Monday, December 20, 2010

Armadillo Willy's - Barbecue Time!

Jim, JB, and I felt like barbecue for lunch, and we drove over to a local place. However, it was about 2:30pm on a Saturday, and as soon as we got out of the car, a restaurant employee came out to let us know that they were closed (and would be closed the next day, too). Apparently they close at 2:30pm on Saturdays... which seems really odd (they don't re-open for dinner or anything, either). So we'll have to go back there some other time. We drove over to a place that JB and Jim (whose initials are also JB, LoL) have lunch sometimes: Armadillo Willy's.

They claim to be Texas-style, but I'm not 100% sure. I didn't really like it at all, but I'd go back anyway. To start with, apparently they have a special everyday, but it's not clear on the menu, and we didn't see them until we were at the table, which was too late. This is because you order when you walk in, then you carry a buzzer until your order is ready, when you go to a window to pick it up.

I was feeling pretty confident in my (Memphis) pulled pork sandwich selection, which turned out to be pretty blah. I didn't like the sauce (I got "original" or "mild," whatever you want to call it), and wasn't thrilled with the meat. In fact, Jonathan had ordered the chopped brisket (with the hotter sauce), and we couldn't tell our sandwiches apart. Chopped versus pulled, beef versus pork, hot versus mild... the differences were not apparent. We could tell that the sauces differed slightly, but it seemed to be a vinegar-type difference rather than a spiciness difference, so it didn't help. He wasn't in love with his either, but he finished it, LoL. Jim liked his, tho I forget what he ordered. We all enjoyed the fries, and I'd go back just for the them! Plus, I'd like to try their burgers, and apparently their milkshakes (another item that we didn't notice on the menu until we were seated).

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dish Dash - Mediterranean Cuisine

It was an off-Friday for the guys (and, in this case, I mean JB and all of his LM friends), so a bunch of us did lunch in downtown Sunnyvale. We went to DishDash, which everyone had been to before except me. It's a Mediterranean place, with an emphasis on Greek.

We started out with the hummus, which was garlicky and good. We did need to ask for more pita, but it was delivered post-haste. Most of us ordered wraps, and I think everyone went lamb but me; I went with the chicken. The shawarma wraps came with cucumber, onions, tomatoes, and parsley with a garlic tzaziki sauce. They were served with delicious fries (I think one person went with the salad instead, which was good). It was a little pricey for lunch (the shawarma wraps start at $10), but I can see why the place was so packed! It was very good, and I only ate half of my wrap there, leaving me with another day's deliciousness.

Monday, December 6, 2010

P. F. Chang's

P. F. Chang's is a Chinese restaurant where the dishes are mostly served family-style. It's pretty popular and it's a chain, so you may have been before. Jonathan has been a few times, but I never had, so we went with our friends, Jim & Vivian. We have one here in town, so it was very easy to plan this outing.

I gotta start by saying that I just wasn't thrilled with anything. The flavors were all average and not unique, and the price was high for what you got. I don't really care if I go back, since I don't get the vibe that this was an unusual visit - everyone else seemed to enjoy the place pretty well.

We started with crispy pork wontons. Now, to be fair, I prefer steamed to fried, so maybe I'm not the best judge on this one. We ordered three dishes for the table: double pan-fried noodles with shrimp, the crispy honey chicken, and the mu shu pork. The noodles were okay, they just didn't stand out in any way. The crispy honey chicken was not crispy at all, and kinda bland in the sweetness department. The mu shu pork was kinda neat in presentation, since they make the pancake-packages at your table. But I'm not in love with hoisin sauce so the overall flavor didn't blow me away.

Overall, it's probably one of those places that you should go to once (like Hard Rock), but if it's not for you, I think you'll know.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pho Garden

Another day another pho place. This is a place that opened in downtown Mountain View since we last lived here. We were there specifically for a scouting mission, since they have a challenge that Jonathan and our friend Andy (not Florida-Andy) want to do. It's a giant bowl of pho, which (for our newer readers) is a Vietnamese soup.

So this time, Jonathan and Andy both got the XL (the challenge uses a 3XL) pho and timed themselves on that. They weren't really eating it for the flavor (Jonathan did not spend nearly his usual amount of time seasoning, LoL), but they seemed to like it well enough. I, on the other hand, went for the Spicy Chicken with Garlic Noodles. I thought this would be pho as well, but it turned out to be a broth-free dish. The chicken was plentiful, but the skin was still on it, so it took a bit of work to separate that. The noodles were heavy on the garlic, but that was to be expected. Cucumber and tomato garnished the dish, but didn't really add anything. I added a bunch of lime (having mistakenly ordered "extra lime" since I thought I was being served a pho), which gave the spicy chicken a great flavor, so I'm glad I did.

The guys both decided that they could handle the challenge, and a week later we went back for that! Kathy and Cody joined me in cheering them on, but unfortunately there were a few snags in the plans...

In investigating the challenge, we had found out that you were permitted to remove two of the six or so kinda of meat that was in the gigantic bowl. So, Jonathan and Andy both chose to remove the tendon and the tripe, since those are harder to get down (strange textures and such). However, when the bowls came out, those meats were present. They were promptly sent back. BUT, instead of bringing out completely new bowls of pho, they apparently just tried to remove those meats and added more of others instead. Well, this failed miserably because there was some tendon and a fair bit of tripe that remained in the bowl. PLUS, the time elapsed allowed the noodles to expand quite a bit, which removed the strategy of gobbling down those first. About twenty minutes in, they knew it was a bit of a stretch to attempt to finish off the challenge, so the pace slowed quite a bit. Andy had more optimism than Jonathan about it, and he continued to wolf it down for another ten or fifteen minutes, until he also knew that their efforts were fruitless. They did receive t-shirts for attempting the feat, and I took notes from each of them as to how they'd approach it next time, LoL.

Meanwhile, by the way, I had the chicken pho on that trip... and it was some of the worst pho that I have ever had. I'd never order it again. Pho Hoa is just so much better, LoL. Here are a few photos of the guys eating the gigantic bowls...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Shabu House

We were on our way back from dropping off some friends at SFO when we stopped in Burlingame for a late dinner. We had heard that Shabu House was good, and we agree. Shabu is a Japanese cuisine, similar to hotpot. We visited one in Mountain View when we lived in California last time.

We had the spicy miso broth. Jonathan got the lamb and beef combo platter, and I actually went with unagi (eel) on rice. It was the largest helping of eel I've ever been served, and it was delicious! At the end I was getting a little tired of the flavor, but I don't regret getting that giant piece of eel. We both had an assortment of vegetables and tofu to cook as well. The carrots were pretty good, but the bean sprouts, lettuce, spinach, and other items weren't all that great. After we added some garlic to the broth it helped a bunch, and the vinegary soy sauce also helped with the flavor a bit. We were seated about half an hour before closing, but we were definitely rushed a bit as we were there until about 15 minutes after closing. I dunno... I gotta say that this shabu thing is not growing on me, LoL. Still, it was a fun time. And I actually imagine that we will be back, since they offer an all-you-can-eat-and-drink thing that excited some of our friends.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Frankie, Johnnie, & Luigi Too

For our first dinner-and-a-movie night in California, we drove over to Mountain View for some Italian food. It was a restaurant we had not been to before, even though it was just outside of the downtown that we frequented last year. Frankie, Johnnie, & Luigi Too had a 25-minute wait, but we were seated after 19 minutes. It was a good thing that I had previewed the menu, since we weren't exactly given a relaxed pace. But that's no big deal, it was after 8 on a Friday night, and we would've been upset if the meal was too leisurely, since we did have a movie to make over in Santa Clara.

Our waters weren't refilled immediately, but they were filled consistently, so no true complaints there. The bread was fresh and hot, with plain butter. We also ordered the sausage bread as an appetizer, since it sounded unique and we were hungry. It was very fresh, with sliced (homemade) sausage and mozzarella baked in. It was served with a good marinara sauce as well, and we even took the final slice home.

