December 6, 2011

Greek Village Inn - Sacramento, CA

Finally getting my Skordalia fix (happy dance!!!!). The wonderfully smooth garlic dip that makes me smile.

I found the Greek Village Inn during a very specific search for Skordalia or skordhalia/skorthalia. Upon walking in I was greeted to another great surprise as they had the spicy feta as featured special today. Individually each dip is great, but together they will blow your mind. The feta had just the right amount of fire to meet the garlicy goodness that is a star of the Skordalia.
Skordalia and Spicy Feta Dips

  Next was the house Avgolemono, lemon and rice soup. Very flavorful, but with all the other dishes I ordered I only had a small taste.
Avgolemono Soup

For my main I went with an old faithful Gyro plate...Greek lemon potatoes, tzatziki, olives, and feta cheese. The gyro meat was thick cut, well seasoned and tasty, while the potatoes had mild lemon bite compared to others I've had.
Gyro Platter

Overall it was a great meal and the service was great. Looking forward to my next visit.

Garlic is your friend...Eat Bright!

November 9, 2011

Sprig - Atlanta, GA

I am STARVING... as waiting for the credits to role on 'Anonymous', which was fabulous by the way, to signal that its time to go.  Immediately AP and I make a dash for the door knowing that Sprig closes at 10.  

Perusing the menu, there are a number items to catch the eye.  The waitress confirmed our ideas when asked for recommendations. We originally ordered the Kale & Shiitake Mushroom Grits...Yep, you felt it too.. absolute excitement!  That is until moments later they return to say they don't have them.  So we decided to try the Butternut squash Risotto. Sounded very interesting until it came out looking pretty plain and uninteresting. Then we tasted it and it was blah, something was missing.
Before Sage
When we brought it to their attention our waitress pointed out that they left off the fried Sage and parmesean cheese.   Unfortunately, even with the correct toppings, there was nothing stand up about the dish.
After Sage
As everyone who has read by blog knows, I'm always on the hunt for a good burger.  And after hearing that the Sprig Burger might make it into my top 4 for Atlanta, I was stoked.

That is until again, after the manager comes back to inform us that they are out of Holeman & Fitch Bread Co. buns.  So instead we order one on a gluten free bun and one they put on a H& F Hoagie bun. Then as we are sizing up our burger, we notice a key missing piece of color, tomato red.  And again they have to come back to our table to explain that they are no longer in season which we totally respect but the menu, which was listed as just redone for fall, still said burger included tomato.  That seems small, but think about how the words on the menu are all you have to go on as you build up your expectations of what you hope will be a dish that live up to them.

Now back to the burger...alternate bun choices were a total mistake, it of course totally took away from our BURGER experience.  Half of the experience is dependent on the taste the other is the feeling you get when you prep your burger then pick it up and take that first bite.  The gluten free bun was good for gluten free, but as expected it was crumbly and unable to really stand up to the weight of the patty.  The hoagie bun, was just funny to look at and so it sat untouched.  Now let me know forget to say that the quality of the meat and the flavor was great.  It was not bad at all, just requires me to go back again in order to better assess the burger. 

With hopes of closing this meal off on a good note we decide to try the Gooey Butter Cake, Pumpkin flavored due to season.  I know, what in the world.  It was to be a cake and cheese cake combo thing with lots and lots of butter baked in.  Which in my mind along with the word gooey in the title makes me expect moisture beyond all.  And that my friends was my mistake and that was exactly what it lacked.  You can even see it in the picture, they cake bottom is dry.  I think they had it in the fridge at too low of a temperature so it was drying out, it looked frost bitten. So after just a bite, we had to push it away.  It has so much promise just based on the title, but unfortunately the execution here left a lot to be desired.

Not going to take it off my list, but may not be rushing back next week... Eat Bright!!

November 3, 2011

Cafeteria 15L and Scotts's Seafood - Sacramento, CA

So here I am again...back at Cafeteria 15L. As I was eating my grilled cheese last time I herd the bartender say their burger is one of the best in Sac town. And as you know, I'm always hunting a good burger. I found one is Columbus, OH, Johnnies Tavern, that I visited weekly to have a Hot-fries (burger with pepper jack and side of Fries).

