Here are some of the best meals I can remember eating in my life. Some of them are just simple joys that I have remembered for a long time and some were actually cooked that good.


These are the three best steaks I’ve had in my life. I’ve eaten many a good steak at friend’s homes, restaurants, and even my home. But I remember each one of these as being the best I steak I’ve ever eaten. Chronologically:

  • 1976, Rolla, Missouri. The Gaslight Restuarant. My parents, Anne-Marie, and I went there for a steak meal as they were dropping me off to start college. I ordered the 16 ounce T-bone.
  • 1992, Pomptom Plains, New Jersey. Ken Hefferle’s house. He cooked up Flank steaks on his grill.
  • 2003, Daly City, California. Chris Rocco’s apartment. He cooked a Tri-tip on his grill which he cut in half for us to share.



The best water I ever drank was, surprise, tap water from Camp Pendelton, California. When we went to Desert Storm, we filled up four canteens of water. We put two of them in a duffle bag with some of our other gear and these were all stored in a large metal container. Well, the water we were drinking over there got to us one of two ways. There was the bottled water that the arab nations supplied us with but that was coveted and we didn’t get those that often. Then there was the water we got from the water truck which we filled our five gallon cans with. This water always had a slight to strong chlorine taste. Just imagine drinking warm pool water. Anyway, after a few months over there, we went to the rear one day to retrieve the rest of our gear. Let me tell you. The water out of those canteens that we had stored never tasted so good.

Just for the record, my favorite bottled water is San Pelligrino.


My mom’s house. When we were growing up, mom would always ask us what we wanted to eat for our birthday. I would either choose a t-bone steak or ask for a lobster. If we got lobster, mom always got the good Maine lobster and served it with melted butter for us to dip in. It was always a feast.


1974, Bocoron Bay, Puerto Rico. Well, as much as I like Alaskan King Crab, the best crab eating I’ve ever had was in Puerto Rico. I was on a vacation with my good friend Bob Schluter and his family and we used to go to the edge of the bay and catch some crabs as they were sunning themselves on the beach. We always caught at least two. Then we would come back and boil them and eat them for lunch. It was paradise.

Funny story here. One day, there were a lot of crabs on the beach. So, after we caught our typical two (we only had two nets), we decided to bring them back to the cabana and go and catch more. We put them in the shower to hold till we came back. As you can probably guess, Mrs. Schluter came back from swimming while we were gone and stepped right into the shower to wash off. Well, I’ll tell you this. Bob and I will never do that again. I can still feel my ear almost being pulled off.


Just like the steaks, I can remember three places where I’ve had the best fried fish.

  • 1974, Bocoron Bay, Puerto Rico. When we vacationed there, we used to go out to the nearby town and eat at the same restaurant every night. I tried a few different things, but once I tried the fried fish after watching Mr. Schluter eat it one night, I thinkI ordered it every day till we left.
  • 1988, Olongapo City, Philippines. Some little restaurant I used to go to along the main road out from the base.
  • 2003, San Francisco, California. Some little Filipino Karaoke bar on 1st Street. The cook always recognized me and I always appreciate his cooking.



Birch Beer
Wanaque, New Jersey. Flip’s Bar and Grill. No one makes a better Birch Beer then White Rock. And the best place ever to drink it is in Flip’s because they have kegs of it on tap. Damn that stuff tastes good. My friend Chris Rocco agrees and also says that he could also get it on tap in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Apple Pear pie
Ringwood, New Jersey. Mom sure could make a good apple pie. I remember one time she put some pears in with it as pop liked pears a lot.
Cakes and Pies
Fort Lauredale, Florida. My older sister Carol always made the best cakes and pies every time when she lived with us in New Jersey. Boston Cream pie, Banana Cream pie, Chocolate layer cake, etc.. They always disappeared real fast. Her vishiswa soup (cold Portugese soup) on the other hand, disappeared down the sink real fast and we told her to never make it again. Note: I do like the hot version of this soup simply called potato leek soup.
Either San Francisco, California, or Piedmont, California. I really like the hamburgers I get at Barneys in Piedmont. But I think the most enjoyable hamburger eating I’ve had was at the bar in Hotel Utah down in SOMA with my best friend at the time Ramsey. We would each get a large hamburger, some fries, and then drink a couple of beers. It was a good time.
Bisquits and gravy
Some truck stop on Route 80 going through Montana. It was the best.
Creamed beef
USMC chow halls. My favorite breakfast was two eggs over easy, hash browns, and then pour the creamed beef over it all. Plus sausages or bacon, toast, coffee, and a juice. It would be hard to top eating breakfast in the chow hall. That was a good way to start the day.
Kailua, Hawaii. The Black Rose. Yea, it was a girly bar we used to go get drunk at while I was stationed over there. But the Vietnemese girls who owned it made a great lumpia.
Chicken Soup
Ringwood, New Jersey. My sister Anne-Marie cooks the best chicken soup in the whole world.
Spaghetti with broccoli and shrimp
Ringwood, New Jersey. Again, my sister Anne-Marie makes this one of the best pastas anyone could ever eat. There is also olive oil, garlic, and hot peppers in it.
Potatoe Kale soup
Oakland, California. Once she figured it out, Susan Farrow always made a great soup. Her Tuna Caserole, on the other hand, is less fondly remembered.
Naples, Italy. I saw some guy have a huge plate of mussels so I asked my pop if I could order that. I did and I ate every last one of them. The plate was stacked high too.
Lasagne, Manocoti, Calamari, Ravioli, and other Italian pasta dishes
Ringwood, New Jersey. No one cooks these better then my mom did. My friends were lucky when they got to eat over my house.
Mushroom soup
Ringwood, New Jersey. Mrs. Milowski made it for us kids when we ate at Jimmy’s house.
Bari, Italy. While vacationing in Italy, pop, my cousin, and I went down to the docks to get some fish for dinner. My cousing purchase a small fresh caught octopus (it was alive) and took out his knife and cut off a tentacle and gave it to me to eat. Well, it was very chewy is all I remember. I ate it so it must have been okay. Kind of wild though eating something that is still alive.
Willobrook, New Jersey. My best friend Butch and I used to hang out at the mall there and we always got bagles from the bagle place. I usually got salt with butter or sesame with cream cheese. Whatever else Butch got, he always got an onion bagle. I hated it when they put the onion (or garlic) bagle in the same bag as the others because it would get it’s smell on them.
Turkey Legs
Carmichael, California. No one could cook turkey legs in a cast iron pot like Suzan Harris. That probably comes from her frontier upbringing in Colorado.


Unfortunately, I’ve had so many good pizzas in my life, I cannot pick out my top ones. But I can tell you this: Generally speaking, for thin sliced pizza, you cannot get it better anywhere in the world then you can in the New York/New Jersey area. For Sicilian style (that is the thick kind), I hear Chicago is the best place. Out in California they generally put all kinds of strange stuff on pizzas and the dough is not as good as back east. Oh well.


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