Most Scenic Restaurants in the U.S.

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Source: salesforcetower.com

Based on the Open Table user survey for 2018 for the most scenic restaurants in the U.S., Travel and Leisure sorted the list by alphabetical order.  California receives the top votes with 28 restaurants (4 alone in San Francisco), followed by Florida, 13, and New York, 7.

I personally would add Top of the Mark Restaurant and Bar located in the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco. The sunset view during the cocktail hours is unbelievable.

Great restaurants need to have good food quality, ambiance, and a message to the customers that they are truly welcomed.  A great view certainly helps!

From the Travel and Leisure/Open Table List:

100 Most Scenic Restaurants

Altius – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The Bay House – Naples, Florida

Beachcomber Cafe – Crystal Cove – Newport Coast, California

Bertrand at Mister A’s – San Diego, California

The Bistro at Gervasi Vineyard – Canton, Ohio

Black Bass Hotel – Lumberville, Pennsylvania

Blue Moon Fish Co. – Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Blue Ridge – Asheville, North Carolina

The Boathouse – Lake Buena Vista, Florida

The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing – Richmond, Virginia

Boat House Waterfront Dining – Tiverton, Rhode Island

Boatyard – Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Carrol’s Creek Cafe – Annapolis, Maryland

Catch LA – West Hollywood, California

Chart House Restaurant – Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Chart House Restaurant – Weehawken, New Jersey

Chicago Cut Steakhouse – Chicago, Illinois

Clinkerdagger – Spokane, Washington

Columbia Restaurant – SandKey – Clearwater, Florida

Dauphin’s – Mobile, Alabama

Different Pointe of View – Phoenix, Arizona

Duke’s – San Diego, California

Duke’s – Malibu, California

Eiffel Tower – Las Vegas, Nevada

El Five – Denver, Colorado

Elements at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort – Paradise Valley, Arizona

EPIC Steak – San Francisco, California

Farmhouse at Rogers Gardens – Corona Del Mar, California

Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck – Dallas, Texas

Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar – Charleston, South Carolina

Four Winds Steakhouse – Wills Point, Texas

Gaonnuri – New York, New York

Geoffrey’s Restaurant – Malibu, California

George’s Ocean Terrace – San Diego, California

The Grand Marlin of Pensacola Beach – Pensacola, Florida

Greens Restaurant – San Francisco, California

Harbor House – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Honu Seafood and Pizza – Lahaina, Hawaii

Il Fornaio – Coronado, California

Iridescence – Detroit, Michigan

Island Prime – San Diego, California

Jake’s Del Mar – Del Mar, California

Joe Muer Seafood – Detroit, Michigan

Kaluz Restaurant – Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The Lakehouse – Bay Shore, New York

La Mar by Gaston Acurio – Miami, Florida

Latitudes on Sunset Key – Key West, Florida

Legal Harborside – Floor 1 Restaurant and Market – Boston, Massachusetts

The Lobster – Santa Monica, California

Lobster Shop South – Tacoma, Washington

Lone Eagle Grille – Incline Village, Nevada

Mama’s Fish House – Paia, Hawaii

The Marine Room – San Diego, California

Mariposa – Sedona, Arizona

Mastro’s Ocean Club – Newport Beach, California

Mastro’s Ocean Club – Malibu, California

The Mill House – Waikapu, Hawaii

Mon Ami Gabi – Las Vegas – Main Dining Room – Las Vegas, Nevada

Monterey Bay Fish Grotto – Mt. Washington – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Mooring Restaurant – Newport, Rhode Island

The Ocean House Restaurant – Cape Cod – Dennis Port, Massachusetts

Ophelia’s on the Bay – Sarasota, Florida

Orchids at Halekulani – Honolulu, Hawaii

Oyster Loft – Pismo Beach, California

Pacific Coast Grill – Cardiff – Cardiff–By–The–Sea, California

Parc – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Perch LA – Los Angeles, California