Many things on the menu looked good, and I absolutely have to give them credit for unique combinations in their dishes. I went with the linguini pollo alla cuore, which was bite-sized chicken with broccoli, onion, peppers, and tomatoes. It was an oily romano-basil sauce, and as a whole I probably would have placed it near the bottom of the list of Italian dishes I've ever had. But it was unique, and I enjoyed eating one part of it at a time (broccoli, then peppers, etc). I just didn't care for the flavors together (I think the "sauce" killed it for the most part).

Jonathan had the baked ziti, which was also very unusual. It was eggplant, mushrooms, sausage, and ricotta in a tomato cream sauce and smoked provolone baked on top. He liked it a lot there, but reheated he didn't really like the mixed sausage and eggplant in the flavor. So, although both of us had three meals out of the giant plates we were given, only I finished it.

I wanted to like this place quite a bit, since you can get 20% off really easily (Costco deals), but it didn't happen. We may try it again, since it was highly recommended to us by a friend, but we'll have to see.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Freedom Burrito

We were at the store and got hungry for dinner so we looked around to see what else was in the plaza and felt like Mexican. There was also a Chinese place, a coffee shop, and a pizza place, so it's a pretty hopping little shopping center.

The menu is huge, but about a third of it is all the same with minor differences (like one with sour cream, one with sauce, etc.). We both had "Super Burritos" tho I had chicken fajitas on mine, and Jonathan had carne asadas. The pork was fabulous, but overall the flavor was about average. I specified "chicken fajitas" as opposed to "chicken" because the former was supposed to come with veggies... mine did not.

The portions were large for the price. The guacamole wasn't anything special, and the chips & salsa was an extra $2.50 (salsa was nothing special, but clearly made on the premises). The actual restaurant is kinda neat (nothing uber-original, but it is colorful). It's not a place we're dying to go back to, but it wasn't all bad.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Epcot Food & Wine Festival

Jonathan and I had free Disney passes for volunteering, so we utilized them during Epcot's Food & Wine Festival. I had never been before, but Jonathan went a few years ago. As you may already know, about half of the park is a "Word Showcase," featuring rides, pavilions, foods, films, and other things from various countries. During the Food & Wine Festival, additional countries are on display, and each has a kiosk where they sell small portions of authentic cuisine and drinks. This is where the fact that our tickets and parking was free comes into play... we spent about $50 on food and drink. But it was delicious! Everything was wonderful, so we have no regrets. And besides, places like South Korea and Ireland are not at the top of our international travel list, anyway.

We spent several hours doing the attractions throughout the park, but at 6pm we began our little tour of world cuisine. We technically walked the Festival backwards, but we'd actually recommend doing it that way.

Our first stop was Charcuterie & Cheese, which isn't specific to any one country, but specializes in wines & cheeses. We had the Nueske's Charcuterie Plate, which had smoked beef, duck, and ham with bread. It was all good, but the beef in particular had a nice flavor. I also had the sample of Prosecco, a peach sparking wine by Martini & Rossi. It was nothing special.
Canada was next, where we shared the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup (one of our favorites of the night) and tried the Inniskillin Pearl Vidal Icewine. Now, we adore icewine but rarely have it because it's expensive. It was wonderful here, tho a little thick (also not uncommon with icewine). I wanted to stop at Ireland for the Lobster and Scallop Fisherman's Pie, which was absolutely scrumptious. It had carrots and onions in it, and the scallops were plentiful. It was topped with a baked mashed potato, and I'd probably call it my favorite item, tied with the cheese soup. Jonathan liked it, especially because he had a big lump of lobster in his bite!

Morocco was a bit of a let-down, as we went with the Tangerine Mimosa Royale, which wasn't anything special. Tasted like you'd expect, and was a bit pricey for the serving size.

I think Jonathan's favorite was probably Australia. He had a grilled lamb chop with roasted potato salad and red wine reduction. I tried it, but of course I don't really like lamb. I thought the potatoes had a nice flavor, despite the red wine drizzle. I had considered getting the Lamington from that station as well, but it turned out that the chocolate-covered butter cake was also covered in coconut, so I skipped it.

Then it was on to Germany! We were really looking forward to that one, and honestly would've ordered everything on the menu (except the two beers) if we weren't pacing ourselves! They had 4 Rieslings to try, and since Jonathan enjoys Riesling, he was hard-pressed to choose one. He went with the Gunderloch Diva Sp
ätlese, which ended up being rather sweet, and even I enjoyed it. We also had a Nürnberger Sausage in a pretzel roll, which came with a wonderful mustard and was delicious (and probably the largest portion for the price that we had anywhere). Again, I had planned on trying the Apfel Strudel with Werther's Oiriginal Karamell Sauce, but was told it was covered in nuts, so I refrained. Our next stop was South Korea, where we couldn't resist the Barbecue Short Ribs with steamed rice and cucumber kimchi. The ribs had an excellent flavor, and I thoroughly missed the Korean sauces, since it's been so long since I've had that. I was getting pretty full, otherwise I would've dived right into finishing off the rice (which was sticky like sushi rice) and the cucumber (which was plentiful). After some deliberation, Jonathan tried the Grilled Pork Skewer with Farofa at the Brazil kiosk, which he enjoyed. Farofa is really ground up spices covering the pork, making it incredibly dry in your mouth, LoL. I thought it was kinda bland, especially since it was supposed to be a "rooty" flavor.

I was really excited about the Desserts & Champagne booth, and had planned to order two out of the three items. At this point, Jonathan was feeling like something chocolate, so he was probably going to order the third item. I was getting concerned about running out of money (we had picked up a Disney gift card earlier to make transactions faster), but it turned out that at that station only you could get all 3 items for just $3.50! That settled that! I dove into the Strawberry Angel Verrine, although Jonathan did try the middle part of that layered dessert, and found it to be very good. I enjoyed the Pear Streusel Pudding cake much more than he did, too. He did eat the bulk of the Dark Chocolate Sensation (kinda like a brownie bite with chocolate mousse on top) tho, which was fine with me.
On our way to find a nice place to watch the fireworks, we stopped at the Puerto Rico location and got a Bacardi Frozen Torched Cherry Colada. It was very creamy, and probably the least coconut-ty colada I've ever had. It was a nice way to finish.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Seth & Harry's Bar & Grill

You know how there's a restaurant in every town that keep changing hands? In Mountain View it was UWink. I can think of 3 places in Port St. Lucie that have had this happen, LoL. In Fort Pierce, that restaurant in the Sabal Palm Plaza has been a bunch of different things, too. In Melbourne, it's On Tap. Then it was called Grill 192. Now it's called Seth & Harry's, but it might have had another name-change in there, I'm not sure.

Joe, Bryan, and I went to Seth & Harry's on a Thursday night for a late (8pm) dinner. I was not really impressed in any way, but the guys both thought it was okay. My biggest gripe would be the service. Our waitress wasn't clear on the menu items (particularly when she told me they had crinkly fries... they were straight), came by rarely, and we ultimately sat around waiting for the check for more than ten minutes.

We had the chicken nachos as an appetizer. It was one of the only menu items without a description, and when I asked what was on them, the waitress didn't know. We ordered them anyway, asking for black olives on the side if they were supposed to come with some. They were okay. They were served with a spicy salsa verde and some sour cream. The chicken was kinda pulled apart, as in not sliced, but not as in pulled chicken. The chips were tri-color, and the cheese was standard nacho.

I had the guacamole bacon burger, no lettuce, with fries. As I already mentioned, the fries were not what had been described. There was also lettuce on the burger... and no bacon. It already was cheeseless, so it ended up being a rather strange combination. I took half home, and it was much better with a layer of mashed potatoes, LoL. The fries were plain, and I didn't really care for them... with no flavoring, they could have at least been crunchy.

