Monday, December 29, 2008

12/27/08-Ted's Restaurant, Meriden, CT

After hearing things about this place for so long and seeing the burgers featured on the Travel Channel, I knew this was somewhere I needed to go and experience. FINALLY, we went there today. This place needs to be featured on Diners, Drive-In's and Dives because it is just that--a tiny little place with a great neighborhood crowd. While standing in the doorway waiting for a table, we were making small talk with the people around us also waiting and a man was saying how he lives out of town now, but when he drives through, he always stops to get his fix and bring some home. I knew then I was in for something good! Sat down after about 15 min and Tom ordered us lunch--a steamed cheeseburger for each of us and home fries to share. A few minutes later, this little piece of heaven arrived--it has got to be the messiest burger I have ever eaten, but oh man was it good--a huge hunk of cheese covered the burger with lettuce and mayo for me and it was soon devoured. My advice? Skip the home fries and order a second burger--you'll have wished you did. For the price ($4.25) you have nothing to lose trying this burger.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

12/14/08-P.F. Chang's, West Hartford, CT

Needed to go to Westfarms for a few things this afternoon so Tom and I decided we would also grab lunch at the new P.F. Chang's to see what all the commotion is about this place. We put our name in while we shopped (45-1hr wait) and we did end up waiting all of that. After we were seated our waiter came over with some dipping sauces (but nothing to dip with? I'm a bit confused on that). He put together their signature sauce--hot mustard, soy sauce and red pepper sauce all into the soy sauce cup and mixed it together--definitely had a bit of a kick to it, but interesting taste. For our lunches, we both decided to try something different--we both ordered white rice with our entrees, Tom had the Mongolian Beef-"quickly cooked beef with scallions and garlic"--I had the Moo Shu Pork-"A chinese classic served with hoisin sauce and thin pancakes." Everything was great. Tom's entree had a sweet taste to it and was cooked perfectly and mine had a ton of mixed asian vegetables that gave it a bit of a crunch, but I would have liked a bit more pork in the dish. Overall, good experience--service was prompt, food was great and a nice, modern but casual atmosphere. Would defintely come here again, but would make reservations next time.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

12/5/08-Angelico's Lake House, East Hampton, CT

With a gift certificate in hand, off we went to Angelico's Lake House. Right on Lake Pocotopaug in East Hampton, I can understand the draw of this restaurant--I bet it is beautiful in the summertime. We started with the asian chicken tenders tossed in an orange sesame glaze--very good. Warm crusty bread was brought out with a red pepper/garlic infused olive oil for dipping-nice and spicy. For our dinners, we both started with caesar salads with just the right amount of dressing. My entree was the Mesquite Rubbed Pork Chop--"Double bone pork chop, fire grilled with garlic mashed potatoes, char-grilled pineapple & topped with a smokey BBQ glaze"--Although I liked the flavor of the pork itself, I didn't quite get the BBQ sauce on top and I really think that more of a teryaki based sauce would have worked better, especially since it is served with pineapple. Tom had the NY Strip Steak--"A well-marbled steak grilled to perfection, served with garlic mashed potatoes & fresh vegetable medley"--definitely not up to par with the strip steaks we've had, it was very tough to cut and the flavor was just not there.

For the prices, I was pretty disappointed with how dinner turned out. I'd be willing to give the restaurant another try--maybe in the summertime for lunch, so I could enjoy the view and still hang on to my wallet.

Friday, November 28, 2008

11/2/08-Perk on Main, Durham, CT

Ahh, Black Friday! On our way back from hitting the great deals at the Clinton outlets, we stopped off at Perk on Main to get some lunch. Have I mentioned that I love places that are trying to be eco-friendly? I do--I just love it. I was super impressed on how eco-friendly this place tries to be--3 different cans to separate your trash into (regular trash--things that cannot be recycled, cans and bottles and biodegradables), a program working with farmers to take the coffee grounds for composting and a community water cooler to help reduce our carbon footprint--this place gets an A+ for all of the above efforts. Now, on to the food. Tom had the Swiss Army Ciabatta--Grilled Turkey Filet, Lettuce, Tomato, Bacon, Mayo, & Swiss with a side baby field greens salad with balsamic vinaigrette. I had the Fall Classic crepe--Hot Cinnamon Spiced Apple Pie Filling with caramel. After trying eachothers dishes, we decided that we would definitely be back, maybe next time for breakfast! A very cute place with a relaxed feel, easy on the environment and our wallets too!

Friday, November 21, 2008

11/21/08-Max Amore, Glastonbury, CT

CT Restaurant week part 2! Colleen and I got together to catch up on things and had a lovely dinner. I started with the Classic Caesar salad--the dressing was a bit too peppery, but the homemade croutons were excellent. Col had Baby spinach, poached Bosc pears, candied walnuts, crumbled gorgonzola, Calimyrna figs, fig vinaigrette salad, which really wasn't her thing, but we're so proud of her for trying something new! We both had the Classic Chicken Parmesan, over spaghetti with peeled plum tomato sauce, fresh basil, E.V.O.O.--very tasty, haven't had good chicken parm out at a restaurant in quite some time since I make my own version at home. For dessert, Col had the warm harvest crisp and I had the creme brulee. Oh and my drink was excellent too--cranberry lemonade martini. They should have more deals like restaurant week because business was booming here! We decided we need to go out without our men more often and go to great places like this!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