Peter Shields Inn – Cape May, New Jersey

Pier W – Cleveland, Ohio

The Pink Door – Seattle, Washington

Portland City Grill – Portland, Oregon

Primavista – Cincinnati, Ohio

Prime – Huntington, New York

Poseidon – Del Mar, California

Rats Restaurant at Grounds for Sculpture – Hamilton, New Jersey

Ray’s Boathouse – Seattle, Washington

River Cafe – Brooklyn, New York

RiverPark – New York, New York

Robert – New York, New York

The Rotunda at Neiman Marcus – San Francisco, California

Simon Pearce Restaurant – Quechee, Vermont

Spinners Rooftop Revolving Bistro & Lounge @ Grand Plaza Hotel – St. Pete Beach, Florida

Splashes at Surf and Sand Resort – Laguna Beach, California

The Strand House – Manhattan Beach, California

Summit House – Fullerton – Fullerton, California

Sunset Terrace – Omni Grove Park Inn – Asheville, North Carolina

Tidepools – Poipu, Hawaii

Tom Hams Lighthouse – San Diego, California

Top of the Hub – Boston, Massachusetts

Top of the World Restaurant – Stratosphere Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada

Trattoria Lisina – Driftwood, Texas

The Turtle Club – Naples – Naples, Florida

The Twisted Olive – Green, Ohio

Ulele – Tampa, Florida

Vast – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Ventana Grill – St. Pismo, California

Vivace Restaurant – Tucson, Arizona

Waterbar – San Francisco, California

X2O Xaviars on the Hudson – Yonkers, New York

Hiking – learning a few tips

My hiking with a friend last Friday to Mount Tamalpais (locally known as Mt. Tam), the highest point in the Marin County in the Bay Area, was a memorable one.

The hike was from the Pantoll Station to the East Peak (check here) via the Matt Davis Trail, the West Inn, and we came back via the Railroad Grade Fire Road – my Apple Watch registered 13 miles for the entire trip for 5.5 hours of hiking (1 hour was a detour as we went on a wrong track and back and we did not exactly reach the East Peak).

Many have commented on the views of the Bay, the redwood trees, the water bridges, the serpentine rocks, and how shady and gradual most of the trail is. We did not disappoint. The West Inn provides a much-needed resting point for bathroom breaks and water refill, plus we felt wonderful and serene looking at the views.


My friend, being a more experienced hiker, taught me several things about hiking.

1. Bring only what you need. I almost brought my jacket but it was probably over 75 degrees F up there and I also left my wallet at the car.

2. Need for a hiking stick and hat.  Never underestimate how far one has to walk. The stick will definitely help when one is walking up and down a gradient and to prevent slipping. The hat is an absolute must with the summer sun.

3. Hydrate! This is obvious and one needs to check on water refilling points during the route or else one has to bring at least 2 big bottles of water.

4. Food. Carbohydrate/fruit/dried fruit will give you that glucose kick you need. Nuts and peanut butter filled pretzels (traders joe) are very good.  Some people carry bread with them and eat them on the way. Beware of taking protein/chocolate bars as they could melt or become mushy along the way. Also, eat something before the long hike to prevent low sugar especially when one has to walk fast uphill after a detour.

5. Walk at a gradual pace to keep your stamina. Hiking is one of the best exercises for your health. It is considered a form of meditation and so walk at a nice, steady pace.

6. Map.  It is crucial especially the path is new to you. We thought that we would never get lost at Mt. Tam as it is pretty close to the urban area. We thought we were on the right path back but we actually went further east from the East Peak instead of heading back to the West. Glad we checked the map.

7. Cellphone. It is not only important for an emergency but also for lighting when it gets dark.

8. Ask for guidance. There are many experienced hikers along the way and so always ask for suggested routes to make your hike even better.

9.  Decide whether you want to hike alone.  This is not my preference as it is always so much more fun to connect with or catch up with a friend/family member via hiking. However, we did see many lone hikers.

When we left Marin, we received a gift – seeing the big blood (red) moon hanging low at the horizon as July 27th was the century’s longest lunar eclipse. We also brought back some beautiful serpentine rocks as a memoir for the hike!

Celebrating Christmas with Glass Harp!

