Monday, August 24, 2015

Two more Tacos, PLEASE!

I usually don't review a restaurant more than once, unless the meal is REALLY good!

Well.
It WAS!



I decided to try the 'Spicy Tomato Bisque" (I always wonder if restaurants use the word "bisque' to charge more, but in this case I'd have paid whatever they wanted. It was delicious!









Tried two different tacos than the last ones I had here.
Newport something or others (didn't write down the dish) and Fish Tacos-- both good!





Lee had Pork carnitas (the ones he never really got the last time) and Kung Po chicken,on the left--  (he REALLY like that one!)


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Lucky Tacos for US!

How lucky we were to 'stumble' upon this place...

We were attending a wake for a friend's mom and needed to get dinner afterwards. I headed in the direction of one of our favorite restaurants, when we realized that it was Monday, and they would be closed. So we headed around the next block thinking of it's 'sister' restaurant on Main St. As we sat at the traffic light, I asked my husband if he felt like tacos. "SURE! I love tacos!"

So we headed a few more bocks down onto Main St to a new place in the neighborhood., Lucky Taco. I've heard some of my FB friends rave about it, but hadn't been there yet. And some of our favorite places we stumble upon, were places that were 'second choices'. Appraently it used to be a food truck run by husband and wife, Dave & Erin Emmons (who came over and introduced herself to us). They now own a 'brick and mortar' at 829 MAIN STREET IN MANCHESTER, CT!!!   The inside is long and narrow with booths or counter seating...



We only went with tacos, but the selection was pretty varied. The tacos were reasonable $3-$5 and we took a few choices to try the flavors out. Some of the 'wing sauces were crazy, too!! Peanut butter and JELLY??!!

Our waitress, Shannon, was very pleasant.... After having GREAT salsa... nice and hot!, we ordered dinner.

My date/hubby ordered a  Pork Carnitas Taco :SLOW SMOKED PULLED PORK SERVED WITH CREAMY POBLANO SLAW, but what he got the same taco as one of mine (Island Jerk Taco). Still, he liked it!  (Guess we'll have to go back to try the REAL Pork Carnitas out. He also ordered two Beef Picadillo tacos: Lean ground beef braised in Spanish sauce with our signature spices, garnished with lettuce, tomato and cheese


I decided to go really different and order one of each of these...

Island Jerk Taco: SLOW ROASTED PORK WITH SPICY, TRUCK MADE JERK SEASONING AND FRESH MANGO PICO DE GALLO $4

Tasty Thai Chicken: SLOW COOKED CHICKEN WITH TRUCK MADE RED CURRY PEANUT SAUCE, TOPPED WITH FRESH CARROT, CABBAGE AND CILANTRO SLAW $4

Other than mixing up his taco ordered... it all tasted GREAT! While I only had water and Lee had iced tea, it wasn't expensive at all... a dinner for less than $22, before tip.  We'll be back!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Second time's the 'Charm'- Actually the first time was too!

Okay, so it isn't our "first time at the rodeo", or in this case, Marlborough Pizza on Rte 66 in Marlborough, CT. Just past the center of town. We 'fell upon it" when we'd wanted to take a drive and eat
1. some place new
2. someplace out of the way and
3. someplace different.

We started off on Rte 2 east and got to about Marlborough when we decided not to spend the day getting to someplace we weren't sure where we were heading to. Neither of us have a smart phone, so no googling in the car and we didn't look online at home. We were just plain hungry.

I hadn't written a review in a while, but thought I should. We'd had a really good grinder the last time (FULL of meat and so REASONABLE- $6.50 for 8"... yeah, that's right EIGHT INCHES!!! and I had had the Seafood stuffed sole for $16.95, but the stuffing was AMAZING!
Seafood Stuffed Sole-- Stuffed with homemade seafood stuffing (baby shrimp, Crab meat, ritz crackers and mozzarella cheese).  I brought half my dinner home the portions were HUGE! I enjoyed it TWICE, since I had it the next day) Okay, enough about the LAST time we were there.

Because the food was so good and was a great deal for your meal, I wanted a place to go to 'celebrate' us beginning our life as empty-nesters! We went after the 6:30pm news was over, so we probably got there at 7:20pm or so....pretty empty and nice and quiet.

My husband thought he'd get a grinder, so he could have half of it for tomorrow, but when we saw some of the meals on the menu, our thoughts turned to pure ... Aaahhh.