11/20/08-Feng Asian Bistro, Hartford, CT

CT Restaurant Week! I cannot pass up this deal. Out we went tonight with Kirstin joining us (always up for an adventure!) and we had reservations at Feng. I didn't think we were ever going to make it--accident on the highway, no parking anywhere, not to mention the wind was COLD! We finally made it and were seated in a nice comfortable booth. The decor was modern and very cool, and I must mention the bathrooms because Kirstin told me to--neat sinks with rocks at the bottom, very clean. Anyway, I digress. The offer was the same for Hartford restaurant week--prefix menu, all for $20.08. Kirstin and Tom had the Sichimi Shanchi White Tuna, seared with wild ginger for their appetizer and I had Sampler Platter- crab ragoon, shrimp shumai, chicken satay, & beef dumpling. For our entree, we all tried something different--Kirstin had Sushi Sampler, assorted sushi (Chef's choice) with a spicy tuna roll--Tom had Ginger Salmon, with ten vegetable Shang Hai noodles--I had Honey Five Spiced Chicken, with wok fried rice. We all tried eachothers dishes--and YES, I tried sushi--ok, I am so not a big fan. It was an experience that I'm pretty sure I will not aquire anytime soon. But I tried it. So there :) We all had the Banana & Coconut Spring Roll, with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce for dessert--I didn't think that combo would be good, but it was. Everything was well received, although the portions were small (maybe just because we ordered off the restaurant week menu?) but we all left feeling very satisfied. I hope to come back sometime soon!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

11/15/08-Black Bear Saloon, Hartford, CT

Laundry got done late, so we didn't exactly have a plan for dinner, so off we drove to downtown Hartford and ended up having dinner at Black Bear Saloon in Hartford (the old Coach's, I think.) Since it's a Saturday night, we got carded at the door (Tom was told to turn his hat forward! haha) and the place was pretty busy with people packed in for the UConn football game. We started with their chips and salsa then Tom ordered the "Smokey the Bear" which is a burger topped with cheddar cheese and chili--overall a salty taste but he did like it--with sweet potato fries. I had one of the specials, Chicken and pear wrap with cheese, dried cranberries, pecans tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette and put together in a spinach wrap with shoestring fries--very very good! Would definitely come back here to hang out, watch the game and have a few drinks with friends!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

11/14/08--The Underground Deli, New Britain, CT

Skipped out of work a bit early before my doctor's appt. to get lunch with Jill! This place is in the plaza right next to CCSU and Jill and I had probably skipped Jarek's Theatre History class a bunch of times to get sandwiches here, so we relived the glory days and met here. Cute little deli, mostly all college students/professors who know about this place and great sandwich creations. I had the #15, the Interruption--grilled chicken, cucumbers, lettuce and cheese with honey mustard on a hard roll (I have a slight obsession with honey mustard!) with a side of their pasta salad and Jill had ham and cheese on a hard roll with a side of their potato salad--everything was excellent and pretty cheap too, just like I remembered! I gotta skip outta work more often :)

No website, located on Stanley St. next to CCSU.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

11/9/08-The Counter Burger, West Hartford, CT

Tom and I took a little trip up to Blue Back Square to walk around for the afternoon and grab some lunch, so hearing that there's a new burger joint in CT, we decide to give it a try. The place is cute--small, but cute--retro feel, but with all the modern comforts. The draw of the Counter Burger is that the burger is just the way you order it--with whatever you order on it. We did the 50/50 split on the fries--half sweet potato and half regular and it was served with a horseradish mayonnaise for dipping, which def had a little kick. My burger was a 2/3 lb. ground beef on honey wheat roll with tillamook cheddar, lettuce, pickles, bacon and sweet bbq sauce (I know, so original, but I wanted a basis to compare with other burger joints)--the burger was huge, considering the 2/3 lb is the weight AFTER cooking, not before! Tom's creation was 2/3 lb. ground beef with Danish blue cheese, olives, sprouts, grilled pineapple with ginger soy glaze--sounds like a disaster, but was very tasty. These burgers are hard to eat since they are so big, so next time I would try a burger bowl instead (the burger and all the fixings on a bed of lettuce). The Counter Burger became a fast favorite with us, I'm sure we'll be back!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

10/31/08-Junior's @ MGM Grand at Foxwoods, Ledyard, CT

Alice Cooper on Halloween? How much better could it get? Even though this is our 3rd time seeing him together, it's a great show everytime. We drove out to the new MGM Grand at Foxwoods and Grand is a great name to describe it. A huge, beautifully designed tower and a gorgeous theatre, it was nice to finally be able to check out the place we poured so much concrete at. I was really impressed with the design and comfort of the theatre--roomy seats, behind-the-seat cupholders, carpeted floor and great view from any angle it seemed. We were running a little behind so we needed something quick to eat so we went to Junior's--this is the CT branch of the famous restaurant in the Bronx. It touted "the best cheesecake in the world" so it must be good....right? Well, the sandwiches offered were average at best and VERY overpriced--I had the grilled chicken deluxe and Tom had fresh brisket of beef. We shared the fries that came with my sandwich and those were the best part--not too crispy, not too soft, good diner fries. And the cheesecake? Not the best! Instead of a crust, it is a thin layer of white cake. Sometimes the best part of the cheesecake is the crust, so I was a bit disappointed. Tom made the comment about how it was like eating plain cream cheese (with a slight slight vanilla flavoring), so it was def not the best. Save your money and eat at the New Britain diner--good food and even better prices!