Joe had the French dip with coleslaw (though he did not order coleslaw, and was hoping for fries), and didn't have anything remarkable to say about it. Bryan wanted a buffalo chicken sandwich, which wasn't on the menu. There were buffalo chicken sliders, and they were able to create one large sandwich instead. He also had the fries as a side. Contrary to my opinion, Bryan liked the fries. He ended up ditching the bun to focus on his sandwich toward the end, so it must have been pretty good.

I don't really recommend the place, but they weren't all bad.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Dim Sum King

Dim Sum King is in the plaza behind Pho Nam, and that's how we found it. It's really like a fast-food dim sum place, in that there's a menu, you order and pay, then you take it to-go. There were a few tables, so we stayed to eat there. We got chow mein (average, a little oily), shrimp dumplings, stuffed pork dumplings, pork potstickers, and an egg roll. The shrimp dumplings were a little thick, but good. The stuffed pork were sweeter than I was expecting, and I could only eat one. The pastry part just killed me. The potstickers were average, but the sauce wasn't anything special, and I think that usually makes the difference. The egg roll was gross... I think I ate half before giving up.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pho Nam

Pho Nam on El Camino (I specify location because it's kinda a common name) was some of the worst pho I've ever had. And that's all they make... they don't specialize in any other Vietnamese dishes. We ordered shrimp summer rolls to go with it, but they had purple cabbage or something inside that made them taste funny, too. I added a whole lime's worth of juice and hardly tasted it. I added five ice cubes and it was still too hot to eat. Most of the pieces of chicken had dark spots on them. It had plenty of cilantro and green onion, but too much mint. Jonathan didn't eat as much of his as he normally would, either. But, honestly, I was rather distracted by how strange mine was to ask him what he didn't like about his.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Thai Spoons

Thai Spoons was very close to the hotel, so we ate dinner there after I got in. The place was pretty deserted, but pick-up orders became popular toward the end of our meal. There was a credit card minimum so we ordered an appetizer - which ended up being the best part of the meal. The Thai Shrimp Rolls were simple: fried shrimp in rice paper. But the "sweet & sour chili sauce" with which it was served made a great accompaniment. I had pad thai, no peanuts. The fried tofu in it tasted like egg, and the chicken was kinda strange. It also lacked a sweet flavor, and I'm not even sure I ate half of it. Jonathan had curry. He didn't finish it, but didn't take it home, either.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Food on Continental

So I flew out to California for five days for a house-hunting trip. I flew Continental, which was different. It was (note the past-tense, since they turn to pay-for-food on the 12th) still a full-service airline, so I was treated to a meal/snack each leg of each flight.

The first leg on the way there and the second leg on the way back served a turkey sandwich, simple with lettuce on a whole-wheat roll. It also came with a bag of Fritos and a packet of M&Ms. The second leg on the way there was a delicious chicken pocket with three kinds of cheeses, peppers, and taco sauce. It came with chips, baby carrots, and a kit-kat bar.

The morning flight on the way back was honey-nut chex, an apple muffin, and a box of raisins. The turkey sandwich was average. The chicken pocket was great (made by Stefano's, but apparently not sold in stores. I looked already), and carrots were a nice addition, but they were getting ready to turn, I think. The cereal was okay. The muffin was too crumbly.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Olympic Taverna

It happened to work out so that Jonathan and I could have dinner with my brother and his girlfriend in Jensen Beach. Stacie had told us about a fabulous Greek place, and we were looking forward to trying it. It's called Olympic Taverna, and it's on US1 south of Port St. Lucie Blvd, in front of BJ's Warehouse. It has taken over an old Wendy's.

Between the four of us we chose two appetizers: the saganaki and the hummus. Both were good. The hummus was served with warm pita pieces (tho we needed twice as much as was given). It was very garlicky, but delicious. My brother had apparently never had hummus before, and he liked it. The saganaki was average, but it always is exciting to watch them light the kasseri cheese on fire in front of you. Again, we could have used more pitas, but we made it work (fried cheese is good by itself, LoL).

Everyone but me had a Greek salad to start. Lots of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, feta, and a homemade creamy (pink) dressing. Overall, it was well-liked, but nothing terribly unique. The same sauce came with my sandwich (the Taverna Special), and I'm glad I got it on the side, as I didn't like it. It was a crunchy tilapia sandwich, with swiss and romaine. It should have been on grilled rye, but I asked for grilled wheat, which was good. It was served with some pretty plain fries, but no real complaints. Jonathan and Stacie ordered gyros, while Jon ordered the gyro platter with lemon potatoes. Everybody devoured the food, and almost all of us needed to-go boxes. Jon's potatoes were good... if I needed to choose a side, I'd get those. I might even try to sub them instead of fries, too. I'd choose something else next time, but primarily because I had a tough time choosing, not because the tilapia was anything short of delicious.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Genghis Grill

Jonathan and I were in Tallahassee for the BYU football game (which we won! yay!), and had dinner with Heather afterward. She suggested a newer place (it's been in Tallahassee for about six months) called Genghis Grill. We didn't really know much about the place, but it turned out to be very interesting!

It's a Mongolian Grill, which we've been to a few times in the past (notably in Mountain View). Only this one is GIANT. We were seated and ordered drinks, and the next thing you know we were given little silver bowls and told to follow our server. She led us to a buffet line of sorts, and explained the process. First, you go through and put your "proteins" in your bowl. Then, the spices. Then, the vegetables. Finally, the sauces. After that, you take your overflowing bowl to the grill where you tell them what starch you want, and they give you a number. You go sit down, put your number in the holder, and wait for someone to bring out your (now red and angled) bowl of cooked food.

But the complication increases. There were probably 10 or 12 proteins, including marinated fish, scallops, krab, shrimp, beef, sliced beef, chicken, turkey, pepperoni, sausage, and ham. There was also probably a tofu option, but I didn't notice it. There were 8 or 10 spices (very random selection, some with strange names and no descriptions). I remember lemon pepper, crushes red pepper, cajun, dragon, and ginger. Next, the humongous selection of veggies. There was a peppers-and-onions mix, baby corn, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms, cilantro, green beans, bean sprouts, green onions, pico de gallo, sliced potatoes, tomatoes, and another 10 or so. This is also where you found raw eggs (in the shell). The ten or so sauces were even more varied than the spices: 3G, dragon, island teriyaki, chili garlic, garlic water, honey soy, mongo bbq, and tomato sauce are the ones I remember. At least they offered little tasting spoons so you could try to figure out what you want (there's no spiciness scale or anything). There were five or six starch options, including white or fried rice, spiral pasta, and udon noodles.

Now, there are two identical lines to help speed the process. But since we had no idea what was further down the line when we began, it was difficult to make decisions. Heather and I handled this by going through the proteins, spices, and veggies... then going back to get more protein before getting the sauces and starch. Jonathan went the more logical route: he looked through the "idea cards" and picked out one he liked. Then all he had to do was go through the line and put in the stuff from the card. He went with a jambalya-type bowl, but got fried rice instead of white. Heather and I kinda just took what looked good... so for me this meant a combination of turkey, chicken, shrimp, and scallops... cilantro, peppers, onions, tomatoes, green onions, and probably some other things I can't remember. I went with the udon noodles.

Overall, the bowls turned out okay. Nobody was in love, but nobody disliked what they got. I seemed to get more noodles than Jonathan or Heather got rice, but it's hard to judge. Jonathan went with the 3G and the dragon sauces, and that turned out to be a pretty good combination. I went with the island teriyaki and the chili garlic, but the taste came through only slightly in the end. I finished my bowl, but both Jonathan and Heather had enough to take home. I'd say it's worth trying if you're already in Tallahassee. It's down on Appalachee Parkway, where Bennigan's used to be (if you're old enough to remember that, hehe). Dinner is $10 (or $14 if you want unlimited trips to the grill).

Also, apparently Genghis Grill is a chain. But they weren't in the NE, they're not in California, and the only other one in Florida is in Gainesville. So I'm not sure that you'll come across one, LoL.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Many of the non-chain restaurants in Fort Pierce that I genuinely liked are no longer there. Some left after the 2004 hurricanes destroyed them. Others closed down at some point due to the economy. There are still some around (like the Tiki), but for the most part, the selection isn't wonderful. However, the other night we struck gold.