Since I'm losing weight and knew I wouldn't eat a lot, but I planned on taking some home, so the calories would be divided to a few days.
I really felt bad for one of the girls bringing my tea spilled the tray so it spilled over her hand, but 'thankfully (?)' it wasn't boiling hot (really girls, it SHOULD have been boiling in order to steep my teabag). She didn't get burned. For THAT, I'm glad she didn't have it hot. Our waitress, Amanda, was the best! She was so attentive without being 'in our face', and was super helpful, getting us just what we needed when we needed it, ... making suggestions, warning us of the portion sizes, LOL. Even her suggestion of the sausage soup made us decide to order a bowl to take home. I'll add that review on the end of this once we have it.

Bread was nice a fresh Italian bread with four 'packets' of butter. I almost had two pieces, then thought better of it. I remembered they served large portions. I brought it home.

We had an inkling of the portion size when we got the salad. It WAS pretty big! They bring the dressings on the side and you can have more if you need it. The salad itself was 'about average', mixed iceberg (maybe there was a little romaine and mixed greens, with a few grape tomatoes, cucumbers, shredded carrots, red onions. I would have loved to have crumbled feta, or croutons, or something... but I liked it. I missed taking a photo of it before I ate it, but this was what I took home (I probably ate 2/3 of it)


I ordered the  "Baked Scrod Italiano -- Fresh baked boston scrod, topped with sliced tomatoes, spinach, fresh mozzarella, bread crumbs, in our lemon white wine and butter Sauce" ... and OHHH the butter sauce! I cut off a section that was probably 2" long and that was probably a quarter of it. It was tender and flavorful. Cooked just right. I had a baked potato (which I had 1/3 of) with butter and sour cream on the side (saved that for take home), and roasted spring veggies, carrots, squash, cauliflower, brocolli, (I only ate half of that). So I'm sure you see I planned on having it for two more meals... maybe? This is what I took home... (I decided after I'd cut into it, that maybe it's worthy of a blog post. Oh, yeah, it was)


(this is what I brought home....)



My hubby ordered  "Chicken Parmagiana--Breaded boneless chicken breast baked with our marinara sauce and Topped with mozzarella (with spaghetti)". It looked really good and as hard as he tried, he couldn't eat all of it either. Neither one of us could finish the meal. Amanda even asked if we wanted to take some of their cannoli's home (to which I said I don't really like cannoli's. She said she didn't either until she had these....) hmmm. maybe next time.

This is what he took home....


My only suggestion...Since you had three tvs going (muted), and nice music playing, you might want to think of putting closed caption on the tvs, so for those watching it, can see what they are saying. (It actually had an interesting show on about the Chicago cubs playing a game in which a fan, Steve Bartman, caught a ball that was still in play - well, the player on the field could have really caught it and it would have changed the game. Instead, Mr Bartman REALLY put a hurt on the team's mental play and eventually the hampered the results of the game. Would have been interesting to hear what they were saying about it). 

Can't wait to go again!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Carrabba's Italian Grill -on Purpose

When: Aug 10, 2013

Where: Near Buckland Cinemas, Manchester, CT

Circumstances: In the past, Carrabba's has been dined at, because we planned to go somewhere else and it was too long a wait. This time, however, we were invited to go 'wherever you'd like', by my mom. We CHOSE Carrabba's. Even if I've been there before, I try something different, especially if I plan to 'blog about it'. I also, usually CHOOSE to stay anonymous when I blog (although, really...how can you if you're taking photos of the dinners?), But when the waiter, Peter, said we'd looked familiar, I'd told him my mom has never been there, but my husband and I have come twice before (and it slipped that I'd blogged about them before). I prefer to stay anonymous when I'm there as I get to see the 'real' service, but since I know this is a great restaurant with great food, I wasn't ready to leave because I'd blown my cover ahead of time.

We went at a really good time of day...4:45pm. A little early I know, but they open at 4pm and we thought, since they are right next to Buckland Cinemas, it may get busier closer to the movie times. It was perfect timing. Peter, our waiter, couldn't have been more helpful. He asked if he could 'go over the menu' (which we had him do since mom was a 'newbie'). While very thorough, he suggested some things that sounded great. Checked on us just the right amount of times without being intrusive. Even the new manager, Greg (from NH) came over to greet us. (I thought it may have been because my cover was blown, but I saw him talking to other tables. Whew!... Kudos to you, Greg. Nice touch.)

Okay, ... on to the dinners.

My husband easily chose one, his favorite of theirs, Pork Chops Marsala with garlic mashed potato. I tried some of his and it truly is divine! So moist and tender (and HE doesn't even like mushrooms and nothing was left on his plate, but the bones!)