Monday, October 27, 2008

10/25/08-Baci Grill, Cromwell, CT

Yay for Kirstin giving me a gift certificate to a place NOT on my blog so we could try it! Tom and I went here about 7pm Saturday night (it was pretty this usual or just another sign of the times?!) and had a lovely dining experience. We were seated immediately and given water and very tasty garlic bread with roasted garlic infused oil for dipping. Tom ordered the special--Prime Rib and au jus with asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes--overall a little tough but enjoyable. I had the Black Angus Sirloin Steak with aspargus and garlic mashed potatoes with a balsamic demi glace--very tender, cooked to order and the demi glace really made the dish. To round out our meal, we had Chocolate decadence for dessert--whoever came up with this is a godsend--warmed chocolate with ice cream scoops and whipped cream. Simply amazing.

Great experience, would reccomend to anyone looking for a nice dinner out.

Friday, October 24, 2008

10/20/08-ESPN Zone @ NY, NY, Las Vegs, NV

Stopped at the bar on my way back from seeing Criss Angel at the Luxor (Hey Criss, you suck. Try to hide the cables next time.) I had a margarita and a BBQ chicken sandwich. Ahh yes, it hit the spot. Nothing fancy about any of it. Nice bartenders, highlights of the MNF game on the TV, just a nice, relaxing dinner. Talking to the bartender, she remarked how dead the restaurant was--yet another sign of how the economy is taking a toll on everyone--even in Vegas, the city of decadence!

10/19/08-Hard Rock Cafe, Las Vegas, NV

Usual touristy kitchy stop while on vacation (sadly, best place we ate at.....sigh my family is so unadventerous when it comes to food). I started with the Waborita (sensing a pattern of drinking? me too...though not as much as I'd like) then the Hickory smoked BBQ beef brisket, Mom had the herb-grilled chicken breast, Dad had the Hickory smoked pulled pork sandwich and Lauren had the Famous Fajitas. And of course, no visit to the Hard Rock would be complete without a stop to the store after dinner! We then went to the Bellagio to see "O" by Cirque du Soleil, which genuinely rocked my world and made me feel as if I'm wasting my talent on dispatching when I could be a part of a production as amazing as that was. Anyone have connections? I'm an excellent stagehand!

10/18/08-BLT Burger @ The Mirage, Las Vegas, NV

After-show dinner (the Beatles "LOVE" by Cirque du Soleil! what a cute show!) at the Mirage. I started with a spiked milkshake called Night Rider (Kahlua, Chocolate Liqueur, Oreo Cookies and Chocolate Ice Cream) and Lauren had the Black & White (Vanilla Ice Cream & Chocolate Syrup). Then we split the kobe sliders, sweet potato fries and waffle fries while Dad had The Classic and Mom had the Salmon burger. Although not the best burger place ever (ahh yes, Catsup, you still hold that place in my heart!), it was pretty damn good.

10/18/08-California Pizza Kitchen @ The Mirage, Las Vegas, NV

Lauren and I went shopping this morning and we met up with my parents for lunch. We met at the Mirage and while discussing where to get lunch, I said to them "I don't want to eat anywhere that I can eat at in CT." You can see how well that worked out.

Regardless, good lunch. My dad shared the Traditional Cheese pizza with Lauren, while my mom and I split the Waldorf Chicken salad (my fav!) and the California Club Pizza on honey-wheat dough (the only way to have their pizza IMO). Everything was fantastic (even though I can drive 30 min and get to one back home!)

10/17/08-Brew Pub @ Monte Carlo, Las Vegas, NV

Vegas vacation!! We arrived in Vegas on Friday afternoon, waaaaay too tired from all the traveling to do much of anything, so we went downstairs to the Brew Pub for dinner. Average bar-ish food--Mom had the Finger Lickin BBQ burger, Dad had the Big Honkin Cheeseburger, Lauren had the chicken fingers and I had the BBQ chicken pizza--everything was exactly what we expected--decent, average priced dinner. Not much in the way of sightseeing today, more tomorrow!

Our hotel (and tonights restaurant)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

10/11/08-Butterfly, West Hartford, CT

Haven't had Chinese in a loooong time so we headed out for a nice dinner. We started with the dumplings (so good!) and then Tom had the Chicken Two Style (1/2 sesame chicken, 1/2 chicken in a brown sauce) and I had the General Tso's--both were excellent, as usual! I can't have chinese very often, my stomach just can't handle it, but this is actually goooood chinese food. Lovely restaurant, great service, nice atmosphere--I've been here quite a few times over the years, never been disappointed. Excellent lunch specials, too. Usually, this place would be packed at 7pm on a Saturday night, but you could really see the toll the economy has taken on the restaurant industry by looking at all the restaurants in the area (we had an Entertainment coupon, so that helps us out!) so waiting was not an issue. We'll be back!