Lorenzo's is in downtown Fort Pierce and is an Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria. Jonathan's parents had been there before and had mentioned that their sauce is a little different and that the portions are huge. The menu includes pizza, hero sandwiches, and a wide variety of pasta dishes (including a large veal section). We all ordered pastas. Each comes with two garlic rolls, so they brought out a basket of eight, all covered in bits of freshly roasted garlic and a layer of parmesan cheese. They were quite hot, but the first one I had was wonderful. Clearly homemade, the taste was just delicious. The second one, however, wasn't as great. Because it was underneath the top layer of rolls, it was oilier and there was less cheese. I actually had to keep my napkin under my chin as the oil poured out when I took a bite. (This is easily remedied tho - take care not to have more than 2 or 3 people at the table order the pasta, so the rolls aren't stacked. or, ask for separate baskets maybe.)

I ordered the chicken parmigiana, which was hand-breaded and baked. I received two large (there may have even been a third - I didn't separate them as I dug in) slabs of chicken, with a fantastic sauce and fresh cheese over top. My pasta was served on the side, which was different because I am accustomed to having it served underneath the chicken. The small bowl of linguine with sauce and cheese was good, too. I easily brought more than half of the dish home, and I almost couldn't wait to reheat it and have more!
Everybody else enjoyed their dishes as well - the spaghetti and meatballs (great meatballs), the peppers & onions pasta (in a brownish sauce, very good), and the baked penne (the perfect amount of cheese). I couldn't stop talking about how much I enjoyed the food there! It is a little pricey for Italian in that area (entrees started at $10 as opposed to $7 or $8 at other places), and there's a credit card minimum of $8 (good to remember if you just want to stop by for a slice of pizza), but still an excellent choice.
the penne (you can see part of my side of pasta in the lower left corner as well)

the spaghetti & meatballs

Friday, September 10, 2010

Joe's Crab Shack

As we've been nearing the end of our time in Pennsylvania, we've been trying to get together with a lot of friends "one last time." To see Kasey & Michele (who we last saw in March when we had Mexican in Lambertville), we met up at Joe's Crab Shack, which is out near Princeton.

We started with the calamari, which had its good and bad points. The tentacles were a little stringy, but the breading was excellent. Overall it had good flavor, but the dipping sauce was nothing to brag about. I had the Pasta-laya, which was TONS of shrimp, some sausage, peppers, and onions on penne. The penne was a tad undercooked, and the sauce was really greasy, but the flavor was wonderful and I thought that the accompanying bread was good. Kasey, not being a big seafood person, went with a burger and fries, which he finished before anyone else was even half-way, so I guess it was delicious, LoL.

Michele and Jonathan both ordered the exact same thing: Big Daddy Feast: pick your flavor and get a bucket full of stuff flavored with it. It had Dungeness crab, king crab, snow crab, an ear of corn, a couple of red potatoes, and it came with a cup of liquid butter. They also had a side of Old Bay brought out, since that was the flavor that they had both chosen and felt it could have used a little more. They both thought it was good. Personally, the amount of time and effort involved would drive me crazy, but since crab is one food I don't care for, I may be biased, LoL.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


We were spending our final weekend in Pennsylvania in Gettysburg. Saturday was the first Seminole football game of the season, so it was important that we had lunch someplace that was showing the game. I called a couple of places, and got turned down (the game was being carried on ESPNU, which is not a standard channel). We went to TGIFriday's and, while they were glad to try to accommodate, they eventually realized that they didn't carry the channel. At the waitress's suggestion, I phoned The Pike, who acknowledged that not only did they have the channel, but it the game was already being shown on it.

We hopped back in the car and dashed across town to find the restaurant/lounge rather busy for noon on a Saturday. The lounge had the game on, which meant there was a bit of smoke in the air. But, it worked. We had a great view of the television, and watched until almost the end of the third quarter, when we needed to be on our way to see the sights. I had the chicken quesadillas. They were a bit plain, and the guacamole isn't worth the extra 50 cents (I inquired and was even told it was fresh), but I ate a little more than 3/4 while we sat there. Jonathan went with chicken fingers and cheese fries - an excellent choice. It came with honey mustard and barbecue, both of which were scrumptious. He also asked for ranch. The smokers also left after a while, so the experience improved as a whole.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Shore Diner

We had gone to setup our campsite and relax a bit, and we planned to eat on our way back to Atlantic City. We found the Shore Diner and the place was packed! Luckily we got seats at the bar, otherwise we would have had quite the wait.

I ordered a turkey BLT wrap with mashed potatoes while Jonathan went with a steak. The steak came with a cup of chicken orzo soup, two rolls (one airy and one with brown sugar), a baked potato, and mixed vegetables. Needless to say, he had a ton of food. The size of my wrap was also enormous - I took home half in a to-go box! The wrap was real turkey and thick cheese, but the honey mustard dressing was a bit thin. The mashed potatoes were pretty average. Jonathan found his soup and the rolls average, but really liked the potato. The steak was a little undercooked (more medium-rare than medium), but he said he liked it. He only had a few bites of the vegetables (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower), but with everything else in front of him, that was probably a good call.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Atlantic City: Lo Presti's

If you've been a reader for a while, you may remember that Jonathan and I spent a night in Atlantic City back in December. We kinda wanted to get back there and see some of the non-casino sites... mainly the Boardwalk. After scoping out several lunch places we ended up eating at LoPresti's. I got the fried shrimp and fries while Jonathan got the sausage-peppers-onions. Everything was a bit overpriced, but the food was good. I could have used tartar sauce instead of cocktail sauce, but no biggie. The most important part was that we snagged a table! LoL.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Jonathan's aunt and uncle were in town for a few days since Jonathan and Dennis were riding in the Philadelphia Livestrong Challenge. We drove out to West Chester one night to have dinner with them and some of their friends.

Avalon is a little place in downtown, near the university. It's an Italian place that is BYOB and cash only, good things to know. However, the BYOB thing is kinda strange there; we were served complimentary (though average and skimpy on the fruit) sangria. After we ordered, bread arrived, soft and crusty and warm, but nothing spectacular. As a table we had a three-cheese platter for an appetizer. One was cheddar and another was aged, but I don't remember the specifics (and the list apparently changes, as the one on the online menu was not what we saw the other night). The portions were generous, considering that the six of us hardly finished the plate, LoL.

Three of us ordered the gnocchi. This took me by surprise when the plates came out, since I might have ordered something else had I known that, LoL. Still, it was good and cheesy, and just enough so that I could finish it without being super-stuffed. Jonathan had the lobster risotto. It was great, except it strangely had corn intermixed with it. The salmon with ratatouille was also ordered, and I believe it was gobbled down rather quickly, so it must have been good, too!

The important bit to remember about this place: it's cash-only.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Higgins Crab House

Since Maryland is known for seafood (especially crabs!), we stopped at Higgins Crab House, a family-owned place. There are actually two of them in Ocean City, and we stopped at the northern one. Since I don't like crab (I was actually hankering for a fried shrimp and clams combo of some sort), I ordered the grilled tuna sandwich, since it was the fish of the day. I was actually very impressed with how delicious it was, as grilled tuna isn't always the greatest (of course, we both prefer ours scarcely seared, LoL). The fries were pretty good there, too, but they were just so plentiful that neither of us finished them. Jonathan went with the crabcake sandwich and a cup of crab soup. He enjoyed both of them, noting that the soup was really different - it almost looked like pulled crab, if that makes sense? The tartar sauce which came with both meals seemed to be a house recipe of sorts, but was nothing special (though it did serve the entrees well).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Where Pigs Fly

We spent the night in Dover on our way to Ocean City. Near our hotel was a place called, Where Pigs Fly, a barbecue joint that had great reviews. We found them to be pretty good. The free bread wasn't anything special, but it was hot and fresh, which was nice. I had the pulled pork sandwich with Memphis fries, and Jonathan went with the triple platter (pulled pork, ribs, chicken with fries and baked beans. The pulled pork was pretty good, but I wasn't the biggest fan of their barbecue sauce (it was kinda Tennessee-style, if you're familiar with that). The ribs were unbelievable, falling right off the bone! I didn't try the chicken, but Jonathan said that it was really juicy, which is sometimes hard to do with barbecue. The fries were AMAZING. We both really enjoyed them, and I asked the waitress about them. They're not even a secret recipe - they're out of a package, LoL!! The beans were beans.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fu Wah

There were a few people at work who wanted to try and create a day of the week where a bunch of us ordered out lunch on a regular basis. However, it ended up only happening twice (organized, anyway). Both times we ordered from Fu Wah, and it was pretty decent.

