Meals Around the World – About Me


My husband and I love to travel to try out restaurants, from grunge to 3 star Michelin. Frankie is a cute little stuffed cat I picked up in Frankfurt, Germany who has become our dining companion on these journeys. She makes it fun to find different places to pose her in and some of the restaurant personnel really take to her and want to pose her themselves. She seems to always get a good smile or fun pose when they hold her.  In the masthead the waiter wanted to give her a kitchen tour and one of the chefs thought she could take on their piranha.  I hope you enjoy her explorations as much as we have.  As I ready pages of restaurants in places we’ve been if she doesn’t show up it just because we hadn’t found each other yet.  These articles express only my opinions and dining is paid for by ourselves, no sponsors or ads.

Helen and Frankie


36 thoughts on “Meals Around the World – About Me

    1. I’ll bring her to meet you and Bob, but haven’t listed anything on our home turfs! Thanks for looking and I’ll see you soon!

  1. This is a fantastic idea..wonderfully clever and useful! I will share it with friends as many of mine travel the globe in search of great food and atmosphere.


    I am working as photo editor for the german food magazine “essen & trinken” from the publishing house Gruner + Jahr in Hamburg. We are actually preparing our June issue, which will be published the 11 May.
    In each issue we are presenting on our magazine-pages a concierge, who talks about his most favorite restaurants, bars and cafés etc.
    In this issue it is the concierge from the Hotel Rival in Stockholm and one of his favorite food addresses is THE restaurant “Prinsen”

    For this I would like to ask, if you could send us a variety of high resolution images which I found on your blog?

    I’ m looking forward to your reply by mail to as soon as possible and say thanks in advance

    Kind regards from Hamburg

    Martina Raabe
    Bildredaktion/picture desk

    Gruner+Jahr GmbH & Co KG
    Am Baumwall 11
    20459 Hamburg
    Postanschrift: 20444 Hamburg

    Telefon +49 (0) 40 37 03-3848
    Telefax +49 (0) 40 37 03-5677

  3. Hi,
    We love your website and used it to plan a lot of our eating itinerary for our winter break trip to Barcelona. With great success I might add. We are heading to Paris in two weeks and have been going through your posts, but you’ve been to 56 restaurants in Paris and they all look good. Any favorites?
    Thank you

    1. Matt, you made my day! It is so nice to know people enjoy and can make use of this site. Now you’ve given me a really hard question. Paris is without a doubt my favorite city to eat in and I’ll be back there later this month to add more to the mix. Probably my favorite is Arpege. It’s a 3-star, so on the pricey side, but the trick is to go for lunch. Get the “feed me” lunch where chef picks for you. When I ordered my own lunch it wasn’t nearly as fun and chef is usually there and will stop by the table and chat. Vegetables have never had this much taste. Another one I’d go back to is Signature by Pierre Sang. His other spots are also good but the Signature is a real value for dinner and he is often there. Sang is as big a personality as Passard and the folks he has in the kitchen do a wonderful job. For a bistro my favorites would include Gare au Gorille and I’m hoping to get back to L’Arcane this next trip. Let me know if you have any other questions.
      Good eating to you and yours!
      Helen and Frankie

  4. Hi Helen and Frankie, Thank you so much for taking the time to write back with recommendations. We made reservations for lunch at Arpege and a dinner reservation at Gare au Gorille. We also have reservations that I made before reaching out to you at a number of other restaurants at which you have written about on your blog. We take-off in six hours! Thanks again, Matt.

      1. Hello again,
        We just booked another trip to Spain – mostly Madrid, but a little Barcelona at the end. I’m fairly familiar with where to eat in Barcelona since I used your blog for our trip over New Years last year, but I haven’t been to Madrid since 1995. Any favorites from your travels?
        Thanks again

  5. Matt,
    Sorry it took so long to reply. We were eating our way through Lyon! My absolute favorite in Madrid is Sacha. You’ll need a reservation and I’ll warn you the first few times we were there we felt very much like tourists as they have a ton of well dressed regulars that go. But they’ve gradually warmed up and they one guy speaks pretty good English. It is hands down the best food. La Buena Vida was a really fun and tasty experience. It is very small but their foie gras pate was memorable and the couple that run it are extremely welcoming, along with serving some outstanding food. Dstage is highly ranked but it didn’t work that well for me. If you want a fancy meal I would pick Santceloni, I was really impressed with how much it had improved when we revisited.

    Hope you have a great trip and I’m not too late in reply. Happy Holidays!


  6. Hi – I’ve booked Alliance Restaurant in late August. Can you tell me if your write up is describing the Menu dégustation or Harmonie ?