No website, located on Farmington Ave.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

10/3/08-Little Italy, Wallingford, CT

Spent the night in with Tom since this is his last day on the second shift jobsite (yay!), so we ordered pizza from this great Italian market on Rt. 150. They make a killer BBQ chicken pizza(my fav!) so we splurged and got pizza, beer and dessert-a slice of frutta di bosco for Tom and chocolate mousse cake for me--so good! It was nice to spend the night in with comfort food, just enjoying time with eachother. We've had grinders and pasta from this market and everything they make is fantastic!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

9/26/08-The Playwright Irish Pub, Hamden, CT

Kirstin got a bonus (yay!) so out to dinner to celebrate we go! Kirstin said she wanted a place that she could "sink her teeth into" so knowing how much she likes all things Irish, I suggested the Playwright. Deciding to split our dishes since we were debating between the same things--typical indecisive Libras we are!--we got the Cheese Chips to start (steak fries covered in cheese, scallions and bacon with a side of sour cream and ranch) followed by the Irish Whiskey BBQ burger (bacon, cheddar cheese and house BBQ sauce) and the Limerick chicken salad (chopped chicken fingers over a mixed greens salad with tomatoes, pecans, onion, bacon and cheese with honey mustard dressing) and Elizabeth (her lil sis) also had the same burger. The cheese chips and burger were very good but I thought the lettuce in the salad tasted funny. Big big portions, which Tom appreciated since he devoured the leftovers :) Nice Irish pub feel, good place to go hang out--maybe we'll go when there's a band playing on the weekend next time!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

9/20/08-Taqueria Mexico, Wallingford, CT

Had an Entertainment book coupon for this place, so decided to give it a shot. Really, no ambiance here, its pretty much a hole-in-the-wall, but this is the most authentic Mexican food I've had since....well, since Mexico. Cheap prices and big portions, gotta love it. Mostly frequented by the spanish-speaking population, Tom and I did feel out of place for a few minutes, but got over it quickly when we got our lunch--we tried their tacos, burritos and quesadillas--all excellent. If you want Mexican food that is not Americanized, give this place a shot.

Rt. 5, Wallingford, near Chef's supply store.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

9/14/08-99 Restaurant, Wallingford, CT

There had to be hope--this weekend's dinner outing was a bad experience, lunch on Sunday had to be better......right??

We went to 99 for a quick lunch before the list of Sunday errands that had to be done and wouldn't you know, it wasn't the best lunch around?! I know--we have been going to quite a few chain restaurants lately! Tom says we've spoiled ourselves--probably true. At any rate, we started with potato skins, which were quite tasty. Then I had the pick-a-pair lunch combo of 1/2 caesar salad and 1/2 roast beef & cheddar dip--salad was fine but the sandwich? there was literally one piece of roast beef (I looked). While I'm not looking for the meat to be falling off of the plate, I shouldn't have to open the bread to be sure that there is actually meat in between! Tom had the broiled sirloin tips, which were a much better choice.

Next weekend will be better.....right?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

9/13/08-Finn McCool's Pub, Newington, CT

I don't even know how to describe the eating experience there but to say.....the food was good (but very very very greasy) going down....Tom and I are still sick the next day from it. Maybe since we've been making an attempt at eating better for quite some time now, our stomachs can't handle all the grease? That's our theory. Dan, Jill, Tom and I went to dinner here and I don't ever want to eat here again.

No website.....Market St., Newington, behind Steve's Place (which has waaaaay better food.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

9/5/08-Chili's, Southington, CT

If we could get my sister to go anywhere else for her birthday, it would have been a miracle. She only comes here every week as it is. But alas, here we are. She wouldn't let us embarrass her at dinner about her birthday, so it was a relatively uneventful dinner. Started with chips and salsa and nachos for the table, then onto entrees--Lauren had the chicken club tacos, her boyfriend Justin had the chicken fingers (how original lol), Dad had the big mouth bites, Mom had the chicken fajita pita and I had the margarita grilled chicken. Lovely dinner, with a side of bickering as usual :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

8/31/08-Outback Steakhouse, North Haven, CT

After a long afternoon on the Farmington River, my sis and her boyfriend joined us for dinner. While it took us a while to decide on a place we all liked (who has never tried like Mexican food, honestly?!), we had an excellent time. Lauren had her usual--chicken caesar salad, Justin had the special--Teryaki sirloin with asparagus and Aussie chips, Tom had the Outback-style prime rib (16 oz.--holy crap!) with Aussie chips and steamed broccoli and I had the Alice Springs chicken with Aussie chips. Good times were had by all.

8/30/08-Prime 16, New Haven, CT

This new joint in New Haven has been getting good reviews, so in the mood for burgers, we took a short drive to check it out. Although the menu was impressive with many different burger creations, we felt that it still could not top the burgers at Catsup and Mustard. We started with the homemade pretzels with a beer-infused mustard--the pretzel was excellent! I had the Maui burger--ground sirloin marinated in teryaki with lettuce, cheese and grilled pineapple on top with a side of fries and Tom had the lamb burger with a hint of mint and a side of sweet potato fries. The verdict? My burger was better :) but his fries were better. Although we may return here just for the beer list (20-ish beers on tap, 60-ish bottled brews at any given point--Tom tried only two!) I'd say for burgers, we'll be back in Manchester.

No website--located on Temple St. in New Haven.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

8/23/08-Olive Garden, West Hartford, CT

Staaaaarving after the John Mayer concert at the Meadows (it's still the Meadows, damn you Dodge), Tom and I decided to grab dinner at the Olive Garden (Tom's rationale-they actually have to cook pasta, its not frozen and I had a coupon--that helps too!) Since we arrived about 15 min before the kitchen was closing, we had the quickest service EVER! Started with their typical salad and breadsticks and Tom had the Zuppa Toscana soup. For entrees, I had the pasta bowl with the meat sauce & sausage over penne and Tom had the Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo pasta--everything was great (and super fast!)