The first time I had the garlic chicken with fried rice and an egg roll. The egg roll was HUGE, and pretty decent with some soy sauce. The garlic chicken was a tad bland, but pretty good and very lean. The fried rice was decent, with bits of pork and few vegetables. It had an interesting flavor overall, but there was a ton of it so I didn't come close to finishing it.

The second time I had the sweet and sour chicken (sauce on the side), again with the fried rice and egg roll. The egg roll was still good, but the rice was kinda "eh" that time. The chicken was overly plentiful, and I couldn't imagine eating it all! I would have had at least one other lunch from the leftovers, but since I was at work, I couldn't refrigerate the leftovers soon enough to make them worth saving.

I wouldn't order from them regularly, but they are decent and cheap, so if you're in Trenton/Ewing and looking for lunch, you might find them to work out if you have a craving for Chinese!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Jonathan and I were going to a Trenton Thunder game with a bunch of people I work with, but beforehand we wanted to meet up with some he works with for a happy hour. The place is pretty much next door to the stadium, so it worked out really well. We parked in between the two, then walked back and forth.

I was kinda skeptical of KatManDu, because although we've seen it a dozen times, we've never been inside, and it doesn't look all that exciting from the front. However, it turned out to be a pretty cool place.

Cover was $5, and that includes a buffet, so nothing wrong there. The music was live, and pretty good. The sets could have been arranged better, but perhaps it was just that musician... who knows. The drinks were reasonably priced, but I was kinda iffy on the food since the price was so low. However, there was no need to worry!

I started with the mashed potato bar, where you have a choice of regular or sweet, and all kinds of toppings. I chose cheese, onions, bacon, and sour cream. It was dished out by a server, and served in a martini glass! The only downside: you can't get it all because of the shape of the glass.

The meats and sides station had the assumed crudites and fruit plate, but also had hot roast beef and a few other options. There was also a chili area. The dessert station featured deep-fried pretzels, and a chocolate fountain. For dippers, there were rice crispies treats, strawberries, marshmallows, oreos, and a few others.

There was also a nachos station, a stir-fry station, and a pasta bar. We didn't hit those, mainly because of the lines. If we had more time before the baseball game, we totally would have... well, I know I would have tried the pasta and Jonathan would've tried the stir-fry!

Monday, August 16, 2010


Next it was time for dinner. We had no real idea what we wanted, so we just kinda wandered around, slightly out of the overcrowded-tourist-area to see if anything struck our fancies. We ended up at an Italian place called Nizza. We only waited about five minutes before we were seated, and the service was pretty good. The water was served by the bottle - even tap! Rob went with pizza, and had great things to say about it (I forget the toppings now). Jonathan chose spaghetti with sausage and meatballs - it was good, he'd recommend it. I went with the gnocci in four cheese sauce, and it was fabulous. It was portioned perfectly, although it was too hot to dig in as soon as it arrived on the table.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

La Villa

It was kinda funny, actually. We were talking about what to have for dinner (which, on Saturday night, means going through the leftovers in the fridge), and Jonathan suggests we supplement our leftovers with pizza. We weren't swimming in extra food, so I agreed.

We dug through the coupons and pulled out the pizza ones and Jonathan picked La Villa as the place we'd try. After checking out their online reviews and menu, we went with the Trenton Tomato Pie, and added pepperoni. The Trenton Tomato Pie features light mozzarella, chunky tomato sauce, garlic, and olive oil. The crust is suuuuper thin. As in, there's really no way to hold a slice without it being floppy, unless you fold it.

We were slightly skeptical at first, I won't lie. It smelled amazing and all, but it looked kinda average. However, we were not disappointed. The taste was very different... the olive oil/garlic/chunky sauce made for a more bruschetta-like topping, which went very well with the lighter cheese and our added pepperoni.

Our only suggestion: eat it there. By the time we got ours home (probably 15 minutes), it was getting cold and needed to be microwaved. Actually, the place looked pretty nice and with a large menu and good location (right off US1), we might go back to dine-in anyway.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Giggleberry Fair

I was with some kids at Giggleberry Fair for the day. They ran around and played and we had a good time, but I wanted to be sure to brag about their pizza. Not the greatest in the world, but suited the group just fine for lunch. Much better than some other entertainment center pizzas!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lunch at Hershey Park

We were spending the day at Hershey Park, and had a catered lunch, thanks to Jonathan's company. Nothing fancy, just the standard fare of burgers, hot dogs, barbecued chicken, macaroni salad, fruit salad, and ice cream novelties. The burgers were okay, fruit salad was very fresh.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cocoa Diner/Grill

We were spending a couple days at HersheyPark, and Jonathan's parents met us on the second day. We started the morning at a diner for breakfast. The Cocoa Diner/Grill (everything here has a chocolate-y name, LoL) was a nice little stand-alone that's open 24/7 except for Monday nights. We waited about ten minutes (maybe less), and had fairly prompt service, considering how busy they were. Breakfast was pretty standard in both pricing and quality, but that's about what is expected from any random diner. Jonathan and I would both recommend you NOT get the pancakes... they were pretty bad. Otherwise, everyone liked everything... eggs, toast, bacon, hashbrowns, etc.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Carlucci's Grill

By this point, you may remember me mentioning Carlucci's before (especially if you follow me on Twitter). It's a family in the area that owns and operates a bunch of different restaurants. Well, it was finally time to try out the one we probably saw first, all things considered.

The only downfall was that we had eaten a late (and rather large) lunch of ribs and potato salad, so we weren't super-hungry. The appetizers alone were very filling - complimentary bruschetta and some sort of focaccia cheese bread. Service was pretty prompt, and it was nice to hear an atypical birthday song being sung to other tables throughout the evening.

Jonathan's parents shared the Pizza Del Mare, which is the same thing I ordered. I thought it was different - a wood-fired pizza with shrimp, scallops, and calamari. It was pretty good fresh (not as delicious in reheatings), but I think it would have been much better with a white garlic sauce rather than marinara.

Jonathan, on the other hand, went traditional and chose the lasagna. He got the New England Clam Chowder to go with it, and really enjoyed the soup. He kept trying to make me taste it, but I don't care for the milk-based chowders most of the time. He also thought the lasagna was excellent, but it wasn't my style. You could hardly taste the noodle, which to him was a plus but to me is a negative factor.

I don't know that we'll be back. The menu was pretty large, but there were probably only two other things that sounded outstanding to me, and with the plethora of good Italian places around, this one didn't really stand out. It's biggest draw is probably its location, honestly.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Joy Tsin Lau

We were in Philadelphia for Independence Day. After the parade, we went to lunch in Chinatown. I was excited about a true Chinese meal (omg do I miss California Chinese!!), but got silly-nervous about the prospect of not having any English again. Jonathan picked out a place called Joy Tsin Lau that was doing a discount for the 4th (10% off with events calendar), and we went in for dim sum. We were seated after a short wait, and had delightful service throughout. Our waters were refilled twice (very important when it's near 100 degrees out!), and the carts came by at pretty good intervals. The food was fresh and hot (at least three out of five of our dishes were fresh-out-of-the-kitchen), and very good. We had pork dumplings, shrimp dumplings (but a different kind), bacon-wrapped shrimp, pork fried rice, and something that now escapes me. The cart-pushers knew the names of the meats in English, and that's all we really needed so that was fine.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Trenton Thunder Game

We went to the Trenton Thunder (the Thunder is the AA version of the Yankees) baseball game on July 3rd with a couple friends. We had dinner there, and can report fabulous things about the cheesesteak (but strange provolone-cheez-whiz) and the breaded chicken sandwich (not Chick-Fil-A quality, but good). We also tried the Stewart's root beer on tap (tasty!) and some Chickie & Pete's crab fries (not made of crab. regular fries with Old Bay seasoning).