    1. We had the Alliance menu, where the chef choses the menu. I’m pretty sure he was extra generous as they remembered Frankie, so you might drop the little cat’s name when you get there. I hope your experience is as wonderful as my 2 have been!

  7. Thank you. We enjoy reading your blog and are excited to try one of the restaurants mentioned. We will also be in Rome the following week. Any fav’s?

    1. Thanks for reading! In Rome there’s so much it’s hard to chose. Cecchino Dal specializes in organ meats and other odd cuts but they had the tastiest milk fed intestines – I wasn’t sure about, in fact my husband ordered and I just tasted, but I can’t wait to go back and try again. Waiter was brother of cook, a really fun place. Marzapone has a wonderful female chef offering some interesting takes on dishes and some great dishes. Haven’ been to La Pergola in 5 years but it continues to rate well and I remember it as a fantastic meal, but pricier. Trattoria Dal Cavalier was a wonderful little find where it was mostly local regular customers as opposed to tourists. A huge menu and located on a tiny hidden street (took us a while to find it) but inexpensive and great food. The waiter helped us order. If I remember it was cash only and they offer lots of jug wine. More a lunch than dinner maybe but worth a visit. Do you have reservations at other places in Paris? Have fun and I wish you great dining!

      1. Thanks again. Unfortunately we only have a couple days in Paris – then on to a wedding in Florence before vising Rome. Since we will have a short stay in Paris and I want to take in the Picasso Museum we will probably spend most of our time wandering the Marais. Do you have any recommendations for casual dining in the area?

        After reading your articles on dining in Rome, I did book a reservation at Marzapane – looks fun, innovative and very reasonable prices. For a more ‘traditional’ dining experience both Dal Cavalier and Trattoria Perilli look good – so we will probably try to work one or the other in depending on our schedule.

        Love your blog… Marty

      2. Sorry can’t come up with anything casual in that area to recommend. (I’ll keep thinking). Sounds like you will have a wonderful trip tho! Thanks for reading!

  8. Dear Helen and Frankie,
    we would like to thank and congratulate you on your wonderful article about us. It was a true pleasure having you over and preparing some of our dishes for you. We are very glad and proud you liked it so much. We hope all’s well and we would love to see you again in the future.
    kind regards and a big hug to Frankie,
    team de jonkman, Bruges

    1. You’re so welcome! It was our absolute pleasure to dine in your restaurant and to get to chat with you and your team. Your food deserves all the praise – it was fabulous. I hope I will get there again! Thanks also for sharing my write up on your Facebook page – it got a ton of views!

  9. Well done for this great site! The info for the places you have visited is fantastic and very eye opening.
    To be honest I’m jealous of you, as my wife and I have a dream to be able to travel to as many places around the world and experience the local culture, which includes of course dining in the local restaurants!

    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback! I’ve been doing this blog for just over 5 years and like to think I have learned a lot about restaurants and food, which is something considering that I don’t cook! My tastes have changed as the years go by but one thing I’ve learned is really important to me is making a connection with the place. I love a chef that comes out to meet the diners, even if an interpreter is needed. Staff make a real difference in the lasting impression of a place. I am always delighted when I find a server I’ve had before or when they remember the little stuffed cat. Looking at your blog I was wondering if our paths have ever crossed? Covid 19 has severely changed our year of dining opportunities and not sure what the future holds. Right now we are trying to explore our own country, the US, but look forward to exploring outside in the future. I wish you and your wife safe travels and fun dining when possible. Thanks again for your communication.

  10. Thanks for the lovely wishes!

    I love your little cat, it makes the difference in your travels I assume!

    I’m not quite sure if we have met in the past, but this is something that can be arranged in the future.

    I totally agree with you. Being in the industry for years now, all that matters for me as well, are the true connections made between people, whether they are customers or staff.

    And that’s what hospitality is about.

    Keep travelling, eating great food, meeting nice people and posting fantastic articles!

    Stay safe and be well,

  11. Helen! I came across this blog awhile ago when I was researching for our second visit to Willows Inn (pre-scandal). I thought I might recognize you, and wonder if you remember a little guy from your past at DSVIC? Benjamin just turned 42 last August and is thriving and a truly happy guy. I’ve enjoyed looking at your recommendations. Bruce and I have dined at a good few of your picks, and we are always looking for new recommendations. If you are ever up this way, I’d love to see you!

    1. Mona, what a delightful blast from the past to hear from you! So glad that you all are doing well. Can’t believe Benjamin in 42! Willows is a sad story but we noticed quite a decline the last time we visited and then the NYTIMES story hit. Right now our favorite place in the NW is Harbor House in Elk, CA. Fun place to stay too. I’ll try and send you an email at the address you listed. I’d love to catch up! Hugs and thanks for reaching out!

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