8/22/08-A.C. Petersen's, West Hartford, CT

Kirstin and I headed out to dinner, originally to find a pizza joint in West Hartford, but after much driving around (where were our heads that night?!) we came upon A.C. Petersen's and decided to just stop here for dinner. It was such a lovely evening that we sat outside on the sidewalk cafe. Kirstin had the AC Petersen blue sliders and I had the AC Classic sliders--maybe it was just how I was feeling (I was def not feeling well!), but the food was ehhh. As for the ice cream--very different story. I had chocolate chip and it was rich, creamy and out of this world! Good quality ice cream-could have just eaten that for dinner!

No website, but located on Park Rd. in West Hartford.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

8/12/08-Big Bubba's BBQ, Uncasville, CT

Took a drive out to Mohegan Sun to see Rod Stewart (GREAT concert--top 10, really) and me and my mother had dinner before the show at this bbq joint. Awesome atmosphere, a huge bar and towels instead of napkins on the table, I knew we were in for something good. Both mom and I ordered the same thing--the two-meat combo (we both chose the pulled pork and the ribs) and it came with two sides and cornbread. We both ate as much as we could-it was fantastic! I bought Tom a t-shirt cuz they were quite amusing (the one I got him says on the back "Put some South in your Mouth!"--tell me thats not funny!) We had a great time-I would definitely go back.

8/10/08-Abbott's Lobster in the Rough, Noank, CT

Went to the Mystic Arts Festival and stopped off at this popular joint for lunch on the way. I've heard that they have the best lobster roll in the country, so with that type of reputation, it has to be good. Located right on the water, you walk up to the window and order your food, then are given a number to pick it up. We headed outside to eat at a picnic table overlooking the harbor--what a beautiful day!! Both Tom and I had their famous lobster roll (see, I'm doing better about eating seafood!). It was described as "A quarter-pound of pure lobster meat (more than is found in a small lobster) with melted creamery butter, mounded on a toasted bun. Our hot-lobster roll has repeatedly earned Connecticut Magazines "Best of Connecticut" award!" Rightfully so. It was damn good. If you're headed for the shore, its worth the trip.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

8/9/08-Joey Garlic's, Farmington, CT

Been hearing a lot of great things about this place, so decided to head out to Farmington after kayaking today for dinner. In all honesty, not impressed. The place was pretty busy, a good steady flow of people--so much so that there was a kid in the parking lot directing traffic! Although mostly a pizzeria, Tom and I were intrigued by the specials for the evening so we decided to forgo pizza and instead, we started with the garlicky brick bread (the highlight of our dinner--cheesy good garlic bread), followed by the shrimp scampi for Tom and the Veal Parmigiana for me. Sadly, neither of us were that thrilled by our entree choices, the marinara sauce is incredibly bland. The pizzas that this place turns out is most likely a better vehicle for the marinara sauce, def not for pasta dishes. The Oreo milkshake I had with dinner was good, though--a bunch of different flavors, plus old-fashioned sodas. I think if we decide to come back, we'll definitely try the pizza since thats what we've heard they do best. Just an off night for us? Maybe.

No website, but it's located on Rt. 6 near the Farmington/Bristol line.

8/8/08-La Casona, Hartford, CT

It's Taste of Hartford week, so Kirstin and I decided to take advantage of the special pricing--$20.08 per person got us an appetizer, entree and dessert. We put the names of the restaurants in the proverbial hat and pulled La Casona. Located in the south end of Hartford, the neighborhood can feel a bit sketchy--can't say that I would have picked this restaurant myself--but when we walked in, there was a spanish band playing and a good vibe to the place. We were seated and the special menu was placed before us--Kirstin had the Ensalada de Espinacias for the appetizer, Pollo Tropical for the entree and Peach flavored caramel flan for dessert--I had Empenadas Colombianas for the appetizer, Churrasco Argentino for the entree and Chocolate torte for dessert. All of that for only $20.08? What a deal.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

8/2/08-Mo's Irish Pub, Noblesville, IN

For those who are wondering, Noblesville, Indiana is just outside of downtown Indianapolis--a lovely suburb with lots of cornfields (Dorothy, we are definitely NOT in Connecticut anymore!) Just a few minutes from the house is a shopping development similar to Evergreen Walk in South Windsor, and here is where Melissa and AJ's current favorite restaurant is. Cute Irish pub with a campy TGI Friday's decor appeal, the menu is not authentic Irish, but the choices are still good. We started with a basket of the garlic cheese fries--not a big fan of the cheese sauce, but decent flavor. AJ had the Crispy Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, Melissa had the Triple Grilled Cheese sandwich with a side salad and I had the Killarney Club Sandwich. Plates were polished, so it must have all been good! Downside? Indiana still allows smoking in bars, so that could become a big turn-off if seated in that area (which we were not, thankfully.) Still, I think I liked the irish pub we went to last time in downtown Indianapolis (whatsthenameagain?)