Monday, July 5, 2010

New Plum Tree Garden & Lemonleaf Grill

Well, we finally found the Asian place near us that's really good. It took almost 11 months, but it's probably safe to say that any and all Chinese we get from here on out will be from New Plum Tree Garden in Langhorne. They also have a Thai menu, and it was pretty good too, but we already have a Thai place, hehe. (No website, but the menu is online.)

We called in an order for pickup, and it was ready when we got there, so that's a big plus. I ordered one of the chef's specialties, the Shrimp Amazing. It had really large shrimp and a variety of vegetables, cooked in a Peking sauce that was slightly spicy with a great flavor. It came with white rice, and the overall dish really lived up to its name! Jonathan went for the Thai side, and had Khao Pahd Supparot. It's a coconut & pineapple fried rice with chicken, peanuts, and fried onions. He thought it was kinda different, not overly strong in flavor, and very good.

For an appetizer we got two shrimp egg rolls, which were a tad over-wrapped (if that makes sense), but otherwise very good. The shrimp were plentiful and the overall flavors were balanced nicely. We also got the gang sarong, which were deep-fried shrimp wrapped in thin, crispy noodles. They were okay... not worth the price, but the sauce with which they were served was fantastic.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I was with some kids at FunPlex in Mount Laurel, NJ, and we had lunch while we were there. I must tell you, the pizza wasn't very good. So, either get something else (I don't really know what else was offered), or eat before you go.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


We were down in Philly for the day. With a combination of my not reading the GPS correctly and a detour causing a road to only go one way, we had a bit of trouble getting to the Delicatessen. In fact, we ended up in Jersey since that one road had no exits before hitting the bridge, LoL. Oh well, live and learn. $4 later (NJ is so quirky. It makes me giggle about how they charge you to leave all the time) we found the place and picked up our order (we had called it in). 

I had Mom Mom’s Tuna Fish Salad Melt with potato salad, and Jonathan had smoked pastrami with waffle fries. The potato salad was made with red potatoes, but it was really sweet. As in, I think they added sugar, LoL. I didn’t really care for it, but Jonathan liked it. The tuna salad sandwich was on Challah and served open-face. The muenster and tomato were a great addition, and the tuna weighed down the bread quite a bit. A delicious combination that left me full without finishing the first half, LoL. Jonathan’s sandwich was *very* smoky, but he liked it. He had added cheese to it, and they certainly gave him his money’s worth – he got four slices! 

The waffle fries were a little soggy by the time we ate, but still delicious. We can only imagine how good they would have been fresh!! The only downside to the meal: the pickles were salty.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Whistler's Inn

We watched Ghana beat the USA in the World Cup at Whistler’s Inn. Jonathan found it online since it was near Costco… another place we needed to stop by. It’s a nice little place, with lots of televisions in the bar area, and an entirely separate area for dining (you could still get the full menu in the bar area as well). We had a high top, though there were also booths. The servers were all very friendly and excellent at anticipating your refill needs.
We started out with the appetizer combo, which had mozzarella sticks, onion rings, cheese balls (think jalapeno poppers), and chicken tenders. It was all pretty good, but the props go to the mozzarella sticks, which were excellent. The chicken tenders tasted like large frozen ones that had been reheated, and the onion rings were pretty standard. The cheese balls were decent to me, but Jonathan liked them rather well. They were very cheesy with just hints of jalapeno, so I liked them better than most. 

Then, Jonathan (and Rob) had the garlic wings, and I went with the tuna club with fries. The fries were delicious, and the tuna was plentiful. I was struggling to finish half of the sandwich, and it was really interesting to have bacon on a tuna sandwich, LoL. I didn’t try the wings, but the boys reported that they were pretty good. They were very big, and breaded thoroughly, with bits of minced garlic on them. 

Overall, I’d recommend the place. Good food, excellent service, fun sporty atmosphere. We probably won’t be back (we don’t venture down toward Costco often), but that shouldn’t stop you!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tonelli's Pizza

Probably six months ago at this point, my friend Dani mentioned that there's a pizza place near her that has pierogie pizza on the menu. Since I'm a big fan of potato-type-pizza (thanks, Stevi B's, for turning me on to that!), I've wanted to try it ever since. Well, I finally got down there and Dani and I went to Tonelli's. It's a sports bar with a lot of televisions, and it was Friday night so it was pretty busy.

We decided to go with a half-pierogie and half-"the great white," in case pierogie turned out to be a dud. The Great White was an olive oil base with garlic and parmesan plus mozzarella, always a winning combination. This pizza was no different, another delicious white pie. The server was a little unclear on what was on the pierogie pizza (we asked since the menu did not specify), but it turned out to be a base of mashed potatoes, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, and onions. We got the bacon on the side. The server also mentioned it had sour cream, but it didn't come with any. When I looked online, apparently it was supposed to be on the side. No worries, it was still yummy. Dani and I both agreed that chives would have been better than onions in this case.

I'd go back, it's a good place. It's rather far from us tho, probably a little more than half an hour. And in the land of pizza and cheesesteaks, there's not really a normal need to go further than ten minutes, hehe. I'd recommend it, especially to watch sports. Oh, and their coke is fantastic (for those of you who are picky about your fountain beverages).

Sunday, June 13, 2010

McGee's Pub

We had taken in some sights, I had seen a matinee, and we were staying in the City to see a show at 8pm, so we had a little time. At 5pm, we headed over to have a drink at the bar of the place where we had already chosen to eat dinner. McGee's Pub, what the How I Met Your Mother bar (MacLaren's) is based on, was our selection. They were still nice enough to give us happy hour prices, even though happy hour had ended. We moved downstairs and into a booth for dinner, but it ended up being more of a snack, really. We shared the cajun calamari (that day's special appetizer) and the baked macaroni and cheese, and Rob went with some sliders and fries. The food was pretty good, and we ended up sitting right under a photo of the How I Met Your Mother cast, so that was we'll tackle the transportation next time.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Corner Bistro

We were spending another day in NYC, this time bringing our friend, Rob. We had already planned our meals, and we headed over to the Corner Bistro (menu outdated online), which is mentioned as a great burger place on How I Met Your Mother, a sitcom that's set in NYC. Rob and Jonathan each ordered a cheeseburger, and I had the bistro burger. Bistro apparently adds bacon, LoL. These burgers were FABULOUS. And I mean it. We all LOVED them. The fries were pretty average, but they were baked almost dry, so I was happy, LoL. Service was friendly (like mom-and-pop friendly!) and especially fast. The prices were beyond reasonable ($6 for a half-pound cheeseburger), and all three of us stand behind recommending the place to anyone and everyone. It's not even in a bad area of town... it's hard to come up with a negative (well, there is a tiny one. on my third refill, my water seemed to have a little greasy film on top. but Jonathan's didn't have this, so not sure where it came from).

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sushi Planet

We were down in Philadelphia to swap out the rental, and we wanted to get some sushi. A quick internet search suggested we try out Sushi Planet. It happened to be down near Penn's Landing, so we drove that way and hoped for some parking. We got lucky and saw someone pulling out, so we grabbed their spot and paid at the kiosk. Reasonable rate, although we over-guesstimated how long it would take us (better than to get a ticket, tho!). It was only a couple blocks away, and with the Flyers game on tv, the eateries (and the sidewalks in front of them) were filled with screaming fans.