OBT - Nutcracker 2015When you first hear this music without watching the youtube, you would not have imagined this is how the sound is produced.  Simply amazing – really, it is crystal clear music.

This type of instrument might even have originated from China in the Middle Ages.  These days, special types of wine glasses are used and the glasses are without water – only played by the musician’s entire hand rubbing the rim of the glasses with her wet finger tips.  You can find more about the origin of this music here.

While you are preparing your Christmas presents or hosting your own Sugar Plum Fairy tea party, enjoy a taste of the Glassduo’s Sugar Plum Fairy!

Adding my favourite from their recent performance in Hong Kong playing a very famous Chinese classical song – Clouds Chasing the Moon (hear how it resembles the flute!)

A day in Sai Kung

For those who are not familiar with Hong Kong, you may think that Sai Kung sounds like some cities in Vietnam. In fact Sai Kung is the country side of Hong Kong and is located in the New Territories, the area that is attached to Mainland China.  Sai Kung is for the whole family – rural, delicious (great seafood and cafes), sporty (lots of water activities and cruising), fun, and relaxing.  

On the day of my Dad’s Big Birthday, we have planned a day in Sai Kung, breathing in the refreshing air and doing something different.  No wonder why HK people, with their daily life stretched to their max, love to hang out in Sai Kung with its beautiful pier, beaches, neighboring islands, and wonderful cuisines.

Let’s take a look at what we did:

Photo courtesy of Venue Hub, HK

Wow, a Polynesian-style bowling alley called Tikitiki Bowling Bar was our first stop. How fun to combine bowling with the entire family with brunch next to the alley! Because of the gates erected along the gutters, even a 6-year old can play bowling and score well!  We had so much laughter.


Then we strolled in the village market near the Sai Kung pier and had a great time discovering all sorts of local street food, fruits (durian), coffee places, and even great fashion!  I highly recommend this if you want to venture beyond the famous Stanley Market.


Along the water, you will take in quite a lot – the beautiful pier, lots of sampans (boats), a local museum, and of course lots of seafood restaurants (the famous Seafood Street.)


Zooming into the Sampans a bit, one can see they don’t just carry people as a great way for transportation or touring (one can check out island hopping in Sai Kung – many people will want your business at the pier), they also carry lots of seafood (dried especially) for sale!

What I enjoy HK the most is that while it is probably the most convenient place in the world for conducting businesses, is a city that almost never sleeps, has the most amazing places to eat and drink, its serenity is also just less than an hour away.  Check out Sai Kung next time!

Important news about emotions

This is another great writing by one of my favourite writers, Eric Barker.

Essentially, the 3 essence to improve your emotional intelligence are:

1. Learn to recognize emotional granuality.  

It is not just this makes me “feel good” or “not feel good.”

2. Learn new words that describe emotions – the Japanese has a word to describe the emotion you feel after you have a bad haircut!  

I think talking to more cultures and understand their special vocabulary would really help. 

3. Create new emotions – give a name to it.

All of these help your brain to figure out better what situations you are really in and to provide you with more resources or flexibility to cope with them.

Instead of being all panicky about the problem, you might feel cool about it – like the Hong Kong Chinese say: “when the sky falls, treat it like a blanket is covering you” (not always, but sometimes this works!)

Courtesy to Blazek

Cultures

Multicultual

Having lived in three continents and working in a profession investing in developed and emerging markets all day long and working with many types of nationalities, I have always thought I am a pretty multi-cultural person.  This book called “The Art of Doing Business Across Cultures” by Craig Storti is a recent favourite of mine, opening my eyes to the nuances of 10 very important cultures of the world (they tend to be the larger countries including The Arab Middle East, Brazil, China, England, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, and Russia).  Even though it is written from the perspective of Americans dealing with the different cultures, in this global marketplace, every business person will have a chance to deal with many different cultures and would find the advice of this book useful.

I love some of the writings of the book:

Germany

The Americans are culturally quite close to the Germans.  According to John Ardagh:

[they] may differ greatly in their degree of social formality, but they share something of the same business ethos, the same liking for thoroughness, efficiency and modernism, and the same fondness for litigation.”