But I digress, I'm back now to try their Cafeteria Burger. I'm thinking goat cheese and bacon... As happy hour prepares to end, I decide to try their mac n' cheese. Served piping hot in cast iron pot, its perfectly golden on top. The flavors are mild and each bite accented with the crunchy texture from the bread crumbs.
Mac n' Cheese

OMG, this smells amazing. Of course I got the garlic fries again... and the goat cheese and special sauce are calling my name... and after I take the time to cut it and prepare for first bite...Its still quite pink. I ordered medium well + minute.
Burger with Goat Cheese and Bacon

I was sooo excited, it looked soooo good!!!

So here I am... Waiting again, hope I get the same feeling again... It doesn't, maybe it just me, but I hate when they mess up then put the same buyer back on the grill fully dressed... It like opening a present, I can't have the same excitement about what I will find perfectly wrapped gift... Plus they took my fries so their not piping hot anymore either... What had the promise of being joyful beyond all is not a disappointment.

Burger is good. But now I don't have a taste for it anymore...

Pray it comes out right the first time... Eat Bright... :-(

Take 2

So as I am still hungry, I don't know what to eat... then it comes to me just get some seafood.  Something that's the total opposite of the burger, as not to be comparing them.  So I remember something i saw online, Scott's Seafood.  Its not really in my direction, but hey I'm hungry. The manager and I have a nice chat and she recommends a mix of the Boston Clam Chowder and Spicy Crab Bisque.  Its sooo warm on a cool night like tonight...she recommended the mix as to soften the bite of the bisque yet still have the creaminess greatness of the chowder.  After a bit more discussion we decided that in the future a 3:1 bisque to chowder ratio might be better so more of the spice comes through.

Boston Clam Chowder and Spicy Crab Bisque

I also had one of each of the featured oysters listed below, with the Cortes island and Eld island being my favorite.

Favorites at 12 and 3

Sometimes it takes two... Eat Bright...

Sent via BlackBerry

October 24, 2011

Cafeteria 15L - Sacramento, CA

Today was one of those days where I really didn't have a taste for anything, so after searching around I found Cafeteria 15L, american comfort food. Equipped to be completely open air and with great patio seating options, it definitely takes advantage of the cool fall weather.

Started with the Trio of Fries; garlic, sweet potato and BBQ with dipping sauces. The garlic and bbq were amazing, the perfect amount of seasoning. The sweet potato miss the mark though, as they brought nothing special to the combination (maybe adding some spice would help). I could have had more of the garlic instead.
Trio of Fries

BBQ, Sweet Potato and Garlic

Next up, I am waiting for my grilled cheese and tomato soup. They actually serve with fries, but I felt that was overload so going with a salad...

Salad provided a simple start, to the fresh, thick and hearty flavor of the tomato soup. The grilled cheese was thin and crisp and held well as you dipped it in the soup.

Eating for comfort is OK in moderation...Eat Bright!

October 17, 2011

Gatsby's Diner

Now its only right that I look up what spots in the area have been featured on food network. So I come to find Gatsby's Diner which was on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives back in January.

I walk in to the amazing smell of burgers, steaks and pork chops cooking on converted Japanese hibachi grills. I must say this is the epitome of an open kitchen.

I decided the seasonal 'Bacon Sherry Burger' was the way to go... 8 oz patty topped with shaved brussel sprouts, cheddar cheese, crisp bacon, lettuce, tomato, thinly sliced red onion and a sherry mayo made in house, with nothing less than the house cut fries.

While I waited on my burger I totally had to have a vanilla shake. It was not only pretty, but very tasty. It was thick and creamy, but smooth enough to use a straw.
Vanilla Milk Shake

Burger looked great, fries nice and hot. I order my burger well done +minute, and it was perfect. Not a smidgen of pink, yet still very juicy. The flavor combo melded well together, with nothing really standing out. The waitress used the term 'wasabi like' to describe what the brussel spouts brought to the table, and I agree if you take the hot away.