It was Friday night, but we were seated immediately, and promptly had water-filled glasses. The menu was average for the area, but with the great reviews we saw online, we weren't too worried.

A bowl of marinated cucumbers arrived (their standard give-away appetizer, we think), and they were okay. Honestly, they just gave us far too many of them, as it seemed we hardly made a dent (you can see the plate a little in one of the photos). Shortly after we ordered, another appetizer arrived. The server (who had an accent we couldn't place AT ALL... must've been Lithuanian or Siberian or something... some country where I don't know what the language sounds like, LoL) described it, but all we could make out was "carpaccio" and "on the house" so that was good enough. The sauce (ponzu-ish) was fabulous, and there were also scallions. The meat had the consistency of thinly sliced raw chicken, but it must've been some sort of fish, we ascertained. We figure it was probably a new dish they were trying out, since several other tables also received it, and we gave our opinions when the server came by again.

I ordered the chirashi, and was surprised when it came in a bowl (usually it's served in more of a box). The photo came out a little overexposed, but you get an idea of the fishes. The white tuna was phenomenal. As in, it might have been swimming in the ocean that morning, it was so fresh! The tuna and salmon were also very fresh. The striped bass was average, the squid was average (maybe a little above), and the sponge (the breadcrust-looking thing in the top right of the bowl). I forget what else might have been in there. The only problem was that I couldn't get to the rice forever since it's all underneath the fish, and because of the design of the bowl, whenever I ate a piece, that void was filled by the fish falling onto itself and closing up my rice access. Also, the julienne radish got in the way, since it was a little heavy on that as well.

Jonathan ordered two rolls. The first was the JB roll, which is pretty standard for cream cheese and salmon (JB in this case stands for Japanese Bagel, if you didn't know). This roll, however, was tuna and salmon. Not sure if that's the way this place interprets that item, or if someone made a mistake somewhere. Either way, the cream cheese was a little overwhelming for the tuna, but it was okay. The second roll (the gargantuan roll in the picture) was that night's special. It had salmon, white tuna, and scallops, and was topped with strawberries. It also had a sauce that was quite different, not sure how to describe it other than spicy mayo-ish. The flavor combination was astounding. Very creative, and absolutely one-of-a-kind. I had never had strawberry in sushi before, but apparently fruit is a common thing for this restaurant, since there were several other items on the menu that included things like apples.

Overall, the place is good, and worth taking out-of-towners to. It's BYOB (let's not forget about Pennsylvania and its interesting liquor laws), and they are very friendly. Stop by if you're down in that area.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hong Kong Pearl

It was Memorial Day and we planned to have a picnic. A couple months ago I had discovered a BBQ place (they're rare here), and we decided to pick some up and take it to the park where we'd spend the afternoon. Except, when we got there, we found out that they were closed. The Chinese restaurant next door was open and serving food, so we just decided to go in there. The menu was pretty big, and average-priced. We ordered a few things (couldn't really make up our minds since we were in the mood for BBQ, lol) and it was less than ten minutes before we were out the door and on our way to the park.

We both ordered chicken dishes - I went with the spicy garlic chicken and Jonathan chose the hunan chicken. Both came with pork fried rice and spring rolls. The problem? We couldn't really tell them apart. The sauces were the same color, and they tasted unbelievably similar. We ended up just each taking one, and neither of us were really in love with the taste. Eventually I realized that the one I was eating was indeed garlic for sure, but that took about ten minutes. The pork fried rice wasn't fried so much as yellow rice with veggies, so nothing special. I had to pick out the peas, but they were few and far between, plus we were at a park so I just plucked them and threw them. This reminds me, I bet we were a sight with chopsticks in the park, haha.

The spring rolls were average, too. Nice and crispy, but the filling was mostly cabbage. The chicken that was inside, however, was delicious. Jonathan also got an order of crab rangoon, which was the very best part. He reports that the wontons were incredibly well-made, fried just right, and the filling inside was delicious.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bucks County Chocolate Show

So we heard that there was going to be a chocolate show up in New Hope. I found the website and discovered it was actually the 3rd annual Bucks County Chocolate Show. We couldn't really come up with a reason not to go, so we drove up to New Hope on May 23rd and went.

As always, downtown New Hope was completely packed, and there was no parking. Luckily, the event was being held at the fire hall, which has its own parking lot. They were apparently expecting over a thousand people, and had a shuttle set up so you could park at a local school. However, we pulled on up to the main event and parked about a hundred feet from the door.

Tickets were $13 each, and when you consider that we were more than done in about 45 minutes, it doesn't sound like a good deal. HOWEVER, Jonathan pointed out that a person would be hard-pressed to buy as much chocolate as we sampled for that price. Especially once you consider the rareness and uniqueness of some of the delectable pieces that we tasted. We started off with cake, ended with truffles, and had all sorts of goodies in-between, including some great melting bits, some pretzel-toffee-chocolate, and the most delicious bananas foster chocolates you could ever imagine. The only disappointing aspect was that the chocolate fountain was pay-only, and I wasn't feeling $3 to have two chocolate-covered strawberries.

It would have been good if we were there an hour earlier, so we could have attended the seminar on pairing wines and chocolates, as the table only had a white wine left when we got to it. It was still good wine, but I'm sure it would have made more sense if there was still the complementary chocolate next to it, hehe. The history of chocolate and the science behind making chocolate were also covered, and some really nice pieces were on display.The place wasn't that big, and there were probably only about twelve different vendors there, but it was a fun way to spend the better part of an hour. Should you go in the future, buy your tickets in advance (save a couple bucks), and definitely park on-site to save that hassle. But, go. It's nowhere near the awesomeness of the Chef's Sampler in Tallahassee, but it's still delicious!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Baja Fresh

We have seen a dozen Baja Fresh restaurants. We've seen them in several states (though not Florida, though they might be there). We once ascertained that they serve Mexican food. But we had never actually stopped to eat in one. We see one every time we venture into Mount Laurel to go to Costco, as there's one in the same shopping center. This time, we finally planned to go there for lunch.

The menu is a tad confusing at first, but then makes sense. I chose the chicken burrito ultimo, and Jonathan chose the pork carnitas quesadillas. We also shared an 8oz cheese fundito with chips. The appetizer/side was okay... the cheese sauce was pretty uneventful, even after we added some spicy salsa to give it some kick. The chips, however, were pretty good, so it worked out overall. Jonathan thought that the quesadillas were pretty average, with the exception of the cheese, which was very good. The guacamole they came with was also pretty decent. My burrito was very sloppily put together, although the tortilla was grilled, which was nice. The mixture of veggies, cheese, and sour cream was pretty bland, and the chicken wasn't memorable. Once I added some fundido cheese to the burrito, it added some character, but overall it was just kinda "eh."

Neither of us ate more than half of our respective entree, so we had leftovers the next night, which was nice. However, we weren't impressed as a whole, and probably wouldn't go back unless there weren't any other reasonable choices around. Apparently, though, some people must really like the place, since it was packed...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Number 1 Buffet

I really had a craving for Chinese food. We haven't really had much Chinese since we've been here, focusing mainly on Japanese since that's more prevalent in our area. Plus, we were spoiled with California on that one, LoL. We searched around online and found a buffet about fifteen minutes away that had great reviews. It's actually called "Number 1 Buffet" and it's in Morrisville.

It's only $5.99 for dinner, and the food is pretty good. For the most part, it wasn't greasy. The selection was pretty good, and most everything was very fresh. They had the typical foods: steak & peppers (average), chicken & broccoli (good sauce), pepper chicken (average), sweet & sour chicken (good), spring rolls (vegetarian and average), lo mein (average), fried rice (average), egg drop soup (really good), wonton soup (above average), chicken teriyaki on a stick (good chicken but pretty tasteless sauce), bourbon chicken (slightly below average), and General Tso's chicken (not spicy at all). They also had several types of dumplings/"dim sum", stuffed shrimp, and crab rangoon. The dumplings were all pretty good, although one tasted like pork and scallions and not much else. The Chinese donuts were also very good.