So what are some of their differences:

Americans are more tolerant when the lines between work and personal life become blurred, perhaps because professional accomplishments comprise more of their identity.

According to Greg Nees:

[W]hen they are at work, Germans do indeed work quite effectively and with great focus.  But when the workday is finished, so are the workers.  Punctuality is apparent, not only in starting times but also at the end of the workday; employees see overtime as an infringement on their private lives…

The Germans say Dienst ist Dienst, und Schnaps ist Schnaps – duty is duty, and liquor is liquor.

Brazil

Things do get done in Brazil, but it’s in spite of the system, not because of it.

This is the Brazilian’s jeito or jeitinho – their subtle ways to circumvent difficult situations via “doing favours”.  This is quite foreign or even looked upon negatively in America as Americans do not promote “favoritism”.  As Jacqueline Oliveira said:

The primacy of family and the ingroup in the Brazilian value system often explains Brazilian behaviour, including why punctuality cannot always take priority.  

Jacqueline Oliveira said this:

[Brazilians} may forgo a business obligation if a family matter arises…

There is also a deep sense of fatalism that pervades the Brazilian culture – many things can happen outside of one’s control which therefore simply must be accepted.  Fatalism and resignation thus explain why Brazilians often tolerate lateness, while Americans are obsessed with time [Americans believe in achievements, which are effort + time.]

China

Other cultures may find the Chinese way of dealing with compliments curious.  As Scott Seligman writes:

Accepting them outright is not considered good etiquette; a Chinese is expected to deflect compliments  and pretend he or she is unworthy of receiving them…one of the common phrase [the Chinese use]…is nali…that has come to mean something like “it was nothing.” It’s as if to say the kind words you have just uttered couldn’t possibly be directed at me…

Valuing group’s opinion over one’s own, the Chinese are taught to be humble, leading to routine self-effacement and personal modesty, which the Americans inevitably misinterpret as a lack of confidence.  Americans are one of the most individualist and the least group-oriented of all cultures, and so anything that affirms, supports, or strengthens the self is valued in America.  The Americans come across as boastful because in their culture, unlike that of the Chinese, they cannot rely automatically on other group members for support and validation.

France

Americans, despite their directness, do not like to argue; in their conversations, they look for common ground and they often agree to disagree. But not the French.  As Erin Meyer writes:

French business people view conflict and dissonance as bringing hidden contradictions to light, and stimulating fresh thinking…[W]e make our points passionately.  We like to disagree openly. We like to say things that shock.  With confrontation, you reach excellence, you have more creativity, and you eliminate risk.

The Arab Middle East

The Arabs are not only exuberant, enthusiastic, emotional people – not just in their actions but even more so in their words.

This tendency to exaggerate [and overemphasize] makes it difficult for Westerners to understand how Arabs actually feel and how enthusiastic they truly are about suggestions and proposals.  A quick guide: The absence of any enthusiasm or positive comments is a sure sign of a negative reaching, especially given the fact that Arabs, unfailingly polite, rarely indulge in overt criticism.  Modest enthusiasm, a few pieces of mild praise, signals a neutral reaction.  Effusiveness, exaggerated enthusiam, and hyperbolic praise all indicate a positive response.

Russia

A standard complaint by Russians against Americans is that they lack dusha, or soul. Russians like to connect with their business partners, to have a brief glimpse of the other’s soul. Elizabeth Roberts observes:

Russians prize the quality of soul above others…they often have a tendency to open their soul to complete strangers.

Yale Richmond writes:

Russians do have a rich spirituality, that does indeed contrast with Western rationalism, materialism, and pragmatism…the rational and pragmatic approach does not always work for them.  More often it is personal relations, feelings, and traditional values that determine a course of action.  Westerners are more likely to depend on the cold facts and to do what works.

There are many more gems and dialogues as exercises in the book to enjoy and learn.

The author said, there is always a reason why people do the strange things they do, the reason is almost never to upset you, and there is always a way forward.