8/1/08-Qdoba Mexican Grill, Noblesville, IN

OK, for those of you that I work with.....YES.....I called out sick for 2 days and flew to Indiana. Don't squeal on me :) At any rate, late Friday night when my plane touched down, I was pretty hungry, so Melissa, AJ and my new nephew Jackson took me to this chain favorite (we don't have these in CT). I had salsa and chips (the salsa is made from tomatillos, which I was so not thrilled with--I'll stick with tomato salsa, thank you!) and 3 hard tacos--one grilled chicken, one ground sirloin and one shredded pork--all were good, my fav being the chicken. Melissa had a taco salad, which looked great and AJ had the chips and salsa with me along with 3 ground sirloin tacos. For what you get, good prices. Although I am not the biggest fan of chain restaurants, in a pinch, this was an appropriate choice. Plus, we all know how I love my mexican!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

7/24/08-The New Mill, Southington, CT

Col and Dave's rehearsal dinner was booked here by Dave's parents and what a good choice! First time here for almost all of us. The evening was started with hot appetizers-fried calamari, thinly sliced steak on small toasted squares of bread, bruchetta, chicken satay with a sweet dipping sauce and cajun shrimp--everything was quite good! Then we were served salads--either house or caesar (Tom and I had caesar--good salad, peppery dressing!) followed by our choice of entree--Tom enjoyed the salmon while I had maple-glazed pork loin with sweet potato hash. The entrees we ordered were very good, although we both agreed that we should have gotten the NY Strip when the plate was placed on the table in front of Kelly's boyfriend Tom (smart man, ordered the steak!) The night would not have been complete without the warm molten chocolate cake that was placed before us, though we were so stuffed from dinner I don't think anyone finished it!

Although this menu was pre-planned, our choices were excellent. The decor? I'm a bit confused. Looks as if we're going for an African safari theme, but not quite sure--they should stick to the basics, let the old wood all around the restaurant give the place its charm, not the leopard print curtains.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

7/11/08-Guilford Mooring, Guilford, CT

Now, I'm not much for seafood, but this is a great restaurant. We've been here a few times, and never a bad experience. We were seated right away, and dinner began with a hunk of bread with melted honey butter over it--excellent. We ordered the special appetizer of the evening, which was swordfish bites--hunks of swordfish, breaded and fried on a bed of onion straws and with a citrus glaze--I don't even eat fish and I loved it! Then our salads came out before our entrees--Tom had the lazy man's stuffed lobster (must have been good--he polished the plate!) and I had the lasagna (next time, go for the chicken milanese-much better choice). And yessss, dessert was chocolate decadence, which is so sinful that I'm probably already on my way to hell for eating it! A great restaurant with a great view of the marina, this is never a bad choice.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

6/28/08-Eli Canon's, Middletown, CT

Tom and I have been here a bunch of times and love the atmosphere and food (and for Tom, the beer!) at this restaurant. They specialize in non-commercial brews, which is excellent. Tom tried a blueberry beer and a beer called Circus, I believe, which was a hefeweizen--both he says were great. For dinner, we split cheese fries (had better) and buffalo wings and bbq quesadillas--appetizer night! The quesadilla was fantastic and the wings were good, but Archie's wings are better. The weather was lovely so we sat outside on the patio and had a wonderful evening :)

6/27/08-Corey's Catsup and Mustard, Manchester, CT

Could not wait to try this place--been hearing great things about it--and they are all true! Excellent burger joint, both Tom and I absolutely loved it. Good size bar when you walk in the door and yellow tables with red seats around. Tom had the black n' blue burger (which is not on the menu anymore!!) with the garlic parmesan fries (and they come in a cute "fry basket" haha). I had the "turkey turkey gobble" (which also, is no longer on the menu! what the heck!) with the spicy cajun fries. Both were fresh and very very tasty. The fries are also served with three dipping sauces--blue cheese, honey mustard and kicked up catsup--all are excellent.

In all, loved this place and cannot wait to go back again to sample something off their new menu!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

6/14/08-SBC Brewery, Branford, CT

Tom and I had dinner at this Connecticut mini-chain restaurant this evening, best known for its beer. On the whole, the food is average. I had the rosemary pork loin with a demi-glace and mashed potatoes and Tom had a seafood pasta, both specials for the evening. Although our dishes were good, both of us found that we're not really fans of this restaurant. We've eaten here before and decided to give it another try and have found that if you're a beer drinker, then you will quite likely enjoy the brews they have to offer and should go here with the intention of trying a few.

Monday, June 9, 2008

6/6/08-Marius, New Haven, CT

A great new place to try--as recommended by Ronnie--and he was right as usual. Very unique decor in Marius, which is named after a Roman statesman. Lots of Roman-esque decorations on the walls and these huge lion statues when you walk in the door. Our server, Brian, was great fun--ask for him if you go here, he made our meal quite the experience. The menu was a bit of everything--Tom had the Argentinian lamb ragout which was very tasty and I had the chicken stuffed with smoked mozzarella and procuitto. Dinner came with salads lightly dressed in a vinaigrette and a bread plate. For dessert we shared the tiramisu, which is one of the better that I've had in recent memory. This is a great place for wine, too--very large selection. Overall, great experience, definitely check it out.

No website--located next to Nikkita on Crown St.

Friday, May 30, 2008

5/30/08-On The Border, Rocky Hill, CT

Wait...can you guess? Yep. More mexican. Went out with Jill to dinner, started with the ultimate loaded queso (no refried beans, they creep me out). Then, we both had fajitas--mine was chicken and carnitas, she had the chicken chipotle. OTB has excellent salsa, and the margarita I had was great--Don Julio Blanco tequila with Patron liquer--I so deserved that margarita after this week! Margaritas still holds the top spot for drinks and Mexican food, but this is a decent alternative.