Bacon Sherry Burger

But the hands down winner at this meal...was the fries. Its crazy how a potato is a potato is a potato, but not all fried potatoes are created equal. I could not stop myself, I ended up getting full on my fries and could not finish the burger.

Do a little homework, find something new where you are...Eat Bright!

October 13, 2011

Wayside Noodles - Sacramento, CA

Finally getting my Pho fix. I have been craving it for weeks now, and with so much time to waste til my flight decided to come catch a flick. My eyes totally lit up when I saw a Vietnamese Restaurant, Wayside Noodles, next door.

Started with shrimp spring rolls. Very cute with the tail sticking out.

Then decided on the. Tai, nam, sach... Rare steak, well-done flank and tripe. I can't say anything was amazing, just happy to get my fix...

Eat Pho...Eat Bright!

Tequila Mueso Mayahuel - Sacramento, CA

As I stop to grab a drink at the Dive Bar, a dimly lit bar with a large fish tank that features mermaids on occasion, the girl next to me mentions the "like fancy mexican restaurant down the street."

On the corner of 12th and K streets I find a cute little spot called 'Tequila Mueso Mayahuel.' As I open the door the music hits me, on the opposite side of the restaurant there is a League of United Latin American Citizens (similar to an NAACP) event going on.

I decided on the Bocaditos de Mexico appetizer, followed by the Chile Relleno de Queso. The Bocaditos is a collection of six bites showcasing the diverse flavors of Mexico. Consisting of conchita pibil, tinga de pollo, chile poblano, shrimp, napoles and requeson. I don't know what half of them are, but can't wait to try them...

First out is the chef compliment Tinga de pollo, with chicken.

Then my bites( starting at top left)... The requesson a brushetta was very nice and almost smooth in flavor, then the Napoles(Cactus), another tinga, next the chile poblano with a nice warm bite, then the baby shrimp taco and finally the shock of the conchita pibil a bit of pork marinated and finished with a bit of orange sweetness.

Chile Relleno, fried perfectly, was very good. Unfortunately, nothing to call home about but still good.

All and all, I agree it's 'fancy' mexican. The chef is creating new dishes while maintaining true to traditional flavors. 

Eat Bright!

October 12, 2011

Ten 22 - Sacramento, CA

Here I am at Ten 22 in Old Town, Sacramento, OH, which lists itself as a 'unique' farm to table experience. Best part, it was less than a 2 minute walk from the hotel.

After all the burgers I've eaten within the past week, I opted for one of Chef Jay Veregge's signature dishes, the Fried Green Tomato Pizza. Made with a roasted tomato salsa, fontina cheese, and cool ranch drizzle, I am getting excited just thinking about it.

Fried Green Tomato Pizza

Very good, sprinkled with bit of parm and red pepper flakes. Fontina adds a nice little saltiness to the dish, veggies are definitely fresh.  Knowing that I would not be able to finish it all, I offered some to the guy next to me and he agreed it was very good.
Grass-fed grilled steak pizza

As payback for the slice I shared, I tasted a piece of FC's, the Bostonian, grass-fed grilled steak pizza; skirt steak with roasted balsalmic onions and blue cheese. Great flavors, the onions and balsamic dreesing totally make it work...

For those who know me, I have no problem talking to strangers, and had a great time with the other business travelers at the bar (Hi! FC and JB if you are reading this).

 Be Nice and Eat Bright!!

October 6, 2011

Local Three Kitchen and Bar- Atlanta, GA

Yes, I did... Two amazing burgers in one day... I already told you about my visit to Rosebud for lunch... so here is how I ended my day.

Tucked away in the Piazza at Paces , behind a wooden door you are greeted by the giant pig and a great atmosphere.

Pan Fried Chicken Livers, smoked bacon, apples, swiss chard, cream sherry.

