Gorgonzola-stuffed Arancini and the decadent Veal Scaloppini Rollatini.
High school buddies, Mahmoud Barkawi and Osama Shabaik, combined their Egyptian and Syrian backgrounds to bring authentic Middle Eastern flavors to San Diego. Guy loved the shaved Chicken Shawarma, which is piled onto a salad, crispy fries or house-made pita. They make their falafel the Egyptian way with fava beans instead of garbanzo beans. “That’s no joke,” raved Guy.