Minh Tri, Sn Francisco, USA
For all of Yummy Yummy's charms, I still end up at Minh Tri more often than not because A) one of the owners is a sweet old man who is contantly laughing and making jokes and b) their Bun Thit Noung kicks ass. Word to the wise, go at night. Although the lunch specials are good, you are more likely to have Mr. Happy serve you than his evil twin Mr. Grumpy. They have names, but I have yet to learn them. I just call them "An" pronounced "On" which means older brother. 534 Irving St San Francisco, CA 94122 (415) 566-5335
The Inn at Lower Farm, Stonington CT
If you ever find yourself in Connecticut take pains to stay at this historic Inn. The Wily Wonka-esque sloping hall and doorways, the huge central fireplace, the wit and charm of the owners and the stories they tell about the witches who used to live there- all good reasons to stay the night.
Cafe De Lotus, Koyasan, Japan
Koyasan, which recently was dubbed a "World Herritage Site" by the U.N., is a town of monastic complexes, the holyland of Estoteric Buddhism in Japan. The temples are all old and beautiful and peaceful. But when you are all templed-out, go to Cafe De Lotus for Kohi and Ke-ki (coffee and cake) and check out the buddhist students from all over the world, the crazy mix-match interior and chat it up with the nutty owner Jun who is like no other Japanese person I have ever met. Constantly laughing and carrying on in her sing song voice, Jun is quite likely to forget what you ordered as she bussles about, but she is very sweet and kind and gives discounts to all the students. She used to live in Southern California, and has been to Vietnam, so you can get a vietnamese iced coffee on a hot day. tel 0735-56-1795