We'd go back. In my opinion, it's hard to find a buffet that even has an overall "average" rating, so this was a good find. I kinda wish they had filled the shrimp egg foo yung while we were there (it was empty the entire time), and maybe there will be a bigger selection of steamed/fried dumplings next time.

Monday, May 31, 2010

White Castle

Jonathan had never been to a White Castle, and I haven't been in at least 15 years, so we drove up to New Brunswick one Sunday afternoon for a late lunch there. They sell the little burgers (sometimes referred to as "sliders"). They also have them in a chicken variety (and also fish, apparently), and the normal stuff like french fries, onion rings, and mozzarella sticks.

Hamburger: nothing special. Cheeseburger: I thought it tasted a lot like McDonald's, honestly. Plus the bun was a little soggy, and I kinda hate that. Chicken: get it without the cheese. French Fries: undercooked. Mozzarella Sticks: a hair below average.

JB can say he's been, and I now recall that I don't like White Castle.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

West End Grill

On Tuesday, I had lunch in St. Lucie West with my friend Tori, and my sister at the West End Grill. None of us had been there before, but we'd totally recommend this little place. Their lunch specials are very reasonable, plus they have cards for buying 5 lunches and getting 1 free! I had the caribbean chicken salad wrap (it was the special of the day), which was fabulous. The flavor was great, although I couldn't quite place the sauce. Kyla went with a chicken caesar wrap, and Tori went with the turkey club sandwich. It's of interest to note that none of the sandwiches had cheese on them, which was interesting. They both found their entrees to be tasty as well. They had the fries as a side (they came with Tori's, Kyla had to pay extra for some reason), and I chose the chips. The chips are homemade and perfectly handcrafted... GET THEM! :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Food all Day on Sensation

We got up around 9am and were at breakfast by 9:30. Jonathan & Ebad went with the eggs benedict while Bryan and I went with the bagels and lox. That really is my very favorite breakfast on the cruise ships, since it's served with tomato and onion (and capers but I don't add those), and there's just enough cream cheese and salmon for the bagel's surface area.

After a morning that included miniature golf, among other things, we met up for lunch at 1pm. Ebad, Jonathan, and I wanted to try out the Mongolian Grill. The lines had been long all cruise, and we ended up waiting about half an hour. We were able to choose each ingredient, then specify the meats and sauces. It took a few minutes for the chef to actually stir-fry everything together, but in the end it was good. All of the ingredients were delicious, and I wish I had gotten the squid on mine in addition to the chicken. The szechuan was unbelievably hot, though. I went through a couple of rolls and an entire frozen drink as I ate 3/4 of mine. Ebad (who grew up eating very spicy foods) was sweating bullets eating his, and ended up heading inside for a shower as soon as lunch was done. Jonathan's wasn't as hot, despite choosing the same sauce... we think it's because he went with glass noodles instead of udon noodles (his noodles picked up the flavor in a great way!).

We played Bingo and went in the pools during the afternoon, and later met up for sushi, where we had different varieties than we had on the first night. However, none of them were fantastic - the salmon nigiri was probably the best.

Then, it was on to our final dinner. Jonathan and I had onion soup. I liked it, he didn't care for it (mind you, that's probably the soup we're pickiest about). Bryan went with the mushroom soup, and he thought it was very good. They had cheese plates while I went with the tomatoes and mozzarella... the only appetizer I wouldn't get again (not that it's bad, just rather plain in comparison to the others). The guys went with yet another steak-ish entree, and I had my favorite favorite favorite - penne mariscos. It's penne with a tomato-based sauce, with scallops, shrimp, and calamari rings. It's SO GOOD, I absolutely love it whenever it's offered. This time in particular, the calamari was perfect. It filled me up to the point where I didn't order dessert, LoL. Bryan got the poached pear and raved about it.

Around 1am we decide to get some pizza and then order some sandwiches from room service. Tasty. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Little Food on the Island

The boys booked us on a historical tour of the island that began at 1pm. We had just under an hour to grab a quick bite, and Jonathan and I thought we had a great places in mind, from when we were in Nassau in May 2008. However, for whatever reason, about half of the places were closed, if not more. This left long lines and we cut it really short. We ordered fried conch, baked turkey wings, rice, and plantains, and ate as we walked back to the pier. The conch was among the worst I've ever had (and when conch is good, I'm in love), and the rice wasn't very tasty. The plantains were average, which is what I expect from a street vendor. The turkey, however, was fantastic. Actually, perhaps phenomenal. I'd get it again in a heartbeat, and I kinda only eat turkey like three times a year (not counting sliced deli meat, of course!).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Breakfast & Dinner on the Sensation

There are several breakfast options onboard, but we kinda prefer the main dining room (this is our fourth Carnival cruise), which is seated as-you-arrive for breakfast, as opposed to assigned seating. Also, the menu is the same every morning, so you can try different things. We were seated shortly after 8:30am.

Bryan when with the bagel & lox, Ebad chose the poached eggs, Jonathan went with the french toast, and I chose a ham and cheese omelet. Ebad thought poached eggs were pretty good, Bryan enjoyed the toasted bagel so much that he ordered it again the following morning, and Jonathan thought the french toast was good. I thought the omelet was about average, honestly. But, to be fair, I usually have a bunch of veggies in my omelet, so maybe I just wasn't accustomed to just ham and cheese. I also had a banana, which was surprisingly served already sliced! There were various side dishes ordered, but I can only personally brag about the hashbrowns, which were wonderful. I found it to me amusing that we each chose a different juice that morning. I chose apple, Bryan went orange, JB went tomato, and Ebad tried grapefruit.
We headed up to the Lido to grab an afternoon snack (hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza, chicken tenders), and then we split up.

We got dressed for dinner and headed to the Captain's Party about 7:45pm. We only got one free round since we arrived so late, but we did have front row seats for all of the officer introductions. We were right on-time for dinner, but the dining room was surprisingly swamped (most of the time it's not as crowded on port days). We get the cheese plates brought out, then the soups (I got the pumpkin, which is my favorite of the Carnival soups), then other appetizers. I had ordered the proscuitto ruffles, and for the first time, my order never came. I might have gotten upset, except a) Bryan let me have some of his, b) I wasn't starving, and c) I was really into reading an autobiography by the first American to have completed a contract on a Carnival cruise ship in the dining room. Because of the third in particular, I was able to recognize how much extra weight our head waiter was pulling, and since he was otherwise magnificent, I didn't mention it. I ordered the lobster and shrimp, which came with mashed potatoes and broccoli. A couple of the guys also had this, but then they also had the prime rib with baked potato and onion rings. The lobster was great, and I wish I had ordered a second one from the get-go. The shrimp and mashed potato were also scrumptious, and the guys reported great things about the meat, but not the potato, LoL. My favorite Carnival dessert was served that night, the banana layer cake. That with a side of chocolate ice cream was fabulous.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Food on the Carnival Sensation

We were taking a short cruise with some friends. After embarking, we proceeded to get some lunch. We did the deli and the buffet. The grilled ham and cheese was excellent (always is on a ship!), and the guys liked the reubens, too. Nothing spectacular on the buffet, but nothing was bad, either.

We split up and did our own things for a few hours, then met back up a little after 6pm and had some sushi (which was conveniently located just off the casino, LoL). Nothing spectacular, but the shrimp nigiri was average and the spicy tuna was good... except the spicy was a cajun spicy which was unexpected. The salmon/asparagus/mushroom roll wasn't good. We followed this up by attending the martini tasting. 5 martinis for $15 (decent size, too). I wasn't a big fan of any of them (not a martini person), but I was surprised I didn't like the Nuttini, which sounded great from the ingredients list, LoL! Overall, nobody was head-over-heels for any of them, but they were fun to try.