All the dinners came with a choice of soup or salad, but I love a colorful salad and I remembered their's was a great combination of vegetables. I don't usually like onions in my salad, but I decided I'd try it... (I ate it all)
 
 I only have squeezed lemon as a dressing, but I decided to have their vinaigrette (on the side) to taste it. I was informed at a cooking lesson once, that your salad dressing should "kiss' the salad, not "make out with it", so I like tossing a kiss to mine. Seeing what was in their dressing, was great. You can even see the bits of garlic in it. It was yummy!

 They serve crushed herbs (rosemary, basil, etc) and swirl the oil over it for bread dipping. I thought their salad dressing was so good that I'd dip in that, too! I'm sure they used extra virgin olive oil, but I LOVE the properties of grapeseed oil. Much lighter and less of the 'bad stuff'. Just an aside.

There were some interesting dinner choices, as they have a Trio D'Italia, where you get three different categories with three meals in each one. You pick one from each category and I really wanted to try one as the price $15.50 was just about the price of my other choice. I was only concerned there might be TOO MUCH FOOD! (There was just the right amount).
These were my three...
Sirloin Marsala* Wood-grilled and topped with mushrooms, prosciutto
and their house made Lombardo Marsala wine sauce
 
Mezzaluna Half moon ravioli with chicken, ricotta, parmigiana-Reggiano
and spinach in their house made tomato cream sauce
 
Fettuccine Alfredo Fresh fettuccine tossed in house made
Alfredo sauce and Romano cheese

I didn't think about it until I cut into my steak, but no one asked how I wanted it cooked when it was ordered, and it came to me- perfect! The Marsala sauce has just the faintest hint of lemon, but a robust, smooth and savory flavor.

 
The ravioli was filled nicely with chicken and cheese, but just a hint of spinach. Was flavorful. The only complaint in the whole meal, was that I REALLY like my food hot. Not lukewarm... which is what I thought the fettuccine was. Not a lot of flavor in it either, and while it was 'warm-ish', I tend to eat the food on my plate that will cool off the fastest, first! That went first although I'd never order the fettuccine by itself in the future.
 

Mom chose this...Chicken Bryan, one of their most famous dishes. This signature dish consists of some of their favorite ingredients and grilling techniques passed down in the Carrabba family. This is a uniquely delicious combination of wood-grilled chicken topped with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and their hand-prepared basil lemon butter sauce (yummy). I tried this and although I was sceptical because of the goat cheese (never had it), it was melt-in-your-mouth delicious! I know my mom didn't care for the sun-dried tomatoes (as she pushed them to the side)-- actually she didn't remember that's what they were! LOL (Hey, she's 85 yrs old and started to forget things rather quickly).


 This was the unexpected 'nice touch' of the night. A complimentary dessert for the table.
Sogno Di Cioccolata “Chocolate Dream”, truly a chocolate lover’s dream. A rich fudge brownie topped with chocolate mousse, fresh whipped cream and homemade chocolate sauce. They make  the chocolate mousse and whipped cream in-house, which makes for an irresistibly fresh combination in this dreamy dessert. It was just the right touch for the end of the meal, perfectly split between the three of us. (No one really had room for dessert.....  .....yeah, right....

All in all, for a $64 check (plus $15 tip) for the three of us, it was a nice evening out for our family. Our compliments to the chef.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Chez Ben

When: July 2013

Where: Center Street, Manchester, CT

This French Canadian diner is just down the street from us and we decided to try it for breakfast. We've been there before so it wasn't like it was new to us, but we decided to 'post' it this time.

Since it was so busy on this Sunday morning, we grabbed two seats at the counter. After a quick look at the menu, I knew I wanted to try the Almond Joy French toast (with some crisp bacon). After inspecting the french toast when it came, I think they must dip the toast in the egg wash, press it into the coconut, cook it, drizzle chocolate sauce over it, sprinkle it with chopped almonds, and a dollop of whipped cream....OMG!! This is IT!!! To die for. And the bacon with the right crispiness, too.
 


This is a gross photo of it, but I wanted you to see the coconut as it surrounded the bread. Just tasted devine!
Of course, my hubby had a Western Omelet (his usual) with homefries and hash. It was cooked PERFECTLY!
Good Job, Chez Ben!


The Tilted Kilt

When:Thurs, July 25, 2013

Where:  1151 Silas Deane Hwy
              Wethersfield, CT 6109
              860- 257-8458
Thursday wasn't a good day for my mom, who's 85 and me. My cousin had just died and although it was expected (he had ALS for 2 yrs), here we were, going to the wake. To avoid the highway traffic at 5pm during the week, we turned off I-91 and skirted down Silas Deane Highway....to Cromwell. I passed a restaurant called The Tilted Kilt and, being of Scottish descent, I thought we'd hit it on the way home for dinner.