5/26/08-Cracker Barrel, Holyoke, MA

Ok, now it's MY turn to feel out of place. I've never been to a Cracker Barrel (Tom has) so this is where we stopped for lunch on our way back from Yankee Candle in South Deerfield. This restaurant is COUNTRY. Not that I have a problem with country, but wow. An average family restaurant, average meal selections, very inexpensive. Tom had the grilled meatloaf sandwich and I had the pork bbq sandwich, both with steak fries. That's it--really, nothing exciting. In a pinch, I guess we'd come back here, but nothing to go out of the way for.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

5/25/08-Plan B, West Hartford, CT

We were in the mood for burgers, so off to this place in West Hartford that I've been wanting to try. It was worth it. Comfortable restaurant with a modern feel (Tom said he felt a bit out of place, it felt a little bit too high-class for him, but I thought it was perfect!). The menu touts freshly ground meat, never frozen and you could tell. We started with the Kentucky Bourbon BBQ wings, which were sweet and tasty. I had "the squeeler" which is half-pork, half-beef burger with bacon, american cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mustard and mayo with fries on the side--very juicy and full of flavor. Tom had "the italian job" which was a chicken burger with mozzarella, pesto, roasted tomatoes and a roasted red pepper spread with fries--he felt that it was good, but said that he wasn't experiencing the flavors like he thought he would--tasted everything seperately, not an "explosion of flavor" together.

In all, definitely would come back again, just to try another burger creation :) -In West Hartford and Simsbury

Sunday, May 4, 2008

5/1/08-The Cheesecake Factory, West Hartford, CT

My mom hadn't been to this restaurant, so after some shopping, I took her over to Blue Back Square for dinner. If you haven't been here, you really should go. The menu is amazing--if you can't find something here that you like, I'd be very surprised. And the cheesecake? To die for. I had the chicken costoletta with a lemon cream sauce, red mashed potatoes and asparagus. My mom had the crab cake sandwich with french fries. The portions were huge, so there was no room to eat dessert there, but we did get 5 slices of cheesecake to go! White chocolate macadamia nut for mom, Oreo for Lauren, Snickers for Dad, white chocolate raspberry swirl for me and fresh strawberry for Tom. The decor is very chic, the service is fantastic but the wait is something to be desired--go early if at all possible to avoid the rush.

You'll wanna check this one out--

Sunday, April 20, 2008

4/19/08-Aunt Chilada's, Hamden, CT

Are you noticing a pattern? We do heart our mexican food (and of course, our Mexico trip--coming up very soon!!). This place is decent, but it's no Margaritas--the food seemed much blander than other mexican restaurants I've been to. Usual crew on Saturday night--I had the "big e" (3 different enchiladas), Dan had grilled tuna steak burger, Tom had a NY strip (we're at a Mexican restaurant! ah well.) and Jill had a chimichanga combo plate. Salsa was ok, not that great. All of our dishes were decent, but we all agree--rather go to Margaritas for Mexican!! They did make a damn strong drink--my margarita with Patron was excellent--maybe I just felt like it was strong from the lack of food in my stomach or all the exertion from that afternoon? The perk here would be the outdoor patio in the warm weather, but as nice as it was outside, they were not serving on the patio.

No website, but you can find them on Whitney Ave. in Hamden.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

4/11/08-Margarita's, East Hartford, CT

My mecca. I heart mexican food and margaritas. Out to dinner with the crew. This place has the best salsa (someday, I will perfect my salsa recipe like theirs). I got a Sauza Hornitos margarita, on the rocks with salt--just the way it should be. For dinner, I had the Margarita's taster, which is always excellent. Tom had the taquitos and then has the enchiladas muchacha, Dan had the taquitos, Jill and Cory had the tomato garlic nachos, then the enchiladas rancheras and a chicken fajita salad.

This is a great place for dinner or for just hanging out at the bar....fond memories of many nights here.

Monday, April 7, 2008

4/6/08-J. Timothy's, Plainville, CT

Out to dinner with the crew before the usual weekend festivities of Wii. This place has got great wings, "dirt" style (fried, sauced, rinse and repeat), which we had an order of. Dan broke his diet and had teryaki wings, Cory had a burger (which must have been good, it was gone!), Jill had the skins, which looked excellent, I had the french dip sandwich, which was nothing exciting, and Tom had the salmon, which he said was dry. All in all, decent meal. I think I'd stick with the wings and appetizers :)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

4/5/08-Humphrey's, Wallingford, CT

This small local chain restaurant opened a new location in Wallingford this week and Tom, Colleen and I tried it Saturday night. So not impressed. We were told that the wait was 15-20 minutes, which turned out to be more like 40 minutes. Small restaurant space, not a lot of tables. It was also very, very loud, making it hard to hold a conversation! The food was nothing impressive--Tom's burger was cooked too high, too fast, causing a charred exterior. My chicken sandwich, Gabriella's revenge, was decent and Col's chef salad was huge! But all in all, nothing exciting. Can't say that we'll be back.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

3/28/08-Geronimo's, New Haven, CT

As Tom put his fork down after cleaning his plate, he looks up at me and says, "I think this is my new favorite restaurant." Ditto. Everything about Geronimo's was fantastic, from the lighting, decor and music, to the food and my personal favorite--100 varieties of tequila. I started my meal with an Apache Sky (Don Julio Blanco tequila) and Tom had the house margarita, both excellent. Southwestern cornbread and garlic bread were brought to the table, followed by our entrees-- Steak Frites Santa Fe for me and Oven Roasted Sea Bass for Tom. I don't even like seafood and I liked his dish! Although somewhat of a limited menu, listen closely to their specials--all sounded great. I highly recommend this restaurant, as it seems to be our new "favorite".