Wow, the flavor of the bacon and slight sweetness of the apples really come through along with the sherry. Balance out that dry gritty flavor of the liver.

 I know this doesn't make any sense, but I totally chose to follow this with a burger...

The McDowell...think 'Coming to America'; two angus beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, american cheese, but NO sesame seeds.

The McDowell

Now I am the first to admit, a Big Mac is my guilty pleasure, to love food the way I do, I know that's crazy... But don't judge me...

This is a Big Mac on steroids. Imagine it with me... Fresh meat that has not been processed and frozen, fresh Holeman and Finch bunch, crispy lettuce, pickles, a smooth "special sauce" not so pungent as Micky D's, and some good ol' American cheese. I am a happy camper!

Eat Happy... Eat Bright!!

Frank Ski's Restaurant and Lounge - Atlanta, GA

Bear with me while I play catch up on a few entries I've been too lazy to post...

Atlanta, Atlanta....Diddy's restaurant Justin's just got knocked for a loop.  Just down the street on Peachtree Street across from Fresh Market is Frank Ski's Restaurant Lounge. Frank Ski hosts a morning show on V-103 and is a local celebrity.

Upon arrival you will greeted with a smile and personal welcome and introduction from your valet attendant.  This was absolutely the cutest thing, they are such nice guys.  As I entered the restaurant I was pleasantly surprised by the decor and atmosphere.  The left of the restaurant has been transformed into a nice lounge area with either sofa or table seating options.  To the right, the bar is expansive with lots of seating on three sides.  There is a small VIP booth in the back and a wine tasting room. 

Grilled Honey Hot Wings

Our bartender was awesome, he was friendly and really made our first visit a great one.  The menu offers a number of different selections, some of which I didn't quite understand, but hey... not my spot. My girl LH is a wing lover and decided to try their 'Grilled' Honey Hot wings.  She said they were "good for grilled."  I tried a bite and agree, they were OK.

I decided on the Creole Seafood Pot Pie.  Yes, I know that so sounds weird for the type of spot this is, but they are aiming to make good food sexy and keep up with the Atlanta swagger.  It was like a lobster crab, shrimp bisque with an etouffee style flavor combo topped with puff pastry.  It was very simple in presentation...left a lot to the imagination, but the dish was good.  The sauce was creamy and it had a decent amount of seafood inside. 

Creole Seafood Pot Pie

Unfortunately, I did not have dessert because they were out of Cami Cakes Red Velvet cupcakes :-(

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised.  I can definitely say I was hesitant when I heard Frank Ski was opening a restaurant, but I am glad he did.  So ofter people come to Atlanta and run to Justin's just because P. Diddy owns it, but the food really is not that good.  Frank Ski's is off to a good start and I just pray they can maintain the momentum in order to be around for a very long time. 

To great food and a great social scene...Eat Bright!

Rosebud Restaurant - Atlanta, GA

Today I had the opportunity to take my high school Spanish teacher Dr. A out to lunch. It was great to catch up and just spend some time with someone who provided such a great example and imparted so much knowledge on me.

Decided on Rosebud on North Highland due to the awesome experience I had there for brunch a few months back.  And today they did it again.  The special was a Lamb burger with goat cheese, pickles, and a lemon aioli, served with house cut garlic fries.  It was amazing cooked perfectly and the large slather of goat cheese... what more do I need to say.

Cherish the ones you love...Eat Bright!

September 19, 2011

5 Napkins Burger - Atlanta, GA

5 Napkins is originally from New York and recently opened their 6th location on the corner of 10th and Piedmont in Atlanta, in the former Niki Moto's Sushi spot. When you walk in the atmosphere has potential.  Would be a great place to meet friends for a cocktail. 

To start we ordered the fried pickles and pastrami, with sauerkraut and mustard seed sauce. Not a major bite, the dough was soft batter very simple and soft. Flavors all melted into one.