Okay, so here's the deal.
I hadn't planned on going here for those of you who know what was in store for us... I kind of had an idea that maybe it was gonna be that kind of pub, if you know what I mean, when I saw the scantily clad girls (IN KILTS, mind you) painted on the doors. And hey, it's a pub. Didn't think it would be so noisy, but ... that's a pub!

Our hostess/waitress came up and offered to seat us. Yes, she had on a plaid kilt. Very short. Complete with a sporron. Yes, it matched the top, kind of...The top was really a plaid bathing suit top with a white short sleeved top over it, but not buttoned. It was tied, in just the right way to have her cleavage showing (some were showing more than others). They had kilt hose with garter flashes  and scottish dancing shoes. Great uniform!  But I must say, the waitresses were very good. It made me think of a Scottish "Hooters"... My mom was a little surprised and giggled, but was polite when they came to take our order.



 
Okay.... now for the food. I was hoping to see more Scottish fare, but I did see fish and chips (which I ordered), and mom had a hot turkey club sandwich with sweet potato fries (very good). I only ordered it because I saw a bottle of Gourmet Malt Vinegar on the table. Can't have the chips without it!! I must say our waitress, Carrie AND our food was VERY good.
The cole slaw was 'ok', but not my favorite (I'm not sure I HAVE a favorite), and the fish was so flaky and tender. Done Excellently!




She even came and told us how nice it was to see some ladies in the establishment for a change. They get a few, but not many. She asked us if we knew it was gonna be "this kind of place", sweeping her hands across the short kilt. "No, not until we got to the doors, but we still came in"...

All and all, we had a nice dinner, except for the noise level. Hard to talk to each other, but hey,... they did have the Scottish flag up above us. Made me feel better.



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sweet Frog - Manchester

Where: Sweet Frog
1500 Pleasant Valley road
Manchester, CT
860-648-0616

When: This must be at least my 10th trip since they opened on Mother's day, 2013.


Okay, I must admit I call it Sweet FrogS (with an S), and it's wrong, but it's just me. I was first introduced to Sweet Frog on Facebook, by my family who went to another store in Tolland. THEY were the ones who said Manchester would soon have one coming and since it's closer, I'm in!

 
 I have to say I've never seen anyone in here without a smile, at least not once they have their cup of fabulousness! It's bright a cheery and 'fun' inside. FUN. That's the word. It's a place I'd love to work in. You make people happy with what you do. AND they donate back to the community, too! What more could you ask for?

 Tracy, the manager in Manchester, has always been so pleasant and helpful. If you've never been in and want to sample one of the 16 flavors, ask. They have those small paper cups (the kind you get ketchup and tartar sauce squirted into at the beach) that you can use to just release a dab and taste. Not your flavor? Try another. They really only want to see you happy. (How is that for a concept?)
This is one of their new flavors (which can change every week). Orange Burst and Strawberry lemonade. Push the lever on the left, get one flavor. Push the one on the right, get the other. Push the one in the middle....you get a TWIST of both! Yummy....

 Okay, so I have my choices...cocnut on the very bottom (you can't really see it), a twist of orange burst and strawberry lemonade, and a plop of mint and coffee (yeah, know... but that what makes it really unique! YOU get to choose the conbinations--or be a purist-- and figure out it your 'combo' works or doesn't). I must admit I may not do the mint again (I don't even like mint ice cream, so I'm not sure why I chose that one).

 Anyway, here are the toppings.... over 50 of them (actually, Manchester has 60). All are labeled on the spoons and, yes if you want to try one of the more unsual ones, ask (poppers were my test--they passed!)
 There are so many choices of fruit (think of it as healthy)....
 and the 'textured' section... crushed up candy bars, nuts, granolas. All the stuff that will add texture to ice cream.


 And then there is the 'sauce' area....and the sprinkles (for fun)
 
And what place that serves anything this cold and yummy doesn't have hot fudge and caramel? Oh, yeah.....Be careful, though. You pay by the ounce. Mine cost $5.47. But well worth it.
 I must say I don't add too much, no whipped cream.....but doesn't it look yummy????
It WAS! oh. And that card? It's called a loyalty card. When you purchase 10 cupfuls, you get one free. And yes, mine is almost ready for another free one (you can use it on the heaviest one, since you pay by the ounce). My SECOND loyalty card, mind you....

Oh, this place is heaven. Really.......