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

3/22/08-Stonewell Restaurant, Farmington, CT

Went to dinner here with the parental units tonight. Been here a few times and the food was good, as usual. Veal Parmesan for me, Shellfish Provincial for Tom, Harbor Net Catch for Mom and the Fried Clams special for Dad. Moderately prices, large portions and a waitress who was quite a kick. On a side note, been to the Sunday Brunch here as well, just as good as dinner.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

3/15/08-Archie Moore's, Wallingford, CT

Went for dinner with our buds, Jill and Dan. This is a chill local hangout, the bar scene is always hoppin here, its got a great, comfortable feel and a relaxed atmosphere. Tom got their buffalo wings, which they are famous for, and rightfully so. I got one of the specials--smoked chicken, fuji apples and cheddar on rye, and it was excellent. Jill got a wrap that looked great and we split potato skins. (Dan--save your appetite for next time!) I'd say, between this place and Westbrook, these are our places to go for a quick bite or for happy hour. Haven't had anything I didn't like here.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

3/8/08-Glenwood Drive-In, Hamden, CT

Stopped here on our way back from getting my car worked on, been wanting to try this place. As soon as we walked in the door, the kid behind the counter asked us what we wanted. We ordered, as he put it "4 dogs, 1 french". They seem to have their own lingo here that works well--other customers were ordering their dogs to be "well" or "burn it"--ours were normal, thank you. Our order came quick and we put our condiments on and grabbed a table. I'm sure this place must be bustling in the summertime. Dogs were pretty good, though Tom and I agree that Guida's in Middlefield is better. After lunch, went next door to Kelly's Kone Konnection--good ice cream, nice texture. I'd say we'll be back here again.

3/7/08-Ted's Montana Grill, South Windsor, CT

Went to Ted's Montana Grill at the Evergreen Walk in South Windsor tonight with Col and Dave. This place is pretty cool, great food. 3 of us had burgers ( mine was bison, Col and Dave had beef--hahah the naked SOB, right Dave?). Tom had the prime rib with garlic mashed potatoes and green beans. Everything was fantastic and the drinks were pretty damn good, too. They don't disappoint with all the different variations on burgers, so many to choose from. Note: this place is eco-friendly and uses natural ingredients, yay.

(C&D--You guys pick next time!)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

2/29/08-The Bidwell Tavern-Coventry, CT

I think this place is one of Tom's absolute favorites. We went to dinner tonight with a few of his friends from work, because this is such an exciting destination place for all of us. Right on Rt. 31 in quiet Coventry, this place has a great atmosphere. It's been around since 1822, and the main reason we go there is because they have about 30 different flavors of wings (and all the ones we've tried are excellent!). Wings and alcohol=a great combination after a week of work!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

2/23/08-Buffalo Wild Wings-Milford, CT

Went to Stratford to visit a friend in the afternoon, and Tom suggested we head over to the post mall and get lunch, since I've never been there. We went to Buffalo Wild Wings, a national chain with only 2 locations in CT (we had previously been to one out in Indianapolis about 2 years ago). The big thing at this chain is the different sauces you can choose to have your wings in. We had an appetizer of boneless wings with 3 different sauces to dip in (garlic parmesan for Tom, asian zing for me and Caribbean jerk for the both of us)--all were excellent. Tom had a black&blue burger and I had pulled pork tossed in their honey bbq sauce. Lunch was very decently priced and we both left stuffed.

2/22/08-Applebee's-Wallingford, CT

Tom's pick. Now I don't necessarily advocate chain restaurants, but I do realize that they are hard to ignore, and some really aren't that bad. With that being said, dinner was decent. Both of us did the "3-Course Combo" promotion--mine being an appetizer of mozzarella sticks (served sorta cold), entree of Fiesta Lime chicken (which is very tasty) and a dessert shooter of a hot fudge sundae. Tom had an appetizer of boneless buffalo wings, entree of Cheddar Jack Mac 'n Cheese with Chicken and a dessert shooter of chocolate mousse. All in all, not too bad. I think the best part of the dinner was my drink--the apple margarita. It's not on the menu anymore, but definitely ask for it.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

2/16/08 Eli's on Whitney-Hamden, CT

I try to get us to experience a new restaurant every weekend, instead of going to the same old places all the time, so tonight we tried Eli's on Whitney (I had coupons, so that helped the decision!). Very busy place, even at 830pm when we got there. The bar and dining room were packed, waited a reasonable 15 minutes. Tom ordered one of the specials that evening--prime rib with garlic mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. Everything looked great and tasted fantastic. It came served with the white asparagus, which had a slightly more bitter taste than the typical green asparagus, but was good nonetheless. I had the turkey burger, which was very moist and tasty. Tom had the blue moon on tap and I ordered a white chocolate martini, which is most def worth trying. Unfortunately, I do have to say that the reason I'm not jumping to come back here is, while we were waiting for our check, the hostess came to our table and asked if we would mind moving to another table because a large party was coming in. I understand she had a job to do, but come on. At least comp us a dessert if you're gonna ask ;)

Check it out....

2/15/08 Westbrook Lobster- Wallingford, CT

Our old standby, Westbrook Lobster, is a great casual restaurant. Best happy hour around, in my opinion. Tom and I went for dinner tonight--I am not much of a "seafarer", so I had the Lemon Honey Pecan Chicken, which is easily one of the best dishes on the menu. Tom ordered the "lazy man's" lobster, 1 1/2 pounds of pulled lobster, mixed with stuffing and drawn butter. He ate the whole thing, so it must have been good :) . The casear salads and starches that accompanied dinner were also excellent.

Check this place out for yourself....