Then we tried the house burger with Gruyere, caramelized onion, rosemary alioli.  It was nothing major and definitely not worth the $14.  As Atlanta has become the burger capital of the south, 5 Napkins is falling very short.  With competition like Holeman and Fitch, Bocado, Vortex, and Farm Burger; they cannot afford to come up short. AP mentioned the Farm Burger's house burger is actually made up of the same combination but they have a formula that balances the burger, cheese, toppings, and bun type to perfection.

In order to  make the burger edible, I had to scrape off the Rosemary alioli which was way to sweet.  Yes I said sweet.  Get fresh caramelized onions, mayo and mustard in order to bring it down to earth and make it palatable.
 Then in addition to the burger fiasco they have these "Tuscan" fries on the menu... Really!?!  What you have are some frozen fries with some bland herb salt stuff on top.  When I hear 'Tuscan" I'm expecting, fresh cut fries with an olive oil drizzle tossed in fresh herbs at the least. This is was most disappointing thing, both AP and I were visibly disturbed by this.

I'm not sure what's happening in NY if this place is considered good...

Overpriced is not always Right... Eat Bright!

Kitsch'n 155 - Decatur, GA

The grilled cheese sandwich is one of my favorite childhood dishes. It may even be a favorite of my adult years as well. When you couldn't stomach any more Ramen, you made a grilled cheese. When your sick and making soup, a grilled cheese is the perfect pairing.

A few weeks ago AP was raving about this adult grilled cheese she found. So she takes me to
Kitsch'n 155.
I had to try the sandwich; Grownup grilled cheese." Thick cut Texas toast with havarti, colby, jack and blue cheeses with pepper maple bacon, sliced tomatoes and green onions. The cheeses were all perfectly melted and balanced by the bacon. The green onions provided the most distinct flavor, providing a nice finishing bite. Then there was the sweet potatoes fries. Unstructured in design, it looked as if they just used a knife to cut the potato length wise and whatever they looked like, that's what you got.

They also serve some unique bottled soda's and make a magnificent shake using Ben and Jerry's ice cream. AP tried the Red Rock golden ginger ale that is more than a century old recipe. The amount of bite on this soda was WOW... It had a peppery finish that left just the right amount of burn in the throat as it went down.

Now as we looked around the small diner we noticed how many people were ordering the burger. One family of three all had a burger, and about 10 minutes later, we notice the mom come back in to order another. Her son could not have been more than 13 but he completely murdered two kinds burgers and fries. His apparent love of this burger inspired AP and I to try it. Yes, I know what your thinking... 'She did just say that they each finished off a grown up grilled cheese sandwich and now about to eat a burger'...
But give us some credit we only ordered a kids cheese burger and we shared it. Actually we kind of picked over it choosing to focus on the patty. It was seasoned perfectly with a house mixture they affectionately call 'Kitsch'n.' And let me not forget the fries which were fresh cut and served piping hot. No ketchup needed, they are probably in my top ten of best fries list.

This place is a total gem in Atlanta. Something I would have chosen to just drive by had I seen it on the road. But fresh food made with care is awaiting you at Kitsch'n 155 on Clairmont in Decatur 'Where its Greater' GA.

Eat Bright!

September 8, 2011

Montgomery Inn BBQ- Columbus, OH

So as my time in Ohio is coming to an end, I decided to come try a place that I've meaning to visit for more than a year now. The Montgomery Inn is supposed to be known for their ribs. They were started in some small town in OH and eventually expanded to multiple locations. The building very cute sticking to the Inn theme.

As I study the menu, I see a sweet plum and spicy mustard sauce listed. Thank goodness I decided to taste it first, I totally did not like it. The mustard sauce is too spicy and the plum sauce just ok. To think this was going to be served on shrimp is scary, totally would have killed the shrimp if they weren't already dead.

So I ordered the Rib and shrimp entree with NO sauce. The ribs were tender and the meat fell off the bone, their house sauce was slightly sweet and just OK. Shrimp were typical frozen fried shrimp, nothing unexpected. But maybe its me, and my taste buds are off, but the best thing on the plate was the baked sweet potato.

Sometimes your food intuition keep you away from a place for a reason...listen to it... Eat Bright!!